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Happy New Year from CreativeMornings Boston!

2015 was a big year for CreativeMornings Boston - we celebrated our first birthday, hung out in some of the city’s newest spaces, took ALLOFTHEPHOTOS in the Danger Booth and ate an incalculable amount of donuts. 

The team is working hard to bring the CreativeMornings community incredible events in 2016. If you have ideas, feedback or slam poetry please get at us boston@creativemornings.com.

Chris Piascik on How to Make a Donut Vomit on a Loop

Remember when Chris Piascik became the first speaker to use the theme twice in a three-word sentence? That was so real.

The CM Boston community was incredibly #blessed last month to hear from Chris on how to be a general hustler. Chris, a self-proclaimed accidental illustrator, is a published author and winner of way too many awards to list here. When he’s not creating posters for bands that don’t exist anymore, he posts his daily drawings here and teaches at Hartford Art School.

Here’s our lightning interview with our epic November speaker:

You just completed your second Kickstarter campaign. What has been the most surprising part of crowdfunding?
I’d have to say the genuine excitement people seem to have about being involved. It’s really an amazing feeling to know people out there like your work enough to put their own hard-earned money behind it.

Does your process as an illustrator differ from your process as a designer? If so, how?
At this point in my career I see myself as an illustrator, and as a result of that I am bringing my unique voice to each project whereas that isn’t always the case in design. Design aesthetics and execution are particular to each specific project, and often times the designer’s voice is not, and should not, be a part of that. I still love design and enjoy doing it for my own projects—I’m just not really designing for clients at this point.

What has been your favorite project this year? Why?
Working on a few different sets of stickers for Facebook was probably my favorite project this year. Since the stickers are used almost as emoticons it was a fun challenge to think about the story or message each sticker would express and how people might use them in conversation.

Do you ever feel competitive with other creatives? How do you deal?
I don’t know if I’d say “competitive” but I do sometimes see amazing things by other illustrators that make me want to step my game up. There’s plenty of work to go around and it never seems like I am competing directly with anyone. Seeing other great work just makes me happy to see illustration as a whole thriving.

Related: Who wins a thumb-wrestling competition between you and (previous CreativeMornings speaker) Josh LaFayette?
I asked Josh, he say’s that I would probably break his thumb. I don’t think that would be the outcome, but I do feel confident in my thumb-wrestling skills.

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You can keep up with Chris on his website and Instagram (highly recommended). And watch out for his new book, Another 1000 Days of Drawings, which will be available next year.

CHECK OUT THE FULL DANGER BOOTH ALBUM HERE!

Photos courtesy of Dan Powell and The Danger Booth

Rock, Paper, SHOCK!

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Here’s what went down at our October Creative Mornings in order of awesomeness:

  1. Our first speaker duo, Audrey Claire Johnson and Katie Shannon, dishing on their acclaimed web series, the K&A Show
  2. a boss indoor swingset
  3. a cut-throat rock-paper-scissors battle
  4. Keith’s cool YouTube playlists

We invaded Hatch Fenway for the first of three months in their new co-working space. More importantly, we met a lot of new faces and, as usual, ate way too many donuts. For those of you who couldn’t make it, or those who just couldn’t get enough of Audrey & Katie, we’ve got your lunch read on lock. 

How did the two of you meet?
AC: Our planets aligned on my first legit audition in Boston for an original comedy series called “617,” which was created by Katie. I wore a criminally tight James Perse dress, and my strategy was to hoard all the printed scenes in my portfolio so the other auditioners would have less time to prep. Miraculously this worked, and I was asked to come in for a second round of casting, this time with Katie officially back from LA. I wore a fantastically inappropriate bold striped French Connection dress, and apparently did something right because I got the role. Being on such a large set as a lead was like a sweaty dream, and I trusted Katie to direct my unpolished chops into a fully developed character. Over the course of two seasons our working relationship grew, and when she approached me with the idea for “K&A” I screamed yes before she even finished her question. 

KS: My first web series I did was called “617” and I was living in LA at the time when we were casting and had the tapes sent to me. I remember seeing Audrey’s audition and I knew immediately I wanted her for the role. I loved working with her on 617 and when I created K&A, I had not doubt in my mind that I wanted her to play Karly.

Are there any downsides to working with friends?
AC: No. With the restrictions of producing ultra-mega-laughably low budget projects, the personal connection and shared drive to make your work happen is priceless. Over the years working in comedy, you inevitably find your circle of creative types that nourish you. Ideas are flying around like a ball pit, someone’s excited about this sketch, so-and-so’s script is on it’s final draft, do you want to help make it happen? These people are your peers, your friends, and eventually a family of nutters who are trying to make cool shit happen in Boston. 

KS: The quality of the show is so good because you are working with friends. Most of the crew have been working together for over five years now so its just a very comfortable feeling. You are all there for the right reason and that shows in the final product. 

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What was the last video you watched on YouTube?
AC: “Balloon Cops” by Human Giant. I was at a bar and brought it up to impress a date with my knowledge of the niches of sketch comedy. My Saturday nights are raging. 

KS: Adele going undercover as an Adele impersonator 

What’s next for the K&A show?
AC: I’m thinking, in this order, national tour, lifestyle brand, bid for office, HUGE scandal, rehab, movie deal, for starters. Real answer is that season 2 is just waiting on funding, we have about 15 episodes written and they are brilliant. Recently we submitted a pitch video for the Project Greenlight Digital Series competition and praying every night to our patron saints Matt and Ben that we get chosen. Also we’re sitting on a finished long format episode that may be used as a crowd funding incentive in the new year, called “Gay Camp” which was made possibly by a grant we won from the iTV Festival in Dover, Vermont. Planning to have new content out there for all our fans and haters very soon! 

KS: We are in the process of editing now an episode called “Gay Camp” which I think it is the best thing we have done to date. We were fortunate enough to receive a grant from the town of Dover in Vermont and we filmed 3 days up there. We are hoping to use this episode to raise money for the rest of season 2 because it is all written and ready to go. 

F*ck, marry, kill: donuts, muffin tops, breakfast tacos - go!
AC: F*ck: donuts. I was born without a sweet tooth, never EVER eat sugary breakfast. To be clear I don’t want to have sex with donuts, I want donuts to go f*ck themselves. Kill: muffin tops. After Thanksgiving which is also my birthday, I double-indulge myself every year. Also, what’s with the sweet food theme?
Marry: Breakfast Tacos! Salty breakfast option, easy to make, cheap to buy. Mine and Breakfast Taco’s wedding would be like Mary Kate Olsen and Oliver Sarkozy’s, with “bowls of cigarettes on every table.” I read that in Vanity Fair about an hour ago and can’t stop laughing.

KS: F*ck: Breakfast: Its like your sloppy one night stand. Kill: Muffin Tops: No one likes a muffin top. Marry: Donut: I could eat a glazed donut every day of my life.

Check out the trailer from their first season, which you can watch in its entirety on their YouTube channel.

We’ll be wrapping up 2015 at Hatch Fenway so be sure to mark your calendars and set your alarms for the next Creative Mornings! And we are always looking for sponsors, venues and speakers - so if you see something, SAY SOMETHING: boston@creativemornings.com

Photos courtesy of Dan Powell 

HANNAH CHUNG ON EMPATHY

If you didn’t get to share in the mimosas and baby donuts at our very awesome September CreativeMornings, you really missed out kid.

We crammed a bunch of old and new faces into Society of Grownups to hear designer/maker/ladyboss extraordinaire Hannah Chung speak about empathy. Hannah, co-founder of Providence-based Sproutel, has spoken at numerous conferences including Design & Emotion, TEDxSomerville, IFTF, SXSW, Big Ideas Fest, and Women@TheFrontier by Singularity University and NASA. We’ll be posting the video soon, but in the meantime, check out our lightning round with this month’s speaker:

What does your morning routine look like?
I snooze my alarm 3 times (unless I have to catch a flight) and I read Skimm emails in my bed. Then I take a shower and ready to go! I try to catch 8-9 hours of sleep so that I can power through the day without the help of coffee.

Who is the most empathetic person you know and why?
Elmo from Sesame Street. I don’t know Elmo personally, but I think it’s amazing how Elmo can show love and bring laughter to anyone who is having a bad day with his cheerfulness. I’ve seen so many clips about Elmo talking about family’s death, divorce, all those serious topics with little kids. Elmo also teaches about feelings and emotions with them too. It’s so cool how a little 3-year-old character, Elmo, can relate to so many kids from different backgrounds and give them hope. I would love to meet Elmo someday.

What was your favorite toy as a child? As an adult?
I absolutely loved my Chinese checkers set. It was one of those few toys that I didn’t feel the age difference while playing the game with my parents or other older folks (like my babysitter who was a college student). I LOVE Legos and 1000 pieces or more puzzles. I’m a nerd.

Is there any chance Jerry the Bear will become intelligent enough to take over the world? 
I hope Jerry takes over the world like Elmo in a positive way. Jerry will not be a cyborg or a terminator - he’s too nice and loves kids.

What’s the most important thing you do as a maker?
I always ask for help when I don’t know things. I try to evolve my skill sets and my thought process as a maker all the time. I’m a perfectionist and I have infinite room to improve :)

ACTION IN AUGUST!

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We had the best time last week at District Hall celebrating ACTION! Josh Lafayette, illustrator and pizza-lover, taught us some important lessons, including but not limited to: how to be a tornado, why hotdogs are amazing, and that it gets worse. 

Before he heads to Atlanta forever, we just had to ask:

What’s your biggest motivator?
My family- and I’m not just saying that. They rule.

Favorite breakfast spot?
I really love Trident on Newbury, Clover the food truck, and Tory Row in Harvard Square (breakfast pizza!)

Favorite tattoo of yours?
That’s a very hard one. I really like the hen that I got for (my son) Henry but I really like the one I got of Lou (my wife). 

What else? Thoughts on lettuce?
Iceberg is not as good as arugula.

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Check out The Danger Booth gallery here!

Photos courtesy of Dan Powell

July Recap: Collaborate

This month’s speaker, George Mumford, concentrates most of his waking hours coaching legendary athletes in the sport of self-consciousness. The Dorchester native and published author had a lot of wisdom to share with the Creative Mornings community. Here are some of our favorite takeaways from George:

When we engage in something, if we can have some fun, it enhances our cognitive functioning. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings
Negative emotions hinder our ability to be present. Laughter is a great way to start out. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings
How we habitually see ourselves becomes us. We need a willingness to be clear about who we are. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings
We decide who we become and how we experience the world. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings It’s stressful being responsible for others, not taking care of yourself.
Manage your relationships. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings
Kobe, Jordan, they weren’t competing for themselves. They compete for the greater good. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings
Our conscience is easily drowned out. It happens to all of us. We are afraid of peace because we have to face things. - @gtmumford | #CMBos
It’s comfortable not knowing what we are doing, we can avoid responsibility. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings
1 Of the 10 things you need to do, if you take 2 and do it well, you will get 80% of the benefit. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings
Learn to self-manage, understanding what to focus on and what you can archive as junk. - @gtmumford | #CMBos #CreativeMornings

GET TO KNOW GEORGE!

We nabbed George to answer some of our burning questions in a post-event lightning round.

What’s the collaboration you’re most proud of? 
GM: My mind, body, heart and spirit being aligned, connected.

What’s your biggest passion outside work? 
GM: Easy: love of people.

What’s something no one knows about Michael Jordan? 
GM: How sensitive he is and how much he cares about others.

Who has been your biggest role model? 
GM: It has been different people at different times: Buddha, Jesus Christ, JFK, Martin Luther King - my mother had pictures of all of when I was growing up. Growing up in Boston, I’ve always looked up to Bill Russell. In sports: Jerry West, Oscar Robertson, Dr. J. The list goes on… It’s more about people who embody compassion and love and wisdom.

What’s your go-to breakfast? 
GM: Usually the classics: scrambled eggs with cheddar cheese, english muffin and turkey bacon.

Tweets courtesy of @dncnlwrnc // Photos courtesy of Dan Powell

A Kirk Wallace Recap

imagePhoto Credit Monica Justesen

Let’s take a step back to CreativeMornings/Boston June edition. It was a lovely Friday morning, the theme of the month was minimalism, and we had the talented illustrator/designer, Kirk Wallace, as our speaker. Dan and Rich from Dribbble came out to join the fun and a glorious morning was had by all. 

To follow up Kirk’s talk, we wanted to give a little more insight into his process and workflow. The first thing Kirk will tell you is that he does what he does because it works for him. Take it or leave it, he’s not here to preach, but rather to share what has worked for him - a process which he says is always evolving. One thing Kirk stressed is to always keep the ball rolling. Don’t let it [your work, ideas, skills] get stale. 

PROCESS. 

imageProcess from start to finish of an illustration, from sketch to digital, textures to lighting and color correction.

With a degree in computer science, Kirk has always been meticulous and detail oriented. He looks not just at the final product, but the intricacies of what went into creating the final piece. His workflow is actually quite simple. He starts with a “horrible sketch.” The best medium for getting ideas out is pencil and paper. Although he’s drawn to fancy sketchbooks and pens, he says he usually ends up using some crappy pencil and whatever paper is around. Once he gets the idea on paper, he snaps a photo with his phone and brings the image into Photoshop to play with the levels. From there he takes the image into Illustrator to create a vector drawing. Then it’s back to Photoshop to add that gritty, organic, handmade feel. The entire process is very organized, efficient, and logical - his technology background plays a huge role in this. Design relates directly to computer science because it is all logic and solving problems. There are infinite solutions, but the skill comes in finding the best, most efficient one that cuts out the unneccesary and leaves you with a clean, seemingly effortless end product. The key to his workflow is to keep it non-destructive - to use the computer as a limitless tool. For example, using smart layers from Illustrator to Photoshop and using masks instead of erasing. Always be able to edit, know that any problem has an easy solution. Basically, he says, “you can make your computer your bitch.” Wise words, Kirk, very wise. 

SO WHAT’S NEXT?

Well, it’s looking like the next logical step in the Kirk Wallace journey is animation. Pretty sweet, right? His work is rooted in storytelling (if you were at the June talk, you know what I’m talking about, if you weren’t, that’s cool, check out the story behind his “minimal” tattoo, here.) Kirk is driven by intrinsic motivation, always learning and evolving his craft. He is fascinated with the idea of bringing his illustrations to life with the inherent storyline that animation creates. As a self-taught designer/illustrator, he knows the process by which learning this new skill will take. Finding the time to learn with the detail and precision required to really hone the craft, is really the barrier to entry at this point - not to worry though, Kirk has a brute force work ethic, so I’m sure he’ll make the time. For now, he’s having fun collaborating with animators, and when the time is right, we can expect to see some Kirk Wallace original animations. And I bet they’re going to be pretty amazing. When he’s not working on commissions, working as creative director of Wagepoint, or teaching himself animation, he works on the prints for his online shop - trzown.me/store. This is what he is passionate about, this is what he makes him happy, check out the store and see for yourself. 

REFLECTION.

imagePhoto credit Zac Wolf

A brief recap on how Kirk feels a month after his talk. 

The talk was awesome! Response was insane. People actually cared, they actually looked me in the eye. The fear almost instantly went away after Keith introduced me. I locked eyes with a few people in the audience and felt relieved. It felt like we were all talking together. People were nodding their heads in agreement, that validation was so important for me. It was the right demographic. The people willing to get up and come to a lecture at 8:30am on a Friday means they actually wanted to be there - to learn, listen and be inspired. It was a touching experience, everyone was on my side, it was humbling. I was surprised how interested people were in talking shop and hearing about my process. I loved using my tattoo as a catalyst for teaching a different lesson - looking at the bigger picture, it’s all about doing what you love and living the experience. 

A FEW TAKEAWAYS.

Interpret these how you wish:

• Have a spine, but always be open. 

• Be yourself, for yourself.

• Be human. Don’t preach. Don’t come off as more than you are. We are all amateurs. No one knows exactly what they are doing. 

• The design industry shits on itself. Stay humble. 

This month we have the talented Richie Stewart, of Commoner, Inc, speaking on the theme of heritage. I had the chance to sit down with Richie, and let me tell you, this guy is a treasure trove of passion and creativity. Not only is he extremely skilled at his craft, he is one of the most personable, humble, genuine guys I have ever met.

Make things look less shitty.
I asked Richie what makes him get out of bed in the morning; what makes him tick. After laughing that he had actually slept in that day and struggled to get out of bed, he tackled the question. He said there’s a lot of things that look pretty shitty in the world, his mission is to make things look, well, less shitty. He’s interested in all the details and makes sure to bring something into the world that delights the eye. You should have heard the eloquence with which he spoke about his desire for making things look better…err, “less shitty,” it was definitely inspiring.

Human Connection.
The thing about Richie that sets him apart is that he deeply cares about making human connections. He only works with people that he jives with and throughout his process he makes sure that he understands exactly what the client wants - even when the client doesn’t know exactly what they want. He has an ability to get answers to questions that he doesn’t ask. I’m telling you, the guy has an incredible ability to understand what people want by asking, without actually asking. Crazy, I know, but it all comes down to the very real, very human, connection that he makes.

Words to live by.
Richie lives and works by his mantra of Feel strongly, Do something, Show people. When you feel strongly about something, don’t just sit on it. Go do/make/create something! And don’t keep it to yourself, show people, get the word out, get feedback. That’s pretty solid advice right there, Richie.   

Richie’s talk is going to be amazing, you definitely don’t want to miss this one!  

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This month’s theme is Heritage, which was selected by our Cape Town chapter. The theme is presented by MailChimp who is an Official Partner of CreativeMornings. More than 6 million people use MailChimp to design and send email marketing campaigns. They support our headquarters so CM can continue to expand to new cities around the world!

We are thrilled to announce that speaking on this theme is world class graphic designer, Richie Stewart of Commoner, Inc.!

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Here at CreativeMornings/Boston, we like to spread the love and give credit where credit is due. So consider this post a big, huge virtual hug to our newest sponsor - Dribbble.

We brought Dribbble on board for our June event and lets just say, sparks flew! They describe themselves as “show and tell for designers” and this couldn’t be more accurate. The Dribbble platform is a hotspot for designers to share their work and connect with the community. It’s a space to show off your best work and maybe even score a job. Concurrently, Dribbble is also a wealth of inspiration and a vat of talent. It’s a great place to go when the creative juices are running low and you need a dose of visual awesome. The talent level on Dribbble is unmatched; if you are a designer and you are not on Dribbble, drop what you are doing and check it out. Based right in Salem, MA, we are so thrilled to have them as a CreativeMornings/Boston sponsor!

Now, lets  hear from Dribbble co-founder, Dan Cederholm on the matter: 

We’re thrilled that CreativeMornings has been rebooted here in Boston. New England has such a widespread and diverse creative community and it’s fantastic to have the opportunity to gather some of that energy into one spot. Working with Keith Frankel, Richie Stewart, and co. has been such a pleasure and reminds us of how much talent there is right in our own backyard, and how CM and Dribbble have similar goals in connecting creative folks. Plus, who doesn’t love donuts?

Seriously, how can you not love these guys?! 

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