Maryalice Eckart is talented. Period. Her unique ability to create moments and capture connections lies in her ability to make connections. The genuine energy and charisma she carries with her onto sets helps foster the creative connections between the crew, the talent, and the environment that help bring these images to life and connect the audience to the work. She is a unique blend of humility and adventure. We’re so happy here at Plaid Pony to share the passion this woman has for her life and career. We know you’ll be inspired.
Tell us about your job as a Creative Director and the path that brought you there?
My career is focused on creating images that make a personal, emotional connection with people. I really am passionate about photography, the moving image, and design. I went to school at the University of Cincinnati and studied graphic design there. For the first part of my career, I worked at design firms and gradually realized that my interest lay in creating images. I still have a love for typography and design and am happiest when it all comes together in a beautiful piece. The world around me is my inspiration – culture, design, and people moving about their every day lives.
What was a pivotal moment for your career?
Pivotal Moment Part 1: I remember brainstorming with a group of guys I worked with at a small design firm. We were trying to decide what kind of clients to go after and they were interested in high tech, cars, and athletic brands. I was like, “Guys, what about fashion? Look at French Vogue! The typography! The photography! The CLOTHES!” That was it for me. I knew I needed to move in a new direction.
Pivotal Moment Part 2: When I started consulting I sent promos and my portfolio to the creative directors of brands I was interested in. My book happened to land on a key CD's desk and she decided she liked me and my work. She took a chance on me and from there, I’ve met the people who have helped make my career possible.
What has been your favorite set to work on? Why?
My favorite sets are the ones where I’m surrounded by talented people I trust, who believe in my vision and contribute to make it better than I imagined. This not only includes crew and models, but clients. I’ve done my best work when I have a client who believes in me and understands how my work can positively impact their brand and their bottom line.
What is one of your proudest moments in your career?
When I worked with Clarks Shoes we did outdoor advertising for a few seasons. I will never forget driving around New York City and seeing our pictures on the sides of buildings. I felt proud and humbled. I’m so fortunate to work with the incredible, talented people on my crews and have clients who trust in my vision.
What are some other things you enjoy when you aren’t working?
I adore traveling to new places, being outdoors and doing any kind of sport – cycling, skiing /snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing, swimming. I truly recharge when I’m out in nature with my family and friends. I also love walking for hours in the city – seeing shops, restaurants, people. I find that when I’ve been working too much my brain gets tired and I can’t seem to come up with an idea I’m happy with. I’m so inspired by life, that there are times I have to remember to get out there and live it!
What is your favorite part about being on set?
Like most people I know, I get a lot of satisfaction out of a collaborative crew. There’s something so special about putting a concept together and then seeing it come to life. I love it when everyone on set is focused on the idea and each person brings their own strength – so we create something that’s better than any of us could have thought of on our own. It’s M A G I C!
What is one thing your fans may not know about you?
What advice can you provide for future Creative Directors?
Surround yourself with talented people. It’s the oldest advice in the book for a reason! It’s so important to let go of being in control and always being the one with the “right” answer. Listen to the people around you and cultivate creative relationships. Your job is to keep everyone focused on what you’re all trying to accomplish. Someone once told me, when you insist on being “right" all the time, you make everyone else in the room “wrong". It doesn’t create a collaborative environment. I find that many people who aspire to be art directors or creative directors have the impression that you get to be the boss and be in control. From what I’ve seen, the best Creative Directors are the ones who facilitate collaboration of the talented people on their team.
Check out Maryalice in action: