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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).

For our November theme of CHANCE, we’ve going to have an incredible talk from Hillel Cooperman

Hillel worked for Microsoft from mid-1997 to late 2006 as a program manager, a product unit manager, and all the positions in between. Now Hillel is the co-founder with Jenny Lam of Jackson Fish Market, a premier user experience and branding consultancy in Seattle, WA as well as makers of Slide Bureau and A Story Before Bed.

Tickets will be available November 3rd.

CMSEA: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
HC: I’m not really sure what this means. I guess if you forced me, I would say that creativity is the purpose of life. And I try to apply it to everything I do.
CMSEA: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
HC: From people who underestimate me.
CMSEA: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
HC: Yes, it’s true that you need to surround yourself with people who are better than you (I knew this already, but this next part I didn’t know) but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something amazing to contribute yourself.
CMSEA: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?
HC: Neal Stephenson
CMSEA: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
HC: I turned off the Citgo sign that sits above Fenway Park.
CMSEA: Where was the last place you travelled?
HC: Shelburne Vermont. The inn was like the hotel in The Shining.

CMSEA: Thanks, Hillel! We’ll see you on the 3rd!

In honor of this month’s theme, Color, we’ve compiled a quick list of fun apps for exploring the world of color!

We’re pleased to bring the brave entrepreneur Marc Barros to speak on our theme of FAILURE. Waitlist tickets are still available right here for his talk on August 8th.

CMSEA: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
MB: Being an entrepreneur is about creating the rules. When you start a new brand it has zero legacy, so you can approach a problem in an entirely new way. In order to be successful in creating companies you have to create a foundation that doesn’t exist today (purpose, values, brand, etc) and then find creative ways to stand out from the noise. The entire exercise requires creativity, from idea to a sustainable company. 

CMSEA: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
MB: People + Traveling.

Watching people to learn behaviors so we can build better products. Traveling with my wife to discover new places together. There is something powerful about being in a new place and learning to survive with the person you love.

CMSEA: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
MB: Learn to have an opinion.

I find for most people it takes a while to really know what they want, like, believe, etc. No different than how your food pallet develops over time as you try new foods, I find that life experiences help you to shape your own perspective on the world. Once you understand your values and really start to understand your own perspective, it gets much easier to be confident in your creative endeavors. Confidence is a really important aspect of being creative. 

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

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

CMSEA: What are you proudest of in your life?
MB: My family. 

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For our HERITAGE theme, we’re pleased to bring you local artist, Andrew Morrison. You’ll recognize some of his beautiful mural work all over Seattle, including the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center. We hope you’ll join us on July 11 to hear his incredible story of his journey as a graffiti artist to nationally acclaimed artist. Free tickets are available here

CMSEA: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
AM: Creativity to me, is always being free in the most rudimentary sense of the word. Free to speak, free to love, free to sleep, free to laugh, free to walk, free to think, free to refrain, free to sit, free to run, free to eat, free to see, free to hear, free to dance, free to work, free to dream, free to feel, and free to break through any rudimentary man-made prohibitions that bear directly down upon the human spirit.

CMSEA: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
AM: In the midst of a single breath, where perversity can not be held, this is where I find my greatest creative inspiration!


CMSEA: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
AM: I wish it had been made crystal clear to me by a living human being, that man, the living creature is perplexed by Mother Nature’s simplicity. Her simplest signs show us that anything is possible and any mountain can be climbed, any wall can be shattered, any amount of success could easily be achieved, any wound will heal, any dream will manifest, any thought can move continents, any road can be traveled, any conflict can be avoided, any war can cease, any picture can be painted, any gallery can be built, any team can win, any tide can turn, any fortune can be obtained, any family can last, and any height of heaven can be reached.

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

CMSEA: If you had a magic wand, where would you be in five years?
AM: Italy

CMSEA: What music are you listening to these days?
AM: Schoolboy Q

An Interview with June’s MINIMAL Speaker: Lee LeFever

Lee LeFever is the founder of Common Craft and author of The Art of Explanation. Lee and Common Craft are known for explaining complex ideas in short, animated videos. Since 2007 Common Craft’s videos have been viewed over 30 million times and and today his mission is to help professionals become better explainers. We had him answer a few questions to get us amped up for his talk on June 13!

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

LL: To me creativity is defined by the idea of choice. We all have more choices than we realize and a big part of being creative is being intentional about the choices we make, whether it’s making art or building a career. At Common Craft, we try not to do things because we’re supposed-to or because of someone else’s expectations. Instead, we do them because we’ve made a conscious and personal choice. In the end, our own version of creativity comes down to these choices, large and small. 

CMSEA: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

LL: Outside. Dog walks have produced many of our best ideas. Getting away from the screens and desks seems to get the juices flowing like nothing else. 

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

LL: I would tell a young me that creativity isn’t a specific thing, but a way of thinking, of approaching the world. As a young person, I saw creativity as something that happened in art class. You went in, got creative, and left. Today I see that creativity is embedded in every part of life and can be the secret sauce that makes nearly everything better.  I would tell a young me that creativity is lens through which you view problems, opportunities, steps and more. 

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

LL: Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal.

CMSEA: Us, too, Lee. Us, too.

CMSEA: What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

LL: Probably getting blackout drunk with a Russian gangster on the trans-siberian railway in 2006. You can see him at the end of this video. 

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

LL: Over the holidays I sat my parents down in front of a camera and did oral history interviews with them. Despite being known for video production, I had never done live action interviews in that way. I learned about lighting and sound, editing with Final Cut and how to piece together a couple of hours of footage into a story that captures their lives. I showed my whole family a rough cut last weekend and they loved it. This project was incredibly rewarding and I learned a ton about video, but also the history of my family.

Thanks again for joining us, Lee! There’s still room for you to join us for his talk, “Optimizing Happiness by ‘No’” and you can grab your tickets (or hop on the wait list) right here.

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