Archive for the ‘Thoughts’ Category

This week 12/15 and year recap

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Pretty quiet for me on the internet this week, but I do want to tell you about this fundraiser my friend Jen Myers is running to buy Chromebooks for her Code & Cupcakes workshop. This is a mother-daughter website code basics class and right now attendees are required to bring their own laptops which not everyone has. Providing computers means anyone can participate!

Also if you’re seeing old friends during this holiday season, maybe this hilarious post on the types of friendships really gets it.

As for recapping the year here’s some facts:

Travel was big for me in 2014. I went to LA, where I got my first tattoo, and spent a weekend in the desert with some incredible feminist women. I went to the White House to help fight sexual assault. In August I traveled to Cleveland for Weapons of Mass Creation which was a grand time as well. In September I was in NYC to film my newest Skillshare class and more recently was the trip to Guatemala which I’ve written about as well.

Other stats:

Designed and/or built 10 websites. 

Designed 11 logos

Designed one book and had work work in two gallery shows

Here’s the books I read this year:

The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers and the Self-Employed by Joseph D’Agnese  and Denise Kiernan

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

Heads in Beds by Jacob Tomsk

Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing New Domesticity by Emily Matchar

Orange is the New Black by Piper Kerman

Game of Thrones (finished, started in 2013. Oof.)

Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay

Margaret Atwood’s the Handmaid’s Tale

The Member of the Wedding by Carson McCullers 

I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley

Yes Please! by Amy Poehler

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

I Work from Home by my former teacher Michelle Grabner

Annnnd! That’s it for me from the rest of the year. Have the best holiday with your nearest and dearest! Wishing you all the best and more in 2015!

*Image of delightful colorfield painting by Maximillian Rödel. Via Ernests.

Things from this week: 12/8 + The Artist’s Way

beirut

+ Isn’t this staircase the stuff of dreams? It’s in Beirut! Though it reminds me of Guatemala, like a lot. Source. Also see these amaaaazing quilt and textile designs. The grid systems here makes my little designer heart swell.

On friendship break-up. Talking about the complexities of female friendship isn’t something we do enough.

+  Why there is no “fold” anymore on websites

Where small retailers love to sell. I was surprised by a few of these! Might be some additional shopping options for the small businesses without tons of added fees/overhead.

Thoughts on design criticism. Applies to criticism in general.

+  Vulture’s best TV of 2014.

+ BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS: NPR’s  favorite books of 2014. My, there are some excellent cover designs here.   And Bustle’s best books of 2014. Interesting comparing the overlaps. For the little ones, Every Body Be Grateful, with lovely illustrations and words to teach kids about gratitude and body positivity. I don’t think it’s ever too early to start talking about this, especially with little girls.

+  Your friend said something racist on social media. Now what? Here’s a solid, 4-step plan for addressing it.

And now, to change the subject entirely, a plan for the first part of 2015:

One of the best, and maybe scariest, ideas to come out of my trip to Guatemala is the bestselling Artist’s Way series but Julia Cameron. It’s a 12 week program that’s helped thousands of people reclaim their work. At it’s core are three components: write three pages of anything every day, a weekly theme with discussion topics, and once a week you take yourself out on some kind of creative adventure independently. The point of all of this is to process the snags that plague our work, and uncover new directions, ideas, projects, plans for where else to go. Seems an easy enough premise, but I know this will be no small task. Here’s the basic themes:

Week 1: safety
Week 2: identity
Week 3: power
Week 4: integrity
Week 5: possibility
Week 6: abundance
Week 7: connection & perfectionism
Week 8: strength
Week 9: compassion
Week 10: self-protection & balance
Week 11: autonomy
Week 12: faith

I plan to start this program on Sunday January 4th with completion the week of March 22nd. I will be blogging about my progress but I’m sending this as an open invitation to any of you out there who might be feeling stuck and needing some new juice in your work, or more ways to work through overwhelm. I’ve set up a Slack chat room for us to help with accountability and as discussion place for whatever comes up along the way.

All you have to do to join is email me here. I also recommend you buy the book, or if you’d prefer there’s an online version of the program with weekly videos available for purchase here. I’ll be reading and writing the old fashion way because for me this’ll be about limiting screen time. I also plan to mix illustration in with the morning pages, as I want to work on creating a design and illustration style that’s only for me. I advise getting the book or the videos now so that you have time to read/prepare and are ready to go after NYE. (Nothing I like more than curling up with a book over the holidays!)

And, if you aren’t able to participate, any moral support is much appreciated for sure. You can also follow here and on twitter with: #theartistsway.

Making new years resolutions BEFORE the holidays is a first for me, but this year it feels right. It’s gonna be great Cheers to planning ahead sometimes too!

Until next week friends! Enjoy the weekend.

Reading list for this week 12/1

Going to Guatemala was in some ways one of the best things I’ve done for myself. I left with new yogic configurations, an appreciation for meditation that I never knew I had, 19 more impressively smart friends, and fresh feeling of ease in my heart. It’s still just as hard as it ever was to write and my words still falter and sound foreign, but still I go. Writing parallels any other art-making practice, it feels itchy and hard at the beginning but only through persistent output will this feeling improve. My task is to carry on this practice in as many ways I can think of. The task of doing some writing or non-computer, non-client art every day seems monumental some days, but I’m not judging myself if I can’t make it happen every day. I’ve been getting up early, doing 10-20 minutes of meditation (shout out Headspace app!) and here I am re-capping the week like usual.

mayan-fire

To be in a remote place entirely removed from American culture, with limited internet, and even still the news of Mike Brown and the absent indictment punctured through. It was the night we held a Mayan fire ceremony at dusk, an event with thousands of years of history behind it. With a modern day shaman’s incantations, spices and tinctures in the fire surrounded by crystals and talismans, we opened a portal to the ancestors and I whispered Ferguson into the flames. After the coals have been snuffed out, flowers are taken and thrown into the lake, to seal the intentions and offerings, a final plea that the ancestors might hear. I think of this every time I see another story about our country’s injustices, which has been often this week. It seems we are at the base of this mountain still, but I have to believe we are ascending. Listening, sharing, supporting to hasten the process.

50-shots

Imani Amos is a Chicago-based photographer and model, and her project 50 Shots, Humanizing America’s most hunted needs donations. It’s a photo essay showcasing 50 black men in Chicago and what they bring to our community, visual way to show that black men matter. It costs $20 per print and there’s only been enough money raised for 16 prints so far. Please share and donate.

+ My friend Mairead Case, who is a writer and teacher of all peoples, including teacher of poetry at the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility has penned words about Ferguson that have left me speechless. This is the only race related piece written by a white person that I have read to completion. Mairead, you are among giants and I’m proud to know you.

+ The secret life of grieving.

+ Hilarious and detailed birth story. I don’t exactly understand why I like to read these, but I do. This one is extra good.

+ So many guys out there (looking at you Aziz Ansari) often get being a feminist ally wrong, like head-pats for their efforts or making it about them and not the cause. Worse, they call themselves a feminist while acting out some other decidedly anti-ally, defensive, or dismissive behavior. It’s so nice to see a Terry Crews, who on the outset follows a typical masculine identity, but contributes to feminism and does it well. See his words here. More of this please!

+ More about talking to teenage daughters about sex. I will add to this a mention of how important it is to ask beforehand if it’s okay to hug, tickle, or pick up young kids, especially little girls. This teaches them autonomy over their bodies and that *they* have the power of consent, from the earliest days. And if they aren’t in the mood for a snuggle, or decline any touch for whatever reason, comply happily because they need to know that’s okay and supported too.

+ Researchers have found the difference between men and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math, aka fields that aren’t traditional roles for women) was larger among white students than black students. As a whole, white women are much more likely to associate these professions with white men than anyone else. Which means that black women are less likely to internalize male stereotypes about STEM careers. So interesting! There’s a bunch more information and some hypothesis on why this might be in the full article.

Aaaaaand that’s all for now folks! More updates next week coming at ya!

Things I’m excited about for WMC Fest 2k14

Why hello there, first blog post of 2014! What have I been doing, besides not publishing stuff on the internet for 8 months? Aside from participating in a tech summit at the White House (yes, that White House) on the prevention of campus sexual assault, I’ve honestly been enjoying keeping a lower profile for awhile. Because it’s safe and easy and I’ve been able to maintain steady work without it. In reality, maintaining a business isn’t the same as growing it. And not making writing a priority is all excuses disguising a rip-roaring case of impostor syndrome. Am I over this? Am I cured? If not forever, at least for now being able to type these words indicates yes. And I have to thank WMC Fest as a major factor in this development.

weaponsofmasscreation (Illustration by Mary Kate McDevitt)

Happening in precisely one month, in Cleveland, this’ll be my third consecutive year being involved in this event. The first time I went, I gave my first major public talk and to this day it’s still the best talk I’ve ever written and this post about it is still receiving regular traffic. Last year, going as an attendee was magical for other reasons, namely how awesome it is to be on the sidelines rooting for my creative friends on stage. I don’t think people give that support role enough credit. Without it there would be no festival to speak of. And this year, I’ll be on stage in a different capacity as co-host with my comrade Stewart Scott-Curran. We also curated the speaker line-up as well, which we’ve been planning since January. It’s been a pleasure and an honor to have this role. I can’t wait to see this all happen again IRL.

Here’s some specific things I’m excited for this year:

+ Beyond single speaker talks, we’ve put together two panel discussions and a formal debate. This’ll guarantee some legit Real Talk™ about the race, gender, and class issues in the creative/larger world. Our moderators are pros and will ensure the discourse is balanced and productive. They will give us all clear take aways to build more equality in our day to day lives.

+ I made a WMC inspired Spotify playlist! With songs that either talk about Ohio, the Midwest, or by groups who are from Ohio/Cleveland. There’s also a few songs from bands playing the festival this year, as well as some random summertime jams that are good for car trips and plane rides. Even if you can’t join us this year, you can enjoy this in spirit of the event!

+ Anna in the Raw vegan and vegetarian café is catering the festival. This’ll be a good balance with Happy Dog, another attendee favorite spot, which is just up the street from the venue, the Cleveland Public Theater. Not that their hot dogs (veggie or beef options) which come with a massive array of unexpected toppings and tots on tots on tots aren’t delicious. They are, and I can safely say would topple almost all of the dogs in Chicago (scandal, I know! Deal with it). However my belly appreciates some fresher food as well to, uh, keep things moving.

+ This is a given, but seeing old friends & colleagues from previous years, as well as meeting a slew of new folks. I haven’t subjected this to rigorous intellectual testing, but I’d wager WMC Fest has much a higher rate of return attendees over other similar design or creative conference which says a lot about the programming and the vibe. Events like this do something a little different for everyone, so it’s hard to define what the result will be for you. But, if my own experience is any indication, there will be cumulative results. Might be a bit of surprise what they are exactly, but regardless, they will be awesome.

+ Another difference is that all of the events are in one location, which makes for a more immersive experience than other conferences. Obviously, I’d love for the whole world to come to the talks and panels, but it’s fair if you want to check out the Rock ’N Roll Hall of Fame (recommend this, it’s insane!) or Great Lakes Brewing Co., or the charming Ohio City Farmer’s Market, get it done. There’s also locally owned coffee shop, Gypsy Beans, two doors to the left of the theater which’ll more than satisfy the joe fiends out there.

+ Check this twitter list for all WMC Fest speakers, panelists, musicians, comedians, and sponsors.

+ Hosting! A good host is like good design. If it’s well done, it works without calling attention to itself.

+ Also new this year: comedy! Sunday night’s a solid line-up curated by Cleveland Stand-Up Ramon Rivas.

+ Other things I’m hoping to squeeze in if I can: a visit to the historic Cleveland Public Library, which is across the street from the swanky Hyatt Regency which is also a historical landmark. Also: Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art!! They are showing an exhibition on graphic design legend and one of my hugest design influences, Sister Corita Kent in August.

So, will I see you there? I sure hope so. And, even if you won’t be able to make it and you’re reading this anyway I’d be thrilled if you said so. Just knowing that this transmission has made its way through the internet tubez to a real person would make my day.