Jim Ales (VCD)
Art Director, Monterey Bay Aquarium
Ordinary / Everyday / Magic
As a child, our first crayon marks begin the truth of self-expression. And as we choose to make our way, we begin to define ourselves with creative abandon at the risk of being oddly different. We expose our dreams, desires, struggles, experiences – opening our hearts for all to see.
This place, our creative space, is rife with emotional and practical complexities. Creativity springs from our well of abstract thoughts, intuitions, restless thinking, seeing what others cannot. Yet we are asked to compete in a culture of demands: profits, return on investment, value-added, market trends, focus groups, and so on – an environment adverse to risk, chance, failure, invention. A difficult dynamic to navigate.
Resiliency, out of necessity, becomes our creative survival kit – the beat, the chord, the song, the sword. The protector of ideas, of inspiration, of rejuvenation. The inherent spirit that defines our core.
This lecture chronicles a graphic designer’s life and career, a crooked path drawing on the power of resiliency to stay true to self, heart, vision. To champion ideas, to cross boundaries, to motivate, engage, connect – all the while, holding on to the magic of a child’s first joyful scribbles.
About Jim Ales:
Jim Ales is widely known as a design strategist, thought leader and advocate for his profession. He is the Art Director for the nonprofit Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California. He is responsible for the strategy, creative direction and management of the Aquarium’s communication brand. The Aquarium is consistently ranked the top Aquarium experience in the United States, and is recognized as a worldwide leader in ocean conservation. Jim’s work supports the mission of the Aquarium, influencing the way individuals, corporations and government agencies understand and interact with ocean environments.
Jim served on the AIGA National Board of Directors from 2006-2009 and is the recipient of the AIGA Environmental Leadership Award. His work appears in Graphis Publications, AIGA, Communication Arts, Museum News, Applied Arts, How and Print magazines. He has served as juror for AIGA 365, Communication Arts, the Oakland Museum of California and several AIGA Chapter competitions. His commentaries on design are featured in Allworth Press, Rockport Press and AIGA publications.
In 2011, Jim was awarded the degree of Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Academy of Art University, San Francisco in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and influence in the Arts. Jim was honored as an AIGA Fellow, San Francisco, in March 2015.
Jim Ales (VCD)