Jason Campbell has come a long way from Jamaica,

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Jason Campbell has come a long way from Jamaica, where he was born and lived until he was 17. The SVA grad, who finished the four-year program in May with a BFA in advertising, just signed on to an art director job at JWT in New York, beginning today.

He applied to the School of Visual Arts in New York after attending the two-year College of Westchester in White Plains, N.Y., where he received a degree in multimedia development and management. An animation professor there who had gone to Pratt University always talked about wishing he had gone to SVA, so Campbell decided to apply. An advertising class at SVA piqued his interest.

“It pushed me to solve problems very quickly,” he says. “It was the first thing that really challenged me wholeheartedly.”

After that, things fell into place for Campbell, who also likes to paint, write poetry and play basketball.

He scored an internship at Wieden + Kennedy in New York last year. And then this year, he was named one of the 4As 40 most promising minority students in America and won the Patrick Kelly Scholarship from the One Club based on his portfolio, an essay and teacher recommendations.

“He knows how to ride the fence and push it to the limit—but hasn’t gone across it where it [looks like] student work,” says JWT ecd Peter Nicholson on Campbell’s portfolio. One campaign that struck him was a spec Playboy campaign showing a magazine curved in shapes suggesting breasts and other parts of the anatomy. “It was a risky thing to put in a book, but it was the best Playboy campaign I’ve ever seen,” Nicholson says.

Another campaign that often scores comments from portfolio reviewers, he says, is a spec ad for the Museum of Sex, which shows a photograph of the museum blurred, as if it were censored pornography.

“You just to have passion about it,” Campbell says about advertising. “If you’re not passionate, you’re not going to enjoy it, not going to love doing what you’re doing for a living.”

He says his passion was sparked when “I realized how much power [advertising] had influencing society,” he says.

Campbell’s steadfast advertising philosophy: “Most advertising is not that great—it doesn’t solve clients problems. So when its done well it … satisfies you as a creative person to know you solved a tough problem.”

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