Archive for the ‘Creatives At Large’ Category

Promote the Proccess

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Eileen Rothe getting the back story from Drew Young

We took in the IDEA Grad Show last night and all I can say is WOW! Each and every time we connect with that crazy group from the North Shore I’m inspired and amazed; they’re likeminded folks for sure.

The depth of creativity that IDEA graduates bring to the table is exceptional and the diversity amoung the group is really something special. What stood out to us this year was how eloquent the new grads were. They spoke about their lives, their work, and most importantly their process and they left us with a deeper impression of who they are and what they offer the market far more than any promotional effort could ever pull off.

That’s where the rubber hits the road as far as I’m concerned: talk about the process I always say (well, I’m saying it now anyway).

When artists and creatives want to market themselves they often make the fatal error of either 1. hiding in a closet (believing their work will speak for itself) or 2. they talk about the end result and how awesome it is (a noisy and desperate plea). The “true” artist and the shameless self-promoter are not all that effective at trying to elicit curiosity in their work or generate demand for their creative skills. Both of those approaches fail to create genuine interest.

In a market full of other talented souls the battle to garner attention is hard. From my perspective, what is, in fact, interesting about creative work, is the process. HOW they arrived at the final result is what makes me pay attention.

“Story” is always a good way to approach a marketing effort but I’ve been increasingly intrigued by raw guts of the creative process and I’m attracted to creatives who can expose themselves and their methods (or chaos) in order to share their creative spirit.

Take Drew Young for example. Sean Carter (Hangar 18 Creative Group) pointed him out to us and so we buzzed over to his display. Within seconds he was telling us about how he went about creating a collaborative illustration project that wasn’t even featured on his wall! Brilliant!

My advice? Be like Drew.

If you don’t know much about the IDEA program then here’s a snapshot: IDEA is a career-based three-year advanced diploma program offering instruction in both communication design and applied illustration. This dual curriculum sets IDEA apart from other post-secondary design programs and gives graduates a lifelong edge in the job market. In this demanding, full-time cohort program, students gain a strong theoretical foundation and learn how to develop and apply concepts, manage complex projects and meet current industry expectations, both creatively and technologically. To find out more about the IDEA program and its graduates visit

So, a shout out to the IDEA grads for all their hard work – we wish you continued success; to the faculty… you’re doing important work, thank you for your leadership – the quality of the Grad Show is a reflection of your dedication to excellence and community.

Speaking of process, if you’re working on a creative project or entrepreneurial endeavour and you need help taking it to the next level… you’ll want to check out the Connect, Learn, Grow workshop series by Emotus Operandi. It’s happening Saturday, April 30th on Granville Island and you can register here.

Posted by: Corwin Hiebert

Shot of Inspiration & a Kick in the…

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

Here’s a video and a book that have inspired me this week:

TEDTalk – How Great Leaders Inspire Action by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers.

Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to CreativityIgnore Everybody
I’m not sure what I can say that hasn’t already been said about MacLeod’s latest book Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to Creativity (mostly because it came out awhile ago and I just read it now). If you’ve read it I’d love to hear from you. I also really loved his other book which I did a short blog post on last year (I seem to be a year behind – lame eh?):

First off, I have to say that this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to, or already does, make a living through idea making or has a creative pursuit of any kind. I’m serious.

Secondly, here’s a few highlights that really stood out to me:

  • #2 – The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours. As creative people we strive to birth something that is unique but we so often fall into the trap of trying to come up with something EPIC. Or, we think it’s epic and are disappointed when those around us aren’t blown away by our inspired idea. Don’t focus on the magnitude, focus on the authenticity of your ideas.
  • #3 – Put the hours in. Yeah – it’s no secret, work hard at something you love and it ‘might’ pay off because what other choice do you have? Work hard, work harder, work till you drop so that when barriers pop up you’ll know that it’s not from a lack of trying. Don’t leave anything on the table, especially time.
  • #8 – Keep your day job. No poop Sherlock. Oh wait, that’s a good point. If you put in major time on the side you’ll have a much better idea of what it would be like to turn your passion into your job. If the goal is to create then don’t add pressure on yourself to pay the bills with your creation unless you have to OR it’s built up in such a way that it’s viable. Maybe just don’t take your day job to seriously.
  • #10 – Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity. I’m not really qualified to speak to this one (I’m in sole proprietor land) but I think we’re seeing a major shift in corporate culture: there are companies that foster creativity and those who have training manuals and productivity seminars. If you’re at a job that embraces individuality and personal workflow then count your luck stars. If you’re a leader in a company be sure to celebrate those hard working peeps with the opportunity to contribute to the company without suffocating them with unnecessary processes and conference calls.
  • #28 – The best way to get approval is to not need it. Good ideas aren’t always liked by everyone. Be confident. Repeat after me: “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and dog-on-it I don’t care if people like my idea”.

Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to Creativity is a really quick read but don’t let that fool you – it’s packed with groovy moments that will give you a lifetime of ass kickin’.

Posted by: Corwin Hiebert

Creative Tools – Creative Live

Friday, May 7th, 2010

This is the coolest thing since… well, EVER! Seattle’s Craig Swanson, and his superstar partner-in-crime creative director and photographer Chase Jarvis, launched the most amazing training platform in the world last month: CreativeLIVE – a live creative education internet channel bringing you and I top notch training at no cost.

Think about that for a second. Access to instructors and courseware that normally costs hundreds to thousands of dollars can now be enjoyed from the comfort of your own computer without spending a dime! Crazy I tell you!

So, for example – next week: May 11th there’s “Photoshop to HTML” by Erik Fadiman and May 12th is “Fundamentals of Digital Photography” by John Greengo. Later in May is “Android Java Apps” and “Watercolors 101″. Programming AND fine art? Yep. Where else can you get premium training that’s live, interactive, and can be experienced in your PJs!

And HEY! GUESS WHAT?! CREATIVEMIX’s very own David duChemin is leading a course in late June called Vision-driven Photography. If you’re the curious and/or untrusting type and you want to know what ‘the catch’ is… the not-free part is if you didn’t catch it live and you want to view the course after the fact, that part is pay to play. No problem.

The sign-up process is super simple and they are very respectful of your information; they use your email address to send you reminder emails with important class links on the day of the class. During the class you use GoToWebinar and you can ask questions in real-time! The classes are presented in the QuickTime format.

Here’s Chase’s launch video:

Posted by: Corwin Hiebert

Tangents was Coolio

Friday, November 13th, 2009


A hipster bomb went off in Mount Pleasant! Oh man – the Tangents Art Show was tonight and it was a major hit! Great art, killer DJ, wicked room (Lifetime Space) all brought to you by Jeff Hamada ( and the Lifetime Collective. We ran into some CREATIVEMIX peeps (like Dave Delnea) and enjoyed the commute to/from (a brisk walk just 5 blocks from our pad). Groovy Friday night out.

Posted by: Corwin Hiebert

Designing Social Interfaces

Friday, September 18th, 2009

idea2009logoI came across Cathy Bogaart’s blog post yesterday and if you’re an app builder of the social variety then you’ll want to check it out. She’s at the MaRS Centre in Toronto where IDEA2009 took place the day before – it’s a conference dedicated to social and experiential design. Bogaart wrote a quick-guide to Christian Crumlish‘s and Erin Malone‘s Designing Social Interfaces talk (they’re with O’Reilly Media). It has some great bits for those who dwell in the land of social-app creation (or even heavy users for that matter):

Five Principles of Successful Social Interfaces

Guidelines that you can apply to interpret any design “best practices” and make the specific decisions you need to make. Because every project is different.

1. Pave the cow paths. People don’t always go where you expect them to. Find out what they’re doing and then make that easier.

2. Talk like a person. This is a conversation. You are a human being and people like hearing from humans, not robots. Make it personal.

3. Be open. Play well with others.

4. Learn from games. Reputation or point systems make it fun.

5. Respect the ethical dimension. Making your idea or system viral should not mean spam. Because people hate spam. And they’ll hate you if you enable it.

Read the full article at the MaRS blog. Learn more about the author’s new book at

Posted by: Corwin Hiebert.

P.S. If you’re tired of reading and simply want to look at the pretty pictures (presentation slides) then just click through below:

How to be Creative (by Hugh MacLeod)

Monday, August 31st, 2009

change_this_be_creativeLooking for some help? Need to crank out an idea or develop a creative venture? Checkout ChangeThis, an online hub with one mission: to challenge the way important ideas are created and spread. It’s where you can find Hugh MacLeod’s “How to be Creative” manifesto. He’s offered up 26 tried-and-true tips for being truly creative (just download the PDF). MacLeod highlights the value of authenticity and hard work, and reveals the challenges and rewards of being creative. It’s the perfect remedy for jump-starting an idea, working out a concept, and flushing out the details.

More About the Author
Hugh MacLeod is a brand consultant, copywriter and cartoonist. Born in America but educated in the UK, he has spent most of his life shuttling between the two countries. He started out in straight TV advertising writing in the early 90s but with the advent of new media it evolved into new brand thinking and cultural transformation. His website,, is widely read in the blogosphere.

Strombo Q&A with Steve Martin

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

steve-martin-headshotCool News! On Sunday, September 27, one of comedy’s greatest legends, Steve Martin, will be interviewed by George Stroumboulopoulos @strombo (host of CBC’s The Hour) at the Orpheum in downtown Vancouver as a part of the GlobalBC Vancouver COMEDYFEST.

Steve Martin is one of the most diversified performers and this is truly a rare opportunity to go behind the curtain with this amazing comedian, actor, author, playwright, producer and musician. Pre-sale tickets are now available to comedyfest club members.

So, here’s a CREATIVEMIX shout-out to the team at Destination Funny for bringing this inspiring entertainer to Vancouver.

Be there or be square (and leave your banjo at home).

Posted by: Corwin Hiebert

Creatives at Large – Chase Jarvis

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

CREATIVEMIX is a Vancouver-focused conference. That’s right. It’s not for everyone. It’s not that we’re trying to be exclusive (well, we are, but we have good reasons) it’s just that we’re focused on community, face-to-face relationships, and the collaboration that comes from living in proximity to other creative people. As a result, the majority of the content posted on this blog features local idea makers, news on creative events, and some fun bits about life as a creative person living in Vancouver. However, from time to time we’ll blog about people, places, and things from outside metro Vancouver – we’ll be categorizing these items as Creatives at Large.

To get this party started we need not look far, just south of the boarder in fact, to Seattle where photographer and director Chase Jarvis dwells. I’d like to say I know Chase but I don’t. I know Chase by extension; so extended in fact he doesn’t even know who I am. But, he’s a friend of a friend (our very own David duChemin) and from the moment David told his first “Chase story” I couldn’t help but add his blog to my RSS feed and make plans to keep tabs on this guy. There’s not much I need to say about him other than this: he gets it. He’s a “creativemixer” (new word, just made it up) and so I want to send a “shout out” to him, a fellow West Coast creative. Here – read Chase’s bio and you’ll get a sense of why this guy is uber-cool and easily fits into the Creatives at Large category:

I haven’t swashbuckled with pirates, nor have I swam the English Channel. I haven’t even been to Antarctica. But I have traveled to many far away places, created a lot of still and moving pictures for myself and others. And I’ve made it my life’s goal to be as creative as possible toward everything I endeavor. Outside of my morning cereal, that is.

I don’t always make my bed, but lazy I’m not. On a deserted island, I’d go insane without photography, film, music, my wife Kate and our family pets. Storytelling, creative innovation, and visual voodoo-no matter the medium-make my heart go thump thump; and sharing all this online with the world, plus as much of my professional experience as I can muster, makes my soul sing. I’m fond of crows, and love that they’ll fly toward anything shiny. I feel like a crow on most days. I can find humor in anything. I’m still working on that.

I’ve won a boatload of awards for my work, and I’m grateful for every single one of them, but I’ve always been unsure of whether I earned them or whether somebody I knew, or somebody who knew somebody I knew, rigged the jury. I was transparent long before it was hip to be so, and I believe deeply in teamwork, community, and collaboration. Let’s be friends. Better yet, let’s swim the English Channel.

You can follow Chase Jarvis on Twitter (@chasejarvis)and be sure to bookmark his blog. Oh, you should know he’s very much a web 2.0 guy. If you’re skeptical about the power of social media then you’re probably playing too safe – watch his promo video for his upcoming talk The Consequences of Creativity (Art Directors Club of Denver).

Posted by: Corwin Hiebert

Creative People in Business

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

fastcompany_100creativesThe June issue of Fast Company Magazine features a very interesting list you’ll want to check out: 100 Most Creative People in Business.

Clearly such a list begs the question “according to whom?” since the subjectivity and bias of lists like these usually renders them predictable and useless. As well, magazines often use TOP lists as an excuse to get as many famous people on their pages as possible in order to generate sales. Both of these indiscretions are just not cool when it comes to creative people and so this list deserves a critical eye.

Believe it or not Fast Company got it right on this one (almost). The editors and staff did a pretty good job keeping the “who’s who” out and focused on people behind the people; which gets them props for sure. Though it’s not hard to lead-off with Apple, Chuck Salter’s snapshot of creative superhero (#1) Jonathan Ive, Senior Vice President of Industrial Design, is clearly a great start. Anyone who contributes so much to the success of a brand and its products and then calmly steps aside to let Steve Jobs bask in the glory belongs on such a list. Besides, Ive’s started in that role at the age of 29… all you can say is WOW.

A couple others stood out. Facebook’s Dave Morin, Senior Platform Manager, sits amoung good company (#16) with his evangelistic approach to the discussion of open-identity standards – which is cool. Morin is a creative guy who’s helping his and many other companies, and that makes him a solid addition to the roster for sure. And despite his fame and fortune, J.J. Abrams (#14) should get all the praise in the world for the way he warps time and puts the adventure back in action television and injects mystery into car chase movies.

There seems to be only a couple blips on the radar when it comes the list and they both get bad marks for two very different reasons. (#18) Susan Athey, Chief Economist at Microsoft, is being hailed for her adult-oriented questions about designs’ affect on the platform. No wow there. The few words written about her leave you wondering if they were looking harder than they should have in order to drop a Microsoft bigwig onto the list. Just because she’s asking good questions doesn’t quite make her a creative business person. That being said, Microsoft seems to be working hard on reinventing themselves so we’ll give her a little slack assuming we’ll hear more from her very soon. The amount of praise Fast Company heaps on Tyra Banks (#49) is a bit awkward. Sure she’s got herself quite the fashion media empire but her “hyperactive hand in creating” her world seems to justify adding her to the Top 100 Divas list. Again, maybe she deserves the credit; creativity does come in all kinds of crazy, Fast Company just didn’t provide much evidence on this one.

Now what about us? What if we made a list of our own? Who are the great thinkers and rising stars of business we’ve heard of or have worked at? Leave a comment below with your Top 5 Most Creative Business People and we’ll combine them to make our own CREATIVMIX Top 100 (or fewer, depending on the comments of course; besides nothing says social networking quite like a Top 17 list).