Journal entry April 16, 2018 San Jose Airport [unedited]
It is so odd to take time out from the trajectory of every day in these journeys… to get off the tracks so to speak. The experience both relaxes the brain, and creates unease. You feel like you spend too much money and you are wondering about day to day reality, but you also give yourself to the situation and throw caution to the wind.
Does it shake off the cobwebs? This importance of eating well, looking at new things, and INPUT before gearing up to hustle when back home.
But what if I RELAX into the RETURN as well? NOT worry about it. TRUST and FLOW and let the sand sift through the fingers? Just release.
Not only trust that others are allies, but that LIFE is an ALLY.
“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca
I had planned to be in New York City on July 28th this summer, sitting at the Rogers Theatre with my daughter celebrating, watching Hamilton, the Musical. We would have just completed two days of sock monkey workshops at Graham Windham with children and families (Eliza Hamilton’s orphanage). I was going to bring my sock monkeys of the entire main cast of the musical.
Sadly, fate/destiny/universe had other plans. I didn’t get the gigs I expected to have over the summer and as of May, I found myself all of a sudden struggling again to get by. Dang. More setbacks and lack of consistent work made things even harder.
And so the tickets were sold and plans changed. And I admit, I don’t think it hit me till today how truly heartbroken I am. But that is OK.
What I get from Hamilton is not about going to the show itself. It is about the creative process. It is about art about history. It is about the healing power of art. And the tenacity of art. I have been creating every day. For I am an artist with no choice. That is what I love about Hamilton and that dream hasn’t died. The message of the creation of Hamilton lives in my heart.
So today, as part of my studio clearance, raising funds and letting go, I have decided to release 4 of my sock monkeys and regroup. Start fresh. Blast the soundtrack. Surrender. And like Lin and Alexander, write my way out.
I’m so excited and honored to be hosting two sessions at SKETCHING IN PRACTICE (SKiP) 2017 June 23-24, 2017 at SFU’s Goldcorp Centre!
SKETCHING IN PRACTICE (SKiP) is a two-day symposium that explores the construction of meanings through sketching. In 2016 we brought in scholars and practitioners from diverse backgrounds to explore the question, What happens when we draw? Last year we looked inward. This year we peer outward, asking Where does sketching lead to action? This year we are focusing on the HOW and WHY particular visual strategies are used to achieve a goal.
Keynote Topic: The average person reads and interprets thousands of images per day–not surprisingly doing most of it with little more than a glance. According to Dr. Andrew Causey, the cost of this massive amount of processing is that we end up missing the deep content and context of the world around us. At the 2nd Annual 2017 Sketching In Practice Conference, Causey will share insights from his recently published book, Drawn to See: Drawing as an Ethnographic Method, on how line drawing can be used to build a more attentive, and deeper form of perception.
Remember | Resist | Redraw: Creating Radical Graphic History Posters with Kara Sievewright and Robin Folvik
Workshop overview: The Graphic History Collective (GCH) is a group of activists, artists, writers, and researchers passionate about comics, history, and social change. In 2017, we launched a collaborative project called Remember | Resist | Redraw: A Radical History Project to critically intervene in the Canada 150 conversation. With this project, the GHC hopes to encourage people to critically examine history in ways that can fuel our radical imaginations and support struggles for radical change in 2017 and beyond.
Workshop overview: Sketching Off the Page takes drawing into the 3-dimensional realm and into a full body physical expression of the elements of visual art as they intersect with the elements of movement. As an experiential learning workshop, participants are taken through a full body warm up that introduces the elements of dance and warms up the mind to creative possibilities linking the visual page to embodied representations. The act of solo and co-operative sketching on paper weaves its way into remarkable ‘sketchings off the page’ : sketchings that invite a sense of presence that moves from the connection of pencil to paper, into body-to-body connections through dance, which further invite the connections of heart and mind. These connections are revealed as complex and profound as they challenge and broaden the perception of what sketching is and what it can be.
Live sketching demonstration / performance: “I practice “nomadic creativity” on a daily basis. I carry a portable studio (backpack filled with drawing & sketching materials) and a sketchbook, looking for hidden corners in coffee shops, where I sketch and draw my ideas. Over time, this ritual has evolved into a large body of works (containing more than thousand drawings). My presentation involves setting up a pop-up studio and performing my sketching rituals. Additionally, I will present my sketchbooks and engage in a conversation with SKIP’s participants. This project/presentation aspires to stimulate creativity and promote sketching as the most versatile and engaging creative strategy.”
Reclaiming Writing – Adapting Writing Systems as an Expression of Cultural Autonomy with Gabe Wong
Workshop overview: Writing is a visual act. How we write is an expression of our culture. Through different orthographies, the form of our writing is loaded with meaning, creating references to a culture’s history and relationships. Often, a writing system can be seen as a product and tool of colonization and assimilation, and once it exists, it cannot be taken away. By reclaiming the way we write and taking ownership of our own writing system, we can also take ownership of our own culture and identity. Even a subtle change in the way we write can be an expression of our individual and cultural autonomy. In this workshop, participants will sketch and develop alternative ways of writing that best represent their culture or history. Culture in this workshop is wide ranging, it can refer to a nation, but can also refer to groups with shared experiences, e.g. second-generation or queer culture. Participants can draw and develop new glyphs, draw new calligraphic approaches or explore different ways to writing. They will then share their developments, through their novel writing, with their peers.
How smooth is a mountain? Exploring the texture of lived space with Suk Kyoung Choi
Workshop overview: We attempt to communicate when we draw, but how do we connect conceptual form with the marks we make? Does this connection suggest we live in similar or very different visual worlds?This workshop explores the use of drawing to explore the textural geometry of embodied space. The workshop will take the form of a mediated experiment where participants sketch their interpretation of an automatically generated inspirational phrase describing a scene. Starting from a brief presentation of my research interest in the conceptual metaphors of texture and their relationship to environmental frequency, we will explore our individually embodied understandings of the space – time we inhabit. This exercise offers an increased awareness of how meaning is wrapped up in embodied (personal) metaphor, and a deeper understanding of how we may access previously hidden dimensions of experience. Come to experiment, explore, reflect, and engage in imaginative play! Drawing reaches into the subconscious: If you can feel you can draw. All levels of drawing welcome.
Peripatetic lines: on reading (and ‘writing’) wordless stories with Stef Lenk
Workshop overview: The intent of this workshop is to introduce the skill of ‘reading images’ without language as a crutch. I will present two self-created wordless graphic narratives; participants will ‘read’ and then write their interpretations down. We will then share and compare these interpretations, discussing what does and doesn’t work (relative to the initial goals of the narratives), how visual stories differ from text narratives in terms of reading experience, and how visual metaphor can open up a story to create more universal significance to audiences.
Workshop overview: Facilitating learners with clients in meetings and ideation sessions in a project-based learning environment is a complicated yet rewarding teaching and learning opportunity. Participants will learn a vocabulary of strategic maps that learners at the MDM Program draw from to organize sessions, rapidly generate ideas visibly, align stakeholders on prioritized needs, identify problems to solve, propel projects forward within limited time-frames and more. Participants will also be exposed to specific use-cases where strategic maps were used in addition to trigger phrases that led teams to draw from specific visual tools and maps during ideation sessions with clients.
Workshop overview: How can we illustrate an idea when all of the actors are not visible or even tangible? We’re familiar with the idea of systems through ecosystems, which manifest themselves in observable natural events. Donella Meadows of MIT applied ecosystems toward human communities, coining the term “systems thinking.” A system is greater than its constituent parts, which interrelate for a natural function or human purpose. Today, systems thinking drives many innovative initiatives in science and economics. Whether the system is natural or human, we can identify common qualities. Patterns of behavior that change over time can be identified, creating surface events. Structures create these patterns, and we can even draw the deeper mystery of how a function or purpose activates these structures. In a system, sketchers can create portraits of actors, contain them in hierarchical frames, and draw relationships with arrows. These parts can then be organized meaningfully in space. In a virtual Realtime Board, we’ll sketch a system that connects seemingly unrelated events—dark matter, the demise of the dinosaurs, and the rise of mammals. We’ll discuss how this exercise applies in practical contexts.
Workshop overview: How students used a comic book app, Blackboard blog and ticking clock to co-create course content and demonstrate social justice action: An example of upstanding to sexism and homophobia. Our learning challenge was to have students generate their own scenarios, stop wrongful behaviour and bring everyone back into right relationships — a process using students own social construction of knowledge. Rather than lecture, we challenged students to dramatize best practice via a series of comic book panels. Teams of students were given an iPad with a comic book app to create the photo-based comic representations of the witnessed scenarios. Then each team contributed its comic book page to our collaborative, “Upstander’s Comic Book” (a.k.a. – a Blackboard blog). Then everyone engaged in rich feedback on each teams comics using the blog comments option. There was one catch — the comics had to be storyboarded, created and posted in less than 10 minutes! Come and join us for this fast and fun session. And yes, there will be a ticking clock!
Participants will learn about Katarina’s 14+ year involvement in Canada’s most important unsolved cold case- The Babes in the Wood (as profiler, researcher, now writer/illustrator) and how she now uses an online weekly serial format (Jan 15-Nov 19 2017) to present her work.
Participants will learn:
• about the case and how Katarina got involved
• how her relationship with the case evolved over time
• how drawing is essential to the work
• how the decision to go online came about
• the importance of visual storytelling and the use of music to enhance the experience
• simple visual techniques to tell their own story
Katarina will share openly about her passion project/life’s work through audiovisual and take the participants through a Lynda Barry inspired story project.
Session 2 JUNE 24, 2017 1:30-2:30 PM:
Drawn Together Wheatpaste/Street Art Project [WORKSHOP]
• learn how creative engagement builds connections, creates safe space and fosters dialogue
• learn about the use of street art techniques to engage community
• experience hands on drawing and introduction to wheatpaste techniques and group will create a temporary mural.
Kat uses a friendly “follow me” approach that takes the participants through in depths drawing techniques. The resulting drawings are cut out and used in a group mural.
No previous drawing experience necessary!
Project tools will be supplied!
This event is held in partnership with Simon Fraser University’s, Faculty of Communication Art and Technology; School of Interactive Art and Technology; Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences; and the Teaching and Learning Center.
Cost for the two days is $35.00, is non-refundable and is a flat rate for both days. We have made every effort to keep the cost of the symposium down and part of this is managing administrative costs, we thank-you for understanding.
My special hand-sewn sock monkey kit includes:
• Pre-sewn sock monkey body (ready to stuff and assemble and personalize)
• Needle and thread
• Felt heart
• Button eyes
• A little worry bird (made from glove finger)
• How-to info
• Information about my local to global sock monkey therapy entrepreneurship program
(Stuffing not included)
Proceeds support my ability to deliver free sock monkey workshops to local at-risk youth.
Great items for engaging students, for hosting craft nights, for fundraising, for leadership skills building, employee engagement, professional development days, for gifts, for craftivism activities etc.
NOTE: INDIVIDUAL KITS PLUS BULK ORDER UP TO 5 KITS WILL BE PROCESSED IN 1-3 DAYS. LARGER BULK ORDERS NATURALLY TAKE LONGER.