2 Minutes With … Paul LaFleur, Design Director at Hook

On 'Not There,' SandboxU and advertising as a creative sport

Paul serves as design director at Hook, a creative production agency with a roster that includes Google, Amazon, Stripe and YouTube. Over the course of his career, Paul has worked across creative and media agencies, led design teams and crafted work that spans various mediums and categories.

We spent two minutes with Paul to learn more about his background, his creative inspirations and recent work he's admired.

Paul, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I was born and raised on (not in) Long Island, N.Y. Currently rubbing elbows with the Wall Street bros of the Financial District in (not on) Manhattan.

How you first realized you were creative.

In high school, I filled my available time with creative electives: sculpture, photography, fine arts, computer arts. I've always been drawn to these activities, but really tapped into them during high school as a means of expression and exploration.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Wes Anderson. Delightful storytelling within beautifully stylized worlds.

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

I never knew that making pictures on a computer was something that could be spun into a career. Sitting in my computer arts class, a friend asked me what design colleges I planned on applying to. This left me scratching my head, since I was planning on going into psychology and higher education. One afternoon of learning about the world of advertising changed the course of my life completely.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

Jordan Peele. High-concept narratives aligning with purposeful aesthetics.

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

The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin.

Your favorite fictional character.

Dorothy Zbornak from The Golden Girls or Niles the butler from The Nanny. I've been likened to both on multiple occasions, which I hold as high compliments.

Someone or something worth following in social media.

Your moms. It will make them feel even more loved.

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

The "Not There" campaign in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.

A recent project you're proud of. 

While not a piece of client work—nor a "project" in the traditional sense—my time spent participating in Hook’s Sandbox program has been very fulfilling. Partnering with mentees (shoutout to Olbrine Thelusma) during SandboxU and teaching students at Hamilton High have been high points over the last year.

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago. 

"The Last da Vinci" from Droga5 blew me away.

Someone else's work you admired lately. 

Cesar St. Martin, an illustrator that I first noticed during my morning commute. The artwork in a campaign for Policygenius caught my eye in the NYC subway. 

Your main strength as a creative person.

Playing the role of "coach." I think of advertising as a creative sport—it makes all the difference when you build the right team and put the right players in the right positions.

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

By day: paint swatch namer. By evening: food critic. By night: mattress tester. Three streams of revenue that all sound enjoyable.

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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