An international magazine for communication & creativity
Why would you care?
Whatâ€™s your stage? The Quote of Things
+a lot more! FEBRUARY 2016
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Zorana Vukomanović email@example.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Ljiljana Kužet firstname.lastname@example.org creativeroom4talk.com @4creativeroom www.facebook.com/acreativeroom4talk
Dear Creatives, Welcome to the second issue of 2016 – time is such a fun aspect of life, it’s almost like you can see it. Or is it? If you read something beautiful, written by an author a long time ago, doesn’t it most often feel accurate and very much “now”? Don’t the words affect you in your life and mind today, and stay with you, evolve with you in the present? If this is the case, then the decisions you make so as to what you read, how much art you expose yourself to and what people you hang out with are all very important choices to make and to be made. No wonder that people who acknowledge and value their time live happy and fulfilled lives. Shifting a mindset to go from living in accordance with what someone else thinks is right, to be about what makes you happy is a big step. It’s a huge step actually. What it requires from everyone is to make that decision – if you’re all about making sure that 2016 becomes the most awesome year so far, then making the choices which will allow for that to happen is the way to go. It’s not brain science and cutting the BS from your life is a great start. In this beautiful issue, you will have access to an exclusive article on scenic art and the beauty of reality. Often, we find ourselves caught up in a mess of going from point A to B and C etcetera, without investing a thought or two on circumstances, beauty, and aesthetics. It’s about time to reclaim beauty and put it back on the quality side of life, away from the superficiality of how it’s often presented today. The concept of aesthetics and especially when considered as part of a scene, your stage, is something all of us need to be reminded of now and then. You will also be introduced to 19 interviews with absolutely amazing people from all over the world, sharing theirs stories, perspectives and views on creativity and other things. We are privileged to have this opportunity to share their words and visuals with you, and wish for you to be inspired by their creativity and awesomeness. Everything starts with the conversation, one word and you’re suddenly making plans to create something amazing together. Now, reading about these beautiful creative people, you might find yourself encouraged to get to know them and their work better – please feel free to do just that. Hunting for knowledge takes many forms, shapes and sizes. If you decide to make it a habit to ask people about things you would like to know more about, awesome things will happen. If these questions are asked with good intentions, then you’ll find yourself in a great conversation. We are all creating our own space of happy things, fun things, inspiring things and motivational things. If we make the decision to add fascinating people into this space, there’s absolutely nothing that could stop the creative process. The most important thing is to surround yourself with people who share your happy view on life, and even if they might bea little bit hard to find be sure that we’ll be right here for you. Knowledge is free and constructive, positive encouragement should be too. We’re all people and many of us have big dreams, working every day to make them happen. This magazine has the utmost respect for that mindset, and we’ll be right here to encourage and support you in all of your creative endeavors, whenever you need us. We are very pleased to invite you to this new issue and wish you a happy, creative, inspiring reading.
OUR SENSES AND CREATIVITY
THE QUOTE OF THINGS 221
TEAM CREATIVEROOM4TALK EXPERT ARTICLE 8
7 46 WORDS AND 104 WHY THEY 116 SHOULD 148 MATTER TO 182 YOU
S E L C I T R A
18 68 84 162 202 254 272 286
21 Russell Ward
35 GaĂŤla Rault
Dr. Faye Q. Miller 10
59 Nemanja Grujin
Marjan Tošić 11
89 Dr M Sargent Chowhan Amy
Paul James Merchant 12
135 Armin Vit
151 Elaine France
Jane Shoenfeld 13
187 Rodney King
207 Matija Hiti
Petar StojakoviÄ‡ 14
257 Joep Driessen
Bruce Bachenheimer 15
309 Gonzalo Alatorre
Information on contact details: If you enjoy our fantastic interviewees and contributors really very much and would like to get in touch with (some, or everyone of) them - we’ve got it for you. Just go to our website www.creativeroom4talk. com and you’ll find their direct contact details by simply searching with their names. Every single one of these awesome people are more than happy to talk to you, so if you’re inspired by their words – do let them know.
Kryolan 245 R - MUA: Paul James Merchant, Stylist: Joey Bevan, Photo: JayeshPankhania, Shoot Director: Nadine Langer, Model: Stacey H @Body London, Photo Courtesy of Kryolan, p. 127 Antigua_March - Art Direction: Nadine Langer & Paulina Deptula, Photography: Chris Davis, Make-up Designer & Artist: Paul Merchant, Styling: Joey Bevan - Photo Courtesy of Kryolan, P. 128 NewYork_December - Art Direction: Nadine Langer & Paulina Deptula, Photography: Chris Davis, Make-up Designer & Artist: Paul Merchant, Styling: Joey Bevan Photo Courtesy of Kryolan. P. 130 Singapore_February- Art Direction: Nadine Langer & Paulina Deptula, Photography: Chris Davis, Make-up Designer & Artist: Paul Merchant, Styling: Joey Bevan Photo Courtesy of Kryolan. P. 132 Make-up by Paul James Merchant. Photography Specular. Photo courtesy of Kryolan. P. 126 Kryolan 225 R - MUA: Paul James Merchant, Stylist: Joey Bevan, Photo: JayeshPankhania, Shoot Director: Nadine Langer, Model:Toni P. 124 17
Do you let fear run your life?
Here’s how and why to A New Year, a new beginning – this is what most people think about during the first period of time after the New Year’s party. But how much of a “new” beginning is it if you think about it? Many people have had a moment these past days, for reflecting over the things in life that could and should change, but what is the next step and why don’t they? Think about the most recent time when you made a decision to change something in your life. How did that go? Did you go through with it completely, or was it a “yes” phase and then a “what? Naah, maybe tomorrow” phase in which nothing much really got done? For many people, January seems to be a month full of decision making and starting off with things, whereas the end of February usually is the time for giving up or ignoring goals completely. After that, there’s a good ten months of ignorance, followed by some days of reflection on the past year, and then new goals. Years pass by this way, and while some people do make progress in most decisions that they make, most follow this path. 18
Recognize the pattern in yourself or someone close to you? As this pattern of thought and behavior might seem to be about indecisiveness, something else is much more likely to be stopping people from achieving their goals. Are they unable to get to work every day? Or cook meals? Or hang out with friends and family? Or invest time in reading books and watching movies? No, probably not. Thus, this giving-up-goals-thing is more about something other than being indecisive, and until we start calling it what it is, not much is going to happen. What is it about then? Fear. It’s about fear. Fear or trying, fear of pursuing dreams, doing something different, getting out of that comfort zone. It can also be fear of structure, fear of what other people might think about sudden changes in one’s life, fear about failing and fear about not having the energy or things required to succeed. It might seem ridiculous, but this is why pen and paper was really invented in the first place. If you’re having these
get rid of that thing thoughts, please do take a moment and scribble them down on a piece of paper. While you’re at it, tell your friend to do it too, they probably have the same problem. Now, as you’re being honest with yourself, you’ll identify which ideas are behind your personal fear/s stopping you from trying or pursuing something. When you have it/ them mapped out, that’s the time to start looking at them as someone else wrote it/ them down. That little effort of yours will put things into perspective, as you will have to define legitimate reasons for each of these fears to even exist. Guess what’s the best part? There are no such things. Fears like these are completely illegitimate, and they only seem to exist to stop people from achieving anything in life. Often, failure is the one big “argument” for why not to even try, yet there isn’t a big deal about failing if you think about it. Especially not if you compare it with stagnation. What would we even enjoy in this world, had it not been for trying a gazillion times without succeeding and then finally building something?
You see, trying is not the same as failing. Refusing to try, or trying a little bit of half-ass style is what failing actually means. On the other hand, to give it your all, to try your hardest and then not succeed with what you aimed for, is not to fail. Overcoming this false interpretation of the meaning of failure and failing is what will get rid of these illusions running your decisions and ultimately, your life. Understanding that a comfort zone is stagnation and not safety, is yet another way of bringing awareness to the table. As you do, you’ll find yourself cutting the BS from your life and start to actually take your ideas and goals seriously – which is the first and only step necessary to go through with any of the awesome things you want to do in life. Have you found fear to be ruining your effort to reach your goals? Did you overcome it?
Name: Russell Ward Where do you live: Sydney, Australia Known for: Writing and blogging. I founded both ‘The International Writer’ and ‘In Search of a Life Less Ordinary’. Currently working with: Lots of content projects for different clients in Australia and the UK, plus about to launch my writing business in North America (based out of Vancouver). When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? Writing has always been a important part of my life, I just didn’t fully realise it until I was in my 30s. On the advice of a friend, I started blogging about my life experiences (living overseas) and the work began to resonate with readers around the world. From there, I landed a few paid writing gigs, my first proper client and built on this to create my content writing business, The International Writer. Looking back, I realise that writing had always been a passion that had largely been unfulfilled up until that point. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Having moved around the world and travelled far and wide, it’s hard to pick one place - I love much of the UK, coastal areas of Australia, Europe and so on. I’m fortunate to have tri-nationality (British, Australian and Canadian) but it’s the natural environment of British Columbia that calls to some place deep within me and I connect with the landscape, the people and the way of life there. It’s a wild, rugged yet charming part of the world. That said, I will always call many places home and my dream is to share time between a few of these places. How would you describe your creativity? My creativity is my writing but it’s that moment when I sit in front of a blank page with any number of directions to follow and the ideas come to me, like pieces in a puzzle that start to fit into place as the words flow. 22
It’s almost as if I’m seeing patterns in the language that fit and feel right. That is when I feel most creative and when I understand what my creativity is. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Once my blog, In Search of a Life Less Ordinary, started to gain traction, I realised I was onto something. I began to focus on the writing more and putting my name to published work gave it greater emphasis - it became ‘real’. I was picked up by The Telegraph in the UK and The Huffington Post in the US, which led to further writing opportunities. It wasn’t long before I began to see it as a calling and something I needed to pursue much more seriously. What do you do at the moment? I spend most of my time running my writing business, The International Writer, focused mainly on helping other aspiring writers and thought leaders demonstrate authority through sharing their expertise and influence on online platforms such as LinkedIn. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? There’s a lot of opportunity to start up your own business, particularly online. The key is standing out in a world of online noise and offering the user/reader something tangible and useful. Self-promotion is important, as is branding yourself and your business to reflect the key messages and principles you want people to remember you for. Above all else, you need to love what you do and show a real passion for it - if you do, you’ll succeed and it won’t ever feel like work. Tell us how it all started. It was only a few years ago and I remember working in a grey, tired old government job, utterly bored out of my mind and it completely felt like the wrong fit for me. I started the blog and made full use of my time hidden away in a bland office cubicle, writing furiously by day and thinking up new ideas by night. I reluctantly tried career coaching and the coach suggested I speak to a friend of hers who ran a communications
agency in Sydney. We met up, she immediately liked my work and it went from there - I had landed my first professional writing gig. It only amounted to a few hours each week but it gave me the confidence to push ahead and eventually quit the government job for full-time writing work and I haven’t looked back. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Quiet. I need a quiet, calm environment to think and write in. I never would have made a good newspaper journalist. What is your favorite film? I grew up on a feast of Star Wars films, through my university years to now. The original trilogy never ages and remains an all-time favourite for me. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? The author, Neil Gaiman. He’s a fellow Brit, an expat, an accomplished author with an insane imagination. And the work he does, the way he approaches his creativity and his life... I could learn a lot from him. How do you like to spoil yourself? Travel or a large glass of red. Combined, they make for a self-indulgent masterpiece. What is luxury for you? Time out with my family. It’s the most luxurious, treasured gift of all. And, with my line of work, it’s easily done and often achievable. I’m not into time away, long commutes, travel away from family. I’m something of a homebody at heart and being around my family makes me happiest. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? From Arianna Huffington when she told me that my work resonated with her and she wanted my voice to be heard across her Huffington Post editions. It felt like confirmation that I was on the right path - and often in this line of work, it can feel like you’re not or that the path is quite hard to see.
What do you fear most? Regrets. And so I try not to have them. If opportunity comes my way, I pursue it in most cases, even if it takes me out of my comfort zone (which it often does). I had regrets early on in life and I vowedto change my ways as I grew older. What is a happy life to you? A life where work is pleasure - it’s not work but my passion. Spending time with family in a quiet, pristine environment. Laughter and positivity around me. Devouring books and playing games with my kids, watching movies or trashy shows on TV. What does a regular day look like for you? It can vary given the nature of my work but typically I’ll start the day with my wife and two kids. I’ll help get the children organised for the day, have coffee with my wife and then begin the working part of the day in my home office. I try to break for lunch and get away from my desk - go for a walk, have lunch away from the house, grab a coffee locally with friends. I’m most productive mid-morning and late afternoon so I try to ensure I’m writing at those times. Writing can be a mentally exhausting activity so it’s important to have regular breaks. Tell us about your dream project. I’d write a novel. I’m a long way off, as current commitments are taking up a lot of my time but I’ve been on a number of creative writing courses and the idea of longer-form writing really appeals to me. I’m also learning to play guitar, which is another dream project of sorts. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I can’t say that I have one. There are a number of people that I follow and admire but I wouldn’t say that I draw inspiration from any one person in particular. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Peaks and troughs, high energy followed 23
by contemplative periods. Structured and methodological to a degree but often impulsive in terms of the work I might choose to do for the day and the way I approach that day. I play by the rules but I also enjoy stretching them, pushing boundaries. It’s my way of rebelling. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Coffee. It fuels me and my work. What inspires you? Nature. Not man-made objects or large cities or the latest technology. Just my immediate, natural environment, on my doorstep and available to explore and play around in. Also creative talent inspires me, whether it’s an incredible musical performance or the discovery of a fantastic book. I understand the raw talent and skill required to achieve it and the effort and commitment the person has made throughout their life to pursue it. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? I’m a big fan of historical fiction. For its outstanding depth and ability to transform me directly into time and place, “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel is an incredible read. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is another stellar book that left an indelible mark on me. Visit Russell’s website
Name: Gaëla Rault
tion of embroidered jewels!
Where do you live? Paris
What do you do at the moment? I try to develop and make establish my line of embroidered jewelry while continuing to work for Vermont. I have exhibition projects particularly in Paris and collaborations with other artists.
Known for: Known for my expertise as a designer for Haute Couture embroidery and my expertise as embroidery sampler Currently working with: Currently I’m working with VERMONT embroidery as a designer and with New Jewelry from Bénédicte Mouret as a Creative – with embroidered jewelry manufacturing. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? I realized that I wanted to work with all these noble materials (lace, pearls, Swarovski jewelry, old material, etc.) a few years after returning home to Vermont. I soon felt the need to create my own pieces to combine creativity and expertise – this is where I launched my brand “Salome’s jewelry” (Salome is the name of my daughter). If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Strictly speaking in the countryside for recharge... But never too far from Paris because it is the capital of fashion and I need to be close to her to create! And if I isolate myself on a desert island I would need all necessary components to embroider jewelry, because it’s stronger than me, I have to create ;) How would you describe your creativity? I realize my drawings spontaneously at first, based on trends and the desire of the moment... Then, afterwards, I reflect so that my jewelry are the most successful in the shape and considering the chosen materials. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? About ten years now, since when I started to make my first embroidered dance-dress. It appeared clear to me that I had to go further than a garment embroidery, certainly to haute couture fashion... But I wanted creations that complement an outfit and allow the sublime... So I launched a collec36
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Have a lot of tenacity and believe in your project! It takes time to set this mark, make known one’s expertise and make a difference. People are surprised when they realize that my jewels are completely handmade in a traditional way... It is very rare and it touches me when they understand it! Tell us how it all started. I have always been attracted to the creation, since childhood. I drew and I made specialized studies in drawing. My parents supported me throughout this path, and at the end of my studies at the Ecole Boulle where I got a degree in arts option Habitat tapestry, I specialized in embroidery art. It’s a TRUE passion ;) What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? You have to be passionate and be careful to details and finishes... In our work that is the most important, well-finished jewelry because the devil is in the details ;) What is your favorite film? I have two favorite movies: “Coco Channel”, a biography and “Billy Elliot”, which demonstrates that with tenacity one can succeed!!! Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Diane Kruger, she is fascinating and very pretty! I would dream of seeing her wearing my jewels ;) How do you like to spoil yourself? Hanging out in flea markets to find wonders, then offer me a moment of massage, body treatment, to end it all with a good dinner
worthy of the name with all my friends and family... A nearly perfect day ;) What is luxury for you? Wear nice and well-finished pieces and without any ostentation. Luxury must represent expertise in the country concerned, ancestral knowledge, with simplicity! What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? When I am told that my work is beautiful and my expertise is incredible. To see the eyes sparkle and come alive, just because the person trying on my jewelry feels emotional – she takes pleasure in watching herself wearing it. Nothing more magical for me ;)
Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My daughter!!! She is all my life, all that’s necessary, and monitors the new collections carefully. Perhaps a future Creative ... What inspires you? Women and elegance! The embroidery can sublimate the woman, it is probably the best way to develop it... In accessory, embroidered jewelry just finish an outfit. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “When I was 5 I killed myself”. This book gave the name of my daughter Salome, then my jewels.... Check out Gaëla’s website
What do you fear most? Spiders maybe ;) What is a happy life to you? It is to work with a smile and to live from my creations. And if someone is there with you to share it, it’s even better... I’m lucky to have my daughter and my friends by my side. What does a regular day look like for you? Getting to my studio, scribbling on a sheet of paper the next jewel, dreaming of the materials that I will use and start embroidering! Tell us about your dream project. That Les Bijoux de Salomée is known all around the world! I am mainly distributing in France and I dream to share my work and know-how overseas! Who is your professional role model/inspiration? The everyday life inspires me ;;;;; I do not know what to say..... How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? My style is very separate and does not look like what is found elsewhere... I make sure to break the codes so that my jewels are unique and really make a difference.
words and why they should matter to you
You’re surrounded by words, they’re everywhere! In our daily lives, much of our understanding of the world comes from combining different words into sentences, then sentences into meaning – meaning gained from structures and incentives. In this article series, we’ll elegantly run through 7 of the most interesting words people are encountered by, using, listening to and subconsciously making familiar. But should they be familiar, if they aren’t consciously so?
Is there even a little doubt that any of us who use internet for any purpose today is being influenced? Yes, this happens on several different levels indeed and it is mostly indirectly affecting people’s mindset. However, this doesn’t necessarily always change any IRL action of those people affected, but seen in a long-term perspective, certain ideas and theories do have much more space in the spotlight, at the cost of others. But let’s stay positive here. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, influence is “: the power to change or affect someone or something: the power to cause changes without directly forcing them to happen : a person or thing that affects someone or
something in an important way” Influence – it’s about affecting people. Have you ever been influenced by anyone in particular? Or a method, a book, a song, an idea, an emotion, food, buildings, concepts and visions for the future? Or a painting, a dance, a movie? A news report? Has an article you’ve read changed the way in which you view management, leadership or personal development? Has a photo or a movie sequence made you laugh, cry, or brought an intense sensation to your body? All of us encounter thousands of different sources of influence each day, and we’re aware of only a small proportion. In the real world, each time you speak with another person, you’re affected, or influenced if you will, by that person’s state of mind, choice of words and even body language. If they’re pissed off badly, you’ll notice it right away by the stiffness and very controlled pronunciation of carefully chosen words. If that anger is aimed at you directly, you’ll soon find yourself (or someone else will) having that same posture and produce negative energy. Now, who is your influence if you think about it in a positive way? Who can you remember having a huge impact on you? On your thinking and reasoning? Maybe it was a family member? Or someone famous, a known professor maybe? An old philosopher? Maybe it wasn’t even a real person, but a fictive character or a piece of art? When you conduct any form of work,
does the result appear in a unique way or are they all the same? When you speak to someone you don’t know previously – why does that even happen in the first place and do you bring any of it with you after you’ve done with the chat? If you’d like some hands-on science on this, try having a mental breakdown among people. They’ll get influenced all right. As every situation in your life is connected to and through you, influence is a natural consequence and it goes both ways. By your presence and active participation, you’re influencing other people in a broad set of different ways and they too have an impact in your life and work, however subtle. Your own mindset is also influenced by and influencing other people’s ways of thought, their attitudes and relationships to difficult things in life. As this may seem a bit too abstract and far-away, try look around and see the people and information you’re surrounded by regularly. Reflect on it for a minute and you’ll get a good picture of your own “average mindset”. Are you around negativity? Are there only destructive and narrow-minded people in your circle of friends? If yes, then be sure that you are being influenced by them. 47
Depending on what you want in life, this may be a problem. People who want to move forward, who wish to pursue their dreams and reach their goals need good, positive energy. Being around people who share that constructive perspective will encourage and support each other, and this is what will make all the difference in terms of success. Anyone who has ever pursued anything must have experienced the ridiculous amount of resistance and not-support from a lot of people. There has been books written about this subject, the main point being that nobody is resistant to negative influence. Many people try once or twice and when they notice the lack of support from their family and friends, they go back to their “regular lives” and ignore their dreams. This is bullshit. If you’re doing this, stop it. Luckily, there’s this thing called internet today and it’s awesome. Here, you have access to great minds, to people who are creative and positive and constructive and who share their stories. You can create your own little world of motivation, with videos and texts and quotes and illustrations all aimed at supporting you through influence.
Each time you have had a day with negative impact, you can elegantly just walk into this world of awesomeness and get the positive energy that you deserve. What happens when you do this? You take control of what is influencing you. The most obvious example is this – by delegating a little less time to news reporting, and a little more time to reading about something that will help you to understand yourself better, or the world or anything really. Anything constructive, anything which will give you new or improved tools with which you’re able to excel. The time spent today on things that don’t help you relax could be put into much more giving personal investments – why not? Could you find even one legitimate argument against such a thing? Influence is crucial to all people around the world. It’s a delicate phenomenon, often overlooked and not given the attention its
You know what’s great about influence too? 48
worth. Influence by the wrong side of things can turn subjects totally out of proportion, and then there’s the good part. People are awesome, most of them are kind and friendly and like to have fun and enjoy life. Encouraging an atmosphere in which these constructive influences are dominating will make the world a little bit better. It’s that simple, and it starts with one small step. You know what’s great about influence too?
Many people try once or twice and when they notice the lack of support from their family and friends, they go back to their “regular lives” and ignore their dreams.
The fact that one small moment is all that is necessary for great things to happen. Think about it – when was the last time you met someone, and this someone or this meeting had an intense impact on yourself as a being? Be that someone, too.
Dr. Faye Q. Miller
Name: Dr. Faye Q. Miller Where do you live: I’m from the picturesque Riverina region in New South Wales Australia, but I can also be found hanging out with lovely progressive people in the San Francisco Bay area, USA. I’m a universal dweller. Known for: Crossing boundaries, times and spaces, real and imagined. I’m wherever I’m not supposed to be - or maybe I’m supposed to be there, who knows? Wherever I go, I like to build new bridges to help others get across to where they’re travelling. Currently working on: I’m producing/writing a short documentary film about imaginative storytelling experiences, which I hope over the next few years will grow into a series of interviews featuring some of my favourite storytellers of all time and how their stories were experienced by their various audiences. The first episode is being filmed next summer in London’s Epping Forest beside a calming magical waterlily lake that lived in my childhood imagination but actually exists (long story)! The film aims to encourage discussion around past and future of the performing art of audio-visual storytelling and its potential benefits to fostering children and adults’ imaginations. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? A lot of ideas were born during my time as a PhD student a couple of years ago, and I think the storytelling experience idea was one of them. Doing a PhD is actually a very creative experience (if you procrastinate/ look away from your actual thesis writing every once in a while). I also wanted to revisit my halcyon days of screenwriting class and actually make films that people might watch and get inspired by. How would you describe your creativity? My creative style is absurdist, surrealist, ironic, logical yet methodologically mixed up! These elements and more can be found throughout most of my creations - articles, 52
stories, songs, scripts, artwork and live performances. I also think creativity, ultimately is about being humane. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Since I started writing, illustrating and performing this style of narrative at 4 years old (I actually started parodying songs at 2 years old but didn’t realise I was doing that until I heard a recording of myself many years later - does that count?). Thankfully, as an adult I never lost this and throughout my life I deliberately grew more rampant in this way. What do you do at the moment? I am currently a qualitative researcher and university educator in the intriguing area of human information experience. I research how people interact with various forms of knowledge and information - both the visible and invisible! - towards designing more effective environments and systems for people in many different contexts and worlds, such as education, communication, science and health to name a few. A couple of years ago, I also founded a new magazine-journal called XD: Experience Design Magazine which publishes articles from research and practice around the interdisciplinary concept of Experience Design - designing for people to have great and memorable experiences. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Constantly surround yourself with the most imaginative, ethical and fun people you can find, who encourage you to act and think divergently and you’ll do very well. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? It’s a space that reflects my own creative mental state - so it has to be flexible enough to change accordingly. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? All of my biggest critics - now that’d be fun! Also, anyone who needs a good uplifting
chat over a nice meal.
enough to perform some originals live.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? The lovely, simple compliments that come from my partner in life, Raj, who is my biggest creative inspiration. Then I see my work reflected in what he is building and vice versa.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without? The Sun.
What do you fear most? Mediocrity. But I have no idea what that is, so I guess I’m lucky.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? To be honest I haven’t read a complete book for about 10 years as I think I have become very absorbed in my own ideas (and analysing bits of data into something new) ever since I began my research student years (as the experience requires). So I guess the answer to that question is my own PhD thesis on knowledge ecosystems and learning in higher education, as the experience of producing it did change me and my life tremendously.
What is your favorite film? I enjoy watching many film genres, but I am very influenced by classic suspense films and the master of that was of course Alfred Hitchcock so I’ll choose Rear Window. How do you like to spoil yourself? By travelling to and exploring a new and inspiring place. What is luxury for you? Having ample space to dream and just be me.
What inspires you? I am inspired by anyone who has bravely overcome adversity or opposition to help make the world a better place.
Connect with Dr. Miller via LinkedIn
What is a happy life to you? Being content with what I have, counting my blessings, being free to explore and learn new things and loving myself, my family, friends (and friends I haven’t met yet). What does a regular day look like for you? There isn’t such a thing as a “regular” day for me - it depends on the nature of the particular projects I am working on as sometimes they require me to travel or I can work remotely on the go or from my home office. Most days I am happily collaborating either face to face or virtually with kindred spirits on projects either academic or artistic and every day I spend at least half an hour playing, dreaming or free range writing - I find it helps me to be more productive. Tell us about your dream project. I am very lucky to be currently living my dream projects! In the future, I hope to write a couple of books and also write and record a couple of quirky alternative music albums and maybe be courageous
SUMMARY QUOTES The Quote of Things
We recently published our article series “The Quote of Things”, with quotes from 10 amazing and highly creative minds. We have selected a few words from each of our articles with links to the full texts. Please enjoy these awesome topics! :)
“All over the world, people have been living together in groups, evolving a set of behaviors and customs linked to ideas and perceptions of that same place. They have set up a basis for survival and coexistence, making some sort of societal structure keep people and cities under control. This has often led to progress in several aspects, such as using cooperation as means of developing new and better ways of doing things and supporting the common good.” – On traditional thinking
“Everyone has experienced situations in which some individuals have been on the not-to-great side of having communication skills, often turning the whole situation into a state of awkwardness and non-productivity. This has to do with getting too involved with regular circumstances as opposed to focusing on goals. Easily explained, if someone decides to whine about the too long queues at the airport, other people in line will get annoyed pretty soon as well. Then, the airport personnel will get pissed off as a consequence, and created is a negative atmosphere for all people in the area. Instead, understanding that they are doing the best they can at the moment, that they are probably overworked and underpaid, provides basis for a more reasonable reaction.” – On laughter
“But when digging into the actual process, not much positivity is actually found. Creative people are the ones having these big ideas, because they always see beyond the limits of things as they are today – to be able to create something fantastic for tomorrow. Yet, when creatives find themselves in that initial state of communicating these huge dreams and ideas, the response is often negative or with disbelief. It is as though their environment sees them as incapable, until proven otherwise.” – On changing the world
“Curiosity is that thing which makes any creative mind go beyond fear of the unknown, whether it is knowledge not yet acquired, places not yet seen or people not yet met. The urge of exploring, of understanding the new, of always wanting to try out new ideas and get familiar with other like-minded creatives is the main driving force of innovation, as well as personal development. It is one of those things that drive human innovation and without it, we would still be having lovely and much giving meetings in caves.” – On curiosity
“But it is simple – trying to figure out these problems and potential solutions whilst using tools created out of the false assumptions being defined in the pre-failing project of which we are talking, is in itself incorrect. Creating something from the wrongs that are already apparent, will not turn them into rights. Instead, completely erasing all known “knowledge” about the consequences of the problem and instead dive into the definition of the problem itself, might prove to be a really good idea.” – On creation and destruction
“The normal thing happening here is that change occurs at some point, and that can mean many things. In a lot of different circumstances positive and negative given opportunities aren’t always as clear, which tends to create a somewhat insecure environment within organizations. This in turn, leads to people feeling fearful and not seeing whether the future for that particular workplace is secured or if there will be shortcuts. Any change is highly emphasized – it is commented, discussed, feared and highly inconveniently analyzed unless they can’t be named highly profitable in a nanosecond. Which brings instability and conflicts much more prioritized than looking at the positive side of change.” – On organizations and creativity
“There are a few times in life when a simple idea creates something within. It is a need, an urge, an obsession and something absolutely wonderful. No ignorance in the world will make that feeling go away, quite the opposite. It seems to be a whole worldview, in which a complete set of attributes are encouraged to freely evolve. Having found this idea, or issue, is not like any other sensation ever felt before. This is called passion and it is probably one of the strongest driving forces in people, and so also in creativity and in creative fields.” – On passion and ideas
“This constant exposure to all of the information loads the creative mind and keeps it busy basically all the time. When already working on a project, this outside-of-theproject-frames input will definitely influence the mind, the project process and also the outcome because whether information was processed by intention or not, its influence has been made the very moment of exposure. Processing it and turning it into knowledge, is something else. It takes conscious and active decisions to do so, so be interested and to try finding new ways of connecting the dots at your disposal. This is the very basis of innovation.” – On inventions and knowledge
“All over the world, throughout our existence, creative thinking is what has made the human kind move forward. It has enabled societies to thrive and it keeps doing so today, interactively so today. In practice, this means that there is an interconnected international platform on which creative minds with different skills can connect with other creative minds, and together explore new perspectives from which great ideas can grow. Up until recently, being able to connect with other creatives was a unique privilege and it required many specific circumstances in order to be realized. And that was just to get to the initial phase of creativity and innovation.” – On creativity and talent
“Stories are everywhere and they are inspired by many things. Some turn to nature, others to the extreme, to emotions, or relationships, materials and shapes. There are long and short stories, simple and complex. There are those who aim to highlight a bigger societal issue and there are those who are simply aimed at entertaining. There are many stories created from experience, aimed at educating and working as material for analysis. There are many other stories too, aimed at portraying philosophy and questions regarding morals, meaning and existence.” – On seeing the stories around us
Name: Nemanja Grujin Where do you live: I currently live in Novi Sad, Serbia Known for: I work as an anchorman and a journalist on Radio television of Vojvodina. My previous projects included „Phenomena“, where I was an author, presenter, journalist and a cameraman at a times. Maybe that’s how people recognize me. Currently working with: I currently work as an anchorman for the news program and voice over for the “Deutsche Welle” TV magazines broadcasted on Radio Television of Vojvodina. To keep myself busy, I also work as an editor and cameraman for one American organization from Chicago. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? Since I was a little boy, television was always a part of our home, because my father worked as a journalist in the documentary program. When I was nine, I even had my very own radio show “Nemanja Grujin show”, recorded on my old cassette player. Perhaps, that was the beginning of my journalist career. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? It would be New Zealand because of the scenery, many great places and because it is far enough to make it an adventure. How would you describe your creativity? Versatile. I feel that journalism today requires from people to have different skills – to write a story, film it, present it and edit it at some times. That is a definition of a complete journalist today. Needless to say, if you only cover politics as a journalist, you don’t have space for the creativity and this is something that’s missing in my current job as an anchorman. I would say that my creativity lies in the fact that I successfully worked in the Entertainment, Documentary and News program. 60
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I started working as a journalist about six and half years ago. What do you do at the moment? I deliver news on a daily basis and cover foreign politics. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Unfortunately, Serbia isn’t a great place to start a creative business. Start it somewhere where people will recognize and appreciate your work. Also have a lot of patience. Tell us how it all started. I was searching for a job in my area of study, but I couldn’t find one. Luckily enough, there was an open position for a journalist in Agricultural department. It was great that I fell in love with this job. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Like famous anchorman Ron Burgundy (Will Ferrell in the movie “Anchorman”) said: “when there’s conflict in the workplace, no hitting in the face or messing with the haircut”. Just kidding, teamwork is important in the workplace. What is your favorite film? “The brothers McMullen” from the director and writer Edward Burns. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Always my wife Radmila, because she is always a nice company. How do you like to spoil yourself? By watching TV shows and from time to time, buying camera equipment. What is luxury for you? Love. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? Compliments received from strangers in the street or received on social networks for my
work. What do you fear most? That I will stay in Serbia and have a job that limits my creativity. What is a happy life to you? A life where you have enough money, not only to pay the bills, but to travel and experience the world. What does a regular day look like for you? My regular day looks like this: going to work, attending a foreign language class, editing videos or photographs on computer and spending some quality time with my wife. Tell us about your dream project. Filming documentaries about New Zealand. New Zealand is still a young and unexplored country, in which the climate is ideal for someone like me. When I look at the photographs of the magical sunset over Wellington, I dream that, one day, I too will film and photograph the same. There are numerous interesting and attractive things to see, with untold stories, undocumented even on YouTube. To many, New Zealand represents an unreachable country. Therefore, I hope that perhaps, one day, my stories will be interesting to many, because of that.
High fidelity, by Nick Hornby, is a book that I first read as teenager. I returned to it several times, during different phases of my life, and every time it had a different meaning to me. The whole book told the story about the time it was written in. It had that R’n’R aura around it, R’n’R that was not notably present in my country. Also, it spoke about the carefree way of life that the generations in Serbia didn’t have during that time. Problems encountered by the main character of the book were completely normal for that time in every man’s life. Those problems all young people around the world experience. I read the book during the time when Serbia was under sanctions, so I believe that the circumstances in which I read High fidelity, contributed with having significant impression in my life. Connect with Nemanja via LinkedIn
Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Jimmy Fallon and Conan O’Brien. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? R’n’R style! Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Mobile phone. What inspires you? Beautiful photographs that wake up desire in me to go to distant places and take some photographs myself. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? 61
Name: Deanna Rodger Where do you live: London, UK Known for: My family and friends know me for my belief in crystals and absolute love for all the universe. Other people know me for performing loads and loads and everywhere after winning the UK poetry slam championship aged 18, then I was also known for acting in theatre and short films, and being in every poetry collective and co-founder of Chill Pill and now for being one of ELLE magazine’s ‘30 inspirational women under 30′ and winning a ‘Rising Star’ award at the Hospital Clubs H100 Awards. Currently working with: Matter. An installation that explores humans relationship with light. It’s quantum physics meets poetry and has been funded by the Arts Council England. The ambition is big! And exciting! As well as this, I am facilitating The Agency BAC/UK which is a 6 month project that works closely with young people from disadvantaged communities to encourage and support them to reimagine themselves as creative entrepreneurs within their community. It’s a wonderfully powerful initiative that has its roots in Rio De Janeiro. I am also a tutor at School of Communicative Arts. And planning to travel some more! When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? Poetry wise - When I was 17 and got paid £50 to perform one poem at the Southbank. It was the first time I had been to the Southbank and so had no idea of the prestige until at least a year later - the amount of money for 3 minutes blew my mind. Looking back, the poem took me at least a week to write edit and rehearse so they got a bargain! Facilitation - I guess this began with an enrichment programme called Greenhouse Schools project, which supported my progression as a sports coach, I then transferred that practise to other workshops. Acting wise, I discovered the National Youth Theatre when I was 19 and was fortunate to work with them for a number of years in shows and in their REP Company. 66
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I haven’t seen enough of the world yet so probably Venus or Sirius! Canopus seems pretty cool too (Doris Lessing reference!). I’m really fascinated about the universe and our place in it. I like to entertain the thought that I’m not from this planet, especially when I read or watch the news. It all feels so alien and bizarre that the peace is found in slashing benefits, keeping third world countries in debt and increasing the trident budget... Oh and slowly poisoning people with shitty food. Great! Nice one humans How would you describe your creativity? Instinctive/intuitive. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? When I was 17 and realised that this was the only thing that made sense for me; to realise the sense of everything (this was before the 50 quid gig!). What do you do at the moment? Developing Matter through a series of scratch performances (supported by the Arts Council). It’s a piece that intricately looks at us, humans and the universe with a central theme of M-theory. Lots of research is feeding into that as well as me producing it. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Pick something you want to spend every hour of everyday obsessing over. Tell us how it all started. This is tricky - I’m not certain when as there were a series of happenings that led to where I am now. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Light, space and a procrastination list. What is your favorite film? Ha I find favourites really hard to do cos I constantly forget what I see and love dif-
ferent things at different times - a staple film would have to be... Hmm - sorry I’m not thinking solidly today probably Annie - I always want to watch it. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Erm, probably my family because I don’t eat with them enough. How do you like to spoil yourself? Haha, buying psychology magazine, or going charity shop shopping, or booking theatre tickets for Deanna dates. Stuff like that. I actually said to my partner that my next treat is to get my car washed - it’s the small things in life. What is luxury for you? Halloumi cheese. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? A man recently said to me “I love your work because every word has been chosen with intention and there is so much meaning in there”. What do you fear most? Making decisions from fear. What is a happy life to you? It is saying “I am that, I am” and knowing it to be absolutely true regardless of what the “that” is. Accepting and therefore allowing our true selves to be far greater than race, religion, class, sexuality etc. Broadening our perspective to encompass all realities. Basically a life without labels.
we are working through them at the moment. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Bjork - she would definitely be invited to come to dinner. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? How I work? Well everything at the same time - switching focus constantly and riding the waves! Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Magic. What inspires you? Oxygen. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “Surfacing” by Margaret Atwood (and then everything else she has written). We studied it at A Level and I loved it - I loved all the words she chose, I loved having to decode it and then read it again with that awareness and it blew my mind. I think she is truly phenomenal - I’d invite her to dinner too! Check out Deanna’s website
What does a regular day look like for you? It looks like sweet milky coffee, like marginalised paper and a city busy diary. Sometimes it looks like wine before midday, closed humans, hijacked people - entrapment and fatigue. Tell us about your dream project. Solving the theory of everything using people and their perspectives. Matter is attempting to do that. I would also love to be a famous singer and actor and model these desires come from my teenage self;
Why hanging out
with people you admire is awesome for you
everyday lives and often times go unnoticed, or simply selectively noticed? Can you think of one of these excuses that have stopped you from doing something other than the usual? If given one minute to do so, how many excuses, or more nicely put, how many reasons can you find? The one big reason or excuse, whatever state of consciousness you allow yourself, is the one involving other people. How many times are you spending a coffee break or a lunch break or even an evening, with someone who sucks the life out of you by their simple presence? Or maybe by their overly ambitious reading of online semi-extremist newspapers, guiding their lives by the sole belief that the louder you speak, the truer it is? Everyone has experienced these types of encounters at least once, but if being honest to yourself, most likely a lot of times in life. Do you know that saying by American entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”? It’s a good one, isn’t it? It’s been a source of inspiration to so many more recent quotes by people on that same topic, all trying to point out the fact that influence actually matters in your life. Have you had a serious thought about that, who you hang out with and why? If not, you will after reading this. Any reason to make a big change in life is most often welcomed, but in order for it to be big there’s this sensation of that the reason itself needs to be big too. Look at it this way – why isn’t everyone making these huge decisions in April? Or September? Why do most people prefer to make them as a new year approaches? This is the fun thing about us human beings, we happen to be weird sometimes. As many wait for that big reason in order to make a change, so does all other sorts of excuses appear out of nowhere, encouraging a wide variety of unhealthy behavior. You’re probably familiar with the usually spoken of forms of that, but how about the smaller ones? The ones who infect people’s
Now, why does this happen when the experience from these encounters clearly is a state of negativity and ridiculously low amounts of energy? With absolutely no personal gain whatsoever? OK, well, personal gain is actually allowed – that has to be pointed out. You’re in no way a victim of the circumstances which you yourself create in terms of spending time with these negative people. it’s a choice. Think about it, as one of them approaches you for yet another coffee break, what goes on in your mind? Probably some serious self-talk about how nice it is of you to actually have that cup of coffee with that person, again. So, what’s up with that? Why do you need to convince yourself in order to spend time with someone? Why does it even often require some serious mental preparation? Why do you think that you need to go through with all of that, and repetitively? The usual bullshit about niceness is not enough, it’s not. Is it really nice to put up with someone and die a little on the road, isn’t that more likely to be related to some sort of self-torture at best? After that coffee, when you should feel re-energized and refreshed, you’ll feel like a mushed po-
tato on some heavy drugs. It’s about the idea that somehow, your mere presence will change another person’s negative worldview. It won’t. Unless they themselves want that to happen, which you would know after the first coffee break with accompanying chit-chat you two share. If that hasn’t happened then, it won’t. So, what now? Well, why don’t you start to appreciate your own time? Your own need to do something useful, learn something new? As you do so, you’ll be sure to notice that you’ll turn to people who inspire you, who you think are adding value to your life. This can be a good book, or a good talk, or an IRL coffee, or whatever else. What it most definitely won’t be is yet another encounter of negativity. We’re all surrounded by ideas, thoughts and theories expressed by people with all sorts of personalities. It’s basically up to you to stop BS-ing yourself and choose carefully by whom you are surrounded. They are your biggest influence, their attitudes and ways of life directly affecting your choices. Point out the five people you hang out the most with in life at the moment, and have a good look if they are actually adding any form of constructive value to your life. If they are, keep them. However, if you find that some of them might drag you down, criticize you with no good intentions, not supporting you and not seeking to reach 70
their own personal goals, that’s not great. If the latter is the case, you might want to go get some distance from these people and see if you get any happier, if your thoughts get a bit less negative and if you feel like you’ve got more energy without interacting with them. If you want to do more and be more and have fun, then make sure to surround yourself with those kinds of people as well. It’s well worth it. Have you ever victimized yourself in order to get away from the responsibility of living your life the way you want it to be? Are you getting out of that mindset right this very second?
If you want to do more and be more and have fun, then make sure to surround yourself with those kinds of people as well. Itâ€™s well worth it.
Name: Marjan Tošić, aka Br0, aka “zvogu” (it’s famous in the gaming world... Among my friends at least :)) Where do you live: Niš, Serbia Known for: Being an elite author on Envato marketplace, Themeforest and Codecanyon. Being a nice guy. And my beard. Currently working with: CEO of Shindiri Studio, in charge of web design, and managing a great team of designers, coders and developers. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? Probably about 10 years ago, when I realized that being an English professor is not gonna cut it for me. Too much repetition and so little creativity. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? That would be Malaga, Spain. It’s by the sea, and it has maybe the most consistent climate on the planet with 300 sunny days a year. And I love both sun and sea.
about starting and running acreative business? Take advantage of the fact that right now it takes so little investment to start your own business, if you are into web technologies, of course. One computer and an internet connection, really. And prepare yourself for a lot of rejection, build a tough skin, but I think that, eventually, there’s a place for every creative mind right now. The market is huge, you just have to find your place in it, and work hard to keep it. Tell us how it all started. It all started when I got my first computer, I guess. It was the 80’s, and back then we didn’t take technology for granted, like we do now. My generation was lucky to have the chance to be truly thrilled with every technological breakthrough. And I was beyond thrilled - I was instantly intoxicated by that new, virtual world where I saw just the right tools to express my creativity. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? A positive atmosphere. It all starts from there.
How would you describe your creativity? It’s something that generally comes from within, but is very much influenced by outer factors like current trends and rapidly changing technology and market demands. So it’s a marriage of freedom and functionality.
What is your favorite film? “The Usual Suspects”. A classic.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I’ve been in the field for over a decade, doing small, independent projects, but it was really 3-4 years ago when I thought I had all the conditions and confidence to dive into something bigger and start the journey I am in now.
How do you like to spoil yourself? Travelling. And buying an awesome gaming mouse.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Anthony Bourdain, because he’s awesome and cynical, and badass and totally a food snob, just like my wife.
What is luxury for you? Doing what you love and living off of it.
What do you do at the moment? At the moment, I am mostly focused on creating cool, new, multi-purpose Wordpress templates and placing them on the market.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? Recently, I pitched something I worked on very hard to a really important client. They told me: “You are very creative!” It was awesome... I didn’t get the job, though.
A recommendation for those who think
What do you fear most?
My own ego. I’m having hard time being criticized, but I’ve learned to manage it somewhat and taking it as something positive and a thing I can learn from. What is a happy life to you? Being genuine with yourself and your loved ones, having healthy relationships and a strong support system, and being able to give back.
blown away by the level of imagination in the story. And every time I went back to it, I was equally amazed how my perception of the story changes, depending on the current phase of life that I›m in. It›s like reading a new book every time, and that›s why I consider it a masterpiece. Check out Marjan’s awesome website
What does a regular day look like for you? Morning coffee with wifey, a short walk to the office, work, brainstorming, meetings, dinner at home with the “missus” and watching some of our favourite TV shows. And a bit of gaming with my buddies. Tell us about your dream project. I have a lot of ideas, and a common thread through all of them is a great level of freedom. So, every project that I accomplish is a success, but those where I have the most freedom to be myself and realize my ideas successfully, those are the dream ones. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I cannot really embody my inspiration. My work is based on something virtual and intangible, so I can say that my source of inspiration is what I think is cool, modern and forward. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? I cannot say there’s anything, really, that scares me to live without. Being so dependent on something is unnatural to me, but let’s say I’d be really bummed if I couldn’t take a vacation by the sea once a year. What inspires you? Little things in my everyday life - a shade of nailpolish my wife uses at that moment, some cool effect or font in the movie credits, and ever-changing features in technology, of course. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “One hundred years of solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. When I first read it, I was 75
Let’s make your worldview great again! How many people do you know who are having a nice life, yet taking every opportunity to nag about things, seeking out negativity in every moment of life? Despite all of their effort and all of the success, they can’t seem to just chill and start looking at the more constructive things of life. As they don’t, their mind shapes the world as they see it, making it a not that nice of a place to live in. Isn’t it interesting how some people never ever seem to be happy? They could have all the success in life, a great family and friends, yet as they reason on things in the world, only negative perspectives are present. If you don’t know such an individual personally, you would pretty soon into the conversation assume that s/he has a very difficult life. This wouldn’t have been wrong at all, had the assumption not evolved into being about victimizing oneself as opposed to the “big, bad whatever” outside. These types of worldviews only do one good thing and that is to reflect how not to think if you ever want to be happy. How come so many people around us take 84
terly distorted perspectives get highlighted as fully sane, and a large part of the population are invited in joining these rallies of self-deception. Now, why should that bother anyone else, especially creatives out there? every opportunity to blame others for their own mistakes? One big reason for that is pure convenience. It’s easy to blame someone else and thus get away from all personal responsibility. Soon enough, a complete worldview will appear as out of nowhere, creating a wide range of excuses to use in times of need. The last part there also expands along the way, each day resulting in more and more convenient situations in which to use these excuses. There you go, you just got yourself a vicious circle right there. It’s not all that bad though. We’ve all used this behavior at some point and as the great saying goes, sh-t happens. But what’s cute about this way of thought is that it’s highly contagious. It spreads like a viral infection on a summer music festival, but without being stigmatized. The other great thing about it is that since the majority of people do possess these negative or semi-negative patterns of thought, it’s far more acceptable to take the road of excusing one’s own passivity than it is to actually want to move forward in life. Ut-
It shouldn’t, but it does indeed affect constructive people’s lives. We are all human beings and all kinds of behaviors and choices are to some degree affected by external influence. When this influence happens to be a bad worldview, its consequences reach far more than had it only been about a few carefully selected individual attitudes or messed up behaviors. To make it less abstract – imagine for a second that you would like to do something to change the world. However insane it may sound to yourself as well, you’re still pretty convinced that there is a small chance of actually being able to do so, and you are ready to try. Now, as you’re in your state of awesome, let’s say in a coffee shop, there are a few people sitting next to you. You can’t help but overhear what they’re talking about
Loop shy of a full bowl. You get the point. and it isn’t pretty. One of them is prattling on about the massive expected negative consequences of “all of these migrants pouring in” whilst the rest of the genius team is nodding and paying attention. Your mind can’t do anything but getting influenced by these levels of imaginary insight, and this will most likely lead to your focus being shifted a notch. Maybe you will acknowledge them and then simply continue to think about all of the great, creative and world-changing things. What’s most likely though is that you’ll be pretty pissed off to yet again be involuntarily exposed to this smelly, substance-free verbal psychosis freakshow. These individuals’ worldview is going to have an impact on your own. It will happen, whether you like it or not. For creative people who need that kind of BS to be set on a reasonable level, this might post as a problem. Your creative work may be affected, or the result of it might be a weird circus of biased interpretation, elegantly manipulated to prove someone else’s point. Someone who’s missing a few buttons on his remote control. You know, the chimney’s clogged. All foam, no beer. One Fruit
In times when a loud group of human beings define issues in this way, and through using as little cross-cultural intelligence as possible, they are influencing others as well. As influence fortunately is a big word to these people, they won’t create a far too big mess, but their widely shouted about worldview can be an annoying addition to your morning coffee. Therefore, in order to stay sane and make sure, offer these people a cookie or simply make choices in life where you won’t be exposed to them as much. You should never compromise on your own preferences in life, but say you’ve decided to drink that coffee and think of how to change the world for the better. Is there any way of asking the waitress to increase the volume a little? Have you been exposed to these types of views regularly and how has that affected your creativity?
Someone who’s missing a few buttons on his remote control. You know, the chimney’s clogged. All foam, no beer. One Fruit Loop shy of a full bowl. You get the point.
Name: Amy Sargent Where do you live: Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, UK Known for: Teaching French and Spanish Currently working as: Director of Learning for Languages and Computer Science at Clacton County High School. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? My parents tell me that they ALWAYS knew I was going to be a teacher due to my organisation skills and the way in which I explained things to them and my little brother but I only really realised that this is what I was truly supposed to do when I took the plunge and quit my job at Eurostar after finally listening to my parents and enrolled on the NETT course in Essex. I haven’t looked back since and have found a job I sincerely love. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? At this moment in time, I’m super happy with where I live and work but I suppose if I could up and move anywhere, it would probably be a quiet village in Spain as their lifestyles are so laid back, happy and peaceful. How would you describe your creativity? For me, creativity means making the most of the resources around you to engage and enthuse others. I’d like to think that I could turn anything into a creation and make the ordinary, extraordinary. An empty toilet roll shouldn’t be seen as just that, it’s a telescope or a microphone or a magical wand that gives the student the power to ask any other student a question. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I took teaching seriously as soon as I enrolled on the training course. It’s never an easy job and there were times when it seemed too much like hard work but I am so glad I persisted. It’s the most rewarding 90
job anyone could ask for. I think the time when I realised that other people were noticing my dedication to the job was when my Headmaster nominated me for “Essex Outstanding New Teacher of the Year”. This was such an honour and has undoubtedly helped me to get where I am today to which I am extremely grateful. What do you do at the moment? I am currently working as Director of Learning for Languages and Computer Science as well as Lead Practioner. This involves overseeing the running of departments on a daily basis, ensuring that student’s needs are catered for, analysing data, identifying next steps or success areas for the departments and liaising with the Senior Leadership Team. The part I enjoy most with the role is sharing the success of other colleagues and looking at ways to improve our teaching and learning to ensure that students are enjoying our lessons and opt to take them to a higher level (GCSE). In addition to my teaching, I have also released a book called “Outstanding Lesson Ahead” which aims at providing new or experienced teachers with fresh and creative teaching techniques in the hope of achieving an outstanding lesson observation. This book also led to three more but this time, for students. I wanted to develop a way to stretch the learning of gifted and talented students and therefore created the “Challenge Club Passports” These passports encourage students to think outside of the box with their work and are something that they can complete alongside their classwork or outside of class. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? My main advice would be to ensure that you are truly passionate about what you do because that is so infectious and comes across in everything you carry out. Speak from the heart and endeavor to engage and enthuse all of the time. This could be through images, words or actions. In addition, always talk/write from experience. People trust this and are more likely to try the things that sound like you’ve done them
before. Make them achievable, manageable and cheap! People won’t even look twice at advice/techniques that will cost them a fortune, whether that be in money or time. Tell us how it all started. As I mentioned above, my parents encouraged me to try teaching and from the moment I enrolled on the NETT course, I was hooked. I started my training at Colne Community School and College in Brightlingsea and after passing the training year, I was offered a role as NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) at the Secondary School that I actually attended as a teenager – Clacton County High School and in my 5 years of teaching there, I’ve progressed from NQT to Faculty Director and Lead Practitioner. I’m so grateful for the experiences and opportunities the school have given me, particularly the chance to see my form group grow from Year 7 to Year 11. The students are, without a doubt, the reason why the job is so rewarding and ultimately, the reason why we do it and the students of Clacton County High School are one of a kind. They are hilarious, intelligent and a joy to be around. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? It is undoubtedly, the support provided by those around you. If you have a supportive, hard-working team to work with, the job is so much more pleasurable. In addition, it’s fundamental that those around you have similar goals and that you are all able to work towards them and share in the success. What is your favorite film? I have two! One French and one English and both are very different. My favourite English film is “Lucky Number Slevin” – it has absolutely nothing to do with teaching but the twist at the end gets me every time! I love the though process behind the film. My favourite French film is Les Intouchables – a really thought-provoking film with moments of hilarity and stupidity thrown in. I would recommend it to anybody, regardless of whether you can speak French or not! Stick
the subtitles on and enjoy! Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? For the comedy – Sal Vulcano from Impractical Jokers (his dancing would have me in stiches!) For the intellect – Stephen Fry – you could talk to him about anything and get such a mature, intelligent response For the arguments – Nicola Morgan (I’d ask her to justify some of her thoughts/decisions on education) For eye candy(!) – Pete the Pirate from TOWIE – basically my Year 10 and 11 girls will hate me if I don’t say this – we all love him. He’s such a gentleman! How do you like to spoil yourself? SHOPPING! I am a huge shop-a-holic. It used to be clothes and shoes but since renovating our house, I can’t come back from the town without something new. Additionally, I will always find something to use in the classroom whether it be a blow up crown for king or queen of the lesson or balloons for vocab revision towers. I can’t go a day without buying something! What is luxury for you? Time! Being a teacher is amazing but it isnon-stop and despite the numerous holidays that we get, we do work really very hard. Of course, we do have some time to ourselves but any extra time is gratefully received. It’s always at the top of my Birthday and Christmas lists. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? As previously mentioned, my Head teacher nominated me for “Essex Outstanding New Teacher of the Year” and this was a great honour and confidence boost. However, the reviews I have received on Amazon from other teachers about my book have also been an absolute joy to receive and read. The fact that I may have given just one person a new idea or inspired them 91
in some way is such a great compliment. However, although these are truly great, the nicest compliments have to come from the students. When they thank you for a lesson or tell you that you’re their favourite teacher (even though, they probably say this to all their teachers!) there’s no feeling like it. What do you fear most? In my personal life it has to be losing the ones I love but like anyone, I try not to think about that. In my professional life, it would be a great shame to find that one day, I no longer enjoy my job. That is a huge fear because a) I don’t ever want that to happen and b) I don’t know what else I would do. What is a happy life to you? A happy life to me is being content in all that I do and being surrounded by those that I love and love me. It’s creating a balance between work and social life and having time to do the things that I enjoy without feeling guilty. Spending time with my fiancé, my best friend and my family are all up there as well as feeling proud of what I’ve achieved in life. I don’t ever want to live with any regrets and hope that my job continues to make me happy. I don’t think many people can say that so I consider myself very lucky. What does a regular day look like for you? A weekday runs from about 7am to 9-11pm. I get up, shower, make the breakfast and lunches for myself and my fiancé, get dressed, brush my teeth and leave for work. First stop is briefing, either whole staff or in departments and then I see my form group. From 08:45-09:00 I spend my time engaging with them on current affairs, numeracy or literacy foci or checking their uniform/organisation. We’ll generally also have what’s called “a bit of banter” before lesson one starts. On an average day, I teach 4 lessons which leaves one “free” lesson to catch up with students/staff or complete assessments or marking. There are 5 lessons a day at CCHS. After the teaching day, I will often have a meeting to attend till 16:30 which could focus on teaching and learning, curriculum and assessment 92
or form tutor. However, when there are no meetings to attend, I will have students attending after school revision. Once completed, I’ll make my way home to start dinner, have a cup of tea and once my fiancé is home and dinner is done, work continues. This could be anything from planning/checking lessons for the following day, writing reports or marking books. After I’ve finished working, I’ll try to spend some time winding down by reading or watching television (Games of Thrones is my new favourite thing!) and then it’s time for bed! Tell us about your dream project. I would absolutely love to lead some training session for teachers, providing them with top tips that have worked for me in the classroom and methods to engage students within languages. I’d love to take this across the country, ultimately with the aim that some of my ideas are incorporated in a variety of schools across the UK. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? My inspiration is my parents. They have always worked so hard to provide me and my brother with the lives we have now and we have never gone without. They’ve demonstrated to us how important it is to work for what you want and to always aim high. My Dad taught me that “if everything was easy, everyone would be doing it” and that has stuck with me forever. It’s true to say that I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for them. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I would like to say innovative, modern and creative. I endeavor to find ways to engage students in lessons that are exciting and new. In addition to this, I’ve led staff training and carried it out in such a way that the responses were “it was the best training yet”. I try not to preach or be old fashioned in approaches and strongly believe that we must move with the times, keeping up to date with what the students like and dislike are and use those to our ad-
vantage within lessons to enthuse them. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? I hate to say it but….my iPhone! It has everything I need: the internet; notes; calendar; camera; apps for teaching and more! What inspires you? This is going to sound really cheesy, but my students. Having the privilege to watch them grow throughout their school years both academically and as a person is something that is unforgettable. You feel for them when they struggle and fill with pride when they finally understand something. You will them to do well and although it’s traditionally the teacher who inspires the student, I believe they inspire us more. They challenge us on a daily basis and their attitude, humour and general demeanour is infectious. They inspire me to continue to better myself. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “The Power of Now” by Ekhart Toll. It has taught me to live for the moment and minimise worries. It helps you to understand how your mind works and how to try and stop overthinking which I think is a concern of many teachers. A definite must-read! Visit Amy’s website
words and why they should matter to you Future You’re surrounded by words, they’re everywhere! In our daily lives, much of our understanding of the world comes from combining different words into sentences, then sentences into meaning – meaning gained from structures and incentives. In this article series, we’ll elegantly run through 7 of the most interesting words people are encountered by, using, listening to and subconsciously making familiar. But should they be familiar, if they aren’t consciously so? This word. Taste it. Future. What is it? How do you think around subjects affecting the future, your future? In terms of how many different aspects, or subjects, or perspectives? How many hours in the “now” do you delegate for tomorrow? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, future is
“: coming after the present time: existing in the future
—used to say what someone or something will be” Are you aspiring to be a psychic? How can anyone possibly say what will happen in the future? How can anyone be sure of it to actually happen? Now, let’s not be paranoid. There are some things of which most of us can be pretty sure, as the fact that
the body seems to be functioning, that you will blink in a few seconds and so on. But it’s about those things in which people invest their time talking about the future or planning for it, which is the most interesting part here. You probably remember being a kid and talking about what you will do in the future, even using the term straight on, like it’s a perfectly clear subject, this future. Maybe you wanted to be a superhero or a doctor or a firefighter or a princess. Or a cowboy. As adulthood smacks everyone in the face, suddenly this future, the relevant time aspect, is very much restrained into being about the next month, or even week. Becoming a princess in the future might be replaced by becoming fit, or going grocery shopping, or whatever other great idea that could easily be pushed towards the future. Far over there. Are you aware of in how many ways you think of the future and spending your present moment on doing so? You’ve got that important meeting next month, a possible
Maybe you wanted to be a superhero or a doctor or a firefighter or a princess. Or a cowboy.
Are you aware of in how many ways you think of the future and spending your present moment on doing so? new business opportunity in seven weeks, a date on Friday and you’ve hired a serious personal trainer to make your fitness awesome. You’ve defined all of those things in the now, in the present moment, but with referring to what will happen in the future. That hot body, yes, you’re getting it ready until Beach 2016. Reading that book, yes, next week. Coffee with someone to talk about all of these future things, sure, let’s go now. To start looking at how people see the future, how they relate to this uncertain, probably upcoming moment of now, is fascinating. There’s a reason why projections, theories, ideas, lists, self-improvement courses, traditions and happenings have evolved and become stronger than ever today. They all focus on what will happen, something that we can look forward to, so as to now bother thinking about the situation of today. Development happens every single day, the future of which many think all happens in that moment of now, and ignoring the “now” for the benefit of what “will” happen in the future doesn’t seem 105
Scr-w all of that.
The future is now. to make much sense. Which, evidently, for most people, is just the case. Does it all sound a bit too abstract? No worries, it’ll clear up in a second. Let’s imagine a person in his thirties and let’s call him Bill. Bill works long hours every week, and not much else gets done. He’s not too happy with his work but hey, at least he earns the money needed for his family. Which is the exact way his wife (Billie) thinks as well. She, too, works like crazy and then they share the picking-up-the-kids routine. As it happens, Bill had an urge to become a pilot before, and he’s got the longest reading list on his computer but without having read one single book yet. Likewise, Billie always worked out a lot and wanted to compete in weight lifting contest, and she also has a reading list which he only opens to add more books “to be read”. In the future, of course. They’re having two kids which they leave and pick up at school, and sometimes they eat together. No one’s really too happy but everything they do is argued to be the right thing because they will have this and that and do this and that in the future.
The future is now. The tons of excuses for staying unhappy isn’t holding it anymore. The future talks, the “we’ll have so much fun on the upcoming vacation” comments and the “quality time with the husband and kids” BS is not that great way of living a life if you think about it. Re-arrange life so that it suits your needs, your family’s needs. When you wake up happy, this is a sign of having started to create the future the way you want it to be. Future in terms of scientific research and all of the possibilities we will have to gain more knowledge about ourselves, the world and the universe. Possible upcoming shifts in technology which may affect the complete way of looking at work and life. Future in terms of being present and aware in the now all of the time, is to actually use the future for something good, even great. Reflecting on what happiness is and what love means and who you are is to be in the now. Being in the now really is what’s defining the “to be” and so simply staying off of the BS is the only thing needed to do to make great things happen.
If it’s this simple, then how come so many people get stuck in that future talk?
Get your inner kid back into the game. If it’s this simple, then how come so many people get stuck in that future talk? The explanation is simple. People tend to turn to certainty in every aspect of life. Certainty, being as real as unicorns, doesn’t happen and thus, only the wish for it exists. Not only that, but certainty as in being something to be expected in the future. External influence keen on affecting this basic urge does so successfully through predicting the future in terms of basically anything ever. But when those predictions are false, that’s when sh-t hits the fan. Chaos, the personal or sometimes local kind, regional and even international depending on the subject of choice. What happens then? People want even more certainty, and the spinning wheel of unicorns is on. As kids, we all dream and think of the future as a magical place where anything’s possible and where we’ll be able to affect the world to be a better place. On every school break and when playing, we’re living that dream in our minds. Then something happens, and many of us replace this way of thinking with disconnecting us from the now, and future from possibilities. Moral of the story? Get your inner kid back into the game.
Don Allen Holbrook
Name: Don Allen Holbrook
around anyone for almost a year.
Where do you live: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I began to work on my first fiction book in 2010 after I returned from Europe with my family.
Known for: Author, Motivational & Keynote Speaker, Economist, Economic Life Coaching Currently working with: Currently I am preparing to release my new block buster fiction novel, “The Ninth Templar- Book One”. This project is designed as a book to documentary and then major motion picture project and I have built out all the three elements to market them one after the other in sequence. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? I took notice of some very interesting mysteries around the Knights Templar Order on a long trip abroad in Europe looking at medieval castles and history. The mystery and conspiracy theory I uncovered fascinated me and I felt it was perfect for my desire to write the kind of action adventure thriller I wished I could read at the news stands. So I decided to write the story I saw in my mind. It has been a blast and very rewarding personally. I have devoted the past six years to the project and quite a large sum of my own monies. I do feel it will all be worth it. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I love the United States, and probably would live on the Pacific coast here but I would also love to spend some time living in Europe, and then Australia and New Zealand, then the Mediterranean islands for a while. But I will always come home to my own country. How would you describe your creativity? I am a realist that has the ability to find the spark or catalyst that takes common and ordinary to extraordinary… I am motivated by making things better and more spectacular and I have a very big imagination. It probably comes from my nearly one year in quarantine as a seven year old child when I caught advanced adult stage of tuberculosis and I survived, but I was unable to be 110
What do you do at the moment? I have written 15 books, and I do economic consulting for businesses on avoiding risk in new business growth and also I do economic life coaching for some pretty well known celebrity clients, CEO’s, and other high wealth folks, I run my own investment fund, and I do about six to ten paid professional speeches a week here in Las Vegas as a Vacation Advocate and financial investment speaker. These things keep me very busy and I am constantly multi-tasking. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Have the mindset that you will fail several times before you get it right, all winners fail they just get up and keep adapting and mitigating the things that cause such setbacks. You have to be willing to invest real money into your dream not ask others to do so if you yourself have not got some serious skin (money) in the game. Then don’t get discouraged stay focused on your goals and set up realistic milestones so you can see progress. Tell us how it all started. Back in 2000 I was at a major conference for Economic Development, I was a major keynote speaker at many of those conferences. I was discussing the best techniques to use in order to grow and rebuild local economies with a group of colleagues on the veranda of the Vinoy Hotel in St. Petersburg Florida. I noticed that even at that late hour nearly midnight I had a large contingent of my colleagues sitting around listening to my tales and explanations of how to do it. I puffed on one of my favorite cigars and a thought struck me, why not just write an expose on how to do all this secret technique stuff rather than retell the story at every conference. It gets really old having to
tell everyone at every conference a brain dump of my knowledge. So I looked up and around the veranda and announced, “Well folks, I think I am going to write a book and put all this and everything I know and can think of into the book and just share it with everyone.” I figured I might as well get paid for sharing and it sounded a lot easier than retelling these stories at every conference. Everyone laughed and said, come on really… Then I said, yep and I think it will be awesome. My first book became the #1 Best Seller in the Economic Development Industry world wide for over four years in a row and now is in it’s Second Revised and Updated Edition and still sells like hotcakes every year. That was 15 books ago. My most recent non-fiction book, “The Next America-thriving and Surviving in an Unpredictable Economy-published 2014 was the #1 Best Seller on Amazon over the summer of 2015 and stayed in the top ten summer books most of the summer and well into the fall. So at this point after ten years of writing as an author, I finally have a fairly solid audience base, but it took a decade and lots of hard work on social media and with many friends assistance as well. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The ability to have a professional, clean and pleasant surrounding so I can focus on my own creative outlet. I love people but get annoyed when I am interrupted while writing. What is your favorite film? That’s a tough one… I have a six pack… First ARN the Templar, The Original Director Uncut Version of The Highlander, Da Vinci Code, Indiana Jones all of them, and the Bourne Supremacy series of films and I love all James Bond films. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Wow… I have been fortunate to have had dinner with many very well known people over my life, a couple of Presidents, Movie Stars, and Professional Athletes. I would love
to invite Warren Buffet to Dinner and have a few others there as well such as Colin Powell, and Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg and for entertainment I would invite Donny and Marie. Of course for some comedy it would be Billy Crystal and Steve Martin. Now that would be a dinner party that I would love to host. How do you like to spoil yourself? I love to get a hot towel shave with a straight razor, then a pedicure (no painted toes) just the foot massage. I also will have a great cigar and a great port wine at the end of the evening and reflect on my journey and what is ahead. My big rewards are normally art (customized and commissioned to my own desire), a great sports car, and I love exotic and historical adventure travel and staying in luxury hotels. I love to take the train around places and sightsee and eat like the locals. What is luxury for you? Time to relax and have no driving agenda or timeline for several days in a row where I can just chill and relax or chillax as my kids say. It’s nice if you can do that somewhere interesting, beautiful and remote as well. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I have had several people give me a very similar comment; “Your work changed how I looked at everything and made huge obstacles seem very easy to overcome. I reread it all the time because I continuously learn new ways to be better at my job and produce better results because of how you taught us to keep it simple and just fly the mission. It moved me and has positively changed my life.” (paraphrased) There is no higher compliment to an author than to hear that your words touched another person in such a way. What do you fear most? That I will not have the time I need on this planet to do and see all the things I really still want to do… My list just keeps getting longer. 111
What is a happy life to you? Spending time with my family and friends and just socializing and enjoying good conversation probably poolside and grilling.
Knowing that my effort will help others get their own financial growth and personal economic satisfaction and improve their own quality of life.
What does a regular day look like for you? Non-stop crazy… Up in the morning have my coffee, take my youngest to school go to the strip in Las Vegas set up auditorium and check my equipment and do my first 65 minute show by 8:30 and then another near or just after noon. Then I head back to my office usually with a honey do list from my wife and land at my office and do more of my client work or I go to a client meeting. Back to school to pick up my son after his sports and then home for dinner. He does home work and I do my client work. I try to respond to all texts and emails and phone calls during the day when I am free so they don’t pile up on me. After we both finish and if my wife is home we either watch a great movie with popcorn or do something as a family. Then a few minutes on the back deck to maybe have a night cap and possibly a cigar while My wife chats with me about her day and then off to bed to start it all over gain.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “The Templar Legacy” by Steve Berry and Vince Flynn (late) Term Limits. So it would be a tie. Their characters and writing style inspired me to write and develop my own.
Tell us about your dream project. I am working on it right now the Ninth Templar is my dream project. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I love the stoic strong strength of John Wayne coupled with the smooth savvy fashionable James Bond (Connery) and for business (Steve Jobs and I like Jeb Bush, he is a real straight shooter and brilliant but focused on realistic and ethical behavior to restore financial integrity to America). How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I am a complete blend of all of this. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My family. What inspires you? 112
Connect with Don via LinkedIn
What’s th “sublimi and why How you ever found yourself to do things which you didn’t quite reflect on too much? You went to a store to maybe get a sweater, and then you found yourself buying more than that one, plus a pair of shoes? Or waiting in a long line to file a complaint, getting there all furious but when it finally becomes your turn at the desk, you don’t feel frustrated at all but quite the opposite? However conscious we all try to be about our own behavior and emotional states, there seems to be a rather huge part of us which we don’t know much about yet. Like this subliminal perception thing.
What if your behavior in specific cases seems like something you wouldn’t even consider thinking about, yet of which someone else has? What if some corporate interests live on healthy and happy by using customers’ subconscious state in order to sell stuff? Like, a lot of stuff. What if that happened? As it seems to be the case, many marketing strategies point out in that particular direction, to present products or services in order to make customers want them without being able to define why that is the case. Think about it – you go to the store to get some milk, and there are 10 different brands to choose from. Everything else about this milk is absolutely the same, the brand being the one thing to separate them from each other. Now, you’ll go for one of them for a reason. What’s that reason? Try being honest with yourself and you’ll be surprised by the answer. If something affects your decision making directly, wouldn’t you want to be aware of it? The impact that certain sounds have on our behavior, or how visual images awoke a set of emotional states or how someone’s voice calms us down, these are all
hat little sucker inal perception” would you care? important things. Imagine having to listen to someone speaking about a fantastic subject, yet despite that you feel that you’re getting more and more tired as the presentation continues. Often, nobody reflects on why this happens, but if you think about the tone of voice of that person, that might be the answer. Some people have the ability to speak in a tone of voice which could make anyone sleepy, regardless of the subject. This is our subconscious reaction to external influence. Communication is a complex way of transferring information and it involves several ways of interaction. The subconscious one being highly relevant to people because as more and more individuals turn to external explanations in order to avoid dealing with their inner issues. The subconscious reactions thus become a source of information portrayed in often obvious reactions in real time, revealing underlying thoughts and prejudice at its core. Basically, however much we’d all like to think that we’re walking around with awareness and consciousness gone Buddha-style, we’re probably, well, not.
Let’s check out yet another beautiful example – imagine that you’re a hot chick holding an administrative service post. A client approaches and she too is a hot chick. You suddenly get chills down your spine because you’re expecting a bitchy attitude accompanied with complaints and a little bit of jealousy to go with that. As she’s approaching you, you’re met with a big, friendly smile and kind attitude, even with a few honest compliments given to you. Every bad feeling about this meeting suddenly disappears and you’re a happy woman again. What’s that all about? The subconscious reaction. The eloquent example above is about prejudice indeed, maybe due to previous experience, but without the awareness. You, being the hot chick, don’t necessarily stay aware of your reactions and mindset in that very moment as it happens, but you get somewhat aware of it as soon as your initial reactions were met with a surprising response. After such an encounter, you might even reflect deeper about what just happened, and figure out that both of the subconscious reactions occurring in response to her were in fact due to a false
perception you had. Yet another way of describing it is through micro expressions, the teeny weeny physical reactions people show in different situations, but only for a very short moment. Most of these reactions are rather difficult to pick up because of them being showcased so quickly, but they nevertheless affect people interacting on a subconscious level. As you speak with someone and this person is being dishonest or has some weird intentions, you’ll most likely sense it without being able to explain it all in a better way than “I don’t know, it was just something about him/her”. So, why would you care about this thing? Well, being encouraged to buy things without knowing about this is an infringement of personal space, and nobody likes that. If being aware of this subliminal impact being used on a daily basis, then your decisions will be based less on that influence and more on your own personal choice. Large corporations and anyone else in need of marketing education might want to read up on this phenomenon as well, since it’s widely used in various campaigns world-
wide. If you’re a politician, you’ve got some serious game to learn here – using this form of communication for own propaganda could never be wrong, could it? Anyone has got something to learn when speaking of the subconscious and how it affects people, both individually and as a group. Discreet, subliminal influence happens, and as described it’s very possible to use these small, subconscious tools to achieve great things. You could easily use your influence with people in order to inspire actions in your community, on your workplace, between people in general or in any other creative setting. Also, staying aware of the unaware impact others have on you, especially when there are plain mean or financial incentives behind these interactions, is pretty awesome. In addition to that, working on your awareness and observing human behavior to learn the depth by which we all actually communicate is quite an experience and will make the most boring queue fun. Have you tried out to influence someone to do great things, or be a little happier?
Communication is a complex way of transferring information and it involves several ways of interaction.
Paul James Merchant
Name: Paul James Merchant Where do you live: Essex, UK Known for: Make-up Artistry Currently actual with: Kryolan Professional Make-up When did you realize that you were going to work with this? When I started work at Kryolan 10 years ago, before that I had no intention of being a make-up artist. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Planet Earth :-) - I know that’s cheating slightly but I couldn’t restrict myself to one single country. I love travelling and it’s a huge part of my job. How would you describe your creativity? I’m very much inspired by all types of creative media. Film, photography, books, design, music. So I suppose my creativity is encouraged through fantasy. It’s also experimental at times. I like to mix make-up genres together rather than stick inside just beauty or just sfx. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I started to actually play around with makeup for the first time when I joined Charles Fox, now Kryolan UK, around 10 years ago. What do you do at the moment? I have just finished our latest campaign shot with photographer Camille Sanson. It’s inspired by the Greek mythology story of Persephone. It’s the cover feature in Make-up International Magazine, which is released in November. I’m also about to start on X Factor on Julia Carta’s team for the live shows. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Don›t lose the passion for the art, if it ever becomes secondary then change direction. Be loyal and stay true to yourself. 122
Tell us how it all started. I majored in Theatre and Film directing at University, part of my course was learning about lighting and how make-up works on camera. I loved the idea of how you can build and create characters with makeup, the initial interest started there. I took a position with Kryolan in their Covent Garden store, just working in the shop. Then I started playing with the products and teaching myself basically. It was never intended for me to join the pro team. I was so extremely lucky to have been offered so many opportunities and then started to develop my own style. 10 years later I’m head of makeup in the UK. It’s crazy how it all happened and lead to this point. I’ve loved every second of it. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Lighting, without the correct lighting my job is very difficult. Plus a strong creative team. Oh and coffee! What is your favorite film? Oh no!!!! I hate this question, I can never choose when asked these types of questions. I love so many films for completely different reasons. Anything by Baz Luhrmann I instantly fall in love with. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My friends and family. Doing this kind of work doesn’t allow for much of a social life. Haha How do you like to spoil yourself? I love interior design, so buying things for my home is something I love to do. What is luxury for you? Not having to get up before 8am! What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I received a message on Facebook to say that this lady had been so inspired by my work that she had quit her office job and went back to college to study make-up. That was incredibly flattering.
What do you fear most? Sharks. I have an overwhelming fear of them, I have no idea where it comes from.
Connect with Paul via LinkedIn
What is a happy life to you? A good work/Life balance is important. Being paid for doing something I love is pretty cool too! What does a regular day look like for you? What’s is a regular day? I think that›s what I love most about my job. Nearly everyday is different. I travel a lot in my profession and have worked all over the World experiencing new cultures, food and art. At this stage I can’t imagine I would ever want my days to become a regular routine. Tell us about your dream project. I would love to work on a Baz Luhrmann film. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? There are many artists I admire, Alexander McQueen is a huge inspiration for me. But in terms of a role model, I think everyone should make their own journey through. I wouldn’t want to follow someone else’s path. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Work hard, play hard. Generally relaxed and calm, I’m surrounded by a great team that make every project enjoyable. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Love What inspires you? I get inspiration from so many different sources. People inspire me mainly. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? The Kryolan make-up Manual. It was my first education in make-up. I learnt all the basics from there and that was the basis of my education. It was written by its founder Arnold Langer. 123
Name: Armin Vit Where do you live: Austin, TX, USA Known for: Mostly for our blog on corporate and brand identity changes, Brand New. Also for our network of blogs and ventures called UnderConsideration. Currently actual with: UnderConsideration LLC When did you realize that you were going to work with this? When I decided to quit my full-time job at Pentagram (and my wife hers at Addison) and start our own business, working from home so that we could spend more time with our kid. (Now two of them). We had to figure out a way to make things work without clients. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I would be fine staying in Austin. I don’t like big change, so that would be my main reason why: to not go through the change of a city. How would you describe your creativity? By brute force. I look for combinations until one looks and feels right. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? For a long time. But soon I plan on not taking it as seriously : ) What do you do at the moment? Planning our Brand New Conference. Coming up with fun side projects. Figuring out how to keep doing this without clients. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Have 6 months worth of expenses saved in the bank, then just do it. If it works out, great; if not you can try it out for 3-4 months before having to look for an escape plan. Tell us how it all started. With the big bang. Unless you mean our 136
business, then it’s a series of events that started by having steady jobs for about 5-6 years, learning as much as we could from them, dabbling in side projects at nights and on weekends, then allowing those projects to take over and become our steady job. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? A strong wi-fi connection. What is your favorite film? Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day. Groundhog Day. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Comedian Louis CK, because there is no one funnier than him. How do you like to spoil yourself? Cheap milk chocolate. What is luxury for you? Expensive milk chocolate. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I don’t know if it was the nicest but it was the most surprising. I was invited many years ago before I was more “famous” to do a talk at a small design school in Venice. At least three teachers wanted to talk to me in-depth about an article — titled “The Blogucation of a Graphic Designer — I had written in a book and they considered it to be an important and significant proposition. I found it encouraging that things I wrote could be taken seriously across the other side of the pond. What do you fear most? People getting bored of seeing my name pop up. And snakes. What is a happy life to you? Answering really long interviews : ) A happy life is a life where you can relax
even though there are stressful situations. When you feel like you have things in control no matter how weird those things are. If you are at peace with the unexpectedness of life and work, then you can be happy. What does a regular day look like for you? Wake up at 5:00. Write a Brand New post. Get kids ready to school. Take kids to school. Go for a run (anywhere between 3 and 10 miles). Work from 9:00 to 12:00, eat lunch. Work from 12:45 to 6:00. Cook dinner, hang out with kids, put kids to sleep. Answer emails from 8:00 to 9:00 pm. Maybe do some more work, maybe watch TV. In bed by 10:00 pm. Tell us about your dream project. There is no such thing. Every project can be great, every project can be shit. You make your own project a dream. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Louis CK. Not only is he the funniest person, he knows how to make money off of being the funniest person. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion/style, or both, or something entirely different)? Bold. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My reading glasses. I wouldn’t be able to see. What inspires you? I don’t believe in inspiration. If anything, I call it “Looking at a ton of shit that I may copy later in my own way”. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Garfield. The entire comic collection. That’s part of how I learned English as well as sarcasm. Check out Armin’s awesome website
Solid attitudes, big talks
the knowit-all judging of other people 148
We’re a pretty complicated species, and as beautiful and deep that might sound theoretically written on a paper, it’s not always as sunny IRL. Wherever we go and whoever we meet, people will be taking every chance to express themselves – through appearance, tech accessories, foods, language and attitude. This is what we’ve always been doing, so how could such a thing be anything but awesome? Well, hear us out on this one. Have you ever found yourself consciously judging another fellow human being, let’s say whilst on the metro, just because you happened to notice the iPad she was holding onto? If that’s what caught your eye first, whatever next it is that you’re looking at on that person will only confirm what you stated from that first object. Now, as we all know, you’re either pro or against all things Apple, and this is where the story begins. Have a look inside, take a moment and give it away to gain some mindfulness. On what device do you listen to music? Is that a device used for listening to music, or does it have other functions too (i.e. is it a cellphone)? Oh no, don’t stop there. Let’s move on. What color is this thing, and how is that related to what you had for breakfast, what kind of coffee you drink or with which political party you share the most interest? How does this holiness of a device make you a better person? How does it tell whether you’re living alone, whether you’re in a relationship or not, or whether you spend more money on a haircut than on your clothes? How does it say anything about whether you read books or not, and what kind of books that most likely would be? How does it let the people around you know if you’ve got any skills in leadership, mathematics or video games? How does that little device tell if you’ve got big dreams, or if you’re waking up every day with a clear goal in mind, something which you’re working very hard to achieve? You’ve probably guessed it by now, because it doesn’t say shit about any of these
things whatsoever, not even a little. Yet, it’s so easy to assume a whole personality of someone else, by simply observing one little object, whichever it might be. What most often happens is that people live those situations several times every day, selectively observing and judging and categorizing, without any point to it. Also, there’s a chance of a surprising situation occurring as well, as in the case of when you see this selected subject which you’re observing, actually turning out to be the opposite of your every judgment. Now, has that ever happened to you? The next thing that happens is even more fascinating. Suddenly, this wonderful new world of people actually being nice most of the time has made your day. You’ll walk over to wherever you’re going and maybe even tell someone that you met a really nice person today. In the same tone which you would have used, had you just been winning a gazillion dollars and met an alien from outer space. That kind of tone. After the rush, which might hold onto you for a whole set of hours, you’ll get back to where you started, once again observing, looking, judging. Almost everyone is doing this, and this naturally means that judging happens most of the time, on all sides at all times. You yourself are probably also consciously choosing some parts of your expressive self, whether it is your clothes or choice of words, or anything else. It could be anything and everything. The difference is that in this very process of choosing, regardless of the level of consciousness, is a personal interpretation of what it means to be you in terms of all of that. It doesn’t per se mean that all people around you will immediately know anything about your personal preferences but what is visually expressed.
how fun is it when people talk to you and you can see that they already know it all (even though this all is wrong), and there’s basically no way for you to change their view? In everyday situations like meeting someone on the metro, that’s probably not a big issue, but when meeting someone professionally, it could very well lead to a load of unwanted outcomes solely based on those initial interpretations. As all form of communication indicates several parties in some form of exchanging information, paying a teeny-weeny bit of attention to your own attitude can mean the difference between total failure and fantastic success. By the way, this goes for life as well as business. Listening more than talking is one simple way of making sure that great things happen. On the other side of the table there are big talks, often revealing a giant set of self-conscience issues and well, that’s something to work on in an appropriate setting – which is not a dinner with the family or a business meeting. Ever. People are different, they have various hobbies, preferences and are annoyed by several different forms of behavior – often highly depending on the timing of that particular behavior. Creating a worldview in which you know what a person is like based on one of their tattoos, tech stuff, clothes or language is just a self-deceiving method of creating a space in which you’ll be very wrong about everything. All of the time. So stop for a sec and chill. Shake all of those pre-defined models of human beings and their whole existence off, and simply observe without judging, even interact – without judging. Try it out, pretty great things will happen. Do you stay aware of your own judging of other people based on not-that-much?
Why’s this a thing? Because when it comes down to misunderstanding someone and then acting based on that misunderstanding, or misinterpretation, things might go a bit wrong. Likewise, 149
Name: Elaine France Where do you live: In Verbier, Switzerland Known for: Connecting people of all ages to their incredible and particular blend of creativity. For me this means their ideas, how they problem-solve, how they continue to learn and move forward in a way that is fulfilling and makes them happy. Taking action on that creativity is their life purpose, it is who they are and keeps evolving. It is the source of their resilience for overcoming life’s challenges. I connect people to their creative thinking capacity in a holistic way that connects them to love as the ultimate disruptive innovation. Currently working with: I am currently working on a whole host of things which are all connected by creativity, resilience and innovation. I coach women and girls as change-makers to reconnect with their spectacular creativity and use it in the way that they want to, in order to make a difference in ways that are meaningful to them. I also teach students in international schools from ‘Information to Innovation’: knowing how to research, knowing the cycle of idea creation and iteration so that they stop worrying about failure and realise that this is simply part of the process of learning; and understanding what innovation is, so that they know how to take action and turn something into reality. I also teach this process to other teachers, so that they explicitly understand the creative cycle and know how to create the space within what they do to empower students. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? I had lived and worked in London for a very long time. About 6 years ago, I started listening to the voice inside that was telling me to head to the mountains. What I felt whenever I was in the mountains, was in fact everything I was trying to convey in terms of my methodology being reflected back to me by my experiences there. From 152
taking that step, I started to be able put the words and experiences into place that articulated what I was feeling and thinking. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Where I live now because it acts as a constant source of inspiration for me. Being in the mountains, from taking a walk or sitting quietly, connects me to their universal truths and wisdoms. I wouldn’t mind a bigger apartment though :) How would you describe your creativity? Sometimes like butterflies and sometimes like mosquitoes. I am constantly generating ideas which is fun but also can be distracting and exhausting, because there isn’t enough time in each day to turn them into reality. I have learned different strategies to find focus and concentrate my creative energy to complete things rather than leave everything half finished. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I sat down in a weekend in May about 4 years ago and wrote and wrote and wrote until the methodology was out of my head and onto paper. I have been tweaking it ever since as I learn new things, plus working with clients always opens up new insights within me that I explore and reflect on. What do you do at the moment? I’m in the middle of running my group online course called The Moving Mountains Course for Women, which is all about using mountain wisdom to connect back to your creativity so that you can find your life direction. Also, as part of my portfolio, I teach Creativity & Innovation Thinking in an international school each week. I am doing 1-1 coaching with some amazing women. I’m refreshing my ski instructor credentials just before Christmas. I am writing a self-help book about my methodology. I like to keep a few plates spinning! A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business?
Believe in your particular blend of magic crafted from your unique experience. Be open to learning and enhancing your creativity. Figure out who your audience is and make sure that they have the money to buy it...or find someone to buy it for them. You can’t fully serve people if people aren’t buying your products. Learn how to sell. Your creativity is your life purpose, so don’t let it sit in a room gathering dust, make sure that you get it out there in all sorts of different ways. Make sure you protect your intellectual property. Don’t wait for things to be perfect, get started today! Tell us how it all started. Falling over. I went skiing and started to realise that who I was on the mountain, when I would fall and pick myself up and learn some more, was how I wanted to approach life off the mountain too. There is a saying among snow-sports people, “If you are not falling, then you are not learning”. I began to explore and understand creativity from learning movement. From there, it all started to unfold. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? I need light to be able to work well. I am very lucky to be able to walk out of the back door and into the mountains to be in wide open spaces, so I will often go and work outside when I am writing or mind mapping an idea. What is your favorite film? Given that the new Star Wars film is released, this will sound very cliché. However, the original Star Wars film would be it. I was taken to see it when I was 6 or 7 years old. We lived in Zambia and I remember sitting there and feeling my heart explode. The essence of the light side and good triumphing over darkness has been a core theme in my life ever since. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I would invite Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the positive psychologist renown for identifying Flow...the pure energy of creating. I would want to hear all he has to say about Flow.
I would love to have the opportunity to have him as a captive audience to share my thoughts with him too and get his feedback. How do you like to spoil yourself? I am spoiled every day by the view and being in the mountains. In addition though, I can’t resist buying Moleskin Notebooks for writing in. What is luxury for you? Just taking time out for me to ski or walk and to lose myself in simply being on the mountain. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? It is always a compliment when a client makes progress and trusts themselves to take action. A moment that was really special recently was after I did some creative storytelling work with a class of 10 year olds. We were making the story up as we went, one sentence per person at a time. It was my strategy to get them to break their self-imposed rules on how the story could evolve, so that they practised idea creation. They were brilliant and afterwards, some of them came up to me and said, ‘That was the best lesson ever!’ Really special to hear it. What do you fear most? That I am not making enough positive impact in the world. I fear that people are losing their self-compassion and their compassion. Both of these things are fundamental disruptive innovators. Kindness cultivates creativity not isolationism. What is a happy life to you? Coaching and teaching people to be connected to their creativity, to believe in it and sit at the table of life and have the confidence to take action and speak their truth. What does a regular day look like for you? There are no regular days but an ideal day involves: walking, biking or skiing, then coaching or teaching and finally having a 153
roast dinner with good friends. Tell us about your dream project. Running an annual conference in the mountains for women and girls which brings together all of the women who move mountains, to learn from and inspire each other to go back into their communities of change and rock it! That would be wonderful. To see all of that creativity in action and what it would then go on to turn into in terms of positive impact. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Blimey. Tough question. There are many people who have been positive role models in my life. I have been very lucky. I am going to choose an amazing lady called Julie Dent CBE, who I met when I was working in the public sector in London and also doing government advisory work. She has held Chief Executive roles within the health sector and the probation sector. I have been fortunate enough to be mentored by her and her advice is always invaluable. Her skill as a leader is phenomenal. Her passion and compassion for the people she serves is awe-inspiring. She nurtures the best in everyone she meets and I aspire to make the positive impact that she has made and continues to make. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I love to research and understand the theory behind why things happen, so there is a real element of academic in there. I like to humanise the theory and connect to the reality of people’s lives, emotions and motivations. It is the “why” of people taking action in empowering and disempowering ways that fascinates me. I want people to make as much positive impact as possible doing what they love to do in ways that are meaningful to them. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Aside from the obvious like friends and family, it has to be mountains. 154
What inspires you? The infinite spark of creativity I see in people. I love seeing that rule-breaking creativity in kids. When I help someone to reconnect with their unique creativity, it is such a privilege. To see them put down their ‘baggage’ and start taking action in ways that are meaningful to them gives me energy and always makes me want to do more. A bluebird day in the mountains, makes me see the world from an incredible height, as well as notice the small details so that I hone in on the universal truths in front of me. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “The Manual of the Warrior of Light” by Paolo Coelho. At a time in my life when I had experienced a great hurt, this book kept popping up everywhere until I finally took the hint and bought it. I read it in one evening in a greedy read, then started it again the next day to absorb more of it. It was very healing just when I needed it. More than that, it never ceases to encourage me to walk deeper into myself, in a way that empowers me to walk out into the world and help others. Check out Elaine’s website
The age complex
why it’s a big turd and how to make it disappear The whole rhetoric related to age has been a long discussed question. At times, people have been judging each other’s intelligence by solely looking at if this particular individual was of older age or not. Likewise, the younger generation had to look at the older ones for advice and information of all sorts, with an underlying understanding of the connection between age and intelligence. If you’re a bit older, were you a complete idiot as a young wo/ man? Probably not – so what’s all of this really about?
So you’re not very smart because you’ve only lived for 25 years? Right, because everyone over 50 today is Einstein, making sure that this planet goes in the right direction. Really? Or the other way around, you think that you’re really not that intelligent as you should be at your age, something which stops you from talking much about basically anything other than, well, small talk? When you’re looking for a job, is your age an advantage or disadvantage? These questions, together with hundreds of other ones are being asked by many people around the world every day, all of them directly related to something of which nobody has any power – our age. Have you come across someone who is in an age which allows for this association, this intense belief that as anyone reaches the age of 50, s/he is by definition intelligent? Even more so, s/he is also by definition more intelligent than younger people and has the right to express this intelligence loudly and intensely, as s/he wishes? Of course, this is very far from being relevant to all people in their fifties and above, but this small group is surely taking every possible chance to be heard and seen. Now, if you’ve ever met one of these people, you have to ask them one single question. Were they idiots as young, in order to have evolved to this never-before seen unit of pure intelligence? They will probably answer with a “no” and there you have it – so they were smart as young too? Hm.
suggesting to your 80 years old grandpa to become a body builder be such a bad thing? Because he’s lived for so long and therefore can only do what is usually expected from people of that age? Really? In accordance with all of this then, does it mean that a 26-year old Doctor in Philosophy is less intelligent and has less to say about philosophy than a person who is 40? All of these questions show in such a simple way that these age-related expectations and assumptions are just a bunch of stupid BS ideas packed into a big shiny gift box. The age complex? It’s a turd. It’s smelly. To be sure to note the ridiculous nuance within this subject – have a look at kids. Kids are very creative people who can find thousands of ways in which to express all of that, eventually evolving a set of skills within whichever field they find to be interesting. Are they less smart than adults? Is that because they don’t bother about paying bills or is it because they don’t need a dose of any specific substance in order to stay awake one whole day? For some inexplicable reason, they seem to actually enjoy their day, every single one of them. That must be the very basis for what it means to become and be smart. Now, why are people so bothered by age then?
A lot of it has to do with tradition of course, accompanied by the values which were created in a time when there was a small As the various issues concerning age might group of people who had access to infornot be relevant to some people, others may plan their lives in accordance with that mation of any kind. Those times are long of which their age would imply. Why would gone, and today there’s really no need to
Easily put â€“ throw the age complex turd in the trash bin and get out and try out new, fun things!
even think of your age when considering to apply for a job, meeting people, trying out a new hobby or becoming a body builder. Creative people in general have always known that age is just a way of counting how many spins around the sun one human being has experienced, nothing more and nothing less. In practice, this means that in any form of meeting, there will be people of all ages with all sorts of backgrounds and stories and educational and professional experiences and hobbies, all of which tells absolutely nothing about whether someone is smart or not. Therefore, allowing a thing like a particular age to stop you from achieving your dreams, reading books, watching movies, learning new things, failing massively and so on – it’s what all people need to let themselves do. Creating some sort of self-restricting behavior with the argument of being too old to try out new things, or too young to express your ideas to the world – that doesn’t hold it any more, those days are long gone.
Why is there even a need for this constant arguing of why an adult chooses to suddenly learn how to draw, or fly an airplane, or go for a degree in some fun field? There’s no such thing as excusing your behavior if your behavior is going to add any form of value to you. Either you’re making the choice to learn, to be open-minded and to question your own worldviews, or you don’t. End. Of. Story. If you did this as a kid, you’ll probably do this as an adult and older adult as well. Suddenly realizing the depth by which culture or a certain political ideology has impacted your own worldviews is yet another one. Being ready to admit to be wrong, is another one. There are thousands of other ways as well, and all of them are applicable at any age. Easily put – throw the age complex turd in the trash bin and get out and try out new, fun things! Have you ever found that because of your age, you weren’t able to pursue something new and creative?
Name: Jane Shoenfeld Where do you live: Santa Fe, New Mexico Known for: I’m known as a pastel artist who works with very vibrant color, also as a gifted and adventurous teacher of art, and also as an art therapist who offers nontraditional trainings to mental health professionals. All of the areas in which I work are based on my love of nature. Currently working with: I began a project two years ago with my husband Donald Levering who is a poet. We both focus on the environment in our work. I began creating abstract pastels in response to his non didactic poetry about global climate change and species degradation. He is also writing poetry in response to my art. Two of the pieces I have submitted to your publication are in response to specific poems. I have also been working with extreme horizontal formats, as a way of challenging my orientation to bottom middle and top in the landscape. I am interested in how my body feels in relation to the spaces I create in my work and love being in the expanded space of an extended horizontal. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? I began working with pastels many years ago. For several years, I worked from dreams, then I came back to working from what I could perceive with my eyes and spent a number of years working on representational still lives. I found that I needed an expanded space – rather than the box of the still life, and started working from the landscape. Now I need an even more expanded space and have let go of traditional landscape perspective and the orientation of foreground, middle ground and background, to move into nature based abstract work that I create in my studio and that I described above. Gradually I have reintegrated other modes of perception back into the work I do, (i.e. visual perception, perception based on the other senses, perception based on an emotional response 168
to what is being seen and experienced, etc; hence my interest in the haptic way of perceiving (relating to how the body experiences space, shape, etc) All of my work for the last 35 years has been an exploration of these themes. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I’ve gone thru the review of where else I might live in the USA and in my review as well as in my open ended fantasies, I keep ending up back in Santa Fe. The sunlight and the easy access to wilderness, the creative community, the liberal political bubble, great movies, the ease of getting around. But I love returning to NYC where I lived for over 25 years, I love the way I walk everywhere in NYC. I wish I could walk everywhere. I am so grateful that I can walk. My husband and I recently walked the Ceredigeon Trail on the SW Coast of Wales. I was in heaven, surrounded by magenta, chartreuse, and deep green growth, as far as I could see and then on our left, the openness of the Irish Sea.... And some of my happiest times are when I am back along the ocean shore, walking alone on the shore, picking up shells and sea glass, the horizon bending. Growing up I spent my summers at my aunts, in Hampton Bays, our days were at the beach. So perhaps in another lifetime, lived within an appropriate income level, I would have the ocean at my door. But Santa Fe works for me. I always am happy to come home. The space in Santa Fe is expansive. The landscape has both sensual form and spiritual expansiveness. How would you describe your creativity? It is my essence. It is both childlike and serious. It is explorative, analytic, and risk taking. As an artist, I prefer to work alone. I don’t like painting in groups. But I am also a teacher, and I am always demonstrating different aspects of making art in front of other people. And sometimes I make terrific work this way. But really, for me the process of making my art is both fragile and deep. I don’t want to be disturbed by anyone else’s
energy when I am making my work. And then, here is the opposite side of my creativity - I am an amazing facilitator of groups. It is another kind of creativity, where I am totally present to the content being explored by the group, to the needs and the energy both of the group and the individuals in it, and at the same connected to what I am hired to teach, and the best way to get that across. Whether I am teaching art therapists about ethics, or artists about abstraction, I am always working on a number of levels at once. The same with my art, a number of levels at once. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I worked as a graphic designer in publishing for about 10 years after I graduated from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn with a BFA - Then I went back to school and got a masters degree in art therapy, I also began a new body of artwork based on dreams. After a few years of that I went back to working from what I could see again and continued to develop my skills both in my medium of pastel and also in my ability to paint what I see. I worked as an art therapist in a mental hospital, while I was painting still lifes at night. The dissonance at the psychiatric hospital was balanced by the STILL lifes. I began to show my work in NYC and after about 8 years of working as an art therapist in the day, and as a fine artist all the rest of the time, I decided to shift the balance and got my hours at the hospital reduced. I began getting into artist residencies and galleries and I began to realize that I needed more space in many levels and I began to look for somewhere to live outside of NYC. I feel in love with the SW and moved here. I made the transition from still life to landscape and from the dense space of the city to the open space of the SW. Gradually I began to develop a way of making a living that was a combination of sales of my art and teaching. Although I taught on contract at the College of Santa Fe, I turned down opportunities for
a more significant role in academia, I preferred to work for myself. In the mid 90’s I started a business called Art Adventures in the SW that has been quite successful. I analyzed what the need was here in Santa Fe, and decided that three hour classes for visitors with all materials supplied would meet the need of the tourist driven industry here. I researched a day of the week when most visitors would be able to take a part of their day for a creative activity. I love the people I meet thru these classes – people who choose art as a way of spending their three to five days of visiting Santa Fe. I also developed a number of courses for mental health professionals (including but not limited to art therapists) that meet the requirements of the professional licensing boards, but give mental health professionals the opportunities to earn their continuing education requirements by being creative and connecting to nature. One of my most successful courses has been The Ethics of Nature. Mental Health Professionals are required to take courses in Ethics, so I followed the same business model, which was offering something for which I knew there was a need. I have very much enjoyed the intellectual and interactive nature of the creativity involved in these businesses. Since my early 30’s, I have never done anything that I did not feel was creative and I have always felt connected to whatever I was doing to make my living; however there is a drain, particularly as I grow older, and that is is all the support activities necessary to keep all this going. All the emails, all the web presence, all the selling of oneself in various modes. I do it all. I do have assistants when I am teaching large workshops, but all the preparation and outreach I do myself. What do you do at the moment? Now I am cutting way back on all of my teaching, I want to use the energy for support activities towards supporting my own art work and getting it out there in as many ways as I can. I am less driven by financial need now, I have some financial support I did not have before, and I am spending more and more time in my studio and also
using my business sense for my own art work rather than for all the teaching. I want to keep teaching, because I love it, but I am cutting back on how much time is involved. I am also taking a look at how to schmooze and still be myself. I am not a big schmoozer, and that kind of networking really is a part of the business end of life for a fine artist. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Analyze where there is a need and look for what you can do that is your special gift and strength. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Space, storage, wall space What is your favorite film? Ohh, so many... I love films. I don’t watch TV, so I love to read and watch films. A favorite is a Buddhist themed Korean film, totally centured around nature and the seasons of life within the metaphor of the seasons of nature .... Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring is the title . Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? A few times we have had big parties outside and it is too much work to do it very often. How do you like to spoil yourself? Oh, big ways and little ways. Getting my nails and my toes done, in pretty colors, like sparkly turquoise. Going to a place in nature that I love and wandering around without any goals. Days of this, and then painting. What is luxury for you? Going to a place in nature that I love and wandering around without any goals. Days of this, and then painting. What do you fear most? I don’t think I am a particularly fearful person... But, I don’t easily get a good night’s sleep. I manage, have different strategies 170
so that I do not walk around sleep deprived too often. But when I do, it is as if I am moving through a bleary, heavy, underwater realm. I hate being sleep deprived. So I guess what I would fear the most is not being able to sleep. Also I love to dream, I know that dreaming is an important part of my creative process, so not being able to sleep deprives me of a significant connection to my creativity. What is a happy life to you? Getting up, writing for a while (I am also a published poet) focusing the day on my art in the studio, taking a beautiful walk on an evening when the light is long. Sometimes walking by myself, sometimes with my husband. I love being with my husband and we both like to walk. A visit with a dear woman friend at least once a week. I also love being alone in nature and another happy time is when I am painting en plain air. When I am situated somewhere, for instance, in Cuidad Colon, at the Artist Colony in Costa Rica, and I am up on the mountain, day after day, further and further I go into the leaves, into the energy, the colors, the nature of the wild banana leaves in the wild banana plantation on top of a small mountain. That is happiness! What does a regular day look like for you? Not too different from a happy life, really, I am very lucky. Except when I am sleep deprived or have too much list work to do. Tell us about your dream project. I am working on a series of large pastel paintings related to poetry by my husband, poet Donald Levering. These paintings and poems are in response to global climate change, species degradation and also human rights. The titles of the paintings are lines from the poetry. The exhibit/installation will also include framed broadsides of Donald Levering’s poetry. In the last month I have begun to create a series of smaller pieces that are responses to the original art work. I see a section of one my paintings, that could be another painting in itself. I am doing many versions of different sections of the paintings and each one of these is also titled with a line from the original poem. I
am looking for a grant or exhibition space where these will be installed, and the event will also include a reading by my husband, voice recordings of my husband reading the poems. I also plan on creating these smaller images in a variety of media and see the whole project as an opportunity to experiment both with scale and with media I am attaching one of these smaller images, to go with the larger original image that you already have, called the Water Levelling with Us. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Artists who created original and powerful work – and at the same time were fulfilling other roles in their lives. For instance Alice Neel, who was a single parent and whose work wasn’t recognized until she was well into her 60’s. Also Hans Hoffman, whose most extraordinary work was made when he was in his 80’s. Prior to that he was known primarily as a teacher. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Art and Nature and Sleep. What inspires you? Color, Texture, Movement. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “Memories, Dreams and Reflections” by Carl Jung; when I was a lonely little girl, a book called “The Little Princess” by Frances Hodgkins Burnett. Visit Jane’s fine art website
words and why they should matter to you
You’re surrounded by words, they’re everywhere! In our daily lives, much of our understanding of the world comes from combining different words into sentences, then sentences into meaning – meaning gained from structures and incentives. In this article series, we’ll elegantly run through 7 of the most interesting words people are encountered by, using, listening to and subconsciously making familiar. But should they be familiar, if they aren’t consciously so?
Has there ever been a better timing in which to talk about this hideous word, than in a world where people are still judged based on often assumed attributes, rather than from anything, like, real? Yes, the word of choice in situations when these things happen is of course tolerance. Tolerance, as in some sort of parallel universe where that would imply anything positive. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, tolerance is “: willingness to accept feelings, habits, or beliefs that are different from your own : the ability to accept, experience, or survive something harmful or unpleasant medical: your body’s ability to become adjusted to something (such as a drug) so that
What does that say about the human ability of acceptance? its effects are experienced less strongly” Oh, well then. If we simply decide to ignore everything but the first point, it pretty much sums up the way in which we are served information today. There’s an assumed, or wished for, willingness to accept feelings, habits or beliefs that are different from your own. Is there such an acceptance, really? If there is, then that would not explain the very need (or desperation, it’s your choice) within those same news reports who lobby real
The ability to accept something is one thing, but this phenomenon is so easily manipulated (or directed) into meaning whatever is desired at a given moment.
hard for tolerance to happen. So, from that simple fact we can all conclude that there might indeed be some room for discussion regarding this word and its impact on everyone who has to tolerate (ouch!) it. How many times a day are you exposed to this word? Can you think of situations where you’re the one who has to tolerate anything, and what sort of thing is that? Are there situations in which you’re the one being tolerated? Better up, is tolerance as it is portrayed today really a word which you would ever describe as having anything to do with actual knowledge? Let that sink in for a while. The ability to accept something is one thing, but this phenomenon is so easily manipulated (or directed) into meaning whatever is desired at a given moment. Today, we’ve gone to a point where binge watching TV series as a way of entertainment is accepted, where using prescription drugs instead of dealing with emotions is accepted, and where all forms of non-food ingredients smashed into recognizable things such as hamburgers, chips, soda and snacks are all accepted as being food. What does that say about the human ability of acceptance? For starters, it doesn’t 183
This complete asshole of a word is naturally being used by, well, people who would very much be enjoying to not-think a lot. seem to be very positive, and at times it’s rather destructive. This complete asshole of a word is naturally being used by, well, people who would very much be enjoying to not-think a lot. Its high frequency in articles and news reports on violence, cultural differences, crimes and basically anything today is obvious. Everywhere people turn to get some information on important issues, they are instead met by this complete mash of lack of knowledge and shallow, ignorant, massive verbal diarrhea. Let’s just have a moment and think for a second. What is tolerance? Is that how you would describe any healthy relationship? Imagine someone you know talk about someone else you know in this way – “He tolerates her behavior, and she tolerates his. They have been in a relationship for ages! They both do their best to tolerate their kids as well, and their neighbors? Well, they are tolerated too. It all comes down to a big bunch of people tolerating each other. Happy? Like, you mean, if they are happy? Eh, I don’t know, but they are tolerating people.” Now, better up, imagine yourself talk about anything creative in your life in this way. Do
you tolerate your creativity? Would you feel happy about anything if this was the case? If you simply tolerated the crap out of your own creativity? Wouldn’t that be wonderful, ideal? It wouldn’t. Then, why are people in general tolerating information to be presented to them in a tolerating tone? The underlying frustration built up underneath this massive wave of tolerance isn’t a joke at all, and the longer this word is present, the more serious will the actual questions become. Then, how should any sane, creative individual relate to the current tolerance madness? This is just a thought, but why don’t we all just stop tolerating each other and start talking to each other instead? As in actual communication. Because in contrast to tolerance, communication is the method by which all sides are free to put forward their own views on things, and this may then be discussed, reasoned and debated. Communication, in contrast to tolerance, is the way in which people can meet and understand the frustrations and personal stories which everyone carries, which then will lead to a massive gain of knowledge to everyone involved.
After all of this, and you might want to take a deep breath now, there might not be a need for tolerance, for accepting things.
In contrast to tolerance, where someone takes the freedom to define what culture is and isnâ€™t, communication invites for a discussion where these things can be defined by people with different backgrounds and experience. Maybe, and this is a big shot, but maybe these talks could lead to clearing up what various religious traditions and norms are and are not, and also what cultures are and are not. Right after all of this magic happens, these cleared up situations could possibly lead to a changed behavior in everyone, every single person. Because, this is what usually happens with people when they gain insight and knowledge. After all of this, and you might want to take a deep breath now, there might not be a need for tolerance, for accepting things.
What might be the case instead is a society in which people are so well educated that per definition, they understand each other.
What might be the case instead is a society in which people are so well educated that per definition, they understand each other. Understanding each other as in having no out-of-the-space misunderstood/misinterpretedÂ feelings, habits, or beliefsÂ left to accept. What relationship to you have with tolerance?
Name: Rodney King Where do you live: Johannesburg, South Africa Known for: For most of my career I have been known for teaching functional, dynamic martial arts. While I am still prominent in that field, my personal focus has shifted to what I have termed Embodied-Growth Hacking. In this sense, it is about achieving scalable growth, by investing in inner management tools — achieved by ‘hacking’ ones embodied interface. Currently actual with: Coach Rodney King (Brands) When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I grew up in government housing on the dicey South Side of Johannesburg. I was kicked out of the house at 17 by an abusive alcoholic mother, and never finished high school. I was told both by Mother and my teachers that I would never amount to anything. But I proved them all wrong. Through rigorous martial arts training and applying the inner game principles I discovered in my journey, I paved a new path for myself. I’ve seen my fair share of mental and physical turmoil over the years, and it was only through years of regular martial art practice and conditioning that I was able to grasp the significance of engaging a concerted mind-body approach. The mind and body are more intertwined than we fully realise. And it’s through actively engaging the two as one that we can effectively tune out the noise and focus on the present with clarity and purpose. It’s why I’m so passionate about helping people embrace an embodied approach to overcome the challenges they face in life and work — it worked for me; and I know it will work for them. Over the years I have worked with Army Special Forces to develop high-performance mindsets for intense engagement scenarios. I’ve also instructed law enforcement officers in the United States, Canada 188
and Germany on how to protect themselves when all else fails. I regularly work with corporate executives, CEOs and entrepreneurs, whom I help gain the winning edge mentally and emotionally through coaching to overcome their self-limiting beliefs. I offer an action learning process — a road map to success for effective inner management. Through an accessible modern martial art experience, I teach my clients how to hack their embodied interface, and in doing so they learn to actively engage their natural intelligence in concert with their body in action. Learning the Art of Inner Management is essential to be the best you can be, in your life and career. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? In the mountains. Solitude and walking in nature is really appealing. There is something really special about being in nature and its potential for unlocking creativity. How would you describe your creativity? In two words, “Challenge play”. Words like creativity and innovation are thrown around liberally in the work environment. I hear ‘bosses’ telling their staff to be creative and to innovate — but in the next breath they are told, “Don’t make any mistakes”. In other words don’t take any risks. The paradox is that risk is inherently built into the fabric of creativity and innovation. I will argue that without risk, creativity and innovation no longer exist. In order for people to take risk, the environment they are asked to do this in must be a place where risk is not only allowed, but the consequences or payback of taking that risk shouldn’t be so high that a person can never come back and try again. In order to facilitate risk, one requires a shift in mindset, one from competition to challenge play. In competition one person, or group of people have to lose in order for another to win. In a challenge play environment, people are encouraged to shift from playing within boundaries (i.e., rules of winning) to play-
ing with the boundaries (i.e., finding ways to continue to play). Bottom line the seriousness needs to be taken out, the focus on winning, not looking bad, or the fear of making mistakes needs to be removed, and instead a sense of play should be instilled. What emerges are people who are no longer seeking to dominate with power, but rather play with strength. Much of the reason people fail is because they are never allowed to fail. Often as pointed out earlier the consequences of failing are to high. If you cannot fail, then you can never explore your full potential because you are simply to afraid too. In my experience environments that don’t allow people to fail, become the exclusive domain of the tough, the alpha’s, the bullies — and we can argue that it is this outmoded way of being, that continues to be prevalent and a source of disappear in our modern world and organisations. Playing is the antidote to severe consequences of taking risk. Taking risk shouldn’t be about keeping score, or time, rather it should be about finding ways to generate time. It should be an experience that anyone, regardless of experience or status should be able to engage in. In this environment everyone will meet someone who can play with exceptional skill and offer the necessary challenge for personal growth and development to take place. But here winning and losing take on a different definition and role, rather than being seen as the end of the game, they are simply seen as moments in the continuation of play itself. The ultimate objective is not for the game to end — be that in martial arts or in business — but rather for the play to continue. This is making ART. Art is the final byproduct that we see when there has been successful implementation of creativity and innovation. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Much of my current creative expression started firstly because I wanted to be a better martial artist. I wanted to be excel-
lent at the performance aspect of martial arts, especially in sparring. I realised however that I wasn’t really being creative, but rather competitive. The more I competed both with myself and others, the less creative I became. Part of this was also as Suzuki pointed out — I lost my Beginners Mind, and became bogged down with an Experts Mind - simply I became too afraid to try anything new in case I lost, or looked bad. My ego became my biggest obstacle to creative success. When I suspended the need to compete with others on the mat, and instead focused on being better than I was yesterday, allowing myself to play, to experience and experiment with the fullness of my self through movement — without worrying about an outcome — creativity sprung forth into all areas of my life. What do you do at the moment? At this present moment I am focusing on building a somatic movement expression, inspired by martial arts, that will allow a person to learn inner management skills, that will then enable them to perform at their optimal in life and career. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Know that only when you take risk can you be creative, and only through that risk, can you be innovative. What this also means is that perfection is an illusion. If you are waiting for perfect before you launch that idea, product, or service, you are going to be waiting a long time. In fact you likely will never get started. Get your idea to 70% and then get it out there. Learn the rest, how to make it work, through the actual process of being there, and doing it. Tell us how it all started. Who would have thought you can go from sleeping on a park bench, to becoming a world renowned modern martial artist, super successful entrepreneur and author? Well that’s exactly what I did. On that day I decided that I would change 189
my future. As Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search For Meaning, reminds us, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” In other words, there is nothing more powerful than changed mind. I changed my mind that day. Many people reside themselves to their fate, I could have done that too, but I chose to create my own path. I chose to rewrite my story. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The environment has to be conducive to creativity. In this sense, it is important that each person I work with, either client or trainer has the same intention that I have. If a client for example comes in to compete, but I want to play, explore, and grow, then it is no longer possible for us to have a creative experience together. However, if we both are on the mat with the same intention, to play, to grow, and explore, the outcome, and what we are able to achieve is no longer restrained by boundaries. This kind of environment encourages participants to shift from playing within boundaries (i.e., rules of winning) to playing with the boundaries (i.e., finding ways to continue the play). What emerges are people who are no longer seeking to dominate with power, but rather play with strength. What is your favorite film? Being In The World (documentary). Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Seth Godin. I am fascinated by how he is able to bring what seems like incompatible ideas and disciplines together, into a whole new way that makes sense. I think it would be an amazing evening to pick his brain. How do you like to spoil yourself? Taking time out to me alone! I think you are truly happy when you enjoy your own company. What is luxury for you? Being completely with my family, without 190
any distractions. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? There have been many. This one from Dr. Robert Biswas-Diener, the Indiana Jones of Positive Psychology stands out, “As a positive psychology researcher I am impressed with Rodney King’s intuitive grasp of people’s strengths and hopes. Rather than building a martial art around fear of attack, testosterone-based competition, or external rewards King introduces the best aspects of performance psychology to help people achieve their own goals. In a field steeped in tradition, King artfully re-imagines both the dojo and the martial arts business mentality. At long last, we have a perfect union of proven martial arts techniques with cutting edge approaches to teaching and personal development. As a martial artist myself, King’s methods are a breath of fresh air.” What do you fear most? Not having enough time on this planet to fully explore what it means to be human. What is a happy life to you? Being able to be creative, do the work I love, and being successful at it (money is secondary). What does a regular day look like for you? I hate routine. I don’t really have a regular day. I go with the ebb and flow. I like to take my own advice, taking risk each day, putting myself out there even if it scares me, and even if I don’t know how to do something. I believe you can learn anything if you willing to play more with the experiences you have. Tell us about your dream project. To elevate my martial art practice to something people want to do for achieving personal mastery of the mat in their life and career. Most people go into martial arts simply to learn how to fight, or to get fit, but in my experience this is such a narrow view of the
potential of martial art practice. Combining martial arts, and embodied growth hacking, can allow a person to master their inner game, so that they can more successfully take on the martial arts of everyday life. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I don’t have role models. I don’t believe you can model anyone. You have to find what makes you, uniquely you, and use that to succeed in your life and career. With that said, I gain inspiration from from people like Seth Godin, who I see as someone who takes risk, challenges the status quo, in order to bring creative thought to his audience. His audience then has the opportunity to take those creative expressions and innovate them into their own experiences. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I am at my core pragmatic. While I acknowledge intuition as a viable source of knowledge, if it can be backed up by research even better. Maybe its also because I am a PhD student, so the research to back up what I teach matters. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My body. Without the body, there is no creative expression in my life. What inspires you? Working on myself each and every day. I always try to be better than I was yesterday. To me, I am my own canvas. A canvas that constantly evolves, adapts, and becomes a new each day. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “Freedom From The Known” by J. Krishnamurti. Check out Rodney’s website
Your body will like you more if you treat it right
it all starts in the mind Body and mind it is, or so we are told. But what if we focus on connecting the two and starting to appreciate the amazing power that we all have inside us to grow and become even more creative? What would that kind of focus lead to for you and for all of us, and could it be a way of connecting with other people? As it seems today, the alternative that we have in the more and more stressful environment is simply to medicate it all away and go hide from the outside world â€“ but is that an alternative at all?
Since basically everyone is working (or studying) like a complete maniac all day every day and always, it should be about time to have a break and consider when we allowed ourselves to simply exist. When was the last time that happened for you? What was it like? As this constant access to data and information becomes more convenient to reach and reaches out to people more conveniently, the risk to create an imbalance between stimulating the body and mind becomes much higher. Hunting for more data, reaching the latest statistics, watching the videos on the 3 first search result pages on YouTube, and read the latest of the latest of scientific reports on bugs. All sorts of bugs. Regardless of how much time is invested in this search for information, it never seems to be enough, there is always so much more to learn. People in general and creative minds in particular are susceptible to develop a dependency of information, or data, and this is when creative learning can turn into a bad behavior. As this initial behavior is turned into a set of habits, these habits then lead the way to staying awake long into the night, in search of that most recent news report about basically anything. As long as this piece of “anything” is interesting enough to give the mind a positive kick. Is there anything at all wrong with this behavior? You decide. The time people have at their disposal is limited and thus has to be used in
a good way, ideally in the best way possible. As there’s no universal rule on this matter, what is best for one person might be the worst possible choice to others. However, as long as people feel content and happy in their choices this is indicating a constructive behavior. How can wasting time on reading basically useless stuff online all day and all night long be anything even close to a constructive and happy behavior? For one thing, the body is repetitively only activating a small fraction of itself, and the left of it is underactive, used only as a meaningless device by which to carry around the brain. This isn’t too smart. Investing some of time of each day to do exercising means to admit that the muscles, bones, other organs and the brain as well are all important components too. Physical activity releases stress, allows for toxic chemicals to leave the body and clears the mind from useless thoughts and the need for negative behavior. Long after each workout, the body and mind are able to balance each other much better, creating an environment in which creativity is much more likely to happen. While having fun. Now, there are some people out there who simply love to not take care of their bodies, and take every opportunity not to do this. Arguments are wildly handed out to everyone who even mentions a little bit of “shaking that body” and these aren’t holding up. They’re not. Focusing on giving the body what it needs doesn’t necessar-
And, it is not about legitimizing the weird marketing celebrity standards of what beauty is or isn’t. Cut all of this crap. ily imply to create a body building, super fitness program with 46 hours of hardcore workout every single day. It’s not about wasting a week in creating a customized ultra super high burning calories destroyer program to follow through with 13 times a week either. Nor is it about starving, being in pain, hurting oneself of hating oneself for missing out one moment of exercise. And, it is not about legitimizing the weird marketing celebrity standards of what beauty is or isn’t. Cut all of this crap. It is only about the need for physical exercise in order to be more happy, satisfied, creative and relaxed. If you love to dance
and especially at home – then turn up the music, put your favorite t-shirt and shorts on and get moving. If you like to be outdoors, go have a walk or invest in a bike. If you’re more of the group workout kind, then hit the fitness center and find the most awesome activities to try out. Whatever it is that your body enjoys or might enjoy doing, try it out and you will find yourself to be much less stressed out and less obsessed with useless information. So, the next time you’re about to hit the fitness center/bike/living room for a little dance but get stuck in front of the computer to read the latest news on bugs, or watch the 45 minutes video with fluffy, cute animals – stop yourself. Take a deep breath and then get the h-ll out of there immediately. Your body and mind will thank you later. Have you had some of these great excuses for why not to exercise, and did you get rid of them?
Name: Matija Hiti Where do you live: Rače, a tiny small town in the north-east of Slovenia. Known for: I would like to believe I am known for being creative productive and reliable multi-talent who brings great ideas into life. For most people I’m probably just that guy who still haves long hair despite his age. Currently working with: I’m a co-founder in JollyDeck, a tech startup, where I’m in charge for product development. We are building a mobile e-learning platform that can offer easy and fun experience for both content creators and learners. My main task is designing complete user experience for different types of users. This involves designing user interfaces, copywriting, building prototypes, coordinating with the team, testing finalized product and positioning on the market. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? When I was a kid, I wanted a guitar. My parents bought me a home computer instead. I started to learn about all kind of things I could do with it and soon abandoned the idea of becoming a rock star. Although I’ve been working with computers ever since I’m still changing my mind about what I would really like to do in my life every few years. I’ve been into e-learning for about 4 years now and since I quite like it I might stick with it for a little more. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I’m quite happy with my current location. Rather than me moving away I can imagine things in the neighbourhood that bother me to be replaced with things I currently miss (olympic size swimming pool, bmx track, launch pad for rockets…). It would be also quite convenient if I could move the seaside a bit closer to my spot. 208
How would you describe your creativity? Like I mentioned I work as a product manager, mostly trying to invent, design and build new things. As great as this sounds I spend most of my time coordinating with other people, writing specs, comparing if the final products are aligned with the specs and writing additional specs to declare all the things that are not aligned with initial specs. There is little room for creativity there. I compensate this in my day-to-day life. I try to be creative when I need to excite my little girl to finish her breakfast in time for the kindergarten. Lots of creativity is needed to persuade my son not to pull jokes on her while she’s eating. On my way to work I’m creative in finding new roads trying to avoid the usual traffic jams. At work I can get super-creative making excuses why my team needs to extend the deadlines for x weeks. This list could just go on and on... How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Seriously I think that the most important point in my life occurred when I quit my first job and started my own business. In regular job you focus on your tasks and take everything else for granted. When you move on your own you learn that you don’t have enough resources to take care of things the usual way. The only way to survive is to become creative in traditionally not very attractive or exciting tasks: selling, persuading people to pay for what they bought, making excuses why you can’t pay for the things you’ve bought... What do you do at the moment? Our team is building a brand new e-learning mobile app based on a virtual coach who will motivate users to to take their lessons seriously. Right now we’re developing personalities for our coaches. Every one of them will have their own communication style. I’m responsible for the copy and I work closely with the illustrator who is providing the cartoon like characters - the heart and soul of otherwise rather boring app.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Stop living in dreams, abort the mission and save yourself before you screw up. There’s no such thing as creative business. Only start a business if you’re about to start a real business. Eventually you’ll learn that running a real business actually requires quite a lot of creativity. It might turn out to be a great journey, because it will push you to your limits and force you to find secret talents you’re currently not even aware of. Tell us how it all started. I have no idea. I still wonder how I got myself into this.
whom? During my time at the university I put together a micro social network that unexpectedly became really popular in Slovenia. After a few years of running the project I received a letter from a couple that found each other on my website, got married and just got a baby. They attached a photo of their newborn child wearing a shirt with a hand-painted logo of the website. What do you fear most? I fear nothing :) What is a happy life to you? To be with people I like, to share my happiness with them and know that they are happy to be part of my life too.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? It’s always the people and the work itself that make a workplace great or bad. Real dumps can turn out to be great places when you’re working with passionate people. When you need to deal with jerks on boring projects no fancy offices or perks will help.
What does a regular day look like for you? The only really regular thing in my workday is wondering what kind of surprise will come next.
What is your favorite film? Top Gun. It’s packed with great stuff: fighter planes, dogfight shots, motorcycles, Kenny Loggins,...
Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Sometimes I wish I could be like Samuel L Jackson in Pulp Fiction. I love the way he makes people pay attention on what he has to say.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Gordon Ramsay. I would kindly ask him to make a full meal that both of my kids would love. That might easily become a challenge of his life. How do you like to spoil yourself Hiking and trail running whenever possible. What is luxury for you? Combine running a startup with raising two super-active kids for a few years. The result is super tired parent with a zombie-like personality, whose only luxury is a good allnight sleep that doesn’t end before 11 am. A very rare luxury. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from
Tell us about your dream project. To design and build a new playset for Lego, preferably a really big Lego Technic crane truck.
How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I follow one simple rule: Bite off more than you can chew and then chew like hell. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Definitely my waterproof hiking boots - I wear them everywhere. What inspires you? Inspiration can be anything. Usually it is just a matter of what is available at the moment. Waiting for inspiration usually means wasting your time. A book that has changed/made the most
impression in your life? “Child’s Guide to the Commodore 64” by John Dewhirst. I got it when I was 8 years old and it taught me all the basics of computer programming that I’m still using at my everyday work. Check out Matija’s awesome website
Team Creativeroom4talk expert article
What’s your stage? Scenic art an Authors: Team Creativeroom4talk You’re watching a movie, a theater, a TV show, and one scene is especially catching your eye. It is this one scene that you’ll carry with you after watching the whole thing. It is that same scene which you’ll tell everyone about when they ask you about your perception and thoughts on what you just experienced. Unlike the real world, a scene is a well-constructed place with aesthetics in mind, and the artist who work in this field are highly skilled and passionate individuals. But back to the scene and reality, how different are they really? We’ll take you on a journey to figure that out. Many people watch various visual products behind which there are huge teams. Each of these team members have their own set of skills and responsibilities, perfecting their attributes and knowledge in order to deliver something attractive, meaningful, beautiful and artistic. Now, there’s one person (and sometimes several) who is in charge of the 222
nd the beautiful reality picture, the scene, the amazing art which constructs a world for that one scene. This individual has to understand the context of what will happen, the visual requirements and requests, what sort of movement and interaction will happen and how to make something beautiful whilst having all of these restrictions at hand.
complementing the aesthetics of costumes, rhetoric and physical movement, people watching a theater, TV show or movie are actually looking at a much deeper visual expression than what the might be realizing.
Like any other profession, people who love what they do are often intrigued by every single step of the process, never even thinking about the limits but simply looking at restrictions as a challenge, a way to find a way in which to create something awesome. As the scene art/design history goes back to Shakespeare and him insisting on the visuals of a scene being as relevant, important and significant as the actors themselves, scenic artist have been an absolute crucial part of any stage (Payne, R.P. 1993). Evolving the concept of visuals in scenes as highlighting what is to be emphasized and
The Art Part
Until now, because weâ€™re about to explain it to you in plain English.
The technical skills and artistic competencies a scenic artist must have is basically pure madness. A scene starts with an absolute nothingness, and may require everything from several huge constructions and materials, to lights, colors and a million other things. Therefore, the artist is required to easily be able to break a given scene down into different segments, ranging from the color physics and schemes to materials, tools, lighting and dimensions of depth. For scenic artists working with colors there is a 223
huge level of knowledge required, from the property of color to how shadowing affects its perception, the level of lightness appropriate for a given set of colors and overall scenery, to whether the color itself should break away from the rest of the scenery or work as a complementing addition (Crabtree, S., Beudert, P.2012). Although there are several other professionals in charge of the scenic architecture, the construction work and putting everything into place, the artist has to make sure to think about all of these things and fit them all together with art.Thus, any artist within this field is basically required to gain massive amounts of knowledge in different art forms, art philosophy and art history. Also, this lucky b……. must also be in close communication with editors, producers and writers so that s/he gets familiar with the opportunities for the art to come alive in the best way.
You, the viewer
As a viewer, you get to participate in the final aspect of scenic art, the performance itself of the final product if it is a movie. You’re basically watching a blank page upon which a whole set of skilled scenic artist and several other professionals have created additional dimensions. The level of your own perception as the audience now depends completely on you, as does the total review of the whole experience. In all artistic fields in general and scenic art in particular, these dimensions is something to which the artist will have to relate, reasoning about the choices of materials and positioning along with the rest of the crew so as to know the deeper purpose of the environment which s/he is about to create. Think about it. When you go to a theater, the experience you will have there is highly depending on the quality of the scen224
ery. Of course, the level of skills the actors present does its part as well, yet the aim of a well-crafted scenery is to complement the acting in such a manner to strengthen some aspects or complement them. Depending on the scene itself, some technical alternatives will be perceived to be more important than others, and thus an awesome scenic artist is able to see that before s/he creates it. The interaction, the colors, the materials, everything will be part of the one whole affecting you (or wishing to do just that) in every possible way. But your only job as a viewer is experiencing whatever it is that you would like to experience. It’s not to understand what anyone would like to say, or what they had in mind when creating this art piece for the scene, or the whole performance. You may note the different influences from the actors’ performance and the scenic artists’ work, and you may also go dig deeper and understand the history of these specific details to understand more about the craft itself. Yet, you may also know nothing about any of it, without ever having any intention of finding out, and still very much enjoy a theater performance or movie. That is your role in this matrix, and it is an important role indeed. Without the audience, there’s no need for a performance of this kind. Hm, yes really. Now, think about that.
Then again, what’s a scene?
Throughout this text you might have experienced something awesome, about scenes, scenery and scenic art. When you sit in your living room, what do you see? Probably a big nothing, then some walls, a ceiling, a floor. The rest is basically up to you. Do you prefer a certain set of colors? A bunch of different things, a cup of coffee,
artwork, books, a TV, coffee, video games, pens and paper, coffee, clothes, pillows, magazines, coffee? Look around, feel all of it, does it feel like home? What’s home? It is probably the scene which represents you the best. It is a set of combinations of furniture, literature, ideas, smells, lights and shadows that you find to be most convenient. At your workplace, how does it look? With all coworkers and clients interacting, how does all of that work? If you’re in an office, what kind of art can you find there? What makes it feel like a great office, or a bad one? What comes to mind? What is it that decides whether you’re comfortable in that office today, or if you would have been comfortable if X and Y? That is the very essence of a scene. It has got some predefined elements, some of which are required by external shareholders; it has a story, a beginning and a middle and an end, which is also to a great extent depending on or completely defined by someone else. That is, the management, the boss. Then you have the content of the story, to which you’re adding a part, but simply through perceiving information that you gain from all of this “outside”.
on, or that there’s a book which you would like, never ever, ever, ever buy. There might be an atmosphere which you’re unable to describe but which is that exact thing leading you not to be too comfortable. Although you might have a movie night, you’re all dressed up and can’t sit the way you would like to, or don’t want to fall asleep or whatever it might be. The situation in which you are, the scene, is leading to a certain set of emotional responses, maybe even physical, intellectual, and this is what it’s supposed to do. There you go, it’s simple.
But, like, what the hell is reality then? Who are you?
Well, sugar, that’s the million dollar question. Assuming that every human being is responsible for creating some parts of their own reality, it can be said that reality is a bunch of preferences, needs and dreams smacked into each other. All people have their own unique set of these things, and it is through all of this that the world is seen and upon which it is acted. The biggest differAs this happens every single day, you are ence between the scene and the scenic free to challenge your thoughts and see if art, and the reality and your circumstances the perception you had yesterday adds up is that you’re an observer in the first case, to today. If you change it and try something and an actor in the second. new, you will see that the art of the scene This is powerful. may shift into something else – although it in itself hasn’t changed a bit. Theaters and Now, don’t go paranoid here but simply movies create all of that, and they often stay aware of your own perceptions and describe this inner struggle to understand in what ways they affect your behavior.Is yourself versus to respond negatively to the there anyone who doesn’t enjoy to spend environment, the scene, the art. some time in nature? Why is there such a need for that? Because it is a scene having When you’re visiting someone else’s place, a calming effect on us all, a visual experithat could feel great and happy and all of ence of beauty and a sense of belonging. that, but it won’t feel at home. You might Are you falling off of the ground while you note that the couch is a bit too hard to sit
take a walk in the park? No. Going all Einstein? NO. You’re enjoying the visuals and how they affect you. At any given situation, this is possible, but it requires one thing from you – to get off with the noise, the limits and the predefined (or whatever) patterns of proper behavior. So, to put it nicely, whenever you find yourself having a reaction to a scene, whether it’s from a movie or theater or real life, stay aware of it. Acknowledge it, figure out why it brought you such a reaction and go discover more about it. This last part is true especially if you’re responding positively to something in a movie (say, an actor playing an office boss) whereas the real life isn’t that much to be happy about (your actual work at the office). This is more of a fun games sort of analysis, but taken seriously it will help you to figure out where there’s room for improvement or change. To make some more art happen in your scene.
The whole point is to understand one basic thing about scenes and scenic art in relationship to the beauty of reality, and it is this: We’ve all loved the form of expression to which a beautiful scenic art invites since forever. Most people enjoy theater, movies and other forms of performance art where the art part is huge, complementing the actors, their acts and words. This form of entertainment involving visual expression and seeking to either challenge our views on reality, beauty or anything else for that matter, is appealing to a large part of the population. Since that is the case, in it must be something of value, and looking at scenic art and what it does to the mind is a strong confirmation. Likewise, in reality, we may look at our lives 226
as a bunch of scenes, and a scene as a setting of several components. The aesthetics or art part here isn’t always obvious here but it is a crucial part of a human being’s life. It’s a complement to the reasoning, the structure, the responsibilities and everyday life in general. It’s that spot of opportunities. Realizing this and making sure to take a moment here and there to appreciate this beauty, and even change it, is a good idea. You’ll have much more room for change, the constructive and interesting kind – not the depressive and boring one. Try it out and you’ll see the differences and similarities between scenic art and the art you’re experiencing and creating every day. In conclusion, simply allow yourself to look at the art of reality a little bit more and great things will happen.
Crabtree, S., Beudert, P., (2012), Scenic Art for the Theatre: History, Tools and Techniques, Third edition, Focal Press, pp. 171-172 Payne, R.P. (1993)Scenographic Imagination, Third edition, Southern Illinois University Press
Name: Petar Stojaković Where do you live: Subotica, in north of beautiful country called Serbia. Known for: Digital Product designer & Art director Currently working with: I am currently self employment working like Product designer and Art director, also working with my team trying always to bring something fresh and unique! When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? In third year of my college, where I first time meet with Photoshop CS3. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I really love Serbia like country, not politically, not by living standards, but according to our nature and culture. But If I could choose a place, definitely would be New Zealand. How would you describe your creativity? I always try to see things from a different angle! Try to experiment with new and exciting ideas and details. Try to bring something new, fresh, and different. Even if my attempt was a total disaster, even if I throw away two weeks of hard work, and if at least 5% of that failed attempt taught me something new, fresh and unique I consider that a success! How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Let’s say my freelancing career started almost two years ago, to be precise: 1st December 2013‚ a very important day for me. What do you do at the moment? Unfortunately I cannot disclose a lot due to an NDA, but I can say I finished it recently. Also I can say that it is a dating app which will, I’d like to believe so, be a game changer in that industry. The complete vision of the app is made in accordance to the passion of the user itself, and merging the user with another user who shares the same. UX is very innovative and much 238
different from what we could see until now. UI also brings a very fresh and different approach, which should bring a unique, luxurious and fun experience with the user. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Life as a freelancer or running a creative business is not easy, if you think otherwise then you are only seeing the nicer side of it. You need to be aware that you are a small and very insignificant startup in a huge mashup of other people and companies, all competing on a global scale. As with any beginning, there will be problems. The first clients and good reviews are always the most difficult. But once you get a few of them, and see the good reviews coming in, your desire for work grows and grows. This helps you fight all future challenges. When starting out, I did not give much thought to money (even though, that was the time I needed it the most). I gave it my max and worked on projects which were severely underpaid. That did not worry me too much, or lead me astray, since I knew that these experiences would lead to something better. Also I faced a very big challenge when starting freelancing: Multitasking! When you start to work as a freelancer, you are EVERYTHING. And I really mean EVERYTHING. You are a salesman, a project manager, a designer, the business owner, PR. All the people that one big agency has. You are in charge of all the details and do various jobs. For me that was one of the biggest challenges, how to overcome that and how to be the best in all fields. This is where it breaks, either you overcome these obstacles and become the best freelancer out there, or return to your 9 to 5 job and chug at it. If you manage to overcome these issues and become more and more efficient and profitable in your work, you can hire people to do these other tasks for you. Then you can focus on the things you love. In my case that was design and only design! Tell us how it all started.
Until let’s say, I was 22 years old, my “talent” for design was not visible at all. Usually people who have some talent and show interest in design have fairly good art class grades, attend various creative workshops and in general are acting in a creative way. Me, on the other hand, I was far from it. But in spite all of that I knew, deep down, that I want to have a career where I can, with my own wits and hands, create something out of nothing and shape the impossible. The start of my university years also meant the start of my search for a job, since I was paying for my own education. Interestingly enough, my first job also landed me my first baby steps in design. I was a kitchen designer in a local furniture store and after 11 months of hard work I managed to obtain a leading role and told myself: “Hm, this design thingy seems to fit me quite well!” On my third year of studies I had a course in “Computer design and graphics”, which I fell in love with and there I definitely found myself. I was 22 at the time and I had a whole bag of mixed feelings about it. I was still not 100% sure in which direction should I expand myself, but I knew that I needed to make that decision pretty fast. After I finished the university, I got a job at a local agency “Heavyform”, in that same agency I made my first steps and walked into the world of professional design. After a year or so, I decided to quit and begin my freelancing adventure. I bet you are wondering why. The work environment, the salary and the working conditions were not the reason, quite the opposite, we had amazing conditions, excellent team mates and we worked for world renown brands and companies and that brief period there helped me get a great deal of experience. But I figured, as a very young designer, I need to feel out my direction, achieve my own style and make my own decisions, and that was difficult to achieve there, when you are constantly under the lead of someone else. I just simply wanted to learn by myself, and I do believe that was the more difficult road to take, but I also believe that is the best way I can improve myself.
And make my own specific style for which, someday, I will be recognized. After two years of being a freelance art director and designer I still think that that was the best decision I ever made. Now, in front of my team and me, stands a whole slew of new challenges and a whole lot of learning, but that is the bread and butter of this job that fulfills me. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Nothing special, clean tidy workspace, comfortable chair and lots of natural light! What is your favorite film? Rocky 1 and 2, perhaps cliché. But very honest and mood/initiative booster movie, especially if you know the background story and how the first Rocky movie was made. What is luxury for you? Offline is the new luxury for anyone in this industry, also for me! What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? From my true friends who saw how much progress I’ve made and where I started! What do you fear most? Height, I really do not like heights! :D What is a happy life to you? To do what I love, and that I have a partner who supports me in it! What does a regular day look like for you? I usually get up around 7 in the morning, go to training, eat breakfast, hear and arrange with my team what we will do today, answer all emails that have arrived during the night, against them or current projects I prioritize what I will do today, I focus and I’m working on that to some 8-9h night when my workday ends. So basically I try not to work more than 60h a week. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve never really shown any talent for the work I do, so sometimes I need to work a bit longer in order to achieve the thing I really want. Working 12h a day does not present any kind of problem to me, some239
times it doesn’t even feel like work anymore, more like one big classroom where I learn something new every day. Tell us about your dream project. I think the true designer should never have the dream project, because each project which she/he accept to work would need to make his own dream project! Because if you are not passionate about work which you need to do and you have the ability to walk away from it, walk away! Who is your professional role model/inspiration? As I said in some of my earlier interviews. I think a lot of designers have their role models and idols. Which, in hand is okay up to some extent, but we come to the point where you need to develop your own style or “brand”, something for which you will be recognized as on first sight without the need to exclaim it. I think this should be a goal for every designer. So because of that I cannot really answer the question, since I really didn’t have any role models, but I am self taught designer who learned from his own mistakes and failures, and that is the way I developed myself and gotten to the point where I am now. But if I can twist the question a bit. From whom I would like to learn and to be my mentor or Hero? Well, that is an easy answer, which is Anton Repponen. If I would ever work with him on some project in my life, I would consider my goal accomplished. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Hmm, well let’s say that my style is something between skeuomorphic design and flat design. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Photoshop and Spotify simple as that. :D On a professional level of course. What inspires you? I look for inspiration in being relaxed with 240
my family and friends. I walk the streets and travel. Most of my best ideas pop to mind on my way to work or back home, when I travel, simply put when I don’t have to think about design but somehow subconsciously I solve a puzzle which has been bugging me in the past few days. I don’t want to force my creativity and inspiration, I just let it flow and allow it to come to me. It doesn’t come from reading other designers books or looking at their work, just when I don’t even have to think about work inspiration comes by itself when I least expect it. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? I do not read a lot of books, more are internet blogs and articles. Check out Petar’s website
Are weekdays a reason to nag a How many times do you read news that is even trying to report anything constructive? It’s always a total madness on conflicts, crime, financial crises and politicians being politicians. What’s even to be expected from the consequences of being attacked by these destructive ideas all day long, but simple negativity and a lack of energy? Especially if you’re stuck in the office. Can you think of a possible reason for why this may not be a great hobby?
a detail in the big mash-up of sensational reporting, selective information gathering, highly biased Tweeting and the rest of this current madness of “data” and “statistics”. Sorry to break it to you, folks – Creative people simply don’t work that way.
For many people working with boring things, any start of the week is a representation of what life should not be about and why. It’s most often also highly representative of bad communication, half-ass work assignments and overall negative attitudes. Now, who are these people who feel that their work is being restricted, boring, unfulfilling? The Creatives. Professionals of all ages who are stuck in a bad atmosphere of low self-esteem suits chewing healthy snacks and talking shit about their co-workers at basically any given time.
For them, a Sunday isn’t a bad pre-Monday anxiety in preparation, but a nice day in which to invest their time, creativity, happiness. Likewise, a Monday isn’t just another start of a five day long hell to come, but a chance to get in touch with awesome people, create great things, have a coffee and enjoy life. Anything symbolizing a new beginning, a start of something, a change – any of these things are welcomed and met with high expectations and curiosity. Just think about it for a sec – who’s the happy one in times of chaos? Who’s the somewhat-mad person coming up with thousands of solutions when everyone else is in full panic attack? Yes, the creative guy/girl at the office.
If it’s not crap-talking about others, then it is indeed a detailed discussion on the most recent news report on whatever that is hot at the moment. Refugees? They know all about them. The economy? Oh yes, bring them oil prices on! Neuroscience and plasticity? Amen. And so the story goes on and on and on, an infinite source of words thrown out in the air, with no requirements for depth or analytical elements whatsoever. Even better, co-workers are simply
Working in such a negative environment, being surrounded by people who aren’t obsessed by the possibilities of evolving oneself but rather materialistically, shortterm oriented is best looked at as a virus to creativity. The virus won’t kill it, but it will slow it down, make any creative process much more difficult than it should be, and it will have a negative impact on the end result. As children, creative minds are evolving through exposure to variety, the ca-
a lot or simply to be awesome? pacity to climb a tree, looking at a pebble and seeing a million different things, running around and imagining being up in the air flying. Everything about the imagination is awesome, every single thing. Why is there a preference for negative, Armageddon-like, sensational BS news then? Because they require no personal activity, this is a totally and fully passive activity, a little bit like passive aggressive behavior. You’re pissed off, but you don’t want to let it all out. Instead, what happens is this nice thing of keeping it all inside, and looking at the external world in order to confirm your own pissed-ness (it’s a word). So in the case of working in an office of bad attitudes, what happens is that these massive bad attitudes create problems that were never even possible, in turn leading to a bad, negative atmosphere. Human beings do that a lot sometimes. Another apparent reason for why negative attitudes are promoted is that they kill the need for improving anything, instead promoting solid nothing, otherwise known as comfort or safety. This kills creativity, it kills progress and it surely also kills new ideas from being thought, even less so implemented. Non-creative people in general love that familiar tap on the shoulder and verbal diarrhea, while creatives look for all ways possible not to be included in such activity. The media’s choice to stay away from reporting constructive news, or limiting
them significantly is satisfying the current need for this type of safety. Imagine this – you’re watching the news and instead of reports on economic crisis, bombings, killings and destruction, the focus is on the human being helping some other human being. The focus is on making something happen, creating a team and going for it, to make a change, a positive impact. Imagine an interview every single day, talking to people who have made the choice to be creative over all other choices available out there, and who are describing that activity. Every day. Imagine that. Imagine what you could learn from all of those people, how they fought for their vision to come alive, how they along that way have helped others, how they have actually made a change. Go catch the day, see each weekday as an opportunity to be creative, constructive and make awesome choices. Give the media a reason to present more awesome news. Why? Why not?
Name: Joep Driessen Where do you live: Bergharen, The Netherlands Known for: Cow whisperer. CowSignals trainer. Educate the world (66 countries) to let cows live happily and twice as long. We double the lifetime of the dairy cow. Happy cows , happy farmers, happy planet.... 30% methane reduction... Currently working with: Training the trainer. I am a Vet, focusing on prevention of disease and breakthrough tunnel vision. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? Born on a dairy farm in Luxembourg. Doing lambing on my dad’s and uncle’s farm since I was 10 years old. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Here in Bergharen, after travelling and living in 66 counties.... How would you describe your creativity? I am a generalist with interest in everything... I always see solutions, seldom problems. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? 1999 first CowSignals workshop on farm. 1994 vet in practice 1997 Vetvice veterinary advice, consultancy. What do you do at the moment? Training 350 franchisers in the last 8 years. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Just do it! Learning by doing is the best school. And talk with someone who is a few years ahead of you. Tell us how it all started. As a vet student I got interested in disease prevention. I like healthy cows, I love cheese milk and yogurt. After 2 years in 258
practice treating sick cows, I really wanted to improve the cows lives!!! Too many cows suffer unnecessary disease because of lack of practical knowledge of cows on farms. Everywhere!!! What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? I always work half of the day in the barns between cows, together with a group of 10-15 farmers or advisers. I just built a new training center with an office, very nice in the woods and fields, on top of a small hill.... Excellent work space... What is your favorite film? The unbearable lightness of being. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? The Dalai lama. I like his respect for man, animal and plants. Together with the director of the WHO, World health Organisation. How are we gonna improve the world into a more social one, with less money driven multinationals? Real sustainability... How do you like to spoil yourself? A day in the sauna! What is luxury for you? Doing more sports, and play with the kids. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? Many good feedback. Farmer who told me: “You gave me new eyes!” Now he knows were to look for to discover early signs of disease and discomfort, for example seeing the Waiting Cow...! (a standing cow, wearing out her claws..) What do you fear most? No fear at all.... What is a happy life to you? I try to enjoy every moment! Works pretty well. Playing with the kids (9-7-4 years) is also fun! What does a regular day look like for you? 100 days training: half day power point in-
teractive lecture, and half day in cowshed between cows, touching, smelling, listening and watching. Great! Other days are calling, Skype-ing, meetings with people with ideas, meeting with CowSignals team and Vetvice team. Tell us about your dream project: education all dutch farmers with our new young stock Signals program! And educating 1000 vets from 195 countries to become a Certified CowSignals trainer. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Nobody and everybody..... Good farmers! I like to look at good speakers and good teachers. Maybe comics like Youp van het Hek. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Haha, very different: Direct, confrontational, inspirational!! Practical, cow based, independent!!! Facilitating: Use the knowledge in the group. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My wife & kids. What inspires you? The book “Heroes” from Janny van der Molen: about the famous real good people and the little kids doing the rights things! It’s the book I read to my 9 year old daughter. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Not a big reader. One book per year.. I like the ideas enjoying the moment. They right down how I already live...: Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Anita Mooriani, almost a death experience. Visit Joep’s Website
Aesthetic or artsy the meaning and the BS occupation
Do you appreciate beautiful things in life and the beauty itself, speaking of all that life includes? Does aesthetically appealing technology and architecture satisfy your visual need for the beautiful, or are you intrigued by it? Today, beauty seems to be turned into something else, and is this “else” making a constructive contribution in any way? Beauty has always been a hot topic and always occupied by various quasi-morally somewhat-obsessed assholes. Especially when speaking of human beings and beauty. The polarization between those who believe that beauty is something each human being has, and those who insist on current industrial standards is a never-ending hate story of falsehood and shallowness in its purest form. Occupying such an important part of people’s lives and diminishing it, throwing it on the ground and forcing invalid values upon it is what has created the madness of so-called beauty, or aesthetic definitions in general we can see today. That’s what happens when idiots insist on trying out creativity. Now, this is not quite the whole story, that would be sad. What else is going on today is a further insisting on moralizing all things beautiful and really making people feel bad for appreciating it. Even the slightest little second of attention giving to appreciating anything beautiful is perceived as being negative, wrong, even disrespectful. And we’re not even talking about the physical beauty of people here, but anything visually appealing. Postmodernism has brought
along a serious critique to traditional views of basically anything – which is great and very much needed. However, what has also happened is that beauty has been reduced to the shallowness, the color of one’s hair or the size of one’s [you know]. Aesthetics are great as long as they conform to these new universal values of hipsterism, the newest religion of our time. If you stay within those frames of your creative existence, you are absolutely free to do what you want and you will most definitely be appreciated for it. But, if you’re anywhere close to arguing that there might be some room for deeper thinking, or maybe there are some parts of aesthetics or beauty which are a little bit to over-exposed as opposed to others – you better run fast. The holy church of artsy hipster beauty experts will do everything, everything, to hunt you down. In the name of freedom of expression of course, what else? Many people out there are even ashamed of appreciating what is beautiful. Think about it, you walk down the street and the sun is shining, and you like it a lot. You stop for a while to admire the sudden realization of how beautiful the sky is and simply enjoy the moment. Within seconds, you’ll be looked at as though you escaped from a mental hospital and need to get back there ASAP. Think about telling someone a compliment on their shoes or shirt or nice smile and you’re out of the game, right there. All of this independence is for some reason turned into a process of aesthetical self-censoring.
Are you recognizing any of this in your life? The whole point of aesthetics is the very freedom within itself, the open choice to uniquely define what beauty is and to appreciate it. Freely. Because that freedom is the very DNA of aesthetics. The Nazi-artsy holy warriors know what is aesthetically right and wrong, having it all mapped out and using all energy to enforce their defined standards on the thinking world. Luckily, this group is small, loud and impactful – a combination which usually also implies a shorttime relevancy. The complexity of worshipping beauty while being forbidden to appreciate it for real can be simplified through staying the F away from the conformity of shallow, self-destroying madness as described before. It is your right to appreciate anything which you might find beautiful, and it doesn’t mean anything at all beyond just that. Appreciating it. Since human beings are free at the moment, this right can be fully appreciated by any creative mind out there. Aesthetics is communication, life, influence – the rest, the details, is up to you to define. Do you recognize the madness in how beauty and aesthetics are being reduced to next-to-nothingness?
Name: Sonali Kukreja Where do you live? Austin, Texas, US Known for: Let me split this into two parts: I am known for my dedication, perseverance, passion and positivity. And my art is known for it’s global appeal, compelling thoughts and ability to engage in thought provoking conversations. Currently working with: I am currently working as a full time independent artist. I do my own business development; I am my own marketing executive; I am my own PR person; I am my own salesperson. I am represented by Austin Art Space Gallery, in Austin, Texas and I am scheduled to exhibit my work at the 2016 American Asian Resource Centre and BASS Concert Hall at the University of Texas. When did you realize that you were going to work in this area? It was a sudden flash of thought I had about 5 years ago. I took a few classes in oil painting on one of my trips to India and discovered unbounded joy in it. The experience was taking me somewhere magical, where there was no pain of any kind. To top that, my initial pieces were bought by an art collector. I took it as a sign from the Universe that this was my new found purpose. This collector later became a friend and I consider her my angel. I believe that in life, one comes across people who are brought to you to lead you to where you need to be. This also inspired me to create a piece that I named “Three Angels”, which also found a home through another angel. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I love to live in a warm climate, with an artistic culture and this exactly where I am now, in Austin, Texas. I have been living here for a little more than 3 years. The people here are super friendly and welcoming. I love the city’s active and supportive art community. They embraced me and ac276
cepted me immediately as one of them. I cannot thank them enough because this is where I started my art career professionally. Austin exudes so much positive energy and creative vibe, that it is almost difficult not to be continuously inspired. How would you describe your creativity? My creative process starts with an idea that I visualize in my head most of the time including what colors I am going to use but at times it’s just intuitive and is then transformed onto canvas and into the end product. I enjoy experimenting with different medias and techniques which keeps my art life exciting and fresh. I feel stagnant doing the same kind all the time because I like to challenge myself and try something I have never done before. And why not? There is so much you can do with art. I feel caged if I restrict myself. I also enjoy commission work. It has both ups and downs because the expectations can sometimes be challenging, varying and demanding. But I make it a point to extract all the information from my clients about their vision, show different sketches on paper and deliver what they are looking for on canvas. And so far, I am on point. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I have been painting since I was a young child. My father had noticed my gift/talent and wanted for me to pursue it in France. At the time, I didn’t take myself as seriously. A few years ago, I decided to pick up the paint brush again and paint on canvas. To my surprise, the pieces I created sold. It made me think back to my childhood and my parents faith in my abilities, so I then decided to pursue it as a career. What do you do at the moment? I recently exhibited my work in the coveted Miami Spectrum during Art Basel week, in Miami Florida; Dec 2-6, 2015. It was an incredible opportunity and I am truly honored to have had the chance to participate in it. With regards to my work, I am currently experimenting with a new technique done with bamboo barbecue skewer where
there is no pouring of paint or no brush is used and not even any any other art tool. And to my surprise, I found a couple of artists already inspired by my tool and started using it in their own creative process. And I wish to present this new collection as soon as soon as it is complete. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Never give up and stay razor focused if you are really passionate about it. You got to be committed 100%. I know it sounds like a cliché but that is what I believe in and practice. I keep repeating it to myself, “I can” which is a very powerful thing. One never knows when he or she is close to the end of the tunnel. Perseverence, patience, hard work always pay off. It has in my case. I feel very proud where I started from and where I am right now. Despite of getting many rejections on the way, I brushed them off and said to myself “OK, this is done, what’s next?” because every curator is different, we don’t know what kind of art appeals to her/him or what frame of mind she/he is no matter how much you research about that curator. Everyone wont like your art, period. Art is very subjective and personal. And also keep learning. You will keep discovering and learning about yourself and other things as you go. It’s a never ending process. Tell us how it all started. Actually, I wanted to be a marriage counselor before I got into arts professionally. I thought being a non-subjective and a balanced person, I could make a difference in couples’ conflicted lives and which I did. That made me get into a PhD program. But, many years later, while taking oil painting classes on one of my trips to India, I realized very strongly that I would like to pursue art professionally. I tried other forms of art, for example, jewelry making, graphic designing but nothing could move me like painting. What is the most important thing in a studio for you?
Music! Before I begin to paint, if I am finding it hard physically, then I play something like “Celebrate” by PitBull, to get me enough energy to push myself forward; something classical fusion and passionate like Andrea Boccelli; because that takes me to another world where you lose of track of time and I can literally block out the world. Coffee! When I am working at my desk. It wakes up and stimulate my brain even if temporarily and helps me focus and concentrate and it pushes my mental ability to come up with more ideas, just when I think I’ve tapped out. What is your favorite film? I have watched many good and outstanding movies that are entertaining and inspiring and I can’t remember all the names right now but for some reason, what comes out immediately are “Before Sunrise” and the sequel “Before Sunset”, because they are thought provoking romantic films which stimulate the senses. It is filled with mystery and hope, the same way art is, in my opinion. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? There are so many people who I admire and respect. They are spread across many areas of expertise and happen to be people whom I have learnt from and have been inspired by. If I were to have any of them over for dinner, I would want to get into their minds and understand what makes them so unique so that I too can gain a deeper perspective. How do you like to spoil yourself? I love to decorate. My home and the different rooms. I love to entertain and switch up the design or theme every few years. My home and the way it looks and feels perhaps represents my own personal growth in taste, form and textures - just like my paintings. What is luxury for you? Luxury for me is the ability to paint without limitations in size, location and time regardless of the cultural expectations or the 277
practicalities of the world we live in, affecting the ability to afford what one likes, and regardless of how a painting can be transported from point A to point B. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I have been told by one of my art collectors that she keeps the inspiration behind the piece that she bought from me in her bag at all times as a reminder to stay in the light as it was the right time to have that when she needed the most because of a difficult situation she was in. And the painting has so much depth and beauty that looking at it hanging on her wall keeps reminding her of the words. What do you fear most? I fear negativity. Negative people and comments slow my momentum and I just don’t have the time or space for it. What is a happy life to you? A happy life to me is having the ability to overcome obstacles with objectivity along my journey. A friend told me “when turbulence hits, see the resolution!”. Remaining in this mindset makes me happy. And if you happen to remember that mantra all the time, then it also makes it easier to keep a balance between your work life and your home life. What does a regular day look like for you? It’s fast paced. My day starts with gratitude and a readiness to take on the tasks that I want to, through meditation. Followed by going to the gym, talking to my parents living in India, catching up on social media, research, marketing, in short the desk job and then I paint in the afternoon till evening. I get into my studio/office at 9 am and work till 6 pm. Tell us about your dream project. I want to see myself representing the country worldwide. By keeping the focus on and working diligently. I want see my artwork in the commercial places like hotels, offices, restaurants, homes, in short everywhere, inspiring everyone and making people think 278
and talk about it. That is my mission. Who is your professional inspiration? Some of my paintings are inspired by Picasso because I like his cubism style that gives depth to the work and Georgia O’Keeffe because not only was she a bold personality, but I appreciate her ability to isolate one aspect of a subject and blow it up large scale on canvas. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I feel that my work is diverse from representational to abstract that draws different kinds of people to my art. One of my art buyer says that my art has a sense of movement and some sense of mystery. And the inspiration behind that piece elevates you to the next level altogether along with the beauty that it brings. I agree. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? I cannot live without being able to express myself about what I am experiencing at any given time or moment throughout my journey via my art. Expressing gives me confidence to better myself. What inspires you? I believe that inspiration is everywhere/all around you and it is limitless. You need to keep your eyes and mind open. But to be more specific, I have always found peoples’ behaviours and emotions to situations intriguing and inspiring. I am very much interested in the psychology of a human being. I wonder what they are thinking and what makes them behave in a certain way. I take time to reflect and consider the reasons while I am painting and after I am finished with my piece. Therefore, I make it a point to describe my inspiration for each piece. Foremost, having a luxury of being a full time artist. I feel very blessed that I am able to create and paint everyday and work on my goals without stressing about how to pay bills. I am a selling artist, therefore, that’s a success. For me, success in arts
also mean getting recognition, for example, I just came to know that I am in the top 10 must see booths at Spectrum Miami. Success in terms of opportunities to showcase my work at various galleries or getting awards or getting published. In arts, you need to blow your own trumpet and I find it very challenging. It would be ideal if someone else does it for you. Some are born with this but I am slowly learning this skill because I don’t want to go over the top which can get annoying. I am about balance. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? I would say, I tend to pick up some thing or the other from each book I read that can help me in personal growth. For example, “The Man Who Sold His Ferrari” by Robin Sharma or “The Power Of Your Subconscious” by Joseph Murphy, “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. I pick up something even from a simple story book, analyzing how different characters deal with various situations. Check out Sonali’s website
Do you “like” a lot,
You’ve got 500 friends on Facebook, thousands of connections on various professional websites, many followers and daily interaction with people. But what does that mean? Does access to information about other people necessarily imply any form of knowledge, or are we just keeping ourselves busy? Maybe even avoiding IRL interaction? What does that do to people and to relationships in general? And to creativity?
We’re all a bit interactive, we like to communicate. Some of us like to keep that interaction down on a reasonable level but we do still want it to happen. Having access to various platforms on which to self-manage interaction and be your own communication boss is such an awesome thing. You’re available on your terms, you are the one deciding when to like, what to like and how often to like anything online. Each time you decide to upload a photo or a new status, this is in your power – you decide what parts of your life is to be shared. This power is huge, and so is the potential. Suddenly, your outreach to people is so much larger and allows for directly interacting with interesting minds worldwide. But all of this awesomeness aside, how’s reality doing? As we become better at searching, finding and poking people online, how is all of this affecting our IRL relationships and communication? Are the online interactions turned into real-life meetings or do they stay as online friendships? How about the friendships acquired offline, are they moving online as well? Do you go for less coffees with people you used to hang out with before? What about the whole friendship thing – when was the last time you started to speak with someone in a bar or anywhere, and then went on for a coffee? And then continued to see each other as friends? Or is someone approaching someone else IRL today seemed as the super-weird thing that only weird people do? Are compliments only OK when they are posted online to a photo on Instagram? These IRL experiences
, and do you know these people too? are getting less frequent as the online interaction has taken over, yet what it lacks is appealing to all senses. People read each other’s body language, tone of voice, the gaze and overall emotional appearance, and this isn’t happening from a set of nice words on a screen. No matter how nice or sincere they are. Yet, looking at the potential of things – there’s quite a lot of it. People who are uncomfortable with IRL interaction might feel that the online communication structure is much more giving to then, eventually building their skills to be used IRL as well. What if online interaction, likes and pokings, could actually contribute to removing anxiety issues? What if it could be used to support people who have health problems, or who would like to pursue something awesome? What if kids could suddenly be introduced to an amazing big world of fun information, no longer being limited by schools? What if this leads to people exchanging their political views, asking their creative questions and researching things related to their goals and dreams? Wait, that’s already happening on a huge scale.
seems he (let’s just assume it’s a dude) is investing his time in making the most awesome little doll dresses ever. Time stops and you’re thinking “WTF? What is he doing? He’s not supposed to do this”. That is the thing, your perception of what a professor does and doesn’t do has changed completely, and you’ll maybe even feel a little bit more comfortable. Take any other prejudice of any sort, or any fear, and do the same exercise. This is a great potential which can balance online and offline communication, fusing the best parts from both worlds. Will only access to information lead to new relationships and more knowledge? Not necessarily, but it does already invite for further interaction. As long as curiosity is being used in the process of online interaction, and as long as there is some sort of constructive intention behind this behavior, awesomeness is most likely going to happen. Let’s consciously make it happen. Ask yourself – Is this current online interaction a substitute or a complementing asset in our everyday life?
Even more so, the indirect interaction can work as a means for countering prejudice of all sorts online. Imagine a professor, the typical kind. What do you see? So, as you do this, imagine what this engineering professor likes to do when not making students fall asleep during presentations. Now, let’s say you find this professor online, and as it 287
Name: Bruce Bachenheimer Where do you live: New York, USA Known for: Entrepreneurial thinking and action Currently working with: Pace University (Manhattan) as a Clinical Professor of Management and Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Lab. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? I wanted to teach at the college level for quite a long time, but didn’t realize I would have the opportunity to do so on a full-time basis at a major metropolitan university until it I started. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I’ve travelled to about 60 countries and if I had to choose one place to live other than New York, I suppose it would be Sydney, Australia. It is an incredibly beautiful city with a wonderful quality of life and great people. How would you describe your creativity? Entrepreneurial. I try to develop innovative solutions to problems that create value. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I’ve had an entrepreneurial perspective since childhood and applied this mindset seriously throughout my professional career. What do you do at the moment? I teach undergraduate and graduate courses, primarily in the areas of entrepreneurship, management and strategy as a Clinical Professor at Pace University in Manhattan. I am also the Executive Director of the University’s Entrepreneurship Lab, which is a collaborative workspace designed to bring together students from Pace’s six Schools and Colleges in order to promote cross-disciplinary problem solving, experiential learning and the development entrepreneurial mindset. A recommendation for those who think 290
about starting and running a creative business? Determine what is really important to you. Not what others would define as important or something that would make you successful, but what you are truly passionate about. Tell us how it all started. I grew up in a somewhat rural area and had to create my own opportunities by being independent and resourceful. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Independence. I will work towards institutional goals and within organizational boundaries, but want the freedom and flexibility to pursue a creative path autonomously. What is your favorite film? “Manhattan” by Woody Allen. JuzoItami’s “Tampopo” is a close second. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? The person reading this, because that captures something from “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” by Walt Whitman. How do you like to spoil yourself? By going to a country I have not yet visited. What is luxury for you? I try to avoid materialism and conspicuous consumption at all costs, but suspend monetary concerns for Omakase sushi. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? A former professor of mine wrote: “In Hindu tradition, the greatest guru (teacher) is one whose shishya (student) surpasses the guru. By that criterion, I am the greatest guru, and very proud of you!” What do you fear most? Painful suffering. What is a happy life to you? The realization that if I knew I had a limited time to live, there is very little I would
change. What does a regular day look like for you? Fortunately, there is very little that is regular in my day. Tell us about your dream project. I would like to travel internationally teaching entrepreneurship to diverse groups of people. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Professors that come to mind include Randy Pausch (Carnegie Mellon University) and Walter Lewin (MIT). How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I like to teach by revealing a path to discovery. I try to be empathetic and engaging, but have little patience for apathetic dolts.
Deliberate I went to the sea to live deliberately Abandoning this harried life which somehow seduced me Knowing that harsh reality would constantly challenge me Liberating the fleeting spirit buried deep within me Longing to see the works of the Lord Quietly deliberating dreams from vain desires coerced subliminally I must go down to the sea today Before these dreams and I quietly fade away Check out Bruce’s Website
Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Unfortunately, it would appear to be my iPhone. What inspires you? That continuous learning is a job requirement and inspiring others to learn is the most important aspect of my job. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “Walden; or, Life in the Woods” by Henry David Thoreau. I live deliberately. Related to this last question: A line in Thoreau’s Walden inspired me to leave a well-paying career on Wall Street for an adventure at sea; “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” I bought a 36’ sailboat, named it Deliberate, and spent several years sailing from New England, through the Caribbean, to South America and back. I tried to capture the inspiration for that adventure in the following poem I wrote before the voyage.
Our senses and creativity
We recently published our article series “Our senses and creativity”, and have selected quotes from all of the 5 (long) articles – with links to reach the full articles. Find out more about the five amazing senses and stay creative, folks! :)
“…We’re attracted by the colors we perceive, the visual expression portrayed in art, design, even technology. The visual beauty of a perfect line, a silhouette; the environment in which objects and subjects interact, in which the surroundings play a far bigger role than the items or people themselves. Moving things, or people in movement; the patterns of those moves and how they can be abruptly interrupted by external influences or sudden realizations.
Then there’s the human interaction aspect of sight. Think about the eyes specifically and what they can tell you. During any form of interaction in which you can see the other person’s eyes, your communication is also expressed directly through the eyes. At times, and when seeing more than just the eyes of another person, these signals can be pretty simple to catch. But, when having visual access only to the eyes of another person, things get tricky. There are so many tests available online where you can try to figure out how many expressions you can actually pick up, only by the gaze of other people’s eyes. In line with this is also plenty of ongoing scientific research aiming to investigate which and how many
different emotional states human beings are capable of reading, a fascinating scientific approach to understand more about the depth and complexity of human communication. Often, we as human beings look at (well, hi there) other people’s eyes to connect, gain attention, show that attention is being given, approve or disprove, like, flirt, not like and all other things possible. Although almost always through the help and assistance of other basic senses, attraction is perceived by a gaze, a certain movement with the eye lashes (you know the kind that Lola Bunny gives Bugs Bunny, that kind). Such a conscious use of the mechanics behind our eyes can be what determines whether a successful conversation will take place, or not. Eyes are expressive and depending on by which intensity they are gazing, a wide set of emotions can arise. We constantly observe our surroundings, environment, and body language – and it doesn’t stop there. We adjust….” – On Sight
“…Now, have you had the chance to smell a wet dog? “Stinky situation” would be to put it mildly, and your nose may never forget you for allowing that to happen. The intensity with which this smell slaps anyone and everyone right in the face is a call for bathing action – which in itself is yet another story. The point is, the smell of wet dog will not be limited to him only, but to your couch, carpet, bed and if you’re lucky – your clothes as well. Pulling a positive aspect out of this is that if you’ve had a dog ever before, maybe as a kid, you will most likely find that smell of wet dog convenient, reminding you of those stinky days with your best friend. Which conveniently brings us to the relationship between smell and memories. Do you know how many of your memories have a direct or indirect association to smell? Try to recall any of them. Was it a positive memory, a happy experience? Probably. Our senses leave quite an intense memory for us to associate good experience with something to look forward to once again, or something which is OK, even encouraged, to do. Do you associate being over at a friend’s house as a kid, with a certain smell? Or staying at your grandparents’ home, with the scent of freshly baked cookies and maybe some nice flowers reminding you how fun it was to spend time there? The smell of coffee in the morning, or from newly mowed lawns nearby, or scented candles, cookies, shampoos, soaps, you name it – everything smells and all of it has an impact on your life, on a daily basis. When traveling abroad, the new scents and smells of a new place, new nature, new environment and new culture are all highly influencing and determining the whole experience of that stay. The slightly different fresh air, the sea and sand, the mountains and forests all have their impact. Other people too, and the very simple movement of them all, customs on how close or far a distance is best to keep when 303
talking – even that is directly affecting how much data will be processed through this fantastic sense. At times though, we’re biased. If we perceive environments and people as interesting and fun for any reason, the way…” – On Smell “…If having a long term view on life, because it is one and it is complete, then making bad choices this very moment means that its consequences will indeed have an impact further down the road. This insight, or knowledge, makes rational choices (which might not be as tasty) much easier to make and stick to, as the positive consequences of them are acknowledged. This does not equal paranoia though – the choice of taste preference is a choice, and it is something each individual is uniquely creating. Meaning, is someone chooses short-term thinking combined with promoting one set of tastes only, and timing the consumption of those with emotionally challenging states – then there’s a big risk to develop taste extremism. Yes, we just invented taste extremism. But all of this is pretty complex. Sweet is not sweet if you’ve tried something sweeter. Eat some cake and then have a banana – it won’t taste the same and it won’t be as sweet as it was when you tried it on a hot summer day as a kid, after playing around for hours. Likewise, eat a grape and then immediately have some candy – the candy is going to taste like a sugar explosion. If you have something spicy for dinner, then this will usually not mix well at all with sour foods. Also, mixing carbs like bread, pasta, rice and potatoes in the same meal won’t taste as nicely as when eating these things separately, together with other foods.
Which brings us to another perspective – the memories and meals. Often, people tend to associate certain foods with a happy event, when meeting someone interesting, hanging out with friends or spending time with some family members. Thinking about that certain dish will imme-
diately lead to thinking of those times, what happened, the emotional states and how big of an impression the whole atmosphere contributed to make. Attending events and having new taste experiences will make the connection between these tastes and the people invited, subjects for conversation, thoughts, emotions and lead to strong and biased associations. This magic is created though the complex interaction between much more than just different tastes, but what is served will have quite a significant impact in that experience. Try having the same food at home while watching your favorite TV show – it probably won’t be as much of a taste experience at all, with less value added to tasting and more to just eating. Then there are those sacred…” – On Taste
“….But this doesn’t only hold for fabrics. Pens, pencils, papers, books, computers, smartphones, coffee cups, food or any other thing which might need to be carried at some point is going to be touched. And this touch experience in most of the cases probably is familiar – doing things on your smartphone is a pretty regular habit. Yet, if you have to use someone else’s phone, that convenient feeling isn’t the same. It’s not the exact same touch, the settings aren’t “right”, it doesn’t feel right, you have to touch it weirdly to make things happen. Ignoring all other circumstances such as the biggest one, being inconvenient to use other people’s phones, the memory you have of touching your own smartphone will remind you that what you’re currently doing is different. Dumb as it may sound, the different memory when doing that is most likely one of the main reasons for the inconvenient feelings to happen in the first place. Speaking of the indirect touch, the one in which the skin isn’t directly affected yet still picks up a sensation, is when writing. If using a pen which smoothly writes on a piece of paper, almost by itself, this touch experience will be awesome. This also means that the tolerance level for how holding the pen feels in the hand is much higher, and it’s allowed for it to be chubby and a bit, well, difficult. Now, as long as the pen writes smoothly everything is fine. If you’re suddenly out of paper and have to write things down on a difficult surface – the pen’s less attractive attributes are suddenly more valued and the new touch memory being 305
created is less positive. Thus, the experience of touch is highly circumstantial as well. Having an air conditioner working is pretty nice when working out at the fitness center, but not as nice if sitting still at home and reading a book (if it’s not summer). Feeling the water pouring on your face when showering is great, but that same feeling doesn’t happen when you’re late for work and have to walk from the car to the office in the rain. Without an umbrella. Drinking cold water on a sunny day is refreshing (unless brain freeze) while drinking cold water when outside while snowing isn’t. Rolling into a nice, soft towel after showering is pretty great, but falling asleep on such a towel – not as much. Smooth printing paper is fantastic for awesome quality photography, but using it as toilet paper…. We better stop with these examples right away. No, we won’t. So, speaking of drinking and water. The touch of…” – On Touch
“…And as we all know – being programmed yet not aware of it can be tricky business. Which by its very nature leads us into the world of sales and marketing strategies. You all recognize the one and only marketing voice. Oh, that lovely voice speaking to you through the phone or TV ad as though you have never before seen a vacuum cleaner, had a salad, made a phone call with a smart phone, gone to a food market, bought clothes or whatever else businesses are trying to sell to you. As a receiver, again, the tone of the voice speaking, the other sounds interacting or interfering with the lead voice, and your own responsiveness to that combination has a big impact on how you will behave as a consumer. Regularly listening to someone with a friendly voice telling you what you should buy, which brand is the most attractive and why that’s the only one you should focus on will have an impact on your choices. Why else would corporations spend all that money on commercials? But we’ll get back to the listening part later. Now, in the time of email spamming with “authentic, personalized” messages, think of when you open one of them and are greeted with a “Hi there!”. Is your head reading those words with a salesman voice, you know the highly confident, semi-psychopathic, stalker kind? If you do, you’re not alone. And why is that? Because that phrase, as many others, has been framed within such an aggressive sales context so
many times, and previous experience often tends to define future ones. Sales strategies involving voices, sounds, even indirectly triggering your hearing memory are highly attractive methods for sales people at the moment – and this could explain the obsession over signature melodies for various products and services. Which might explain the not-really-success to which these sales approaches are leading. Now, moving on to the field of marketing specifically, the power of the sounds and voices is stunning. You know when a certain voice is used so as to build memories for specific products or services? And most often, there are specific voices preferred for marketing of specific products, strengthening the main characteristics of that product. Imagine a movie trailer, the dark male action-loaded voice, speaking about the latest pill for diarrhea. Let’s be clear, if you’re in need of that pill, you are indeed experiencing action all right. However, this voice and your experience don’t go along that well. Likewise, if there’s a cracking old lady voice in a commercial, talking about the newest fashion collection of hot Victoria’s Secret underwear, well – no. Or, imagine having a toothpaste commercial with slurping, smacking sounds, you know in that exact tone which you yourself would have been able to speak if you had a toothpaste covered toothbrush shoved in your mouth.” – On Hearing
Name: Gonzalo Alatorre Where do you live: Vancouver, Canada. Known for: Designer of the 2010 Winter Olympics Emblem. TEDx Talk “Why design should be like a liquid quesadilla”; and for receiving from the Government of Mexico, in the 200th Anniversary of the Mexican Revolution, A lifetime Achievement Award for Applied Arts. As well, I am a highly regarded tennis player (mostly by myself), and credited with discovering the Rolling Stones (40 years after everyone else). Currently working with: Creative Director and owner of Creative Engine, a brand strategy and design agency in Vancouver. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? In 12th grade of high school, I suddenly liked graphic design (when I was never a kid that had an interest in drawing or art). I got a job as an intern in my hometown making newspaper ads. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Paris. It is a monument to humanity, our achievements as a civilization, and to the enjoyment of life. How would you describe your creativity? Well, in the early years of my career I thought of creativity as coming up with “crazy” ideas, regardless of how they addressed the problem or provided a viable solution. I also was under the impression that creativity is a talent only enjoyed by those in the creative fields. It is important for me to reiterate that the work examples shared in this interview are an example of the work that has been collectively done by our team. As I mentioned before, besides studying graphic design I also studied Mathematics and Evolutionary Biology at the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver. One of the 310
biggest findings (for me) was the realization that creativity is just the capacity or ability to solve a problem. Biologists and even more so Mathematicians have to be extremely creative to be able to describe or better said find a way to describe the world around us. This taught me the appreciation that everyone, regardless of their profession can be creative. It also taught me that our profession of design is definitely not a science, and as such, it provides us a lot more freedom to take risks or break the rules. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? In 2nd year of university. I got an intern position at a design agency in Mexico with the great Alfonso Huerta. What do you do at the moment? I am surrounded by better designers than me at work, so my work consists of collaborating with our clients in developing the strategy and parameters for the project, and pointing our designers in the right direction. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Need to understand what is it of a creative service that is of business value to your clients. Tell us how it all started. I began to understand design while working under the wings of Alfonso Huerta, in Mexico City. He taught me the power of finding a way to say yes to a client. As well, at the time of winning the nation-wide competition that was organized by the IOC for the Vancouver Olympic logo, I was working for a design firm here in Vancouver; the exposure and notoriety that was generated by winning this competition created the right conditions to take the step to start on my own. As well, success can breed jealousy and short-sightedness in a lot of people. The negative experiences that developed internally at the design firm I was working at the
time of the competition, developed a clear understanding of how important it is to give people proper recognition, under closed doors and in front of clients. I started Creative Engine with a desk, a chair, and computer in our second bedroom and zero clients. Now we have a team of four, and produce work that is actively engaging our clients’ customers in 40 countries. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? An environment where people see the benefit of collaboration, there are no egos, and where every person treats our clients business with as much passion as if it were their own. As well, an environment that we find a way to say yes. What is your favorite film? Can’t choose one. There are so many, and they are all so good for many reasons that make them incomparable. For example The Godfather trilogy, The Sea Inside, and Life is Beautiful all are centered around the idea of life and death, yet how can you say one is better than the rest? Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My family (sisters, brother, and mother). They are all in Mexico and I don’t get to have dinner with them often. How do you like to spoil yourself? Taking the time to go fly fishing. What is luxury for you? The end-product of something that you are lacking or is unattainable, and it takes away from the necessary. It could be money-based, time-based, or emotionally-based.
is great, but placing that level of trust in our services speaks louder than any compliment. What do you fear most? Not seeing my kids grow up. What is a happy life to you? A life where whenever you look behind and around you, you like what you see, you are proud of what you have built. What does a regular day look like for you? I don’t have a regular day. Every day, every week, every month is different in our business. We are always working on different projects, for different industries. Always learning. Tell us about your dream project. Any project where the client can distinguish the difference between good and great design, and is willing to take a risk in the positioning strategy. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? A few of our clients. They are building great organizations. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Entirely driven by the business objectives of our clients. I don’t care if if the end result is green, pink, or purple, as long as the client feels properly represented. This will have a great impact in how they sell his business. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Adventures.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? When a client decides to work with us again, or rely on our services for their critically-important moments.
What inspires you? Music. Of all the creative endeavors, nothing blows my mind like music. Music has to be the most complex expression of creativity. For example, at the moment I am obsessed with the 2nd movement of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5. Every time I listen to it, my mind just goes into overdrive and ideas just flow.
Awards, or a client saying a logo or website
A book that has changed/made the most
impression in your life? “Historias de Cronopios y Famas” by Julio Cortazar. It is a very entertaining book about the difference between spontaneous people that love life and living life to its fullest, and people that look at life as an event that you can schedule. Check out Gonzalo’s Website
Stay creative 325
creative room 4 talk An international magazine for communication & creativity creativeroom4talk.com
Welcome to the second Creativeroom4talk ISSUU issue of 2016! In this issue, we've got interviews with 19 amazing creative professionals from...
Published on Feb 1, 2016
Welcome to the second Creativeroom4talk ISSUU issue of 2016! In this issue, we've got interviews with 19 amazing creative professionals from...