When the world turned to color
Favat found entry into advertising via New York’s School of Visual Arts. Growing up with dyslexia, he said he was never a good student and early on turned to art. Once he arrived at SVA in 1979, “it was like I could see color. I could feel my head literally opening up, and it was a really magical time.”
Among his schoolmates were director Sam Bayer and artist Keith Haring. His instructors included design legend Paula Scher, the late illustrator Marshall Arisman and Richard Wilde, who founded the school’s graphic design department.
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Favat landed his first agency job at SSC&B Lintas in New York as an art director who helped introduce a new beverage to the market—Diet Coke. The first spot he ever made, for Friskies Buffet, earned a Gold Clio—and "then I went on a five-year dry spell and got nothing," he laughed. "I got cocky. I was young."
That experience drove home the importance of working hard, consistently. Favat then made his way to Boston, working at agencies Ingalls Quinn & Johnson and Houston Effler—later Houston Herstek Favat, when he became partner. There, he led Converse’s famous campaign starring “Grandmama,” aka NBA star Larry Johnson in drag.