Next Vancouver speaker

Dan Mangan

More info

August 10, 8:30am • SFU Woodward's — Goldcorp Centre for the Arts • part of a series on Community

Dan Mangan is a two-time JUNO award winning & two-time Polaris Music Prize listed musician and songwriter. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with his wife and two sons. With Jesse Zubot, he scored Hector And The Search For Happiness, a feature film starring Simon Pegg. Dan has also infrequently been a contributing writer for some publications such as Huffington Post Canada, Montecristo Magazine and The Guardian (Arts section).

Mangan has toured extensively in North America, Europe and Australia and has released four studio LPs as well as a handful of other EPs.

In 2018, Dan will release his 5th LP as well as score new shows for Netflix and AMC.

Q&A:

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

I think that artistic expression, of any kind at all, fills in the gaps of where language and social context fail. For me, I can convey my thoughts in song more broadly and in a way that isn’t really possible simply through conversation, or even long form text.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

I’m always a better writer when I’m tuned into other peoples’ work - seeing theatre or dance, reading books, watching good shows or movies, etc. - I’ve always been a political writer and there’s certainly no shortage of world-woe to digest at the moment.

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

Just work through. Sometimes you get stuck on something and you can’t see the other side. At this point, I’ve written so many bad songs that I’m less emotionally attached when something I write doesn’t quite “get there”. But weirdly, you still have to finish it to move beyond it. I’m embarrassed by some of my early work, but if I hadn’t finished it, I wouldn’t have been able to move into the work I’m more proud of. Another thing is figuring out what you’re good at - I’ve spent a lot of time emulating people I admired, and the truth is that the only way I’m going to produce something meaningful is if I tap into the core of whatever I am, not them.

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

I have always been blown away at how John Stewart balances creativity and humour with politics and awareness. You have to be a special kind of smart to be that finely tuned into the world AND that funny.

What was the best advice you were ever given?

Even when it seems like it might feel good, being intentionally mean will never (ever) make your life better. What books made a difference in your life and why? Cat’s Cradle changed my life in high school. And then Slaughter House Five. They opened a door. Vonnegut has a way of summing up all of humanity’s beautiful absurdity in just a few words.

What books made a difference in your life and why?

Cat’s Cradle changed my life in high school. And then Slaughter House Five. They opened a door. Vonnegut has a way of summing up all of humanity’s beautiful absurdity in just a few.

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A scientist’s point of view on creativity.

We are thrilled to introduce Scott Sampson, our July speaker on Creativity and Intention. #creativity #intention

Scott Sampson is a dinosaur palaeontologist, science communicator, and passionate advocate for reimagining cities as places where people and nature thrive. Born and raised in Vancouver, B.C., he serves as president and CEO of Science World British Columbia. He has conducted fieldwork in many countries, published numerous scientific and popular articles, and regularly speaks to audiences of all ages on a broad range of topics. Sampson is author of multiple books, including Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life (University of California Press, 2009), How to Raise a Wild Child: The Art and Science of Falling in Love with Nature (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), and You Can Be a Palaeontologist (National Geographic Kids, 2017). He is perhaps best known as “Dr. Scott,” host and science advisor of the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS television series Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company. Sampson is thrilled to be back in his hometown leading Science World in the next phase of its evolution. 

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

Creativity, in my view, is simply using imagination to make something new. That something can take many forms—from an idea, to a work of art, to a technological innovation.

I view my entire life and career as an interconnected creative enterprise. The first half of my career focused on imagining ancient worlds (that is, ancient versions of Earth).

For the second half, I’ve turned 180 degrees to imagine possible futures (thriving futures, that is), and have dedicated my work to empowering others to do so as well. Martin Luther King Jr. taught us that no movement can be successful unless it provides a compelling vision that people want to move toward. My aim is to help catalyze that vision through a (highly creative) transformation of education.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

Without doubt, the natural world is my muse when it comes to creative inspiration and energy. Solo hiking in beautiful places not only recharges me, but allows me to feel connected in ways that open up the flow creative energies. Having said that, I am also deeply inspired and energized by a diverse range of thought leaders—from John Dewey to Rachel Carson to Loren Eiseley. Creativity is built upon the insights and imaginations of others.

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

Creativity is often the result of deep immersion—in ideas, in nature, in art, whatever. So truly dive deep into things you are passionate about, seek out a diversity of resources and mentors, and always be on the lookout for the emergence of unexpected connections.

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

Thomas Berry, self-described “geologian,” whose brilliant insights and prose helped so many forge creative links between the scientific and the spiritual, all the while moving us toward a new, compelling worldview to help root humanity in the 21st Century.

wildcard questions:

If you could open a door and go anywhere, where would that be?

For me the where also includes a when. My door would take me to southern Utah 76 million years ago, to a place situated along a beautiful, Mediterranean-like coast where massive crested and horned dinosaurs roamed on land, while other astounding reptiles swam the seas below and graced the air above. I have spent years of my life excavating the ancient remains of this world, and would love to see it in all its glory.

What keeps you awake at night?

I am kept awake by what I consider the dominant challenge of our time—rapidly scaling up meaningful understanding of the interwoven challenges of our time, together with an ecocentric (versus anthropocentric) worldview.

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Who likes chocolate? If so, then you’re going to love our June Speaker on the topic of #craft.

Meet Rachel McKinley, the head chocolatier at Purdy’s.


Rachel McKinley was born and raised in small town Manitoba. After careers as a competitive ice dancer, social support worker, and paramedic,  she obtained degrees in microbiology and English literature at the University of Manitoba. It was during he second degree that she fell in love with the alchemy of chocolate, and abandoned her path towards medical school for a career in the kitchen. After starting with studies online, she went on to train in chocolate in Montreal, Minneapolis, New York, Paris, Florence and Pisa, and opened her business in Vancouver, CocoaNymph Chocolates & Confections, which she owned and operated for 10 years. More interested in inventing new chocolates than running a business, she pursued a career in product development. She is now an instructor at Ecole Chocolat, the head chocolatier at Purdy’s Chocolatier, and a freelance product developer for multiple companies in the US. She also went on to study drawing and painting at Emily Carr and is an obsessive sculptor, maker of fine food and embroidered goods, and is working on her first novel.


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

Creativity is everything - it is how we solve any problem and move forward. I really believe it is about exploring all of the angles to a problem or task and only taking the easiest path when it is the right one. To me, the key to this is collaboration and community - getting the input and participation of others as much as possible.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

In boredom. I get my best inspiration and draw energy from quiet time alone, resting, when my mind is free to wander and make new connections and plans for new projects.

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

I wish someone had told me that I AM AN ARTIST. I didn’t feel like a creative person or a maker as a young person, and when I gave myself permission to be that, my whole life changed.

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

My first thought is Patrick Roger, a chocolatier from France who has distinguished himself as a sculptor in the art world by creating chocolate sculptures, creating molds from them and then casting them in metals to make them permanent. I deeply admire his work and process.

My one guilty creative indulgence is classes - I will take a class on skillshare, udemy, with a human, anything that’s offered really! It’s evidenced by two degrees, a certificate in fine arts from Emily Carr, classes in writing from UBC and SFU, and more. It’s only guilty because I am already busy and I can’t concentrate on one form.

The best surprise I have experienced in my life was the moment an art director I was working with called Andrew told me he was not, as I had believed, a married man, and that we should go out for coffee. We’ve been together ever since.

Curious what she does? check out the video.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvKdi52baxY

We are thrilled to announce our May speaker, Crispin Elsted, who will be speaking on Commitment.


Crispin Elsted is a Canadian poet and publisher of handcrafted and printed books. He is the cofounder, with his wife Jan, of the book-publishing company Barbarian Press located on a remote farm in Mission BC. They hand set type and print woodblocks on presses that date back as far as 1850.

Elsted has also performed as a Shakespearean actor in repertory theatres and has composed, arranged and performed jazz and classical music. In his Vancouver upbringing he was a bear minder at the Stanley Park Zoo as well as a writer at CBC!

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

Creativity is simply the current cant word for imagination. Like everyone else, I use imagination whenever I consider or speculate about a subject, try to conceive an approach to a new or unusual problem, or attempt to develop a new way to articulate thought. Occasionally I succeed.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy? 

That’s quite impossible to say: it can be anything, at the right moment. Sometimes it may be ‘a certain slant of light’ (in Emily Dickinson’s phrase); at others, my wife’s voice, or a turn of phrase overheard in a street – a chord of music, sudden pain or pleasure, the feel of a cat’s back under my hand, or a stone. The source of the energy which derives from it is implicit in what Chesterton said: ‘Art is one per cent inspiration and ninety-nine per cent perspiration.’

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

You’ll never make anything worthwhile if you don’t love the labour involved, the process of making, more than the finished work.

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

William Shakespeare – although I expect he’d decline because of the pressure of work.

What did you learn from your most memorable creative failure?

There have been too many to remember, but essentially every one of them taught me the same thing: try again. But of course, since they pushed me forward, they weren’t failures, but parts of the process. Nothing from which you learn can be a failure.

What are you reading these days?

Sasha Abramsky. The House of Twenty Thousand Books Henry R. Plomer. English Printers’ Ornaments Re-reading Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series.

What fact about you would surprise people?

I was once a bearward – which in some ways was my favourite job.

What are you proudest of in your life?

My wife’s love.

If you could interview anyone living or dead, but not a celebrity, who would it be and why?

Mr Bert E. Smith, a compositor at the Curwen Press, Plaistow, London, from 1924 to 1964. I don’t when he was born, or when he died, or whether he left any descendants. During his time at Curwen he designed and composed in type hundreds of ornamental borders, most set in pairs of formes to be printed in two colours. (Curwen Press was at this time entirely a letterpress operation.) Many of these borders were wrapped and stored at the press for future use in reprinting jobs, and at Barbarian Press we now own all that remained of them when the press closed in 1984 – over a hundred.

We are presently preparing a book to be called Bordering on the Sublime: Ornamental Typography at the Curwen Press which will set out the history of the press, discuss their particular style of design, and Bert Smith’s approach to the use of ornaments. We will also reprint all of these borders from the original type.

We can find out nothing about Bert Smith beyond his name and the fact that he spent forty years at Curwen, most of them working exclusively with ornaments. We have a few photographs. I would be honoured and delighted to be able to speak to him – although I am quite sure he would be bewildered at all the fuss. That, in fact, would be part of the fascination.

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

Exactly what I am doing.

What music are you listening to these days?

A range of operas (Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Janáček, Donizetti); symphonies by Mieczysław Weinberg, László Lajtha, and Miloslav Kabeláč; Dvořak’s string quartets; early 1960s Miles Davis (pre-‘Bitch’s Brew’), and Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band.

What books made a difference in your life and why?

The Plays of William Shakespeare. My father began to read Shakespeare to me the day I came home from the hospital as a newborn, and continued to do so every day until I learned to read for myself at 3, and very often after that as well. From Shakespeare I came to recognize the beauty of the English language (helped by the fact that my father read beautifully), and the natural attraction of narrative, which I came to learn at almost the same time held the same attraction as melody: compelling sequence and intrinsic logic. Narrative is metaphorically bonded with melody in structure and effect, as are diction and tone in language with harmony in music.

A Note by William Morris on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press … I saw a facsimile of this, the last book issued by Morris’s Kelmscott Press, in a bookstore when I was an undergraduate, and I was struck for the first time by the splendour of type and its placement on the page. I had always been a reader, but this was the first time that I had really been transfixed by the appearance of a book. It was this, after many windings and adventures, which eventually drew me toward book design and publishing, and led to Jan and I founding Barbarian Press in 1977.

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

The practising of techniques which allow me to use the tools of my craft properly, and the habits of familiarity implicit in the arrangement of materials and the knowledge of process, both contribute equally. I know of no rituals, beyond the civilities of a loving relationship. Pushkin, in Eugene Onegin, says (in a loose translation) that ‘Habit is sent from heaven to those who lack happiness’. I think that, in some sense, is true; but then if one is already happy in one’s work, there is no need of redress: habit becomes a pleasure in itself.Photo Credit: Tim McLaughlin

We are excited to announce our April speaker, Jay DeMerit who will be talking on the topic of Creativity and the Game

Jay DeMerit has one of the most unique success stories soccer has ever seen.

Undrafted in the MLS, Jay backpacked to Europe, slept on attic floors and climbed the English soccer pyramid from the 12th tier to become the captain of Watford FC in the English Premier League. He also represented the US Men’s National Team, playing every minute of his team’s games throughout the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In 2011, he signed on to became the Whitecaps FC’s inaugural MLS captain, a position he held until retirement in 2014.

Off the field, Jay has taken the stage at Tedx Vancouver, spoken at national conferences, and was the keynote speaker on “Grit” at the US Soccer Federation’s annual symposium. His story was the subject of “Rise & Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story,” a documentary released in 2011 after a successful Kickstarter campaign where the soccer community raised $223,000 to turn this story into a feature film.

Based on the ideals portrayed throughout the film, Jay and his wife, Olympic Gold Medalist skier Ashleigh McIvor, started the Rise & Shine Foundation and Captain Camps, which provides a 4-day leadership program for kids ages 13-18.

Jay also has a degree in Industrial Design, which he put to use founding Portmanteau Stereo Co., which repurposes old suitcases and BC wood as portable Bluetooth speakers and home audio systems.

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

I think creativity comes from a curiosity, a willingness to look at a situation, a need, or product and wonder why it is that way, and what can be done to make it better. Be it in my sporting in life or by earning a degree in product design, both have taught me this process.

Where do you find your best creative inspiration or energy?

I find energy in people. The human connections that make us all unique, and trying to be a part of the social needs that connect us. Creativity is what is required to remain amongst those environments, I like to be right in the middle of that.

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

I think in any walk of life, the true foundation of how to achieve human successes are to drive from your truest self. Get to know yourself as soon as you can, by experiencing everything you can. The earlier you start to define what drives your human spirit and creative energy, the sooner you will find your successes.

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

Muhammad Ali or Salvador Dali.

What fact about you would surprise people?

I had a corneal transplant surgery in my eye, 6 months before I played in the World Cup.

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

When I was at University (17 years ago!), my professor made every one of us in class subscribe to Wired Magazine. It stays on the cusp of technology & design and gives us a real gateway to the future. It’s still the only magazine I buy when I’m at an airport.

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.

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