Arts preview: Creative Control Fest encourages taking control of your creative destiny

  • Photo by Meghan Ralston
By Columbus Alive
From the September 5, 2013 edition

Now professional graphic designers and business owners — and co-founders of this weekend’s Creative Control Fest — Marshall Shorts and Corey Favor first met in the early 2000s on CCAD’s campus.

What initially drew them to each other was, well, skin deep.

“There weren’t that many African-Americans [taking classesl] there so it was easy to spot each other,” Shorts said.

Soon, though, their friendship deepened as did their creative partnership. Their first foray into running events together started in 2009 with The B.R.U.S.H. Experience (Black Renaissance Urban Sophisticated Hip). The monthly event encouraged socialization between the Columbus creatives by having attendees live paint murals.

B.R.U.S.H.— plus Shorts and Favor’s myriad trips to art conferences like Cleveland’s Weapons of Mass Creation — became a training ground for their watershed event: Creative Control Fest.

This weekend is the second annual Creative Control, a two-day artstravaganza that is one part national and local artist speaker series (think TED X- or Pecha Kucha -style presentations), one part art fair, and one part concert series. On the bill are singers, dance parties, poets, breakdancers and hip-hop karaoke.

Fun, yes, but “we want to inspire, motivate and cultivate artists,” Favor said. Creative Control is for anyone who loves art, but especially for people looking to start or are knee deep in an artistic career.

One of the festival’s workshops includes lessons in how to run a creative business — how to do your own accounting, how to market yourself, etc. The goal is to foster a sense of ownership of one’s creativity, to not be afraid to use it. In the future, Shorts and Favor hope, it won’t be so difficult to find minority faces on those art campuses or in creative professions.

“We want to encourage our community to get more involved in the arts. A lot of times where we come from the arts aren’t necessarily encouraged as a career path so we want to highlight people who are doing these things and making a career in the arts so more minorities can start venturing off into some of these fields,” Shorts said. “Art touches everything — from our furniture to the cars we drive. It is ingrained in our lives. If people realized that more they’d get into these fields and the numbers wouldn’t be so disproportionate.”

The two friends, of course, lead by example. Favor is a graphic designer for Ohio State’s athletic department and Shorts is the creative director of Soulo Theory Creative.

They live by their Creative Control motto: #shutupandcreate.