At only 28 years old, Tamon George has lived quite the unconventional life. After a professional career in the Canadian Football League ended due to an injury, the young man was quick to turn around and complete an MBA at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington. The savvy marketer then interned at the Canadian embassy in D.C., but it’s really his ingenious creative vision for anything bold yet understated that pushed the also seasoned traveler to share his ideas with clients. In addition to being a contributor for GQ magazine, Tamon just recently (and finally) co-founded The Creative Theory, an agency bringing content solutions to brands and helping them share stories.
You used to be a CFL player for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, a career which ended with an injury. It’s a bit as if you’ve lead two lives in one! How did the transition happen between you as an athlete, and you as an artist? Did you always have that creative fiber?
‘‘I would say there kind of the same. Being a professional athlete, you think of what you do as a craft, and you always try to find new and creative ways to improve yourself on the field. I, personally, was always stimulated by things visually, whether it’d be currents or contents. Even when I was playing football, I was dabbling in photography. What remained constant was me trying to look at things from a different prospective. I certainly had an extension of myself that appreciated creative, new understandings. After football, I returned to school to do my MBA and again found a way to improve myself, so the transition was actually pretty seamless.’’
Coming from Regina, you consider yourself a curator of Canadian menswear, style, fashion and life. Now that you’ve lived the last few years in the United States, how has that influence your style?
‘‘Ok, I know people think I’m crazy when I say this, but I hate summer. Fashion in the summer is boring; it’s too hot. And you know, in Saskatchewan, you dress to stay alive because it gets so cold. I’m definitely a fan of layering and now that I live in Washington D.C., I can dress with the weather. Being out here now, close to New York City and other culture hubs, I just get exposed to more: more people, different stores, new experiences. I’m still the same person but I have more ways of expressing myself.’’
Clothes are obviously a means of expression for you. Coming from a more sports-oriented life, you’ve mentioned that you used to dress in more active-wear. How would you describe that transition, and what inspired you to have a more formal, polished, vintage style?
‘‘Well I never wear sneakers anymore! I dress more for my environment now: where I’m going, what I’m doing, who I’m seeing. I appreciate having my ideal self forward for that environment. I also tend to put on things that are a bit more unique, more understated, hard to find. And you know, vintage pieces, they’re conversation starters. I don’t mind having things that are old; they have a history and a character. You never know the past life these items had; I like the mystery. I have a camera case I bought on eBay last year. It had the name of a soldier inside, Lieutenant Frank Richards. I emailed the seller about it and it turned out it was that person’s father who took it with him during the Vietnam War. We’re talking about a leather bag with a zipper here, but it lived a life of its own.’’
You have a very formal business training, do you find it brought some structure to your creative spirit, or is it the other way around; has your creative thinking been able to influence business ventures in a more original way?
‘‘I would say, as of late, it has helped me think strategically and more long-term. Having an MBA groomed me for a more structured environment. When I finished grad school, there are things that I could do, visual curation or social media strategy for example, but the business training helped me with getting a vision and in strategizing to create those images and videos.’’
Your style really transcends into other creative outlets, for example, photography: it’s clean but composed, reserve but bold. Is this how you go about most creative endeavors?
‘‘I would say so. One of my favorite quotes I use is ‘whisper loudly’. It’s kind of my motto for really anything. Never be loud but rather understated. If I have an idea for a product or a brand, I don’t just to want to go top of hill and shout it; I’d rather be humble about it and create a story.’’
You started The Creative Theory with your partner Gary Williams. How did this come to be?
‘‘Yes! We’ve been up and running for a couple of months now! As individuals, we would work on certain campaigns and brand strategies. We actually ended up working together quite frequently! People would approach us and we had all these ideas. We thought: ‘If nobody else is thinking about these kinds of things, maybe we should do something about it.’ That’s when we realized that if we formed something that was a bit more concreate, not only could we increase the number of services to provide, but we could also put our stamp on our brand strategies and get into the conversation earlier. It was a real ‘aha moment’ for us.’’
The Hennessy campaign is centered on #ArtofTheChase. What does that mean to you? How do you stay relevant?
‘‘To me, it’s really about being able to set goals, always moving forward, finding a new way to compete and to change the way something has been done in the past. In terms of relevancy, it’s about always looking forward, never being satisfied. It’s looking for ways to challenge the status quo, to never become stagnant.’’