I hope you all are excited and curios (see what I did there) for this month’s upcoming event. We have the very talented Ber-Henda Williams speaking on how being curios fuels her creative life. We asked Ber-Henda a few questions about why she’s a creative artist in Detroit. Forthwith, an introduction to this talented mind. See all of you on Friday!! 

Why Detroit? Detroit is an enchanted space! It is full of creativity and SOUL
What keeps you inspired here? The other artists and place makers here
What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? My favorite project was the Portal Project. It was here the summer past. It connected us to other parts of the world through video and audio equipment.  
What would be your dream project? My dream project would be an international artist exchange with girls converging in Detroit.
What do you do when you feel creatively stuck? I go dance

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of Context, we’ve asked Sarah Gallimore to share a few things to get us ready for Friday’s talk.CreativeMornings/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 15th?

Sarah Gallimore: Context is boundless.


CM/D: Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

SG:  While I grew up in the Metro Detroit area, Detroit has only been our home for the past four years. My husband and I have both lived in numerous other cities over the past 10-15 years and this is the longest we’ve stayed in one place since leaving our hometowns. It’s safe to say we both think of it as “home” now. We were married outside in our neighborhood on a cold December day in front of a great big mural with the owner of a local coffee shop officiating and our neighbors as witnesses. The energy, warmth and generosity of our neighbors and the entrepreneurial community as a whole is what keeps me here. 

There’s no shortage of challenges to tackle or opportunities to create - making it an ideal place for a multi-faceted creative such as myself to call home. It keeps me on my toes!
As an avid outdoorist, I adore having such great access to the riverfront and a delicious variety of planned and unplanned greenspaces that you’ll find here as well.CM/D: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

SG: My favorite project so far was developing a business model for a program that simultaneously supported under-privileged youth in the Bay Area as well as struggling food entrepreneurs to strengthen the local food ecosystem. The first phase of the project is going strong with my former colleagues under the name of Civil Pops.

I’m about to embark on my dream project this month as a design strategist working within city government! I’ll be able to share more details on this soon. CM/D: What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?

SG: When I’m feeling stuck creatively I do something else with my body besides sit in front of the computer scrolling endlessly through Pinterest (not that it doesn’t happen sometimes as well…). I go for a walk with my dog, I take a bath or break out my markers for some therapeutic coloring. I find something interesting to cook. I grab coffee with a friends. I engage other parts of my body and brain and I try my best not to stress if genius doesn’t strike right away. For hairy, complex problems, I try to put myself “outside” – amidst the issues I’m tackling with the people that are involved – whenever possible.  Often times - the answer to what it was I was stuck on will come relatively half way through the other activity and I’ll have to scramble for a pen and paper to capture it! This is a practice I’ve had to work on for years as both a freelancer and employee - particularly when it comes to managing deliverables within tight project schedules. A work in progress!CM/D: What’s your favorite animated gif?

SG: I have a thing for beautifully simple/clean animations but lately I’ve been falling in love with some painterly, doodley ones!

https://upload-assets.vice.com/files/2016/08/26/1472230581FrancisCab.gif

A recent fave from Francisca Borzea

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Join us Friday, December 15th to hear more from Sarah!
Register here to let us know you’ll be there!

For this month’s theme of Death, we’ve asked Jeni De La O to share a few things to get us ready for Friday’s talk.

CM/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 17th?
Jeni De La O: Reassessing, Understanding, CreatingWhy Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?
Where else? What other city has literally shaped the contours of our nation like Detroit? This city redefined the very limits of commercial potential and personal reach. This city created the soundtrack to social change and resistance that fueled–and continues to fuel–the drive for social equity and representation, and did it with a beat! Detroit has one of the richest storytelling communities in the nation and is home to the most innovative, inspiring, rooted people you’ll ever meet. What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?
Performing on the Moth MainStage was an unforgettable experience. The crowd in Salt Lake was so warm and welcoming and each of the storytellers on stage that night blew me out of the water. My dream project would be expanding Relato:Detroit to other cities (Relato:Chicago, Relato:Miami, Relato:LA, etc); expanding the platform for immigrant and bilingual storytellers. I’d love to work with storytellers from First Nation and Native communities to both highlight their experiences and showcase their languages.

What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?
I have a long commute. When I’m creatively stuck, I imagine being interviewed by Terry Gross and explaining to her how I got out of my creative rut. I play both parts, imitating Terry’s unflappably smooth voice and picking apart the block. People stuck in traffic next to me probably think I’m crazy–but the solution usually forms itself. When I’m writing or putting together a story and I’m unsure of which way to go at some point, my rule of thumb is “if I can’t explain it to Terry Gross, it’s probably not the best way forward.” If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?
Baking pies and roasting veggies.What’s your favorite animated gif?

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of Genius—presented by Wordpress.com—we’ve asked Thing Thing to share a few things to get us ready for Friday’s talk.

CreativeMornings/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 25th?

Thing Thing: Thing Thing Things

CM/D: Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

TT: Detroit is so unique, diverse, and beautiful. I am so grateful to be living here participating in real communities. There is a grit, drive, humility and expression that I haven’t found anywhere else. 

CM/D: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

TT: My favorite project to work on was when we were living in Venice for a month melting plastic all day working on “Making Friends.” Plastic all day - Pizza and Negroni’s all night. It was the life. My dream project would be to unite with our old comrade Eiji Jimbo to create a utopic landscape of objects in some pristine, natural oasis. Perhaps on the desert alla Arcosanti… Perhaps on a cliff-side in the Mediterranean…maybe even in some magical corner of the D…

CM/D: What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?

TT: When I feel stuck creatively I don’t even really feel it…I just get caught in a rut thinking the same thought over again and again. I usually come out of it when i realize I’ve said the same thing to Rachel four times in the last hour without doing anything else. Working with supportive people gives you the perspective to stop yourself from being a broken record. 

CM/D: If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?

TT: I’d either be in grad school or traveling through Italy. Escapist fantasies? Life investments? You tell me.

CM/D: What’s your favorite animated gif?

TT: This is really a tough one…we had to pull deep into our design values to summon this gem 

You can hear Thing Thing share more of their story in person this week during their CreativeMornings talk at True North No 8. Doors open at 8:30 for coffee, snacks, and mingling, and the talk will begin at 9:00am. As always, the event is free - just be sure to grab a ticket!

Special thanks to our sponsors this month: Adobe, MailChimp, Shutterstock, Wordpress.com, Huge Detroit, Threespot, Kind Snacks, Bikes & Coffee, Some_Things, and True North No 8.

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of Equality—presented by Adobe—we’ve asked Brandon Christopher of CANVASxDetroit to share a few things to get us ready for his talk.

CreativeMornings/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 21st?

Brandon Christopher: No spoilers, friends!

CM/D: Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

BC: Detroit is funky. Everywhere I go in Detroit, there is something funky to be found. Street art, community celebrations, people riding horses on the sidewalk, good ass music: all of it funky! How can you NOT be inspired by the funk?? I hope gentrification doesn’t wipe out the funk though!CM/D: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

BC: Every project is my favorite, while I’m doing it! My dream project is one that can leverage the power of art to positively impact people for generations. If I could work on a project that would live into the future the way the Great Pyramids of Egypt or the Sphinx has, that would be my dream!!

CM/D: What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?

BC: When I feel stuck, I get in the car, turn on some music (probably jazz), and drive through the streets of Detroit. Note: Jazz is a perfect genre to listen to for inspiration, particularly improvisational jazz because through the act of improvisation, the musicians reject the notion and reality of being “stuck.” When a jazzwoman or man improvises, there are no mistakes, there is no getting stuck. 

CM/D: If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?

BC: Hmmmm, I’d probably be in graduate school trying to add more tools to my toolkit! I promised myself that I would earn my Ph.D!

CM/D: What’s your favorite animated gif?

BC: Recently, I discovered a hiphop artist that I enjoy, but after listening to a few songs I couldn’t tell if he was a parody rapper or just a goofball making fun music. So, I googled him and as it turns out, he’s kind of both. In fact, one of his fans turned a comedy video into a GIF that made me smile. I’ll include it on the last slide!

You can hear Brandon share more of his story in person this week during his CreativeMornings talk at MOCAD. Doors open at 8:30 for coffee, snacks, and mingling, and the talk will begin at 9:00am. As always, the event is free - just be sure to grab a ticket!

Special thanks to our sponsors this month: Adobe, MailChimp, Shutterstock, Wix, Huge Detroit, Threespot, Kind Snacks, Anthology Coffee, and MOCAD.

We imagine a world where we’re seen and heard, respected and valued, not for our appearance and privilege, but for our work and character. A world where anyone, anywhere, has equal access to opportunities and resources to become the person they dream about. The formula for equality is a work in progress, and this work is not done from the few with power but rather through the power of community.

Equality is harmony. Harmony isn’t achieved through one instrument; it’s a collaboration, a symphony of sounds that adds richness and texture to the bigger picture. The pursuit of equality is a long-term game, an unraveling of outdated processes that no longer serves the future we imagine or deserve.

This month’s global exploration of Equality is chosen by our Johannesburg chapter, illustrated by Katt Phatlane, and presented by… Adobe! Yes, you read that correctly.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’re partnering with Adobe to stretch our collective mission in connecting and empowering creative communities around the world.  

With Adobe’s indispensable tools and decades of experience in enabling creatives to bring their ideas to life, along with CreativeMornings’ unwavering commitment to unite and inspire cities with face-to-face connections, we’re honored to be partnering with another company that is eager to champion the future of creativity and add fuel to the engine of generosity. Read more about it!

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

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For this month’s theme of Survival, we’ve asked Francis Vallejo—a native Detroiter, award-winning artist, and Assistant Professor of Illustration at CCS—to share his experience with surviving, and what that has to do with creativity.

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CreativeMornings/Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on Friday?
Francis Vallejo: Hu$tle, Love, Pain

CM/D: Why Detroit? What keeps you here?
FV: I was raised in Detroit. I lived my 20s in the south (Texas and Florida) and moved back to Detroit at 30 to teach at CCS. I mainly moved back to be near my parents without much knowledge of how the city was doing. I was/am blown away and so lucky that a side effect of this move was to be located in a city so vibrant and perfect for me. Where else can you get the benefits or a large metropolis art community with a reasonable cost of living - usually those features are exclusive of each other. I’m confident the (art) history books will mention 1920s Detroit like they did 1950s New York. And in the end, we make shit here in Detroit. It’s in our blood.

CM/D: Since this month’s theme is Survival, what is one thing that you couldn’t live without?
FV: Community. I used to work in complete isolation thinking that was a romantic notion. Trips to the gas station were my excitement for the week. I realized that lifestyle is dumb. People are cool. I’ve since learned that I benefit as a person and an artist when family, friends, and peers are regular participants in my life and me in theirs.

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CM/D: What do you do when you feel “stuck”, creatively?
FV: That doesn’t happen. I look at so much art from all disciplines that I have no problem finding inspiration.

CM/D: If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?
FV: Training for American Ninja Warrior.

CM/D: What’s your favorite animated gif?
FV: I literally LMAO’d after seen this the other day accompanying this quote “Video will play after ad, instead of Skip ad.”

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You can hear Francis share more of his story in person this week during his CreativeMornings talk at Detroit Center for Design + Technology. Doors open at 8:30 for coffee, snacks, and mingling, and the talk will begin at 9:00am. As always, the event is free - just be sure to grab a ticket!

Special thanks to our sponsors: MailChimp, Shutterstock, Wix, Huge Detroit, Threespot, Kind Snacks, and Detroit Center for Design + Technology.

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of Serendipity we’ve asked Erin Kelly – a Detroit-based designer and curator – to tell us a little about what’s fuels her creative fires.

Trained as a landscape architect, her work balances an interest in engaging abstract, sometimes tedious and bureaucratic systems with the immediacy of pleasure, learning and feedback that arises from making in real-time.

Erin’s work in Detroit over the last six years has tended to be between people, organizations and disciplines. Currently she serves as the Lead Landscape Strategist for the City of Detroit’s Planning and Development Department. Previous local collaborators include the Detroit Revitalization Fellows, the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and Detroit Future City.

Throughout this time and with the insights of a group of conspirators and specialists, Erin has been documenting sites of urban wildernesses in Detroit, to understand places and ecologies quietly produced through acts of quarantine and confinement.

CM Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 19th?

Erin: Immigrants*, Time & Magic (*plants)

CM Detroit: Why Detroit? What keeps you here?

Erin: Today Detroit does not feel like a choice but an under-examined habit. I am a sucker for potential and possibility and at one point in the past I think this is what kept me here—a mix between the people and the possibilities. Perhaps it laziness or distraction, or my tunnel-vision tendencies, but at some point, I stopped questioning Detroit as a choice of personal geography. Now it is simply the place where I live, and that allows me for the most part to pursue my pursuits and occasionally grow in some way, too.


CM Detroit: Since this month’s theme is Serendipity, do you think it is something that can be cultivated? Why or why not?

Erin: Absolutely— in my experience, the things that I pay attention to tend to grow. So maybe it is not serendipity itself that can be cultivated, but rather bringing attention to the conditions that already surround us—serendipity being one in the mix.


CM Detroit: What do you do when you feel “stuck”, creatively?

Erin: When I’m feeling stuck creatively, physical movement is my go-to—whether changing the physical environment I’m working in or taking a break to move my body in some way. The larger version of this is a voyage to another place—but sometimes there aren’t the six weeks available for a proper walkabout, and jumping jacks must suffice. Something I’m currently working through is the impulse to be disciplined and work within the time limits and parameters I’ve set, even if it’s a low energy or low-inspiration moment, as opposed to my impulse to change and move, to change environments or to change my own environment, sometimes (unconsciously even) to delay the inevitable, the uncomfortable starting of something.


CM Detroit: If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?

Erin: Definitely swimming. I spent quite a bit of time last summer reading up on the social history of swimming, and I’m curious what it might mean for Detroit to become a more swimmable City. As a large metropolitan area perched on the shores of the Great Lakes, swimming to me feels like a form of literacy that should be a birthright here. For me as a personal practice it is an escape, a form of meditation. Recently I’ve become more interested in the spaces and places of swimming, and also why there are so few of these spaces in Detroit. There is a brilliant architect here in Detroit who has been working on this topic for a few years, Claudia Wigger, and she has me actively dreaming about the possibilities of now.


CM Detroit: What’s your favorite animated gif?
Erin: My favorite animated gifs usually involve a cat! Today I’m feeling like this: 

Looking for more on Erin before her talk this Friday? Give this article she wrote for UDM’s Dichotomy Journal a read or sign up here for her Botanical Tangents to learn more about how she works with Detroit residents to make, share and learn from projects that explore the benefits of urban wilds as a land management technique. 

You can hear Erin explore Serendipity further in person this week during her CreativeMornings talk at WeWork Detroit. Doors open at 8:30 for coffee, snacks, and mingling, and the talk will begin at 9:00am. As always, the event is free - just be sure to grab a ticket! 

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of Taboo we’ve asked Stephen Schudlich – a fourth generation Detroiter, illustrator, designer, framer, educator, writer and social zoologist – to tell us a little about what’s made him the person he is today, how his mind works and what inspires him.

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Illustration credit: Stephen Schudlich

CM Detroit: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 24th?

Stephen: Work / Sans / Regrets

CM Detroit: Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

Stephen: I was born and raised here. My family has deep roots here: My grandfather, an attorney with his office in the Penobscot Building, worked with the city prosecutors office and was responsible for jailing many of the Purple Gang. My father was offered an opportunity to pitch for the Detroit Tigers. My Masters was obtained at Wayne State. I’m very proud of that.

I teach here, and I enjoy being in the classroom a great deal. The interaction is priceless. Being witness to a moment of discovery/resolve is fantastic. By the same token, being a support, mentor, or guide when exploration confounds students is an honor and responsibility I don’t take lightly. Sounds cliché, but I learn, and I hope they learn. Among others classes, I teach a Dark Humor course at CCS, which allows students to investigate areas of illustration/design that they might not otherwise delve into. It’s not for everyone. I also hope to help build more of an Illustration area into Wayne State’s Graphic Design curriculum. I have a lot of irons in the fire here.

Detroit has so many evolving layers of material that informs my work. It’s so youthful and arrogant in many ways, particularly now, and in other ways it’s ancient and stayed. It’s a unique, rich pool of visual stimulation both positive and negative. Dynamics sculpted over generations of hope, effort, success, celebration, failure, despair, and surrender all blended together. The humorous and inspirational reveal of an average day in Detroit is priceless. You cannot make up this stuff up.

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Illustration credit: Stephen Schudlich

CM Detroit: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

Stephen: Exhibition with Mark Mothersbaugh, eBay brand development, Comedy Central work or Rotland Press projects.

I suppose a picture book, or an illustration heavy campaign of outdoor media (bus stops, bus signs, billboards, etc.) with a “chance taker” client. I’d want to have a good deal of design control as well.

CM Detroit: Since this month’s theme is Taboo, what’s your favorite thing to secretly get away with OR what one do you wish more people would try?

Stephen: Ah, it wouldn’t be secret then would it. I think more people should confront aggressive belligerent panhandlers. 

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Illustration credit: Stephen Schudlich

CM Detroit: What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?

Stephen: Gym, cook something, go to an Arabic bakery, frame something.

CM Detroit: If you were not working on your current endeavors, what might you be doing instead?

Stephen: Maybe a tattoo artist, though I think I’d be rather particular about my offerings and clientele.

CM Detroit: What’s your favorite animated gif?

In honor of Lent and Holy Week…

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You can hear Stephen dig further into Taboo in person this week during his CreativeMornings talk at Bamboo Detroit. Doors open at 8:30 for coffee, snacks, and mingling, and the talk will begin at 9:00am. As always, the event is free - just be sure to grab a ticket! 

One of the many things we love about CreativeMornings is the opportunity to explore different, interesting subjects through the lens of each month’s global theme. The concepts and conversations that our speakers come up with never fail to spark a new perspective.

For this month’s theme of moments we’ve asked Ali Lapetina to tell us a little about who she is and what inspires her work:

Ali Lapetina

Ali Lapetina // Women of Banglatown

CM/DET: Don’t give it all away just yet but can you tell us in three words what you’ll be talking about on the 17th?

Ali: Following your curiosity.

CM/DET: Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

Ali: I moved to Detroit in 2008 to attend the College for Creative Studies. At that time I was studying Advertising Design, but three years later I switched my concentration to photography. The city brought to my attention the opportunity the camera leads and how it was an excuse to explore and learn about strangers. I believe I wouldn’t have become a photographer if it wasn’t for my experience meeting the the people who live here. They continue to inspire me to capture their stories during this time in Detroit’s history.

CM/DET: What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would your dream project be?

Ali: That’s a hard one – I would say my favorite project was when I photographed and in Port Au Prince, Haiti, it really pushed me to experience a human connection with a community I was not able to verbally communicate with. My dream project as of right now would be to travel to Palermo Sicily, a place where my ancestors are from. I am curious about photographing the refugee crisis; I would also implement a similar project to Women of Banglatown for recently resettled refugee women and children.

CM/DET: Since this month’s theme is Moments, do you mind sharing your favorite one from 2016 and one you’re REALLY looking forward to in 2017?

Ali: I am so grateful for last year, a lot happened. My favorite moment was being offered a solo show, because it was on my bucket list for 2017. I can’t wait to marry my best friend and spend our wedding weekend in Detroit with all our close friends and family who are traveling from all over the country.

CM/DET: What do you do when you feel stuck, creatively?

Ali: I remind myself I am trying to hard. Taking time to go to the gym a few times a week helps me recharge, become present and breathe. I find working towards a different goal outside of my personal practice helps the creative juices balance and I begin to feel more like myself.

CM/DET: If you were not working on your current endeavors as a photographer + educator, what other creative endeavor might you be doing instead?

Ali: Architecture, focusing on how social impact design can truly nourish a community’s potential to grow and sustain itself.

CM/DET: What’s your favorite animated gif?

Ali: http://giphy.com/gifs/studiosoriginals-l0HlNPqyOk03FsSwo made by Ellen Coons

You can hear more from Ali this week during her CreativeMornings talk at the Scarab Club. Doors open at 8:30 for coffee, snacks (graciously provided by Huge’s Detroit office!), and mingling, and the talk will begin at 9:00am. As always, the event is free – just be sure to grab a ticket!

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