2 Minutes With ... Adrienne Muken, Creative Director at Clarkmcdowall
A passionate proponent of strategic design, Adrienne leads the expression team at Clarkmcdowall, where she strives to produce content that is relevant, dynamic and smart, driving distinctive and memorable campaigns.
Adrienne's experience includes small beverage startups, DTC meal preps (Freshly), brand creation (Airly) and hospitality (Snooze). She's helped shape the images of major players like General Mills, Smuckers, Mars, Reckitt Benckiser, Starbucks, Pepsi and Nestlé.
We spent two minutes with Adrienne to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.
Adrienne, tell us...
Where you grew up, and where you live now.
I grew up in Randolph, N.J., and live in the East Village, NYC.
How you first realized you were creative.
As a child, I got to decorate my room. I chose green and yellow psychedelic diamond wallpaper and a grass green rug. The ceiling was painted yellow. I thought this must be what all my friend’s rooms looked like! It was seeing my best friend’s beige rug and Care Bears comforter that I realized I might see the world a bit differently than others.
A person you idolized creatively early on.
Growing up I was really into fashion and the 1960s. I would check out books from the library and re-draw the photos of the models. I didn't know it at the time, but Mary Quant was my hero.
A moment from high school or college that changed your life.
Junior year studio art class with Mr. Walters. He opened the art studio up after school hours, and all the "art kids" were invited to work on their projects and watch Sister Wendy on VHS. It was my first art community and the moment I realized I wanted to always be a part of something like what was happening in that room every Thursday after school.
A visual artist or band/musician you admire.
Portishead—the first band that I felt I could see their music.
A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.
Your favorite fictional character.
Nick Carraway, The Great Gatsby
Someone or something worth following on social media.
Andrea Love on Instagram. Crafty, clever, and enough to elicit a mid-scroll smile.
How Covid-19 changed your life, personally or professionally.
Oh, so many ways. But le'’s focus on the positives. Being able to work remotely has been a life change I never thought I would see. I always felt I'd be tied to certain cities, because that's where "the agencies" are. But now, I feel such freedom in the ability to be wherever I want. It's a mental shift I sometimes have to pinch myself to believe. I’ve also grown to appreciate how much I get from being around other people. Working and living in my apartment for two years taught me that I can be alone and creative, but what really gets the engine running is being around other people, observing the world and participating in it. It made me appreciate how much I enjoy the in person creative process, and how much energy I can get over an IRL vibe.
One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on, and why.
Partnering with the Lower Eastside Girls Club to help define and visualize their 25th anniversary. Working with a local non-profit that’s in my neighborhood was such a rewarding experience that gave me the true feeling of giving back to my community. It was a tangible way to see impact and to experience the fantastic LESGC world around me.
A recent project you're proud of, and why.
The creation of the International Fresh Produce Association via the merger of two existing brands. Creating a new corporate identity and brand vision for a new entity focused on growth, progress and change in the global food and floral community was super exciting. It's a topic I’m personally interested in, as I believe agricultural practices and eating habits are the key to a more resilient world. The clients were also great partners and advocates throughout the process. Being a part of creating large-scale positive change is part of this job that makes me feel we can truly design a better future.
Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.
Chip Kidd = literature + graphic design! + writer!
Someone else's work you admired lately.
Zipeng Zhu—I die for odd color theory and patterns
Your main strength as a creative person.
Seeing the vision for the big picture and how to arrange all the little pieces to make it.
Your biggest weakness.
Being adaptable and comfortable with the ambiguous. Which means having lots of ideas and creative projects for myself, but having difficulty prioritizing to get them done! Also, always excited about the potential of the "next thing" and not always sticking with the "current thing."
One thing that always makes you happy.
Listening to music at home, with no intentions.
One thing that always makes you sad.
Thinking about the turmoil and inequalities in our present world, and feeling too small to make a big impact.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.
Owning, running and designing a boutique hotel.