creative business

Goodbye 2012 Hello 2013

Goodbye 2012 Hello 2013

Goodbye 2012 Hello 2013

2012 was the year when

In 2013

  • You'll find a brand new section with essential resources for mobile art and photography.
  • This winter/spring I've opened the doors to two courses for mobile photography and art. I don't plan to teach these courses again until next year. 
  • During the rest of the year I plan to host a series of "Deep End" workshops for alumni only. The first is on Creative Layers
  • On the blog you'll continue to find a mix of tips, techniques, inspiration and apps for iPhone photography and art.
  • Take some time to focus on my own mobile creativity and create a new personal portfolio site for my art and photography. 

Many thanks to you who visit Marmalade Moon! Thank you for your continued support of Marmalade Moon and everything I do. Happy New Year! 

Tidbits

mobile photo: a first peek at the new year

mobile photo: a first peek at the new year

Always connected, always distracted? Have you decided that you want to find focus and get more done next year? Can Freedom & Anti-Social can help you with that? Or will you find your tools for attention and focus here

Five Manifestos for the Creative Life and the Most Popular Photography Tips, Tricks, and Hacks of 2012

Let yourself be inspired by The Daily Routines of Famous Writers  

"We can do much to create the time, the space, and the expertise that lead to incredible creative work. But there is no silver bullet; there is no "time-saving device" or productivity system that is going to alter the rhythm of invention." The Rhythms of Work vs The Rhythms of Creative Labor

Need a system that helps you harness your creative energy? Take a look at these free planners designed for creatives.

Something to read before thinking about New Years Resolutions and guiding words? Seven Productivity Myths, Debunked by Science (and Common Sense) and How To Design a Lucky Life

Goodbye 2011 Hello 2012

christmasrose

2011

As the old year fades out and the champagne is on the cooler getting ready to welcome the new year, I find myself looking back and looking forward. Here are my favourite highlights from 2011:

In 2011 my digital life was simplified and made easier through the use of Buffer (a tool that helps you optimize your social media updates by cutting down the noise and sharing more consistently), Evernote (a digital scrapbook) and Dropbox (a storage utility that allows you to access your files from anywhere).

Creatively, this was the year that I resumed my life drawing and figure studies while my iPhone photography took took a bit of a dip, but gained momentum towards the second half of the year.

I would like to acknowledge two amazing and talented women, who were very helpful and supportive. My brilliant mother, who brought me up to seize the day, to live with the seasons, to find joy in the small things and beauty everywhere. The Life Compass is inspired by her! I'm also deeply grateful to my wonderful friend Wini who was an excellent help throughout the whole process, with her great expertise and kindness. Thank you, ladies!

2012

In 2012, you'll find more tips and apps for iPhone photography at Marmalade Moon. But first I'm going to take my own advice and burrow into my inner landscape with the Winter Shift, to find illuminating light in the darkness of long winter's nights.

Many thanks to you who visit Marmalade Moon! Thank you for your continued support of Marmalade Moon and everything I do. Happy New Year! 

Interview: Jamie Berry

Jamie Berry

Jamie Berry

Today's guest is artist Jamie Berry from New Mexico, The United States. Jamie works with natural media and experiments with photography. Jamie is a digital pioneer with a sense of wonder that comes from being present and viewing life through the lens of creativity.

Name: Jamie Berry Location: New Mexico, The United States Web Site: Jamie Berry

Hello Jamie, please tell us a little about yourself, your background and your passion for art and photography?

Jamie Berry

Jamie Berry

Hello, Kate, and thank you so much for having me! I was born into a family filled with creatives of every type - performers, musicians, painters, photographers, and writers going back for many generations, so you could say in some ways it that it was just hard-coded into my DNA. I grew up surrounded by art and creativity and the implements with which to give it life. The funny thing is that in spite of all of this, quite simply art is something that just what drew me in, no pun intended. I grew up fairly poor, in a city that was rapidly becoming a gentrified and wealthy cultural center that had formerly been one of the poorest parts of the United States. As I matured and emerged into my own life it became a powerful tool for communicating and relating myself to the world - it was something that came from inside me, a way of seeing that was independent from material resources or the lack thereof, a way to express things with an eloquence that being very young in age was otherwise elusive to me.

Still later I discovered many additional benefits to viewing life through the lens of creativity, likely too numerous to go into in great detail, this is certainly not restricted to the arts, but nevertheless art can be the most immediate way of communicating anything that's difficult to articulate with words. My passion for the visual arts is derived from this. The connection with what we can see in color or texture is much more immediate and visceral than what we might, for example, read and then process intellectually to extrapolate its meaning for us personally. The visual arts have a way of sneaking around the intellect and showing us a truth that is unhindered by our preconceived notions about things. While both are certainly powerful means of communication, and as I'm sure you well know, they can pack quite a punch in combination with each other, I would liken the visual arts to being more akin to a lightning strike whereas the written word is a bit more like an ember, which burns more slowly before there is the all-out inferno of having been catalyzed. So, for me, the visual arts and music in particular have more power to shake us immediately from our torpor and engender excitement, inspiration, wonderment, and even hope, and of course nature itself does this best of all.

Photography by Jamie Berry

Photography by Jamie Berry

Could you tell us some more about your work?

Kaitlin. Art work by Jamie Berry.

Kaitlin. Art work by Jamie Berry.

Of course. Because art, for me, is primarily about communication, whatever the message may be, a sense of story is very important to me. I like things that have a visual impact but contain more for us to chew on the more time we choose to spend with them. I am also a big believer in form following function, so the medium is usually determined by the message, I actually stop and ask myself what is the best vehicle for a particular thing and take it from there, I think it's good to have the versatility of being able to work with whatever best suits our purposes, or even with what we happen to have on hand.

Harriet. Art work by Jamie Berry.

Harriet. Art work by Jamie Berry.

We learn of course that color, design, light and shadow, these are a language we can use to convey what we can't quite say with words. But taken further, when we integrate this language it becomes a working vehicle for our inspiration. I think this is the point when, though the challenge always remains, and what good is life without challenge, really, It's how we grow, but at this point things cease to be a struggle in our works. And for me, whatever a viewer may take away from anything I've done, this is what I put into everything I do, to create that harmony, even if it is a harmony of dissonance, to meet that challenge, not just artistically, but in presenting the story of a particular experience or, time, or bundle of sensations, thoughts, and feelings, that heat of being there. In the end that's what determines a success to me, these are the things I am proud of in my own work, and it spills over into the rest of life. It can't help but do so. And yes, sometimes I do see something and just go, 'Wow. That is SO cool!', and that's good enough for me.

What keeps you motivated and inspired?

For me, it really is as simple as living, continuing to meet and encounter my life directly. A healthy curiosity here coupled with a willingness to embrace whatever it is that's actually right in front of me and use it as my raw material, a place to begin, is all the inspiration and motivation myself or anyone will ever need as far as I'm concerned. Also loving the things that I really love and am interested in, not being coy with myself about it. You gotta own it. It is from this space that our voices emanate - life is something that is continually evolving for each of us together and separately, macrocosm to microcosm, and you know, openness and trepidation cannot occupy the same space simultaneously. All we need to do is astonish ourselves with our own boldness, our own daring, and life will present the opportunities over and over again, and it's up to us to accept them. There is always something new for us to encounter. What we make of it is art, and this is what sustains me - as life goes ever on, so does the necessity to share it if we are not shut down to the new facets of it, the possibilities that are around every corner.

Art work by Jamie Berry

Art work by Jamie Berry

As an artist, what has been your greatest resource?

Definitely my family. They have always believed in me and have supported my efforts, even the stranger ones. I think things like that are what inform the other stuff - a sense of well-being makes everything else easier, we all need people that love our weirdness.

Which is your favourite creative project so far?

Photography by Jamie Berry

Photography by Jamie Berry

I'm always sure my favorite will be the next one! But honestly, my own life is my most important creative project, and again, that comes back and inspires everything else, without life, there is no art. The most fun project I have had thus far working on though, was an independent Japanese action/horror film I worked on a number of years ago. The creative camaraderie of something like that when everyone is on the same page is pretty breathtaking. I have enjoyed being independent in my own creative interests on the web these past couple of years as well, the spirit of exploration is terrific fun. Extending this back out into the 'real' world is also quite an adventure.

Could you tell us more about your creative process?

I don't have a rote process, really. An idea will get catalyzed for me and then it just sort of comes about of its own accord. I see images that are born of experiences and I develop them by following them where they want to go. Let me tell you, this made me a terrible commercial artist! They used to tell me to stop feeling and just spit it out (which is actually good advice at times)! Just generally speaking though, regardless of how I actually end up making something, I usually begin with either written notes or drawings. This relates to the next question though, so more on this in a moment.

Jamie Berry's Journal

Jamie Berry's Journal

Do you keep a journal or sketchbook, and would you mind if we had a sneak peek?

Yes, I keep both. I'd be happy to share them with you. For myself, these are my sketchbooks, not my 'finished art books', they are a safe space to just play around and explore, to work out the kinks and keep things strong and aligned, sort of like artistic yoga! And using them is really the closest I have to an actual process - what happens here is what lies behind everything else, virtually all of my ideas for visual art emerge from the depths of these books, they are in effect visual journals. I keep written journals as well, my latest is one that a friend made and gave to me as a gift, a lovely handmade book. I write all of my insights down in it as they occur to me. Together, they leave a trail that's a little more tactile, a little easier to navigate than a trail of just bits and bytes. Though in the execution of our art things may be very spontaneous, those spontaneous actions usually consist of a multitude of impressions coalescing in the moment. One brush stroke can contain a thousand days in the mark that it leaves when we've lifted our hand, you know?

Jamie Berry's sketchbooks

Jamie Berry's sketchbooks

Would you like to share a photo of your studio space as well?

My work space is a little bit fragmented at present, I am in the middle of a transitional move! But I've sent you some pictures. Another yawn-inducing dictum from me: it's important to be able to work in the space we find ourselves in. Not all of the things I do are portable, but making the most of the space we have is a handy skill to possess. Art can happen anywhere.

Jamie Berry's studio

Jamie Berry's studio

What is a typical day like for you?

I actually wrote a small essay about this on my website entitled, 'A Formerly Typical Day', it was meant to imply that my days were rapidly becoming anything but typical, and this remains the case today. I do however hold the same basic ideas in mind: each day there must be work, there must be play, and there must be rest. That's it in a nutshell.

How has the Internet, self publishing and social media influenced your work as an independent creative entrepreneur?

Jamie Berry's workspace

Jamie Berry's workspace

Oh, my, where to start with that one? I've been with the web since the very early days, initially doing digital imaging and making websites (I began with Photoshop in 1994 when a power Mac could still set you back $10,000 and a 1 megapixel digital camera was in the same ballpark). I have always loved the idea of democratization, but it's worth noting that this is something that within the milieu I cut my teeth in as a very young man. The attitude was that if there was no alternative we would damn well create one, and this was before there was a world wide web. So my thinking had always been traveling along those lines anyway, I wouldn't say that for me personally it is an influence per se, and we were doing our own publishing and so forth then.

That said, the great thing about the web to me is its reach, and the opportunities for connection can be fantastic, people are using it all in a lot of cool, creative ways. I am of the first generation that grew up with a very visible and ubiquitous technological presence, and to me social media is really just a bundled amalgamation of pre-existing services and tools, some that have been around for a long time. I see it more as an evolution of things like BBS to chat rooms, to posting in forums, to blogging and so on - it isn't really anything new! But it is more convenient today, and that's a good thing. I know people have virtual Tupper Ware parties for crying out loud, so I suppose the opportunities can be as expansive as we'd like!

Drawing by Jamie Berry

Drawing by Jamie Berry

The trends I've seen in social media over the past number of years as they pertain to our conversation, though, at times it seems more akin to a recreation of the very systems we've been purporting to escape or outmaneuver rather than being an alternative to more mainstream channels! I personally think it's foolish to tie our work or our identity to a handful of services that we have no direct control over. Using the tools, but allowing them to be a supplement to our real world activities is important, I think. In spite of all that, things are always cyclical and always evolving, I still believe that the potential for impact is better today than it ever was in the past if we are mindful about what we are doing, and cool new ideas are proliferous. At present I'm on a bit of a social media fast, I closed my Twitter account, for example. To me it is showing up for our real world activities that ultimately determines our effectiveness anyway, however information pertaining to them may be relayed or disseminated. For me it's important to remember that tools are tools.

Drawing by Jamie Berry

Drawing by Jamie Berry

What do you find to be the greatest challenges and rewards of being an artist?

For me, the greatest challenge is the temptation to self-censor in an effort to speak very consciously about things, visually or otherwise. The funny thing is, once we've begun speaking our particular truth it is nigh impossible to backtrack anyway, but now and again I still have funny doubts about what I'm saying, or how best to say it. So far as the rewards go, I do know very well that our creative endeavors do make people's lives better, even if we can't explain exactly why. They do wonders for our own as well.

Where do you see yourself within the next few years?

I see myself doing my best work yet! And that, to me, is very exciting, and I think I am likely finally leaving the desert, though I suppose I'll take a little piece of it with me.

What is your advice for someone who would like to turn his or her creative dreams into reality?

My advice would be to always listen to that inner voice, that inner prompting, that spark inside you that just knows. Listen to those that are further along the path than you may be, but always trust your own wanting as well. Make friends that do 'get it', friends are priceless during creative slumps, and they will happen. Master your craft. Dream big and be bold, never dismiss anything as being too impossible to try, and above all live your life, for there is no art without life. And for Pete's sake, remember to have fun!

Paints

Paints

What do you do for fun (besides making art)?

I love to read. When I was a kid I read classical literature, things like Nabakov and Dumas, so I'm just over the past few years discovering things my friends were reading, like Stephen King! I love music, love to play it, and I still go to see the groups I like. I saw The Joy Formidable from Wales this year, and had a great time, they are fantastic. I am hugely into physical fitness and I love yoga. I love to cook, I am very proud of my swelling collection of recipes. I read comic books and I'm quite fond of astronomy and by extension, mythology. I am still a big Mac dork, I love my Mac. I love learning new things. And I love that you have shared your space with me, thank you, Kate.

Check out Jamie's web site Jamie Berry

Here and There

iPhone photography: Daffodils  

iPhone photography: Daffodils

 

I was almost swept off my feet by the wild wind on my way home from the shops with freshly ground espresso and a bottle of red wine. And a pot of daffodils, sort of like a prop, to make it feel more like spring. Treats for a Friday celebration.

Elsewhere:

A Change of Pace & Place

Here's a guest post about small shifts and big changes that I wrote for the wishstudio: resetting your inner compass :: setting sail for summer.

Kate England finds her global niche

I'm honored to have been interviewed by Tara Agacayak of Turquoise Poppy at expat+HAREM, the global niche. Examining the transformational circumstances, tools and vision that can enable us to ‘bloom where we’re planted’. Check out the interview here: Kate England finds her global niche.

Interview: Shana Victor from Pixelgirl Presents

Shana Victor  

Shana Victor

 

Ever since I came across Shana Victor's curated gallery of desktop art, Pixelgirl Presents, I've been hooked!

But Shana went from strength to strength, next she started Shana Logic, an indie shop, with cool, one-of-a-kind, cute, handmade design, here you'll find jewelry, accessories, fine art and iPod & tech gear.

Shana's passion for design and her entrepreneurial spirit is infectious! In this interview she talks about the ups and downs of running a creative business and generously shares her thoughts and tips on doing what you love. Shana talks about buying handmade, being a computer geek and saving wild animals and gives us a behind the scenes peek into her creative business.

Name: Shana Victor Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA Pixelgirl Presents: http://www.pixelgirlpresents.com/ Shana Logic: http://www.shanalogic.com Blog: http://shanalogic.com/wordpress/ YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/shanalogiccom Connect with Shana on Twitter or Facebook

shanalita

Hello Shana, please tell us a little about yourself?

I'm Shana **waves** and I live in a little ranch house in Ann Arbor, MI with my husband, two dogs, cat and whatever wildlife I happen to be rescuing at the time. I went to school for Fine Art specializing in photography and mixed media and got into web design and design interfaces after college. I love that crazy kind of art where people are like "WHAT?! I don't get it!." I started Pixelgirl Presents in 2001 and Shana Logic in 2004.

Could you tell us about your interest in desktop art? What sparked your interest?

I have a Bachelors in Fine Art so I've always been interested in modern design and art. I'm also totally a computer geek, so it seemed like a natural progression to "curate" an online gallery of artwork!

Why did you start Pixelgirl Presents and how did you come up with the name?

Before PixelgirlPresents.com existed, I noticed that most websites catered to the Windows community. I had a Mac icon set that I had designed for an icon contest and that really got me excited about designing for the Mac interface. There really aren't many sites out there that feature only high-quality, well-designed icons and desktops. And to take that further, there were almost no sites that had items that were made for the Mac interface! I was so tired of wasting time sifting through tacky "hot girl" and "car-themed" wallpapers:-) Basically, I made pixelgirlpresents.com for people like me, who just want to look at good design.

Ah yes, the name...If I could go back into time, PixelgirlPresents.com would have a completely different name! In fact, the only reason why it was called that was that I already had the domain for a personal art site featuring my fashion photography collection. I already owned the domain so voila: Pixelgirl Presents!

Is your desktop always neat and newly styled or does it vary? How do you like to customize your own desktop?

My desktop is for the most part fairly organized but under the surface is chaos!! I have all sorts of folders with random stuff in it from the last 12 years but if you were to look at my desktop itself, it appears like I might have it all neat and tidy;-) I always like a custom icon for my hard-drive and documents folder (normally it's something cute like a bunny, anime character, etc) and I always have my dock hiding on the bottom. I choose 10-15 minimally styled desktops from my site (I do design work so I like them to be fairly subdued in color and texture so that I'm not distracted when I work) and they rotate randomly.

Perhaps you could tell us a little bit about your interest in indie design and how you started Shana Logic?

Happy Rain Cloud Poster Print

Happy Rain Cloud Poster Print

Shana Logic basically was born out of Pixelgirl Presents! A lot of my desktop artists were selling fine art pieces so I opened a mini online gallery where I sold their work. It was called Pixelgirl Shop and was initially a part of Pixelgirl Presents. As I began adding more and more work that I liked, I found that my audience really responded well and it became it's own separate site!

Back then, there were a few other hand-made indie shops out there as a consumer, they weren't really my personal style. So, just like Pixelgirl Presents, I built up a business around what I really love! For legal reasons, I changed the name of my shop to Shana Logic in 2007 and actually I think that name really suits the site! It's basically things I personally like and feel great about so it makes total sense to me :-)

Bestselling Picks: Retro Block Heart Necklace | Clip On Kitty Ears | <3 Unisex (heart) Ring

Bestselling Picks: Retro Block Heart Necklace | Clip On Kitty Ears | <3 Unisex (heart) Ring

How do you find designers to feature at ShanaLogic?

All over the place! Sometimes they email me, sometimes I browse the web looking for something specific that I feel would be a great addition and sometimes I'll randomly see something while I'm on vacation or at a craft show.

Shana lolita

What's a typical day like for you?

  • 9am: I wake up and drink my coffee while I watch one guilty-pleasure reality TV show (I'm a sucker for shows like Project Runway, Flipping out, etc but I'm obsessed with international spin-offs: Britain's next top model, Project Runway Australia, etc.)
  • 10am: I spend an hour writing customers, posting products, and blogging. (I'm not really creative until the evenings for some reason so I don't do any design work until later in the day)
  • 11am: I head off to my shop so that I can check in with my assistants and help with the packing (if they need it) check out the new products, take photos of anything new, maybe do a model photo shoot, etc.
  • 2pm-12am: I'm headed home where I work on and off until bedtime. I do take lots of breaks and run errands so that I don't get stir crazy but I have to do all of the marketing, ads, site content, photos, managing my shop, communicate with the 100 artists, etc myself so it's a lot of work--definitely NOT for the faint of heart but I'm very lucky that my hobby is my job!

Would you mind if we had a sneak peek at what your desktop looks like?

Shana's desktop

Shana's desktop

Would you like to share your office/studio space as well?

Shana assembling a silver robot necklace.

Shana assembling a silver robot necklace.

What keeps you motivated and inspired?

I LOVE my customers and artists!!! What could be better than supporting small businesses, offering the most kick-ass customer service and having the coolest shoppers around? I get to look at pretty, cute and cool things all day...need I say more?

As a creative entrepreneur, we take on several roles, we are the boss, the employee and we might have assistants. We're in charge of shipping, ideas and visions, marketing, creativity, quality control, customer service, the list goes on. It's easy to burn out on a job you're passionate about, and it's easy to forget yourself in the flurry of activities. How do you deal with creating your own organizational culture and nurturing yourself and those you work with?

Wow - this is a hard one. I don't think being a business owner is for anyone who really wants a specific division between their "job" and their "personal life." It's a very time-consuming process and as your business evolves (hello recession, competition, bad/good business strategies, managing staff if you have them!), you have to be up for anything! One season you might only do certain facets of your job and the next, you might find yourself packing orders until midnight when you're short-staffed. If you run your own business, you care about it more than anyone else ever will, which means it's up to you to step up to any challenges you may have. I've been my own boss for almost 9 years now so I'm a lot more used to the craziness, but back when I did freelance web-design it was very hard for me to find my personal and business boundaries.

These packages are the pile of out-going orders the day I took pics ;-)

These packages are the pile of out-going orders the day I took pics ;-)

Do you have any techniques for time management and goal setting that you'd like to share?

Sure! Obviously I don't recommend that you be like me at this point because I'm in a very difficult business that lacks structure. I don't think I'm able to separate my time with my family and my time working well enough. However, if you're in a field where you are your own boss (freelance, consulting, contract work etc), I'd recommend that you decide the time of day you're going to be done working and literally LEAVE YOUR DESK and TURN OFF YOUR PHONE (otherwise you'll see that client email and be sucked back into the fray!) Really take a break. If you're burnt out, go for a walk, get some coffee, watch a movie. I used to do the boring tasks during commercial breaks which helped me get through them. Now? I can't take my own advice but you can still save yourself! ;-)

Cool free magnets. "I make a different design every couple of months and I give out a free one with every order so naturally we've collected a few;-) That pic is the door that we stuck a bunch on--in fact, there's actually 3 holiday ones on there which means some of them are 3 years old!"

Cool free magnets. "I make a different design every couple of months and I give out a free one with every order so naturally we've collected a few;-) That pic is the door that we stuck a bunch on--in fact, there's actually 3 holiday ones on there which means some of them are 3 years old!"

What do you find to be the greatest challenges and rewards of being a creative entrepreneur?

The biggest challenge for me is isolation. It might sound funny because I have four part-time employees, 100 artists and an amazing fan-base but when it really comes down to it, I'm alone in the risks I take, the good and bad choices I make for the business and no one will be as dedicated to it as I am. There's no partner for me to bounce ideas off of, or to help take some of the pressure off of me. That can be a very daunting position to be in.

On the other hand, it's so awesome to be able to make a living doing what I love! How lucky am I to be able to support artists and teach people the value of creativity!! I feel like I'm really making a difference (Plus you must meet my shoppers - they really are amazing).

These drawers are the teeshirt/apparel storage section. It's sorted by artist.

These drawers are the teeshirt/apparel storage section. It's sorted by artist.

You’ve started two successful websites around your interests. What's your advice to other people who would like to start a blog or a business based on their hobbies?

Do what you love and if you have passion about something, people will feel that and be drawn to your projects! Oh and as a side note: get an accountant if your hobby involves any exchange of money! I learned this the hard way but having a small business has a LOT of extra taxes and expenses and you don't want to be caught off guard like I was ;-)

This the spot where Shana photographs necklaces on a mannequin - so people can see what they look like on a body

This the spot where Shana photographs necklaces on a mannequin - so people can see what they look like on a body

Where do you see yourself within the next few years?

I really hope that Shana Logic is still rockin' the handmade/independent scene! It's always so hard to say what the future will hold but Shana Logic is actually the job I've had the longest (7 years!) and I adore it.

Tell us something about yourself, that you think we probably don't know?

Haha, ok here goes: I LOVE japanese food, robots, anything with baby animals, anime (the good, not-dubbed kind), coffee, anything sparkly and cute, wearing animal ears, and I love buying artwork and online shopping (I have a slight shopping problem;-) I'm also a licensed wild-life rehabber so I rehabilitate orphaned baby squirrels, raccoons and woodchucks - so cute!

Check out Shana's web sites Shana Logic and Pixelgirl Presents and connect with her on Twitter or Facebook.

© 2014 Marmalade Moon