Next Vancouver speaker

Tien Neo Eamas

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March 2, 8:30am • SFU Woodward's — Goldcorp Centre for the Arts • part of a series on Courage

We are thrilled to introduce our March speaker, Tien Eamas, who will be talking on the topic of Creativity and Courage

Tien Neo Eamas’ commitment is to bring a whole new level of Freedom and Joy to all.
Tien was the first Asian trans man to publicly transition in Vancouver’s then-called (2001) gay and lesbian community. In 2007 he founded the first-ever trans celebration, Happy Tranny Day, now known as the annual Transgender Day of Celebration.
Tien grew up in Singapore. Abused and silenced as a girl in a mixed race and class, fundamentalist Christian family, he left for Canada in his teens where he encountered more oppression. In addition to major culture shock, he suffered race, class, gender and sexuality ignorance, violence, and stereotyping.
Life didn’t get easier after transitioning. As a male, Tien faced a new set of challenges. Struggling to pass as male, he experienced trans-hatred, invisibility, ignorance and disrespect from his family, community, friends, institutions, and the legal system.
Internalizing it all, anger, righteousness, self hatred, and financial struggles mounted, culminating in a suicide attempt in 2009. The morning after, Tien ‘woke up’. He got real with himself and said, 'You’re still alive - wanna stick around? Yes. Then promise to have a F***ING good time and stop suffering or go back to your maker already!’
His life transformed and from that moment, Tien became a Wizard. He now creates life on his terms, choosing joy no matter what.
Highly creative, Tien is a gold and silversmith, Feng Shui consultant, coach, speaker and alchemist.

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

Creativity is the ability to make something up, to envision, to build; something that is not of the norm, a little odd, whacky, a little goofy, fun.
How I apply it to my life? For me career and life are one and the same. Whether I am dressed as one of my characters Mr Seow to scoop up bear poop, or resetting a client’s heirloom pieces, it is all from the same source. It comes from the same place of joy, fun, light and my belief in Magick.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

As flakey it may sound, it comes from the infinite universe. To access it all I do is ensure my head is clear of negative thinking, doubt, self hatred, fear - all those thoughts that make our lives suck, the nasty and negative thoughts we think about ourselves and others. Most of the time my head is clear because I spend a lot of time making sure I am happy, no matter what I’m doing, whether it’s reading my favorite Anne Rice novel, watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or folding my clean laundry.
When I am happy, inspiration comes. When we are happy, our brains aren’t full of shit and we are clear. When we are clear… now the gods and angels can speak!

What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

There isn’t one. The question does not apply because the past is over and makes absolutely no difference to my life now. My life is the way it is. I picked up the tools I needed along the way. If I knew at five what I know now, I would not have had this brilliantly whacky, horrible, deliciously creative life that now get to enjoy! I feel this question perpetuates a limited way of thinking about life and looking at creativity.

Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at Creative Mornings?

RuPaul, Mindy Khaling.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?

I am a Wizard.

What music are you listening to these days?

The Greatest Showman soundtrack.

What was the best surprise you’ve experienced so far in life?

Being able to fully embrace and enjoy my female gender after transitioning to male.

What practices, rituals or habits contribute to your creative work?

Creating a context of playfulness, fun, joy, inspiration, and excitement for everything I do. Being fully present, not stuck in silly noisy thoughts, and diving in only when I am fully happy.

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

Stop what I am doing and do something else way more fun.

What has been one of your biggest Aha! moments in life?

Failed suicide attempt in 2009. I realized I was so unhappy doing things for others and living a life I did not want. The next morning, I chose to LIVE and to ONLY do things that make me happy.

What is the one movie or book every creative must see/read?

The Greatest Showman Movie.

We are excited to announce our February speaker, Program Coordinator for the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Michael Unger who will be talking on the topic of Creativity and Curiosity!

Michael has been an astronomy educator for over 11 years. He is also the co-founder of Nerd Nite Vancouver, an informal monthly bar lecture series now going into its 4th year. Each month Nerd Nite brings a variety of people to talk about their science, art, or other nerdy passions to the stage to talk with a curious audience. He is also a proud team member of Sci-CATS, the Science Communication Action Team, which creates and delivers accessible science communication training. His own passions of course are space, but also Star Wars, pinball, and fine cheeses.

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

Creativity for me starts by being a curious nerd, which I would define as someone who is passionate about finding answers. If I don’t know the answer to something, I will start the process of finding out, which may lead me to people that do know, which in turn will bring me to a creative thought or idea. When I was younger my creativity was very insular, but I felt that as I got older I learned to find collaborators that could help mold these creative ideas which has helped me find homes in my life and career.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

It will usually stem from a new idea that I’ve heard from someone, either at Nerd Nite, or on a podcast. Then some quiet contemplation, looking at the ocean, or staring at the stars is my usual go to places to let thoughts percolate.

What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

It’s okay to be weird. I grew up in a conservative Christian home, I had lots of questions and lots of ideas, but most of them I just kept in my brain and didn’t write them down or share them with anyone. If you feel like an alien on this planet, don’t worry you’re not alone, there’s lot of us out here. Be open to finding other people like you, be weird, be nerdy, you’ll be surprised what you discover about yourself when you do.

Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?

I just discovered James Burke, he had science history shows on the BBC in the 1970’s. He’s still alive, although I doubt he gives many public talks anymore, but he seems like the kind of guy I would feel giddy listening to as he weaves intricate philosophical science-history-lesson-stories.

How does your life and career compare to what you envisioned for your future when you were a sixth grader?

I didn’t have many talents as a kid, but I felt that I was really good at daydreaming. Now I get to think of wild ideas, and then implement them. I also wanted to be a time traveler which I also get to do as an astronomy educator, thinking about the past, present, and future all at once is the heart of knowing what the cosmos is all about.

What music are you listening to these days?

Usually while working in the planetarium or at my desk I’m listening to Brian Eno, its good thinking music. I also devour local artists that I want to work with like Louise Burns, she’s amazing, and she’s going to be playing music in the planetarium on Valentines Day while I talk about the stars. At some point in the next year I’m hoping to work with Loscil. His music is a perfect fit for the ambient star gazing venue of the planetarium.

Our Janaury speaker, Discourse Media’s editor-in-chief and CEO Erin Millar will be talking on the topic of Creativity and Anxiety.

Erin Millar has received multiple awards for journalism innovation, including being named 2015 Bob Carty Fellow by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, Storyteller-in-Residence at Ashoka Canada, and an AmEx Emerging Innovator. She has hosted talks and workshops across Canada and internationally, including at the Canadian Association of Journalists national conference and Italy’s International Journalism Festival and has reported from over a dozen countries for Canadian and international publications. Erin taught journalism at Quest University Canada and Langara College. She is a trustee of the Uncharted Journalism Fund and serves on the board of the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

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

Creativity has expressed itself in different ways throughout my career: I was a professional jazz saxophonist before devoting myself to journalism and storytelling. But much of what I know as a writer I learned as a musician, such as creative tools like tension, release, rhythm, counterpoint, mimicry. I am now founder and CEO of a digital news media startup and I am applying creativity to the task of imagining into reality new models, practices and systems that can realign journalists to serve communities as opposed to advertisers.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

Honestly? Sleep. I am also a new mother of twins and so sleeps is the greatest source of, and barrier to, creativity. I am still amazed how much more possibility becomes apparent after a full eight hours of shuteye.

What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

Creativity works in cycles, so be patient. As a musician I would struggle with a new concept or skill for weeks and feel like I was making no progress. Then weeks or months later, once I had moved on to something else entirely, that new skill would naturally show up in my improvisation, almost like magic. So much of my creative process occurs subconsciously, and so I’ve had to learn to be patient and forgiving with myself.

Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?

That’s an impossible question. Well, how about Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre? I once took a very obscure spherical trigonometry class and was delighted and surprised by how elegant, beautiful and creative math can be.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?

I used to write stories for a living; I now write emails so that others can write stories for a living.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

I once asked a mentor – a very high powered female CEO, author, mother, volunteer, board director, and on and on – how she managed to do so much, and still have a relatively healthy life. Her response: “I say yes to everything that seems worthwhile and is interesting and then I forgive myself when I mess some things up.” I loved that.

Rounding off our our excellent speaker series for “Audience Takes The Stage” this Friday is our third and final speaker writer, actor, teacher, entrepreneur and pasta connoisseur, Peter Ciuffa

You might know Peter from selling his Artisan pasta at Vancouver Farmer’s Markets. Maybe it’s as part of the team at one of Canada’s best restaurants Savio Volpe. What about his many appearances cooking on CTV or Global, acting on TV shows like Supernatural, or from the stages of NYC? Heck he even created, co-produced & hosted Little Italys for TLN way back when.

However you know him, through his company Pasta Boy Peter, he teaches people to make Fresh Pasta & cook Italian. Peter brings to you his stories & Family traditions so you can have your own Italian Kitchen party. His philosophy, Eat with those you Love!

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

Creativity is the curiosity and drive to breathe life into an idea. In my life it has been the force which has led me down many paths including producer, director, host, actor, writer, entrepreneur and cook. Some have been more successful than others, but they all stem from my creativity. The hope produced by an idea, is one of the greatest motivators for me to get up each day. Currently it is driving me to combine my passion for food, with my passion for telling a story.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

I find my best creative energy comes from my past and the everyday occurrences of my life.

What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

To have risked even MORE when I was fortunate enough to have lived at home and had the support and time to create, without the worries of putting a roof over my head.

Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?

Three people: St. Francis of Assisi, Akira Kurosawa and Charles Baudelaire because of this quote “It is one of the prodigious privileges of art that the horrific, artistically expressed, becomes beauty, and that sorrow, given rhythm and cadence, fills the spirit with a calm joy.”

What fact about you would surprise people?

I played competitive Football at a National Level in CFL stadiums, and have also trained in Ballet and Modern dance on the same floor that Martha Graham taught on.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?

I throw Italian Cooking Class Experiences where you learn to make pasta and I make you laugh to at least one of my stories!

If you could do anything now, what would you do?

Travel the world telling stories and sharing meals with people.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

By my Father, Lorenzo Ciuffa - “Peter, when you walk through a forest, if you stop and look back every time you get snagged or trip, you will never get out of the forest.”

Our second December speaker is Joanna Riquett, founder and Editor in Chief of Hayo, an award-winning travel magazine for visionaries, makers and wanderers.

Hayo explores travel, arts, culture and curiosities, offering inspiration and new perspectives shared by creatives from all over the world. Joanna also hosts Creative Immersion journey; trips to key cities to explore their art and design culture via full immersion into their creative aspects.

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

Creativity is what takes me from 0 to a 100 to bring ideas into reality; it’s the adrenaline I feel when I’m working on a new project and all the possibilities are open; it’s the way I look at challenges and find solutions for them. It’s in everything that I do.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

When I travel and meet people passionate about what they do, it motivates me to bring the same level of energy and focus into my work.

What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

Don’t chase every shiny object along the way, it’ll just distract you from your final destination (still trying to remember this advice).

Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?

Artist Alberto Giacometti. Since seeing his sculptures in Vienna last year, the perfection on how he captured the soul of his subjects is something I’m deeply shaken by.

How would you describe what you do in a single sentence to a stranger?

I design experiences, online or offline, for people to connect, share and hopefully create things together.

What music are you listening to these days?

A whole lot of Latin house, psychedelic cumbia, electro tropical and modern electronic latin beats.

Our first December speaker is Western Living and Vancouver magazine executive editor and award winning writer, Stacey McLachlan

Outside of work, find Stacey performing sketch and improv throughout Vancouver and as part of farther-flung events like the Montreal Sketch Festival and New York’s Del Close Improv Marathon.

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

Creativity is experimentation: not just doing something the way it’s been done because that’s the way it’s been done. At work, that means thinking of new formats for storytelling or tearing up an editorial package and starting from scratch; in life, that means trying new things, meeting new people and rearranging your living room furniture as often as possible.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

In conversation, bouncing ideas around without worrying about the realities of budgets or logistics. But also on a long walk home, or when you wake up in the middle of the night and fall back into a weird half-sleep—quiet transitional times where multi-tasking is not an option.

What’s one piece of creative advice or a tip you wish you’d known as a young person?

The only person stopping you from making things is you.

Who (living or dead) would you most enjoy hearing speak at CreativeMornings?

David Sedaris. He’s so talented at scavenging things from his life and turning them into something new and thoughtful and funny.

What myths about creativity would you like to set straight?

People believe conditions have to be perfect in order to create. They think they have to quit their job to finally start that novel or have studio space to start painting, but I think it’s like a having a baby: you’re never really ever going to be 100-percent ready, so just do what you can with the here and now, or you may never have the stars align.

Where was the last place you travelled?

Lisbon in October. It was very delicious and I’m still having egg tart withdrawls.

So happy to announce our stellar December event “Audience Takes the Stage” triple bill!

Joanna Riquett is a writer originally from Colombia and the founder and editor of Hayo, an award-winning magazine for visionaries, makers and wanderers.

Peter Ciuffa is a writer, actor, teacher, entrepreneur and a pasta connoisseur — he’s the world’s only Professional Pasta Making Actor!

Stacey McLachlan is the executive editor at Western Living and Vancouver magazine by day and has fun as an amateur sketch and improv comedian by night!

Ticket lottery is open!

Creative Mornings Vancouver: Call for Audience Submissions

December 2017’s theme is “CONTEXT”, and it’s your time to show us what you’re made of!

We’re looking for three speakers from our talented and creative audience to take the stage at our event on Friday, December 1st, 8:30 am to 10am. Each speaker will prepare and present an 8 minute talk (with slides).

Don’t be shy! We want to hear from you. Know of someone in the creative industry who would be great for this? Pass this on and peer pressure them into it.

Submission Details: Nominate yourself by filling out the form here: http://bit.ly/2yOhDM2 no later than Friday November 17th at noon. Selected speakers will be notified by email on Sunday November 19th, 2017.

We’re very grateful for the support from Decembers’s presenting partner POWERSHiFTER. Go check out the amazing digital work they’ve been producing lately at www.powershifter.com!

Our November speaker, designer and retailer John Fluevog will be talking on the topic of Creativity and Death.

John Fluevog is an independent designer and retailer of forward-thinking footwear and accessories. Since 1970, he has been steadfast in creating unique soles for unique souls that have been seen everywhere from the feet of Madonna, Beyoncé, Lady Gaga and Jack White to the runways of high fashion. Recently, John was recognized by The Two/Ten Foundation of Canada as The Canadian Footwear Industry’s Shoe Person of the Year and John Fluevog Shoes was recently named one of the world’s most innovative companies in the fashion industry by creative business experts FastCompany. When you wear a pair of Fluevogs, you’re wearing decades of traditionally made, untraditional design.

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

By opening my heart and soul to it. I then take care to listen to it —respect it— and have the boldness to do it. In short I just start.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration?

First answer would be everywhere… next in reflection of what was said or what I saw. I rarely get things from the outside inspiration. It comes from inside. Its a subconscious thing that pops up at odd times. I know when I really should do something when images keeps re-accruing and popping up in my brain.

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

Watch and listen. Realize that its your created self and not your ego thats at work. Step aside and listen and trust. Make quiet time and solitude a discipline

Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMornings?

Beethoven…he heard things when he was blind and took the energy and boldness to write them down. He heard and saw and it had to come out.

What is the craziest thing you have ever done?

Open up my Chicago store when I was out of money and close to bankruptcy. Then when I was trying to do it all hell broke loose including the end of my marriage.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

I was told that my shoes and ideas were good enough to be and international brand.

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

Don’t worry about it .. I find that having a blank piece of paper or blank mind helps. If I try too hard it only stresses me out which is really not good I go to a quiet place and wait and if that does not work I just carry on and hope that someone else has some god ideas.

What is the one question we haven’t asked that you want to answer?

The most important thing we need as creatives is to have a strong moral compass. By nature we are experiments and explorers and in that roll its easy to be self destructive to ourselves and others.

Considering this month’s theme is “pioneer”, this page in “New Aging” by Hollwich & Mau caught our attention:
“The older we get, the more we approach unknown territory. However, we should replace the word “old” with the term “pioneer”. We are the Vanguard, pushing the depth of human experience to the next threshold. We’ve earned the freedom to explore the rest of our life without limits and hesitations. We can do things we never dreamed before. (at Vancouver, British Columbia)

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