That’s the tentative title at least. Mallory Blair says it changes practically everyday. She’s one of those Gallatinos who studies a little bit of everything–sociology, urban studies, art history, cultural theory, economics, etc. She’s probably even studying you—if you’re creative, that is. Mallory aims to understand the intermediary between creativity and commodity, where all of that happens, and what makes people tick. She’s met some pretty sweet celebrities, and you might just figure out if you’re in with this so-called creative class if you read her interview below. Also, Chatroulette may not be so bad.
Annie Werner: What got you interested in this?
Mallory Blair: I came to Gallatin interested in human behavior and marketing, but the classes I took, because of the nature of Gallatin, were very centered around the arts. So the arts really became a lens through which I looked at marketing and psychology.
AW: So what do you do with that?
MB: I’d like to teach eventually, but right now I work for Paper Magazine and do market research at a brand consultancy firm called WHY-Q? We look into how to make a brand thrive by connecting them with their consumers.
AW: Can you give an example?
MB: This past year WHY-Q? partnered up Adidas with “New York Minute”—an art exhibit in Rome that featured 60 New York artists, curated by the Dietch galleries. By sponsoring these artists, Adidas enhanced their brands alignment with the creative community, bolstering their brand ethos and therefore, down the road, their profits.
AW: And what do you do for Paper Magazine?
MB: I’m their on-air arts and culture correspondant—so that means I go out and interview celebs and New York socialites at their parties and events. That gets recorded and put on their website. So it’s a marketing scheme for Paper but also good PR for the celebrity.
AW: Who do you mean by ‘celebrity?’ Olivia Palermo five years ago?
MB: Well it’s a very loose term! But in the last year I’ve done Katy Perry, Joanna Newsom, Betsey Johnson, and Patricia Fields. It’s a really good exchange between the public and the creative community/private sector.
AW: So who is this creative community you speak of?
MB: Anyone who creates something. Artists, engineers, architects, filmmakers, musicians… Steve Jobs.
AW: So a CEO-type can be in the creative class?
MB: Absolutely. As long as they’re creating, be it traditional art forms or technology or what-have-you. I was recently talking to a Physics major friend of mine, and he was telling me how beautifully artistic it can be, so there’s really no statute of limitations when it comes to creating.
AW: What do you predict is next for this so-called creative class?
MB: I think it’s upbeat positivity and nostalgia. And I don’t mean nostalgia for another generation’s past like we’ve been visually exploring for a while now but for our own– the past we maybe didn’t fully embrace because we were busy getting burnt out on cynicism. Or perhaps that we did fully embrace and want to go back to playing instead of playing it cool.
AW: And what will they play?
MB: I’m talking Ska music, Gameboys, and Capture the Flag. I think where we’re seeing this now is the wild “mainstream” potential for online applications that emphasize hyperfriendly playfulness–things like Foursquare, Farmville and Chatroulette.
AW: So you think Chatroulette can be a positive sign?
MB: Man, the power of play and spontaneity is no more present than in the exponential popularity of Chatroulette. The economy is pulling itself back together, it’s been a decade since 9/11, so where else is there left to go from here but up?