2 Minutes With … Mel Lin, Creative Director at Preacher

On seeing more badass Asian-American creatives and filmmakers succeed

Mel is a creative director at Preacher, working on brands like Meow Wolf, ESPN, Coca-Cola, Jamba and ACL Fest. Previously, she held posts at Lowe, Strawberry Frog and Ogilvy, as well as in-house at Converse and Nike on their brand design teams.

We spent two minutes with Mel to learn more about her background, her creative inspirations and recent work she's admired.

Mel, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in H-towwwwwwwn, aka Houston. I currently live in Austin. I've also called NYC, Hong Kong and Shanghai home.

How you first realized you were creative.

There was never a moment of realization. But looking back, there were signs that I was a creative sort. When we were kids and played dress up, I was the stylist digging through mom's closet and my sister was my muse. I'd photograph our fashion shoots and choreograph dance routines. I still think about this book on lettering and calligraphy that I adored, which I bought in the 5th grade through the Scholastic book order form. When we had science fairs, my favorite parts were the images and graphs and drawing titles on posters.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

David Carson. I was really into collaging in middle school. When I discovered David Carson's work, I thought it was so cool—all the cut-outs and paint and scribbles. He played with typography in a way that was completely new to me. I didn't even know what typography was, but I was very into what he was doing.

A moment from high school or college that changed your life.

My mom sent an application to a magnet school on my behalf—without my knowledge. I was a shy (and angst-y) kid, and I was very dismayed at having to start over and make new friends. But eventually, I realized she did the right thing—giving me access to better opportunities and steering me away from things that could have led me astray.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

I've only become familiar with Kate Hollowell's work recently, when fellow Preacher folks shot some Tecovas spots with her. She's a director, photographer and musician. Her stuff is joyful, funny, satirical and just weird.

A book, movie, TV show or podcast you recently found inspiring.

I love that the lens on Asian-American representation in film is getting wider and that we are seeing more badass creatives and filmmakers. Beef was just so honest, painful and dynamic, with such well-rounded, flawed characters whose trials and tribulations, I feel, are pretty universal.

Your favorite fictional character.

Pippi Longstocking. Unconventional and strong, skeptical of adults and adulthood (rightly so).

Someone or something worth following in social media.

Alice Isaac's IG, for all your animated, collage-y, eye candy needs.

One of your favorite creative projects you've ever worked on.

The AHA campaign was definitely a highlight, but more specifically a spot we shot with Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine from Pen15, (a totally irreverent and heartwarming show that really spoke to me) just as they were wrapping up the final season. 

A recent project you're proud of.

Country Crock. We put a spooky, magical spin on the traditional hero mom—and took inspiration from a few of my favorite movies growing up, The Goonies and Stand By Me.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago.

VW’s "Bubble Boy" from Arnold, directed by Mike Mills. Such a simple idea that was executed beautifully.

Someone else's work you admired lately. 

Consistently jealous of all the NYT work that out of Droga 5. You can tell a lot of heart and soul went into crafting all the pieces. I love how they continue to evolve the campaign with truth and humanity.

Your main strength as a creative person.

Trusting the expertise and opinions of work partners and team members. Even if I don't fully get something or maybe am not 100 percent on board yet, I try to keep myself in check and remember why we hire and work with the folks we do.

Your biggest weakness.

I too easily fall back on doing the things myself, if I think it's faster or easier. Which I don't think is always the best way to develop and grow.

What you'd be doing if you weren't in advertising.

Making comics or writing and illustrating children's books.

2 Minutes With is our regular interview series where we chat with creatives about their backgrounds, creative inspirations, work they admire and more. For more about 2 Minutes With, or to be considered for the series, please get in touch.

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