2 Minutes With … Shea Tullos, Group Creative Director at Cactus

On defining what success looks like before diving into the work

As a group creative director at Cactus, Shea leads efforts for lotteries in Colorado and North Carolina. Earlier, he worked as a copywriter at Peter Mayer, Trumpet, The Integer Group and GSD&M.

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

Shea, tell us …

Where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Texas and have since expatriated to Colorado.

A person you idolized creatively early on.

Gary Larson. As a kid, I was obsessed with The Far Side. There's something about the simplicity of a single-panel cartoon. It's the perfect comedic mousetrap.

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

Finishing portfolio school during the 2008 recession was a real eye-opener. It took me over a year to break into the business and I've tried to make the most of every opportunity.

A visual artist or band/musician you admire.

I have a deep and unironic appreciation of Randy Newman. His work encompasses a unique combination of satire, playfulness and elegance. 

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

How I Built This With Guy Raz is my go-to podcast these days. I love hearing how the wheels of some of these big companies started out. It's given me a new appreciation for life on the client side.

Your favorite fictional character.

I choose to believe in Santa.

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

I've done dozens of lottery campaigns over the years, but "Winning Country" for the Colorado Lottery might be my favorite. It was one of those rare projects where everyone bought into the vision and elevated the work. A spring snowstorm the night before the shoot made it all the more magical.

A recent project you're proud of. 

In December, Cactus helped the North Carolina Education Lottery launch their first $50 scratch-off game. A soap opera spoof is something we've bounced around for years and the drama built into the prize structure of this ticket created the perfect opportunity.  

Someone else's work that inspired you years ago. 

The VW work that Arnold did in the '90s is burned into my brain. "Big Day" stands out, because it's a 60-second product shot that tells an emotionally compelling story without dialogue.

Someone else's work you admired lately.

Liquid Death. Any brand that can get people to willingly sell their soul is doing something right.

Your main strength as a creative person.

I try to define what success looks like for everyone involved before diving into the work.

Your biggest weakness.

Self-promotion. How am I doing so far?

How you're paying it forward with the next generation of creatives.

I do my best to make time for anyone who needs advice. I reached out to dozens of people when I was breaking into the business and those who were kind to me made all the difference.

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

Working for the Forest Service seems peaceful. Do they have to do timesheets?

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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