Chay Land is a visual storyteller. She’ll hear your story, process it through her internal design algorithms, and create gorgeous illustrations and photos to communicate the wonderful, the absurd, and the lessons of your experience. Really, write your stories on Chay’s passion project, and bond with her over love, heartbreak, and art.

Knowing yourself and your worth is one of the lessons that keeps popping up on ShittyLoveStories. And it’s also one that anchored Chay as she navigated college, friends, relationships, and her career. She started out as a coder, then did some designing on the side, then fully left coding behind as she found that design aligned more with her visual problem-solving skill set. UX/UI design was the professional solution that met her drive to innovate, draw, tell stories, and get paid.

Chay’s the kind of woman who exudes clarity. But it’s a hard won sense of self earned through gutsy and existentially unsettling explorations that started in Riverside, then Laguna College of Art & Design, and then 5 months of couch surfing through Spain, Germany, and Sweden. She found life full of ambiguity and instability, and learned that what drove her through that discomforting fact was integrity. Meaning that her choices must be in line with who she is. This principle is also embedded in her design as well as photography.  Her photos capture important moments like iconic movie stills.

Now back in Orange County, she’s building her life around positive creative energy and bringing people together. Check out her illustration of Nathan Strange and get to know her at


Brandon Hampton is a graphic guru, taking the static works of art he creates and adding motion to literally bring each piece to life. We’ve experienced his work firsthand and were intrigued to find out just where this talented dude draws his inspiration, so we sat down with him and got him to share his deepest secrets ….

A Montana transplant, Brandon was raised in San Diego and then migrated to the OC right after high school. He is literally the guy who grabbed a group of friends, bought a beat-up 1992 Isuzu Rodeo for $500 bucks and drove it from San Diego to Cabo. Twenty-five hours and one thousand miles later, he and his four bros unpacked themselves from the Rodeo and let the fifth guy out of the trunk. Sun, fun and unrepeatable hijinks later, they then somehow managed to sell the Rodeo for a profit in Cabo without speaking a word of Spanish and made the trek home.

(Not Brandon’s exact ride but you get the point…) 

Currently he’s finishing-up his Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic and Interactive Design at Cal State Fullerton and also working as a Content Creator at an ad agency. But that trip to Cabo is really a metaphor for Brandon and his life … he has this craving for new, exciting things; he’s not afraid to take a leap of faith; and he lives his life in full Technicolor. See, in a few weeks he’s about to bolt again, this time to Denmark to work on an international branding project. At least he’s flying there …

You need to learn more about Brandon and his graphical journey. Check him out at

Five Fast Questions with Adam Sblendorio

Great board games are like ice cream, not really something you sit there thinking about (ok, not most of us …), but then you get the urge and one way or another you make it happen. So I was pretty stoked to find out that I had the opportunity to dig into the mind of game ‘maker’ Adam Sblendorio. Was it like a row of books inside that head or a scrapyard? Read on …

Would you like to be famous?

Being famous would be horrible. I could see celebrity ending in disdain [for people]; you don’t want to be Roger Waters and end-up spitting on your fans (haha). The arc of the creative hero always seems to end poorly, in sadness and loneliness. I like anonymity and the idea that I’m not suspicious of everyone, that the next person I meet might be the next greatest person I meet.

What would constitute a perfect day for you?

It would be a great movie I haven’t seen, a great meal, and a board game with family, … all the things I like to do in a single day. I will never get tired of board games. I really like my days [at work] and working on them. There’s so much innovation in gaming. I wish I had more time to play them, especially as long as people keep making great experiences.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

This morning, it was Roses Are Free by Ween; it’s a good sing-along song. The last time I sang to someone else was probably 10 or 15 years ago. I’d probably had a few too many. I’m really just a highly-functioning Introvert. It’s not a bad thing, I mean, I’m not the guy who can change the mood of the room by walking in it, but then everyone still stays comfortable in every setting.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I’m really fortunate to have been part of a nuclear family, to be educated, and my dumb luck to be able to get into such a great industry. I’ve learned not to take things for granted, I drew a good hand. I look at the big picture, there are lots of places around the world where their versions of life are far more dangerous.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?

I’ve always dreamed of getting my pilot’s license, to fly a small plane. I’d take small trips. I had a ride in a sea plane and have a super fond memory. I like the idea of untethered freedom, land where you want and embrace the temporary peace. Low and slow.

Want to know more? Us too. Come hear Adam dissect the idea of gaming this Friday, April 27th at 7:45am - Eureka Building in Irvine.

Gregory Skinner
Host CreativeMornings OC


If there’s one thing Austin Haynes knows, it’s how to be an illustrator.  During the day, he illustrates craft beverage logos, pins and more.  On the side, he does album covers.  His hopes are to one-day design movie posters.  It’s something he’s dreamed of his entire life.

Born and raised in Laguna Niguel, Austin’s dad handed him a paintbrush at just four years old. His passion was sparked during a trip to Las Vegas with his family when he became amazed watching an artist draw caricatures of hotel guests at the Excalibur hotel on the strip. It was from that point he began caricaturing people on his own.  He signed up for a figure drawing class, and that’s where his love for the industry all began!

Austin specializes and focuses on caricatures and portraits.  When he started to try caricatures, he thought he just had to draw people with big heads and noses!  His method is just as eccentric, in fact, before he designs certain types of portraits, he stages his friends and family to act out what he’s planning on drawing to give him a more realistic touch.  Some of his biggest influences include JC Leyendecker and Drew Struzan, who’s designed all of the movie posters for Indiana Jones, Back to the Future, and Star Wars films!

The mind-blowing portrait he created for our last guest speaker, Heather Frank, took him eight hours to finish.  When Austin hits a wall, he escapes by watching a good movie, listens to music, (currently listening to Florence and the Machine), or plays some good old basketball.  B-ball would have been his first choice profession until he realized he’s not very good at it.  Who’s his favorite actor?  “Ryan Reynolds, because he wants to have a good time and he’s sexy!”  His life as a movie? Two words:  Saving Silverman.  

Austin doesn’t usually pick favorites, but when it comes to superheroes he isn’t shy to say it’s Spiderman!   He takes the superhero’s approach on how to balance his personal and superhero life.  “Spiderman is overpowered but he doesn’t always use his maximum power.  He does what he has to do to get the job done and has fun doing it.”  His work is personified in the fictional heroes that inspire him.  

His love for art shows in his talented work.  He isn’t afraid to follow his dreams and pursue his passion.  In his words, “If I’m going to fail, now is the time to do it.”  

April’s theme is GAME.

Since known to mankind, games have had two outcomes: winning or losing.

Do you agree?

Author James P. Carse extends this concept beautifully in Finite and Infinite Games: “A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.”

This month we will explore the topic of Game and offer you new ways to think about which game are you playing with your craft?

It’s a question worth asking every day. Is this decision, this attitude, sending you down a short game or long game? The same energy that we spend chasing rewards and likes can be redirected to loving our craft and shipping our best work.

Keep your eyes on the journey, not the prize, and you'll always be a winner.

Join us April 27th at the Eureka Building in Irvine for hot coffee, breakfast and a talk that is guaranteed to challenge the concept of game as you know it.

This month's theme was chosen by our Liège chapter and was illustrated by Jeffrey Phillips.

Five Fast Questions with Heather Frank

I like Heather Frank, she’s humble and unassuming and accomplished. Ask her a question and the first thing she does is stop to consider the question itself, not the answer, and then joyfully responds with “That’s a REALLY interesting question” or a long, thoughtful “Hmmmmmmm.”  And that makes you feel good, which makes her feel good, which makes you feel even better, and it’s this never-ending cycle of good vibes. Needless to say, it was the best time ever asking her five fast questions:

Would you like to be famous?

I would if I was really proud of something I’d accomplished, but I have mixed feelings about it. I like the ability to walk down the street and not be recognized. Social media is so prominent and it makes everything look fab - glamorous lives, money, travel, beautiful clothes. It’s ironic - the freedom you get from being able to do whatever you want you also give up with your loss of  anonymity.

What would constitute a perfect day for you?

WELL, … hmmmm. There a so many kinds of perfect days. First I would wake up at my leisure. Then coffee. Then a nice long walk or hike with my BF. Then brunch and mimosas either home or out. Then lounge and read a book …. There’s a sense of well-being and peace in your own home. It doesn’t matter what you do, especially if you’re with your fave person in the world.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

Yesterday. The Smiths. Big Mouth Strikes Again. I love [Morrissey’s] voice and songwriting. I also sang Portishead, Sour Times. Mostly I get sung to [by my BF]. He just makes stuff up, lyrics and nicknames and sings about everyday stuff. I also dance around the house a lot. I think that would be my back-up career, a dancer!

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I’m really grateful for being … me. I am who I am. I have fun. I prioritize having fun and I’m conscious of making and having a good, enjoyable life.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?

I want to write produce and make my own feature film.  A dark comedy, maybe like Heathers or Election. Potentially a horror. I grew up watching indie films and horrors. The key is finding the right writing partner. The things holding me back are the typical doubts, so it’s interesting that we’re talking about courage. If I didn’t do that then I would probably dedicate my life to saving animals.

Want to know more? Us too. Come hear what drives Heather Frank and her take on courage this Friday, March 30th at 8am sharp - Eureka Building in Irvine.

Gregory Skinner

Host CreativeMornings OC

Five Fast Questions with Ben Chung


Ben Chung is like your most rambunctious nephew, a super-hyper Doberman and Einstein rolled into one. The whole time you’re talking to him, you’re trying to figure out what’s next, but you never see it coming … and that’s the joy of it. Somehow you walk away far more informed than when you arrived, with hilarity ensuing in between. I met Ben for some Kimchi soup hot enough to make his nose run and my eyes water to ask him five fast questions …

Would you like to be famous?

The nature of fame has become just really weird. It’s to the point that I don’t want to be known by people who don’t know me. I think I want to be famous by referral only. The good part about fame though is that at Starbucks you don’t have to spell your name. No longer does Ben becomes Dan.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

For me, that would be reaching the peak of a mountain. I love hiking and backpacking, you have to train for it and there’s a huge sense of accomplishment and incredible views. I would love to take my out of shape friends out and introduce them to something new; to get them out of the office and into nature. They’d probably feel like they were hallucinating instead of regurgitating.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

I sing to myself non-stop in my head. Usually, it’s the best band ever, Echo and the Bunnymen. I’m awesome in my head. I was in a band in high school and college. I had a crew cut. Can you imagine that, an Asian guy with a crew cut? I looked like the guy from Fine Young Cannibals.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

I’m grateful for the planet and … I dunno. The opportunity to keep learning new things and meet new people. If that stopped, I’d die.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?

Traveling through India. I’m interested in seeing it before it becomes too modern. Too late for China. I’ve wanted to go for a long time and stay at least a couple of months. I’d also like to hike the Pacific Coast Trail, the whole thing, with no breaks. Stopping is like running a marathon one mile at a time. To hike it you’d have to be completely self contained, it’s minimalism at its best...

Come explore more of Ben Chung’s amazing mind at our next CreativeMornings event. His take on the world will leave you wondering what you’ve been missing this whole time. This Friday, Feb 23rd at 8 am sharp. It will be a virtual hike for your mind.

Gregory Skinner

CreativeMornings/Orange County Host

February’s theme is Curiosity

Look it up and you’ll find that Curiosity is defined as “A strong desire to know or learn something” or “A strange or unusual object or fact…”. For creatives and the creative-minded, this is the fuel you run on. It’s curiosity that helps you bend the rules, explore places unseen and try things in which others are unwilling to indulge.

This month we explore the theme of Curiosity and offer you new ways of exploring the world in which you live! Tickets release Monday morning, Feb 19th! 

This month’s global exploration of Curiosity was chosen by our Malmö chapter and illustrated by Oelwein.

Big thanks to our global partners — MailChimp, Adobe, and — for their ongoing support of CreativeMornings.

Five Questions with Sam Goretski

Sam Goretski isn’t like people you typically meet on the daily. She’s some incredibly charming and funky speedball of interesting, eclectic, funny and dialed into anything you mention. Winter cyclones? She has lots of stories. NY subway street musicians? Heard of them and feeding you back recommendations. Sneaker game? Plaid on point. She greeted me at an outdoor craft brew spot and then we sat down for five fast ones …

Would you like to be famous?

Financially, it would be great. Otherwise, I have no interest in being famous. Developing a sense of happiness without over-stimulation is really the goal. In fact one day, I’d like to be completely off the radar, gardening somewhere off the grid – that would be awesome.

What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

Great company, great food, great wine and the great outdoors. Give me a good bottle of red, with some friends in Joshua Tree, and I’m the most satisfied.

When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

IMy friends and I tend to greet one another on the phone via song, it’s a thing! Today I sang Cranberries songs most of the day (many of you will know that lead singer Dolores O’Riordan recently passed away) – sad, sad day – that’s the soundtrack of my youth.

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

IMy ability to be a loner and self-sufficient. A lot of this is due in large part to my upbringing, but I know how to hustle, how to be resourceful, it’s the New York in me.

Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time?

To have an article published in the New York Times. I’ve made a few submission attempts, but it’s really high on the bucket list to write an article. There’s always this fear of rejection, but I’m hoping it’ll happen. Even if I’m 85 years old when it does.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss hearing Sam give her take on Anxiety. A unique and stimulating point of view is assured. Jan 26, 8:00am at the Eureka Building she helps us launch the first event CreativeMornings OC event. Get your tickets!

Gregory Skinner

We’re excited to be talking about Anxiety at this month's launch (no pun intended). Be part of the creative movement January 26th at the Eureka Building!