Q&A: Charles Erickson of motive.

By Columbus Alive
From the August 29, 2013 edition
  • Photo by Meghan Ralston

Charles Erickson has a decade of experience in event planning in Columbus, most notably as creator and DJ of The Clampdown, but he’s worked on a number of different projects. Erickson has seen particular success with the monthly event motive. at Brothers Drake Meadery, which he started last year with Matt Reese (We Are Glitterati) and Greg Turner (Fringe Boutique).

Motive. is a networking event for creatives, but it’s really so much more — and constantly evolving. Each month features new cross-disciplinary presenters within Columbus’ creative community in a variety of formats (interviews, workshops, demonstrations, hands-on projects). The event is already a huge hit, but Erickson has plans to do more.

Originally [motive.] was a weekly concept on a smaller scale … with a vastly more casual approach and attitude. We wanted to have a fun, relaxed social hour for creative types. In other words, it would be a happy hour event for networking minus … some of the cheesy networking elements.

One of the things we realized was missing, especially when it comes to creative folks, is the need to engage them more directly. There needs to be something more interesting, in an intellectual and creative way, to make it more compelling. After a couple months it evolved into a [new] format.

We switched to the monthly format in March. Once we made the switch we had the idea to make it more of a production. We organized it with a stage production; we brought in a host to introduce and interview all the people and a team of videographers who film each event. It’s like a talk-show format. Condensing it all into one [event a month], was much better.

When we talk about the [presenters] we have at motive., we call them “featured creatives.” We can’t call them artists because it doesn’t encompass enough to cover all the different mediums in which these people work — at least in the traditional sense people evaluate that word. And presenter isn’t necessarily accurate … [so] we decided to use our own term.

The [featured creatives] are a varied mix from all creative professions and pursuits. It’s been everything from more traditional art forms like painting, music, photography to projects like origami, inventors, filmmakers, graphic designers, motion graphic folks, sign-makers, printers, typographers, stone carvers, wood workers, up-cycle re-creators. There have been demonstrations of screen printing, glass cutting, a flash mob fashion show [by Alternative Fashion Mob].

The biggest thing I want to achieve is taking the whole concept of a speaking, presentation-oriented event — whether that’s TED Talks, Pecha Kucha, Ignite or any that type of stuff — and take the next step. It’s not just see, hear, learn and leave, but the audience being interactive. They’re doing something hands-on. You’re creating and likely taking something home that you’ve made. We strive first and foremost to find someone who can do a workshop where you can make something.

We’ve screen-printed T-shirts, made self-watering planters out of recycled glass bottles, origami shapes, hand-painted typography wood blocks. That’s what makes this an interesting and compelling event, more impactful in the long term and lets us do more.

We’re also trying to inspire creative collaboration. We’re actively compiling stories of people we’ve helped facilitate a meet, or just met here, and went on to work on something together.

Our full intention in the next several months is to host an either annual — or possibly bi-annual — large scale event. I think it’d be ideal to do … a big blowout that’s five times the number of presentations [and] workshops. Have other organizations with vendor tables and all sorts of things; break-out rooms and sessions and [make it] a big array of day-long fun and a celebration of creative pursuits.