Published on: Sun, Mar 29, 2015
“Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Albert Einstein said this.
I first encountered this particular Einstein quote a few weeks ago when our team was making final preparations for Denton’s debut at the enormous SXSWi (SXSW Interactive expo) in Austin. It was Eric Pulido that said it, and the moment he did, it rang true in my heart about Denton. Eric owns Norman Roscoe, a custom T-shirt and graphic design firm in Denton. His idea was to employ the Einstein statement on a cool shirt and balance it with another that simply said, “Come Create in Denton, Texas,” our exhibit theme. Two great design options, one strong message.
Eric’s idea was spot-on. We sold out of T-shirts in one day at SXSW. Since returning to Denton, many have messaged me and Eric to see where to purchase that shirt for themselves. Give us a couple of more weeks. Norman Roscoe is making them up now, and we’ll put them in our online store at DiscoverDenton.com‘s “Buy Denton Gear” as soon as they’re good to go.
I want to dig a bit more into what old Einstein was really saying, especially how I heard it relating to Denton when the words tumbled out of Eric and into the midst of our meeting.
Early in my Denton days, Euline Brock was mayor. The first time we met, we did so at her office. Naturally, our conversation centered on Denton, mostly her dreams for our city and my newcomer perspective and initial goals. At the conclusion of our chat, she gave me a book by Richard Florida called “The Rise of the Creative Class.”
“I believe this book describes Denton’s people and potential,” she said matter-of-factly. I read the book. She was right. Denton’s is a creative, intelligent population.
Dictionary.com defines the word create as, “to cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes; to produce something new by using your talents and imagination.” It defines intelligence as “the capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similar forms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths, relationships, facts, meanings, etc.”
For 125 years, Denton’s culture has been heavily influenced by our universities. Today’s student population between UNT, TWU and NCTC is roughly 56,000. Add the 5,000 plus professors and staff and the total is more than half of our most recent city census of 123,000. Entrepreneurs, researchers, musicians, artists, writers, physicians, teachers. An endless parade of creative, intelligent dreamers. They affect us. And we affect them.
One of the comments we heard repeatedly at our SXSWi Denton exhibit was that everyone in our booth seemed genuinely happy, our vibe comfortable and positive. And each time someone said it, I realized how true it was. Our team was having a blast talking up Denton through local creation. Our smiles and united message drew multiple visits from attendees and exhibitors alike.
Case in point. Our exhibit featured a different Denton maker each day, experientially showcasing our “Come Create in Denton, Texas” theme. Like Laura Drapac and Dave Koen, owners of Triple Threat Press. Laura holds a Masters in Fine Arts from UNT, is Assistant to the Director at the Print Research Institute of North Texas, an independent artist, and the primary printer at Triple Threat Press. Dave is a graphic designer, web developer, and, no less important, a respected record collector with Mad World Records on Denton’s square.
Triple Threat Press is unique because they are letterpress, which is relief-printing, the oldest form of commercial printing in the world. Their business model is built on more than printing orders. They create art for their clients. Big difference. They know it, and it makes them happy. Why? They are pursuing their artistic, creative passions, and people out there are buying it! At SXSWi, the simple pleasure in their art caught the attention of a major hospitality industry buyer for the Virgin Islands. A match was made, and Triple Threat Press’ local flavor is going international.
Consider the credentials I just cited for these two. Creative. Intelligent. Building successful, real life on their dreams. People witnessed Laura and Dave, very smart creatives, relishing their work. Laura and Dave brought Einstein’s quote clearly into focus for our SXSWi our audience.
Creativity. Intelligence. Fun. These three words encompass the reason Denton is original and independent. We are free to be. Do you realize the cultural gem in which we live where the collective pursuit of individual passion defines our sense of place? Einstein probably would have liked Denton. No doubt, the smart, creative universe that is SXSWi will too. “Come create in Denton, Texas.”