This goes back in a span of three, four years.
My posting at this agency wasn't through Shades, per se.
I've always keep myself updated of the people in the ad scene - who is doing what in which shop. That is where I heard of Almost Blind. After some efforts of googling him, I found his works. Award-winnings. Both local and international. I also found out he has a bad reputation too.
I have mixed feelings at first.
The CDs I've worked with before does not teach me anything. What I have learned is through my own initiatives, self-studies and research. I was desperately looking for a mentor. In the end I contacted him. With just half-polished and unpublished works, I was called. But my details were passed to Shades - it was him that chat with me, and offered a freelancing post with them. But I was more incline of a secured position.
As much as I wanted a spot there, I reluctantly turned down the offer.
Two years passed. I took a short course, and reunited with Almost Blind as a tutor-student gig. Under his guidance, I earned myself a top honour and a gold pencil.
By then, I was in my third year at the ex-agency, and a total experience of nearly six. Heard some bad news towards the end. I rang Almost Blind. And once again, Shades spoke to me.
The desperation was even greater than before. I would even take up a freelancing or contract now. Even without an offer letter, I would tender. Instead, he offered me a permanent post! What else could I ask for!?
I've never contacted Shades for that two rounds. I've even turned him down once. At times that my ex-agency are going down the drain, it was Shades who gave me the big break. You see the irony here? Sometimes I felt guilty thinking about it.
After a year, I look at Almost Blind differently. What once I thought a great creative was nothing more than an executioner. Without idea present in his works. What happened to the creative juice? What about the course I had with him? He was once a great creative.
Hierarchically, Shades is second-in-command. The works he produced wasn't award-winning, but much better in creativity. They're real works that sell and wins the clients and consumers. Not just merely unpublished works for the purpose of award shows. I'm glad to work under this team.
Shades always encourages us to look beyond what the most boring briefs had asked for. Though most the time they never got published, but it's a keeper. Over this short year, I have built portfolio that I never have being mentored under him.
He never once yell at us. Never once give nasty remarks even on the worst of tasks that we made. Instead, motivates us to keep pushing and thinking. I'm proud to say, is an envy for the other team.
All these good tales will end soon. Shades will be leaving to pursue his own interests. Everyone have a dream. Claimed he's getting old (he's just 40s), and it's about time. Like his forever famous quote, "It's one of those things.".
Last Friday, we have dinner and couple of pints. The least I could do for all that he has taught me is to buy dinner. But we were fighting for the bill, drunk. He paid. Said Monday is his last day. Duh!
We will no longer be under his shade.