The Side Show: Q&A With Creative Director Álvaro Palma

By Minda Smiley 

Here at AgencySpy, we know we’re your go-to, up-to-the-minute source for all things bizarro ad news. We dropped everything to get an exclusive interview with Rudolph Troncone, otherwise known as “RGA’s Face Tattoo Guy.” We were on it when art director Kelly Bernard transformed herself into famed designer Jessica Walsh to try and get a gig at her agency.

We’re also quite partial to covering the side hustles and projects that creatives keep on creating. This year in particular we’ve seen some pretty good ones, like this children’s book that teaches kids about hygiene. Or these adorable paintings of household brands that benefit Feeding America.

To keep the fun going, we’ve partnered with The Side Show, a new awards program that’s only doling out prizes to creative projects done outside of work. Your podcasts, paintings, TikToks, “Why I’m Leaving New York” essays—they’re all fair game and can be submitted to The Side Show here for $10 a pop. “Best in Show” winner will receive $500. Deadline is Oct. 9.


In the meantime, we’re spotlighting some of this year’s entrants and their projects. Today we’re featuring an interview with Álvaro Palma, a former David creative director whose “Supersize Them” illustration series imagines a world where fast-food’s best-known mascots actually eat the fries, burgers and other grease-laden items they shill. They’re unsettling, to say the least.

The rest can be viewed at the bottom of this article. Palma is also the creator of “Postcards From Quarantine,” a series of tongue-in-cheek postcards sent from exotic locales like patios, sofas and pantries. You can check them out on Instagram.

What do you love most about your side hustle?

It came in a phase of many defeats and interrupted projects at the agency, so finding the inspiration and the energy inside of me to make a personal project free of a client opinion was the most gratifying part.

How has your side hustle made you a better creative or professional?

It gave me other roles. It showed me a little bit about production, about PR, and basically took me out of my comfort zone as a creative in the industry.

How do you draw the line between a healthy side hustle and always-on hustle culture? How do you prevent burnout?

When I feel that I’m not happy with my daily work, I put part of my focus and energy on personal projects in order to avoid frustration.

If you could turn your side hustle into a career, would you? Why or why not?

Yep. Because it comes from something pure that puts you as the ruler, not the ruled.

What is your dream agency or brand-side advertising job?

The one that doesn’t see itself as an ad agency but as a creative company.

See Palma’s “Supersize Them” images below. 

To find out more about The Side Show and submit an entry, visit its website here