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Black Box Festival

Black Box is an international art, film and technology festival that presents contemporary artists who expand the language of cinema.

A multi-platform program of significant scope, the festival is focused on experimental film, video and new media art.

Black Box takes place during the Seattle International Film Festival and is organized independently by Aktionsart - a new art and technology nonprofit based in the Pacific Northwest.

Meld

Make a perfectly cooked meal every time with Meld’s robotic cooking knob. Their Kickstarter campaign ends today! PS. Congrats on your Geekwire award!

Camp Rahh!

Camp RAHH! is an all inclusive camping experience for adults in the PNW. As a camper, you create your days whether that means soaking up the sunrise with a cup of coffee, taking a yoga session on the beach, kayaking around the bay or even just playing board games with new friends. You decide. Special Creative Mornings promo in the image. :)

Hello, creative humans. For May’s talk, we’re bringing you Robert Twomey, an an artist exploring the intersection of machine perception and human desire. His projects have taken the form of an interactive simulation of a grandmother with Alzheimer’s disease, a body of work exploring the fantasy of an imaginary daughter, and a recreation of John Searle’s Chinese Room as a transaction between synthetic child voice and robotic child drawing. Tickets for his talk at the Seattle Art Museum are waitlisted right now, but we’re working on getting some more released soon!

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
I identify two kinds of creativity in my work. One has to do with creativity as problem solving or invention. I use this part in all of the mechatronics, computer programming, and fabrication that I do. The other side of creativity for me has to do with expression and the drive to get things out there into the world and communicate. The “problem to be solved” becomes how to take some subject of interest or inkling of a desire and develop it into a concrete form. This is a real challenge. It involves paying attention to yourself, figuring out what you are really trying to do, and why. Both kinds of creativity have been a part of me as long as I can remember. Growing up I was always building inventions, taking things apart, and I loved to draw. I got a lot of positive feedback and encouragement for these activities, which I’m sure went a long way in pushing me towards a creative profession.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
I look for inspiration in books, art works, life around me. But really I find the best inspiration in my peers. I’m finishing up a graduate program now (DXARTS at UW) and have had a number of excellent, really inspiring models in the students and faculty here. It is very nourishing to be surrounded by peers doing similar kinds of work but with totally different approaches, skills, history. We learn a ton from each other. This community provides a lot of fuel for my own practice.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
I wish I had known there was some kind of art and technology hybrid in my future. I spent a lot of years of my life thinking science/engineering was one thing over here, and art was another thing over there (painting and drawing, usually). This is really a conservative, discipline-bound dichotomy. It has been exciting to watch these pursuits begin to merge in my career, to meet somewhere in the middle. I’m in a place where I get to engage both kinds of thinking on a regular basis in making projects. I wouldn’t have expected that starting out.

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
Living or dead, I’d pick Walt Whitman. In a fish-out-of-water way, I’m curious what he would make of our contemporary scene. He had an interest in labor, industry, productivity as part of the national character in his time. I think that intersects with this month’s topic of robots, technology, and ideas of human/machine production. He is a model for a lot of what I admire—a boundless enthusiasm, a desire to connect with the world around him and chronicle it. He’s very earthy. I love the 1st edition of Leaves of Grass, which he typeset and published himself.

What are you reading these days?
I just finished Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers. It was a great book, the inspiration for the film Stalker. I think I’m going to read some more books by them. I’m also very very slowly making my way through Kenzaburo Oe’s Somersault. I love some of his other books but am having a hard time with this one. And I am revisiting Roland Barthes’ Camera Lucida, in reference to a project I’m doing with Mike McCrea for Black Box 2.0.

What practices, rituals or habits contribute to your creative work?
I get up every morning, head to the basement or studio, and start first thing. This is funny for me. It represents a real shift from a more end-of-day/evening mode of work earlier in my career to very much early morning work now. The most important thing for me is finding a time and place to concentrate, where I won’t be interrupted, and I can really get into things. So early mornings it is! I get a lot done before 10am.

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Tousled

Heading out to a special event? Need to try something new with your beauty routine? Never fear! Tousled will send hair and makeup professionals to you on-demand. Currently looking for folks to try their beta. More info here.

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Wondering Who You Are

In July, Sonya Lea is releasing a book about her experience of her husband’s tragic memory loss. A memoir on loss and self-identity. More info here.

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Startup Weekend B2B 

Interested in helping build better business to business software? Interested in starting your own business? Launch a business idea within 54 hours at Startup Weekend. More info here and tickets here.

We’re so excited to have ZIIBRA founder, Omri Mor as April’s speaker on HUMILITY. Tickets and event information are available here

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
OM:
Simply put I believe being creative is being not afraid to 1) express oneself and 2) take risks.

I apply it in my career by pushing myself everyday and putting myself in challenging spots where I truly don’t know what the next step is. This happens far too often for my own good…

Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
OM:
At 4:00am on a late night run.

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
OM:
To pursue it—to not be afraid of failing while pursuing it

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
OM:
Johnny Ive. I’m 100% serious.

If you could interview anyone living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?
OM:
My grandparents. Its weird how they are family but I never got to truly sit down with them and understand their life story - would be awesome to make an HBO like documentary on each one.

When you get stuck creatively, what is the first thing you do to get unstuck?
OM:
Walk away. Seriously—you have to drop everything, walk away and only come back when your gears start working again.

Realizing we all wanted tattoos after watching Mike Folden’s mini-documentary on Bryan Kachel, we knew Bryan would be an amazing speaker for our INK theme. Tickets for Bryan’s talk are available Monday, March 2! Be sure to grab ‘em while they’re hot!

How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
BK:
In tattooing and Art in general, Creativity is thinking outside the norm. Stepping beyond the expected and finding elegant and original solutions to the myriad of considerations and constraints a client might bring to the process. In tattooing the creative risks are rarely, if ever, done on the skin; it’s in all the behind the scenes time working out compositions that meet (or hopefully exceed) your client’s expectations. The only way to apply creativity is through [doing] the work: putting the time in to make all the technical aspects of your medium second nature, so when inspiration comes, your mind is free of obligation to the mundane and can explore the inspiration as it comes.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
BK:
I am the most inspired by people that take their craft seriously. Take the time and energy to do your best. Every time. That’s inspirational! But, artistic inspiration I mostly find in nature. Its unsurpassable.  

What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
BK:
If you look at an acrobat, or ballerina that is preforming well, it looks effortless. It took so much practice and struggles to make that performance effortless. I wish I would have realized that everything worth being good at takes work. I wish I would have know that even in those moments when I felt I wasn’t growing or progressing as fast as I would have liked, to keep trying. The time you put in when its hard, that’s what’s really teaching you something. If it’s not hard, you’re probably not growing.  

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
BK:
Mike Folden! Not only does he have a ton of awesome insights, he’ll make you laugh while he tells them to you!

When you get stuck creatively, what is the first thing you do to get unstuck?

My routine when I get home from work: I put my two amazing kids to bed; talk with my wonderful wife about our days; then, rain or shine, inspiration or not, I draw. I draw till I’m too tired to draw any more and I go to bed.  

I guess what I’m trying to say with that is, have a routine that doesn’t allow for “writers block”. Create! No matter what. Even when your stuck. Do it anyway.  

What has been one of your biggest Aha! moments in life?
BK:
I did a vision quest a number of years ago. There was lots of preparation. One of the things I prepared was to have questions that I wanted answered and expect clarity. I was young and like most people, I longed to know my place. I wanted to know that I was fulfilling my purpose. So one of the questions that I had was “Who am I?” The answer that I received was, “You are whoever you choose to be in this moment.” I try to never forget that. We define ourselves through our actions. Make those actions the acts of the type of person you want to be and you will be the person you’ve always wanted to be.  Right now!

We are so excited to have David Harris join us as our February speaker on CLIMATE. Grab your tickets right here!

CMSEA: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?

DH: I define creativity as the ability to reveal and uncover new and useful perspectives. I work for TAF (Technology Access Foundation) where we create connected learning opportunities for non-dominant youth to pursue personal interest in not only their academic learning, but also their communities. My work deals with creating solutions to urgent and complex social inequities, and there are no silver bullets. This requires my colleagues and I to think out of the box, “How might we create high impact opportunities in a resource-constrained environment?”

CMSEA: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

DH: I find my best creative inspiration from from being present. It is so easy to have what seems like a million thoughts running through my head and many things happening around me. Its not until I stop, breathe, and really listen to what is being said to me at that moment - even when there might not be any words.

CMSEA: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

DH: When I was younger I used to sketch, but somewhere along the way I made it out to be a less valuable skill. One of the first classes I took in my graduate program was User Centered Design, and sketching was one of the activities that we practiced and read about the most. Once I realized that my sketches didn’t need to be masterpiece drawings I was able to see the extreme value and context they provide. Now when I work with students, I encourage them to sketch as well.

CMSEA: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?

DH: I’d love to hear Otieno Terry of the group Hitek Lowlives speak at CreativeMornings. He is not only a great vocalist and storyteller, but he has also created this character, Brother Damien, that you just have to experience at a live show.

CMSEA: What’s the most recent thing you learned (big or small)?

DH: My fiancée is Ethiopian, so everyday she teaches me a new word in Amharic - one of the languages spoken in that country. I’m slowly getting better. I think I have the vocabulary of a 3 year old now, and that’s betam tiru (very good, በጣምጥሩ).

CMSEA: What books made a difference in your life and why?

DH: One of the many books that had a great impact on my life was the science fiction novel, Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. It is an afrofuturistic account of what the world could be in the coming decades. What I took away from this book was the importance of empathy and hope in trying times. 

Another book that impacted the way I see the world is Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam. 65% of us are visual learners, and this book taught me to hone my visual thinking skills and communicating skills.

creativemornings:

This month’s theme is UGLY, chosen by our CreativeMornings/ Geneva team and beautifully illustrated by the talented Matt Chase

Learn more: http://creativemornings.com/blog/januarys-theme-is-ugly

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Susie Lee is a visual artist and CEO of Siren and is January’s speaker on the theme of UGLY. We’re currently sold out, but we’ll do our best to get as many folks off the waitlist as we can! You can get more information about January’s event here.

CMSEA: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
SL: Creativity applies playfulness and curiosity to clarity of vision and problem solving. It is a daily practice of generating and discarding, questioning and executing, holding on and letting go. It is being comfortable in an “I don’t know” kind of space, and living well with uncertainty. For me, it’s also emerges from the self-regulated pressure-cooker of deadline panic and knowledge of impending public presentations.  

CMSEA: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
SL: Inspiration in one discipline almost always comes from experiences from another discipline. For example, video portraits have been inspired by paintings, sculptures by contemporary performance, digital objects by micro-fiction, or start ups through art-making. Translating specific aspects from one medium to another, whether it be an emotional landscape, tone, shape of the narrative, or concept is one of the most challenging and satisfying parts of the creative process.

CMSEA: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
SL: When your practice is creating things that haven’t existed before, there isn’t a path already laid out.People will tell you ninety different ways how you “should” do a thing, and whole process is entirely uncomfortable when your choices deviates from the opinion of others. But you are allowed to change your mind as many times as necessary. And then, soon you find out you don’t have to care as much what others think when you don’t follow the “should” they prescribed because, for all the how-to information out there, no one knows how to forge, not only a path, but a direction for you.
 
CMSEA: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
SL: I’d like to see artist Tania Bruguera. Her long-term art projects meld social justice and aesthetics, and she was just freed from detention in Cuba.  
 
CMSEA: How does your life and career compare to what you envisioned for your future when you were a sixth grader?
SL: I wanted to be a hand surgeon in sixth grade. I am currently a new media artist and creative entrepreneur. In both paths, one’s actions create change in the world. Where those paths deviate is in the realm of financial security:-)

CMSEA: What books made a difference in your life and why?
SL: A smattering: Jose Saramago’s The History of the Siege of Lisbon; Lydia Davis’ We Miss You: A Study of Get-Well Letters from a Class of Fourth-Graders; Jorge Luis Borges Library of Babel. They all begin with a “what if” premise and then each author digs in cleverly, honestly, and with focused imagination as to what happens. In these cases, a historian changes one word to “not,” an editor analyzes fourth grade composition, and there exists an infinite library of all books from all times.

As part of the Education theme, for our December 12, 2014 event Mona Akmal will join us to discuss Code.org and their mission to bring computer science to every classroom. Get your tickets here.

CMSEA: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
MA: For me, creativity has is unrelated to the space/subject matter it’s being applied to but more a frame of mind. And this frame of mind is one of open, curious, seeking of meaning and outcomes. Once this is in place, applying it to taking the perfect picture, designing an amazing user experience or coming up with a win-win partnership between two companies is just a manifestation of creativity.

CMSEA: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
MA: People - they’re complex, unique, contradictory and always trying to make meaning of the world. I love hearing people share their stories, their opinions, their wants and needs, and walking through their cognitive process. It sparks all kinds of interesting thoughts in my mind.

CMSEA: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
MA: Judgment is the antithesis of creativity. Knowing how to be open to anything and everything is key.

CMSEA: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
MA: Does it have to be someone who’s alive? Leonardo da vinci. I love the idea of the renaissance human - someone who explores and excels at many different things without feeling the need to be defined by any one profession or craft. That’s unbounded creativity right there.

CMSEA: What’s the most recent thing you learned (big or small)?
MA: My recent learning about myself: I am not the roles I play. They are all a part of my (my professional role, my role as a friend, partner, sister, daughter etc.) but none of them is me. It’s a liberating feeling to not have my identity tied up in any one of these because that provides the freedom needed to creatively explore who I can be.

CMSEA: What keeps you awake at night?
MA: Existential angst, and my cats (when they insist on being fed at 4 am).

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