Next Chicago speaker

Purpose with Jake Nickell

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April 24, 8:30am

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If you missed Leah Ball discussing Taboo last week, catch up on some of the #CMTakeaways the community shared during her talk! And don’t forget- we’re now livestreaming CreativeMornings Chicago events on our Facebook page. If you can’t make it to an event, tune in online and share some #CMTakeaways of your own!

Thanks for the Twister game @chicago_cm ! #cmtakeaways

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Did you miss Cheryl Pope at Savage Smyth last month? Check out some of the highlights and thoughts fellow CreativeMornings folks shared on Instagram and Twitter during her talk on Moments!

Creative Mornings Chi (@chicago_cm) was phenomenal this month. Thank you, @cherylpope, for listening, for seeing, for acting. Thank you, @savagesmyth for hosting us. . “The role of the artist is to make the invisible felt. To help a people understand their experience. To document this search and understanding. To challenge, question, and ask. To shed light in dark places. To listen. … I believe listening to be the most political act. Listening with the body, with all the senses, keenly, and acutely for the individual and obtuse for a group, a community, a society. . The act of listening is the foundation of my practice. It is listening to language, body language, relationships, histories, objects that contain meaning, that speak power, that tell lies, or hide truths, noticing, asking, and interpreting the poetics, the mapping, and remembering… But this lens of listening isn’t a garment to take on or off but rather it is my skin, permanent, attentive, in time, asking, listening, feeling, holding, and performing.” . #cmtakeaways

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It’s CreativeMornings time again! Registration opens at 11am today to hear Leah Ball weigh in on this month’s theme, Taboo!

Leah, an artist and community organizer, uses art to fiercely challenge the concept that female pleasure and other feminist ideas shouldn’t be discussed or celebrated.

Check out our Q&A with her below, and join us this Friday, March 31st, at Braintree!

Define this month’s theme, Taboo, in one sentence or less.

topics, actions, behavior that exists outside of societal norms and make us uncomfortable

List three words that begin with the letter “L” to describe your personality.




List the top three places you find inspiration.



sexual behavior

Do you have a favorite memory exhibiting your work? Or a favorite response to your work?

Summer open-air markets are really fun because my work elicits such a strong response. I like catching people’s initial reaction, whether joy, shock, repulsion.

I understand your work in ceramics developed out of a desire to make displays for your jewelry. Are there other media that you are interested in expanding your work into?

VIDEO! I have some exciting plans in the works.

What’s your favorite background sound (music, podcasts, etc.) when working in your studio?

Podcasts: Unscrewed, Invisibilia, The Heart

Love audio books, especially murder mysteries or sci-fi for the studio. LOTS of music. mostly music.

We all have ‘em. Emails that we’ve written but never sent; confessions of unspoken crushes, reconciliation with heartbreak, apologies you couldn’t bring yourself to send– with cursors hovering over and eventually retreating from the send button.

To celebrate this month’s theme of Taboo, MailChimp and CreativeMornings want to see those emails.

We’re collaborating on a campaign called The Inbox of Forgotten Emails and inviting you to share your most horrific, funny, weird, or embarrassing emails and drafts. We’ve built a site to collect and curate emails like love letters, “just following up,” rejections, and convos with old bosses. Names, of course, can be anonymous.

So dig to the bottom of your inbox or drafts folder, and hop on over to The Inbox of Forgotten Emails to submit yours today.

Just two more days until we hear Cheryl Pope weigh in on this month’s theme, Moments! In anticipation, we asked the visual artist, SAIC fashion professor, and boxer/boxing coach to answer a few questions to help you get to know her better. Check out the Q&A below, and join us this Friday, February 24th, at Savage Smyth!

Define this month’s theme, Moments, in one sentence or less.


How does Chicago influence you or your work?

Right now, Chicago is really at the root of my practice. My research is motivated by my direct experience. The most intense, relevant, and urgent issues are inflated here in Chicago and so these experiences, conversations, people, stories, are all woven into the work.

List three words that begin with the letter “B” to describe your personality(s).




List the top three places you find inspiration.



Being physical with others when language is minimally used or not used at all

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

when i was a teenager, and i realized art was the only place one could ask confronting questions

As an artist who works in many formats, what inspires you to teach fashion design in particular?

politics of identity.

everything starts with the body

clothing is the most intimate object we know.

Start the new year with a new gig. Pitchfork is seeking a full-time designer!

Just two weeks ago we had the rare opportunity to get a glimpse into the creative minds of Pitchfork’s design team at our evening special event. Responsible for leading the creative vision and creating the visuals for everything Pitchfork-related, the team has a new opening for a full-time graphic designer to work out of their Chicago office in Logan Square! Interested? Check out the full job description and apply here.

Call for Submissions:  Audience Takes the Stage!
Friday, December 16th
8:30am - 10am

Submission Deadline:  Wednesday, November 30th

Our audience is full of talented makers, thinkers and doers. We’re turning the microphone and inviting you to be part of our 3rd annual Audience Takes the Stage event, where you’ll get the chance to show everyone what you’re made of!

We’re on the hunt for 3 speakers to each give an 8-minute presentation on something they feel passionate about. The goal is to teach the audience something new or inspire them in some way. Think you want to do it? Don’t be shy! We want to hear from you. Know of someone in the creative industry who would be great for this? Pass this on and peer pressure them into it.  

Submission Details:

Nominate yourself by submitting the following information to by Wednesday, November 30:

  • Your name
  • Your occupation
  • A blurb about you (a bio works well!)
  • Applicable links
  • 1-2 minute talk-to-the-webcam video with what you’d like to speak about (please don’t share your video as an attachment to your email — instead, share a link to your video or send it through

To get an idea of some past talks, watch our 2015 and 2014 Audience Takes the Stage videos. 
Submissions start…now!

YAY! Creative Mornings is tomorrow! Join us as Nick Butcher and Nadine Nakanishi, the duo behind Sonnenzimmer, chime in on this month’s theme: transparency. Their collaborative practice was established in 2006 in Chicago, Illinois. Initially recognized for their idiosyncratic commissioned screen-printed posters, their practice has since morphed into an interdisciplinary toolshed spanning multiple platforms, including exhibitions, publishing, performance, graphic design, and exhibition design. Get to know Sonnenzimmer a bit better in our monthly Q&A series below!  


Define transparency:
Nadine: I would like to answer this from a screen printing perspective. Transparencies are usually clear films, or acetates that are used to generate a film positive.

How does Chicago influence you or your work?
Nadine: We are because of Chicago. The graphic arts history of the region is so rich for what we are doing, and the amount of things we keep discovering keeps unfolding! For example, one of the screen printing pioneers in terms of publishing knowledge around the medium and who coined the term ‘Mitography’, Albert Kosloff, taught at Roosevelt High School in the city. But then there’s also the music legacy of publishing and printing, for example that of Sun Ra’s Saturn Records. The man designed and printed his own record covers, and they were fantastic! The imperfection of being situated in the middle of a continent makes for a special blend of work that can be created. We tend to think that in Chicago, we can be artists that work through ideas materially and physically, that seems for us to be very important.

List three words that begin with the letter “t” to describe your personality(s):
Tenacity, tacos, and “Tdreaming”


YAY! Creative Mornings is tomorrow! Join us as Rebecca Ussai chimes in on this month’s theme: magic! Not only is she an Experience Design Director at R/GA Chicago, Rebecca has a particular knack for finding ways to combine the techniques of motion design into the most relevant areas of user experience. Get know our next speaker a bit better in our monthly Q&A series below!

Define magic:

the ability to create wonder, mystery, and delight

What drives your desire to create?

It’s satisfying and rewarding to apply creativity to countless situations where you’re either trying to solve a problem, improve an experience, evoke emotion, change perspective, or delight. I am constantly absorbing inspiration from everything I observe and it’s exciting to produce something novel that stemmed from a faint idea in your mind into something tangible and real that you can share.

How does Chicago influence you or your work?

Every day I get to observe architecture, urban spaces, art, and design that provide me with stimuli for fresh ideas and perspective. The amount of activity going on helps keep myself busy, and I feel like create better work when I am. It’s hard to ever get bored. The people are down to earth, extremely talented, motivated, and humble. After growing up in Cleveland and briefly living in New York it was extremely refreshing to find this midwestern city of ours to have the best of both worlds. I think I’ll stay.

List three words that begin with the letter “m” to describe your personality.


Tomorrow is Friday and there’s a Creative Mornings, which make it an extremely good Friday! Join us at TEKSystems as Ryan Duggan chimes in on our weird series. But first, take a peek at the Q&A with Duggan below ! Bonus points if you tweet us your favorite concert poster designed the Chicago-based artist!

Define “weird” in one sentence or less.

More interesting than “normal.“

What drives your desire to create?

My desire to eat. I also physically need to work or make something on a regular basis or I fall apart.

How does Chicago influence you or your work?

I love this city and I like to think it definitely influences my work and specifically my sense of humor. The work ethic of this town is really impressive and you really have to grind to make things happen here. It’s an ‘unpolished metropolis’ and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

List three words that begin with the letter “w” to describe your personality.

Working-class Willy Wonka.