Next Buffalo speaker

Victor Parra Gonzalez

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January 11, 8:30am • Central Library • part of a series on Surreal

Welcome to our Morning Person interview series, introducing stellar members of our CMbuf community. Make sure to update your profile for an opportunity to be featured on our blog, newsletter and social media accounts!

This month we’re happy to share an interview with artist Tim Brooks.

What is your special creative force? 

My creativity is driven by innovation.  There are really no new ideas in the world, but we can have new interpretations. I love to push the boundary’s of materials, processes, and functionality to create something new. When I first learned Photoshop, I did not want any instructions. Instead I used it as a playground to see what I could make it do.  Not knowing what I can’t or shouldn’t do frees me to be limitless in my ideas.  Yes, I did eventually learn how to use it properly, but I have several techniques now that allow my artwork to be unexpected.

In the spirit of December 2018’s theme, CMtradition, how does tradition play into your creative practice? 

Some people treat tradition as “sacred cows” and that is always a tough sell for me.  I love the nostalgia of tradition and find it to be a great start for new ideas, but always want to allow traditions to evolve.  I also find tradition to be a master class in values and human bonding. I try to preserve the best of the past or ritual while allowing room for growth.

What project are you working on right now that we should all know about? 

My current passion project is Expo 68.  I have a huge background in product development and retail as well as art. Expo 68 is an exhibition center.  Whether we are hosting a monthly art exhibition, live music performance or showcasing artisan and design talent, my goal it to exhibit the best of WNY while nurturing emerging talent. I recently did a collaboration with Jazz Buffalo on an exhibition merging jazz and art. Nine local artists created works inspired by the heart of jazz and we had 4 live jazz performances.  The result of the exhibition was more than I had expected. We saw cross community building.  Because we pulled artist from the Buffalo Society of Artist, WNY Urban Arts Collective and from the south towns, many of the artist did not know each other, but have now become friends.  I also had an artist from a rap background become a jazz fan after researching jazz for his work and realizing that he had sampled several jazz tracks.   This cross community building result really inspires me and hope Expo 68 will become a place where various creative organizations can meet each other, collaborate, and learn from each other. I’m always looking for ideas to collaborate that create a better community in WNY.

Where in Buffalo do you go to be most inspired? 

I love to go downtown Buffalo.  I have always loved city life and the revitalization of our city is inspiring.  Buffalo has a rich cultural heritage that was innovative at the turn of the 20th century and that same spirit of innovation is starting to take root. Just look at our new buildings that are reshaping the skyline.  It is the marriage of the old art deco style and new contemporary architecture working together to create a unique visual landscape that moves me most.

Thanks, Tim!

December 2018′s theme is TRADITION Traditions are sacred because they cultivate consistency and a sense of belonging. It’s the bread and butter for fostering connection and community. We’re in a time where traditions are being challenged and remixed. We question how they came to be and the context in how (or if) they fit into the future. “This is just the way it is” is a statement of fear, not possibility. It undermines the human capacity to adapt and create change. Traditions are made by us, for us, so therefore they can be reinvented with intention and imagination. You may not start the next national holiday, but you can bring to the table your generosity, your kindness, your vision and heart to create a more welcoming future. Our last 2018 global theme TRADITION was chosen Barranquilla chapter and Andrés M. Felfle illustrated the theme. 

Join the Buffalo event on December 13th!

Welcome to our Morning Person interview series, introducing stellar members of our CMbuf community. Make sure to update your profile for an opportunity to be featured on our blog, newsletter and social media accounts!

This month we’re happy to share an interview with Lindsay Robson, lifestyle blogger, and social media & marketing enthusiast at Nickel City Pretty. 

What is your special creative force? 

My special creative force comes from the Buffalo community itself.  I will forever find inspiration in the people that I interact with on a daily basis, whether it’s at a small coffee shop, independent boutique, local restaurant, or one of the many wonderful folks that I interview for my blog.  These people are the energy that runs this city, they are passionate and loving and hardworking and make me want to be a better person on a daily basis in all aspects of life.  

In the spirit of November 2018’s theme, Restart, share a moment when you’ve had to restart—whatever that means to you. How did that impact you/your creativity?  

Almost six years ago, I found myself needing a major restart.  At that time, I was in a depression.  I didn’t have any hobbies, I was in a job that was far from my favorite, and I was just in a general bad place.  I started my blog Nickel City Pretty as a creative outlet, a way to channel my energy into writing something positive about Buffalo and showcasing the wonderful things that existed in our community.  This forced me to step out of my comfort zone, try something new, and to restart and “reinvent” myself in a way that I never knew that I needed. Because of this, I’ve found my best friends, tried so many new things, networked with some incredible people, and am the happiest that I’ve been in years.

What project are you working on right now that we should all know about? 

New projects are my favorite, and my friends and I actually just launched our new venture last week!  May I introduce to you our new podcast called “When’s Food?” - the podcast where four friends chat about random things each week until we get too hungry and need to go make a snack.  You can listen to us on our website or on iTunes!  (we’re currently working on getting onto Spotify)

Where in Buffalo do you go to be most inspired?  

I have two choice places where I like to sit and relax and do my best work.  First is at my studio on Exchange Street, Black Box Studio.  It’s my favorite cozy place to chill out, turn up some music, and let my creative juices start to flow.  Second is Public Espresso.  Love the atmosphere, the people, and the food.  I find myself curling up on their couch a lot in the winter watching the snow fall outside.  Both places leave my heart and my mind feeling full and inspired.

Thanks, Lindsay!

November’s theme is RESTART I need to disconnect. There’s too much noise in my head. I am burning out. I need space to rethink everything. I need a hard reset. Exhaustion is like dehydration—when you feel it, you’ve gone too far. So we finally cave in and heed the words of people who’ve found their centers again: take a trip into nature, go for walks, unplug completely. The challenge with restarting is that we often save it for the end rather than creating pockets throughout our weeks where we prioritize reflection and solitude. Restarting is essential. It’s a way to digest experiences, reflect and cultivate self-awareness, and remind ourselves that life is to be enjoyed. It’s refreshing and feeds greater intention and momentum into our creative endeavors. If you find yourself feeling like you’re on a treadmill with an invisible hand increasing the velocity, remind yourself: only you have the power to get off and recalibrate. Our global exploration of Restart was chosen by our Cologne chapter and illustrated by Marie Maerz. Thank you to Adobefor empowering the global creative community this month. Join us on November 9th in Buffalo. 

Welcome to our Buffalo Is Creative Changemaker of the Month of October  2018, celebrating the inspiring organizations working hard to make Buffalo better. Learn more about our project here:

We are happy to share the mission of Let There Be Light International. The organization is a solar charity—located right here in our city—that has connected Buffalo to a larger global community by helping more than 400,000 people in off-grid Africa gain access to safe energy in their homes and health clinics. Hear Executive Director Sarah Baird:

October’s theme is HONESTY

Honesty is the currency for connection. It’s a gift we give to each other that strengthens bonds and deepens relationships. Honesty is a practice where we start from the heart. Being honest isn’t always easy and being honest all of the time is impractical. Giving honest feedback or sharing our opinions requires sensitivity to the context and meeting others where they are—with kindness and empathy. Honesty is about providing the information that you would want if you were in a similar situation. Another way to look at honesty: it’s a flower born out of the soil of trust, connection, and conversations. The more we nurture conversations that breed trust and forge a connection, the more honesty becomes baked into the way we lead our lives. This month’s global exploration of Honesty was chosen by our Cardiff chapter, and illustrated by James Lewis. Thank you to Mailchimp, Adobe, and for empowering the global creative community. 

Welcome to our Morning Person interview series, introducing stellar members of our CMbuf community. Make sure to update your profile for an opportunity to be featured on our blog, newsletter and social media accounts!

This month we’re happy to share an interview with digital marketing specialist Nick Stutzman.

What is your special creative force? 

In Digital Marketing, there are so many different types of clients with unique audiences - so when I am looking to be creative, I try to become one with the potential customer or audience and think what would attract them to this business’ specific product, service or event. And that’s where I find the passion to be creative, as I get a thrill of being able to visualize and become the person we are targeting, in order to make the client’s campaign come to fruition.

In the spirit of October 2018’s theme, CMhonesty, how does honesty play into your creative practice? 

I think being transparent, honest, and upfront about the expectations of anything I do professionally is very important in the creative process. That way I feel confident that the client is on-board with the campaigns we are creating, and we are delivering on the promises we proposed. Everyone is held responsible when there is an honesty factor involved. 

What project are you working on right now that we should all know about? 

I was recently hired as the new Digital Marketing Specialist at Trellis Marketing. I am really excited to share my knowledge and expertise with this creative company, and help take the digital marketing capabilities to the next level!

Where in Buffalo do you go to be most inspired? 

When I was 19, through a series of unfortunate events, I found myself homeless. In Buffalo, there were only a few places to go when you’re in that position. So it might seem weird, but I sometimes drive by the Buffalo City Mission (where I stayed for a decent amount of time) and am reminded of all the experiences I had while I stayed there and how I never want to be in that situation again. But I look back at where I have came from, it then inspires me to stay passionate about my career, what I am doing currently, and the future endeavors I am working on. 

Meet JB Hutch, our CMbuf featured teammate of the month! Test out your best Monty Python quote on him at the next event.

Dog or cat?

Cat’s for sure, dogs are needy and loud and you have to pick up their poop. Cat’s are so low maintenance.

Phone call or text?

Text, unless you’re my mom or dad, I’m probably not answering.

Chocolate or vanilla?

Vanilla. No fuss, no flourish, just pure and delicious

Morning or evening?

Morning. A great morning means a day full of productivity.

Facebook or Twitter?

Facebook. Is Twitter dead yet? I haven’t used it in over a year.

Ice cream or frozen yogurt?

Ice Cream. The more fat the better!

iOS or Android?

Android! Apple used to be the company that was all about optimization and standardization, now it’s dongles, proprietary software, and planned obsolescence.

Big party or small gathering?

Small gathering. Big parties can be fun, but I prefer a small gathering with a few close friends.

Coffee or tea?

Tea. Black, english tea and a dash of milk, thats perfection. I have enough anxiety before inducing myself with a panic attack from a cup full of coffee.

Jogging or hiking?

Jogging. I used to run a ton, not so much lately, but I really get some clarity in your head from a good run.

Hamburger or Taco?

Hamburger, I’ve never seen a taco that had an egg, bacon, cheese.

Money or free time?

Free time. Money is great, but I only get it so I can pay for more free time.

Amusement Park or Day at the Beach?

Probably a day on the beach, although I do like an amusement park trip every now and again. Beaches are great for chilling, reading, and covering myself thick with sunscreen to preserve my pasty, celtic skin.

Toilet paper: over or under?

Over, what sort of savage says under??

Rain or snow?

Rain by a mile, snow is pretty but rain means its not too cold outside. There’s nothing like falling asleep to the soft grumble of a summer thunderstorm.

Singing or dancing?

I am perfectly capable of embarrassing myself at both. You might even get to get to experience it yourself if you get to know me well enough.

Horror Movie or Comedy?

Comedy. I don’t understand how people can be into horror movies. How do people have fun getting scared? I don’t know. They’re not for me. But good comedy spans generations. I’ll probably quote Monty Python until the day I die.

City or Countryside?

City. I’ve become obsessed with how cities are designed. How people get around, how they interact with their city, and the culture that they create. Cities are so full of energy and life.

Winter or summer?

Summer by a mile. I’m over winter already.

Beer or wine?

Beer. Although, I’m not into all these weird micro-brew, double-IPA, summer shandy…. I’ll take an (or two) ice cold Guinness any day.

Ninjas or pirates?

If my last 5 Skyrim playthroughs are any indicator, I love a good stealth archer, so I’ll have to go Ninja. All though pirates sure do know how to have fun.

September 2018′s theme is Chaos.

When you think of chaos, you might think of utter confusion, a jumbled mess, destruction, or Slack being down.

But previously the word “chaos” had a different meaning. In ancient Greece, writers and thinkers described chaos as more of an abyss, an empty void that existed before life. It wasn’t until the 1600s, when it was adopted by the English language, that it grew undertones of mass confusion or pain.

Life, by nature, is chaotic. And the human brain is beautifully designed to turn chaos into order. Whether through storytelling, art, or through the veneer of self-delusions, we’re built to handle the randomness and uncertainty of daily life.

When a tornado rips through town, one person may see chaos where another sees a fresh start.

So, then, a creative addendum: We are in control of the story we tell ourselves about the events that unfold before us. We can view chaos as a freight train hitting our soul or we can see it as a catalyst for clarity.

This month’s global exploration of Chaos was chosen by our Tijuana chapter and illustrated by ERABOY. September’s CHAOS is presented globally by MailChimp.

Meet Kelly Atkinson, our CMbuf featured teammate of the month! Not only is she our beloved host, but you can also challenge her to an Irish jig dance off if you’re brave.

  1. Dog or cat? Dog! …although ours is particularly cat-like. 
  2. Phone call or text? Text. Because, GIFs.
  3. Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate. I might’ve whipped up a chocolate cake this evening specifically to enjoy a… (See #20)
  4. Morning or evening? Evening. I’m solidly a morning person once a month only :) 
  5. Facebook or Twitter? Facebook. Though for me, it’s increasingly becoming a tool to facilitate non-digital connections rather than online social networking. Hello, Buy Nothing Project.
  6. Ice cream or frozen yogurt? Frozen yogurt. Alas, I’ve yet to find a Buffalo spot for that Froyo fix.
  7. iOS or Andriod? iOS, they’ve got me. I do, however, miss the indestructible Droid Incredible of yore. 
  8. Big party or small gathering? Yes. But then time to introvert later, please.
  9. Coffee or tea? Tea. Earl Grey’s my go-to, but a clean jasmine or nostalgic rooibos are close second’n’thirds.
  10. Jogging or hiking? Hiking. I ran, once.
  11. Hamburger or Taco? Either, if they’re great. But I’d always pass on a fast-food taco for a fast-food burger.
  12. Money or free time? Balance
  13. Amusement Park or Day at the Beach? The beach! + all the sunscreen
  14. Toilet paper: over or under? Over. Says the patent.
  15. Rain or snow? I’m ok with precipitation that’s solidly what it is: a good rainstorm rather than drizzle and snow-globe snow, never sleet.
  16. Singing or dancing? DANCING. Fun fact: I was a competitive Irish dancer until fairly recently.
  17. Horror Movie or Comedy? Comedy. Never horror, unless it’s Guillermo del Toro, but even that takes some convincing.
  18. City or Countryside? City. Bonus: one with an accessible countryside.
  19. Winter or summer? Summer. I do love our four seasons and am excited for Buffalo to more whole-heartedly embrace winter. Snow patios, anyone?!
  20. Beer or wine? Wine, but I’m into a chocolaty stout occasionally. Bourbon though, really.
  21. Ninjas or pirates? Specifically the ninja Slackmoji.