The Kids – Todd Lamb: Free Spirit

In between snowboarding and the Grateful Dead, Todd Lamb, 24, discovered advertising. And advertising discovered him. Selected last year for a coveted summer internship at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., Lamb served as an art director on TV spots for and helped create a Nike print ad for the Andrƒ Agassi Foundation–all under the guidance of creative directors Chuck McBride and Hal Curtis. All this after studying advertising for a year.
A Navy brat who grew up in the middle-class suburbs of Chicago, Lamb is low-key and intense. An A student who dabbled in drawing and photography, Lamb became
enamored of beat poet Richard Brautigan in high school. But his attention was diverted from academics in his junior year, when he decided he’d rather tour with the Dead than go to college. His self-described “time of confusion” ended with an unhappy stint at a small Ohio college that turned out to be all “J. Crew and fraternities.”
Lamb ditched Ohio for the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he could snowboard, read and draw as much as he wanted. Graduating with a degree in mass communications, “a major in nothing,” as he disdainfully puts it, he gravitated to advertising and the Adcenter in Richmond, Va. Despite the silver rings and baggy clothes, he seems wedded to the traditions of print and TV advertising, with scant interest in design work or the technical hassles of computer graphics. Director Spike Jonze is his inspiration. “I like every ad Jonze ever laid his hands on,” says Lamb, including Buddy Lee and Levi’s.
Now, just a few months from graduation, he sometimes pushes himself to work on his projects until 5 a.m. and still make it to class at 10. “I never thought I would work this hard in my life,” he says. A flash of a smile slips out.
Asked about the many creative opportunities open to him and his peers, Lamb stares into his beer glass with a puzzled expression. “Advertising. If I wasn’t doing this, I don’t what I’d be doing.”
He’d love to get a job at Wieden “because of the chaos that’s working for them. I made some good friends–it felt exactly right,” he says. If not there, then somewhere on the West Coast that’s “very casual, where people aren’t wearing black mock turtlenecks. No glam rock. It needs to be a place that revolves around great creative work. That’s why I joined the ad cult.” K