My work has brought me another great gift, after many years “The Approval” of my 12-year-old son! I thought I had claimed this mark after completing a project with CAT INC. brand earlier in the year. With Logan’s fascination of driving Bob Cats for all of the life he has memory. However I truly received favor after the call came from Frito Lay. My curiosity of his heightened interest in this project slowly revealed as the project unfolded. As one of the marks of my work the lines have become blurred of who is enamored most? After developing a relationship with the people, of Frito Lay, whose hearts beat at the center of this household name.
During the first design session it became clear, the ask was not just to bid another job, it was also an invitation to expand my process into frontiers I had only explored in my mind. In fact Danny (Frito Lay Frontline Man) was emphatic that this work would be the mark of both our Greatest Work. And so it would be true! This is what I learned along the way…
Every collaboration project starts with a design and a vision of the final result. Taking the logical and creative desires of the client and building a concept and vision for the foundation is where each piece begins. With all my life I believe the most powerful way for me to “know” something is to live through the experience of that something so I can collect all the nuances which my logical mind may not capture in theory. After the first design session was complete my research started. Getting to know this organization learning what matters as a corporate philosophy and looking for the way I could be in relationship with their mission to enter my experience with this group of viewers who I would eventually ask to trust in my process and choose to create something with me out of nothing they had familiarity.
Learning through my personal FL advisor Danny and my fascination with google research I combed through the tale of two men, Herman Lay and Elmer Doolin, what I found was the significance of collaboration in a tangible story and the result when 2 or more people bring forth their greatest talents, share them fully with the merging into another and the result becomes mind-blowing of the compounded relation. In this case the merging of Herman’s logic and Elmer’s creativity results in a company who sells 7 out of 10 snacks purchased everyday. Knowing where the pattern of Frito Lay started I felt equipped to merge my work into their pattern and see how the compounding of my creativity and their logic would express!
Danny was clear he was asking his people to do something new which some would find fun while others may resist the choice to risk in the uncharted experience. I too began to enter this work through new portals and place myself on the same playing field. I may be labeled the “Facilitator” of the project however I choose to take new risks as my act to even the playing field and creating an equal collaborative spirit in me.
The design became clear we would paint into the regional Logo. I would invite the participants to tell their story and I would expand my process over the course of the entire 3 day Rally. Day 1 Popping uP up at Billy Bob’s as they tossed me and what the viewer thought was the finished piece of work on stage. I stood in front of the microphone with the glair of lights hung for famous country singers (kinda like tossing a lamb in the lion’s den) and spoke into the darkness which held the 350+ audience. The introduction began as I shared my Artist story, my declaration to become part of their team for 3 days and the invitation for them to collaborate with me from the same spirit of Herman & Elmer the men who had launched the pattern we found ourselves continuing. I concluded my time as the large piece was taken a part and revealed the illusion of 1 had become 4 individual parts.
Day 2 the sales force of TEXOMA entered their evening celebration to find me and my team Popped uP and turned a banquet hall into an Artist Studio. The 4 panels from the previous evening had transformed to blank objects as the clarity of their labor became defined. I declared myself the Artist however my labor with them would not require a paint brush but to create a space for them to know their artist. As I would grow to know their individual stories and see how each person added something unique to the overall collection of strokes which would tell the 1 Story of today’s Frito Lay TEXOMA region.
Day 3 and 13 hours after the conclusion of Day 2 I delivered the 4 panels back into the original 1 piece, with individual artist mark and my finalized version of weaving the story together to a fluid cohesive piece. What made this process even more powerful for me was the choice, even under this deadline and without proof I could hit my mark, as I feverishly painted from early morning hours
I STOPPED put down my brush and decided having breakfast with my six-year-old and driving her to school was more important than taking a shower and applying make-up. Preparing for the quickly approaching final Corporate presentation looked different for me than once imagined which received me 2 standing ovations I had not imagined either and more proof that sometimes getting it “wrong” what I think should matter, is appropriate or “right” is more powerful. Choosing what Mattered to me most became a powerful part of my presentation.
In the end I hit my marks, the ones intentional declared and the ones gifted to me through the experience. I learned so many things about myself and the human condition through working with this still very “Family Oriented” company. Working with this group the term “Collaborative Competition” sparked as a term I’ve added to define my work. I witnessed an organization who nurtures their sales force by inspiring them to compete amongst themselves, not to create silos or one champion, but to ignite the spirit where each person is doing their best work to inspire those around them to do their best work. Which inspired me to go beyond where I had taken myself, not in my own time, rather in a time which was the most powerful for All.
Last week I took the fully completed and finalized piece to Frito Lay TEXOMA Headquarters where it will hang amongst the collection of objects, photos, trophies and 50+ years of items which tell their story. A part of me is forever painted into that canvas just like a part of them will be in every brush stroke of my future work. And the clarity of slogan, dated back to my childhood which bridged a connection I share with my son “Betcha Can’t Eat Just One!” It is the essence of Collaboration when the energies of 2 or more entities is exchanged and the balance of each is expanded into where The Greatest Things Happen!
“The Greatest Thing Happened” can be viewed and copies purchased at http://brandicottingham.smugmug.com/Frito-Lay-Rally-2015
Brandi C. Art & Playing With Paint work in both the private and corporate culture. Experiences have been created for participants from 0-ageless and groups from 2-500
Brandi’s stationary studio is located at 827 Currie St., Fort Worth, TX 76101 where the viewer is invited to come see and participate in the act of creativity. Brandi C. Original canvas work can also be seen and purchased at Michaels Restaurant Cultural District Fort Worth.