creative room 4 talk An international magazine for creativity
SEPTEMBER 2015 1
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Zorana Vukomanović email@example.com CREATIVE DIRECTOR: Ljiljana Kužet firstname.lastname@example.org creativeroom4talk.com @4creativeroom www.facebook.com/acreativeroom4talk
Dear Creatives, Let’s dive into the big questions straight away – what is creativity? Is it a thing, a phenomena? Is it maybe a lifestyle, a book of rules or a collection of perspectives? Could it be a mix of emotional states, structured frameworks or pure imperfect perfection in itself? Is it used as a tool for expression or is it being expressed itself? These are the questions that form the basis from which we explore what creativity is and how people relate to it. For long, creativity has been seen as only being expressed in artistic fields, while professions belonging to other fields have been excluded from even mentioning creativity as part of their thinking. This is changing now and creativity is slowly receiving more and more attention, its relevance finally legitimized in scientific literature. In these previous four issues, we’ve done an amazing trip into the world of the creative minds we have had the pleasure to interview, along with emphasizing positive attitudes and encouraging constructive ideas. We have invited to conversation through social media, welcoming people from all corners of the world to get involved – in sharing their stories and learning from others. The glocal environment has been highly appreciated, and who says that humor can’t be mixed with serious and important topics? In this issue, you will have the chance to get to know 21 amazing creative minds, taking inspiration from fields as the arts, education, business and writing – to mention a few. They all symbolize a huge variation in backgrounds, interests, dream projects and favorite films, yet they are all open-minded and ready to share their experience and views with the world. We also have an exciting new addition in our magazine to present to you – from this issue and onwards, each number will feature one article written by international experts in a broad range of professional fields. For this premiere issue, we have the honor to exclusively present an article written by Mr. Bruce Tulgan, an internationally recognized leading expert on young people in the workplace, best-selling writer and one of the leading experts on leadership and management. His article covers the theme of performance management and creative work. How is such work measured and what does that mean for creative businesses and creative people? As we have grown a lot since the beginning in February of this year, we also made the decision recently to update our website in order to suit all of you better – easy access to articles and interviews and plenty of room for what is to come. We’ll let you know more about that soon. With our magazine, we hope that we have been the initiators of a few conversations, inter-creative such. Maybe one where doctors speak with painters and musicians on how to make the world a better place, or writers and architects discussing how to help startups from all over the world come together and grow. Or maybe teachers and professors talking to entrepreneurs and bio scientists about new ideas on marketing and baking cupcakes. The possibilities are endless. We wish you a pleasant reading and happy communicating! :) Zorana Vukomanovic
Articles: Pulling creative inspiration from other professional fields The Quote of Things – Curiosity Meaningful communication Get off of the personality tests – Here’s a personality reflection for creatives The way we look at vacations 5 phrases to use a lot in your conversations Teaching, e-learning, social media for learning The Quote of Things – Creation and destruction Mentor circles – creatives coaching each other The positivity of things – thinking is being Stay away from the big, bad assumptions! Creativity is about non-stress – it’s fun! A Weekend Guide we call ”Bringing smiles to the table“ Featured expert article - Bruce Tulgan The Quote of Things – Organizations and creativity Cross-generational knowledge sharing – could that lead to more creativity? Is quality really better than quantity in creative terms? It’s time to upgrade your old habits, adding creativity to the game! Staying conscious about your positivity Children and the building of things The Quote of Things – Seeing the stories around us When not-too-good things happen, leave them at that Your voice and creativity – what pitch does to people 3 ways of using creativity in management Watch a movie, boost creativity – That’s a great reason for movie nights! The true story – How people find out that they are creative The Quote of Things – Passion and ideas
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Interviews: Interview: Ton Pret Interview: Jack V. Matson Interview: Diego Morali Romo Interview: Nigel Oliveira Interview: Sandy Lynch Interview: Roswitha Selle Interview: Aaron Maree Interview: Silvia Sponza Interview: Dr. Timothy Sharp Interview: Chiara Ajkun Interview: Nina Štajner Interview: Dr. Marta Badilla Interview: Ingrid Ellis Interview: Marcel Hofeditz Interview: José Guilherme S. Brandão Interview: Pamela Joy Trow-Johnson Interview: Ozana Giusca Interview: Mariam Zahra Interview: David Burkus Interview: Ale Michel Interview: Pam Zeidman
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Pulling creative inspiration from other professional fields Creatives find inspiration in the most unexpected areas of influence. They can draw something useful out of basically anything and that is exactly what makes them so great. When everyone else is completely stuck and ready to go home and cry, the creative person comes up with a thousand (minimum) ideas for how to solve the situation. Let’s do an exercise. Visualize a tree. Yes, a real tree somewhere out in a park. Now, what do you see? Do you see a tree and then other things around it? Or do you focus on the colors? Maybe the shape of the leaves, even in 3-D? Or maybe a unit in balance, a pattern, something which you can transform and add to your own collection of ideas and possible future projects? This exercise is absolutely great and shows the amazing creative capacity of the person who is observing. It shows that there are always more possibilities, more options and other perspectives to unfold in any situation, even when looking at a simple tree.
Now, this amazing way of reflecting can also be applied when speaking with people with other creative backgrounds. They most likely have perspectives other than yours, views on things and even other forms of measuring of viewing those things. The surrounding is divided into other sized boxes and that makes their pattern of reasoning very interesting. It requires a lot from yourself as well, intriguing you to challenge your own perspectives and categorizations to be able to see the new ones. This interchange of views may lead to whole new models for problem-solving and awesomeness-creating, and that’s probably the most important reason for why creatives insist on hanging out with various characters and personalities. Challenges are possibilities. Do you find other creative people’s ideas and reasoning inspirational?
Name: Ton Pret Where do you live: The Hague, the Netherlands. Known for: Paintings, design and special art objects. Currently working on: Paintings, design chairs, sculptures, glasses and too much to tell. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Some 10 years ago. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I am not the person to choose only one place, I just love my freedom to much. How would you describe your creativity? Genial and inexhaustible, although I know that’s not the answer you can say about yourself. But I am just honest haha. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Some 10 years ago I just stopped my normal job and jumped into the world of art. As a child I was always creating, so this was probably the right moment. What do you do at the moment? Next to different paintings in commission, I am also working on a project with Philippe Starck’s design chairs, special sunglasses, torsos, art editions of kitchen machines and a secret project. 12
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Believe in yourself, don’t be afraid of failures, don’t copy but do your own thing and do it with passion and pleasure. Tell us how it all started. I just stopped with my business, bought a canvas, paint and paintbrushes and started my first painting. After finishing my painting, I took it with me to Amsterdam and went searching for a nice gallery. I found a nice gallery and they viewed my painting and immediately offered me a contract. I was very surprised. The next day the gallery called me and said the painting was sold and asked me for more. I did more paintings and they all were sold in no time. The more I sold the more my career began to grow and within a year, some famous master painter, Geert Jan Jansen, began to collect my work and at one moment he offered me a studio at his castle. From there my career began to grow very fast and I received orders not only from The Netherlands but also from abroad and my paintings were even exhibited in museums. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? A good vibe and paint of course. What is your favorite film? I don’t have a favorite film, because I can’t choose.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My wife, because she is the most adorable human being I have ever met. How do you like to spoil yourself? Tasty food, although I am slim, I can eat very much and enjoy the taste of nice food. It can be Dutch, Italian, Chinese etc. I also have no favorite. What is luxury for you? Sometimes buying things I don’t need, but I just wanted to have because it makes me happy. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? The greatest compliment was given by the Dutch master artist painter Geert Jan Jansen. He said to me “only 5 times in a century a real artist is born and you are one of them”. It makes me blush to say it, but you asked for it. What do you fear most? Losing the freedom I have, because I’m living my dream and maybe I am still dreaming. What is a happy life to you? The life I have. Freedom, enjoying my work every day, people who love my work and surrounded by nice friends and most of all, my great love who is always there when I need her.
What does a regular day look like for you? I wake up, start my breakfast, write some news on the internet, go to my studio and paint the whole day long. Clients visit the studio and two times a week I deliver my paintings at the home or office of my customers. In the evening I go home or to some parties, because I’ve received a lot of invitations and that is also fun and relaxing. I go to sleep in the middle of the night and wake up again early. I don’t sleep long. Tell us about your dream project. I have so many dreams, but painting a real airplane is absolutely one of them. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I have no particular role model or inspiration. The world is my inspiration 24/7. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? My style is best described as “colorful realism of a different reality, with a strong positive effect”. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Humor! What inspires you? Everything I see, smell, hear and feel can inspire me, so the world is my inspiration. A book that has changed/made the most 13
impression in your life? I didnâ€™t read a book that makes a great impression of me. Sorry.
The Quote of Things– Curiosity “Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people.” – Leo Burnett One of the many great attributes people who are happy do possess, is the constant search for something, to find out more and see new ideas. This need to explore things and go beyond the already defined in order to move forward, is driven by curiosity. Sometimes, or, most of the times, following that need is risky business and it may not always bring great results. Immediately. Sometimes it takes a little time to create something amazing as a result of curios behavior, but that in combination with persistence is without doubt a winning combination. Curiosity is that thing which makes any creative mind go beyond fear of the unknown, whether it is knowledge not yet acquired, places not yet seen or people not yet met. The urge of exploring, of understanding the new, of always wanting to try out new ideas and get familiar with other likeminded creatives is the main driving force of inno22
vation, as well as personal development. It is one of those things that drives human innovation and without it, we would still be having lovely and much giving meetings in caves. There are so many familiar situations in which a conflict or dispute between two or more people was about to happen, and a third party saved the situation. As courage does play a central role in this example, there is an essential curiosity in which the search for a way to make peace happen is the central question. There are also those times when there is great progress being made in people relations – regardless in which specific aspect it might be, and this progress has been updated to awesomeness by a little curiosity in people, to see how much better whatever it is can actually become. Another interesting aspect is to seek curiosity in human relations, which basically means a double dose of the same attribute in action. First, there is the curiosity in the person looking for more of it, and then there is another person connecting with the first one, bringing even more curiosity to the table. The great thing in these situations
is that the knowledge these two people
work tightly with other states of mind such
bring, their experience and backgrounds,
as action, morality, passion and courage –
together with this big curious need form a
without the spark of curiosity, this wouldn’t
platform from which endless opportunities
appear. New perspectives and the need to explore them, new ideas and the need
Embracing that curiosity, and following that
to try them out, new relationships and the
need to explore things is basically the only
need to make them successful.
true thing to do.
Situations in which the need for curiosity might be needed, as in tough discussions highly connected to emotions and personal relationships, is where the progress of using it is felt the most. This is where all of those feelings, all of the intensity and all of the wish to be right, instead turns into a stepping back from the ego and into communication. And that’s far from easy. The shift is intense, the people directly affected by it suddenly moving into a new direction, but with a sharp U-turn so as to not move deeper in the wrong direction. The beauty of curiosity in meeting new people, learning new things and exploring new cultures and customs. It is the will to actively move forward and beyond difficult initial states of mind, in order to be able to find great new things on the other side of the spectrum. Although courage does indeed 23
Jack V. Matson
Name: Jack V. Matson Where do you live: State College, Pennsylvania, United States. Known for: Lecturing, writing, and practicing innovation, entrepreneurship, and intelligent fast failure. Currently working as: Emeritus Professor of Engineering at Pennsylvania State University. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? 1984. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Wailea, Maui. Tranquil, beautiful, not crowded, beaches and the ocean, great weather year round, creative mix of cultures. How would you describe your creativity? Radical. I daily attempt to maximize my creative potential and that of others. It is the most important thing I do in my life. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? 1984. What do you do at the moment? I am finishing a book titled “Tales of Creativity, Innovation, and Change”; and putting the final touches on the Coursera MOOC: Creativity, Innovation, and Change, which has been online since June 1, 2015 as an 26
On Demand course that can be taken at any time by anybody for free. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Constantly generate ideas, experiment with the best ones, continue to take risks, and never stop. You must change faster than your competitors and society to be sustainable and grow. Tell us how it all started. I was hit by lightning in 1984 and suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I decided to discover my creative self as part of my therapeutic process, and it became an essential lifeline for my survival. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? To collaborate with others who have similar goals of using their creative potential to solve the world’s problems. What is your favorite film? Boyhood, the life of a boy growing up and how much chance happenings played a role in his life, as it does in all our lives. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Diane Wilson, author of “An Unreasonable Woman” and an incredible activist and tireless environmentalist. How do you like to spoil yourself? Snorkeling and swimming with the fishes in
Maui at least once a year. On a daily basis, to play and watch tennis on TV.
their God given creative talents for social good.
What is luxury for you? Time, the time to explore all the radical ideas I keep coming up with.
Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Elizabeth who is Mayor of State College, and lives to promote positive change in our part of the world through political processes.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? A student in one of my creativity courses wrote in her post course survey I was the best teacher she ever had and the craziest. What do you fear most? Losing my ability to not only create but to make my creations real and useful. What is a happy life to you? Experiencing the ups and down, failures and successes of risking beyond my perceived limitations. What does a regular day look like for you? I start out browsing my Idea Journal while reminding myself that gathering new ideas is the most important activity of the day. I usually think, write, and hold sessions with my collaborators in the morning, play tennis or exercise at noontime, and leave the afternoons open to adventure. The evenings are for quiet time, reading, and intimate discussions with my wife Elizabeth Goreham. Tell us about your dream project. I am living my dream project with the Creativity, Innovation, and Change MOOC by educating the citizens of the world to use
How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Eclectic. I am attracted to creative people in all fields of endeavor to exchange thoughts and ideas and how their minds work. I like to invite creatives to informal lunches and get-togethers to have salon type discussions. I enjoy attending festivals and other arts gatherings as part of my work and play. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Fun. I am most creative when having fun and try to spend as much of the day involved in loose, and open ended work related activities. What inspires you? People who are curious about everything and motivated to follow their dreams to the unique and dark places that life has in store. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Three classic books: “Freedom to Learn”
by Carl Rogers, “The Courage to Create”by Rollo May, and “The Prophet” by Kahlil Gibran.
Do you remember some of the conversations you have had in your life? Those which have made there were a couple of deep talks too, on choices in life and with what the consequences have
Although there is so much exchange of words, symbols and pictures going on today, probably m outcome. Of course, not every single conversation must reach the top list of giving talks, but there
Initializing conversations has become a very easy process, and thatâ€™s really great. However, beyo and comments written in affect, anonymously spreading negativity and dislike on a global scale
The good thing is that there is so much room for improvement, and so much will to make that hap people can more easily demand a better conversation. They can choose with whom they talk an ger the limitation, out of pure necessity to have any sort of conversation, to force oneself into wh
People seek meaningful communication today and that is a very good thing. It means that there actually value. It seems not to be gossip and negativity, but actual substance from which there is Do you seek out meaningful communication, and are you finding it?
e you reflect on big things and those people who have made you pursue your dreams? Maybe contributed? And the light ones with many real laughs and happy smiles?
more than ever before, that is not a guarantee for meaningful substance and actual constructive e should definitely be room for demanding a little bit of quality.
ond that first step there isnâ€™t necessarily too much of actual talking happening. Shallow subjects and communicating something before thinking is quite common.
ppen. Along with the many choices and alternatives for communication, this also means that nd invest their time in, and thus make their lives much more happy and positive. Thereâ€™s no lonhichever group of people is available.
e is a good chance of bringing quality back to the table and that in turn indicates what people s plenty of room to evolve oneâ€™s own mind.
Diego Morali Romo
Name: Diego Morali Romo
started drawing more seriously.
Where do you live: Queretaro, Mexico.
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I think it would be Montreal in Canada, it is just my kind of city. There is just so many awesome things to do, people love culture, design and illustration, and the weather is very different to where I live, which in fact is the opposite weather hahaha, but that is great for me.
Known for: Illustration and concept art. Currently working with: Right now I am working at an advertising agency doing illustrations for some international big brands here in Mexico. I am also freelancing by my own. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Well, I have been drawing since I can remember. I think it was the influence of my grandfather who was an illustrator and worked for MGM studios making those awesome hand-made posters we no longer see at the cinemas. I think it is clear that my admiration for his work has always been present in my life. But I never thought about illustration as my career, it was because there was another passion for me which at the end it led me to illustration, and it was the music. Back in 2004 I started to study music because I wanted to be a Jazz guitar player, but music never was that natural to me as the way drawing was, because drawing was always present in all stages of my life and it was an everyday habit for me.
How would you describe your creativity? I really think it is very difficult for me to answer this question, because it is a part of me and I don’t know if I can answer it objectively. I love to portray emotions on my artworks, I think it is very influenced by emotions or moods I want people to feel. I also think my work is versatile because I usually adapt myself to the projects and “styles” to get more work, but at the same time I have my own graphic language which is also important.
By 2007, I went to live to France for a year, and that trip was what made me change my mind on the music as my career. I asked myself if I wanted to be a musician instead of an illustrator, so illustration won and I
What do you do at the moment? Lots of Michelin Ads and storyboards, but I’m also working on commissions and projects of my own.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? When I came to Mexico from France in 2008 I started to take this more seriously, so I started to study everyday and practice more intensely.
A recommendation for those who think
about starting and running a creative business? Patience! Patience! I think that’s an important part of make the business work. It is also important to value what you do, there are tons of people that will try to get you to work on projects for free or for almost nothing. Try to charge the amount of money that you will be happy to work for, and learn to say “no” when you need to. Tell us how it all started. Well, it just started when I left music and I started to go to the university studying graphic design. I think it just happened that I was being invited to participate on great small projects because some designers didn’t know how to draw and I did, so opportunities just knocked on my door with time. I know it sounds easy but it wasn’t. By that time I just bought my first wacom tablet and I just sat down every day for like 8 hours after school and 24 hours on weekends, I didn›t even go out with friends on weekends because I wanted to get better so bad so I got stuck on my computer every minute on my free time! With time it just started to pay off because I started to make better things and I got closer to the industry standards – it was all hard work. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Organization and time optimization to be able to work peacefully and more consistently. I think that is the most important
thing: Peace. What is your favorite film? Blade Runner, it’s just an incredible film – from the story, music to photography, concept art, it has it all! Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I think that would be my grandfather who was an awesome illustrator for MGM studios, and my main inspiration, because I didn’t have the time to talk about illustration with him as he passed away a long time ago... How do you like to spoil yourself? The best way to spoil myself means going on a trip with my girlfriend and/or doing something with her (illustration related) like going for a pizza and draw all day long together... What is luxury for you? For me, Luxury is to be able to work 100% of my time on my own dream projects with no worries about money or time, and at the same time having my people close to me... What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I think the most awesome compliment I have ever received was that Stanley “Artgerm” Lau told me: “I like your work”. In that moment time just froze. I just want to thank this awesome guy for sharing his wisdom and tips with me and the community – he
made a difference in my career. It was also very inspiring to see an impressive artist like himself with such a humble attitude, I really admire this man! What do you fear most? To not be able to fulfill my dreams and not having enough time in my life to achieve them. What is a happy life to you? Doing what I love, with the people I love by my side and letting go what I don’t need in my life, I think that way I’ll make my dreams come true and live a happy life. What does a regular day look like for you? I get up, I go to work, then go home and try to do different things when I can. Like going out with my girlfriend, relax a while, taking a cup of coffee elsewhere and then I go home and work on my projects or freelance work until 2 or 3 am... But on weekends it’s different because just working can get you burned out, so I try to have at least one day for me. Tell us about your dream project. I have 2 (personal) dream projects: 1. Making an epic graphic novel. 2. A video game based on that graphic novel. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I think I am really inspired by 4 artists: Benja38
min Zhang Bin, Dave Rapoza, Stanley Artgerm Lau, and Mr. Adam Hughes. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I think it is versatile like I said before, because I adapt myself to the project and that way I can get more work, because I can solve different kinds of illustration needs. But beyond that versatility in “styles” or languages, I personally like to draw things that belongs to my imagination, things that can’t happen in reality, like fantasy, Sci-Fi or mythological realities and translate them on a realistic visual language. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My art, family and my girlfriend. What inspires you? Characters and their stories (specially female characters), life, music, video games, Sci-Fi and fantastic worlds, urban tribes, urban fashion, color, creatures and things that can only live in our imagination, art and design... And a lot more! A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? In my professional life a book that changed my life was definitely “Figure drawing for all it’s worth” by Andrew Loomis. It really helped me to learn my craft, because it was easier to understand than other anatomy books like Burne Hogarth›s for example
which I also like, but Loomis’ is easier to understand and I really made a huge progress with his books! But in my personal life I think it wasn’t one book that made an impression on me, it was the whole Greek Mythology what was my first approach to fantastic characters and stories which I enjoyed sooo much. I had tons of books about Greek mythology, I wanted to know everything about it! I think I enjoyed it so much because I could imagine the characters the way I wanted, so it lead me to my first attempts of fantasy character design as I drew them from my imagination.
Get off of the personality tests –
Here’s a personality reflection for creatives
Have you ever had that urge to go figure out some pletely normal and we’ve all been there.
A quick research online shows thousands of results tives, open-ended questionnaires, mythological, nu based on science, is the Jung Personality Test whic
As none of these tests provide a solid basis for unde people are showing interest in knowing more abou which fields of interest there even are when speaki without necessarily relying on any test but the own
Being curious about ourselves is what makes us gro swer the biggest question of them all – who am I? S admitting that to yourself and then go on and be g
So, as great fun as those personality tests can be, t this great ability to actually figure out things as wha to be around and don’t at all like to be around, wh thing else – and there’s much to explore for people
Do you like personality tests? Or appreciate to lear
e sort of pattern in your personality, your character – the person that you are? Relax, that’s com-
for finding out more about the patterns or traits of personalities. There are short-question alternaumerology-based, arranged around zodiac signs and many more. One of the best known tests, ch aims to give a hint of attributes and thinking/behavioral patterns through a set of questions.
erstanding oneself – the bigger picture is that by trying them out and researching the subject, ut themselves. And that’s a pretty great thing. Now, using the test for inspiration, as to know ing of personalities, is absolutely great – as a basis for researching those specific traits further, n persona.
ow as people – it initiates the urge to find out more, to explore what is going on and to try to anSelf-awareness then, is the first step in finding out what your specific field of creativity (or plural) is, great at what you love to do.
the bigger picture is the most important one – curiosity and wanting to get to know yourself. Use at makes you happy and what doesn’t, what gives you energy and what doesn’t, who you love hat is your driving force and what isn’t etc. The list is long and highly exciting regardless of anye who think that they are creative, but didn’t really want to admit it to themselves. Until now.
rn more about yourself? What’s your method for doing that?
Name: Nigel Oliveira Where do you live: Toronto, Canada Known for: Senior Program/Project Management consultant, Speaker, Educator, Interviewer, and blogger. Currently working as: President and Founder of Emerston Group. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I’ve been interested in incorporating all my passions into a single entity, and that’s where Emerston Group is headed. My current blog is the as-it-happens story of the reboot. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? If I had to pick only one, it would be Toronto. It has an incredibly diverse population, and in that sense, it’s a microcosm of planet earth. My dream is to be able to live in a new city/country every few months, and return to Toronto every so often to recharge. How would you describe your creativity? I believe that creativity springs forth best from silence. Meditation is an excellent tool to facilitate creativity. Unfortunately, many
this in a serious manner? In broad strokes, I’ve been involved in ‘earlier versions’ of Emerston’s future activities since I was very young. I used to be a teacher (tennis, guitar), and I wrote for the university newspaper. What do you do at the moment? I’m focused on getting the new and improved Emerston Group up and running (and blogging about it as I go). I’m also starting a client consulting role very soon. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? I’ve found that a combination of having and articulating a creative vision AND creating a plan AND working hard is the best approach. Don’t try to wear too many hats at once...bring in expertise from the outside as you need it. Tell us how it all started. I’ve been creative and entrepreneurial from a young age. For example, I coowned a mobile disc jockey business during university. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? I like to create an inspirational environ-
people run around frantically every day, from one task to the next... It is very difficult to be creative in that type of environment.
ment. This includes having pieces that have emotional value (e.g. art, photographs, my guitars).
How and when did you start to work with
What is your favorite film? L.A. Confidential. For me, it’s the perfect
blend of all components of filmmaking. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Anthony Bourdain. He’s managed to create an incredible professional/personal life by combining eating, drinking, travelling, writing, and being a TV personality. I’d like to find out how he did it, so that I can do it too! How do you like to spoil yourself? Going out for upscale Spanish food (but not too often!). What is luxury for you? Great food, wine, and company. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? Having clients request me by name, either through a reference, or because I worked for them previously. What do you fear most? Leaving the world in a worse state than I found it. What is a happy life to you? “I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live.” George Bernard Shaw What does a regular day look like for you? I try for equal parts work and play (it sure helps to love what you do for a living).
To make Emerston Group the global standard in inspiring, empowering, and leading professional and personal transformations. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I don’t have one single role model...I think I can learn something from everyone I meet, and from every interaction I have. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I try to listen a lot more than I talk. I try to understand everyone’s point-of-view, and then create the best course of action for all. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? If my house were on fire, and I could only save one item...it would be my very first guitar. My parents bought it for me many, many years ago, and it’s not much to look at or to listen to...but it’s the most valuable thing I own. What inspires you? What doesn’t? :) A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? ‘No Opportunity Wasted’ by Phil Keoghan. It’s a great template for designing a life well lived.
Tell us about your dream project. 51
The way we look at vacationsÂ 52
It is that time of the year, the time of having days off in order to relax and enjoy yourself – maybe together with family, friends or simply taking time to be alone and do the things that you really like to do. Some people choose to travel to places far away from their home, to enjoy an all-inclusive vacation or to live in a hostel and absorb as much of the new culture as possible. Others choose to go somewhere a little bit closer, maybe by car or train, and simply enjoying time off at a new landscape – differing from the one which they encounter every other day of the year. There are people who like just that, to stay at home and sleep a lot, eat good foods, read great books and write or create – maybe that’s the only time when they get the chance to do just that? This is how most people see their vacation time and that is really, really good. Everyone needs change sometimes, and these few weeks a year are just that – a very welcomed and appreciated change. Variation is also a good way of stepping aside from a certain way of thinking around projects or problems, and finding new perspectives for potential solutions. Thus, the “good” that comes from having a vacation is potentially really big and useful – beside the obvious part of gaining so much new energy and returning to daily life with fully loaded capacity. However, more and more people have
noticed that the expected outcome from vacations isn’t realized. Is that because of the high expectations on the vacation itself, at times resulting in disappointment and negative thoughts? Maybe, but it could also be the very idea of having a vacation that is actually the problem. Thinking about it, a vacation is time off from something that is probably boring, time-consuming, maybe resulting in not enough pay, having to do boring things and without an opportunity to develop own ideas. This might be the actual problem, and changing that means to look for ways in which all of these negatives can be minimized. Feel free to enjoy moments in each day, not just waiting and longing for a vacation upon which magical expectations are built. If there is a boring moment in your life, consuming a lot of time and building up frustration in you, then find a way to change that aspect. If you do this, the change process might as well be seen as “a vacation” and this time, the expectations will be reasonable and the outcome positive, energy-boosting and fun. That last part is very important. How do you look at vacation? As a time for getting away, or to explore new possibilities?
Name: Sandy Lynch Where do you live: Auckland, New Zealand. Known for: Piano Performance, Composing, Arranging, Song writing, Editing, Tuition, Orchestration, Transcribing. Currently working with: Music-Creations and Piano-NOW. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Throughout my childhood I did a lot of performing and I guess composing for me was a natural progression from performance. Now I love to do both. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Well, I’m quite happy to live in Auckland, New Zealand at this stage. Auckland is a vibrant and developing city, so close to the country and beaches! It is exciting to live here, a great lifestyle in New Zealand and a lot of overseas work is obtained over the internet these days so I don’t feel quite as isolated as I used to! How would you describe your creativity? I can sit down anywhere and think creatively; for example composing a piece of music, I can run through various options in my mind and then jot it down in my trusty notebook (or phone!). Sometimes it occurs out of the blue. A tune pops into my head and I know I have to do something with it, 56
develop it and explore it - get it down, otherwise it will be gone forever! (And that’s a terrifying thought!) Other times I make myself think of a mood with an associated title, and compose something. Other times I love to sit at the piano and play my heart out it’s funny how many times you play a song, it’s different every time! How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I started piano lessons when I was 4 and since a young child, playing by ear has become second nature to me and I have now formed my own style. A realisation that I have a skill and should take myself seriously and develop it occurred within the last 5 years, but because I didn’t attend University I had to get up to speed with the rapidly changing music industry, so I enrolled in Berkleemusic Online Master Certificate in Orchestration for Film & TV thinking I wanted to be a Mrs John Williams film composer, and while that course was fascinating and very informative I have found that I want to pursue the educational side of piano playing. And although I have tried other career pathways I have always returned to my true passion of music. I can’t fathom the idea of doing anything else! What do you do at the moment? At the moment I am devising an online piano method website Piano-NOW which is in the very early stages of development. I am also performing background piano music
at the Spencer on Byron Hotel, Takapuna, Auckland which I love (please drop in if you’re in the area!). I play a variety of styles including light jazz, easy listening music, Latin TV/movie themes, show music, contemporary styles and requests. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Research and persistence. Find where you fit in the big picture. Make sure there is a market for what you do. Tell us how it all started. Growing up on a farm in a small district we had to drive for miles to get anywhere. However, I was lucky that my Mum was the classical piano teacher and my Dad (the farmer) played very well by ear, so I had the best of both worlds. While Mum taught me Beethoven, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, Bach etc. Dad taught me stride piano, ragtime and Elton John! Yeah! From there I went and had jazz improvising lessons and listened to a ton of music - all sorts of styles and tried to copy what the riffs were, what the bass is doing, what the rhythms are, styles, etc. Very exciting! What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The computer and the piano - first equal :) What is your favorite film? Hmmm, I love my movies but the one that stands out is The Proposal with Sandra Bull-
ock. Very funny, happy ending stuff - yes, love my happy endings. And any Sandra Bullock movie is a great movie! Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Shane Caniglia, CEO Rich Dad Interactive-President of Rich Dad. I would love to pick his brains! A fascinating story of someone who has obtained great success without a University degree. I like that! How do you like to spoil yourself? A flat white at Starbucks. What is luxury for you? An overseas holiday. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? “Well done, you can really write! A very nice project” by Jack Freeman, Instructor of Film Scoring 101, Berklee Music. What do you fear most? Fear itself. Feeling fear in anything helps you grow so I try to embrace it and face it head on. What is a happy life to you? Peace. What does a regular day look like for you? Getting kids out the door to school, sit and create at the piano or computer for as long as possible before other commitments. Tell us about your dream project. 57
My current dream project is my new website and always creating music and bringing it to life. Educational music and any piano music just for the fun of it! Who is your professional role model/inspiration? My early inspiration was Henry Mancini (yes, he wrote the Pink Panther Theme - the middle big band section is hot, hot, hot!) And he composed a lot of other stuff and arranged a whole heap of stuff, had a distinct style which is very memorable and charming, with some awesome big band chops and other gorgeous delicate melodies. My other musical inspiration is everywhere. I love all music and love to analyse the where, what, how, why and who. How would you describe your work style? Creating the mood with music - educational and fun. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My kids! What inspires you? My kids! And all music - any style! I have an appreciation of all things creative, any industry. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz. I stumbled across this in a 2nd hand book shop and it was just what I needed at the time! 58
5 phrases to us convers Talking is an important part of every human being’s everyday life. Whether at wok with the management or coworkers, with shareholders or business partners, family, friends or new acquaintances – talking, commu-
potential because we are not mind-readers. Progress is yet another important aspect of people’s thoughts, thus asking about that is absolutely great, as is simply commenting on a story with positive affirmations – as
nicating, is the main tool to make conversation happen. Although there are indeed very important aspects to keep in mind when meeting face-to-face – such as body language, posture and tone of voice, this time focus will be put on the verbal, rhetoric aspect.
long as they are honest of course. Acknowledging people’s efforts to reach their goals, the fact that they have reached them, is also great in any conversation.
Now, in any conversation there needs to be interest, true and genuine interest. This interest needs to be expressed as to avoid any misunderstandings for which there is a lot of 62
To sum it up – here are five phrases to use a lot in your conversations: •
“Please tell me more, what made you decide to do/say that?”
“What is the biggest thing that you’ve learned this past year?”
se a lot in your sations •
“Managing to pursue your dreams takes a lot of courage – do you feel that you’ve had the support to do this throughout the process?”
“There is clearly a lot of work behind that reached goal and I admire that in you.”
“What you’ve told me right now will have a huge impact on my own decisions, I have a lot to think about now.”
that. Also, learning to express what you actually already feel but didn’t think you had to mention is very important and can turn any good conversation into an absolute awesome one. Do you use these phrases in your conversations and do they help making your conversations better?
The trick here is to not ask too general questions, and avoid the ones who require an answer with too many details, as people do not always feel comfortable in sharing all of 63
“It’s not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen.”
“You can’t just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood. What mood is that? Last-minute panic.” Bill Watterson
Teaching, e-learning, social media for learning Every day, we are encountered with new information – and a lot of it. Some of it will be ignored, while other things will catch our attention and draw us into exploring more about the subject. Sometimes, this will result in loops of research, hours and hours spent in front of the computer – reading, learning, searching and focusing. Subjects that we might have never ever found out about really if it wasn’t for this awesome information sharing. Learning is not only for children and teaching is not only for teachers. Neglecting such a beautiful attribute, the need for learning, is not a great idea. This need of learning new things is especially important in creative people, because it is new information
researching by yourself. Other creatives out there are likely to have found very interesting sources for information, sharing them all over social media platforms – being there too means having access to all of this much more easily than starting with the research from scratch. It’s often quite easy to tell what could be better with social media as a tool today, and how the use of it could lead to less positive consequences for people. However, a totally crazy idea is to try looking at things in a more positive and constructive way and see what happens. As described above, using these tools in research is an example of such a positive perspective, and why not try to put focus on those aspects instead, as to strengthen them and make more room for creativity and quality? That’s a great idea. Do you use social media for research and to connect with other creatives?
that makes new ideas happen – simple as that. Restricting the mind would be the absolute worst thing and a guarantee of creativity destruction. Instead, using social media as means of finding out more about anything and everything is highly recommended. By us. This, because there are so many other creative minds out there, who are as excited as you in finding out how things work. Finding them might prove to be more giving than simply 67
Name: Roswitha Selle, but my friends call me Rosa. Therefore the name RosArt for my art. Where do you live? I grew up in the GDR. In the former East Berlin, in the district of Prenzlauer Berg. Today I live in Berlin Koepenick. I love my city very much, especially the closeness to nature. We have a lot of water here, forests and green areas. Although Koepenick is a district of Berlin, here the time and people are and do things differently, more slowly and rather rural. If we go into the Köpenicker center, we always say “we go into town”. Known for: I work as an artist in painting and as a film actress. I am self-taught and I would classify in the category Naive Art a category discovered during the beginning of the 19th century by the art historian Wilhelm Uhde and used by modern artists. Currently working with: Throughout my whole childhood, I grew up with an interest in art. Especially my father recognized my love for pictures, it was our common interest. We visited several galleries and exhibitions of Heinrich Zille, Otto Nagel, Rembrandt, Picasso and Hundertwasser. He knew a lot about the stories, so he could tell me a lot about the events of that time and the lives of artists. I remember that we, with my mother and sister, together with paints, brushes and paper sat outdoors and painted landscapes. I dreamed 70
of being an artist and saw myself in front of a canvas with a paintbrush and palette. Then I saw the film van Gogh and wanted to make films. Well so much went in life other than dreamed and I had to wait many years before my dream happened and when I was able to realize this. In 2009 I started as an extra to work in movies and this inspired my imagination and creativity, so I then started painting. Both are often closely connected, complement each other and that inspired me. Two examples: One picture was taken at Panther filming the German adaptation of the Australian series of block B, where I participated as an extra. Here, I imagined this before in relation to the same name poem by Rilke. The picture Nordsee and show-like is related to the shooting of the film Jade Leonie Krippendorff. The landscape and the story of the movie fascinated me and we went there to see it in February. Schau-Lust was born from the idea that I as a small Actress was a patentee with fear phobia. I dealt with it myself and imagined how it is to be afraid to fall and all eyes are on me. In my paintings I tell stories. There’s plenty to discover, or I want add to major events, thoughts which I have received or represent affect my life on the heart or the soul. Here is an example: The image harvest was after a trip with my parish to Brandenburg. I think as a Christian and that I have to thank God for this
gift and live it the opportunity. That’s why I always have a cross placed somewhere in my pictures to match the subject. On a church steeple, or a mountain, or a chain. Some pictures I’ve painted with Christian background. This is my way to say thank you and to know that this is not self-evident. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? The beginnings I have already described in the previous question. How many people go in the world, I caught up with the everyday life and real life. In the GDR, I was not allowed to study and later after 1989 I had to make money since I moved with my two children by myself. The transition for people from the East was characterized by insecure and low-paying jobs and driven by existential fears. My thoughts only revolved around to earn good money and to move forward in life and to offer a good life to my children. And I forgot what that means real true life. Until I was 40 years and got seriously ill. I had a neurological disease and was in danger of going blind. It took a few years until the cause had been identified and treated. During this time I had no other choice than to come to rest, to think about my life. I developed my fantasy since I could hardly read or watch movies, or rarely even leave home. Audio books were my best friends, and it emerged among the images. Since I am a Christian I never gave up hope
and had developed a list of what I would do and what really matters in life, when I can see again. At the top was the acting and painting. My priorities had shifted and I started to live this in 2009. From the beginning, my father and the Pastor Ralf Musold from our city parish accompanied me. Hr. Pf. Musold supported me, gave me confirmation and encouragement in my actions. He even bought some pictures from me. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I can say this place, since my environment has influenced me with all the people. But I would imagine to be a traveler, always return and convert the starting points of the images in me with the impressions and new influence. How would you describe your creativity? Emotional, connecting events with fantasy and secular with a Christian touch, processed stories and thoughts. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Well, “serious” kills every kind of creativity. But I have realized that I am filled with my work, and that’s what makes us happy. I need this, purpose in life and passion. All other constraints would make me sick. Now from the art I can, like many other artists, also not live. But I am grateful that I live in a society that secures my existence modestly. This I am also grateful to the society, and I do much voluntary work. For example, I
support the film students in their final work as an actress, playing in the theater without a fee. I have donated some pictures of the Evangelical Church for an auction. These funds were then supporting refugees in Germany.
Tell us how it all started. Much I have already described. But, if I may make a recommendation. Just start, have no fear. One step at a time. Do not give up even if it is not easy. Have friends that encourage and support you and are honest.
What do you do at the moment? I am glad that I can participate in the Köpenick Theater in FUGA in one piece for children. It‘s directed by Sylvia Hueckelkamp together with Christian Bleyhoeffer. Here I may even play a super small Mini piece on the Cylophon with the other actor. I had to deal with notes as well, which was absolutely new for me and fun. It’s kind of the feeling to be able to be a child again.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Now I have no studio and don’t need one for my work. I work in my apartment. Because I can work if I just kiss the Muse or I suddenly get an idea in my sleep and much more. Here I pause to collect myself. I think it’s ideal but I would like to have a little more space, maybe a separate room. To have the possibility to show my pictures to an audience.
Since 2014 I take classes in drama school – acting people - and I will get my completion certificate in September 2015. This I finance, among through other jobs, as a film actress. From this I turn many new ideas from characters to paint.
What is your favorite film? Oh, because there are so many I can only mention a few to stand as representatives. The film “Cloud Atlas” I was very tied upon, only because I was fascinated with the book from Roland Emmerich “Anonymous”. I love historical films and the theme Shakespeare explains itself. The American series of House of Cards is indeed what Shakespeare made, only based in our day and age. Game of Thrones is a film where the characters do not act as we expect, there is no
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Unfortunately, I cannot because I have no experience with companies in the creative sector. I am looking for anyone who can live from his creativity and wish you every success. I’m not running a business since I think that the pressure in the context as an entrepreneur would affect my creativity. 72
good and evil or right and wrong. There are also so many good German movies, such as “Naked among Wolves”, “Our fathers, our mothers,” or “Time of Cannibals” with Striesow who is a very good
actor. For me, he is a role model, because he can play so many characters so well. There’s a little anecdote. In my early days as an extra I had a little job on the set of the film “Three”. In the extras area we all talked, and I was very excited and constantly taking pictures to commemorate. Today I am more relaxed. Anyway, there was a new colleague there, sitting down and reading. I wanted to be friendly, said hello and asked if he was also an extra and if he had been working for a long time. He smiled and replied briefly and continued reading. Then we came to the meeting and the actors were presented. Among others, a colleague with whom I spoke. That was D. Striesow. I was so embarrassed I could sink into the ground. Who would you invite for a dinner and why? I would make a nice picnic by the lake, inviting my friends, colleagues, sponsors and agencies. Each brings something really nice.
soul. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I have received so many compliments. These did help a lot when I, as an artist, had moments of doubt or questioning. This gave me the encouragement and served as a confirmation that I’m on the right track. The most significant was a compliment for me, from my father. He told me he was proud of me as I have, despite some misfortunes and challenges, realized my dreams. What do you fear most? My biggest fear it would be if I was forced to have to give up my creative work, which I love. The painting and the work as a film actress has become my purpose in life and lifeblood.
What is a happy life to you? All human beings strive for a happy life, but cannot make it because they are too busy with the search. It is everywhere distributed How do you like to spoil yourself? in small individual parts. You just have to By staying somewhere in the countryside, pick up and put together. I have come to near a lake, on a nice summer day. I’d realize in recent years. I have to keep workbring along a small picnic basket with a ing at it not to lose sight of the only daily. glass of wine, enjoying the sounds of nature. Also important is a peaceful, free and tolerWhat is luxury for you? ant social environment. Where will I live my Luxury is in my eyes all of those things that I did not have, all which I cannot afford and do not need to live. But now and then I treat myself with something good, a little bit of luxury. It does indeed do good for the
strengths, talents and skills and transferring can and accepted as a human being, just as I am. What does a regular day look like for you? 73
The most important thing for me in the morning is to drink my coffee and eat some snacks. After that, I plan my day, depending on if I have appointments or jobs, learning texts, receiving updates and other things. So, basically, like anyone else spends their day. When I get inspired I start to paint and then I just forget about everything around me. It happens now and then that I have an appointment and then just a sudden struck by inspiration. It’s like a compulsion, I have to start painting these thoughts. If not, they would just occupy my mind completely and I wouldn’t be able to think about anything else. Tell us about your dream project. My biggest dream would be to have an international exhibition. But it’s only a dream. A regional exhibition would be really nice and thus gaining recognition of my work and love of art. Another dream is to get a small role in an international film. But it falls short due to the English language skills required. But I can dream, yes. These do inspire and drive all people. Who knows, maybe this will come true someday. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? There are so many models and inspiration. My list would go on indefinitely. I always admire the old masters of painting, that perfection with which they represented landscapes and people. I also admire with what imagination they painted places and 74
cultures that they had never seen or knew only by words. Fortunately, the invention of photography today is something liberating. This gives us the opportunity to free ourselves from painting only by imagination, inspiration and imagination. The first painter who inspired me was Rembrandt, the man with the golden helmet. I also read, as a teenager at the time, the book about his life. As a real Berliner, who grew up in the district of Prenzlauer Berg, I also loved Heinrich Zille and his milieu and the socially critical paintings of Otto Nagel. Images and Art of Hundertwasser inspire me because of the stories that are told by his images and vibrant colors. The pioneers of the film are role models to me. Films such as Robert Wiene‘s “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” (1920), Paul Wegener’s “The Golem: How He Came Into the World” (1920), Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s “The Last Laugh” (1924), Fritz Lang’s “Metropolis” (1926). Which is the one thing you can‘t live without? Freedom of choice and to decide freely and be able to live my passions. What inspires you? Life inspires me. The passions, emotions, melancholy, beauty, desire, faith, love, hope, moments of the moment and the imagination. A book that has changed/made the most
impression in your life? There are so few books that have changed my life and way of thinking and influences. But my first book, which I read as a child, were the fairy tales of the Grimm Brothers. With those stories, I was able to take refuge in my own little world and let my imagination flow.
way, supported me.
Unfortunately, my joy to read books was taken away in my school days, by forcing us to read certain books with a socialist content. From that time I have only the book “The Adventures of Werner Hold” in my memory. I only read the first part of the book, which was interesting and impressive to me how easily a young person could be deceived in the early days of the Nazi dictatorship. I didn’t read part two in school, because of that previously mentioned reason. Only in my late teens I won back the joy of books and the first was a historic book, which I was recommended by my father. Victor Hugo‘s “The laughing mask”. The love for history has remained until this day. When I read a really good book, I can’t stop and will read it through completely even if it takes me the whole night. I get so intrigued by the book and can’t really just move on to read another one until I’m able to calm down a little. I’d like to dedicate this interview in loving memory of my father. I would also like to thank all people who have, in their own
The Quote of Things– Creation and destruction “Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.” – Pablo Picasso There are so many different forms and uses of creativity, so many definitions and explanations, and so many judgments and grading of them all. People use creativity as a method in many problem-solving situations, on many business meetings and when seeking to explain big issues in the world today. And how to solve them. There are these obvious times in life which include a deadline and some extra pressure on top of that, demanding solutions to problems and reports with suggestions on measures for efficiency and effectiveness. Being in that situation often comes with negative emotions such as frustration and stress, and in combination with the unsuccessful search for solutions this pretty soon turns in to a vicious circle. But it is simple – trying to figure out these problems and potential solutions whilst using tools created out of the false assumptions being defined in the pre-failing project of which we are talking, is in itself incorrect. Creating something from the wrongs that are already apparent, will not turn them into rights. Instead, completely erasing all known “knowledge” about the conse84
quences of the problem and instead dive into the definition of the problem itself, might prove to be a really good idea. There are times when artists, writers, dancers and designers simply get stuck, or blocked, in their creative process. This indicates not being able to proceed with their work, and the reason is being too stuck in a certain viewpoint about this particular creative work. Often, distancing oneself from everything that has to do with that project and do something entirely different, ignites something which takes away that blockade and makes the work happen. This is simply creative inspiration and once again, seeking to move away from the already stated perspectives and restrictions, in order to create a masterpiece. Throw away the old and realize the essential idea in a different way, without assumptions. In personal development, whether conscious or less so, the room for creating new habits and understand new perspectives is often largest when the old ones being in use aren’t working out. Thus, they don’t contribute with anything constructive, they don’t create a better life or better relationships or better ways of reaching goals or better anything, but they destroy them in terms of not enabling this to happen whilst stating to do just that. Therefore, having that breakdown is really a good idea, it opens up the door to actually make a notthat-good life choice disappear and start
from scratch in making a new, better one. In international relations, building up communications and cooperative missions on false assumptions isnâ€™t going to do the job. Those false assumptions need to be acknowledged and destroyed completely, after which real and constructive and long term conversation is an option. And this is highly relevant today, especially within the international security context in which there might be potential for improvement. If a relationship isnâ€™t built on solid ground, well, then it needs to be reinvented. Completely. Mildly put, there is plenty of room for creating something better basically everywhere. Creatives do that, in all fields, in all professions and institutions. They are the ones who use their creativity and positivity to move things in the right direction, to think beyond limits and to drive innovation. They are the ones who stay positive and find other people who want to join them. They are the first ones to point out a fault, and really point it out, and also the ones who will suggest ideas and new perspectives for that to be changed for the better. Creatives, in all fields, help create this world in the best way possible.
Name: Aaron Maree
Where do you live: Manila, Philippines.
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? From day one I have been serious about both my careers. Pastry is my first love and I have had a sensational career thanks to it. It has traveled me around the globe many times and I have visited 85 countries thanks to it. I fell into writing by accident. I wrote my first book at age 20 and when it became a best seller the company I worked for, asked me to start to write newspaper columns too. I was taught how to write and edit by one of Australia’s leading editors and journalists and have continued writing ever since. Thankfully these days it has carried me to fiction and non-fiction writing, newspaper journalism and magazine editorials and interviews.
Known for: Pastrychef/Writer. Currently working at: Peninsula Manila Hotel. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I work two careers simultaneously. My first career as a pastry chef began at the age of 13 when I saw a photo of an esteemed pastry chef in a magazine and wanted to make the sugary delights just like he had. I moved to London at the age of 17 to follow that dream after finishing my apprenticeship. My second career as a writer began 20 years ago when I wrote my first book. I have now published 16 books in both genres of nonfiction and fiction and have held the position of writer, journalist for more than a decade. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I’d return to Montevideo, Uruguay in a heartbeat – it was a gorgeous city with the most wonderful people. How would you describe your creativity? When you’re happy in the mind creativity just pours out. I find it with both pastry and writing that the words and ingredients just fall into place when all things in life are at 88
What do you do at the moment? At the Peninsula Manila Hotel we are working on many projects all the time. Every event throughout the year and special day needs pastries and I adore the challenge of making something people love and will remember. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? I find it hard to recommend cooking to anyone unless they have chosen it for themselves. It is very hard these days and requires long hours, many thankless hours and
a life commitment, with probably very little reward. It is not the career it is made out to be on the glorious television cooking shows so I do not recommend it, I just coax and support those who choose it for themselves. As for writing, I would always tell anyone with the passion for words to put pen to paper. It’s a great freedom to be able to make yourself laugh or cry at the point of a pen, or touch of a keyboard. Tell us how it all started. I was living in a small community and had very few options in life available to me really. My parents moved states in my last year of school and at the new school I felt like an outsider. To escape it, I asked to start work. My job was as a cook and cleaner. It all began there and developed stronger after I saw a famed pastry chef in a magazine. It all fell into place after that. My dream was to become a pastry chef and after completing an apprenticeship in Australia, at the age of 17 I moved to London and worked for the venerable celebrity Michelin Star Gary Rhodes Obe at the Castle hotel, Taunton. By the time I was 20 I returned to Australia, won several awards and wrote the first of 15 cookbooks. After the first book became a best seller, I then found myself working for a chocolate company as their Chocolate chef and traveling the world doing television and demonstrations for sponsors. In 1996 I moved to Canada to hide myself
away and stopped writing for a time as I felt I had said everything I wanted to say. In 2009 I was in Bahrain and a friend suggested I begin writing for his magazine. The opportunity spurred three new cookbooks, fiction, cookery writing and newspaper journalism and the opportunity to partake in a book of short stories all followed. In the midst of it all I found I had something to say to the cooking community again and published Arabian Dreams - a new age look at Middle Eastern traditional desserts. It was successful and well received and won two awards in Paris by the Gourmand Cookbook awards in 2012. What is the most important thing in a life for you? The love of my wife and son. What is your favorite film? I love anything with Clarke Gable in it. He was the last great hero of an era. I’m an old soul who dreams easily. Doris Day and Audrey Hepburn movies also find fondness in my heart. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My wife and son, we get so few chances to spend enough time together. A dinner for the three of us, free of daily life, hassles, money and reality would be amazing. It’s not the dinner that matters, it’s the time alone without the daily headaches that would mean the world to us. I’m a work-a89
holic and I always have too much going on. As pastry chef of the Peninsula Manila Hotel it is not uncommon to do a twelve hour day, that pretty much means I miss seeing my son to school or after, add writing and other projects into my time frame and we don’t spend enough time together. How do you like to spoil yourself? I rarely do, but if I do it’s a gift I would buy myself to celebrate a small life victory or moment to remember. It’s usually in the form of something Mont Blanc. But like I said, it’s rare that I do. What is luxury for you? Luxury is not having the best of the best, it is being able to afford what you like when you want it. I need very little in life but sometimes I just need to escape life and being able to afford a ticket to anywhere is what I call luxury. A good massage and a quiet time alone after a maddening week at the hotel is also my vision of luxury. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? It is 25 years since my first cookbook was published and still I receive emails and updates from people who back then were students who have now gone on to do their own amazing careers in the hospitality industry. Forget the awards and medals, it is a nice letter after 20 or 25 years from someone who says they still use the books I wrote back then, and that those books have 90
helped them in their career, that means so much to me. I may not be widely famed, but by those who purchased my books, I have not been forgotten. What do you fear most? Very little. What is a happy life to you? Freedom to do what I want and having two careers to fall back upon. What does a regular day look like for you? Up at 7 am and coffee. At work by 8.30 am. Check emails. Check the functions for the day and check the staff are all at work and working diligently. Check the three teams under my guidance, the Pastry team, the bakers and the Chocolate room staff. At 9 am meet with the Executive Chef to see if there are any issues to follow up on. 11 am is the morning briefing advising us of VIPs in house and important events we need to follow up on. I follow this briefing with a meeting with my immediate staff to guide them and then get to work on any special projects I have or assist with functions etc. We break for lunch at 2 pm, then I do the ordering around three and following this work in the chocolate room on centerpieces or return to the pastry department to work on future projects, new desserts etc. I am hopefully home by 8.30 pm. Sleep for two hours then have dinner around 11 pm and write for 3-4 hours before heading back to bed and starting all over again.
Tell us about your dream project. I’d love to but I’m working on it currently and can’t mention much. It entails more books and writing between the two genres that mean so much to me, food and life, that’s all I’ll say. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? In pastry it would have to be Pierre Herme for his flawless perfectionism and understanding of the ingredients and the way they go together to form perfect pastries. I also adore Christophe Michalak for his creativity. In writing there are so many inspiring authors that it would take forever, perhaps most of all I’d have to say Pablo Neruda and Federico Garcia Lorca and Ernest Hemingway. They epitomize the dreamy, romanticized vision of a writer’s life and lived in a different time I wish I had access to. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I’m a work-a-holic and find it hard to often stop work. I used to always accept new challenges, but have recently begun to become more selective. Once if a publisher asked me to write a book I’d jump at the opportunity but after 16 books, I am not desperate, I’d rather work on fewer works and higher quality than bulk – the same philosophy I am working on with our pastry
team. Fewer desserts and streamlining the quality rather than mass production. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My son and my shih tzu. They both give me enjoyment and calm me down. The shih tzu perhaps calms me more but I love seeing life through the eyes of my nine year old son, his childhood is far different to the one I lived, and already far more stressful and complicated but his take on life makes me laugh and his innocence is beautiful. We only recently adopted what we term our daughter, the 5 month old Shih tzu and she has truly changed all our worlds completely. I have always wanted a dog as a pet but am thankful I waited until now. Our puppy is a magic that has bonded us as a family unit more than anything else. What inspires you? Proving that I can actually do something to myself. When I was young I was told that having been born in Australia, I would never be a world class Executive Pastry chef. I was told similarly the same about wanting to write a book when I was about 18. I had not done well at English at school and left early to follow cooking. I used to like doing things to make my mother proud of her son, but since she passed away I do things today to prove to myself that I can. I have nothing to prove to others, just myself. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life?
I’d have to say my own, “Cakes, tortes and Gateaux of the world”, which I wrote and published worldwide in 1990 changed my life and gave me momentum. It paid for a lifestyle I would never have known had the book not been so successful and it gave me the ability to travel the world. The success of it, spurred 14 other books and gave my career trajectory and branched it out into writing as a separate career. Looking back upon it, it was not the greatest book on pastry ever written and there were a number of mistakes in it I wish I could have the chance to re-write, but it definitely inspired my life, career and future, few books have left their mark in my life like my first published. One day I hope to be able to say that my first published fiction novel did the same.
Mentor circles â€“ creatives coaching each other
The world in which we live is an absolutely fantastic place, and there’s even room for improvement – that makes it even better. One way of making sure that such improvement is initiated encouraged, is to connect with other people who also think that there is some room for changing things for the better. Now, simply connecting with other creatives is great, but in order to make something happen there needs to be some sort of idea behind the connection itself – something bigger where this initial connection is a first step towards creating a project. What can be done in order to encourage these things to happen is to create mentor circles – these can be of various sorts and aim to mentor each other or to look for people outside of the group, with the interest of being mentored and guided. Also, mentoring groups don’t have to be huge or complex – simply connecting five people with the aim of helping others is all that is needed. Individuals with different expertise arranging communication on a regular basis is what experts call think-tanks. Why not make creative mini think-tanks?
Arranging these meetings to simply have a chat without any particular goal other than supporting each other is another absolutely fantastic thing with these mentor circles. It enables new friendships and acquaintances to occur without actually having to get to official meetings and conferences. Why not use all of today’s great technique together with your ideas to make actual great things happen? Simply connecting with other people is very good, but there needs to be a little more to actually get anything constructive out of all of those connections and since creatives love new ideas, why not go ask someone with whom to make this mentor circle happen? Why not invest one hour each month, to actually talk to each other about things of interest? It all starts with one person having an idea, that’s all it takes to make it all happen. Let your ideas flow. Do you have any experience as a mentor, or having access to one? How did that work out for you?
In order to further develop mentor groups, seeing them as hubs and connecting with other such groups could be of interest. The wider the web, the better. There’s room for web meetings, Skype calls, chatting alternatives and many tools for planning to outline an idea and turn it into a project. 97
Name: Silvia Sponza Where do you live: Milano, Italy. Known for: My main occupation is children’s book illustrator. Currently working with: Currently I’m branching out my work to cartography and lifestyle. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Well, sincerely I never had a moment when I stopped and I realized this. I chose this work with conviction because illustrate books it’s exactly what I want to do in my life. I listened carefully to every feedback on my portfolio, both in school and with the first clients. I did my best to improve my work until I worked regularly...and paid my bills. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I think it’s impossible for me to answer to this question, because unfortunately I saw very few places in the world. Surely it would be a big city: I love the historic buildings, the ancient churches and the possibility to choose my favorite stores. For these reasons I like to make city maps with favorite locations and monuments. I visited Paris and London and I loved both! They are very different places, but the architecture and the history create an irresistible atmosphere. I also like to take breaks in the nature, but I don’t think the 100
country life would be good for me...I have a really bad relationship with bugs! How would you describe your creativity? Whimsical, colorful and soft. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? In the 1996, when I graduated from Istituto Europeo di Design in Milano, I started immediately to contact many advertising agencies and Italian publishers. After a few interviews, I was lucky enough to work for some advertising campaigns and for the naturalistic illustration market. Around the year 2000, I focused my work on the children’s book market, mainly educational area. What do you do at the moment? At this moment, I’m working on a text book for Oxford University Press. In my down time, I’m working on a personal project based on “The sleeping beauty”. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Have confidence in their own abilities and in their own work, but also the humility to hear criticism and suggestions. Look at the work of other professional illustrators and try to understand why their illustrations work well for the market. Tell us how it all started. Since I was a child, I burned down tons of colored pencils and markers, often on my dolls or on my Mum’s cookbooks! Every
week I had a personal exhibition of my art on the kitchen wall, built day by day from Monday to Sunday... I never had again a place so cool for my drawings! So, it was a natural consequence for me to choose a high school with art classes. During the last year of school, I started looking for an undergraduate course that could help me turn my passion for drawing into a job. I gathered a lot of information about schools of graphic design, comics, Academy of Fine Arts, but only when I found the illustration course at IED I said “YES! Exactly this!” What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? I’m used to work at home since I started my activity, so I’m totally free to listen music or film/TV series according to what I prefer at that moment. I like to share my work with colleagues & friends, because it’s always useful for me to hear their opinions. But I think that I would have problems with concentration in a shared workspace. What is your favorite film? My favorite movie is “Blade Runner”, but the first version released in 1982 with Deckard as narrator. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Tullio Pericoli, because I fell in love with his art when I was 17 and I’m still in love. How do you like to spoil yourself? Chocolate and a glass of good wine.
What is luxury for you? A job that is also a passion and travel a lot. I’m halfway, I hope for many trips around the world in the future! What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? That my illustrations make people smile. Seems to be a recurrent comment I receive and it always makes me very happy. What do you fear most? In my work, to lose the enthusiasm and the desire to improve. What is a happy life to you? Be surrounded by people I love, illustrate books and travel. What does a regular day look like for you? Gather my brain on the pillow (sometimes I need a long time to do this) - coffee - work - coffee - work - work - work - dinner with my partner - movie or work & movie - put the brain on the pillow again. Tell us about your dream project. My dream project is a children’s book that I can illustrate exactly how I want and in all the time I need, perfectly printed and with a good fee of course! Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I love the work of a lot of French illustrators: Amandine Più, Amélie Fléchais, Annette Marnat, Clément Lefèvre. In Italy, I’m a big 101
fan of Riccardo Guasco and Simone Massoni. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I have an academic background, but I’m a children’s book illustrator and I have a style suitable mainly for this market. With my illustrated maps, recipes and lettering I move towards lifestyle illustration. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Music. What inspires you? Everything...music, friends, movies, clouds, books, buildings, food. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “Favole al telefono” by Gianni Rodari, because I read it a thousand times when I was a child! The series of books about the Malaussène family by Daniel Pennac.
The positivity of things â€“ thinking is beingÂ
There is so much positivity out there, even online – thousands of articles, quotes, motivational and inspiring thoughts and perspectives being shared by hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world. All of them do share these ideas, and as they do it, as they read these quotes and articles, they do indeed feel positive and like anything is possible. They think about their goals, dreams and all of the interesting things of which they would like to know more. As the famous philosopher Descartes elegantly put it – “I think, therefore I am”. What people think is what shapes their perspectives and reasoning. It is what makes them draw conclusions in a specific way, seek inspiration in certain fields of interest, and process information in an individual way. It is the way they think that will determine whether they become good at something, or great. Whether they will be happy, or not. Whether they will surround themselves with people they love, or not. Whether they will sit passively and watch other people live their lives, or live their own and do so actively. Taking a moment and researching positive attitudes, quotes and stories is a great
needs to happen after that though, in order to actually gain something useful from this moment of initial inspiration, is to reflect on it. Each quote comes with experience. It includes failure, trying hard, being neglected and ignored and discouraged. It also includes great moments, unexpected ones, new contacts and shifts in other directions than initially thought about. It includes several sessions of reflecting, questioning, doubting and deciding. It all starts in the mind, the way of thinking about the things of things. Having a positive perspective creates an opening for constructive processing of information, experience, situations in life etc. This starting process is what actually decides how anything will go in life, work or in any other aspect. Those who manage to see what they did wrong, what they can learn and what they did awesomely great are those who will be able to be one of those people actually creating their own quotes in the future. And live a really happy and wonderful life. What’s the best part about this? We can all do it if we choose to do so. Do you think that positivity and conscious reflection helps you to develop anything in your life?
thing to do and it is indeed inspiring. What 109
Dr. Timothy Sharp
Name: Dr. Timothy Sharp Where do you live: Sydney, Australia. Known for: Being one of the world’s leaders in Positive Psychology and my nickname...Dr. Happy! Currently working with: The Happiness Institute. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I first realised that I loved the practice of (Clinical) Psychology in about 1990 and then I discovered and fell in love with Positive Psychology about 10 years later (approximately 2000). I established The Happiness Institute in 2003. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be andwhy? Sydney, Australia. I’ve lived here all my life and although I’ve been lucky enough to travel, in Australia and around the world, I don’t think there’s a better place to live when you take everything into account – climate, geography, the economy and opportunity. Also, it’s where most of my family and friends live.
at any of those things but that being said, the way I’ve gone about building The Happiness Institute and delivering our services is very different to almost all other psychologists, here and around the world. So in retrospect I believe I have been creative in the way I’ve created my own organisation and my own “job” and my own way of applying the proven principles of positive psychology. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I started working seriously as a Clinical Psychologist in about 1992/1993. I loved this work and enjoyed the next 6 or 7 years establishing myself as a well-respected clinical and academic psychologist/researcher. But then I changed direction slightly and when I established The Happiness Institute in 2002/2003 I decided to get very serious about happiness and I’ve been doing so for almost 15 years now.
How would you describe your creativity? It’s an interesting question because in many
What do you do at the moment? There’s quite a lot of variety in my work, which I very much enjoy, and which includes public/conference speaking, corporate consulting, workshop development and delivery, executive coaching, psychological therapy, media work and writing
ways I wouldn’t describe myself as a creative person. My wife’s an artist, my daughter’s a very keen dancer and my son is showing a very strong interest in music and drama and drawing. I’m not very talented
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running acreative business? Look beyond your own profession or indus-
(including social media).
try; learn and borrow from others who’ve been successful in other ways in other areas and then tailor it to suit your own situation. Tell us how it all started. I first stumbled upon Positive Psychology when I read an early article by Martin Seligman (the grandfather of Positive Psychology). It immediately resonated with me and I couldn’t help pursuing it further. When I realised how much I loved the concepts and when I discovered no one else was promoting these great ideas I set up The Happiness Institute as a way to draw attention to what I thought was going to change the world and also as a way to help as many people as possible enjoy better lives. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Without a doubt...good people! What is your favorite film? That’s a tough one; to only choose one film out of so many good ones! But possibly Barton Fink because it was my first exposure to the Coen Brothers and their very creative approach to film making and story-telling. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I’d have to start with my wife, because she’s the most important person in my life and I wouldn’t enjoy any evening without her! I’d then invite a few of my very best friends because they, also, are key to my happiness. But I think you’re expecting me
to refer to more famous people in which case, if they have to be alive, I probably go for a few of my favourite musicians such as Bob Dylan, Thom Yorke and maybe even Keith Richards to ensure the evening was really interesting! How do you like to spoil yourself? To be perfectly honest I like to live a pretty simple life; but that being said my wife and I do enjoy good food and good wine. So it would probably involve a great restaurant with some great friends. What is luxury for you? As just noted in the previous question I don’t have many extravagant needs. At the same time, however, and as already noted I do enjoy good food and I don’t mind the occasional purchase of nice clothes. But luxury for me is really...time. And I make sure I create time in my life to do the things I want to do with the people I want to do them with. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creativework, and from whom? I’m lucky in that what I do affects many people’s lives on a daily basis; so it’s wonderful to hear from people, relatively regularly, that I’ve helped then find happiness, create a better life, make a career or life change that’s lead to more success and/ or enjoy greater health and well-being. To be a bit more specific, I recently received a lovely card from my daughter who’d
recently been exposed to some work I do and she told me she was very proud of me and of the way I help so many people every day! What do you fear most? I’m not sure I really have many fears but for years, growing up, it would have been “to be normal”! Now, it’s probably more associated with something happening to my children or for my children not to love me. What is a happy life to you? Doing good work with good people to spread good in the world! What does a regular day look like for you? Every day really is quite different for me but typically, it would involve some combination of the following – spending about an hour or so responding to and managing emails, going to the gym, then meeting people, developing business, delivering a keynote or workshop, coaching or supervising, some business administration and then home to my family. Tell us about your dream project. My dream would be to continue doing what I’m doing, but delivering our services to even more people in even more places around the world. In addition, I have a dream to re-create The Happiness Institute into a wonderfully beautiful, perfectly designed wellness centre (in the cities of countries all around the world) with offers that include Positive Psychology coaching and 114
therapy, physical exercise and gym options, quiet spaces for yoga, meditation and mindfulness training plus, great and healthy food. All in one place where all services are top quality and coordinated! Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I don’t really have one, but I have people I admire and learn from in different areas (e.g. Psychology, professional services, marketing, operations etc.). No one’s really done what I’m trying to do so it’s hard to just focus on an individual. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashionstyle, or both, or something entirely different)? Very creative and flexible but also very diligent and persistent. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My wife! What inspires you? My wife! And seeing the positive impact I can have on other people and on the world! A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? I read a lot so as with the earlier movie question it’s hard to single out one book. But if I consider the question a different way, I might answer “The Good Sleep Guide”. This was my first book (I’ve not written 6, with 2 more coming out soon,
and several contributions to other people’s books) and it was published at a time I’d never really thought I could write a book. So it made me realise that I can do pretty much anything I set my mind to. In some ways it was the start of my entrepreneurial approach to the delivery of psychology!
Stay away from assump Now, this is a scary headline right there – but there is a point which is to be made about assumptions and their consequences. Have you ever created an idea of someone based on things you’ve heard about that person? Or overheard? Have you then ever had the chance to meet one of those people of which you had preconceptions, only to be highly surprised by how not-true they were? Whether it is in a negative or positive way, investing time in assuming things about other people might not be a great idea. We are all prone to receiving information about other people and their thoughts and behaviors, especially if there is something we think that we could gain from having that particular information. The problem is that the sources from which this is gained 118
are often quite biased and based on a million things other than any sort of scientific analysis. Getting other people’s advice is very good, but maybe not so when it comes to meeting new people. Whether it is a new manager, a new colleague, fellow student, teacher, doctor or anyone else – blindly relying on biased comments isn’t going to do much good. Two things can happen – either you will be positively surprised by how not-negative this new person is, or you will be disappointed because all of your expectations weren’t met. These are two extremes and happen because most often, the beforehand given information is just that, extreme in its biased nature and thus not resulting in anything else but misunderstandings and wasted energy.
m the big, bad ptions! People are different, and thatâ€™s really good. They think differently, they have different experience and processing of those, they have different preferences and ideas. And that is great because only through that we can learn from each other. Automatically assuming that someone is wrong or stupid or great and unbelievably wise is not going to lead to anything else but misunderstandings being learned. In order to make constructive things happen in general, there has to be a positive basis from which to get into new situations with new people.
in really bad consequences for all people who are involved. Thus, staying away from assuming what other people mean by what they say or do, and instead openly and without judging asking them to clarify all of that, is a much, much better method for bringing out the best in people and make every situation positive and constructive. That does indeed require action. Have you ever assumed something about someone that turned out to be wrong? How did you deal with it?
A simple question and/or answer can be understood in a broad variety of ways â€“ the same thing goes for certain words and phrases. Add a bad day to that and you have a fantastic frame in which to produce negativity and misunderstandings resulting 119
Name: Chiara Ajkun Where do you live: New York City. Known for: I hope my contribution to the arts. Currently working with: Ajkun Ballet Theatre as co-artistic director and resident choreographer. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? I became fascinated with ballet at the very young age of 3. I went to see the ballet “Giselle” at the outdoor theater “Arena di Verona” (Italy). There was this magic ritual before curtain: 30,000 audience members lit a candle. Ever since, this was what I wanted to feel on a daily basis. I believe artists to be very fortunate: You can portray different characters, and dancers have the exhilarating feeling to virtually defy body limits. These are the two main reasons why I love ballet – exploring characters and the incredible human body “machine”. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? It is definitely New York City. I wasn’t even 10 years old when I first visited. I remember being charmed from the cultural and ethnical diversity. Here you find the entire world in a nutshell. The added bonus for the arts is that almost every performance can be seen, and most companies and artists. The intellectual stimulus and the great minds available in New York City area are some122
thing I could not be deprived of. I am here to stay :) How would you describe your creativity? This is a hard question. I would say that music and literature, to me, simply translate to movement. I absolutely love heroism, though, so I am appealed by extreme personalities and therefore epic stories. I greatly admire abstract art, but it is simply not who I am. Thinking is something I do every day, all day, so my creations always have a meaning. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? From the moment I entered the dance studio. A personality trait. I am unable to do anything in a “non-serious” manner. What do you do at the moment? I am conceiving Dracula (premiering in October 2015), revisiting my “Carmen” (will be performed in April 2016, working with Dr. Guastaferro, the composer of “God Juggler”, to make it into a ballet, researching how to make one of my dancers “grow” taller. I am about to fly to Italy to teach at the Dance In Italy Festival (where the company performs) and preparing to welcome 20 of the most outstanding younger dancers in our summer intensive (performing in New York). I also took up yoga and became a fan of it. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative busi-
ness? To look at it just like you would at any other business, prepare yourself. Thoroughly. Do not take your talent for granted. Do not identify success with fame. Be prepared to work hard, and offer the best you can. This is the only thing we can all do. Tell us how it all started. Most of the opportunities I was offered in life started by chance. I was coaching dancers (at the city center, in NYC) and met people who expressed an interest in my skills. These people (the board of directors at Ajkun Ballet Theatre) were enthusiastic about ballet and became interested in our (my husband’s and my) vision. They felt there was a need for something new, and they liked our ideas and skills. At the time Leonard (principal dancer) and I wanted to be able to accommodate dancers that expressed the desire to train with us. But we wanted dancers to be subsidized in doing so. The Ajkun Ballet Theatre opened as a fund (Ajkun Fund), then supported its first summer intensive (performing in New York), and finally a professional company.
These are two different things, equally important, but different. The confusion created by improvisators can trivialize dance, and the value of dance is important to me. What is your favorite film? I believe it is still “Troy”. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Anyone is welcome, as I find most people interesting. If I really had to choose, I would invite Bill O’Reilly. I want to know why he said that the arts are not important. Other than that, I appreciate him been a straight shooter. How do you like to spoil yourself? I would love to travel more. What is luxury for you? Free time.
In time, the New York winter festival was added to the activities supported by the Ajkun Ballet Theatre.
What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I really appreciate the London Times (Maria Ghirlando) calling my choreography “Superb”, the Portland Press (Christopher Hyde) stating that my choreography is “a work of genius” and Hilary Rodham Clinton saying that I am “preserving culture and heritage”
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The understanding of your objective. I love to see recreational dancers taking class, but a company is for professional dancers.
What do you fear most?
of the US. But the most important compliments always come from (my husband) Leonard. When he connects emotionally with my creative work, then I am satisfied.
To lose people I love.
What is a happy life to you? I guess I will have to think about that. I am quite content with what I have. The career I chose, dancers that are up to any challenge and a good laugh. A family I love. Intelligent people as friends. Maybe my life is simply a happy life.
Then my husband and I talk. For hours. God knows how much we have to say, but we never stopped talking.
What does a regular day look like for you? I am afraid I do not have a “regular” day. I think I would “die” if I did not have days that are always different. Let’s see if I can try. I get up around 6 am, but any chance I have I sleep in. I love to have coffee with hazelnut cream. I am Italian but I do not like espresso, I love American coffee. Then, I either check my emails, read or go to the dance studio. If I am writing a grant I clean first. Cleaning relaxes me, so I can be more productive. If my oldest son is up, I have a conversation with him. I love his brilliant mind and intelligent conversation. If my youngest son is up, I cook him “gourmet” breakfast. He is a loving young man with a wicked sense of humor. If my husband is home, I get coffee in bed and a very sweet awakening. Some days I start with yoga, so my friends pick me up and off we go. At the end of my working day it can be yoga, seeing friends, going to the theater, watching a movie, reading, cooking, reorganizing my closet, shopping, or having a million of teenagers over (my son’s friends). I guess I should say young 124
Listening to music is something that we also do at night. Or laughing. And we delay going to bed, so in the morning I am always sleepy… He is lucky, all he needs are 5-6 hours, but I need 10. Regularly there is someone traveling, so packing, unpacking, planning etc. are a “regular” part of our lives. My mom (who lives in Europe) may call in the middle of the night. Or some friends who live in another continent and just forget the time zone. So I think pretty much my “regular day” consists of the morning coffee and two showers, one in the morning and one at night. Yes, that is what I regularly do. Tell us about your dream project. To set a ballet in an ancient, outdoor space, with bow and arrows and horses and about 100 dancers. All as excited as mine are. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? While I do not have one specific person, all artists who have been part of my life inspired me. And many of my family members. Extraordinary people in history are influential in my decisions. Which is the one thing you can’t live with-
out? My family. My brain. Dancers. The creative work of others. Traveling. Reading. Discoveries. Meeting new people. Perfumes. Health. Peace. Learning. Laughter. The exchange of ideas. What inspires you? Life in general. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? As a reader, I go through stages. Now, it is anything that has to do with the Middle East.
Creativity is about non-stress – it’s fun! 134
Do you know that feeling when you do something that you really, truly love to do? And it feels great? And your thoughts are all over the place, exploring how to make that thing even better, more interesting, what else there is to find out and how, what interesting other creative minds there is out there etc.? And you almost go hyper active, but it’s a great state of mind and although it consumes a lot of energy, it gives you so much of it back? What is it that actually brings out that state of mind? Loving what you do and not feeling like you have to do it, but you really want to. And what is that state of mind exactly? Well, it seems to be a state in which there is absolutely no stress. Stress here implies the negative sort, in which a spiral of negative thoughts form a destructive thinking pattern, resulting in a lot of energy being wasted on non-creative things.
impact, and quite a strong one at times – the most important thing is to start with the own self when wishing to become free from the stress. By this, the reasons for being drawn to a certain form of creativity will be outlined and thus once again activate the positive and exciting state of mind, leaving no room for stress and negativity. Going back to the basics and reminding yourself why you love what you do and how much positivity it gives you, will make the biggest difference and bring the creative mode back into business. Stress happens to all of us sometimes, and identifying it early on will save a lot of energy which can be used for making great things happen – a much better choice of investment! How do you deal with moments of stress and/or the external pressure on being creative?
Another interesting aspect of the relationship between negative stress and creativity is the one portrayed all over media – creativity being something to almost violently aspire to do, at all costs. The only result that this kind of pressure brings is directly related to lowering the level of creativity while raising the negative stress. Which then lowers the creativity even more, resulting in more stress and here we go in the circus of destructive behavior strengthening itself. Although external factors such as the one mentioned above do indeed have an
“Human resources are like natural resources; they’re often buried deep. You have to go looking for them, they’re not just lying around on the surface. You have to create the circumstances where they show themselves.” Sir Ken Robinson
â€œHow to gain, how to keep, how to recover happiness is in fact for most men at all times the secret motive of all they do, and of all they are willing to endure.â€? William James
A Weeke ”Bringing Weekends are pretty great all by themselves, there really isn’t any need to add anything further than stating the simple fact that there are two days of pure anything-fun happening each week. Every single week. Although every day is fun and interesting, there is this little extra thing about the two completely free days – free to do what you want, whenever you want and however you want.
Many people use their weekends for work, and if that is what makes happy happen, then please go ahead. Other people prefer to enjoy their couch and TV, and that is great too. Then there are those who like to get away and maybe even get a little exercise, with or without their family and/or friends – also really great. There are those who are in the process of starting their own business, which means that they are work-
end Guide we call smiles to the table“ ing day and night without even noticing that the weekend is actually here. There are those noticing it indeed by having kids who are tremendously happy to wake up at 6 am on a Saturday, and those who sleep through the whole weekend as to regain new energy for the upcoming weekend. Add the alternatives stated above to approximately a billion other possible choices of happy, and you’ve painted a pretty good picture of how the whole world works on weekends. The more interesting part here isn’t necessarily what people choose to do, but rather how they feel about it. If what they do gives them smiles and the people around them smile, then it’s a great thing to be doing. If not, then there might be a little room for adjustment. And if the situation is one filled with negativity and non-constructive actions, then there’s
definitely plenty of room to start changing things. Like right this very moment. Regardless of anything else, a great thing to think about during the weekend is the smile issue. Does what you do make you smile? Does it make you happy and bring you energy and maybe even a little inspiration? Does it make the people you hang out with happy as well? Are you even seeing people who you really like during those two days of the week? If they make you happy, and you don’t meet them, then you know what to do right now. In general, if you’re not happy – change things until you get happy. Because why not? Do you make sure to bring those smiles to the table?
Nina Ĺ tajner
Name: Nina Štajner Where do you live: Ljubljana, Slovenia. Known for: Illustrating tender, whimsical, usually furry creatures in a delicate manner. Currently working with: Doing some concept art for children’s mobile application, preparing for a group show and doing some self-exploration. I try to experiment with different media in my spare time, learn and improve. I would say I’m in my experimental phase at this very moment. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Probably somewhere around high school. I always liked drawing but I thought you cannot make a career out of it. So I enrolled in Visual Communication program at a local University. But I ended up solving most of my design problems with illustration. Whenever I could I drew. Mostly cute, tender creatures and lovely girls. Although some of my professors really weren’t impressed with this kind of work it is my bread & butter so to speak. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Somewhere near the forest or the ocean. Or possibly both. I like taking walks and spend time outside. It is where I recharge and feel free. Big, dangerous and polluted cities aren’t my thing. 142
How would you describe your creativity? It is present, almost always there. Especially when I have tons of work. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? Probably already while I was studying. I was eager to start earning some money for my travels and I was thrilled if someone was prepared to hire me. One thing lead to another and it has been around 3 years since illustration and also design at some point became my only sources of income. I hope it stays that way. What do you do at the moment? Preparing for a group show, renewing my website, doing some concept art for new children’s mobile application and I am probably going to do a commissioned piece for a nursery. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Be hardworking, kind, humble and do great work. Never satisfy with an average output. Always strive to grow and improve. Have some self-criticism and also learn to fail. But don’t give up. And also be nice to people they are the ones who hire you. Tell us how it all started. It started when I decided to study at Academy for Fine Arts and Design. I had to prepare for an entrance examination so I started taking drawing, creating and de-
signing more seriously. It was when I was 17 or so. I was mostly drawing from life first few years. Than it became a bit boring for me so I’ve started drawing from my imagination. I knew that was it and I still enjoy every step of the process. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? A window with a view. I need lots of light. And flowers and a lot of art supplies. What is your favorite film? I don’t have a favourite film, I am not really a film buff. Although I have to say I really liked everything directed by Tim Burton. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My best friends. We don’t see each other as much as we used to because of our busy schedules. How do you like to spoil yourself? I like to go somewhere nice with my boyfriend. To take some time off, travel and explore this wonderful world of ours. What is luxury for you? To be able to pay my bills and occasionally go somewhere. And to be able to do that with doing only illustration work. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I get a lot of support from my friends and family and also social media. I found a few
younger artists copying my work to learn. I was really flattered by that. Or people tattooing my artwork - these were probably the nicest compliments so far. What do you fear most? I am afraid to get sick or lose the people I love. From a creative’s point of view I am afraid I will someday have a stressful job and would have to stop drawing. To not have time for doing what I love (even it is just personal work). What is a happy life to you? To have a good relationship with the one you love, live comfortably, staying healthy and doing what you love. And grow, as a person and a creative. What does a regular day look like for you? My days vary one from another. Sometimes I work in a studio where we do children’s mobile applications called Toonia. It is great fun. Other days I do some freelance projects from my home office, or do some personal work. I like this variety, so my day is actually not repeating itself. I don’t have a regular day to be honest. Tell us about your dream project. My dream project would be to create a personal brand (and an online store) with prints, stationary, wall stickers, fabrics and other lovely things. It would consist of critters like squirrels, raccoons, rabbits, deer, bears, foxes and such. Probably for children’s rooms and nurseries. 143
Who is your professional role model/inspiration? A lot of artists. But I wouldn’t say I draw like them at all. I just have an artist crush - like for example Oliver Jeffers, Renata Liwska, Dinara Mirtalipova, JAW Cooper, Amy Sol, Teagan White, Rebecca Green, Hazuki Koike, Isabelle Arsenault, Wylie Beckert, Lieke van der Vorst, Jessica Roux, Victo Ngai, and many many more. Their work is really different, but I think they are top notch. Each in its own way. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Probably adorable, dreamy, tender and lovely. It is still changing a bit, sometimes more realistic sometimes more simplified. I like trying different things and I don’t have just one approach. Although I hear a lot of times I should stick to only one style, one approach. But for now, discovering new things is a priority. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Without the people I love. And in order to be happy I have to create. Illustrating and drawing is a way I entertain and challenge myself. What inspires you? Nature, travels, picture books and sketching itself. I often start scribbling and immediately get ideas. And when I draw I usually have the idea what I want to draw next. 144
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? I think there were more than one. I am talking about my childhood picture books. I had a lot of them and they had outstanding illustrations. They still inspire me.
Featured expert article How Do You Measure the Performance of Creative Work? By Bruce Tulgan
What is ‘creative’ work anyway? If a mason lays one brick on top of another until she has built a wall, has she not ‘created’ the wall? Yet, somehow a distinction is being made between that sort of ‘creating’ and ‘creative’ work, per se. If the mason had also designed the wall, we would be more inclined to say the design work is ‘creative’—and even more inclined still if the mason had designed a wall that was ‘different’ from the typical wall. This is what we mean when we talk about ‘creative’ work: It is new and comes from the imagination; the expression of an idea, the more original the better. We know that ‘creative’ work is extremely valuable. But how can you possibly performance-manage ‘creativity’? How long should it take to come up with an idea? How do you measure whether or not the idea is good, very good, or excellent? We typically think of artists, entertainers, writers, inventors, and designers as creative. The truth is that there is always the potential to inject creativity into almost any task, responsibility, or project - into any action. In my view, one could get creative about digging a ditch, if the ditch digger had the right circumstances, inspiration, and support. Of course, the ditch still has to be dug. And that’s always the rub. There are always parameters. A longtime television industry veteran (I’ll call him Tele) once told me, “Take the writers on a situation comedy. They are engaged in a highly creative process. But they have to keep each teleplay inside the twenty four minutes. They have to work within the characters and back story of the show. At the end of the day, they need to get a show written, and then write another one, and then another”. 154
Yes, some jobs are more ‘creative’ than others. But even the most creative jobs have three elements in common with other work: 1. A goal (purpose, required outcome, or at least a desired result). 2. A timeframe (or an intended structure). 3. Parameters. If you are managing people whose work does not include these three elements, then I’ve got only this advice for you: Let your great artist ‘create’ and let the market decide. For everyone else, when you are managing ‘creatives’, these three elements are your toolkit. The biggest favor you can do for employees doing ‘creative’ work is keep reminding them of all the stuff that is not within their creative discretion. Tele told me: “You can’t sit on the writer’s shoulder and nag: Write, write, write. Create, create, create. That doesn’t inspire. But it helps them a lot when you remind them we need a story with a beginning, middle, and end. We need a main character to want something and then be denied it, and then try even harder to get it and nearly miss, and then finally get it or not. We need other characters to get in the way or help, on purpose or inadvertently”. That’s the desired outcome. “It helps them a lot when you remind them it’s four six-minute acts: Act I, Act II, Act II, Act IV. It’s Act I, scene 1, two minutes.” That’s the structure and timeframes. “It also helps them a lot when you have established characters: There are four main characters you are writing for and they are established characters”. Tele joked that on the old show MY FAVORITE MARTIAN, a popular
refrain among the writers was, “A Martian would never say that!” There are the parameters. Sometimes you as the manager may not have a clear goal. Yet. So you are sending this employee on a creative goose-chase of sorts, an exploration. You are asking the employee to “take a crack at it” through wild improvisation to just “see what happens.” Maybe this is part of your own creative process: You want something to look at, something that might help you imagine what the goal really should be. If that is what you are doing, then you need to be very clear about that with yourself and with the employee from the outset. Explain exactly what you have in mind, include the employee in your creative process, and explain exactly what role you have in mind for the employee in the process. That’s how you avoid having the employee misunderstand, think of the process as his own creative process, and then feel like you the manager are failing his creative effort or else hijacking it for yourself. This can leave the employee feeling like his work and efforts have been for nothing. Make it vividly clear to the employee what you do know about the assignment and what role you want her to play in it. Tell her, “I don’t know what I’m looking for yet. I’m asking you to help jump-start my creative process. I am asking you to come up with a rough draft, which I will probably send back to the drawing board several times. It is likely that at some point I’ll take over the project and rework it myself. Why don’t you take two days and see what you come up with.” Now you have a goal a time-frame and parameters. In regular ongoing one-on-one dialogue with your ‘creative’ employees, or when
discussing the ‘creative’ aspects of an employee’s work: 1. Remember that parameters, timeframes, structure, and clear desired outcome are gifts to anybody doing creative work. At the outset of a creative project, it can seem like anything is possible and everything is on the table. That’s daunting because it makes the creative process into one agonizing choice after another. Always make it clear what is not within the ‘creative’ employee’s ‘creative’ discretion. 2. Don’t let the creative employee mistake “reinventing the wheel” for real innovation. Make sure that the creative employee is well-versed in all the current best information and best practices on the matter in question before ever trying to ‘invent’ something new. Real innovation builds on, rather than ignores existing knowledge and skill and wisdom. 3. Whenever the ‘creative’ is stuck or needing guidance, go back to the parameters, timeframes, structure, and desired outcome. Take them one by one. Desired outcome: Start with the purpose and then describe as much of the desired outcome as you possibly can - all the details that the ‘creative’ does not have to create. Parameters: Spell them out. Timeframe/structure: Break it down, so employees understand exactly what is expected of them 4. Remember rough drafts are sometimes a good jump-start for the creative process. Encourage your creatives to do rough drafts, first drafts,
second drafts. Rough drafts take the pressure off at the outset and then give the creative and you something to work from and talk about, if not exactly ‘measure.’ If performance management is all about driving continuous improvement in productivity and quality - and helping employees strike a balance toggling back and forth between speed and mindfulness - then where does ‘creative’ work fit in the puzzle? The key to maintaining the high performance levels of any work would be remaining vigilant about continuous improvement through regular performance management.
Performance Management 101 Employees need to know exactly what is expected and required of them. They also need to know that their performance will be measured based on those expectations and requirements that were spelled out up front—and on nothing else. The key is always framing expectations in terms of concrete actions the employee can control. With those measures in place for every employee, the manager needs to monitor, measure, and document every step of the way:
Expectations. Goals and requirements that were spelled out. Instructions given or to-do lists assigned. Standard operating procedures, rules, or guidelines reviewed. Timelines defined. Deadlines set.
Concrete actions. Track each employee’s actual performance: What data is tracked automatically? What have you observed the employee doing while watching? What does the employee say when asked about his actual performance? What do his self-monitoring tools reveal? What does your ongoing review of work product tell you? What do you learn about the employee’s actions when you ask around? Measurements. How are the actions matching up against the expectations? Has the employee met requirements? Did he follow instructions, standard operating procedures, and rules? Did he meet his goals on time? You need a performance tracking process that is simple and easy to use, not cumbersome paperwork that holds you back. Figure out what works best for you. Most important, tracking gives you the information you need to revise and adjust your regular performance coaching on an ongoing basis: “You did a great job on A, B, and C. You did every item on the to-do list. You followed all the instructions. You followed all the rules. Great job. Now let’s talk about D. On D, you failed to complete items 3, 4, and 5 on the todo list. Why? What happened? Let’s talk about how you are going to do items 3, 4, and 5. And now let’s talk about E. On E, you missed the following details. Let’s go over the checklist and talk about how you are going to fill in those details.”
You need to be able to reference your ongoing record of employee performance every step of the way. Make notes before, during, and after every conversation, as necessary. Make notes immediately after the conversation. In between one-on-one meetings, make sure to write down everything of consequence related to that employee’s performance. If you think of something you want to mention in your next meeting with the person, write that down.
What About That Ever Elusive, So Called, “Extra Mile”? Managers ask me, “What about the employee who does just enough work and does it just well enough and nothing else? How do you motivate that person to go the extra mile?” This is usually not the “bare minimum” employee, but at least a notch up. The manager wonders of this person, “Why not try just a little bit harder? Why not do just a little bit more?” Instead, the manager should explain this “extra mile” expectation to the employee in question, in concrete terms, as a regular part of their ongoing one-onone dialogue. Often managers balk at that advice: “That misses the whole point! I shouldn’t have to tell him”. I ask, “Should your employee be reading your mind?” Managers often say, “I want this employee to meet fully the formal expectations and even exceed them. And then - on his own initiative - to see what else he can do to help, and then – on his own initiative - do
it!” To which I always say, “So why not just explain to them, frequently and enthusiastically, that ‘going the extra mile’ is the expectation?” Instead of wishing for employees to meet a bunch of unspoken expectations, let people know exactly what it would look like for them to “go the extra mile” in their particular roles. Start talking about going the “extra mile” in your regular one-on-one dialogues: 1. Make an “extra mile” list for yourself. What would it look like for you to go the extra mile in your role? After you do your job very well, very fast, all day long. In those extra moments. What are some extra ways you can add value? This will give you a bit of perspective. 2. Ask every one of your direct reports to make an “extra mile” list for himself. 3. Review each employee’s “extra mile” list. Perhaps talking through it together you will both learn a few things. Sometimes managers are surprised to find that items on the employee’s “extra mile” list would have been on the manager’s list of basic performance expectations. Together create a working “extra mile” list for that employee. Remember, this is always a moving target. 4. Encourage employees to “keep score” for themselves on how often they complete items on the “extra mile” list. Take note of those who do and those who don’t score a lot of “extra mile points.” For those who do, 157
provide recognition, reinforcement, and rewards whenever you can. For those who don’t, ask once in a while, “Why not?” By making the opportunity to ‘go the extra mile’ concrete, you give a lot more people the chance to excel in ways they might not have ever come up with on their own. They might not ever have realized it was something they could do or should do, or that you actually expected them to do. Now you are telling them, “These are concrete opportunities to excel. Go get ‘em!”
â€œLaughter is more than urable activity...When together, they tend to touch more and to make more frequently.â€? Gretchen Rubin
just a pleaspeople laugh talk and eye contact
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw
Dr. Marta Badilla
Name: Dr. Marta Badilla Where do you live: Chile Known for: For being a renal doctor who works with the public health system patients. Most of them from poor economic and social background with very limited resources and sometimes intellectually challenged. Also, for 20 years of Medical Teaching with under and postgraduate medical students in public universities: U. De Chile and U. De Valparaiso (currently), especially in practical activities with real in and outpatients. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? When I was 17 years old and obtained a very high score in the SAT. My parents oriented me in the scientific social field = Medicine. Until then, I had no clue to what to study.
you running with high levels of adrenaline. Other times, the outpatient clinic provides you with that energetic and positive feedback from patients who tell you they feel fantastic. Then you have the teaching: so many young and eager students full of questions, curiosity and a good dose of humor. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? After years of practice, you develop a method: including schedules, timing, places. It helps you face the unexpected. What do you do at the moment? Right now, I´m working on a Project to open the Fellow of nephrology in the hospital where I work. I´m also working on a Project to deliver Acute Hemodialysis to the critically ill in the South of Chile (Patagonia) where it is unavailable, currently.
If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? In the island of Chiloé, South of Chile, in the Patagonia. Beautiful, wild and untouched scenery, lots of rain and many patients needy of sub-specialists.
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? “Feel the need” of your future customers, study things that have been done up to the date and find a different and better way of delivering. Also, never give up.
How would you describe your creativity?
Tell us how it all started.
Problem solving! Full of the unexpected: you never know what’s coming next. Sometimes you face many, very ill patients who need solutions in the next hour and you have to solve things immediately. Keeps 164
Basically going with flow and learning from what was already out there. Then, find ways of doing the same, but making it fun. Use a lot of humor: keeps everybody on the attention mode.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Peace and quiet, soft music as a companion.
outpatient clinic, invasive procedures and teaching: all at the same time. Then, race off to another public hospital, and do the same. It ends at 5-6 pm.
What is your favorite film? This is tough!!! Top Gun.
Tell us about your dream project. A dialysis clinic in some remote and needy place where I wouldn’t have to care about the costs and deliver excellent care to my patients.
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? Brad Pitt. Combines talent, family life, charity work and Hollywood success. How do you like to spoil yourself? Listening to my favourite music on hi-fi speakers. What is luxury for you? Something I could have but I can perfectly do without. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? My colleagues and students after a presentation: they´re all smiling, laughing a lot and understood the message.
Who is your professional role model/inspiration? In the practice of medicine in the 60’s where a real doctor – patient relationship could be developed. Inspire trust, confidence to the patient, show compassion and understanding of the situation they are going through. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Happy, enthusiastic and specially, passionate.
What do you fear most? Not having the means to do my job.
Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Love.
What is a happy life to you? To have someone you love next to you,
What inspires you? My patients and my students.
only because he makes you a better person and compliments you perfectly. What does a regular day look like for you? It starts early at 7:00 am. Rounds with the students in the renal Ward. Then 3 hours of
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (cheesy, I know). 165
The Quote of Things– Organizations and creativity
vironment within organizations. This in turn,
“The things we fear most in organizations –
commented, discussed, feared and highly
fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances – are
inconveniently analyzed unless they can’t
the primary sources of creativity.” – Alfred
be named highly profitable in a nanosec-
ond. Which brings instability and conflicts
leads to people feeling fearful and not seeing whether the future for that particular workplace is secured or if there will be shortcuts. Any change is highly emphasized – it is
much more prioritized than looking at the Oh, the beauty of running a business. Or
positive side of change.
working in one, or having to do anything that could in any way be related to busi-
Embracing changes isn’t always that easy
ness in general and the business sector in
though, and it can’t be expected to be
particular. So many great things happen
dealt with in an optimized way. This is where
when a business goes well and other new
other businesses find opportunities to help
opportunities appear, as they often do
and they work with change management.
quite a lot in these moments. The time in-
Now, change management is yet another
vested brings serious return, coworkers and
business administration field in which cre-
shareholders are happy and there’s even
ativity flourishes. There are thousands of
room for expanding. Other businesses and
models and certifications aimed at making
experts are the ones making the first move
change the least painful and destructive
to connect and everything’s great.
force for any given business, and they do present a good picture of a given situation.
The normal thing happening here is that
However, the emphasis is most often given
change occurs at some point, and that
to the change in financial terms, whether
can mean many things. In a lot of different
gaining or losing is around the corner.
circumstances positive and negative given opportunities aren’t always as clear, which
What can be done to emphasize positivity
tends to create a somewhat insecure en-
and constructive thinking from the man-
agement side in such a situation is to ask
when getting down to the core issues.
for creativity. Seek new ideas, make coworkers speak up because they are very
Which really are possibilities dressed in weird
familiar with what they do and where there
has been room from improvement for a long time. Empowering the whole team and giving them the freedom to bring their suggestions to the table, taking that time to acknowledge their effort and show them how important they really are, is the absolutely best way of securing positivity. This will become a platform where fear is dealt with at an early stage and all insecurities get eliminated before that gets an advantage. Change in businesses happens. A lot. What decides whether they will be used constructively is how much legitimacy creativity is given in embracing the challenges and deciding which move to make. Looking at changes within businesses as a sudden room for more creative thinking and more coworker input, could open completely new doors and put focus on finding constructive strategies and possibilities. If management acknowledges the creative potential of a team and they are given the means, trust and encouragement to make decisions, the positive results can be huge! Huge! Thatâ€™s all it takes, itâ€™s pretty simple 171
Cross-generational knowledge sharing – could that lead to more creativity? We have mentioned it before – the importance of communication. For knowledge sharing, gaining experience, making friends and create great new things, being able to communicate is very important. If you’ve ever been in a situation where one party insists on leading a conversation without really leading anything other than a long monologue, then you know what this is about. Now, communication is many different things – a conversation is probably the best way to gain knowledge. It requires the ability to think outside your own comfort zone and question your own ideas and “truths”. Although inconvenient at times, it is what is the core in developing new ideas and define what kind of value should be added to different sorts of knowledge. People from different generations do have much to talk about, and this is great for many different reasons. It will, first of all, be a source for potential new friendships. It will also be a cross-point in which there is room for gaining knowledge and understanding for actions and behavior in general – and this goes both ways. Also, it will enable
communication on a broader level in general, most likely resulting in a more humane and proactive approach towards each other and our indifferences. There is an apparent skepticism and underlying tone when dealing with these types of questions, where all parts are defensive and protective of their respective viewpoints and ideas. It seems as if the fear of being wrong, of potentially maybe having some sort of reason to expand one’s mind, isn’t too popular when talking about cross-generational exchange. Egos aside, if broadening one’s perspectives is the main goal in holding such a conversation rather than proving each other wrong, which it should be, then suddenly there is a lot of room for constructive and open talks. Valuing the knowledge people have is important, and that includes differences in perspectives and preference for analysis tools. This is not a bad thing, quite the opposite – people do have a lot to learn from each other and we have hardly even started doing so. Reaching out to each other honestly, asking for sharing some time together, might be the first step of discovering great things. And, is there anyone out there who would have any sort of argument against doing just that? Probably not. Do you value the knowledge and learning potential between different generations?
Name: Ingrid Ellis Where do you live: Weymouth, Dorset, UK. Known for: Textile Art and Wall Quilts. Currently actual with: I currently do a number of workshops for textile art students. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? The realisation did not come to me in a single moment, but I gradually built up a lot of expertise during my early working life. My early working life was unrelated to textile art until I retrained in my 40’s, which then slowly led me to what I do today. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I’m a bit torn about the hustle and bustle of London, where I used to live and I loved it. However, nowadays I can’t think of a better place to live than where I am at the moment: by the sea on the English south coast. How would you describe your creativity? I probably thrive under deadlines. If you give me lots of time to make the work, I will just potter about and get nowhere, but put pressure on me and I suddenly have loads of ideas and not enough time to try everything out and I feel completely frustrated about needing to fix on one single piece of work. Sometimes I get to try out the other ideas and sometimes these work out later 176
on as well. As I have never had the opportunity to go to art school I never got used to create sketchbooks, and I always envy those who can produce these lovely books. However, I’m an avid photographer and I keep lots of magazine pages and other inspirations, which I occasionally go through and decide to follow an idea. Very often the original idea morphs into something quite different though, but then that’s art! How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? About six years ago I joined a group of artists whose mission was to exhibit together once a year. I found exhibiting very scary at the beginning, but sometimes you have to feel the fear and do it anyway. With this group I then learnt to be a lot more professional about things and working with other artists is very inspiring too, quite apart from meeting lots of interesting characters. What do you do at the moment? I have given myself a bit of time off at the moment in order to complete all the work that languishes half-finished in my studio. I’m hoping I will feel virtuous afterwards! A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Don’t give up the day job! It takes some time to get known and build up such a business. Having a talent for selling will also be incredibly useful in getting the rent or mortgage paid.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? As I am totally incapable to resist buying fabrics and embellishments for my work, the thing that I need most is lots of storage and good lighting. My studio is at the bottom of the garden, which is lovely in the summer when I can leave the door open, but in my dreams it would be attached to the house and always warm. What is your favorite film? My favourite film is “Witness” - a film about a US detective who has to hide in an Amish house in order to protect the son of the family where he hides. It’s wonderful on several levels: it’s a beautiful love story, a tense thriller and it also gives information on how the Amish live and what is important to them. Who would your like to invite for a dinner and why? If I was only to choose one person, I would choose Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, teacher, author, poet and peace activist. I had the good fortune to hear him speak once and know that he has a very good sense of humour and a lot of knowledge. Another person would be Ray Davies of the Kinks, who always strikes me as a very sane person and a deep thinker. A third person would be Joan Baez, for similar reasons. How do you like to spoil yourself? It’s probably very odd, but I like a “bus-
man’s holiday” - I like to book a workshop with an admired tutor and spend a week or so in a lovely place with fellow souls, having nothing to worry about except what I am learning. What is luxury for you? Beautiful surroundings. I’d love to live in a beautifully designed hotel suite (as long as it had a studio for me). What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? “If I won the lottery, I would buy one of your quilts”. What do you fear most? Not being well enough to produce art - I would be quite forlorn without it. Another “fear” would be if I was asked to do several of the same thing. I could not work in a production line situation, even if it was very lucrative. Each item has to be an original. What is a happy life to you? It seems that all my life is bound up with what I do. A happy life is being able to have time to make beautiful or meaningful things that I am satisfied with. The idea of being better and better at one’s craft is part of this. Sunshine helps too and a garden to sit in. Apart from that, having my cat Jamie and my friends close by. Oh and the odd piece of chocolate! What does a regular day look like for you? I’m not sure that I have regular days. I’m a
night owl and my creative juices often get flowing when other people sit down in front of the TV. It also takes me a long time to get going in the morning and I like it to be as gentle as possible. In the afternoons I usually attend to errands, meet with friends and go to exhibitions. Tell us about your dream project. A real dream project would be furnishing a modern hall with my wall quilts. At the moment I dream about finishing a large wall hanging that I designed during my last “busman’s holiday” last year and still have not had time to concentrate on it. It is for my own use for a change. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? The first two are mostly to do with colour: Kaffe Fassett (who lives with extreme amounts of colour) and Tricia Guild of Designers Guild and whose work I have admired over many years. I also like Rayna Gillman, a textile artist who does US online workshops and who is gloriously gifted, enthusiastic and not worried about accuracy. I also like Jane Davies in the US, with whom I have booked on online painting course because I am also exploring painting at present. Her colours are very strong and she makes it all so easy. There are so many more. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, something entirely different)? 178
Much to my frustration I can’t say that I have a particular style, although I would like my work to be recognisable. Because I constantly try different things, probably the only thing that unites my work is that it is (usually) very colourful, abstract and has a lot of detail in it. I have been told that art should have a message, but this has eluded me - I seem to only be able to make pictures that I feel are beautiful or interesting, but maybe the message is yet to come. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? This one is too difficult to answer. I love my creature comforts and the list would be far too long, although a needle would come very near the top of the list. What inspires you? Very simply put: colour and line. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? This is “Mother of Quakerism: Margaret Fell”. A Quaker myself, I found this book incredibly inspiring. It speaks about the times of the English Civil War, when travel was on horseback or by coach and where Quakers were persecuted for finding a philosophy/ theology that does not include priests, etc. As Quakers in those days were frequently incarcerated in London, Margaret Fell was instrumental in supporting, visiting and writing to those in trouble and thus building the Society of Friends (Quakers). Considering the limitations of her time, she was magnifi-
cent in her dedication.
Is quality rea in c The question on quality vs. quantity always seem to be in the spotlight. Whether the subject from which the questions is drawn is a personal one, a business one, political, scientific or of any other kind â€“ there is a clear aim to positioning ideas in one of those two corners. Thousands of book and articles have been written in the search of the right answer â€“ to localize where the one is more preferable over the other and for what main reason.
There are fields in which this question is legitimate. In physics research, quantifying the subject for analysis is a better idea than discussing the qualitative aspect of it. In economy, there are times where each of the two are of better use than the other, and answering completely different sorts of questions and hypotheses. Likewise, in engineering there is a preference for quantitative research although it seems to become more and more clear that there is room for
ally better than quantity creative terms? the qualitative aspect as well. Now, creativity is many things and deciding whether quality or quantity is most suitable is a pretty difficult and highly unclear question. Does it cover some sort of analytic phase of creativity or creativity as a psychological attribute? Internal notions of the definition or external factors in which creativity is expressed? Is it the use of creativity or the phenomenon, the theories or practical application of them? Are we looking at the final outcome from creativity or the parts with which to make it all happen? Is there a key performance indicator for creativity with which to measure quantity and then afterwards be able to discuss whether that also implies quality in a broader sense? Most often, when reading about creativity, it is mentioned within the context of quality, implying that quality rather than quantity is the point of emphasis. Also, in
terms of quantity vs. quality when speaking of creative ideas â€“ how is that even measurable? Having one great idea is fantastic, but to get there you will probably go through a lot of not-too-great ideas, and some OK ideas. Thus, having quantity leads to quality. Likewise, building up on a great creative idea can follow by a lot of less great creative ideas, meaning that quantity suddenly becomes a consequence of quality. The biggest question really is this â€“ why choose only one? Why not both quality and quantity and let them both contribute to many really great creative ideas? Do you think that quality is preferable over quantity when speaking of creativity?
Name: Marcel Hofeditz Where do you live: Münster, Germany. Known for: - Thoroughly - crafted empirical research. - Passionate and sometimes (crazy) blogging about research, startups and social media. - Teaching the importance to students doing things because you feel it having a higher purpose. Currently working as: Husband, father of a four months old son, Startup Advisor, PostDoc University of Münster, Leadership Lecturer at the University of Applied Science Hamm, Blogger. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I think that everything you do, you do because you feel joyful while doing it. It’s the passion that drives you doing things that would normally be out of your comfort zone. But always remember, it needs hard work and confidence to get where you want. I decided to first wait with blogging until I publish my first scientific results. I wanted to have some base to get back to. After I finally published my most important scientific papers about self-determination theory and intrinsic motivation. I decided to go out there and spread the message that I learned from my empirical studies and apply it to everything I care about: parenting, entrepreneurship, research. I am very 192
fortunate that I could build my knowledge around the things I love. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I would probably go to Muey. It’s a small fisher man town in Ecuador, where my wife is from (although she’s from the city of Guayakil) and I have always been dreaming of going there with my brother-in-law to taste the real life. Having a boat, going out on the sea once a day and live from what you get. How would you describe your creativity? My creativity is like a storm. It comes and goes out and most often leaves a mess. It’s rewarding, but tiring, too. It always means to get out of your comfort zone and to try something new. That can become very intense, but afterwards you feel so relieved and fresh like as you left a part of yourself that others are enjoying. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? After school, I wanted to become an actor, but I failed the assessment center of acting school. They said I was too “heavy headed”. So, I went to business school, because I thought the entire business world is a great piece where I wanted to be part of. I founded a theatre group at my business school and we showed a piece about top managers losing their jobs. It’s called Top Dogs by Urs Widmer. Months later Lehmann Brother went down and we were right there
not getting a job at the job market. After that, I decided to continue studying and I started to write, first science and then I dragged myself into blogging to spread the most basic and helpful insights from my science for everyone. What do you do at the moment? Right now, I am working on various things, I am working on what motivates people. Generation Y has become a real challenge for recruiters because the best talents demand extreme freedom. In wake of high compliance requirements for companies, the spread between the freedom, self-determination, trust that we young folks want and the control that the company needs is increasing. It’s not easy to be a leader, today. I tell you that. I am writing about the importance of resources and dynamic capabilities that an organization has to create a competitive edge.
in or the organizations that they work for. National cultures are dying. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Let’s first think about what a creative business is? I would call myself always as an academicpreneur. No matter what I do. If the company I work for allows me to fulfill this role, I would feel fulfilled. Starting and Running a Creative business means to do what you want. Everything can be done creatively. You just have to embrace it that way. It’s an attitude, a life choice and if people get it and you offer yourself inspiring others, it may have huge potential to become a business. Tell us how it all started. That’s difficult. Creativity is something you carry with you and need to let it out like going to the toilet. There is no extrinsic impulse. It’s just there.
I am also writing about the truth of management science. It’s a huge project that covers millions of data points. I try to identify how reliable pure empirical results actually are. I call it Trueconomics and it’s one of my bigger projects.
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Chaos. I definitely need a certain degree of chaos, old stuff lying around, post-its, drafts, at-best everything visualized.
I am also working on several projects to better understand what culture is. I have been writing that actually our national cultures are dying. People increasingly form their cultures from their cities in which they live
Everything that has been touched by Hayao Miyazaki.
What is your favorite film?
Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I would love to invite my grandpa (who
passed away) to dinner, so he could see his grandchild and bearer of the family name. How do you like to spoil yourself? I like to unplug myself once a week. When do we shut off our spinning machine called brain, webbing the next project? While structuring its perfect symmetric frame, we sometime lose it, the point the thing that got us excited. Where is the edge, where is the text spreading its uniqueness, what got us excited about our idea? That’s when I like to unplug. Play a video game, bingewatch a TV-show... What is luxury for you? Doing research and having peace. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? From my wife, when she read my blog about National cultures, the first time, she cried. That was the biggest compliment, I could possibly get. What do you fear most? I fear trolls and death. What is a happy life to you? To create something new: a family that holds together and loves each other, a piece of art, an idea that people love or that people like to work for. What does a regular day look like for you? Staying up late, having fun with my son, changing his diapers, having breakfast out194
side while working on my phone or laptop. I then go to my office by bus to check my social media streams on the way. When I arrive, I hunt for my chair and start to write science. Sometimes, I can’t stop writing until it gets dark or my wife calls because I get obsessed (apologies to my wife). Then, at night I bring my son to bed. I check my social media streams again, read something in medium and fall asleep. Tell us about your dream project. My dream project would be to open up everything written or thought of academia to everyone. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? From the dead: Alexander Humboldt. From the living: My dear friends Omid Scheybani (Storyteller, San Francisco), Constantin von Liel (Peacemaker, UN), Sebastian Diemer (CEO & Founder, Kreditech). How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Academicpreneur. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My wife and son. What inspires you? My wife inspires me every day. She is the source of my energy. I love her. A book that has changed/made the most
impression in your life? Zauberberg (Magic Mountain) by Thomas Mann.
It’s time to upgrade your o adding creativity to the ga Everyone knows that as not-fun as some habits might be, they are certainly quite useful at times. Creating some sort of structure regardless of the specifics around your creative work, is a way of getting the job done quicker, smoother and with minimum effort without compromising the quality of the outcome. Much of life consists of the little things, and those little things are often nicely framed into habits. How many things that you regularly have to do, do you do the exact same way every single time? Most likely, quite a lot of them. Now, making small changes will bring a little excitement to these habits, while not risking to compromise them or changing them in any way that isn’t good for you. That’s where the details come in handy. Are you regularly writing something by hand? Then, how about using different 200
kinds of pens? Or go get some really nice notebooks which by themselves inspire writing? If you like to exercise on certain days during the week, then maybe choosing to change the content of your exercise program is a way of adding a pinch of creativity to the fun. If you have specific times for when to make dinner or have lunch, then making something completely new and different once a week might spice up your senses. Do you take showers sometimes? Try out your best singing skills or some new nicely smelling soap, or both – you’ll smell great and your neighbors will love you. There are also habits in the personal development sector, where repetitive thinking patterns can be seen as habits. In situations where affirmations are used, trying to use synonyms or maybe including something that is good for your mind but also fun can make all the difference. Using phrases when describing your goals and dreams
old habits, ame! can also be a little adjusted and catch your attention much more when you are in that moment, in the process of writing them down. Habits are important parts of everyoneâ€™s life, whether we like to admit it or not. Doing small changes in order to make this habits more interesting and giving is a good idea, especially if we are talking about those kinds of habits that have been around for quite a while. They are often followed by boredom, and we all know that creative minds donâ€™t go well with anything boring. Plus, why not make your everyday life more fun and exciting? What do you do to make your habits more creative?
Interview: José Guilherme S. Brandão
Name: José Guilherme S. Brandão Where do you live: Mogi das Cruzes, São Paulo, Brazil. Currently working with: Art When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I decided to work with art in 2008 because it was always what I wanted to do but for which I didn’t have financial means. It took time and effort, but it really satisfies me. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Right here where I live in my house because I am close to my daughter, I was born here and I like the lifestyle. How would you describe your creativity? A spontaneous creativity, interesting and weird at the same time, it’s a great mystery to me. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? In 2007 when I got in touch with the art dealer Ricardo Barradas, I saw the opportunity to develop my artistic work in a professional manner. What do you do at the moment? Today, I own a collection of over 700 works, realizing that there was a great creative revolution. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative busi204
ness? Never give up. Here in Brazil it is very difficult, you have to have a lot of will, believe in yourself and have some luck. Tell us how it all started. I started when I used a micro point pen, it was fantastic, I was still very new and it woke me up to this interest in art. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The mess, peace of mind and good music. What is your favorite film? Pink Floyd The Wall. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? My daughter because she loves to eat and is the most important person to me. What is luxury for you? I do not like luxury of simple things. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? The best compliment I received was at Fort of Copacabana in Rio de Janeiro where I was awarded in an art hall. The man praising my art was Marchand Ricardo Barradas. And also my working partner who has also given me great compliments on my creative process with principles of genetic criticism. What do you fear most?
Madness. What is a happy life to you? I live it. What does a regular day look like for you? Everyday. I don’t like to think about tomorrow. Tell us about your dream project. It is to be recognized as a professional and for people to see my work. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? My great master Van del Wiel – a sculptor and painter from whom I had the opportunity to learn painting and drawing techniques. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? I consider my work as an artistic trend of geometric abstraction with freestyle for my thoughts. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My hand-rolled cigarettes. What inspires you? Life. Details. Small things. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? The Awakening of Magic.
Staying conscious about your positivity How many times have you read a really good book that made you feel positive all afternoon? Or watched a movie that you felt had such a meaning for you personally? Or heard a story from someone that inspired you deeply? Or read quotes from great minds that made your own mind want to think big and with great changes in perspective – like anything in the world is possible? We have all had those moments, but most often they stay just that – beautiful moments. What is interesting is why that amazing state of mind does stay there for such a short period of time, and what it is that is suppressing it, or silencing it. Why doesn’t a moment like that continue and form its own basis from which to build great new things and ideas? Why doesn’t it affect people around you too, in that same way, then uniting your energy to create even greater things? Well, the main reason for that is distraction and not just any kind but the negative one. For some inexplicable reason, people seem to find it a lot easier to stay negative than to work actively to create a positive atmosphere. Even worse, they seem to feel much more comfortable in supporting other people’s negativity (comes with all of the 214
experience in that field, huh?) and this is a big deal. It is this that leads to negative comments, that kinds with only one aim – to make your positivity lower, weaker and to make those big change-requiring ideas go far, far away. This kind of underlying negativity is not necessarily directed at you or your ideas directly and specifically, but it is affecting both nevertheless. Many people are simply doing everything they can to convince themselves that negativity is safe and positivity is not. Maybe it is the fear of failure popping up, or the fear of change. Regardless, the big issue is that it affects people around them, especially those who do try to work actively in a positive direction. Being conscious about your positivity doesn’t mean a constant effort to convince yourself that you are really, very positive lalala and that all the negative people can’t touch you. Rather, it is to being conscious of when your own subconscious negativity becomes apparent and starts to interfere with your positive mind. External factors such as negative people do work as triggers here, but that does only mean that you have a little help in noticing the negativity in its initial phase, making it easier to overcome. Are you conscious about your positivity and the surroundings affecting it indirectly or directly?
â€œNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.â€? Margaret Mead
â€œA happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes.â€? Hugh Downs
Children and Kids are great. Regardless of what tools they have at hand, their creativity enables them to figure out a way in which to use them to their maximum. Toys, blankets, chairs and tables can easily be transformed into a castle or five-star hotel. Likewise, kitchen utensils do pair really well with sand â€“ they do. If they have access to paper, colors and glue â€“ the possibilities seem endless and all of that may turn into a great fashion collection and/or small (sometimes not that small) houses with furniture and all.
There is a point to be made here â€“ every child seems to be quite interested in interacting with materials. There is absolutely no need for rules, and the natural rules applying will be figured out by them pretty quickly. Exploring the limits and what to do in order to move beyond them is a need, maybe it could even be called a natural process in young kids. Being intelligent and realizing that the children take such an ini-
d the building of things tiative and encouraging it instead of punish or neglect it could prove to be really great. These kids might then get the confidence in the potential of their creativity – laying a basis for a fun future with many opportunities to do what they love. The result of such a positive attitude in this aspect would also lead to encouraging them to become great at working together, to share ideas, to cooperate and to develop new methods, trying them out and perfecting them. Whether we speak of Lego’s, blankets and chairs, papers and glue or any other forms of raw material, these are the extra attributes that they will work on in the building process. And that’s absolutely great.
that this talent of using materials creatively isn’t really a talent at all. This is not good, it creates unhappy people with the bright future of doing some dead-boring job while still having that urge to build and create things underneath all of that unhappiness. That is probably not what parents wish to do to their children, nor is it anything teachers would like to do. It is a system error and needs to be corrected from the top, politically, in order to be applicable in schools throughout the world. Did you like to build things as a kid? Or do you have children who like that right now? How are you relating to that?
When it comes to schools, the sometimes narrow-minded perspectives in these institutions do have the effect of suppressing this in ability in kids, making them realize 219
Interview: Pamela Joy Trow-Johnson
Name: Pamela Joy Trow-Johnson Where do you live: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA Known for: …A variety of creative endeavors: creating community awareness campaigns for non-profits; highly detailed acrylic & ink fine art illustration; and my supply-side Etsy shop, “Art Passions Design”. Currently working with: All three endeavors. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? I started working with non-profits about 10 years ago in Bend, Oregon. One of the most effective ways to get their messages out was through public service announcements; when I moved to Santa Fe in September ‘14, I joined an art critique group to help encourage my painting (something I missed doing). It’s such a joy to be “back in the saddle”; when my Etsy shop hit 10,000 in sales, I knew I had a serious business, no matter where I lived. Sales are over 21,000 at this time. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? One of the lesson’s I think I’m in the midst of learning, is to love where I live at the time. Of course, Santa Fe isn’t too difficult. It’s known as “The City Different” for its convergence of cultures, the arts are breathed in the air, the vast skies and mountains seem 222
magical and you’re surrounded by ghosts of lives lived. Total creative inspiration. How would you describe your creativity? My communication work is about clear, targeted imagery (animation and video) that educates and informs; my fine art is what I call, “high whimsy” where “many a truth is said in jest”; my jewelry supply shop is about offering creative jewelry designers unique treasures to use in the design of their oneof-a-kind masterpieces. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? When I graduated design school, I broke into the advertising field working on consumer and business accounts. It was working on non-profit projects that brought a smile to my heart so, in my later years of my career, I consciously chose to work with non-profits more intensely; Moving to Santa Fe was the inspiration to paint more seriously; When I started my Etsy shop, I sold out of my vintage supply collection in a year. It was then that I decided to seriously build my shop with a longer, deeper vision. What do you do at the moment? At this moment I’m working on a couple of public service announcements; one provides 18 to 25 year-olds with a high risk drinking guide and the other informs parents on the importance of annual developmental screenings for children; I’m working on producing my series of Day of the Dead paintings as products and am working on
my fine art website; I’m ALWAYS working on bringing unique and creative items into my Etsy shop. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Prepare for growth. Try to have vendors/ suppliers/resources/distribution outlets aligned early so you’re not trying to figure out how you’re going to get things done when you’re there. Tell us how it all started. In kindergarten, my teacher assigned us letters of the alphabet and told to create a drawing of an object beginning with that letter. I got the letter “B” and drew a broom. My teacher raved about it and said, “You should be an artist when you grow up”. At that moment, I knew what I was going to do the rest of my life (isn’t this a fabulous testament to the power and importance of our teachers?) What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Personality and a sense of awe. What is your favorite film? Terry Gilliam’s “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”… A wonderful fantasy with lots of symbolism and an amazing cast of actors. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? If the question includes folks in history, it
would be Leonardo da Vinci. As a scientist AND creative, he epitomized the highest functioning use of both sides of the brain. I wonder if da Vinci would be tested for ADHD if he lived today? If it was a contemporary, J.K. Rowling. She was a single mom in need when she “made it” on her creativity. How do you like to spoil yourself? Taking the time to watch a great British TV mystery. What is luxury for you? An amazing, comfortable bed with sheets of a high Egyptian thread count. A lot of creative ideas come to me in my sleep. Nurture the opportunities, right? What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? Gratefully, there have been several. One was receiving the “Tom Hacker Creative Award” from my local advertising federation when I lived in Bend, Oregon. It was annually given to one creative thinker who raised the standards in the industry. Another was being asked to design Oregon’s“Keep Kids Safe” License Plate that raised funds for child abuse prevention. What do you fear most? Not being able to create because of bad health. My mother suffered from multiple sclerosis. It took her dreams, dignity and life. I’m grateful for my health but fear that it 223
can be taken at any time. What is a happy life to you? Creating, laughing... Lots of laughing, and having loved ones to share life with. I know it sounds corny but, it’s my truth. Creating in a vacuum is sad to me. What does a regular day look like for you? Wake up, go to my computer to Twitter, Facebook, create Etsy invoices, have breakfast, depending on the day, I may attend an art critique. Then, go to my studio where my Etsy inventory lives. Fill orders, manage my Etsy site, and then move on to design work. Home for dinner with my hubby and Milli my dog-child, painting and chilling out. Tell us about your dream project. Just one? I’d love to do children’s books for adults… Books that inspire other creatives. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? There’s not one person. I’m inspired by the classic women of design such as Paula Scher, Louise Fili, April Greiman and illustrator Heather Cooper. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? My design work is functional in that I consider the audience and how they think and feel; my fine art illustration is whimsical but always has a deeper meaning; my Etsy shop is about differentiating and unique224
ness by providing items you just can’t get at most supply sources. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? Chocolate. Period. (Going back to the question of what I fear most, the second would be to find out I’m allergic to chocolate.) What inspires you? Other creatives’ work. Whenever I go to a fabulous art show or read a creative article, I just want to get to work. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? “Pippi Longstocking”. As a child, I felt “different”. Pippi was an extraordinary little girl with super strength and a powerful belief in herself… A great mentor to another little girl that danced to a different drummer.
The Quote of Things– Seeing the stories around us “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” – Orson Scott Card Stories are everywhere and they are inspired by many things. Some turn to nature, others to the extreme, to emotions, or relationships, materials and shapes. There are long and short stories, simple and complex. There are those who aim to highlight a bigger societal issue and there are those who are simply aimed at entertaining. There are many stories created from experience, aimed at educating and working as material for analysis. There are many other stories too, aimed at portraying philosophy and questions regarding morals, meaning and existence. Then there is the side of the story teller. Some prefer their stories to be written, others want them to be presented in a theatre or cinema, portrayed in music or by singing. There are those who connect something specific with their stories – a color, a sound or a mathematical equation. Some stories can be used in order to legitimize actions and defend opinions, others will be used to initiate talks on difficult and tabooed sub236
jects. There are stories that will be backed by facts, and those who will create new frameworks in which future facts will be structured. As we appreciate stories from the past, so will the really great stories of today be remembered as the beautiful piece of artwork by generations of tomorrow. Then there are those stories which will indeed be remembered, as consisting of the common ideas of people from the time to which the story refers – with all that it implies and includes. Some will express great fears, great powers and great love. Some will try to explain all of that, and there are those who will present alternative interpretations. Someone’s personal journey might be the story of a century, whereas other people’s brief moments will be objects of analysis and critique. Stories are also real-time observing means, and catching them or paying attention to them can have a huge impact on people somewhat related to those stories in particular. They are also a great means of preserving a memory of someone dear, or someplace dear or anything of value. Stories are all around us and they have so many different functions in our lives. Because of the internet and social media, we can create and share our own stories too, easily. That does mean a lot of opportunities, but it requires a lot of responsibility as well. Some stories are simply private, some
aren’t made to be shared by the world. Anything that exists and is created can be misused. But it can also be used to do good things, to invite openness and communication. Stories allow great ideas to be tested, challenged and told. There are stories within stories, and such complex structures from which stories are made, yet with the result of pure simplicity. There are stories being and to be made all around us, and it is up to us to choose which details to bring along and the rest of the material required to make that happen. Staying observant, enjoying moments, participating in and appreciating the means by which they are presented – that’s life and that’s being creative.
Name: Ozana Giusca Where do you live: London (UK), Brussels (Belgium), Bucharest (Romania). Yes, I do live in all these places!!! Plus I travel a lot to the US! Known for: Being a world-class expert on business growth, and being a writer, speaker and entrepreneur. Currently working with: My startup Tooliers Inc. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? In 2011. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Palo Alto, California. Because of the access to knowledge that is second to none for an online startup. How would you describe your creativity? My creativity relies on being able to come up with solutions to grow the business. Solutions to solve business issues. I seem to have the right answer for the challenges that entrepreneurs face. And it is not hard work for me – comes naturally, after I failed big time in business (I was close to bankruptcy twice). And what I learnt now is to pay attention to everything around me and learn from it. So my mind is always alert, which stimulates creativity. 240
What do you do at the moment? I help small companies get bigger by providing them with growth solutions (based on where their blockages are) and how-to to implement. I do this via seminars, conferences, trainings, my book, business growth tools, business growth programs, online masterclasses on practical strategies to build a solid foundation for your business. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running acreative business? Fail fast: Find out what is not working and change it quickly! Tell us how it all started. In 2008, my previously successful consulting company got hit by the crisis, I had no more income, I had to let 10 of my 12 consultants go. With no money, nothing to do, I started studying various gurus, put those strategies into tools, but couldn’t sell the tools, even though people liked them and considered them great value for money. So I had to learn marketing (my background is in finance), and after many courses and trainings on various tactics, I developed How-to Tools, which are now incorporated in Marketing Lens Growth Program, our signature program which helps entrepreneurs get more and better clients. Tooliers is the platform underneath the tools and the programs. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you?
Tidiness. I cannot work unless there is order What do you fear most? around me. For me, no order around means Gaining weight and not fitting in my mess in the brain, lack of focus which leads clothes :) to no results. What is a happy life to you? What is your favorite film? Doing what you want , when you want, with Sex and the City. whoever you want, where you want. For me, a happy life is a life with plenty of Who would you like to invite for a dinner variety and challenges. and why? Tony Robbins – because I could have an What does a regular day look like for you? intelligent conversation about life and busi- I have 3 types of days: ness, and I would learn something new. Also - By my computer, working on products, because of the positive energy he has new sales funnel, having Skype calls around himself. - Delivering presentations for entrepreneurs in various events How do you like to spoil yourself? - Doing anything else: visiting places, meetTravel in places I have not seen so far. ing new people, learning new things... What is luxury for you? 5 star resort in secluded places, relaxing, glamorous, swimming pool, loads of exotic vegetation. Tasty food well presented. Also, yachts, private jets, sushi & cocktails with crushed ice :) What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? “Didn’t think about it! Thank you!”, while I was saying the obvious. This has happened so many times with most of my clients. Because while working for your business is like being inside a jar and not being able to see the label on the jar. So you need an outside, qualified person to read the label for you.
Tell us about your dream project. Tooliers = marketplace with business growth tools, to enable millions of small business owners around the globe to grow their companies. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Richard Branson for business and Tony Robbins for stage performance. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashionstyle, or both, or something entirely different)? Liberal and controversy. Doing the opposite to what most people do. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? 241
My laptop :) What inspires you? Something that is intelligent. Could be a conversation, or an ad, or an idea, a story... From which I learn something, or triggers an idea for myself. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Shortcut to Business Success – 101 Tactics to Take Your Company to the Next Level… I wrote it :) It changed my life because now I am perceived as an even greater specialist in business, and also because it has contributed to many other entrepreneurs - towards having better businesses. In November 2014, I launched my book in Romania. Since Gerry Robert (a personality when it comes to publishing books, himself having generated over $100 million from books) had agreed to come as my guest for the event, I wanted to have a really good event. I asked a major bank to sponsor the event. The bank’s employees who were in charge with such events liked my book and suggested the bank offered my book to their VIP clients as a Christmas gift. They declined any proposal. The reason why they declined it was that no one in the bank knew me or of me. People dealing with the issue were asking themselves who is “Ozana” and no one had heard of me. 242
In the past 2 months, I had been featured in Financial Times, Business Magazine, I had a 20 minute interview on Wall Street and I even have my own page in Romania Libera (the oldest and most traditional newspaper in Romania. So within 6 months I went from not having been heart of, to being accepted as the number one small business growth expert in Romania. And I don’t even live in Romania! So if I could do it, anyone can! Just build a solid foundation with the right “online assets” and share your message!
When not-too-good things happen, leave them at that
Everyone experiences times in life where negative things occur. This can take many shapes and sizes, but the common denominator is that package of negative emotions taking over every thought in your mind. Crisis, situations, circumstances, disasters and catastrophes of various sorts do have those consequences, and learning to deal with them in a good way saves a lot of negative, heavy emotions from occurring. What is normal in such cases, are the massive overthinking and continuous circle argumentations with negative tones. They do two things – they occupy a mind and they stop people from moving on with their lives and ideas. The occupation of the mind occurs when the process of rethinking and re-experiencing takes place, an almost obsessive need to think it all over and over and over again. This in turn, leads to not having any moment of silence from which progress could happen. Combining these two then, forms a vicious circle which becomes stronger the more time is invested in it.
doesn’t mean anything else other than just that, it does not mean to forget about what has happened or to belittle it. Allowing the natural process of grief (if what happened is really serious) and processing is the absolute best thing that you can do, because your mind knows how to deal with those situations. Staying conscious and accepting that there needs to be a time spent on that process is also important because it is through that process, that your emotions will be somewhat stabilized. Situations which occur more often and are not that emotionally destructive should also be dealt with by simply acknowledging what actual relevance they have and how much space and time is needed from you to deal with them. Most often, the answer to this question is “not much at all, because they aren’t that important at all”. How do you deal with these kinds of situations? Do you stay conscious throughout the whole process?
Another interesting aspect is the cases where people add extremely negative and destructive states of mind to situations that aren’t really that bad. Creating any drama, whether on purpose or not, is all but welcomed in these situations. Rather, when negative things happen in life, situating them is what has to be done – both to be able to recover and to move on. This 253
Name: Mariam Zahra Where do you live: Lahore, Pakistan Known for: Art work, soft board designer. Currently working with: Designing soft boards/graphing children’s work into school magazines. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? When I started working in a school. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I have a traveler’s mind set. I don’t like to live at one place for a long time. How would you describe your creativity? It’s instinctive/natural. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? In 2007. When I joined a school. What do you do at the moment? I’m an English, Math teacher, soft board designer and I prepare early year kids for poetry competitions and drama. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Please listen to your heart, be yourself and don’t copy. Tell us how it all started. It started when I joined a school as a teacher. 256
What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Freedom of expression. What is your favorite film? Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? I would eat with anyone who is a true friend. How do you like to spoil yourself? By traveling and eating. What is luxury for you? You can never have enough of luxury of any kind... So if you have a satisfying life, it’s luxurious. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I got it from one of my colleagues that is “board queen”. What do you fear most? Being misunderstood. What is a happy life to you? Where I can be myself and people can remember me through my work. What does a regular day look like for you? I stay with kids all day long while trying to bring out their creativity through their verbal expression, writing and drawings. Tell us about your dream project.
I am a day to day dreamer. I want everyday to last as an achievement. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? All the characters from Dr. Seuss and Disney Land. They are a true inspiration for the children. When children get the right inspiration at the right time then their life gets set automatically. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? Iâ€™m a teacher, soft board designer and an art person. Which is the one thing you canâ€™t live without? Being recognized. What inspires you? Nature. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Iâ€™m not a bookie but I love watching movies.
Your voice and c pitch does Have you ever come across an interesting individual with whom you spoke, yet you didn’t hear a word because your focus went to the tone of voice and the high pitch-shifts? Or, when attending any sort of
of the voice, when observing great public speakers there is a little more work behind their greatness than with what we are presented. There is also the need to be careful as to not move into another corner of the
classes, presentations or meetings and the same thing happens? Even on the phone, when you need specific information but it’s presented with a disturbing melody and tones that make the sound of a fork on a plate sound like a classical masterpiece?
same not-good tone of voice which is the monotonous one. This is the tone of voice that can make anyone fall asleep whilst simultaneously create a great platform for losing interest for the subject.
We’ve all had that thing happening to us as well. It is as though the voice doesn’t hold the capacity to present a speech, or even a conversation. As easy as it may
Most often, the kind of quick shifting in pitch occurs due to an untrained voice. Although it is used a lot when speaking to other people and/or when showering and making beautiful music happen, that doesn’t nec-
seem to do a great presentation in terms
essarily imply that the voice is used correct-
creativity â€“ what s to people ly. When it is, it is relaxed and it comes out completely balanced with minimum effort whereas the opposite occurs with an untrained voice. Everyone has the capacity to learn how to use their voice in order to
with speaking up. A voice in control means so much more than just that â€“ it signals authority and makes the spoken words appeal to an audience much more easily. Also, the subconscious way of perceiving whatever
make it balanced, all it takes is a few minutes each day for a couple of days to hear and feel a big difference.
message that is presented, is much more susceptible to a balanced tone of voice than to one which is shifting in pitches.
There are several different exercises available, aimed at warming up your voice, train it to be able to hold a strong and confident tone â€“ the one which everyone actually does have the capacity to acquire. Controlling the pitch, smoothening the tone of voice in general to make it more appeal-
Have you tried to do exercises in order to make your voice more in balance and in tone?
ing and to make yourself more comfortable 267
Name: David Burkus Where do you live: Tulsa, USA Known for: The Myths of Creativity and the podcast LDRLB (“leader lab”) Currently working on? Book number two. Stay tuned. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? From around 14 years old, writing appealed to me. I first thought I’d grow up to be a novelist of some sort, but also found social science in college and really combined the two. I write nonfiction books about evidence-based, psychological researched implications for leaders and innovators. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? My wife and I are in the midst of building our dream home…so there. How would you describe your creativity? I guess the same as everyone’s creativity, I combine ideas from a variety of fields and hopefully find a few new and useful combinations. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? About six years ago I really buckled down and got serious about the path that I am on. What do you do at the moment? I’m a professor at Oral Roberts University 270
and a writer/speaker….which are really very similar jobs. A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Experiment with a LOT of things. When I first started we did all sorts of things under the LDRLB brand…90 percent of it got killed but the 10 percent was amazing. I always favor little bets and experimentation. One day, we’ll probably even kill off the LDRLB brand to experiment with new ones. Tell us how it all started. As I said before, I went to university to study to be a novelist but got interested in social sciences (psychology, sociology, communication, etc.). I took as many classes as I could during undergraduate study, then went on to a masters and doctoral programs in that vein. But always with the goal of emulating the writers who blended the two. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? Depends. When I’m thinking up ideas and collaborating: a whiteboard. When I know the path and just need to churn out the work: solace and caffeine. What is your favorite film? I was a huge Batman fan when I was a kid, and so I love what Christopher Nolan did for the franchise. Who would you like to invite for a dinner
and why? Milton Hershey. Besides making chocolate, the man founded a school for orphans which he later gave his ownership of Hershey Foods too. The school’s trust owns the company. Hershey may have been the original social entrepreneur. How do you like to spoil yourself? I buy way too many books on Amazon. com. What is luxury for you? Tech. I’m a major Mac-head and usually upgrade the moment a new iPhone or MacBook is available. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? I had a lot of people I admire provide endorsements for my first book. I am grateful to each one of them. What do you fear most? Messing up work life balance. What is a happy life to you? A decent amount of time during the day to work, and an equally decent time to spend with family. What does a regular day look like for you? I wake up at about 6 in the morning to one of my two boys (or both) screaming their awake. I get them ready for the day and then head off to work. After work I’ll either head right home or to the gym. Then a bit
of family time. Then I typically fall asleep trying to put the older boy to bed. At around 10 PM, I’ll wake up in his bed and move back to my own. Tell us about your dream project. I think it’d be awesome to turn one of my books (or future books) into a documentary. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? Depends on how far down the line. I have people who are 5, 10 and 20 years further down my career path that I seek out whenever I have an issue or decision. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? My goal is to bridge the gap between academic research and good storytelling. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? My wife. What inspires you? I’m inspired by good ideas about leadership or innovation wherever I find them. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Beside the Bible, Strunk & White….which is pretty much the Bible of good writing.
3 ways of using creativity in management Everyone who is holding a management position knows how many different things there is to be aware of when having the responsibility to manage a group of talented individuals. As practically any business is structured around creativity in one way or another, this means that there are certain abilities which are much more valued in a manager today. Responsiveness to change and high flexibility are probably the two most important ones and therefore, we have outlined how to use creativity in order to be a great manager, with the two abilities in mind. Why are they so important? Well, being successful in a fast-changing business environment requires the ability to see where the changes need to be done, how to do that and at what moment it is most appropriate. Thus, responsiveness is a big factor directly relating to the amount of success and progress that you and your team will experience. As for flexibility, being able to set goals and methods for reaching them and then adjust or change those methods a couple of times in the process while still keeping your team performing is the very essence of flexibility. 272
Below are our three best suggestions of how to use creativity in management: •
Find ways in which to surprise your team now and then. Figure out which coffee they all like and then bring that to them sometimes, without needing 12 extra hours of work or anything else. Do it because you want to.
If there’s a lot of pressure on the team, with deadlines coming up and a stressful environment being created – get them out of the office. Driving off to a quiet and nice café can make the world’s best impact on tired team members and bring back those levels of energy needed to finish the job and do it very well.
Make sure to put much focus on the office space, the atmosphere. Calming colors, not too many patterns and other distracting items, comfortable chairs or sofas or whatever you choose to use, together with access to some sort of snack – that will have a huge positive impact on people as they will feel comfortable spending time there.
Worth pointing out is also the fact that management doesn’t require a team. If you are leading your own progress and managing the operative assignments as well as keeping track of your own milestones and goals
â€“ then you are a manager as well. Adjusting the three mentioned suggestions to suit one person can easily be done, and it is as efficient as in the team situation. Do you find ways in which to use creativity in your own management style?
Interview: Alejandra Michel Munguia
Name: Ale Michel
confidence to start my own business.
Where do you live: Guadalajara, México.
What do you do at the moment? I’m working on expanding my design products and I’m in a national illustration contest.
Known for: My illustrations. Currently working with: I’m a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. I have my own creative business doing exclusive and personalized articles like clothes, phone cases, canvas and different daily stuff. When did you realize that you were going to work with this? Since I was a child I decided that I wanted to work with drawing, so that’s what I’m doing. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? I’m in love with Paris, it is the most harmonic place I’ve ever seen and makes me feel inspired all the time. How would you describe your creativity? It works better at the moment when I’m sensitive, when I’m angry, or totally happy. My creativity is a way of expressing my feelings. How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? 3 years ago, someone did find me and invited me to participate in an important illustration contest. Since that moment a lot of people, institutions and businesses looked at my work and a year ago I gained the 276
A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? Trust on your own talent, do every day what you like the most and be patient, and organized – it takes time but it’s worth it. Tell us how it all started. I can´t spend a day without drawing so I do it everywhere all the time. One day I was really bored so I took my cellphone and painted on it a design. People liked it and paid me to paint theirs too, but it was too expensive and not functional so I got the idea to do it digitally and print my designs on different things. I posted it on internet and that’s how it all started. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? A harmonic environment, a lonely place with good music, a paper and a pencil – that’s all I need. What is your favorite film? I’m pretty visual so I love animated movies, because they inspire me, and my favorite film is “The Prince of Egypt”. It’s a gorgeous traditional animated film. Who would you like to invite for a dinner
and why? If I could I would like to invite Walt Disney, he was one of the most creative and interesting minds of all times. How do you like to spoil yourself? Watch a movie, eat something with chocolate or going shopping. What is luxury for you? For me it’s luxury to be my own boss. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? It came from a Master illustrator who was my teacher at the University, she told me “I’m your fan”.
export my products, make a gallery and be a recognized artist. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I guess my dad, he is not an artist but he is a really good business man who does what he likes. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? It’s totally relaxed, with a touch of Mexican culture and very girly. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? A pencil and a paper.
What do you fear most? That something bad happens to the people I love.
What inspires you? Mexican things like clothes, patterns, color. But more than anything music and faces.
What is a happy life to you? To do what I like the most all the time and be surrounded by the people who love me and who I love.
A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay.
What does a regular day look like for you? I wake up, take a shower and make a coffee, check my email and do a list with all the things that I have to do, and start to work – until the day ends. I obviously take my time to eat and do some exercise and sometimes hang out with my friends. Tell us about your dream project. My dream project is to expand my business, 277
Watch a movie, boos a great reason fo Do you experience those days where you don’t really have any inspiration to do anything creative at all? Nor the energy? Maybe it’s because of the heat, a cold coming up, stress or just some other form of process, but you really can’t make an effort to create anything of value? We’ve all been there. When these situations occur, and they do sometimes, letting go of all of the mental conversations aimed at forcing yourself to get things done is highly recommended. You are aware of that you will get it all done, just not this day or evening and it is absolutely OK to take some time off. Even if you’re pretty much in the middle of ev-
erything. And what can be a better way of relaxing your mind and indirectly receiving inspiration than watching a movie? The great part about movies is that there are so many to choose from. Whether you prefer artistic ones or action-filled ones, romantic or thrillers, long dramas or short comedies, you will find something of value. Exposing yourself to a creative work such as a movie, and passively participate in that piece of art, is relaxing while simultaneously providing you with ideas, even though they might be unconsciously structured and developed. Also, another great thing about movies is that they can be used to boost a certain
st creativity – That’s or movie nights! feeling of which you might need a little extra at the moment. Watching movies where something amazing happens ignites that same emotion in you, bringing back that will to do what you love to do. Likewise, if you just need a laugh, then comedies will definitely help you reach that goal and lighten up the mood a lot.
that’s what we all need sometimes and it is what makes movies absolutely fantastic. Do you find movies to be a good way of relaxing, when you really need just that?
As long as the movie appeals to you in that given situation, it will also lead to new levels of inspiration and a new outlook on that current work from which you chose to have a break. By that happening, the heavy or stressful emotions leading you to choose to have a break, will disappear and instead be replaced by calming, happy ones. And
â€œSeven Deadly Sins; Wealth without work Pleasure without conscience Science without humanity Knowledge without character Politics without principle Commerce without morality Worship without sacrifice.â€? Mahatma Gandhi
â€œA serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes.â€? Ludwig Wittgenstein
The true story – How people find out that they are creative
Have you ever reflected upon the moment in which you actually understood that you are creative and that this is a really great thing? Have you ever managed to define that moment as a moment in itself, or rather a gradual process leading to that insight? Many people today don’t even know that they are creative. Also, a lot of people walk around each day trying to convince themselves that they aren’t, yet knowing very well that this is absolutely false. Feeling the need to do that is not only energy-consuming, but really unhealthy as well. Instead of denying it, embracing it might be a better idea. As there a so many different fields in which creativity is used, and so many different attributes and specializations assigned to them, there isn’t any creative skill available that isn’t useful. Every single one is and so why not invest your mind and time into evolving it and make it part of your daily life and work? Creatives in general don’t seem to put much time to reflecting on that part of themselves – it is simply there and this need to use creativity and be creative is a natural thing, which they embrace. Many of them don’t even label those perspectives as having anything to do with creativity, and in many cases they actually understand that they are creative, once someone tells them. The tremendous effort creatives make when actually understanding their own
creativity and above all starting to respect and value it is beautiful. Suddenly, a heavy weight has been lifted off of their shoulders, the one which suppressed and neglected their creativity. A big reason for this weight can unfortunately be associated with schooling and the often negative or completely ignorant attitude towards creative minds and the abilities which that follows. Then, as people move over to their professional field, they are approached by that same notion and this is what initiates that negative process. To all of the creatives out there – you are allowed to be creative and if a workplace or manager or anyone else gives you hints about the opposite being true, then go find another job. Creativity is more and more acknowledged as actually being of value, but there is a long road ahead until all businesses fully include and promote those values in their workplace. Thus, if you feel like you are not able to express your creative ideas, find a place where that is appreciated. Because there is absolutely no reason for you to stick around in a place that doesn’t promote and value the creative part of human beings. How did you find out that you are creative? And what did that discovery mean to you?
Name: Pam Zeidman Where do you live: North Barrington, IL USA Known for: Creativity and organization Currently working on: I am guest teaching a Musical Theatre class for a local dance studio’s summer intensive; teaching 3 tap classes for senior adults; and building my virtual assistant business. When did you realize that you were going to work with this/in this area? When I was in my late 20’s, I took a part time dance instructor position while working full time in another industry. That part time job eventually became a series of part time teaching jobs at several different studios, and then turned into a 30-year dance career. If you could choose one place only to live, where would that be and why? Australia. I fell in love with the country during a trip there in 2007 to visit friends. Everything about Australia appeals to me. I would move there in a heartbeat! How would you describe your creativity? My creative juices are always flowing, which I put to use in other ways when I’m not dancing. I love to design gardens – a blank plot of dirt is like a blank canvas to me. I love exploring colors and textures with plants (perennials in particular). I also enjoy graphic design, drawing, building projects, and decorating. 292
How and when did you start to work with this in a serious manner? I always attack everything I do with 100% effort. I see challenges and my mind automatically kicks into gear on how I can succeed or overcome the obstacle. I never thought dance would take me as far as it has, but I’m grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had to improve myself and become a better artist. What do you do at the moment? At the moment I have several very diverse jobs. I am very much an entrepreneur and enjoy running my own business. I recently started a virtual assistant business for the performing arts. I enjoy helping others succeed at what they do best, so with 30+ years of dance and administrative experience I am doing just that. My current clients include a dance studio, concert pianist, and a professional tapper. I teach three senior adult tap classes each week, choreograph musicals for two high schools. I also run an in-home dog boarding business and teach horseback riding lessons (I love animals and am lucky to have two horses on my property). A recommendation for those who think about starting and running a creative business? You need dedication and determination! Always be in a “learning” mode by taking classes, asking for advice, reading, writing
down ideas (journal) and see what develops. Tell us how it all started. My performing arts virtual assistant business started after meeting a fellow dance teacher through a LinkedIn group. We started corresponding and as a fairly new dance studio owner, she’d bounce ideas off me. She was looking for help in marketing her business and I started by helping with her Facebook Page. The next thing I knew I was designing brochures and flyers, rebuilding her website and helped to push her business into the forefront. Did I mention that she lives in Queensland, Australia! A year and a half later, I’m now working parttime for her – we Skype weekly and have developed a strong friendship. Earlier this year, I decided that if I could do this for her, maybe there were other performing arts individuals out there who could use my help, and “voilà” – my business was started. What is the most important thing in a workplace/studio for you? The most important thing, for me, is to let nature in. I obtain much of my inspiration from nature. My home office/dance studio has windows all around that I can look out and see birds at the feeder, trees, flowers, my horses grazing on grass, the sky, the moon and the sun. My walls are painted a bright, upbeat color, and I have positive quotes and favorite photos placed around my desk.
What is your favorite film? That’s a tough one! I absolutely love The Notebook, but I tend to lean towards musicals – Grease and Singing in the Rain. Who would you like to invite for a dinner and why? All my very best girlfriends. I grew up in Canada and have many good friends still there, plus several in Australia and different parts of the USA. I would gather them all around me to catch up and have a glass of wine. How do you like to spoil yourself? I love to be pampered at a spa – massage, facial, mani/pedicure! Also spending time with my horses is very therapeutic. What is luxury for you? An all-inclusive vacation on a tropical island. What is the nicest compliment you’ve received for your creative work, and from whom? Several years ago when I was still teaching full-time, a student that I had taught from the ages of 10-18 was graduating from high school and leaving the studio. She wrote a poem to me on how I had impacted her life over the years and read it out-loud during an awards ceremony in front of a large audience. I was moved to tears, and was overwhelmed by the fact that I had touched someone’s life in such a meaningful way. What do you fear most?
I’m not afraid of dying, but I am afraid of not getting all of my bucket list completed before I die. What is a happy life to you? I’m living a happy life. Spending time with family and friends, involved in church, and doing what I love. What does a regular day look like for you? Animal chores, computer work, cooking, interacting with my family, reading, walking, and creating. Tell us about your dream project. I would love to choreograph a musical for Broadway! Something upbeat and humorous. Who is your professional role model/inspiration? I really admire Debbie Allen. She has let her passion for dance guide her life and her choices. She has overcome adversity and always seems to shine brightly. How would you describe your work style (academic field or fashion style, or both, or something entirely different)? When I start a project, I stick with it until it’s completed. I don’t like leaving loose ends. If I have questions, I seek answers. Which is the one thing you can’t live without? I don’t have anything that I couldn’t live without. I hold loosely to the things of this world because I came into the world with 294
nothing and I will leave the same way. What inspires you? Seeing colorful blossoms on plants that started as little seeds. The red Cardinal that chirps on the highest tree in my yard. Horseback riding through a wide open field. The changing of the seasons. Digging in the earth. The smell of fresh cut hay. The ocean. Life experiences. Music/lyrics. A dance performance. A book that has changed/made the most impression in your life? The Bible.
The Quote of Things– Passion and ideas “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right. If you’re not passionate enough from the start, you’ll never stick to it.” – Steve Jobs There are a few times in life when a simple idea creates something within. It is a need, an urge, an obsession and something absolutely wonderful. No ignorance in the world will make that feeling go away, quite the opposite. It seems to be a whole worldview, in which a complete set of attributes are encouraged to freely evolve. Having found this idea, or issue, is not like any other sensation ever felt before. This is called passion and it is probably one of the strongest driving forces in people, and so also in creativity and in creative fields. Each day, inspiration from all around results in the creation of ideas. Some of them are simple and require minimum amounts of time and effort, whereas others might need further research to be defined. Regardless of all of that, most ideas will stay that way, as simply being ideas not implemented and not acted upon. This is because an idea without passion to use as fuel for the implementation process isn’t going to provide its creative founder with all the resources necessary for realization and thus it will not even be worth to initiate it in any kind of ac302
tual activity. Activity, as known, takes a lot of energy, especially in cases where there is a pretty big chance of being the only one pushing for an idea to happen. Unless it is completely fantastic and ignites crazy levels of passion, this won’t hold up. When it happens, this passion for an idea must come with responsibility, because a feeling of simply having to do something and this without negotiation isn’t always a great thing. And even if it is, people who don’t share this same passion will present suspicion and at times also resistance towards the often intensely presented outline of what simply needs to be done, or changed, or created. Doing that thing, which is often complex, time-consuming and costly, also includes some big changes in the process and this is what most people in general wish to stay away from regardless of the potentially great outcome. Creatives don’t share that same relationship towards change, and they will be persistent in their urge for people and institutions and all other parties to get active in this particular cause, to contribute and help the ideas come true. There’s simply a never-ending source of energy for this found passion, and there are no wrong moments in which to talk about it, research it and market it. Despite the negativity around them, the lack of support, the attempts to silent it all down and/or create obstacles in the way so as to not be able to move on
with this urging idea or mission, it will indeed be moved. Forward. By the creative minds who run on passion. There are many wrongs out there waiting to be found by their right creative mind. In order to make them right, or give it all with the aim to make a change in the right direction, it takes passion. Passion is the fuel, it is that highly active state of mind which lights the initial fire and makes sure itâ€™s lit until the project is completed. It is also that one state of mind which isnâ€™t growing weaker by being subject to critique and external negativity â€“ it just grows stronger from those inputs. When there is facts and evidence backing up this idea and there is passion on top of it, there is nothing on this world that can make that person change his/her mind. Creatives, passion is the absolutely best tool for making fantastic things happen, and if your idea brings out that from you, you know it will be a success.
creative room 4 talk An international magazine for creativity creativeroom4talk.com
Published on Aug 31, 2015
This is our 5th issue and we've got 21 awesome interviews + a lot of articles ready for you. What's new in this issue is a featured long art...