There was a nice write-up in the Kansas City Business Journal about the first annual AAF-KC Gas Can Creative Conference held June 20. That even was such a mind-boom! I plan on going next year, whether I speak or not! Such good takeaways and good juju!
My favorites included
That big scribble there on the screen behind me is just that. I made several points with it. First, that making a giant scribble on your page means that you've stepped away from your electronic devices. Second, it defeats the tyranny of the blank page, which is a real thing. Third, it gets you moving and thinking and creating, and once in motion, you're much more likely to stay that way. Fourth, take a look at what you just scribbled. What do you see? In my scribble (which I drew with my left hand, along with my entire presentation), I see a skier in mid-jump, a Chinese character, an anarchy A, and a dancer. Perhaps one of the things you see in your scribble will connect with the thing you're working on. Fifth (five already?!), it releases you from the pressure of being perfect. The world does not need you to be perfect! It needs you to be authentic. If authentic involves scribbling, then do it! Sixth, and finally, it just might help you make your point a little clearer.
Thanks for reading,
p.s. Thanks for the photo and the nice words Leslie—you're a peach! And I hope you can keep writing to your hearts content!
I know people will disagree with me when I say that creativity isn't something you're born with. It isn't an all-or-nothing, either-you-have-it-or-you-don't thing. Most people who don't work in a creative field feel that creativity is about drawing pictures or, like what I do, work on the computer to make things look pretty.* "Oh, I can't draw even a stick figure," say some people (ahem, Mom—you can too!).
It's a muscle that needs flexing, stretching, and practice. My pal Stefan Mumaw knows all about that, and is a pro at helping others learn to produce brilliant ideas by getting stupid. From yesterday's Kansas City Business Journal article about getting stupid:
Everyone is creative, even certified public accountants.
Stefan Mumaw would argue that CPAs are just as creative as anybody else.
"We don't usually look at creativity as something we can improve at; we look at it as something we either have or don't have,
which isn't the case," said Mumaw, creative director at Lawrence-based marketing agency Callahan Creek.
Read the rest of the article here.
Thanks for reading, and hopefully, I'll see you this Friday!
*Don't get me started. This is a topic for another post altogether.
I am SO very excited to be a spark in this event! Twelve inspiring speakers covering a range of creative topics. Four hands-on workshops training everything from brainstorming to idea selling. One desperately needed day remembering why we fell in love with this industry in the first place. Regardless of your department or expertise, there was a time when all that mattered was the work, a time when ideas came freely and problems were easily solved. You were going to change the world, remember? You were a gas can full of accelerant, daring the embers of passing fires to burn close. It only takes one strike for the boom to come. You bring the match, we’ll bring the boom.
Come for the morning session, the afternoon session, or stay all day—this is an event like no other AAF-KC has ever hosted! It’s not just for agency creative; if your job requires you to solve problems creatively and drive innovation, this will be a day you won’t want to miss.
Yes! Sign up today!
I'll see you there!
It's that time of year, when I realize I need to reprint my business cards, polish my 10-second elevator pitch (thanks Dyana), and all the other sundries required to prep for the conference that recharges my creative batteries for the entire year.
For those of you who haven't been, the HOW Design Conference is not just a design conference, its a chance to learn from (and then hang with) YOUR PEOPLE. These are the folks who GET you, who speak your language (both CMYK and RGB), who appreciate that you can be both left and right brained, get why Papyrus should rarely (if ever) be used. Ok, enough of my selling HOW. Just know you need to go. Moving on. For those people who are just taking their first leap into being a HOWie, my pal Stefan Mumaw and I created a little podcast last year to help out with what to expect and how to prepare.
Here's a link to download the podcast.
Personally, I take very few things with me. I only take my phone and its charger, a mechanical pencil, my room key, my ID, a credit card and a few bucks. And snacks. (The breakfasts HOW provides are light on protein and carb-heavy.) Comfy shoes and dressing in layers are a MUST. Oh yeah, and BUSINESS CARDS! A ton of them!!! Both inexpensive ones to put into the big jars for schwag drawings, and nice ones with which I hopelessly aim to impress others creatives.
And my very best juju and an open mindset for learning, that too.
If you see me at HOW, give me the secret word (from the podcast), and I'll have a little something for you!
Thanks for reading,
Further confirmation that good juju shared becomes more than the sum of its parts. From one of my favorite blogs, Brainpicker:
"A Tibetan mystic saying goes: We are here to realize the illusion of our separateness. The spiritual sentiment has a biological cognate. Our xenotropic drive — to merge with what is not us, temporarily in sex, or permanently in symbiosis or cross-species hybrids — is more than a metaphor. But it also offers spiritual solace. When we hook up with another, in sex or love (or, more rarely, both) we prove that our isolation is not permanent. In the fullness of time, we may all be linked. In the meantime, eros brings us together, making us more than we are alone. Cupid’s arrow, quivering into the heart of loneliness, kills us even as it sets us free."
Thanks for reading,
You've heard the question over and over, "What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?"
When you ask this of yourself (which I hope you do regularly), also answer, "What happens if you do nothing?"
Here's a great article dealing with the fear of failure. Remember, immobilized by fear is a heartbeat away from death.
Thanks for reading,
The word kintsukuroi came up again recently, thanks in part to a post by Sam Harrison (which now I can't find, sorry). Kintsukuroi is the Japanese art of repaired pottery, but it's something more than that. An important something.
These days, would you even consider a broken ceramic bowl worth repairing, let alone consider it more beautiful for having been broken? Probably not. No, of course not.
But slow down a minute. Consider the bowl, made by hand with maleable clay and fired to a couple thousand degrees, forever altering its molecular structure. The bowl's creator strived to create perfection.
A handmade object, like a bowl or cup, is revered for the care it took to make it, its beauty, and its purpose. But broken, the object is demoted and loses its honor, so to speak. Repaired, however, can raise the object to a whole new level of appreciation. Not a common idea in western culture.
Some people, more scholarly and patient than I, attribute the origin of the repaired-ceramics artform to story from the mid-1500s. The story goes like this. A great military leader (with a supposedly hot temper) was given a beautiful bowl for an important tea ceremony. Someone dropped the bowl, which broke into five pieces (a more complete essay can be found in Flickwerk, The Aesthetics of Mended Japanese Ceramics, available here). One of the guests spoke up with an improvised poem cleverly linking the name of the giver of the bowl, the style of the bowl, and the five broken pieces, making them all laugh and avoiding the wrath of the hot-headed leader. This specific bowl has since become quite famous, and is considered now an "Important Cultural Property."
This essay goes on to say that instead of the break "…diminishing [the bowl's] appeal, a new sense of its vitality and resilience raised appreciation to even greater heights." The bowl has become more beautiful for having been broken. The true life of the bowl "…began the moment it was dropped…"
"So it is not simply any mended object that increases in its appreciation but…the gap between the vanity of pristine appearance and the fractured manifestation of mortal fate which deepens its appeal."
In other words, the proof of of its fragility and its resilience is what makes it beautiful.
Thanks for reading,
p.s. Your good juju today: Don't strive for perfection, just be you—cracks, lines, chips and all. You being you is what makes you beautiful.
Seriously, that last post is awesome and worth reading. And not at all what you think.
Oh yeah, and the one before that about the 5K. I did it. I got really, REALLY damned muddy. And I survived.
In the news today—well, my news anyway—today's my last day at a job I've held for almost 10 years. It's been both good and bad for me to have stayed at one place so long. Good, in that I've had a stable job, good pay, and great benefits for almost a decade. Bad, in that I've been working on the same projects, for the same in-house clients for almost a decade. But there are far worse fates! I'm just ready for a change. (That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!)
So, I'm abandoning my comfort zone, my cushy 7th-floor window office, and these lovely golden handcuffs to start a new job on Monday. I'll be doing the same kind of thing for all new in-house clients, on a team that seems as sideways as I am. Yes, I'm excited, and a bit nervous. Change is never comfortable. Neither is the learning curve. But it'll be good for me. Really good.
What's new with you?
Please read this well-written, article. It's full of great stuff. And it's appropriately named, too. "How to Get Flat Abs, Have Amazing Sex and Rule the World in 8 Easy Steps"
Good juju-spreader, speaker, graphic designer. I'd love to hear from you!