creative room 4 talk An international magazine for creativity
JULY 2015 1
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Zorana Vukomanović firstname.lastname@example.org CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Ljiljana Kužet email@example.com creativeroom4talk.com @4creativeroom www.facebook.com/acreativeroom4talk
Dear Creatives, Summer’s here and we’re in for our third issue – the ride up to now has been absolutely fantastic. The positivity level in this issue is supersized and will definitely work as a motivation booster to anyone who might feel a little need for just that. Sharing knowledge is what makes new ideas happen – but there’s a clear difference between sharing that and just sharing random anything simply for marketing. The best part with sharing though, is that invites to conversation, elaborations, explanations, new concepts. Being part of this magazine and its evolving is truly an inspirational experience. The interviewees, their sharing of stories, memories, thoughts and ideas, it is what makes Creativeroom4talk this amazing. It is precisely that to which people are attracted – the real, human and honest content. Every single decision made over here has been made with our readers in mind. Their amazing influence and choice of quality topics, great ideas and comments all over social media – this is what inspires us to become better each day, and to present interesting topics inviting to further discussions. In this issue, we have featured 22 interviews with the broadest variety in professional backgrounds – sharing stories and views on creativity. As we have mentioned here before – this is not a source of bullshit, we don’t believe in that as a possible way of reaching any real goal or any actual progress. There is plenty of that out there anyways, the competition is quite apparent. Since we truly believe in substance and quality, and following the continuous rise in readers, followers and people who appreciate what we do – this magazine seems to be on the right track. Honesty and genuineness pays off in receiving so much positivity and energy. Creativity is so many different things and up until recently, only very few of those were in the spotlight. That is now changing, making room for people from all over the world and with a massive addition of experience and knowledge. The importance of interconnecting different kinds of creative skills is yet another reason for being part of a media initiative of this kind. There is one creative culture all over the world, and one only – the people kind. Promoting creativity to happen and people to take that first step into doing what they love and investing their time in something of value is what we do here. The choice to add the question of fear in the interviews serves a true purpose and it is a highly conscious one – to open up for dealing with the not-too-fun things as well, yet in a good and supportive way. This is a constructive, easy, fun and creative space. Regardless of the details, the biggest goal is to create a constructive and open community, with actual and real opportunities being created by everyone who is involved. And everyone who wishes to be that is very welcome to join us – we’re glocal! Adding to that, we have new highly interesting things to share with you, starting off in the September issue. But more about that in our next issue. We work to make this magazine a source of inspiration, leading to practical action – whether that means connecting with interviewees or finding ways to use some of our articles as basis for a project. Would you like to do something nice for your community? We’ve written about that. Would you like to connect with people from other professional fields? We’ve written about that too. Would you like to let someone close to you know how to make themselves happier? Because, we know how to do that. Welcome to our new issue – we are very happy to have you with us! Zorana Vukomanovic 5
Articles: Creatives are really great project managers Creative success is being ego-less The color of things: Purple – Self-doubt and passion How movies affect emotions and state of mind 5 ways to create opportunities – work hacks Where is that balancing line for healthy habits? Creativity helps! Communicating over generations – creativity enhanced! Organized disorganization – why that makes sense to creative minds The color of things: Yellow – Destruction and Inspiration in words The “let’s do it”- approach (to creativity) 5 ways to create opportunities – communication hacks Creativity, friendship and business – yes, all of them can be combined! The similarity in variation – science and creative arts Openness and creativity – why they belong together The color of things: Orange – The impact of positivity Your mindset decides what kind of result your creativity will bring How positive attitudes connect creatives all over the world Glocal communities – we can do it! Why creativity in sales makes clients and customers stay The color of things: Gray – Challenge the inspiration channels Everyone has a story to tell 3 crazy habits of creatives during summer What makes you want to communicate with someone? 3 crazy habits of bored creatives When you find inspiring creatives – connect with them
16 25 36 46 60 63 79 90 106 116 126 128 141 152 164 174 188 191 202 224 240 254 257 268 280
Interviews: Interview: Lizette Venter Interview: Dr. Martina Carroll-Garrison Interview: Simon Kirk Interview: David Burkhart Interview: Jasna JanekoviÄ‡ Interview: Mike Wrobel Interview: Ellen Palestrant Interview: Sarah Zhang Interview: Chris Farmer Interview: Cathy Sparks Interview: Nataly (Kukula) Abramovitch Interview: Rick Sloboda Interview: Atsuko Sasaki Interview: Sai Krishna D. Interview: Justyna Gaja Interview: Dana Delaney Interview: Roy Zafrani Interview: Keiko Hasegawa Interview: Jorge Mealha Interview: Mauricio Morali Interview: Nevena Zelunka CvijetiÄ‡ Interview: David Harder
9 19 27 39 49 65 83 95 111 119 131 143 155 167 177 193 205 215 227 243 259 273
Name: Lizette Venter Known for: Clovetree art yarn, hand felted items, and knitwear pattern designer. Currently working with: I am always experimenting with colour and texture. I have just started working towards a collaborative body of work with two other artists. When did you realize that you were going to work with this: When my youngest was ready to go to school, 2 years ago, I had to consider my options in the workplace. At that point I realised that I already had a job, I simply had to transition with it into a place where it also became financially viable. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I am very settled and happy in Edinburgh, where I am living with my children. I do have a wish to be more nomadic, and perhaps when my youngest is a little older, we can be less settled. How would you describe your design: Textural, bohemian, vibrant, eclectic.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Write down every ‘golden’ moment – those times when the universe showers you with reward, opportunity and praise. You will need those when you have a tough day/ week/month. Making mistakes is where our biggest learning curves are – both creatively and in business. And just enjoy the journey. Turning my creative flow into a business has been life changing for me. Tell us how it all started. I have tried my hand with more or less success in a whole range of artistic endeavours, from sculpting, to painting and silver smithing. When my local yarn store had a second hand spinning wheel for sale, I thought of making my own yarn in order to save on a rather expensive little yarn habit. However, once I had taught myself to spin from the booklet that came with the wheel, I was hooked. That was about 12 years ago. I’ve branched into felt making and weaving since then, but spinning is still my first love. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Natural light, music, and being able to work without interruption.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I am very driven in what I do, because I enjoy it so much. However, I think if serious and What is your favorite film? my creativity were to be in one place for I enjoy grand epic landscapes – for visual too long, my mojo would get up and leave. pleasure, my favourite movie is Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. What do you do at the moment? I am working towards an exhibition with two Who would you like to invite for a dinner amazing talented artists, Melanie Jones and why? and Anke Stahl, where we will be blurring Richard Feinman, Leonardo da Vinci and the line between function and art. an interpreter. I would love to see what 10
comes of a meeting between two such brilliant minds. How do you like to spoil yourself? Mary’s Milk Bar in Edinburgh has the best homemade ice cream. My favourite is their rose and black pepper. Oh, yum! What is luxury for you? In working material it is the tactile experience of a fiber, but in life, I enjoy the little moments – the pause between strokes when swimming. When my body is simply gliding, supported by the water, and relaxed, but ready for the next movement. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design, and from whom? I do love kind words and praise, but I think the most sincere compliment is a repeat customer. What do you fear most? Mediocrity and stagnation. What is a happy life to you? Having time to watch a snail leave its silver trail, or a tree dancing in the wind. Laughing and sharing these moments with my children, and putting all of that joy into my work.
I have been wanting to expand and work on larger scale, which is now coming to fruition, as I am working towards a collaborative exhibition. An added bonus is the creative sparking of ideas between artists. I am loving it! Who is your favorite designer? Gosh! There are so many. I was first inspired by the sense of colour, simplicity and texture in the yarns of Eisaku Noro. How would you describe your style? Vibrant, bohemian, eclectic, evocative. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My one big helper is the capacity of my Majacraft Aura wheel. However, I can’t get past air, water, food and shelter with this question... What inspires you? My inspiration is mostly visual beauty in nature, but occasionally I find a smell or an emotion so evocative, that I want to try and capture that. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Jitterbug Perfume by Tom Robbins.
What does a regular day look like for you? Wake up, breakfast, kids to school. Check social media. Prepare wool/dye/wash fleece. Lunch/paperwork/quick tidy of the house/kids time/Dinner/Serious spinning/ dyeing/felting work after the children have gone to bed. Occasionally I spend a morning with a friend, having coffee, and recharging my emotional batteries. Tell us about your dream project. 11
Creatives are really great project managers
Have you come across a creative person in the middle of their work process? You probably have, and you have seen the amount of information that one single creative person can keep in mind, while simultaneously doing several different tasks. When they decide to get going with something, they do it thoroughly, properly and they give their all into making great things happen. Now, in any kind of project – there are several phases that need to be done in order to meet time and financial requirements, and no one does it like creatives. For a regular person, the action happening before their eyes can be almost like an extra-terrestrial experience – things are everywhere, documents are being produced rapidly, meetings in large numbers and things being re-scheduled and followed-up. And all of that happens really fast. The fun thing is that the person doing all of these things is completely in touch with him/ herself. While any other person would get slightly religious and mildly stressed, these people simply deal with the situation – they switch between different sections, assignments, tasks and manage to also include a serious dose of spontaneity. When asked how it is possible to deal with all of this in such an effective and efficient way, the response is something like “what? I’m not doing anything special, I don’t know what you’re talking about”. Who could be more suited for a project management position?
Interview: Dr. Martina Carroll-Garrison
Name: Dr. Martina Carroll-Garrison Where do you live: Citizen of the world – East Coast, USA and Europe. Known for: Shaping Your Future At Work. Currently working with: Owner – MCG Consulting Group. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? When I became immensely dissatisfied working within a large organization and realized that the only thing that had changed was me – not the organization. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I am fortunate to be able to crisscross the Atlantic and enjoy living both in the US and Europe..... However I plan to buy a retirement home in Northern Spain (for the wine and the weather). How would you describe your creativity? Instead of a life of shoulda-coulda-woulda (should-could-would) I see my creativity as “first and foremost I am...” i.e I am an executive coach, I am a mentor, I am a trainer, I am a teacher, I am an adviser, I am a problem solver.... My creativity comes from what I am.... I use to think it was just meddling... Until I realized I am actually good at solving work life and workplace problems.... So my creativity is the acknowledgment of the being that I am.... I like to make things “better”! How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I have been a solver of work life and workplace problems as long as I remember.... 20
I was an engineer at the beginning of my career – and I solved engineering problems.... Then I became a project manager and I began to solve project problems.... Then I became a program manager and I began to solve program problems.... Then I became a manager and leader and I saw that I was good at solving people problems – especially within the context of the workplace..... Then, I realized that I was creating more workplace problems than I was solving and I realized I needed to remove myself from the workplace and advocate as a third party rather than an internal instigator.... I took early retirement from US federal service in 2014 after completing my Doctorate in Management and Organizational Leadership and becoming certified as an Executive Leadership Coach – this is when I became serious about making a living through helping them make their living in a joyous, fulfilling and harmonious manner (by solving their work life and workplace problems). What do you do at the moment? Many eggs in many baskets – but all organized around one theme..... Keep my 81 year old Mum company in Ireland between gigs.... Coach individual clients around building leadership capacity and executive presence... Teach global leadership and strategy to international students.... Host The Job Talk Radio/TV Show.... Produce a podcast and blog on workplace and work life issues..... Consult on organizational improvement and strategy issues... Provide group coaching on career management issues.... Mentor a variety of “free” clients of personal development.... A recommendation for those who think
about starting and running a creative business? Pay down all your debt and liquidate you assets... Start from where you are at and hone your message.... Tell as many people what it is you are doing/preparing to do.... This way if you become scared to make the move you will be too embarrassed to back down because you have told everyone your plan...
self as they find their thru north!
Tell us how it all started. When I was around 30 I saw my engineering colleagues moving ahead professionally and I was baffled... I appeared to have hit the proverbial brick wall.... A good boss/ mentor advised me to take some training in the area of self-development and it was this first “journey into self” that released me from the bandages of being ignorant and unaware of how I showed up in my work life... this lack of self-awareness was killing my professional progress..... From this one professional development program I became a life-long-learner and learned how to get out of my own way.... And have studied and learned how to help others get out of their own way toward becoming the highest and best version of themselves in their work life....
How do you like to spoil yourself? I engaged a personal trainer for my physical well-being and work with him three times a week.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My guy friends from the war college in 2006 ... Jim, Joe, Carl and Ishfaq – best group of belly laughing guys ever to walk this planet..... We ate many great dinners together and told huge stories and laughed until our sides hurt!
What is luxury for you? Mani and Pedi. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? A client who wrote me a thank you note (after our coaching engagement was over) and added a p.s. that said “BTW – my wife thanks you too!” I understood that not only had I improved the quality of his work life through my executive coaching methods, but that there was a positive spillover into his home life.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Authentic civility and respect for each of our fellow travelers....
What do you fear most? Am I good enough? That deviant little voice can still catch me off guard and ask who the hell do I think I am meddling in other people’s work lives.
What is your favorite film? The Kings Speech – I appreciate the poignancy of enabling greatness to shine through in others yet knowing and accepting that I do not own their greatness - rather I merely helped them to uncover their best
What is a happy life to you? My current life is happy – I provide companionship to my Mum from a place of abundance rather that duty, and my business is becoming a thing of beauty and satisfaction for me. 21
What does a regular day look like for you? After a federal career of the traditional 9 to 5 I now work approximately the reverse – from 5 am to 9 pm or even later. I wake up early and pull down my laptop to write and sort my thinking into coherent thoughts.... I am very clear between 5 am and 8 am so do my best writing then.... Then coffee and the trainer or other physical activity..... Then some busy work followed by the midday nap or reflection..... 40 min of power recharging and I become a dynamo until late in the evening if I am working on a project... When I am in my flow I HATE to be disturbed.... Each element of a project must be resolved before I can close down the production process.... Tell us about your dream project. A national platform to promote the significance of civility and imbue proactive civil behavior within the workplace... Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Uggh... You know I found out early in my career that heroes have clay feet – that said I would select Mother Theresa for her selfless yet determined commitment to humanity – she was a beautiful human without being a doormat... How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? My work style is about embodying the human-being... Not the human-doing or the human-earning.... Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My dog Bella the Basset Hound (or a 22
dog)..... A life without a dog is groundless.... What inspires you? Fixing problems.... And helping others to fix their own problems.... A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? The Little Prince – it was the first book I remember reading and I loved the artwork – especially the elephant inside the snake. A more read and which has framed my approach to my professional creativity is Sun Tzu – The Art of War.
Creative success is being ego-less There are no limits when it comes to creativity and success – if you have a great idea and are prepared to invest a lot of time and effort into it, then you’ll make it. It really is that simple. When you’ve reasoned about it and made the decision to go through with whatever you choose to do, then being completely focused and determined is what will make things happen. For some people, the moment they succeed with their project, this thing called ego appears. Ego is a bad habit of talking about things which completely lack any connection to reality. Not only that, it is a way of behaving and expressing ideas which people tend to get enough of pretty quickly. What follows is that the creative work, the achievements are appreciated while the creative isn’t that much at all. And why would that be a good thing for
anyone? What is really important is to understand that being ego-less is not the same thing as undervaluing your work, degrading your effort and disrespecting your creative product. Quite the opposite – by being kind, friendly and open will most likely favor your efforts and enhance the results from presenting them. Why not getting recognized for talent, creativity, innovation, ideas rather than for being that person with a big ego? Having confidence in yourself and your talents is the real thing. It is the attitude that will bring most happiness and positivity, and with that comes all other good things. Ego is to creativity what slow internet is to social media – so let’s do the right thing and be ego-less. 25
Name: Simon Kirk
Known for: Collage and Mixed Media/Painting.
What do you do at the moment? I’m drawing inspiration from the work of Jean Dubuffet and his meticulous cityscapes, and also another outsider artist Howard Finster (famous for his Talking Heads album covers). There’s a nice harmony of text and image in his work which I want to explore. The piece ‘Switch’ I did last year, which you can view on my website gallery, will give you an idea of the direction I’m taking.
Currently working with: Turner | Barnes | Gallery. When did you realize that you were going to work with this: I’ve always wanted to be an artist, as far back as I can remember it has always been a perfect fit for me. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Denmark. According to the World Happiness Report commissioned for a United Nations conference on happiness, Denmark is the happiest country in the world. And I love it there. How would you describe your design: A marriage of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art - a synergy of poetry, drawing and painting, which marries text and image, abstraction and figuration in a rough, emotional way using vivid colours. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? While living in London trying to pursue my art career I found that working to pay the high rents left little time to paint. It was only when I moved back to my hometown of Leigh on Sea (about 30 miles outside of London) that I really had the opportunity to start my career. That was about 7 years 28
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Building up a good network of contacts is necessary and takes time but as your reputation grows, you get more opportunities. Often it can be a case of being in the right place at the right time so to speak. I compare being an artist with starting a small business. It’s not enough just to do the work; you need to promote the work too. And you need to be able to budget effectively – materials, cost of travelling to shows/delivering work, entering competitions to raise your profile etc., all need to be considered. Tell us how it all started. I was an only child so I had plenty of time to myself, and I’d spend it drawing. I remember watching the Tarzan Lord of the Jungle cartoon then spending hours practicing drawing noses and hands, those things I could see from my own drawings that
I wasn’t very good at. So when I started school, I was recognised as having a talent and that was extremely pleasing to me. The ‘hard work’ was paying off! I decided then I wanted to be an artist and that never changed. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? A big sturdy workbench, good lighting, storage space... For collage artists, I also recommend a hairdryer so waiting for glue to dry doesn’t slow you down. What is your favorite film? I have many favourites. I’m a big fan of films, but I have a special affection for 80’s B movies. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Probably 80’s B movie actor Robert Englund (famous for playing Freddy Krueger). So much creativity went into producing films before CGI. A lot of charm and ingenuity has been lost, I think. How do you like to spoil yourself? I buy DVDs!
the work was incredibly gratifying. What do you fear most? I’m not a massive fan of flying. What is a happy life to you? To continue to have the freedom to create. What does a regular day look like for you? I normally spend the morning uploading work to social media, responding to emails etc. If I have sold work I package and send it off. The morning is my promotional time. Then in the afternoon I will go into the studio and work, often until late at night. I may have time for a nap in between. Tell us about your dream project. I’d like to have a bigger studio space to create very large work. Who is your favorite artist? If I had to pick one, it would have to be Picasso. It’s possibly a boring answer but he produced so much work across so many different styles and mediums; he’s almost taken for granted. My favourite quote from him: “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”.
What is luxury for you? Spending time in Denmark.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Tea.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design, and from whom? I recently sold a large and expensive piece within 20 minutes of posting it online. The fact that someone instantly connected with
What inspires you? I always look to the work of Picasso, Robert Rauschenberg, Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly, Paul Klee and Jean-Michel Bas29
quiat. I love the work of William Burroughs and Charles Bukowski - both have a very dry dark humour to them that appeals to me. Films inspire me - I’m drawn to films that don’t have a linear plot, like David Lynch films for example. You recognise all the scenarios, you can understand the language and you almost know what’s going on, but not quite - It’s open to interpretation. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? A good question, and difficult to answer. I’ll probably go for ‘Cities of the Red Night’ by William Burroughs. It’s not my favourite book, but it was the where I discovered the cut-up technique.
The color of things: Purple – Selfdoubt and passion
Life involves dealing with many, quite different kinds of situations and circumstances. Often, they all consist of something that could be called a starting point, and then something that represents the end of that section, chapter or project. The variation in dealing with all of this depends on the level of confidence and passion available for each situation and how much that is affected by self-doubt. What is this self-doubt? It is a state of mind in which a person insists in convincing him/ herself that abilities proven and perfected time and time again, don’t really exist. And if they do they are not good enough and not suited to deal with much. This phenomena is occurring at times where something is about to start or when that is close to its final process. At the initial phase of a new project, it is normal to feel a little out of place – something completely new is about to happen, and the level of attentiveness it implies is in certain periods of time quite intense. Many different aspects need to be organized and dealt with, maybe even some serious amount of communication with coworkers and/or stakeholders. Add to this the billion other things that always happen in the initial phase of anything, and you have a pretty nice basis for all kinds of trouble. During the last part of any situation, the final part, there it is again – the basis for prob-
lems. Everything is almost completed and there’s a deadline coming up really fast. There has been so many changes, adjustments, shifts and issues to deal with throughout the process, and this final phase simply cannot fail. This is it, the fear of failure. So much time and effort has been invested, together with a load of money and expectations on top of that. This phase was invented for negative emotions. All of the above are situations in which the right mindset is the determining factor deciding whether the outcome will be potentially really good, or a disaster. And here comes the creative mind. What makes a creative person move on with their projects and ideas despite the self-doubt, is passion in its purest form. Having passion for a project, a thought, an idea, a job is what programs the mental state to keep moving forward, to make this happen. The amount of energy produced by this feeling is absolutely crucial for being able to deal with all requirements of any given phase, in any project.
state of calmness and happiness, making the work efficient and the mind calm and focused. Most importantly, learning how to spot the negative emotions early on is the absolute best way of maximizing the potential for a very fun and positive process. Reminding oneself of the reasons for doing this, the passion that created the idea and decision to turn it into reality is what it takes. Finally, everyone feels a little self-doubt at times, that’s completely normal. The important thing is to leave that doubt/passion ratio on a good level and let others help with that, encouraging passion and thus lowering the level of self-doubt massively. Because in the end, you know that you are pretty awesome.
Having someone else’s input is another great way of broadening one’s own perspective, granted that this input will be believed and truly absorbed by the creative person receiving it. Again, creatives tend to be open-minded people and sensitive to external influence so this is absolutely fantastic in a moment of doubt. This positive feedback pretty quickly transforms it into a 37
Name: David Burkhart Where do you live: Munich, Germany Known for: Expertise in technical English, especially the writing style. Currently working with: I give seminars on technical English and do some editing. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Around two years ago, I realized I could - and should - focus entirely on giving seminars. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Munich, which is where I live. This city has a rich cultural life. It is a fascinating blend of traditional German reliability and a bit of Mediterranean flair. How would you describe your creativity? It comes and goes; it is fragile. Whenever I have real leisure time, it is right there. It is my best friend: a source of great joy. Also, it has made it possible for me to solve innumerable problems and overcome many challenges.
thinker all my life, and had always enjoyed creative writing. However, it took many decades for me to allow myself to recognize my creativity. In today’s society, that’s somewhat like saying you have leprosy. What do you do at the moment? I give seminars on technical English and edit technical translations. As a hobby, I am renewing my knowledge of electronics. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Have you done some (informal) market research? Is there a need for your product or service? Make sure you have an alternative source of income, because your creative business might fail. Start this business as a hobby, in your kitchen; avoid spending a lot of money on something that could fail. Know the market very well! Most of all, you must know people who are potential clients or customers, and be familiar with your competitors.
Tell us how it all started. Around 13 years ago, suddenly all the conditions were right: I had time, and during my noon breaks I sat for an hour in an easy chair, pleasantly asking myself, “What if?…” How and when did you start to work with with regard to all kinds of products which this in a serious manner? do not exist but which could. I liked that! I Around 15 years ago. I had just come up with an idea for an Adult Education course. felt this creative spirit gave me almost suI stood there and suddenly told myself, “You pernatural powers. That, in turn, was the fuel that enabled me to continue. What fun! are creative!” I had been an independent 40
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? My workplace must reflect me - who I am and the things I am enthusiastic about.
On a regular basis, I spend time exchanging ideas with other interesting people (That is my favorite activity). I can decide what I want to do with my life.
What is your favorite film? Sons of the Desert, with Laurel & Hardy.
What does a regular day look like for you? My days often start with errands. There seem to be so many of them! I manage to arrive at my office sometime in the late morning. Checking e-mail messages: also time-consuming. In the afternoon, after a one-hour nap, I often prepare a new seminar or am involved in organizational work or writing. I interrupt boring work by exploring things I am enthusiastic about. My partner and I spend most of our evenings together. Our favorite pastime is good conversation; isnâ€™t that wonderful?!
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Bill Clinton. He is such a fascinating person; he is so many things. He is very extroverted and successful, but also very intelligent. How do you like to spoil yourself? I love to make plans that are wildly unrealistic. Some weeks or months later, I then find some kind of reasonable compromise. What is luxury for you? To have a lot of time off - time free of work, chores and errands. Time to explore new things. Time to be with my partner. What is the nicest compliment youâ€™ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I gave two talks on creativity to the German association of inventors, including one during their annual meeting. That was a real honor. I did this at the request of Mr. Karl Bauch, who was then chairman of the association. What do you fear most? Bankruptcy. What is a happy life to you?
Tell us about your dream project. University students would formally evaluate the effectiveness of the creativity methods which I have developed, in corporate settings. I would accompany that process and clarify open issues. The results would be published, and I would be a part of that as well. Another project: I want to design and build innovative equipment for amateur radio operators! Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Joe Vargo, the teacher I had when I was in the sixth grade of school. Formally, he was a school teacher. Actually, he was that and a brilliant child psychotherapist. He had a remarkable ability to understand children
and their needs. He was also an outstanding teacher. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I try to do the activities on my to-do list. Many days beforehand, I decide on a few - few! - activities which I really need to get done on a given day. This framework is important, because I usually interrupt these activities several times; I gather information on things I love, make plans or take time for unscheduled activities. Overall, I work in a fairly undisciplined way, which is why my schedule is so important. Otherwise, I probably would not get anything done! Which is the one thing you canâ€™t live without? My partner, Gioia. What inspires you? Having time off, unexpectedly. Going to a cafe and enjoying a favorite drink. Taking a long, leisurely walk. Talking with brilliant people. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? The Betrayal of the Body, by Alexander Lowen.
â€œOnce we rid ourselves of traditional thinking we can get on with creating the future.â€? James Bertrand
“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.” Steve Jobs
“The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”
How movies affect emotions and state of mind 46
You know the feeling when you watch a good movie and feel very connected with the characters? When you feel like you have an emotional understanding with one or more of the portrayed people, and almost go through a state of temporary mental transformation as the story continues?
even more intrigued with the emotions happening, because everything else is already served. As the movie progresses, the story unfolds and your perception evolves into a deeper understanding of the broader picture, your own interpretation of what is and what is not.
We’ve all been there – actually, most of us are “there” every time we watch a movie. It is completely normal to connect with someone as you are participating actively in observing moving images, sounds and a sequence in time. As with the characters of a book, the audience (the reader in this case) is actively seeking out to read, actively getting involved in a story. In this case however, you have the freedom to create your own images and see the story as you read the words.
This affects you deeply, and some of these emotions continue to accompany you throughout the night, maybe the next day or sometimes even for days. In a way, you have lead yourself into a certain set of emotions, and this is interesting to observe after the movie is done and you go back to your daily life. Making that transition usually takes a while, and during this time it can be highly interesting to stay aware of what you feel and think about real-life things and why that is happening.
In movies, the imagery is there, the main characters have a face and a personality, they have a walk and a voice, they have expressive eyes and you are presented with a set of angles from which you can observe it all happening. This means that you are
Interacting with the world, while recently having been interacted with through a movie, is most often a highly creative experience. Nurture it and stay mindful, and great new ideas will happen.
Name: Jasna Janeković (Jasna is a Croatian name and means clear, pure, light) Where do you live: Cologne, Germany. Known for: I do a lot of different creative work, but I think I´m mostly known by my apartment. It has been in two books (“Homespun style” by Selina Lake and “Das Neue So LebIch Buch” by Nicole Maalouf) and a lot of magazines. I’m also known for my photos of my still-life and decorations and my crafts. Currently working on: My bags and all the other stuff I’m sewing, plant based holistic food photography. When did you realize that you were going to work with this: 10 years ago after moving in my current apartment, I began with sewing pillows for my kitchen chairs. It was so much fun, that I could not stop sewing. So I began to sew bags, kids’ cloth, garlands, notebook covers, pincushions, tissue huggers… But I was creative for my whole life. Art was my favorite school subject and I have studied Graphic Design. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I LOVE my apartment in Cologne, but it would be nice with a big organic garden with strawberries, herbs and vegetables and a cute dwarf pony eating apples. How would you describe your design/work: 50
My work is a mix of modern and vintage: I’m a graphic designer and I use a lot of geometric patterns and happy colors, at the other hand I love sewing with vintage fabrics, lace and ribbon. I’m designing romantic jewelry and taking photos of my home, styling and food. Everything I create is full of light, joy, happiness, love for life, femininity, cozy, close to nature, using furniture and other things from flea markets and thrift stores, creates a warm atmosphere. I love the homespun DIY style and recycling. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? 10 years ago, after discovering the world of sewing and crafting. I decided to sell my bags, pillows and other things I was making. Later, I began to make jewelry, posters and other graphic design, and selling my photos. What do you do at the moment? I´m giving sewing lessons in my cozy kitchen and I have sewn a new product: a ZERO WASTE vegetable bag from vintage bed cloth. With this bag you don’t have to use plastic bags any more. You can store some of these bags in your handbag and use them at the whole food store or eco frames market to put your vegetables or fruits in. At home you can store your vegetables in it in the fridge. When you make the bag wet, your salads and herbs will stay fresh for long. It’s simple but helpful. And I don’t use new fabrics for it, only vintage ones from flea
markets and thrifts stores. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Is this really the thing you want to do the whole day, all year long? Is it real love? Or are you doing it because it seems cool? Ask yourself if it is a wish that comes from your heart or from your mind. I never thought about it, it happened naturally. The first years are very difficult. Maybe you will never earn a lot of money. It can be very hard and frustrating, but if you love it, you will find a way. Tell us how it all started. It all started, because my friends told me how they liked my stuff, 10 years ago it was the time when the crafting thing was in the beginning here in Germany and craft fairs popped out. So I decided to sell at craft fairs and at DaWanda (the German Etsy). Some years later I began to give sewing lessons at my home. At the beginning it was so difficult to get beautiful fabrics here in Cologne, but now every now and then a new fabrics store is opening. This is so cool. I hope that this will happen with vegan healthy food as well. Maybe in some years there will be some cool juice and raw food bars here in my urban quarter. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? I love my workspace. It’s from my childhood and I have painted it in ivory white. I
need a big table and a lot of things around me, that inspire me, like a mood wall, jars full of colorful buttons, lace and ribbons, pales of fabrics. Sometimes I listen to the birds of heaven in my garden. The kitchen is my workspace as well for cooking and it inspires me when everything is tidy and organized, but not empty. I want to see my grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, vegetables and colorful fruits. What is your favorite film? I don’t watch TV and I don’t go to the cinema, because I have problems with my eyes (because of too much working on the computer). Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Nona and Nono my great-grandmother and great-grandfather, they had 9 children. She was a superwoman and he was a lighthouse keeper. I have never meet him and she died when I was 4 1/2 years old. How do you like to spoil yourself? I like delicious plant based holistic food and sitting in the park near my home in the sun or at my big balcony. What is luxury for you? Having time for being creative, doing the things I love, having time for myself, eating organic plant based food. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design/work, and from whom?
The best compliments came from women. A lot of them told me that when they are unhappy or in a bad mood, they look at my photos and it makes them happy. This makes me very happy. Women like the feminine energy of my work. What do you fear most? To become ill and weak, so I can’t be creative anymore. What is a happy life to you? A happy life for me is being creative, it’s the most important thing in my life. But I can only be creative, when I´m healthy and have enough energy, so meditation and eating healthy is very important to me. What does a regular day look like for you? At first I eat my breakfast with lots of grains, nuts and fruits. In the morning I do all the boring things: doing the laundry, cleaning the apartment, answering emails. At twelve o’clock at day time the fun part begins: cooking lunch. I love cooking. It’s so relaxing and it helps me to connect to nature and the energies of the season. For me cooking is the same creative process like working as a graphic designer or sewing a pillow or bag. Is all the same. It´s all one. After lunch I do my meditation. In the afternoon I do sewing, crafting, painting, noting new ideas in my notebook, working on new projects for costumers or styling my food in the garden and taking photos, editing photos, shopping organic food. In the evening I work on other projects. I´m a workaholic 52
and I don’t like free time. Tell us about your dream project. I’m currently working on a dream project, it’s a secret project I can’t talk about, but another dream project would be having my own organic garden or my own gift wrap paper designed with my colorful geometric patterns.. How would you describe your style? Cozy is the word that describes my style the best. I love everything that is cozy: patchwork pillows, bags with vintage fabrics, organic plant based home cooked food or jams, flowers, pattern, baskets, candles, but my style is never dark, boring or too much granny style – it’s always fresh. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? I love good plant based organic food. What inspires you? My parents are living in Croatia on an island in the Mediterranean Sea. Visiting them is the best inspiration. I love the light, the smell of the pine trees, the sound of the sea, over ripe peaches. I want to catch this Mediterranean atmosphere and bring it in a jar back to the cold and grey Germany. When you look at my photos you can see the Mediterranean light and sometimes smell the pine trees. Photography and styling are very good mediums to express this atmosphere for me. A book that has changed/made the most
impression in your life? “Nonviolent Communication” by Marshall B. Rosenberg. It’s not only a book about communication, it´s very spiritual. I have read this book 4 times.
5 ways to create opportunities – work hacks Week four is here, and we’ve got five brand new ways of making opportunities happen. This time, within the framework of work and work-related perspectives. There seems to be a clear difficulty in making the distinction between what work is and what that could be, and that’s why we took the initiative to define five ways in which there might be some room for opportunities to happen: 1. Plan ahead. Yes, everyone says that – but it’s important. Reflect on where you would like to see yourself in 2-3 years, or what project you would want to do (how about a dream project?) and then find out what you need to do, actively, to get there. And then do it. 2. Go back to your notes. If you are like most people, then you do write down important things, “too be dealt with later”. However, that last part never happens, until now. Take 15 minutes of your time each day, and go through your notes – amazing ideas could be hidden there! 3. Make contact and observe. Regardless of what you do for a living, there are other people doing it too. Con60
nect with successful people doing what you would like to do, and ask for advice. Or just read up on them, connect with people working close to them. Ask for mentorship. Be the active part, and great things will happen – most people are really kind and helpful! 4. When creating a to-do list for the next day, do so in a café. The most important thing is that this place should make you comfortable, an atmosphere in which it is relaxing to simply exist.You work and enjoy yourself simultaneously. 5. Leave the distractions creating a todo list somewhere else. Facebook, Twitter, messages, fun pictures, interesting articles, inspiring videos etc., are all fun things to do, but the time spent on these things can easily turn into crazy proportions. Make up your mind – work intensely for, say 40 minutes, and then have a go of 10 minutes with distractions.This is called “getting the best out of all things”. Work takes quite a long time of your life, and that’s why the best thing you can do is being positive and constructive about it. Continuously reflecting on your situation, where you are professionally and where you see yourself in a certain period of time will help in moving you forward. Incorporating these steps in your daily work schedule
is most definitely going to help you with that â€“ and you will see how much time is saved as well. Do you have any work hack, making your daily work easier and more fun?
Where is that balancing line for healthy habits? Creativity helps! Creatives are really creative in all aspects, especially when it comes to health and healthy habits. In fact, habits in general seems to be quite non-appealing to these people. The reason for that seems pretty obvious – doing the same thing over and over and over again isn’t that creative.
don’t taste as good as they could. Variety applies here as well – there are so many healthy foods to choose from, so there’s absolutely no need to eat the same ones day after day.
Commercialized diets and exercise plans are simply impossible because there are Regardless of what they do, there has to be too many rules that don’t make sense. Eat variation – they need to be challenged and this, forget that, jump that many times and then do this. NO. They listen to their body to have something interesting and fun to and mind, and when the latter tells them look forward to while also having the freedom to choose their own times and sched- that something is forced and boring – then please enjoy your sandwich and forget ule. Health is many things – but eating the about it. same healthy breakfast for several days, and doing the same exercise over and over again won’t be on top of the priority list for long. What’s going to make a creative person maintain some form of healthy lifestyle is to make it fun – creatives don’t compromise on fun. If we’re talking exercise, choosing a very varying plan for movement is the single factor determining success. Regarding foods and choosing the healthy ones, well, if they don’t look good then they probably
A list of preferences, different things to try out, is what makes creatives get those healthy habits and what makes them keep having an interest in continuing to explore the world of healthy. So to all the creatives out there – variety is also a healthy habit component, and the process itself is pretty fun too!
Name: My name is Mike Wrobel Where do you live: I am a French Artist/ Graphic designer living in Tokyo Japan for almost 7 years. Known for: My work takes its inspiration from Pop Culture. My pieces are mostly tributes to movies, TV shows and other stuff I grew up with during my childhood, as well as more recent things that keep feeding on Pop Culture. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? It’s pretty simple actually, I just always knew I would be in this business since I am a kid. I couldn’t think of doing anything else. I never had to struggle with myself about what I would study and become, it’s always been obvious. So I just stuck to it and did everything I could to make it happen. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Tokyo of course! I am so in love with the city. This is why I came here, I wanted to live my dream and needed some adventure, so I gave up everything I had in France and left for Japan 7 years ago. Tokyo is an amazing city for creative people, photographers, fashion stylists, artists... It’s a very dense city full of contrasts with so many things to do, crazy architecture, awesome food everywhere... 66
And life is amazingly sweet, people are so kind, this is one of the safest cities in the world, so it has a real impact on your daily life. And I love the way Japanese still know how to enjoy simple fun things, it’s important to me, I just can’t stand jaded people anymore. How would you describe your creativity? I am a very imaginative guy. Already as a kid, I had this overwhelming imagination. I was very shy and fascinated by movies. I found out I could express my feelings by drawing comics, writing stories... In high school I was writing a story, a sort of thriller comedy based on slasher movies like Scream, in which I was using all of my classmates and even teachers as real protagonists. It was set 10 years after graduating, and a mysterious serial killer was murdering one after another people from my class. I was working as a detective investigating the case, so I had to imagine what had become my friends and classmates, with jobs, families, etc... It was a pretext to funny situations. And since I was writing it as episodes every week, everybody had fun reading it, seeing a future version of themselves, and above all, finding out who was the serial killer and the motive. I think this anecdote shows pretty well how I’ve always needed to express my imagination. How and when did you start to work with
this in a serious manner? After College, I studied graphic design and animation for 3 years. Right after graduating, I started to work as a freelance author in the animation industry. I was creating animation projects for TV, developing characters and design. Although I was doing it in a very serious manner, it didn’t pay much and I was too idealist and not mature enough to face the merciless world of TV producers and corporate companies. It was 10 years ago. I gave up animation when I came to Japan and worked mostly in advertising and as an illustrator. Step by step I gained exposure, and managed to live from my art. What do you do at the moment? I am working on 2 projects for my clients I can’t talk about right now, and as usual working on my own stuff.
and wait for people to notice you. Tell us how it all started. Pretty much naturally. I knew I wouldn’t be happy and able to let my creativity talk if I was working in a company. It’s difficult to artistically exist when you’re drowned into protocols and corporate projects. So I knew I had no choice but running my own stuff as a freelancer. It’s a lot of work and investment, it has its bad sides and I considered a few times getting back being an employee, but in the end it’s very gratifying when you get commissioned by clients because it means they particularly want you for the job. It’s different from working in a company and being assigned to a project by your team manager.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? It depends on the person I guess, we all have different sensitivity. Me, I hate working A recommendation for those who think in silence, I find it a bit creepy and it doesn’t about starting and running a creative busireally trigger my creativity. I need to work ness? with music or TV in the background. It’s just It sure is good to be a passionate artist and a lively présence that doesn›t stop me from creative, but you also have to be a busibeing focused on what I do.I am also a nessman if you want to get your art the success it deserves. And that’s the most dif- bit maniac, I don’t like working in a messy ficult part because artists are generally bad environment. My workplace is pretty clean. businessmen. It’s difficult to play in both cat- I attach great importance to interior design, egories and I am the perfect example. You color harmony, shapes... have to sell yourself, build your image, find What is your favorite film? exposure, be active on social networks, and This question is always killing me because exhibit your work... It’s something I learned I am a movie and TV-show addict, I could over the years, you can’t just do your stuff speak for hours about it so it’s always so 67
hard to just choose one. Here’s a few ones: Bullitt from Peter Yates with Steve McQueen, Memories of Murder from Bong Joon-Ho, Magnolia from Paul T.Anderson...X-Files and Malcolm in the Middle for the TV-shows. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Let’s say a genie can grant my wish and I can have dinner with 3 people, even the dead ones, I would choose my favorite writer Oscar Wilde, who would pepper the conversation with his brilliant quotes, Neil deGrasse Tyson because I love science and I am absolutely fascinated by space, and Steve McQueen The King of Cool, I would be glad to learn a few tricks on the attitude.
I get a lot of kind words from my followers, this is so rewarding to see people enjoying what I do. I am always so moved when people tell me that my work inspires them. There’s also this bunch of cool guys who have been cosplaying these last two years at the comic-con in some of the characters I designed. In a way this is the best compliment I got. What do you fear most? Moths. Seriously, I hate that! :P What is a happy life to you? A life with Netflix! I am kidding, but it’s contributing to it ^_^
I think I can say I live a happy life. I do something I love and make a living out of it, I live in a city that never ceases to amaze me, I hang out with my friends, meet new What is luxury for you? people... I try to be someone positive and For me freedom, even if it doesn’t totally exI think this is the key, as I get older I realise ist, is luxury. Doing what you want to do and it is something very important, if you want what you love without having someone tellto be happy, then think positive and you ing you what and how to do it, and making will be. As I said earlier there’s too many a living out of it is definitely not something jaded people out there. It’s good to have common.. It shouldn’t be a luxury, but it’s opinions but it’s definitely not necessary to the world we live in, there’s so many people complain and hate everything all the time. who don’t like their job, and just do what It will not make you feel better. All the hatthey do to pay the rent. For the rest, like a ers on the web, I never understood how watch with a gold bracelet that costs 10 people could waste time writing comments 000$, or a diamond collar for your Chihuato complain about a video, a picture, an hua, I don’t give a damn. article they didn’t like. Taking the risk to enjoy something is far more rewarding than What is the nicest compliment you’ve rebashing what you don’t like. ceived for your creative work, and from whom?
What does a regular day look like for you? Since I am a freelance and I work at home, I don’t follow office hours. I don’t sleep a lot, I am a night person, so I love working at night, it’s a peaceful time, I feel more creative. I usually work until 5 am with the TV on or music. I wake up around 10/11 am, reply to emails, check my social networks, online stores, etc., and will start working after breakfast/lunch. I work all the afternoon. I take an hour or two around 8 pm to have dinner, read some stuff on the web, relax a bit, talk with friends... And get back to work all night long with some little food/ coffee breaks. So in the end, I work 12-14 hours a day, it seems pretty hardcore, but since I love what I do and my work space is comfortable, I don’t really mind. Don’t be scared if I sometimes look like a zombie straight out of The Walking Dead. Tell us about your dream project. I’d love to get back to animation someday, on the creative side, I have so many ideas and concepts in mind. Working on a project for Adult Swim, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central... This is a dream!! Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I don’t really have one professional role model in particular, there is a lot of people, artists, directors, actors, bands... I admire, and I like what each of these people bring me with their universe, differences, messages, aesthetics ...
How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? My style is what we might call vectorization. I like sharp lines. But I am actually not a big fan at all of the usual vector stuff we can find on the web. The thing with vector is it can look terribly “cold” and minimalist, it often lacks identity. I wanted to avoid it and tried to develop something closer to an illustration feeling than a cheesy internet vector clip art.. I would say my style is crisp, colourful, pop, detailed, often quirky... Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Internet! This is one of the best invention ever, an unlimited source of culture, a powerful tool to work with, it gives us the chance to work with people from all around the world, there’s definitely something magical about it. And also pizzas ^_^ What inspires you? Pretty much anything can inspire me, I am someone very passionate, I find interest in many things as different as it can be, cinema, music, arts, politics, science, space, food, animals, nature, news, paranormal, technology... I am addicted to culture and I believe culture and references are essential in order to become a good designer. You need to know how was the world yesterday, what it makes today and how it’s gonna be tomorrow if you want to be able 69
to talk to people through your art. I was a kid in the 80’s, a teenager in the 90’s, so I grew up with things like The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Saved by the Bell, The Goonies, Nirvana, the Super Nes, X-Files, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles... I am very nostalgic of my childhood, all these pop culture references became a motor in my work. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? One of the first book that amazed me when I was a kid was Journey to the Center of the Earth from Jules Vernes, who became one of my favorite author. He’s a world renowned writer and we both come from the same city in France. Jules Vernes is definitely an inspiration to me.
Communicating over generations – creativity enhanced!
automatically approve of the possibility of being wrong and this is absolutely fantastic – suddenly, there is room for understanding. Overcoming negative illusions and build new, constructive relationships – that’s what it’s about.
Talking can be many things, and it doesn’t always imply that communication is happening. Superficial small talk can be fun at times, but it could be so much more giving if there was some extra spice added. Being aware of the many advantages that a simple conversation may have on your ideas, work, relationships and overall life, can Communication is important and it’s pretty actually lead you to actively add that extra clear right now that this magazine promotes dimension when speaking with someone. it all over the place. Although communicaHave you ever experienced that tion might not be the reason for the exis“life-changing talk”? It might happen totence of the universe, and it might not be day, if you make it happen. the reason for why hair gets really shiny or not – it is indeed one big reason for people coming together and understanding each other. With open communication, there are no limits to how much positivity and great things that can be achieved. People from all groups and societies can feel free to get to know each other, to ask questions and be curious and to share their prejudice. This will most likely lead to a couple of argumentations, but that is an efficient way of dealing with misunderstandings in the long run. The alternative being silence and ignorance, and maybe a pinch of labeling to go with that. When actively participating in communication, you
“When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems.”
â€œCreative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.â€? Arthur Koestler
Name: Ellen Palestrant Where do you live: Scottsdale, Arizona, USA. Known for: My books and my art. Currently working on: My book “Have you ever had a Hunch? The Importance of Creative Thinking”. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I have been exploring creativity for years and this book is now in its updated, third edition. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Scottsdale Arizona. I love sunshine and brightness and I find this here. For me, that brightness is important for my creative process. Also I live a lot of time in my head, simply creating. How would you describe your creativity? My creativity is really multi-faceted and interconnected. My writing, art and film-making all connect. They stand apart and together. My creativity is very intuitive in the fiction and art area, but well researched in the non-fiction area. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I started to examine the subject of creativity when I felt enormously frustrated because I wasn’t finding the time to work on a creative, fantastical, poetic novel which re84
quired time and focus. I started looking at the obstacles that stood in the way of my creative potential. I found that for me, the lack of time was the biggest contributing factor. I then started to study the subject of creativity more closely and more broadly, particularly the psychological, sociological educational and political factors which contributed positively to creativity and also detracted from it, resulting in obstacles to original thinking. What do you do at the moment? I have recently completed making three DVDs and continue to write and paint. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? It is challenging because creativity can suggest something novel and new and not fully tested, but it is compelling, exciting, exhilarating and worth the journey. It takes time to succeed but you will if you truly love and are committed to what you are hoping to create. I wouldn’t want to do anything else. Tell us how it all started. I started writing seriously when I was in my twenties and had just lost my older sister to whom I was very close. I had my own Special Education practice at the time. I needed to do something different, something life affirming. Though I had always written, ever since a child, in fact, I had never taken my writing seriously. I was driving one evening in the car with my late husband,
when he said, “Why don’t you write?” I knew immediately that that was just what I truly wanted to do and there and then, in the car, the first verse of a poem was born. It became a book and a DVD. The need to capture the visual images I saw for this book, is why I became a painter. One thing leads to another. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The environment has to promote creativity and for me that is light and brightness. I love all the tools that aid my creative process and they become so much a part of the environment in which I work. What is your favorite film? There are so many marvelous movies that I have enjoyed. I am in awe of the ingenuity and tremendous talent that went into their creation. Each is different and excellent in its own right. I was very impressed with “The theory of everything” that won the Oscar for best film but also impressed with “Boyhood” and many more of last year’s movies. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I would have loved to ask the neurologist and writer, Oliver Sacks because there is so much interesting and unexpected information I have gleamed from his books. Imagine what I could have learnt over a dinner! How do you like to spoil yourself?
I spoil myself by painting. Creating for me is playing and doing so as frequently as I do, is spoiling myself. What is luxury for you? Having brought a creative project to completion and then having a little leisure time. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? When people involved in the arts, remark on the originality of my work, I take it as a compliment. From who for me is from those creative people who have an instinctive, genuine reaction to what they see and hear. What do you fear most? I don’t really fear for myself. I’m too busy creating. What I do fear is for anything to happen to my loved ones. What is a happy life to you? A purposeful life and a life of giving. What does a regular day look like for you? I work almost every day on my creative projects. They are ambitious and take a long time to do. I try to exercise and/or walk every day, depending on the quantity of the work I am involved in, and I am there for family and friends whenever needed. They are my priority and my work is my purpose. Tell us about your dream project. I have just completed it, in fact. It is both 85
the book and a 95-minute DVD, a whole new, theatrical fantasy world with many levels of meaning. It took years to create. I wrote and illustrated the coffee table, literature/art book and wrote, painted, narrated and produced it all. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I find it hard to choose just one person. There are many. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion and style, or both, or something entirely different)? Both my writing and painting come from an intuitive source and I then explore their potential. My art is abstract. My writing can be fantastical, humorous, theatrical explorations or, if it is non-fiction, highly researched work. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Creating. What inspires you? People who are passionate about their work and complete what they had set out to do. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Again, many. I enjoy reading about the brain and consciousness and have learnt a lot from writers such as Antonio Damasio in his book “The feeling of what happens” and his other book, “Self comes to mind”. I have 86
also gained much from Oliver Sacks in his books such as “hallucinations”. They have given me much food for thought.
Organized disorga – why that makes creative min Have your ever organized your material, documents, pens and books in such a way that you could actually win an award if there was such a thing – an “Organizing Things – Master Award”? Creating structure from plain chaos? Or maybe having been structured from the start, but rearranging all of the things to suit your new state of mind better? As organized as a space might seem to a creative mind, and as pure and logical the categorizing of things might be to these people – for other people that might not be the case. When visiting someone else’s office, studio or other workplace, there’s a big chance of experiencing total confu90
sion when looking around. That’s because you do have preferences when it comes to placing things, and these are often not shared with many other people. The same idea can be applied when visiting someone else’s home – there might be a lot of nice things there, but if you had the freedom to place them, then you would most likely change things here and there. Disorganization is thus a state in which basically nobody around you would ever be able to find anything but for you it totally and completely makes sense. “Why put this pencil in a pencil holder when I need it over here? Why arrange all documents in folders
anization sense to nds when I have to be able to reach these five most important ones right over here? Why waste time with having to put back the material in a box when I can simply choose not to?â€? Big minds think alike. Do you organize your things properly? Do people around you agree with that statement?
Name: Sarah Zhang Where do you live: Shanghai, China. Known for: Producer/director and host of lifestyle shows in China. Currently working with: House Films, Shanghai. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? When I was growing up in a small city in Sichuan, my dad was the projectionist for our work unit. Every week we would get a film to screen at night for the workers, who would bring their chairs out to watch the films projected on the screen at a basketball court. I would often travel with my Dad to the city center to get the film reels. Even though I was just a kid, adults would come up to me and ask which film that was going to be screened that night. It made me feel important and I could see how important entertainment was. Later when the films were projected on the screen, we were all transported from our little city in Sichuan sometimes to Mexico, North Korea or Cuba sometimes back in time. I knew then that I wanted to get involved in creative business (film, TV or media business). If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I would say Shanghai. It’s an amazing combination of East and West, New and Old. It’s modern, but also very traditional. You can find a fantastic French bistro next to an 96
authentic Spanish Papaya & Tapas restaurant or a handmade noodle restaurant from Xian (Northwest of China) or traditional Sichuan (Southwest) Hot Pot. There are literally thousands of fashion stores from all over the world and every neighborhood has huge parks and open spaces. The Shanghai Sculpture Garden is across the street from my office and is free for all. It has a rotating collection of sculptures from artists from around the world as well as flowers blooming all 12 months of the year. I also like the fact it’s very easy and comfortable to live in Shanghai, you can get a cup of coffee or pick up something from a convenience store everywhere. Over the weekend on a nice day, I enjoy riding bikes in some of the small, quiet streets of Shanghai, both for exercising and relaxing. How would you describe your creativity? Simple, I just like to connect with people and have a good time. I like to keep things light and fun and real. I like things that are authentic and try to bring that to what I do. Art, entertainment, food, wine & culture are to be enjoyed and that makes me happy. I want what I do to make people happy. When I was young, I wanted to show the people of the world, the beauty of China. As it turns out I mostly show China the beauty of the Western world (as most of shows are about wine, cocktails and Western food, or learning English or introducing
Western films...). In any case, there is so much to joy in simply living. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? In China it was very difficult to follow the path of film since you need to follow a specific path. I got an opportunity to go to the US to study and after that, I moved to New York where people told me that I should model or act. I started acting and wound up getting into The Screen Actors Guild. I was fortunate to work on some amazing projects even getting a guest starring role on an Emmy winning TV show. I was cast to host a world music video show and met my future husband, the producer of the show. That’s when I got my first opportunity to work in production which I found much more satisfying than acting. It gave me the opportunity to create things from scratch and have creative control over the projects. What do you do at the moment? I produce, direct and host some of our lifestyle shows. I produce a wine educational show in China as well as a popular cocktail/artist interview show, a cooking show, an English-learning show, etc. We are also working on a couple of bigger projects in fashion/beauty and food and wine tourism. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? If you know your heart and follow what you
truly love, you’ll never regret your decisions. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The most important thing for me in a work place is that I feel at home. I always envied artists who live in lofts and can roll out of bed and start working. I like a relaxed and comfortable environment so I can think freely. I don’t like the separation of work and life, to me it’s all one, so my work place feels like home. What is your favorite film? There are a few favorite films. If I had to pick one, I would say David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive”, I also love “The God Father”, “Sideways”, “Midnight Cowboy”, the original cut of “Cinema Paradiso” (the director’s cut is too long and self-indulgent). For Chinese language films, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, Zhang Yimou’s “Not One Less” and Jia Zangke’s “Platform” are all favorites and inspire me. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? In fantasy, Audrey Hepburn, She had amazing style and a huge heart. She seemed to care about people and had a lot of courage, plus she seemed like a lot of fun to hang out with. I think there would be a lot of laughing at the dinner. How do you like to spoil yourself? Eating great food, drinking great wine and shopping for clothing or office supplies. I 97
love small office supply stores, for some reason they relax me, especially if they have cute Korean or Japanese stuff. What is luxury for you? To have the freedom to choose to do what I like to do, to have the freedom to arrange my time. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? The nicest compliments are from my fans. Many have told me that my shows make them feel life is beautiful. What do you fear most? Getting stuck in an elevator. What is a happy life to you? To spend time with the person I love and pursue my passion. What does a regular day look like for you?
Wake up at 7:00 am, post a few Weibo (China’s Twitter or Facebook) in bed and get up; have breakfast and coffee made by my husband;
9:00 arrive at office, checking emails;
10:00 allocate work to staff, mainly video editing work;
12:30 lunch. If it’s a sunny day, will go to a French restaurant nearby the office to have outdoor dining with my husband Ric who is my business part-
1:30 pm to 6:00 pm: work: editing supervision, emails, meetings...
6:30 pm dinner, Chinese takeout at office or go to a nice restaurant nearby and go home;
Evening: watch American TV drama at home;
11:30 pm: go to bed.
Tell us about your dream project. I love Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot mysteries. I’d love to do a TV show about a wealthy couple, who travel around the world and solve mysteries as amateur detectives – I think the combination of luxury lifestyle and intellectual stimulation would make for a fun appealing show. My husband says the idea is like Dashiell Hammett’s “The Thin Man”, but I don’t know that story. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Audrey Hepburn and Angelina Jolie. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Easy, casual, fun, simple, straightforward for both work and fashion. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Family.
What inspires you? When people tell me that my shows have an impact on their lives, it’s both humbling and inspiring. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? I’ll pick a film: “Mulholland Drive” stunned me. I didn’t know a film could be done like that. The complexity and feeling of that film were a revelation to me. I’m totally amazed by the power of art and visual image.
The color of things: Yellow – Destruction and Inspiration in words Words are a powerful tool for people all over the world, regardless of their education, professional background, status or position. Letters forming words and shaping sentences, produced as a means of transmitting information – an idea, an argument, a request or a statement. Theycan all be structured in written form, or verbally expressed. They can be combined with music, with photos, with movement and without it. Having this opportunity of variety, also brings along responsibility and a need for balance. As words can be used for positive and constructive means, in great books, quotes, poems, songs, speeches, everyday stories and conversations – so can they also be used to hurt and bring along negativity. News stories and angry, frustrated people commenting anonymously online is a perfect example of the latter.The backstabbing rhetoric, both in a professional and private environment, can be destructive and have a negative impact to the receiving audience. Being on the receiving side of words is a powerful thing as well. Someone else presents their ideas, sometimes with good 106
intentions and other times with not that good ones. As words can help build up an image, a self-esteem, so it is also able to completely destroy it if delivered at the right moment. As we are all human beings, some people try to turn their insecurity into jealousy, something that is often also clearly expressed through the use of words and negative phrasing. At times, quite often actually, people use words do consciously or semi-consciously lead oneself in a negative spiral of thoughts and beliefs. This is accurate especially when speaking of creatives, because they tend to be amazing analytics and difficult self-critics. Insisting on never stopping anything until the results are absolutely perfect and always striving for more can be exhausting, requiring a moment of rest. When that time comes, that’s when critique starts to happen – “Why are you taking a break? You shouldn’t, you haven’t finished with this. Why did you even start if you can’t finish it?”. And then it goes on. As a creative person, words are often not only tools for transferring information – but sources of completely new forms of inspiration. One single word, such as “power” or “love”, can by a creative be turned into a complete business model, a book, an artwork. Likewise, comments from people can be transformed into something constructive, regardless of the content. An inspiring quote or text can turn any previously re-
ceived negativity to a great day, a positive and new starting point. Thatâ€™s what makes creative people truly amazing. They can reason, they trust their intuition and they know how to draw inspiration from anything. Within the context of words, they do know very well how to handle them and what value to add to received information. Rarely can negative comments, or negative people in general, stay around a creative person for a long period of time. Likewise, often the positive ones do stay along and draw support from each other. Being able to handle these words, and knowing the importance of learning how to do so is the beginning of a massive amount of inspiration. The people choosing to use words as a means of weapon aimed at harming other people may very well do so â€“ but those who choose to use words in a positive context, to encourage other people and make great things happen, will always be the winners of the game. Inspiration and positivity always wins over destruction and negativity, and mean words never have the same impact as positive ones, if presented with honesty and integrity.
Name: Chris Farmer Where do you live: Belgrade Known for: For my writing for the most part – I have been writing columns, blogs, and contributions to many media in Serbia over the past 12 years. I also published a book, Grumpy in Belgrade, last November which has been doing reasonably well in the shops. Currently working with: At the moment I am doing freelance communications and brand consulting in Serbia and teaching classes on luxury brands and advertising strategy in Shanghai once per semester. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? A better question might be: when did you realize that you were doing this? Throughout my career – which started by studying literature, switched early to business development and sales, and then ended up in communications – I have always been dealing with brands and communications. And the writing has been going on for as long as I can remember… If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I am not sure I could choose easily… I have lived in many places over the years. I suppose the one place I could see myself stopping would be London. It is such a vibrant city. Full of possibility. 112
How would you describe your creativity? The best way to describe it would be erratic (with a dash of inexorable). I have periods in which I work a lot on different projects – stories, poetry, articles, or blogs – and other periods where I could not out two words together even if they were given to me on a plate. I would imagine it is like that with many people though. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I am planning to start in a serious manner any day now. What do you do at the moment? Just now I am working on a more serious book project – on branding and brands and how they are (mis)understood. I am hoping to finish and publish it in 2016. I am also thinking about another book along the lines of Grumpy in Belgrade. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? The only thing I might recommend is to have a clear idea about what you want to accomplish. That is probably the major stumbling block for many businesses, creative or otherwise. Once you establish the place where the finish line is meant to be (more or less), you can begin designing the race course. The other advice I might give is simpler: avoid people who want to give you any advice.
Tell us how it all started. “A few days after the aliens returned me to earth and left me on a park bench in Montpellier with nothing but a pen and paper, I felt as though I had undergone some sort of change”. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? It is important for me to have enough solitude while working. That can even be in a café surrounded by many people. I don’t mind background noise, but I work better when I know I will not be interrupted by the “real world” until I decide it’s OK. What is your favorite film? High-brow answer? Death in Venice (Visconti). Real answer? The Avengers… Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I would probably like to invite George Bernard Shaw for dinner. I am sure his after-dinner conversation must have been absolutely scintillating. How do you like to spoil yourself? By taking time to do absolutely nothing. And by that reckoning I spoil myself every day. What is luxury for you? Well, since one of the tenets of luxury that I teach is about it being an objective standard, I think there is not separate luxury for me. This having been said, having enough time for everything without ever being in a
rush would be luxury. That and a Maserati. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? The highest compliment I have received is “I have read you”. Said by anyone. What do you fear most? Rats. Don’t ask. What is a happy life to you? A life where you set your own course, make your own decisions, and carry them out at your own pace. A life you share with someone who you love and who understands that need. A life you can look back on and say there have been no regrets. I think that makes my life pretty happy as it is. What does a regular day look like for you? On a regular day I will wake up early, but probably a little later than I had wanted. I spend the morning working on various projects and answering emails. Usually at a local café. I will drink way too much coffee while doing this. Then I return home and relax a little. Maybe do some more work in the afternoon (but the mornings are better for that). In the evening pretend that I will read a book but more likely watch some movie or TV series… Tell us about your dream project. I have always wanted to write a book of literary criticism about John Barth – one of my favorite novelists. I call it a dream because I doubt if I will do it and I do not have the
needed academic qualifications for it to be taken seriously as a critic. But I might still get round to it. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? If I understand this question correctly, I would say my work style is that of a WouldBe Academic. I try to be methodical in my approach. My language often has a stiltedness about it which makes me sound a little professorial. But I try all the same not to take myself or what I do too seriously. I am not always successful at that. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Autonomy. What inspires you? I am most inspired by the things people do. Humans are fascinating to me and the more ridiculous things they do, the more I am inspired. I have often said that humans are distinct from animals in our ability to make stupid decisions. Those stupid decisions are stuff of all of our stories. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? There really are too many to answer this well. The Odyssey (Homer) was the inspiration and subject of my undergraduate thesis. The theme of homecoming in literature resonates with my personal life. The Floating Opera by John Barth was my introduction 114
to postmodernism and will always be near to my heart. But there are too many others. As TS Eliot said in Tradition and the Individual Talent: “No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.”
The “let’s do it”- approach (to creativity) Everything’s about perspective, and in having a new idea – this initial perspective will determine its outcome. Having a positive attitude towards life and all which that includes is really a great starting point into making anything successful. However, when looking at specific ideas that occur and the want to realize them, the right attitude has to be present as well. And what is the right attitude? The “let’s do it” one. This is the attitude that leaves no room for unnecessary questions and thoughts starting by “what if” and “but if it doesn’t happen” and phrases alike. This is the attitude where strength is managed in the most efficient way, generating a pretty big force of will to be used throughout the process. This “let’s do it” attitude happens in creative situations when people make the decision to simply go for it – do that thing that they want to try out, test that new model,
implement that new strategy, try using that new fabric or color or tool. Make that new contact. Initiate a new customer service strategy. Try mixing those two recipes. What has to be expected though, is that there is always a certain level of resistance – some individuals who are not too excited of having to do things differently, especially when there is no full guarantee of theworld-has-never-seen-this-before success. The good part is that any creative mind can handle these influences easily because of their amazing and constructive mindset. It all comes down to that initial attitude which will make you take the first step necessary – the rest is a piece of cake. This attitude is not guaranteeing success – but it is guaranteeing potential success, and that’s the only thing a creative mind needs. To start kicking some serious you-know-what.
Cathy Sparks, PhD/N.D
Name: Cathy Sparks, PhD/N.D. Known for: Acrylic, watercolor, tole painting, silk panting, art quilts. Currently working with: Silk paintings & art quilts. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Like so many kids, I drew and painted, however I never quit. It something that I’ve always done. I like to work with color so panting & making quilts affords me to do that. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Any place in the world has its ups and downs. At this point in my life, I’m happy where I am. Kentucky USA offers a variety of activities, interesting places and events as well as a variety of weather so I don’t get bored. How would you describe your design? Realistic or representational, although sometimes I just draw shapes and paint them like abstract. I paint what I see although not in a photo realistic style. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? In 1999, my mother and an elderly aunt I was caregiver for passed away, I suddenly had nothing to fill my days. I returned to painting, painting on T-shirts then on muslin which led to painted quilts which led to art quilts. Over time I realized this is what I 120
would do since it made me happy. I’d dabbled in silk painting many years ago but set it aside to go to medical school. What do you do at the moment? Retired doctor & help take care of a special needs grandchild who lives with me (her mom, my daughter also lives with me). A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Have an alternate source of cash flow. Art is not a regular paycheck, especially if you are a solo artist. Know how to market yourself & how to network. A following takes time, resulting from networking, art, craft & trade shows. Understand the amount of time you spend actually making art is less than the time you spend on the business side of art. Tell us how it all started. I always enjoyed painting as a kid, I never stopped. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Space. I’m a collector so my current studio space is crowded, split between a room for sewing supplies & equipment & a corner of my office that I use for painting. What is your favorite film? Stargate. I always wondered what was out there beside us, this world. Who would you like to invite for a dinner
and why? There is a group of people whom I think would be interesting dinner conversationalist, they include, actors Richard Dean Anderson, Randdy Mantooth, Harrison Ford, Henry Winkler, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Clinton & Rachel Ray. How do you like to spoil yourself? Shopping, not for clothes or shoes, but for new art supplies & equipment, books and magazines on artsy, craft topics. What is luxury for you? Quiet time alone. You must understand with a special needs child in the house there are therapy visits, therapist coming to the house, personal assistants in the house, just lots of chaos in my life. I get very little quiet time at home and since I work at home, quiet time alone is a luxury for me. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design, and from whom? Someone in my quilt guild told me when I showed her a painted quilt “That needs to be in an art gallery”. That statement told me my work was good enough for a gallery. What do you fear most? As a visual artist 3 things are important to me, the ability to see, mobility in my arms & hands, and the ability to comprehend & communicate. Without any of these abilities, I could not function as an artist. So losing them would be a fear.
What is a happy life to you? A happy life for me is having the means to do what I want, when I want & how I want, without restrictions. What does a regular day look like for you? I get up about 7 am, have coffee, check email & internet, take a few minutes to plan my day, then, depending on the day, go to therapist visits, quilt guild meeting (weekly), work on projects, etc. I wind down late afternoon, have supper then settle down for the evening. Tell us about your dream project. I’m not sure I have a dream project. Who is your favorite designer? Laurel Burch. I like her whimsical designs & bright colors. It’s a shame she’s no longer alive. How would you describe your style? Realistic, grounded, practical. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Chocolate. What inspires you? Lots of things inspire me, works by other artists, the world around me, thing I find in books & magazines, etc. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? A book called The Superbeings, it told me I alone control my destiny & that I have the 121
power to change my life as I see fit. I donâ€™t remember who wrote it.
5 ways to create opportunities – communication hacks This is the fifth and last week’s article in our series of five ways to create opportunities. We hope that you’ve had much fun and gained some knowledge from our previous articles, and that you will enjoy this a lot as well. Everywhere you go, there are so many opportunities. The important thing is to know how to see them, catch them and even create them – that’s the kind of information that we provide. Today, we will give you five ways in which you could spice up communication skills and turn conversations in to a more creative experience. Here we go: 1. Arrange interesting web-meetings. You’re online, we’re online – everyone’s online. Why not turn that into something even more constructive? Ask if people would be interested in having a chat and do it. It could be a simple introduction chat, bouncing-ideas chat, creating-a-project chat etc. 2. Attend events in your city. In every city there’s at least one event every day, there’s a lot of them out there. Actively attending these events is going to be good for two 126
things – interaction and information exchange. You will meet people, talk to them and gain knowledge and contacts. It is out of these situations that great ideas happen. 3. Invest your time in some physical activity. Yes, body movement, or language, is communication as well. In fact, it’s a great way to get to know the broad means which you have at disposal when getting to know your body, and learning how to control it to your advantage. Get active to communicate better – that’s how it goes! 4. Do pro-bono. Applying for, or even better, suggesting a way in which your time and skills can make some circumstances better is what this is about. Maybe it involves schools, maybe institutions, maybe it’s a hospital, maybe a small startup – anything and anyone in need of some assistance is a good candidate. Volunteering like this, even for one hour each month, is absolutely fantastic. New opportunities, new friendships – what could be better than that? 5. Feedback. Giving and receiving feedback is very useful in both personal and professional aspects. Find someone who you would like to analyze you (and the opposite too, of course) and get to work. Here,
choosing someone who isn’t family is a good suggestion because the level of honesty and objectivity will be much higher. Create a plan, meet once a week and start improving your skills – both by receiving and giving feedback. Communication is many things, and actively using the alternatives which suit you the best is a way of creating new opportunities around you. Being the last article in this series, we really hope that you will enjoy trying these five ways out, and even go back to our other articles and create opportunities in many different aspects of life and living. With a positive mindset, everything’s possible – and we have provided you with the tools to keep doing all of the amazing things you want to do. Do you think about your conversation skills when communicating?
Creativity, friendship and business – yes, all of them can be combined! Have you ever had the thought of wanting something in your life to be different? It might be related to your job, time, creativity, health – anything really. The good part about life is that it is so filled with options and choices – you are free to start creating anything to becoming the way you would like it to be. Each day, you are free to start over, or if that’s not what you want – to choose what needs to be changed. When you have done that the next step is figuring out what you need to do for that change to happen, and where you need to look for more information on how to do it. Luckily, social media is your friend and never-ending source of all kinds of people doing all kinds of things. There are so many good things about being aware of your own potential to change things and actively doing so. In this process, you will automatically seek other people 128
who choose to do that as well, and maybe even hold a conversation with them. These people have no “type” – the only thing that connects them is their constructive and creative way of thinking. In search for inspiration, you might even find some of your co-workers to be having this mindset – and this is perfect for exchanging experience and ideas for future steps to take. Also, in your friend circle there’s a pretty big chance of finding like-minded people. The thing you need to do is opening your eyes and ask them. Let them tell you about something they’ve done, some big chance, of which you don’t know about. You’ll be surprised of the stories you’ll hear, things you didn’t know and couldn’t expect. People like to share their story, but they need to be asked the question to do so first. Have you made some friendships through the use of change and looking for inspiring people?
Interview: Nataly (Kukula) Abramovitch
Name: Nataly (Kukula) Abramovitch Where do you live: New Haven CT Known for: Shenanigans...and shoes. Currently actual with: My cats. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Never, it just happened. I’m glad it did. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? NYC but my husband is a professor so we live where he needs to be, I can work from anywhere. How would you describe your creativity? A mix of things that I love about the world with my own imaginary utopia. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? When I moved to the US after art school and didn’t have working visa, I was drawing a lot and making t-shirts with my illustrations which is how I made a living from my art at first, then I started selling paintings...and so on. What do you do at the moment? Working on my solo show for September 2015 at AFA NY. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? I get asked that a lot and I really have no 132
answer, it’s a random career and it’s a personal journey. The one thing that definitely matters is you have to really care about it, almost be obsessed by it. Tell us how it all started. After art school I was working as a collector in an insurance company. I know it sounds crazy but I really liked it, I had to call people and ask them to pay up, but I could draw the whole time I was doing it, hours and hours of drawings. This was when I developed my basic aesthetic. After that I moved to the US and just kept going. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Windows because natural light is very important. Also books because you need inspiration in case of an artist block. What is your favorite film? Maybe Amadeus, maybe because it’s about crazy artists. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Ellen Von Unwerth because she seems like she can teach me how to be cool and still stay creative. She’s a big inspiration on me. I met her once and I felt really dorky next to her - I want to reverse this horrible first impression. How do you like to spoil yourself? Shopping. I love clothes and shoes, sorry if it’s boring and obvious but for me it is one more way of self-expression.
What is luxury for you? Obsessive endless design, when every inch and every hinge is being thought of. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I think tattoos are the most incredible form of compliment. I can’t believe people choose to have my work on them forever. It’s like they married my art. It’s really an amazing feeling. What do you fear most? Boredom, I hate it! And torture, if I’ll ever get tortured I think I’ll discover I’m a terrible person and will sell out everyone I know.
doesn’t define it. My style is a combination of classical and pop culture. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Kitties. What inspires you? Seeing original oil paintings by great masters that I love. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Alice in Wonderland, of course. Also my first cookbook by the Israeli chef Aharoni.
What is a happy life to you? Being surrounded by beautiful culture and always to be inspired to create. What does a regular day look like for you? First snuggle with my cats in bed, then coffee-email-lunch-painting-green tea afternoon break-workout-dinner-TV-bed. Tell us about your dream project. Designing a full china service. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Madonna, seriously. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Fashion is an element in my work but it 133
The similarity in variation – science and creative arts For quite a while, when speaking about creativity there has been a bias towards focusing mainly of creative arts. As a consequence, all other professional fields have had very little attention – making it difficult for people having a non-creative-art job to be heard in a creative context. Realizing that every possible field, whether we speak of science or creative arts or specific professional fields, have their own set of rules. They are defined from their own framework, and created so that there is always some room for adjustment and improvement. This space has quite a big impact on all of the people involved, and whenever there’s a new idea on how to make something better – that is the place where it will have to be approved, in order to be fully implemented. This often leads to one or more of the initial rules being modified, hence also modifying the overall framework.
Thus, expressing creativity is done through a broad variation of ways – it is simply necessary to acknowledge both the outcome itself but also the creativity contributing to each good such outcome. In scientific fields, having the freedom of choosing a question or hypothesis to test is that room or space, and creating the opportunity to define that question specifically is highly creative. From this choosing, to testing and researching, the whole framework for that scientific field can be changed. People’s strive for something else, this continuous need for new perspectives and search for it – that’s what creativity is and it can be found everywhere. A doctor has more in common with a painter than he or she might think – likewise, so does a pilot and a pastry chef. Why not invite to take all good things from everything and use creativity to make great things happen, together? 141
Name: Rick Sloboda Where do you live: Vancouver, Canada Known for: Breathtaking, natural landscapes and multiculturalism. Currently working on: Senior Web Copywriter and Content Strategist. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I was fascinated with marketing as a child, so at an early age. I always looked at ads and signage, and wondered what the people behind it were thinking, striving for, along with the outcome. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Somewhere tropical, which will likely be the case in the future. For now, I’m having fun exploring options with my beautiful Brazilian princess. How would you describe your creativity? Curious, observant, keen, fascinated with neuro-marketing and why people do the things they do. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? In 1991, working in communications at national airlines. While the industry was sexy and there was lots of entertaining travel, I ultimately craved more creative work. I saw an opportunity with the Web and ventured 144
out to start the web copywriting firm Webcopyplus. What do you do at the moment? I love to engage in online content studies with partners like Yale University, and I’m actively looking for new research opportunities. While I write web content for established clients, I’m currently working with several entrepreneurs and small businesses, which is exciting for me personally. It’s rewarding because there’s often much more room for innovative ideas, and I thrive on the entrepreneurial energy. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Yes, pick a niche you’re exceptionally good at. I was in communications and always had a strong curiosity and knack for branding and marketing, and the ability to communicate clearly and concisely with words. So my skills and desires overlapped, creating my strength and opportunity in web copywriting. If you try to do all things for everyone, you’ll do a mediocre job, and attract lousy clients who don’t appreciate value and habitually hire the cheapest providers. Tell us how it all started. Wanting a more creative and rewarding career, I took a leap of faith and launched my business. Through networking, an old contact reached out to me saying his IT
company was in a bind and needed my help. They had made multiple attempts to deliver a website to one of the largest wireless providers in the world, however, with undesired outcomes. The wireless provider was not pleased with the sites, and advised if the next attempt was not to their liking, they’d put the project on hold indefinitely. I keenly took on the project, which comprised content for two small websites. The deadline was almost impossible. I received the information Friday afternoon and had to present the web copy to the IT firm’s executive team the next morning at 8 a.m. I worked throughout the night, showered at 6 a.m., and drove to the firm’s headquarters. Feeling nauseous and mentally fatigued, a group of almost a dozen executives sat at a huge round boardroom table and reviewed the content on a large screen page by page, word by word. Fortunately, they loved it. More importantly, their client did too, and the project and relationship was saved. That was the start.
What is your favorite film? As of late, Whiplash. The intensity and musicianship moved me. I sat for a bit after the credits rolled to take it all in. It’s an experience; a rare combination of high-quality script, dialogue and acting to come out of Hollywood. First time director Damien Chazelle created a brilliant piece of work, and hopefully he has a few more up his sleeves.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Caffeine, Macs and the ability for creative types — content writers in our case — to be inspired, imaginative and inventive. Creative types — designers, writers, photographers, entrepreneurs — need room to take risks and challenge convention. When you kill creativity, you also destroy spirit and enthusiasm.
What is luxury for you? Richness in moments. Whether it’s sharing smiles and laughs with my children or spending an entire Sunday lazing about, soaking up wine and movies with my partner in crime.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Dinner and drinks with Neil deGrasse Tyson, Albert Einstein and Mark Twain. If I could bring one or two more to the table, John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix would be there. Imagine the conversations — I wouldn’t want it to end! How do you like to spoil yourself? Comfort, health and the luxury of time and travel to explore the globe, and embark on exciting projects with other creative minds. I’d definitely have some music in the mix, along with chocolate and wine.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? “I love it”, “You nailed it” and other vari145
ations from clients. I’ve learned to have thick skin because writing, like design, is subjective. However, I invest time educating clients on the whys of what I do, so they tend to appreciate there’s comprehensive knowledge, thought and reason behind my work. What do you fear most? Personally, deep water. So I started scuba diving. Next one’s height, so I’ll have to jump from a plane. Professionally, not being able to do what I want to do. It motivates me to work hard on every project. I thrive on the creativity, flexibility and boundless opportunities. What is a happy life to you? Health and love. Travel and delectable meals from diverse cultures are a bonus. What does a regular day look like for you? Breakfast, latte, brainstorming, research, strategizing and writing, latte, emails, writing, maybe a phone call or two, juvenile family time, and repeat. Tell us about your dream project. I enjoy complex projects that challenge me, and allow for creativity and originality. I love when my clients are willing to take risks — even if they’re small and calculated — to stand out and be different. I always strive to help businesses demonstrate why they’re their prospects’ best or only choice. I need that creative license to be effective. Otherwise, if I feel I can’t add substantial value, 146
I’d rather not be involved. Musically, it would be to write songs for an array of musicians and bands. But I’m not quitting my day job! Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I enjoy the works and minds of many, from Seth Godin and Malcolm Gladwell to George Carlin to the late Steve Jobs. Also, many of the designers and entrepreneurs I rub shoulders with — everyone has a gift to share. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I like learning and doing, but I naturally thrive as a relationship builder. I enjoy collaborating, helping others and having my mindset challenged. I like connecting dots and people, and often do. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Aside from the obvious ones, like health and family, I’d be sad to lose music. It would be like saying goodbye to sunshine. What inspires you? Good energy, dissimilar minds, smiles, beauty in nature, melodic music and my better half. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry really
pulled me in and engaged my imagination. As for books that expanded my horizons, I’d have to go with The Way of the Superior Man by David Deida. Every man should read that book. I repeatedly tell male friends and acquaintances, “Your wife will thank me”.
â€œYou can be creative in anything - in math, science, engineering, philosophy - as much as you can in music or in painting or in dance.â€? Sir Ken Robinson
â€œCreative activity could be described as a type of learning process where teacher and pupil are located in the same individual.â€? Arthur Koestler
Openness and creativity – why they belong together Recognizing creative people who do a lot of good things is best done by reading or listening to anything that they have said. In this, what will appear as a clear line of thought is openness. Openness indicates both self-confidence and appreciation of experience. People who seek out knowledge, try new things, actively participate in conversations (either by listening or speaking) and who are drawn to positive and constructive things, are those who are able to reach their full creative potential. People who become good at what they do, and then get stuck not able to move beyond a certain point, often directly relates to a closed mind. That happens sometimes and it is completely normal. However, when that closed mind gets too much room for play, then this affects decision after decision and idea after idea, making a stagnation in progress the only possible outcome.
way of recognizing the pattern of choosing other things as opposed to openness. Honesty really is key here, and although it’s not that fun to admit that an outcome from a certain meeting was minimized thanks to one’s own mindset – it’s necessary in the long run. Keep in mind that it’s human to fall into these closed thoughts, and that the best thing you can do is to work on recognizing them and then working on changing that pattern. So how can you change it? When you have reflected on your thought pattern, and identified some points in your behavior that confirmed this way of thinking – that’s where the fun begins. Next time you find yourself falling into doing this, stop yourself and change the course of thought. This might be a little tricky at first, but soon shifts to be only fun – especially when you see that your conscious choice of words and behavior brings out the best of people around you.
Do you seek to be aware of your own Taking some time once in a month to reflect thoughts, so as to quickly identify when on your own ideas and decisions is the best these thoughts happen? 152
Name: Atsuko Sasaki Where do you live: I live in Gifu city, Japan. Known for: Felt art. Currently working on: My Taneno collection. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I’ve been oil painting during my education at the Art University. I began working with felt 15 years ago. I have created a felt system and concept in which I look through an art point of view, I make felting an art. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Of course I want to live in Japan. Japan is a wonderful country and the safest one in the world. I would choose to live here because I want to cherish the temperament that the Japanese have – they’ve got from being surrounded by the sea. How would you describe your creativity? Use the color of wool as paint, I can create a form so as to create the sculpture. Order to felt the wool only manually, I need time and effort to the extent it is not possible to create. But that time is the time of very important creative for me.
I will draw in my notes and sketch when something comes to mind, regardless of where I am or what I do at that moment. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? I think that the big one thing is originality. And it needs to be advertised to a lot of people. Tell us how it all started. With an effort. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? That it is organized. Organizing your space and doing some “head cleaning” is the same thing and equally important. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My parents. Because I’m very grateful for them. How do you like to spoil yourself? When I’m crazy to make my felt works, completely forgetting about the time and just let go. What is luxury for you? Time for only working with my art.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Since 2011 with my Felt Art Shop “Taneno”. My felt shop is the first floor of my home.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I had praised a very prestigious stylist.
What do you do at the moment?
What do you fear most?
It is to lose yourself completely when selling the art work, in the selling process – getting stuck and obsessed there.
which their own imagination sets out and how it is then developed oneself, it all being obtained from nature.
What is a happy life to you? To watch my children grow, and be able to produce my art every day. What does a regular day look like for you? It consists of the daily life things and daily production. Tell us about your dream project. It is my dream to have my bags appreciated and carried by people from all around the world. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? The Paris collection of the fashion industry – everything! How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Approaching to the fashion industry coming from the avant-garde art. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Daily creativity and love. What inspires you? The vast sea that leads to the world. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Those ideas often obtained from and described by various philosophers’ works – in 157
The color of things: Orange – The impact of positivity Imagine that one day, when you felt really happy all day long. Regardless of what you did, or with whom you spent time – you had a really good time. Your thoughts seemed to be in place, your focus too, and you felt light, like anything really is possible. Now, is every day like that for you? Adding positivity to one’s life can mean the absolute biggest difference in the world. It can be that little extra push making you choose to move forward with something in business, to pursue that great idea, to decide to speak with that amazing person and to choose to walk with your head held high. It can be the sole factor of landing a job, being offered a better position somewhere or getting connected with truly amazing people. As we are surrounded by negative reporting, people, ideas, demands and expectations – turning to positivity isn’t always easy. External surroundings do have an impact, and if you started off your day by having a negative viewpoint, that will probably stick around and the reason for why is simple – because there’s an underlying issue hiding there. Yet, the common notion to surround your164
self with positive people and that they will then spill over some positivity to you as well, simply doesn’t hold it. Yes, while you are with those people you will probably feel a little more positive, but the minute you walk away from them that feeling will be gone. Why? Because you feed on their positivity and not yours, because there’s no need to focus on dealing with yourself if you meet up with them often enough. So, in order to avoid your friends to become a necessary drug dose, start off withbuilding positivity within yourself instead. How is that done then? Reflection. Reflect on your own state of mind, on your reactions to external phenomena, on the amount of time you choose to spend on negative stories and on how often you allow yourself to do things which truly make you happy. And when you do so, you will automatically attract other happy people sharing your philosophy of life – that’s the right way to do it. Moreover, you will reinforce the positivity in yourself and make that part of your being solid. Remember, you do have the right to feel positive, good and happy a lot, all the time – so you should use that right. There’s nothing wrong with being happy and smile in life, and all it takes for it to happen is a little initial will and a little self-respect. A lot of people out there are happy every day, they demand that and know the importance of actively participating into making
it happen. Doing so by staying conscious of your own ideas and understanding when they are negatively affected by external situations or own negative thought spirals, is a good way to initiate a more positive perspective. Also, positivity isn’t the same thing as being blind or naïve, it is not the same thing as ignoring reality and seeking perfection. Often, positive people are assumed to be all of those things because the people judging do not know which other possible reason there could be for having such a rare outlook on life.That view only reinforces their own choice to be unhappy and negative, and shouldn’t be seen as anything other than that. It all starts with yourself and being aware of the everyday choices you make in your life. Those choices, once identified, can be adjusted or completely changed for the better – creating your life in a way which makes you feel really good and happy. Every single day. Because you can.
Sai Krishna D.
Name: Sai Krishna D. Where do you live: Hyderabad, India. Known for: Digital Marketing Currently working with: Digital Marketing When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I completed my graduation in Computer Science in 2007 from SK University. I started my career as having a very small position, and after getting around 4 - 5 different positions, gaining experience in different domains in 2011, I realized this: “how long do I need to work for someone? Why don’t I work for myself!” Then, I started my first startup, but it doesn’t exist anymore. Again, in 2013 I started Digital Spykers, and that’s what I’m doing currently. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I am from a remote village (it’s a small village, there were around 40 - 50 homes in our village). I spent around 19 years there, almost my whole childhood, living in that village with my mom, dad, older brother and my beautiful younger sister. I moved to a city (Hyderabad) to grow professionally in 2007 in December, and started my career over there. As you said if I get the chance to choose where to live, I don’t want to go to live a luxury life in UAE, USA, UK, Australia, or some other countries – I want to live with my mom, dad, brother and sister. In my view, there is nothing sweeter than staying 168
with family. I am missing my mom, dad and sister a lot. The happiest thing though, is that my brother is staying with me here in Hyderabad, HEHE! How would you describe your creativity? I am not creative person basically! All my studies, and other professional education was in Accounts, Business, Computers, etc... I never had the chance to think creatively (just kidding). I have my own creativity skills, where I learned lots of things by observing other designs, etc... If I have any design in my mind, even if I don’t know how to design them, I have designers who make them come alive. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? As I said I started my career like others do, but I’m never being serious about my work! Because taking your work too seriously doesn’t work, especially when you are working with your team – you should not be serious! I’m always casual with my team, when I teach/train them, and I will learn lots of things from my dear fellow team members. What do you do at the moment? I am the Founder/Business Owner of Digital Spyker. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? I can just say if you are into managing
business, be ready to take risks (at any cost/ time). Business is all about risks and risks only! If you are not into this category, I will suggest don’t go for business. Tell us how it all started. HEHE, I started the same way like others started! What is your favorite film? The Social Network, Never Back Down Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I am a Social Person, always! So I always want to invite people to dinner, all kinds of people. How do you like to spoil yourself? If I will not work for one day at my workplace, it’s almost to spoil myself! I always keep on working! I never get the chance to feel that way (HEHE). What is luxury for you? Being simple (in any aspect), whether it’s way of living (wearing simple clothes on daily basis, eating food, drinking, anything). I always want to live a simple life. That feeling in itself is luxurious! What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? Since we are in the startup phase, we’ve got few testimonials (compliments) from our clients. But I feel proud for that too! Because you need to make yourself proud
for simple things too! We got great complimentary messages from our clients (around 5-6 clients). They are really satisfied with our work, and they are getting good returns into their businesses. What do you fear most? I always have fear in every day! Because I’m always thinking how to make my employees satisfied in all aspects, my clients (customers) – if they are not satisfied, I’m never happy, I always have fear in these things! These fears make me think sharply, brilliant and excellent! What is a happy life to you? Living life to helping people, and making them happy is always a happy life for me! What does a regular day look like for you? Regular work is always good for you! If you don’t have that regular work, you’ll face lots of problems! In my view, regular work is boon to human kind. Tell us about your dream project. I have lots of ideas (projects) to make happen. Even though I don’t have a Science background, or big financial background – I always think about how to save this planet (like saving water, energy, environment, etc...). Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I have the biggest collection of role models from which I always take inspiration. I am a bookworm! I love to read plenty of books! A
few of my role models are Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Abdul Kalam (Indian Space Scientist), Elon Musk, Chanda Kochar (ICICI Bank MD). My dad and mom will come first in inspiration before all of these people. Because without dad and mom, I wouldn’t even be here today! They sacrificed their lives to raise us (me, my brother and sister). My Dad is not an educated person, he doesn’t even how to sign his signature, and he still uses his fingers to sign. But he knows the world well! Sometimes I think, there is no need of education to understand this world whenever I see him! And my mom is also not really well educated, she knows how to sign her signature (HEHE). But they made all of their children want to, and really do become, well educated. My mom and dad are the absolute biggest inspiration and role models to me. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Being myself describes me different than others! I never think of others in what they are doing, etc.. Whatever I feel comfortable in, I do – I live for myself! Which is the one thing you can’t live without? FREEDOM. I can’t live without that! What inspires you? Working for myself inspires me! 170
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? As I said above I am a bookworm. I read plenty of books. But I can say few books which I love a lot. “Biography of Steve Jobs”, I read all books from Tony Robbins (Wake up the Giant Within you, etc...) and Guy Kawasaki’s books.
Your mindset decides w result your creativity No matter what the external circumstances are, or what day it is, or how much money you have, or if it’s raining – you can affect your own level of happiness. Raising the level of happiness leaves out a lot of unnecessary stress and negativity, which gives you a lot of saved energy to distribute to other things and ideas. So how do you do it? The easiest way is to write down a couple of things for which you are grateful. It’s not a novel-contest, so a couple of sentences in bullet points is more than perfect. Then go through them, and reflect on each one for a little while. You will notice how our breathing slows down 174
and gets deeper, how your facial muscles relax and how your whole body adjusts to a calmer atmosphere. This shift into calmness and happiness is an amazing starting point for new creative ideas to come alive. Having no negative distraction leaves your thoughts much more clear, and patterns become easily recognizable. Appreciating good things makes you put yourself in a state of asking constructive questions such as “what if I do this instead?” and wanting to try new things out. That’s almost a guarantee for great results – and many laughs and smiles in the process.
what kind of will bring Your mindset is the most powerful tool for your life – and knowing that you can choose the perspectives through which thoughts then are shaped is the best way of making really great things happen. Why not try out something fun? Why not go have a coffee with the neighbor? Why not read that book that you’ve told yourself that you’re going to read someday?
Name: Justyna Gaja – in the world of art known as JUST GAJA.
first of all I am a mum of two wonderful kids and they are the biggest project of my life.
Where do you live: Netherlands.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Do your work with passion!
Known for: Landscapes and flowers abstract paintings. Currently working with: Impressions from my nearest environment. When did you realize that you were going to work with this: I am a lifetime painter. I can’t even remind a time when I started to paint. The nature was always for me subject number one… where I go I look around …I see the world through the lights and colors. Where is a light there is a color, simply impression of what surround us. Everything can be a subject of painting if only we look carefully. How would you describe your work: Personal fusion between classical and abstract paintings. How would you describe your style? Many people describe me as modern impressionist painter and as an art historian I take this as a biggest compliment. As an artist I don’t have needs to find a right word to describe my style because when I paint it is very personal for me… I just feel that way how I paint…and sometimes is better show the feeling than to talk about them. What do you do at the moment? I am a painter and art historian in one, but 178
Tell us how it all started. Thanks to my husband who is the most wonderful man in the world, I created my website gallery to expose my paintings to the world. Tell us about your dream project. Yes…what I really want to do is unfortunately too big for my small creative space. I think about large size painting panels. Who is your favorite painter? Ooooh I have so many favorite painters, through all the centuries, it’s hard to choose only one. My favorite painters of the two last centuries are: James McNeill Whistler, Odilon Redon, Alfred Sisley, Henri Matisse, Maurice de Vlaminck, Artur Nacht Samborski, Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keeffe… What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? LIGHT What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design/work, and from whom? I get a lot of wonderful comments from people and I appreciate all of them, but the nicest compliment that I have ever received came from Artradio, they said that my “work is a symphony that must be
heard!”. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Well, a couple of years ago I would answer this question so simple. But since I have my own children everything changed. We are totally multicultural family, I am from Poland, my husband is from Africa and we live in the Netherlands. When we think about places to live we try to find the most safety and right place to bring up our children. I wish to find one day our perfect place without any racists, xenophobes and any forms of discrimination, where everybody get the same chance no matter from where they come. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My family. What is your favorite film? Amélie. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Nelson Mandela – there is nobody else in this world as he was.
What do you fear most? …to think about the fear. What is a happy life to you? To be surrounded by love. What does a regular day look like for you? I get up very early in the morning when my kids are waking up. When my son goes to preschool and my daughter takes a midday nap I get some time for my art. Sometimes I paint when kids are around and they are happy to make creative things too. My day is focused around the children and even though I wish to have more time to work on my projects, I see my kids as the brightest light in my life and without this light I wouldn’t be able to do anything at all. What inspires you? The NATURE. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? A Patch of Blue/Be ready with bells and drums, author: Elizabeth Kata. Beautiful, sad, timeless...
How do you like to spoil yourself? I eat sweets. What is luxury for you? As I said I have two small children… If I could sleep as long as I need or wish that would be luxury for me in the current moment of my life. 179
How positive attitudes connect creatives all over the world Have you ever been in a situation where you had the opportunity to meet with a creative person for the first time? And that experience was the best you had in a long time when it comes to meet people, but you don’t quite know why that it? We’ve been there too. What it’s all about is that these people that leave a good impression choose a positive attitude towards themselves and other people – and they make this choice every day. Having a positive attitude makes everything that happens in life much more understandable in a constructive way, which in turn leads to a more open and happy life in general. With social media, creative people are able to reach out to each other quite easily, leading to a more comfortable ease of mind from the start. It doesn’t take forever to figure out where a potential new creative friend lives, works and set up a 188
meeting in person with them – rather, a few minutes of chatting online is all it takes for introduction and establishing a good impression. Thus, even more important becomes this positive state of mind. Through the choice of words, phrasings, tone and structure the person you are speaking with can simply interpret your words into characteristics, and put them together to make a “you”. Any why shouldn’t that you be a positive one when that would reflect the actual you in a much more realistic way than anything else? An honest positive attitude shines through no matter the platform in which it is operating. It shines through and makes a good impact on people. That’s how friendships happen.
Glocal communities – we can do it! We’ve heard so many times of how small actions can change the life of many people – it can create opportunities that, without these small actions, probably would never had happened. Also, by engaging in smaller-scale projects, all participants receive a much more personal experience and create lifelong new relationships with amazing people.
a community better, you have to go ask the people living there directly. And even more important, you have to actually listen to what they say. When people speak, they tend to tell more with their appearance, movement, tone of voice and eyes than anything else. Most of the time, the help needed isn’t at all as big as assumed. Then again, it’s all about perspective.
In a highly interconnected world, the world in which we live today, assumptions are the starting points which can make any project fail, big times. Especially when it comes to people. Every neighborhood has their own specific culture, a sort of pattern and way of living, and thus everything else is depending on just that. As obvious as a situation in which there is much room for improvement might be, that will often not at all be the actual problem that people perceive as the most relevant one to be dealt with.
As we are connecting online, while at the same time encouraging people to get active in their communities – we’re building something new. New communities beyond borders. Connecting activity and online communication, sharing ideas and then exploring which attributes within them are suitable for each community. Together, we can redefine what it means to be active in your community – with encouragement, positivity, asking questions and listening.
In order to figure out what to do to make
Do you ask people in your community what you can do to help, and do you listen to what they say?
Name: Dana Delaney Where do you live: Los Angeles, CA USA. Known for: Makeup Artistry. Currently working on: I’m constantly working on new editorials. My projects are typically day by day basis. When did you realize that you were going to work with this: I think I always knew from a young age that I wanted to be creative, to be an artist. However I would say I knew I wanted to do makeup at the age of 18. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Where I’m feeling most inspired and right now I’m happy to be in Los Angeles. How would you describe your design: Clean and always an element of interest. Never boring I hope. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I would say I really started taking makeup seriously (quitting my day job) six years ago. What do you do at the moment? I have a few upcoming editorial projects for various magazines and brands. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? To be patient and never give up no matter 194
how often it seems things aren’t working out. Staying positive, being nice to people and try to say yes more than no, unless of course it is something that is jeopardizing your sanity. Also it’s important if you are a freelancer to know money management and take a business course. Tell us how it all started. As a child I was always intrigued by the way my mother transformed herself for work. I would say that’s when it first started. I would watch her at her vanity. Then years later I started working for MAC Cosmetics and that’s when I realized for sure that I didn’t want to do anything else but makeup. I was with MAC for nearly five years and it was such a great time. I learned a lot, met a lot of brilliant artists and really came into my own with that company. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? LIGHT! I love daylight for makeup and a soft breeze for comfort. My windows are always open. I like a clean workspace and nothing too cramped. My preference is to work in a loft if I’m on set or a professional studio. What is your favorite film? I am no film buff I actually like quite nerdy films. I’ve been known to have Lord of the Rings marathons. Haha, I recently saw Birdman, which is the first time I really caught myself falling in love with the direction, lighting and soundtrack. It was a brilliant film for me.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My husband, for obvious reasons. How do you like to spoil yourself? I’ve never been a spoiled type person. I guess that comes from being a middle child. I do love to go out to eat. What is luxury for you? A personal chef. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your design, and from whom? An amazing artist painted one of my works once and to me that is the highest form of compliment. What do you fear most? I fear not working. I honestly am at my best when I am busy and challenged. There are times when I’m slow and it really wears on me. What is a happy life to you? My husband, my family, my friends. Lots of laughter and being able to comfortably support myself by doing what I love to do. What does a regular day look like for you? SUNNY. Always sunny in California. :) Tell us about your dream project. To me every project is a dream when you are afforded the luxury of doing what you love and making art. I’m generally happy every day I go to work. I’m living my dream.
I’ve always loved Marc Jacobs who now has an amazing makeup line as well. How would you describe your style? Simple and comfortable. I’m not a very trendy or flashy person. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? I have a pretty serious coffee habit but in all honesty there is nothing material in this world that I can’t live without so I would say food and water. Boring I know, but very honest. What inspires you? My husband inspires me more than anyone. He is a talented musician and works very hard and is always true to himself. He also is the most kind and genuine person I know. He is kind to strangers even when they are particularly nasty. I’m always in awe of how he keeps his composure with some people. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway and Kids by Patti Smith. Both are memoirs and both give you a look into a life that I don’t think any artist from now on will ever be able to have. A life of pure discovery. I don’t think our modern times really allow for that kind of lifestyle and total immersion into your art. I lament for simpler times.
Who is your favorite designer? 195
Why creativity in sa clients and custom As we all know very well, creativity takes many forms and shapes, it is used in many ways and it produces a broad range of outcome. In business and in communicating with customers, being able to acknowledge individual preferences and implement strategies for meeting the demands of which they are a natural consequence is very important. Thatâ€™s where creativity comes in. Long gone are the days where attracting new customers was the only definition of being good at sales. Today, being able to keep the already created customer base is what separates awesome sales strategies from the rest, and being creative about is 202
what does the work. By paying attention to customersâ€™ or clientsâ€™ needs and wants, and show real interest in that, what is happening is relationship-building. Creativity in this aspect really means moving beyond standardized forms and check lists for customer management in general. Measuring product/service satisfaction is relevant to the business, as is selling large quantities, but making sure that customers feel appreciated and cared for is a far better investment in long-term return. Simply taking time to spend with customers, to let them tell you about their view on the business and its products/services leads to great things in business. Of which there are
les makes mers stay three main important positive outcomes; it will create an initial positive reaction in the customer, it will increase the overall preference for that specific product/service, and it will also generate a high customer retention â€“ making customers actively choose to return to that specific product/service. Regardless of the size of any business, being creative when it comes to sales and overall customer management is what makes the biggest difference. Are you aware of how you approach, or are approached by, customers/the sales administration in a business?
Name: Roy Zafrani Where do you live: Tel Aviv, Israel. Currently working with: CEO at Magic Productions, Founder & Director at Top Shorts Online Film Festival, and at Festigious International Film Festival. Above all – a filmmaker and editor. Known for: Producing several films and documentaries. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I’ve been all around the world, and there are many incredible places that I would visit again, but Israel is the only place I call “Home”. If I had 2 extra months a year, I would probably spend them with my family in Orlando, Florida, as I loved the city and its people.
As a filmmaker, I’m currently working on two documentaries: Never Alone – a feature length documentary about the American lone soldiers of Israel, and Over the Wall – a short animated documentary about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, from a different point of view. As an entrepreneur, I recently founded two online film festivals. My main goal is promoting talented filmmakers and their works to as wide an audience as possible (and the internet is an unlimited platform, imagine the possibilities!). I strongly believe that showcasing the short films of independent filmmakers can offer them another step up in their careers.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Never start a business if you’re not familiar How would you describe your creativity? with its market or a business you haven’t I think that creativity is the result of hard worked in. Even more important, espework and passion. When you’re truly comcially when starting a creative business, is mitted to a project, you’ll find creative ways PASSION. If you do something with passion, of telling the story. believe in yourself and work hard constantly – in the end, it will be worth it. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? What is the most important thing in a workI’ve worked as a film editor and photogplace/studio for you? rapher since I was very young, and after When I film in our studio or in any other completing my Filmmaking & Media studies location, the most important thing to have, in college, I realized that my real passion is even before good equipment, is a crew documentary filmmaking. with a positive attitude. People who leave What do you do at the moment? 206
their egos outside the studio would make the best crew for any project. I would never
work with a cameraman, for example, who lowers the energy of the crew, even if he had just arrived from Hollywood. What is your favorite film? Embarrassing, but OK… “A Walk to Remember”. Had tears in my eyes even after watching it 5 times. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I would invite Hillary Clinton for a dinner (and interview, of course). She’s a fascinating woman and I have so many questions to ask her. How do you like to spoil yourself? I don’t spoil myself; I enjoy spoiling my children much more. Seeing them happy gives me the greatest feeling. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
ferently. Two years ago, after one of my documentaries was screened in Miami, I received a compliment stating: “I was going through a similar situation to Alona’s (the main character in the film), and she made me realize that it’s possible to beat anything. After watching the film, I really started to believe in myself”. What is a happy life to you? Spending good time with my family – after all, that’s what we live for, isn’t it? Tell us about your dream project. It would be a documentary that makes a significant change in the lives of a group of people. The subject matters less, because there are many things that need to change in our society. The idea of making a film that would make someone’s life better is the reason I make films.
The nicest compliments are always from my mother, though she’s not the most objective person... But seriously, after making a documentary, the most amazing response is always from my main characters.
Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Oh, there are so many! If I had to mention just one name, it would be the tennis legend, Novak Djokovic.
It’s a long journey that we’re going through together, with many ups and downs, and the feeling of helping someone make a change is awesome.
How would you describe your work style? I think that my extreme dedication to each project helps me see things differently. When you write a script, or edit a film, version 80 will always be better than version 10. I worked on one of my documentaries over 3 years. Most of the people I know complete their projects very quickly, and begin
Then, when you see the response of the viewers, you realize that a film can make a change, can make people see things dif-
to think about their next project. But when it comes to a documentary, you have to find the story over and over again in post-production. After you dig through so many layers of the tale, you’ll find amazing tools to tell your story. Although I’m a real perfectionist who has to be involved in every aspect of the project, I consider myself open-minded, too. I tend to listen to my crew’s comments and advice, and try to focus on the story that I want to tell. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Undoubtedly, my family. What inspires you? People who succeed against all odds inspire me. I think that in all of my films, even though no one believed in them, the main characters never gave up and succeeded against all the odds. The beautiful thing about all of them is that they stayed modest after they succeeded. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? I’ve read all the books of Robin Sharma, each one of them is impressively inspiring, and have also changed my point of view in life.
“Don’t worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you’ll have to ram them down people’s throats.”
“Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” Pablo Picasso
4 ways in which playing with kids is a source of creative inspiration Any child out there can tell you how much fun it is to play around – you just have to ask the question. They will even show you how to do it, and they are more than willing to lead you through the process of playing like a pro. These mini project managers are not only helping you to get out of the at times quite dull schedule of life habits with which you might be familiar, but also encouraging you to explore new perspectives. Here are four ways in which to do just that: 1. Anything building. LEGOs, laying puzzles, building a fort with blankets, playing hot lava (not touching the floor in the house), etc. the possibilities are endless and the only requirement is creative movement. 2. Watching cartoons and talking about what they do and why, who is the silliest one and who is the most fun, is 212
fun! Pick your favorite one and watch it. Maybe with some candy on the side. 3. Have you seen the toys? They transform, speak, sing, jump, dance, fly, shine – there seems to be no limits here. Pick one and go bananas. 4. Or just F the toys and play with your imagination Are you a fairy, a pirate, a superhero? Do you fly, run the fastest, play football like a star? Your imagination has no limits. Regarding the time management, as grown-ups love that, make sure that you have maybe 1-2 hours to spare for this activity. So skip the news, skip the social media activity for one day and just let yourself play like the kids do. And if you have kids – they will most likely be happily surprised and highly entertained.
Name: Keiko Hasegawa Where do you live: Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan. Kanagawa Prefecture is next to Tokyo. Known for: I’m known for paintings. Currently working with: Now, I am thinking about the structure of my new piece. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? My previous job was editing educational materials for children. I was very pleased with the job, because I liked to make things. But, one day I realized that I wanted to work out something, like a heaven for me by myself. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Paris. Ten years ago, I visited Paris for the first time. When I saw the scenery of Paris, I raised a surprising voice. Because it was stunningly beautiful. I had seen it with photos and on TV, but I marveled at the beauty of the actual scene. Since then, I have visited Paris many times in various seasons. I hope that I will live in Paris with my family someday. How would you describe your creativity? My motif is girls. I am attracted by the unique beauty of the girls. I think that the girls who are not children and not adults are very beautiful. Why do I think of them 216
as being so beautiful? Because they each have a spoonful of poison. They are slightly nasty, slightly haughty, and slightly lazy. Their beauties are like the beauty of an opening rose which has fresh thorns. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Ten years ago, when I was 30 years old. I quit the company I was in and entered an art school. I learned the power of expression of my inner world by painting at the school. What do you do at the moment? I think about the structure of my piece. To express a heaven that I dream of at this moment, I imagine various things―what scene, what pose, what kind of clothes, what color, and so on. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? I think that the trying to foster sensitivity will be good. I think that to enrich one’s mind by soaking many beauties―looking at pictures, watching movies, watching stages, and reading books, for example―is important. Tell us how it all started. I have loved dreaming and expressing my world of fantasy by drawing ever since I was a child. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
The condition of being well lighted by the sun. It is very important to check the colors properly. What is your favorite film? Haru no Yuki’s ‘Snowy Love Fallin’ in Spring’. It was adapted for the film from the novel by Yukio Mishima. It is full of Japanese beauties. And the facial expressions which the leading actress has on her face are very attractive. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? What a difficult question this is! Because there are a lot of people whom I want to invite to dinner. But if I must choose one of them, I will choose Henri Rousseau. I really love his pictures. Whenever I look at his pictures, I think that he must have been pure and lovely. So I want him to tell me about many things he likes at dinner. And I want to see how adorably he tears bread and removes the bones from a fish. How do you like to spoil yourself? I would like to savor many beautiful and delicious cakes with rapture. What is luxury for you? To be satisfied with beautiful things. It is gazing at beautiful things, listening to beautiful things, wearing beautiful things, and savoring beautiful things. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom?
From Keisuke Nagatomo, an art director who represents Japan. He said, “The graceful and amorous mood of your painting drew my attention. I saw the fun of the illustration which changes to the unusual by a little something”. What do you fear most? To improve my technique of painting more than necessary. What is a happy life to you? To spend everyday having fun and being happy with my beloved family―my husband and my daughter. What does a regular day look like for you? Raising a baby keeps me busy, but I am really happy every day. And I am having exciting days with rediscovering beauties and fun of this world through the eyes of my daughter. Tell us about your dream project. I want to hold a personal exhibition of my large paintings. I want to make a beautiful place filled with my paintings. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Ikko Tanaka. When I was a child, I was shocked by Nihon Buyo. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? My pictures are painted in Japanese colors. I think it is because I was raised in the coun217
try with a lot of beautiful nature. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Of course, it is my beloved family. What inspires you? Something beautiful. Whenever I come across a beautiful thing, I desire to draw pictures. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Ineiraisan– ‘In Praise of Shadows’’ by Junichiro Tanizaki. It is an essay written about the Japanese sense of beauty. Every time I read this book, I am strongly attracted and fascinated by many beautiful things. I think my sense of beauty was influenced by this book
The color of things: Gray – Challenge the inspiration channels Every individual out there seeks new perspectives, new ways of understanding things and new inspiration – some do it more consciously than others, but we all fall under the category of enjoying to ask and answer questions. Sometimes, the questions which we find interesting have multiple answers, incomplete ones or none at all – giving us a varying level of affecting the outcome through the amount and choice of research work. Everyone has their own preference onto from where to draw inspiration. Someone interested in photography probably visits a couple of specialized websites on a daily basis, maybe follows a few amazing photographers, folders filled with inspiring photos and a pretty large collection of photography books. A professor in philosophy might seek out journals in the field of interest, books about old Greek philosophy and modern theories with which to compare own ideas. A medical doctor on the other hand, might find true inspiration in medical books and by researching modern biochemistry companies working on new and interesting projects for human well-being. All of the above is great and allows for 224
inspiration clearly structured within a field of interest. What is important to note though, is that although this kind of deeper research really is giving, in times of lack of inspiration it might not be useful as all. This happens to all of us, most likely occurring at times of exhaustion and when being overwhelmed. Choosing the easy way around in times when there’s simply a complete lack of inspiration, is to do yourself a bad favor. What it does is creating a loop of habits, bad ones. Inspiration is all over the place, and in order to see things in a new perspective you need to find new sources and gain new knowledge. Complexity and simplicity become one when leaving the usual spot of inspiration aside and it encourages new ideas. In order to make new, real inspiration happen, the first thing to do is to have a look at your current inspiration channels. Finding out what patterns draw your attention is an amazing way of stepping outside of them and into something different and often much more inspiring. When that has been done, the next step is to move beyond them completely –find the opposite of that to which you are usually draw. Research it, get familiar with the basics, explore it and you will see a whole new perspective unfold in front of you. At times when your regular search for inspiration has become only that, a process and habit rather than actual quality, this ap-
proach is the absolutely most constructive and giving one. While you’re at it, search for inspiration all over the place – architecture, art, clothes, food, science, design, coffee, trees, you name it. As long as you don’t tend to look for that specific thing on a daily basis, it’s completely up to you to choose subject. Go to a book shop or visit a library and look for something totally different from the usual categories which appeal to your interest. Every individual out there seeks inspiration, at times not knowing that the research being conducted isn’t really inviting to inspiration, but comfort. And comfort becomes boring quite quickly. Repetitive research is very usual among creative people as well as everyone else, and it is all due to lack of paying attention to the process itself. Seek for different things, variety – and you will find new perspectives from which new ideas can flourish.
Name: Jorge Mealha Where do you live: Lisbon Known for: Lisbon is known for its beautiful light, appraisal way of life and gentle inhabitants. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I realized that I would like to express myself mainly as an architect when I was in my twenties, after trying graphic design, photography and engraving. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Maybe a remote place somewhere in Japan. I really admire the sophisticated expression of their traditions. How would you describe your creativity? As a quite natural way of expressing my thoughts about how form and space interacts with persons. As a kind of natural selection process of paths suggested by while designing. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? A while ago, maybe since university. What do you do at the moment? I am evolved with several projects. One of them is a kind of community center for the Japanese community in Portugal. Other one dealt with detached houses carefully designed but with quite affordable prices. 228
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? To be tolerant towards othersâ€™ ideas. Learn and enjoy as much as possible what you do. And believe in yourself, in what you have to say. Tell us how it all started. It all started in an adapted bedroom of one apartment in a Lisbon neighbourhood. A few (a lot of few) books, one computer, one printer, one drawing board a lot of paper, a lot of pencils and an optimistic perspective towards life. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The corner to share and discuss ideas. What is your favorite film? Eternity and a Day, from Theo Angelopoulos. Or Sunset Boulevard from Oscar Wilde. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? With architect Balkrishna V. Doshi. Because he is a really experienced and wise man. With luck I would enjoy his thoughts and learn something. How do you like to spoil yourself? Managing to have nothing to do and read a book near the sea, listening the wind. What is luxury for you? Enjoying life. Be capable of taking advantage of simple gestures in our relations and
the nature that surrounds us. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? When I felt that a person really enjoys experiencing a building designed by me. Or when a student discovers that he/she is capable of unimaginable achievements and his/her eyes shine accomplice. What do you fear most? A society of ignorance. What is a happy life to you? A natural life, who enjoys friendship and nature.
fying things. I have an essentialist regard towards architecture. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? The sea. Its color, its sound, its taste. What inspires you? Culture. Our collective memory. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Brodie’s Report from Jorge Luis Borges and Alexandria’s Quartet (Justine, Balthasar, Mountolive, Clea,) from Lawrence Durrel.
What does a regular day look like for you? A nice journey. A new period to do what I like. Tell us about your dream project. Be able to help to build houses for those who have nothing, in an integrated strategy capable of provide water and means to produce food for them. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Louis Khan, when helping Bangladesh to build the national assembly compound in Dhaka. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I admire simplicity. I enjoy trying to simpli229
Everyone has a sto Have you ever met anyone, anywhere, who didn’t have a story to tell? Who had no experience of and in anything at all, had not done anything and learned absolutely nothing? There are no such people, and that’s a good thing. Every human being out there has lived for some time, and with that life comes experience. Experience happens through meeting people, learning new things, trying out new things and seeing new places. It also follows when reaching to the point of gaining one new perspective. This is done by communication. When exchanging words with other people, new information is processed – new patterns of thought, new phrases, meanings, ideas. With each conversation comes an opportunity to gain knowledge and it is all 240
about deciding to make that happen, in order to make it happen. What separates a catching story from a boring one? One that affects you on an emotional level and one that doesn’t? Authenticity, realness. The feeling of the story teller believing in the words that are being spoken, that’s really all it is. Standardized frameworks don’t do the job, real people with real experience do. Why is this important? Why are stories actually a way of getting to know people? Because they choose which story to tell, in what way it is presented, and how many details are revealed. Not only do you receive information about a specific situation, but also about the storyteller’s aim with talking about it. Each life is full of stories, and each story is
ory to tell full of meaning. It can be shallow and fun, yet thereâ€™s always something to figure out about it, a bigger picture. Having the freedom to do that, by simply allowing yourself to, will lead to an even more open mind and a big, positive influence in your creativity. Do you find peopleâ€™s stories to be inspiring, and do you share your own?
Name: Mauricio Morali
project involving some collectible prints.
Where do you live: Cuernavaca, Morelos. México.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? First of all be patient, let people see your work, keep studying and learning from others, try to attend to as many creative events as you can and socialize, get to know other artists! You’ll make many friends and work opportunities will eventually come.
Known for: Drawing pinups and characters. Currently working with: Digital Art Squad. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I’ve loved drawing since I was a little kid, but I started working hard and studying it seriously when I was going through my university studies. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? There are many places I’d love to live in, but if I had to choose just one it would be Canada, mainly because like their strong illustration and concept art industry as well as all the digital art learning opportunities I see. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Back in 2005 when I was still in the university I started working as a freelance illustrator for an advertising agency which belonged to a schoolmate’s father. When I got my first payment I realized I could work doing what I loved the most: drawing. What do you do at the moment? Right now I’m working on some illustrations with my brother (also an artist) for an advertising agency but I’m also in the middle of a 244
Tell us how it all started. That’s a long story… Ever since I was a kid I loved drawing, I come from a family of many artists so I was always in touch with art. My grandfather was one of my biggest inspirations, he used to draw film posters for Metro Goldwyn Mayer and he also drew pinups for fun. I always looked up to his art but sadly he passed away before he could teach me so I learned most of that I know by myself, buying art magazines and studying from books. Although I enjoyed drawing a lot when I was a kid I never thought of art as my career or my job until I was older. When I entered university I studied “communication”, which was a career focused on media, television, movies, radio, graphic design and advertising. One day a friend of mine who knew I liked drawing (I filled my school notes with drawings) asked me if I could design a character for a brand of sleeping pills as a project for his father’s advertising
agency, so I took the challenge and made this character, which after some changes was accepted. When I received my first payment as an illustrator I decided to work harder on my skills and become a professional illustrator. At first it was difficult because I thought my drawings were a lot better than they actually were at the time, but with time, and lots of effort I managed to improve. Once I graduated, I had the chance to work at a local newspaper as a designer where I tried to use illustration as much as I could to create more commercial-oriented work. Once I got tired of creative slavery and abusive work schedules I decided to quit. After that I became a teacher in a couple of local universities where I taught drawing, illustration, digital illustration, printing and graphic design. As a teacher I had a lot more free time than before so I continued studying, working for agencies and attending conventions where I met other artists. As time passed my work started to be known in my country and I had the chance to work in projects with other artists, even some I had admired for years. At this point internet has been a big help, not only as a great way to learn but also to help my work reach people. Most of my current projects come from there. I consider myself a growing artist, I feel I still have a lot to learn, but every single step of the way has been worth it.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? In my studio I need a good lighting, a comfortable chair, my tablet and lots of images on the wall that help me as inspiration. Music is also important, a cup of coffee, and a decently color calibrated monitor. What is your favorite film? I have lots of favorite movies! Star Wars, Blade Runner, Interstellar, Pacific Rim… Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Every time I think about a happy moment I think of the times I’ve been with other artists having a beer somewhere public and drawing. So… if I was to invite someone to dinner I guess it would be J. Scott Campbell, he’s been my hero since I was a kid, I’d like to ask so many things. How do you like to spoil yourself? Maybe buying a video game once In a while or going to eat somewhere nice. What is luxury for you? Hmm… I think a 90” screen, a brand new Cintiq or a trip to somewhere far away… Sadly I don’t have any of those haha. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? It came from a follower from Deviantart who wrote to me saying he really loved my art and that it was an inspiration for him to keep drawing.
What do you fear most? Failure, but I’m not sure if there’s actually such a thing.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without? I think that would be art, every kind.
What is a happy life to you? For me: happiness is to work doing what I love and being in touch with my loved ones.
What inspires you? Feelings, things I like, movies, cartoons, video games, women in general.
What does a regular day look like for you? Right now I get up around 9 am, I draw or work until 4 pm then I go to the gym and after that I usually hang out with friends until 11 pm or so and then sleep. Tell us about your dream project. I’d love to create a complete book about my art, with finished pieces, sketches and processes. I’d also like to make small sculptures or figures of my art. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I have many artists I look up to, among the ones I admire the most there’s: Stanley Lau (Artgerm), Adam Hughes, J. Scott Campbell, Serge Birault (papa ninja) and Shunya Yamashita. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I think my work could be defined as styled realism. Some people have told me they see some influence of American comic style with a little bit of manga, but I’m not so sure about that. 246
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Your Erroneous Zones by Wayne W. Dyer.
3 crazy habits of creatives during summer The summer is here, the sun is shining and this is the time that most of us have been waiting for – patiently and calmly. By talking about the amazingness of the warmth, the sunlight and all happy smiles for which the sun often is responsible. Creatives also do that – they wait for it, they think and talk about it. The summer. And then it comes – this is where the fun starts. Other people try to find ways to enjoy it, to take breaks and use the time they have away from work in an outdoors environment, somewhere nice and surrounded by nice and happy people. But for creatives, this is probably the most productive time of the year. And that manifests itself through three ways specifically; 1. It is hot and nice – and great for about 10 minutes. Creatives do see the summer as an amazing time, and like to enjoy it, on the balcony for a short while. After that, it is back to business. Why stop in the middle of a creative process when you don’t have to? That’s the rhetoric.
2. Ice cream for lunch. Well, it’s summer so it is allowed. Add some fruit to that. This is enjoying the summer in
a way which doesn’t require any compromising with the creative work that is happening, and it can usually be combined with the first point – time management, here we go. 3. Oh, as we speak of time management – the “oh, I’ll just finish this up quickly and then go outside” way of thinking is great, really. Now put it on repeat, and you’ll experience many nice summer evenings outdoors. The inspiration is all over the place, and since everyone is happier during the summer – a maximum of creative inspiration is gained at this point in time from other people as well. We all wait for that summer to finally arrive and take away the cold and boring environment, but could it be that creatives are longing for that inspiration boost more than the actual summer itself? Well that, and the ice cream. Do you also have experience in behaving like this during the summer?
What makes you want to communicate with someone? There are so many times when we meet people who make us want to have a conversation, and then another one, and then again. These people seem to attract and encourage words to happen, but what is it in you specifically that makes you want to communicate with someone? The reasons to initiate a conversation in a positive context can be many. There are truly talented people out there, and if their talent is something that you would like to know more about, then that’s more than enough of a reason to start a conversation. Sometimes you meet people who are open and positive, simply having a nice character. That might just be another reason for saying something to that person, to get to know more about him/her. Or they just might have an interesting style, wear nice colors, or just have the biggest smile ever. That gives plenty of room for initiating something fun – a nice compliment will give anyone an initial reason to share some time with you. The rest is up to the actual choice of topic.
then you will probably want to get the chance to speak with that person – either to forward a comment or to ask some questions on the subject. Political reasons, history, science, music, art, food, travel, cars, boats, technology, coffee – you name it, there is always a subject laid out for conversation. It is only up to you to choose to do that, and to choose with whom to talk – great things happen when we open up our minds and let ourselves get in touch with new people. Do you actively seek to communicate with people?
The place of meeting is also of importance. If you hear someone hold a speech on a subject of your interest, during an event, 257
Nevena Zelunka CvijetiÄ‡
Name: Nevena Zelunka Cvijetić Where do you live: Bački Petrovac, Serbia Known for: My city is of the most urban villages in Serbia and famous for its Slovakian type of sausage, Kulen. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Three years ago when I started my food blog Hleb & Lale I realized that food photography wakes up something special in me. I felt the need to cultivate that special feeling so I just kept taking photos, cooking and exploring. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Montefalco, Umbria, Italy. Living in a small, quiet village, surrounded by hills and olive trees is really a dream come true. How would you describe your creativity? Simple and organic. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I guess, when a really good offline magazine asked me to make four recipes and photograph them for their September issue I figured that I should think more seriously about my photography. What do you do at the moment? I’m collaborating with the art gallery Blatobran from Belgrade, teaching cooking classes in my cooking school Lalica’s cook260
ing school and preparing Spring Gozba gathering with my friends. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Always insist on quality and be yourself. It doesn’t matter if it takes a bit longer for your work to be appreciated. That time is also really valuable and essential for you. Tell us how it all started. As I love to cook, I decided to start a food blog. Then I realized, in order to make photos that will satisfy me, I need DSLR. So we bought one and my creative channel was complete. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Natural light. Everything else can be improvised. What is your favorite film? Love Actually. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Olivia Rae James, photographer from Charleston, who I’ve enjoyed following for years. I think she would be the perfect guest to chat with because of her simple and sincere way of life. How do you like to spoil yourself? I love massage. What is luxury for you?
All the things that cost too much for their value. Not really a fan of it mostly because they are just things. On the other hand, luxury of endless travelling is something worth spending money on. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I’m always super happy when people say that my photos tell a story. And that a recipe from the blog is delicious. What do you fear most? I really hate the darkness.
I don’t really have a role model but Karen Mordechai from Sunday Suppers is a huge inspiration. I also admire Nathan and Katie Williams, founders of Kinfolk. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? If we talk about material things, a good knife and my camera. What inspires you? Everyday life in its all simplicity. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Walking Into the Night by Olaf Olafsson.
What is a happy life to you? Being OK with myself and the world around me. Healthy and surrounded with people that I love. What does a regular day look like for you? I’m working in my family run business every weekday. In the afternoon I’m either home, cooking and relaxing with my husband Miljan or on my yoga classes. On weekends I’m usually busy cooking and photographing, shooting videos with Miljan or having a cooking class. Weekend evenings are for friends and more yoga. Tell us about your dream project. I would love to publish a cookbook, where I would be expressing myself both as an author and photographer. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? 261
3 crazy habits o creatives into sand architects. The creations that will appear on those beaches are something that they would have never done “if this place wasn’t so boring”. This is often combined with a hopeless 30-minute-staring at the sea, observing the waves as they hit the shores. Thoroughly observing them, like the world depends on that particular observation.
Someone once said that boredom is the source of invention. We don’t know about that, but bored creatives are most definitely a source of smiles. Observing them in a situation where they are doing things directly related to boredom is highly amusing. Here’s what they do;
If the people with which time is spent are a little, well, un-fun, then creatives always happen to have some really unexpected questions to ask, or comments to deliver. In order to create any kind of discussion, excitement, anything really. And they are persistent too. If the environment in which they are is perceived as boring (as a vacation with only beaches and hotels all over the place), they will soon turn
If the food is boring, repetitive, eating the same foods at the same time in the same combination, day in and day out – this will not last long with a creative. They will start inventing new kinds of combinations,or looks, or designs – in order to do the absolutely best they can to cheer up the dull situation a bit. Anything that can bring about a little variation is welcomed,
of bored s even though it might include supergluing carrots to cucumber slices, with chocolate sauce. Anything for creativity. As you can see, these three crazy habits are connected to pretty frequent situations in life. This means that you have probably been a participant in one of them yourself, or maybe even played the main role as the creative individual. In any way, they all present a great framework for laughs and new, sometimes slightly weird ideas. Have you had any experience with these 3 crazy habits?
Name: David Harder, President & Founder of Inspired Work. Where do you live: I live in Los Angeles, California. We are fortunate enough to live in Pacific Palisades at the beach. Known for: I am known for transforming people’s relationship towards work, of helping them find fulfillment and success in their work.
Win It Back”. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? I recommend for anyone who is thinking about starting and running a creative business to do the following: 1. Learn the business side of it.
2. Become an effective promoter and sales person. This is one of the single greatest When did you realize that you were going breakdowns with creative individuals with to work with this? worthy talent. Many don’t believe they can I realized I was going to do this in 1990. become an effective sales person or they If you could choose one place only to live, need to become someone else in order where would that be and why? to do it. No matter how talented you are, I am living in the place that I would choose people need to be aware you exist and because it is beautiful, serene and has a seyou have the responsibility to find out how rious dose of worldly cosmopolitan attitude. your talent is going to fulfill their needs. People speak English! However, now that I Otherwise, starving artists need to apply. For am learning Italian we are seriously considexample, there is a metaphysical career ering a move to Lake Como. book on the market entitled, «Do What You Love and the Money Will Follow». That How would you describe your creativity? isn›t true. Andy Warhol had a much more My creativity is centered in helping people harness their intelligence, their soul and their realistic point-of-view, «Do what you love, you can always sell it». Which also brings gifts into become successful. me to - do something that you really love, What do you do at the moment? something that you are passionate about. At the moment, I am involved in deliverThese characteristics raise the stakes and ing seminars in Los Angeles, of developing increase the probability of your success and leadership programs for several organizahappiness. tions, leading a business incubator group Tell us how it all started. and getting a new book ready for marI am a gifted jazz pianist and composer. ket, “Certain Engagement - How We Lost For many years, music was the only career I Our Enthusiasm For Work And How We Will
was interested in. I only wanted to do concerts and records. So, until that happened, I made very good money in the staffing industry and learned a great deal about work, business, sales and careers. I didn’t like it but it allowed me to have a great lifestyle. I also performed in clubs at night and became a critical success. In early 1990 a well-known producer launched a new label which was to be distributed by Warner Bros. I was the first artist he selected for the label. Six weeks later, he dropped dead of a heart attack. He was 37. In that moment, I realized that I was always putting my happiness into the future. I would be happy when I lived in the right place, had a record contract, on and on. That day, I understood that I knew very little about how to be happy in the present and in exploring how to change that came to the conclusion that work, for most of us, is the biggest relationship that we have. This is certainly the case when we examine how we use most of our waking hours. And yet, nobody was look at work as a vital and fulfilling relationship. I assembled a team of behavioral scientist, academics and bad ass business leaders in developing a model that would elevate our work to a relationship. From this model, I created a Socratic, question-driven curriculum. We led the first two-day program in September, 1990 and today have thousands of graduates. I’ve worked with Dis-
ney, HBO, University of Southern California, Rio Tinto Minerals and Lucky Brand Jeans. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The most important things in a workplace studio for me is to be in an inspiring space filled with brilliant and loving people. What is your favorite film? My favorite film is Reds. It chronicles the life of Jack Russell, a well-known journalist who moved from the United States to Russia in the turn of the last century. He wanted to witness what he believed was a revolution that would change the world. While that didn’t happen, I was so taken with Warren Beatty’s performance and the story. Here was a man who was passionately able to make a difference in the world, a man who found a cause that he actually gave his life for. He was a man who pursued meaning and purpose. I was quite young when I saw the movie and while I am not interested in communism, I realized I wanted to devote my life to something that would consume all of me. That is what has happened within my life. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? You didn’t tell me I could only invite one person to dinner so here is everyone I would invite and why: Lady Gaga - She amuses and inspires me. Christine Lagarde - Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund - I’m
in awe of her and would like to know if I should invest or keep my money in a mattress. Jimmy Fallon - He would keep all of us laughing without hogging the limelight. My partner Paul because dinner would not be complete without him. Daniel Pink - Because he is simply the most eloquent author covering culture and business. How do you like to spoil yourself? I only do work that I love. That doesn’t seem like being spoiled it is healthy. I periodically buy an outlandish item like an Armani overcoat. I love to travel. Most of all, I like fast and luxurious convertibles racing up and down the California coastline. For me, that is equal to a pig in poop. What is luxury for you? Luxury for me is ease, is not getting caught up in things I don’t enjoy doing, of having at least two dachshunds around at all times and in regularly having friends and family over for a beautiful dinner. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? Many people I’ve worked with have said that I have changed their life for good, a few have said that my work gave them the life they are leading today. I expect to die with a smile on my face. What do you fear most? 276
Losing my mind. What is a happy life to you? Life offers the choice of being happy or not, fulfilled or not and I’ve made decisions to be happy. My life is about serving others, about making a lasting impact in other people’s lives and using all of my creativity to uplift and perhaps inspire the world. What does a regular day look like for you? A regular day? I rarely have them! The most regular day right now is to work on my new book early in the morning, usually with one or two dachshunds at my feet. I watch the sun come up from my office and light up the Pacific Ocean. My work shifts to engaging with clients in my home office, at their sites or via Skype. I usually take a mid-day break by walking across the street to the gym and working out. Add to these basics a few extras that can enter my typical days: Interviews on radio and TV, a speech, a group meeting to discuss the launch of a client’s new business, leading a leadership program, leading an Inspired Work Program, flying to deliver a program, getting up in the middle of the night to have an interview on TV in Europe, holding the hand of a friend with stage 4 cancer, playing with our dachshunds on the beach, driving down the coast to San Diego with the roof down and arriving at a client meeting with my hair standing upright. Most days differ a great deal! Tell us about your dream project.
I am in my dream project. My new book comes out of observing how people transform their relationship towards work. Gallup’s most recent poll regarding employee engagement indicates that only 13% of the world’s workers are engaged. This is a culture as well as business problem. Loving what we do with our lives is available to virtually anyone who breathes. Organizations filled with engaged workers tend to be category leaders. Children with engaged parents usually become engaged adults. The single biggest reason we have such terrible numbers is because change has reached such dizzying proportions that many of us are paralyzed. People want change but most of them don’t want to change themselves. Many are stuck here because they don’t know how to change. My new book shows us how we can change and become enthusiastic with the growth modern life offers each and every one of us. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I have several role models and sources of inspiration: Oprah - She became a role model around the message - “You are responsible for your life”. Gore Vidal - He was a role model of intellectual brilliance coupled to undying courage. John F. Kennedy - He was a poet who brought brilliant and shining optimism to America.
Michael Beckwith - He taught me that every religion is praying to the same entity. Praying without dogma changed every aspect of life. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? My work style is inclusive, loving, attentive, playful, humorous, profound and courageous. I wear the costume that best plays with the tribe I am visiting on any particular day. I like to play rock star because I work with rock stars. I suppose my favorite attire if it fits the tribe is blue jeans, leather jacket and Louis Vuitton briefcase. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? I cannot live without breath. What inspires you? Our clients and participants who perform miracles every day. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Alright, we could spend the next hour discussing this topic so I am going to zero down hundreds to two. “Future Shock” by Alvin Taffler was published in 1970. I read it as a teen and it paved the way towards my work today. He predicted that technology would speed up the rate of change to the degree that by the turn of the century, many people would be in a continual state of future shock. 277
When I read his brilliant predictions I wanted to be part of the solution. â€œThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klayâ€? by Michael Chabon. His Pulitzer Prize winning book became my new gold standard in using words as an art form. Its sweeping and moving story was elevated by treating each and every word as a critical and profound connection to the reader. In closing, I have found that work, for the most of us, is the biggest relationship that we have. When we elevate and transform that relationship we land in a place that brings meaning and purpose to our lives. We find a happiness that permeates every aspect of our lives and our other relationships. All of us were born to a purpose. We accept that each of us has a unique thumbprint without question. Well, each one of us has a unique purpose and until we take the initiative to define it and live it, we suffer. When we step into that place life becomes a full color experience.
When you Ď?ind inspiring creatives â€“ connect with them 280
Inspiration is so easy to find today. Since the access to information is the absolute largest ever and people actively use social media tools to find just that, taking the chance to get in touch with people is a great idea to better understand a specific creative thought – to whichever field it may be subject. When it comes to cross-creativity and allowing yourself to try out new perspectives in order to get inspired, researching a professional field completely different from the one in which you work is the starting point. When you find something that catches your interest, which will happen quite fast, the next step would be to find people who are really great thinkers and visionaries in that particular field. After that, simply writing a letter stating your interest is what you need to do – and that will bring you two things. First, it will lead to great writing skills as well as people skills, and second – it will be a potentially great beginning of a new friendship.
Another important thing that will most likely happen is that you will see the human being behind those great and inspiring ideas – realizing that there’s actually an awesome person (or many of them) behind every interesting creative product. This is huge and with this accessibility, spreading new ideas is even easier and more fun than ever before. Add a positive attitude to that and you will see how much great positive response you will receive for your effort to get in touch with amazing people. While creatives do tend to be quite busy people, they do always find the time to do what’s important. Therefore, you should absolutely go ahead and write that email or Tweet or message to that person inspiring you, and let him/her know. And maybe ask them how they did it, what made them come up with the great ideas that they have, and how they did that thing about which you would like to know more. Have you ever connected with a creative out there? Did the response match your expectations? 281
â€œImagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine, and at last, you create what you willâ€? George Bernard Shaw
â€œMaking the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, thatâ€™s creativity.â€? Charles Mingus
creative room 4 talk An international magazine for creativity creativeroom4talk.com
Published on Jun 30, 2015
Our third Creativeroom4talk Magazine issue is out, featuring 22 interviews with creative minds from all over the world, sharing their storie...