Friday, February 27, 2015

Investing in the Dreams of Others

This post isn't a typical one for me. Today I want to talk about crowdfunding, why I invest in the dreams of others, and hopefully inspire you to invest in the dreams of others too. Just so we are are on the same page, crowdfunding is raising money for a project through small donations by many, instead of the traditional, large donations from a few.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the two most commonly known crowdfunding platforms out there right now. They allow people to launch dream ideas with help from people just like you and me. By getting relatively small donations from a large population, vast sums of money can be raised to get a project off the ground without any angel backers. I have a passion to empower the creativity of others, and crowdfunding allows me to tangibly put that ideal into motion.

Not only do I get the satisfaction of knowing I helped create something good in this world, but when I help launch the dreams of others I too get inspired. I have received tactile pieces of inspiration and gratitude including postcards, books, and actual products I have helped bring to life. But the most inspiring piece of swag was a conversation with someone I look up to, Sean Astin.

Vox Populi Radio project I backed.

 Calendar featuring reading inspired artwork I received for backing Reading Rainbow.

 My amazing KitRex!

Sean Astin is a renowned actor who starred in The Goonies, Rudy, Lord of the Rings, and even voices Raphael from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT 4 LIFE). He is also a dedicated long distance runner and creator of #Run3rd, a political supporter, and hosts a political talk show called Vox Populi. His success in so many areas makes him a poignant example of passion driven progress. My reward for supporting the Vox Populi Kickstarter campaign was a skype call from Sean.

I had a whole spreadsheet of questions to ask to prove my intelligence. But when I heard the ring of the call I threw them out. I decided to not worry about how scholarly I sounded and instead soaked in all the inspiration I could by listening. We talked mainly about Sean's Kickstarter campaign. His team started with a spreadsheet plan and then the campaign blew up like an "atom bomb," said Astin. The team pulled off a successful campaign with hard work and hustle, something you can't find in a spreadsheet. This reaffirmed my pre-call decision to be my authentic self, spreadsheet be damned.

So is backing someone's project all about what you get in return? "Absolutely not. Except when it is 100% of the time," words of wisdom from Sean Astin. We all want to be a part of something bigger than ourselves and by being part of someone else's success gives us courage to pursue our dreams. Who knows, maybe someday I will write a blog post about my skype call with Steven Tyler.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Rockin' Event Review: Tour of Spark Letterpress

On January 22nd 2015, I took part in the AIGA event Solopreneurs: 
Tour of Spark Letterpress. I have never toured a letterpress shop and learned so much! I knew the basic concept but learning the step by step process made me appreciate their product even more.

I thought this wedding invite concept was extremely clever and well done. It is outside of what you would expect from letter press but fits the printing medium perfectly.

This invite was a layered piece that was very striking in person. This was probably the most 'busy' design there. I am amazed how letterpress work creates such striking clean design. That is something I surely can learn from in my career.

Ok, I kinda geeked out on how wonderfully this set used graphic/font texture on the envelope.

If you find yourself in the Arts District in Minneapolis be sure to check out their showroom and studio. If you are lucky they may even be rockin' & rolling the presses Steven Tyler style!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Rockin' Event Review: Bold & Fearless Poster Design

Bold & Fearless Poster Design was presented on CreativeLive January 12-13, 2015. The class was taught by James Victore who is somewhat of a graphic design hell-raiser. James creates great web content including Burning Questions to inspire up-and-coming graphic designers. The iconic style he is known for is all about letting go of perfection and being honest.

His teaching style resonates with great story telling and anecdotal adventures in design. He pushes students to be bold and make work that matters. He never talks down to his audience.

I created this design concept for the class. We were given a creative brief to create a litter campaign poster series for the city of New York. I missed the mark on my execution, but think my message is very direct, and being this messy in my work is a real stretch for me. 

James has been exhibited at the MOMA, the Louvre, and the Library of Congress, and even won an Emmy. All of this was achieved by following the beat of his own drum. "Humility is really important because it keeps us fresh and new." This quote by Steven Tyler perfectly embodies James Victore's flourishing career. I think that is why his work is so relevant today.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Rockin' Event Review: Because of a Blog

On January 15, 2015 I attended 'Because of a Blog' at Edina Community Education. This was a power-packed 2-hour panel discussion featuring some amazing women. The women had diverse backgrounds and careers but blogging was a major key to success for all of them to get their brand out there. The panel was moderated by Rebecca Bell Sorensen with predetermined questions, a short audience Q&A at the end, and a pop-up market featuring products from these very talented ladies.

Each woman turned their passion into successful careers through blogging. Blogs are a great way to communicate, but it was their authenticity that truly spread their message. All these women were meticulous about the quality of their message and the products they delivered.

The panel consisted of (from left to right) Elizabeth Dehn creator of Beauty Bets, Wendy Brown owner of Brown Ink, Liz Heinecke the Kitchen Pantry Scientist, Amanda Rettke the woman behind i am baker, and Ali Kaplan who is Ali Shops.

They discussed taking advantage of their skill sets to jump into the blogging world, gave us realistic numbers about how much they invest financially into their blogs, and shared differences in their approaches. They had great advice about branding, keeping the credibility of your brand while monetizing, and spreading your message through multiple channels.

I am hoping to expand my blog this next year using their advice. This event was a great catalyst for me to see what is possible and realize that I have already taken many first steps. I will continue to post my creative, what inspires me, and other great creatives. Till then I am going to take the advice of Steven Tyler and "Fake It Till You Make It."

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Rockin' Event Review: 2nd Annual Iowa Burlesque Festival

Better late than never Rockin' Event Review!

The 2nd Annual Iowa Burlesque Festival was October 24-25, 2014 in Davenport, Iowa. I needed an excuse for drawing some lovely ladies, and this event had more lovely ladies than just one night could hold! This was my first burlesque show and I dived right in with a front row seat for two days of fabulous!

The two day event brought talented burlesque and vaudeville acts from around the world to the Midwest stage. I drew my favorite performers in classic pin-up style. I found I was mostly drawn to more classic style performances with hints of humor.

Maddie Moiselle showed us that being confident in your skin is not about your dress size! She struggled with the all too familiar female problem of your 'assets' not fitting into that dress.

Ray Ray Sunshine exuded classic Hollywood glamor with a cheeky sense of humor!

Renee Holiday had a set of pipes that were worthy of a Broadway stage. She tickled her ivories hitting the orgasmic high notes with a tantalizing feather.

Molly Tov was one wise crackin' Emcee. Blunt and brash at all the right turns, she kept the audience on their toes. My favorite moment was an unscripted glass drop or while joined on stage by Dante the Magician.

I loved seeing women of all shapes and sizes showing off and being proud of their bodies. They had all the right moves and stage outfits that upstage those of Steven Tyler. I plan on attending the 3rd Annual Iowa Burlesque Festival this upcoming year. I might even take a couple of classes. But first I better practice walking in 6-inch heels.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Rockin' Event Review: Art Buddies Mentor Program

This fall I had a chance to be an Art Buddy. Art Buddies is an art mentoring program that pairs a creative adult with a child for one day a week after school for a semester. This program is very unique because it boasts one-to-one mentoring. During the semester the child and the mentor create a costume for the child to wear that represents the child's hopes for the future. The program ends with a parade of costumes thorough the halls with all their classmates cheering them on.

I had the privilege of helping Liyah create an Anime Panda Cat Costume (known to his friends as Pat). The costume perfectly embodied her cheerful, calm, and kind nature. She was also stirring a bowl of glitter because of her love for cooking for others.

Finished stirring wand, paws, and ears.

Finishing up the whiskers.

The hat is done!

I had to try it on too!

Finished costume just in time for the parade!

Starting the parade.

At the end of the program the kids took home their costumes and a Buddy book. We also made each other thank you cards that turned out adorable!


I highly recommend being a part of Art Buddies if you live in the Twin Cities area. This was one rockin' event even Steven Tyler wouldn't miss!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Album Cover Design for Lifehouse 'Seven'

Last minute entry for the Lifehouse album cover design contest. Such a great live band. I saw them several times when I was younger so I just had to give it a shot! CLICK HERE to vote for me! PSSSSSST- you may have to create a login to vote.

Someday I will design an album cover for Steven Tyler and it will be epic!