Imaginative Spaces: How To Do Your Best Work

Featuring Dan Walkup

As professionals in the design and branding industries, we’re always thinking about our creative surroundings as generative environments. Generative spaces – or imaginative habitats — allow ideas and people to flourish. Bold, radical and intentional, they empower culture, sensory experience, habits, mindsets and thinking patterns. Imaginative habitats help generate curiosity and respectfully blend people of vastly different viewpoints working for a common goal.

What’s your company’s imaginative habitat? Does your space attract the kind of talent you want? Does it inspire you and those around you?

At Oishii, we are lucky enough to work with academics, storytellers, producers, visual and spatial dreamers. Featured here is Daniel Walkup, Executive Producer at Oishii. He is someone who thrives in an imaginative habitat, seamlessly working in a culture that uses his talents in research and creative, the left and right hemispheres.

Dan Walkup_3

What was your first paying job doing what you love?

I try to approach everything I do so that it’s doing something I love. My career trajectory has many deeply interesting and often unrelated branching paths. The one thing that connects them is my desire to work independently and with a sense of purpose. My first “favorite” paying job was probably working in a neuroscience lab doing my own research on song learning and acquisition in zebra finches.

What inspires you in your work?

DW: I’m inspired by the breadth of things we do and the depth of creative, strategy and understanding we put into it all. This inspires me to figure out the best approaches to ensure our people in the trenches have the resources they need, while keeping clients informed, happy and as much a part of the process as makes them comfortable.

What are your favorite type of projects?

DW:I like all kinds of projects. That’s what makes being at Oishii so special. There’s never a day where we’re doing the same thing; we’re always looking to expand what we do and how to do it more efficiently.

For me personally, I like solving puzzles that require quiet time, research and creativity. These kinds of projects come in many forms, from creative to growing a business. I’m lucky I’m at a place where I can try my best at both.

What is your ideal working environment?

DW:One where everyone has ownership of what they do and everyone’s input is valued. I can be a bit intense and impatient, so I work better independently – it’s also where I can make strange connections in developing different solutions. I have to be secure in my steps before I can bring someone on the journey with me.

What artists inspire you?

DW:Too many to name really … and it depends on the day of the week and my mood and what I’m doing. I guess my greatest hits list might be Marcel Duchamp, Andy Warhol, David Wojnarowicz, Xavier Dolan, J. M. Coetzee, Matthew Bourne, Alexander McQueen, Sadie Benning, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Dante. I know these are all pretty classic, but I’m always looking for new inspirations.

What companies do you like to work for?

DW:I like working for companies that care about the people who work there – not just seeing them as cogs in the wheel. One that not only allows a life outside of work, but encourages it. I love possibilities of being challenged and really pushing the way I think.

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