Q&A with December’s speaker, Ben Katt, who will be speaking on the topic SILENCE.

  1. We all are creatives. Describe what you do, make or create in one sentence. As a meditation teacher, transformational coach, and designer and facilitator of creative community mindfulness experiences, I help people reconnect to their humanity and move towards wholeness so that they can grow their impact in their work and the world.
  2. What are the top creative challenges that you face in your day-to-day? Describing what I do in one sentence, quieting the part of me that chases after perfectionism, and distracting myself with the details of a project because it gives me a sense of progress when I really should be immersing myself in the slower, more nebulous aspects of designing, writing, creating, etc.
  3. When you get stuck creatively, what is the first thing you do to get unstuck? I go for a walk or run through the woods, usually Carkeek Park.
  4. How do you define creativity and apply it in your career? Creativity is where calling intersects with context; where our unique passions, perspectives, and gifts meet the particular hopes or needs of our time and place, cultural moment, and community. In my career, I’m always trying to pay attention to what is stirring inside me and how I might express that in a way that brings about goodness and growth in the world around me.
  5. What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person? That, as Walt Whitman once said, “I contain multitudes.”
  6. What are you reading these days? Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth and The Hero with a Thousand Faces; Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday.
  7. If you had fifteen extra minutes each day, what would you do with them? I’d spend 5 more minutes one-on-one with each of my 3 children, listening to whatever they want to talk about (not including excessively-detailed recaps of a movie or show they’ve recently watched).

Q&A with November’s speaker, Brendan Shanley, who will be speaking on the topic LOST

We all are creatives. Describe what you do, make or create in one sentence. I create honest and memorable visual experiences for people. 


What are the top creative challenges that you face in your day-to-day? For me the greatest challenges are also the most exciting parts of what I do creatively. The constant learning about different people, products, services and industries. Mentally switching back and forth from working in healthcare, tourism, cannabis, hospitality, etc. can also be challenging. I’m very thankful for the opportunity (and challenge) to work with and learn from experts in these fields.


When you get stuck creatively, what is the first thing you do to get unstuck? Hard stop. When I’m not feeling a project and it’s not feeling me, then it’s time to throw on some headphones and take a walk. Being creative isn’t as cut and dry as something like sales or math. Sometimes you have to remove yourself from a familiar environment to allow your imagination to flow more freely. I also try to travel as much as possible. As creatives, we initially draw upon our own unique experiences in what we make. The more places we’ve been and experiences we’ve had, the more variety we have influencing our work. Where do you find your best creative inspiration? Inspiration is always around us. The trick is to keep yourself open to it. It’s so easy these days to get hyper-focused on our own agendas, but when we slow down and really try to experience things that are around us and see those things through the eyes of the people we’re with, that’s when the learning and inspiration reveals itself. To create something that communicates and connects with others we have work to understand others first. Then combine our personal style to make something truly original. 


What music are you listening to these days? The answer to this question changes hourly. Personally, I’m more of an album kind of guy. I spend hours curating and listening to my records. And with vinyl it’s fairly counterintuitive to play just a song or two by an artist before moving on to the next. I start a lot of my days by picking a few albums to play selecting different artists and genres to compliment the mood and energy I’m feeling or trying to communicate through my work. Some albums that are in frequent rotation lately include: Beck - Morning Phase, Zero 7 - Simple Things, Gorillaz - Demon Days, Grimes - Art Angles, Brokeback - Illinois River Valley Blues, Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto, Billie Eilish, Radiohead, Washed Out, Cut Copy.. this list I could continue for days really. I encourage people to continually discover new music andsupport their local record stores. 


What object would you put in a time capsule that best represents who you are today? I am having the hardest time trying to pick just one object for this. If I could choose only one it would be my Shwood sunglasses. My eyes are very sensitive to light and it’s a rare occasion to catch me outside my home without these wooden frames. Amber-tinted polarized lenses make the world a happier place even on those brighter gray Seattle days. If these glasses could tell you all the things they’ve seen and places they’ve been it would be quite the collection of stories. 


Where was the last place you travelled? I get out of town for work and otherwise quite often. Usually you can find me hanging out in Anchorage, AK. I met my best friend and business partner who is based there through the AIGA national leadership community. It’s become like a second home at this point. I’ve considered the idea of relocating there in the past, but Seattle has a strong hold on me for the time being.

Q&A with October’s speaker, Esther Loopstra, who will be speaking on the topic FLOW.

We all are creatives. Describe what you do, make or create in one sentence. I make art, illustration and workshops for the creatively curious.

What are the top creative challenges that you face in your day-to-day? The top creative challenges for me have been around what to prioritize and what to let go of. I’ve always had so many interests that discovering what I need to say no to and what I need to focus on has been a lifelong lesson.

When you get stuck creatively, what is the first thing you do to get unstuck? Take a break, give myself more time, meditate, draw or paint, work on something else. I will try anything that helps me to get out of the intensity of the focused / closed mind where I am trying to make something happen and into flow / open mind where the solution naturally comes to me.

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career? I like Steve Jobs’ definition “Creativity is just connecting things”. Exploration is one of my top values, so if I follow my intuitive “what if” questions, it usually leads to great connections and creations.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration? Science, nature, the unknown, other artists and thinkers.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person? Don’t make the logical choice - make the meaningful one.

What are you reading these days? The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel Van der Kolk. 

What fact about you would surprise people? I’m an introvert.

What’s the most recent thing you learned (big or small)? Our gut and heart talk to our brain through neurons!

What myths about creativity would you like to set straight? Creativity is not a talent, everyone has it. It’s not about art but about how you bring your own unique awareness and synthesis to any process you are involved in.

Where was the last place you travelled? SE Asia this summer.

Q&A with September’s speaker, Susanna Ryan, who will be speaking on the topic MUSE.

How do you define creativity? How do you apply that in your work?
When I think specifically about creativity in regards to making comics, I see creativity as problem solving. It takes a certain skill set and amount of creative thinking to effectively solve the constant conundrum of how to convey big ideas in small spaces.  

Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
Usually about five miles in to a ten mile walk! In general, though, slowing down and tuning in to the environment that surrounds me never fails to inspire me, in life and in art.  

Who from Seattle would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
Seattle has an interesting, vibrant, diverse indie comics community and I would love to hear some voices from that world share more about their work and creative process.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?I walk around Seattle and make comics about it.

What was the best advice you were ever given?It came straight from my mom: PICK YOUR BATTLES! In life, work, family, relationships, or whatever, figure out ahead of time what is negotiable and what isn’t. Stick by and thoughtfully defend the non-negotiable, and be willing to collaborate and be flexible on everything else. It will change your life!

If you could interview anyone living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why? As someone who loves zeroing in on mundane, overlooked things, I would really love to spend an afternoon with someone from the Seattle Department of Transportation sign shop, which makes all the street signs in the city. I have so many street sign questions and so few answers!

Q&A with June speaker—Jim Haven—who will be speaking on the topic WONDER.

1. How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
I think creativity is simply problem solving. However, the more unexpected or unique solutions are, the more overtly creative.  When I experience something truly creative it sort of makes my brain smile as it recognizes a clever solution. I find creativity to be intellectual and emotional at the same time.  

Pretty much everything I get involved with requires some form of creativity. I know that sounds a bit general but it’s been the center of my career.  I will say that more often than not it involves writing. For example, I’m often working in design yet I can’t physically design anything outside of my head with anything more than words. 

2. Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
The best inspiration for creativity is in mistakes or misinterpretations. In some ways I think that is what our brains are doing when we are being creative. Just making weird mistakes and free associations. But you have to get out in the world to feed your misinterpretations. Walking down the street, wondering about history or why something is the way it is. You have to be curious and observant. The more you do this the better you’ll be at inspiring your own randomness on cue. It’s this imbalance that puts things in motion because humans like to solve things in logical ways. I saw Frank De Ruwe of Natwerk in Amsterdam describe his work and this process with a remarkably refreshing illustration. According to Frank it’s when you have something “normal” and something “not” and you add them together to create something “not normal.”

3. What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
Work hard and then relax.  It’s hard to solve a problem directly, you need a little indirect thinking. Go do something else that’s productive or anything that changes your focus. The moment you stop flexing your brain is when an idea will come. 

4. Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
At this very moment, Olafur Elliasion or Mark Ryden. They are both remarkable and ground breaking artists but entirely different in terms of style. Mark Ryden is essentially the father of Pop Surrealism. (A term coined right here in Seattle at Roq La Rue by Kirsten Anderson.) He has ridiculous craft and an insanely vivid mind that’s a joy to explore through his work. Olafur Elliason is a huge thinker that combines technology, architecture and the understanding of light to make stunningly ambitious experiences and strong personal statements. There is a distinctly clean Nordic sensibility to it as well. Tomorrow I might have a different answer. I just enjoy their thinking. As artists they communicate with voices I admire.  

5. What’s the most recent thing you learned (big or small)?
I just learned this tonight having a conversation with a couple ex pats here in Seattle. There used to be an ATM in Hoxton Square in East London called the Cockney Cash Point and I you could choose Cockney Rhyming Slang as a language. For example it asked you to enter your “Huckleberry Finn” which is your pin to get your “Bangers ‘n Mash” which is cash. 

6. What are you proudest of in your life?
My friendships. 

7. What music are you listening to these days?
I’m going back three steps before I go forward in terms of my old to new music ratio. There is so much to explore. I enjoy weird, obscure and unusual collaborations or experiments of the 60s and 70s. Guys like Lee Hazlewood will start you on a journey that is lot of fun. He’s like a weird cowboy songwriter from Oklahoma who moved to Sweden for a while and made some charmingly absurd music that gets stuck in your brain.  

I am just as interested in the context as I am the music.   For example, 1970’s Italian musician Adriano Celentano composed a song that is complete gibberish but made to sound like English songs did to native Italians speakers. It’s called Prisencolinensinainciusol. It also happens to be super catchy. Actually, better just watch it, here. The irony is I don’t really listen to lyrics, mostly just the sounds and rhythms.  

“The beauty in our world deserves to be cherished, sustained, and rediscovered. We share this life, and every day we have the opportunity to act as thoughtful participants in it.” May’s theme is #CMpreserve! It was chosen by CreativeMornings/Charleston and illustrated by Chris Nickels (chrisnickels.net). 

For those who are new or have recently updated their profiles we are sending you a highfive. #NationalHighFiveDay #keepitfresh

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Q&A with April speakers—Sage Quiamno and Aparna Rae—who will be speaking on the topic INCLUSIVE.


Sage Quiamno, Co-Founder of Future for Us

1. How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
Creativity means breaking boundaries, creating new rules and challenging the status quo. Creativity is adaptation.

2. Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
Art, music and culture. I lean on my ancestry and heritage to remind me of my values.

3. What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
Seek inspiration outside of your sphere.

4. Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
Cristina Martinez, owner and artist of June and Mars

5. What fact about you would surprise people?
I’ve paddled with an outrigger canoe crew 36 miles from Newport beach to Catalina Island.

6. What music are you listening to these days?
Lauryn Hill MTV Unplugged performance album.

7. What was the best advice you were ever given?
The best advice I was given was to be your own best friend and give yourself grace.


Aparna Rae, Co-Founder of Future for Us

1. How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
Creativity is drawing outside the lines, pushing edges, and getting uncomfortable.  

2. Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
Lately, in moments when I’m away from screens. In the mountains, on the water, while cooking. Most days, I’m inundated with information, and in moments when my mind takes a break from ‘work’, things click and I find creative inspiration.

3. What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
Build a routine and stay disciplined. It seems like the opposite of spontaneity, which we associate with creatives and creativity, but it’s a myth I’d like to set straight.

4. Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
Michaela Ayers, Nourish

5. What fact about you would surprise people?
I’m an introvert!

6. How does your life and career compare to what you envisioned for your future when you were a sixth grader?
I wanted to be an archaeologist and an artist, living in the South of France. Never envisioned a life as an entrepreneur.

7. What music are you listening to these days?
Coke Studio Pakistan

8. What was the best advice you were ever given?
Do your best and focus on building mastery today, stop obsessing about the future.

CREATIVE WORKS COMES TO SEATTLE MAY 11th, 2019
101 S Jackson St, Pioneer Square 9 talks, 12 vendors…

One amazing day designed to connect, inspire and empower a united creative community. 

Get your ticket →

Creative Works is more than just a one-day event…We’re a diverse community of creatives that believe our work matters and change is possible.

Join us May 11 in Pioneer Square for Creative Works One-Day: Seattle. One-Day is designed to connect, inspire and empower a united creative community. Hear stories, shop and hang with renown creatives and makers from around the country all in one space…all in one day.

Speakers: Cameron Campbell of Amazon / Adam J. Kurtz / Ash Huang of Adobe / Dan Kuhlken and Nathan Goldman of DKNG Studios / Amy & Jennifer Hood of Hoodzpah Design Co. / Dan Janssen of Lincoln Design Co. / Mina Markham of Slack / Marisol Ortega / Jesse Bryan of Belief Agency

Market Vendors: Draplin Design Co. / Field Notes / Notes to Self / Odds and Sods / Lincoln Design Co. / Adam J. Kurtz / DKNG Studios / Keymaster Games / Workspace / Marisol Ortega / Pretty Useful / Victor Melendez

Find more info on the event website.

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