Amazing People Series process

swirling around in my head

I wanted to share these brilliant influencers & their articles/books/blogs/etc. that have been swirling around in my head lately, convincing me to embrace vulnerability, and step into this slightly new direction (that includes MORE ART!):

inspiringpeople

amanda_palmer

AMANDA PALMER (@amandapalmer)- This woman has figured out how to do what she loves, genuinely communicate with her community in dialogue, and tell her story well. After finding her TED talk over 2 years ago & taking some visual notes (see that blog post here), I’ve been paying attention to her process. She’s onto something! It’s in the questions! I’m 3/4 of the way through her book, The Art of Asking, and I’d highly recommend drawing in the margins as you read!

elleluna

ELLE LUNA (@elleluna) – This woman is rocking her art and inspiring people to go for their own ‘must.’ I had been working for years to take the word ‘should’ out of my vocabulary & have taken to re-reading her article, The Crossroads of Should and Must, from the moment I found it earlier this year (blog post on that – too). It’s peppered with amazing art, too! (I believe there’s a book now too!)

brenebrown

BRENE BROWN (@brenebrown) – I hear the name Brene Brown and ‘Whoosh, there’s a guttural instinct that kicks in urging me to be the human I am, accept and stop pretending. If you haven’t found Brene’s work on vulnerability yet, then you definitely want to tune into her TED talk… and do your research on this researcher – she rocks! (Brene has books, interviews, and a few TED talks out there!)

margaux-motin

MARGAUX MOTIN – I love her illustration style & her sense of humor in her book, But I really wanted to be an anthropologist, which I found a few years ago via Comic Con! Makes me smile!

mariekondo

MARIE KONDO (@konmari_method) – ‘Do I love this?’ is one simple question that has helped me better understand my own thinking process and make better decisions allowing me to let go of those things I need to let go of, physically and mentally! If you haven’t yet found the #konmari method of tidying, I’d suggest you look into it. She gets in your head – in a good way. Check out her best-selling book, and borrow it from the library or a friend!

kelvybird

KELVY BIRD (@kelvy_bird) – This woman leaves me speechless. She embodies deep listening in a way that creates presence like few that I know. I’m honored to know her. She has found ways to work within the roots of the ‘social humanness of this space and time’… (I made those words up… and so I don’t make up too many more, I’ll send you to her website.) She’s creating space for it to be ok for people to be different in the graphic recording field and beyond and for this I am humbled.

megankimble

MEGAN KIMBLE (@megankimble)- I’m over half way through Megan’s book, UNPROCESSED: My City Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food, and appreciating her incredible style. She has a way of integrating research into her stories that has me drooling for more. It’s an honest way to write where her inclusion of story & fact leads me to compare the raw & real life I actually live these days – the one where I’m bombarded with the rights and wrongs of my eating choices, assaults on my ignorance and often left in a puddle of a feeling closer to disgust at my unknown (or supposed known and ability to choose wrong…) than confusion. It’s complicated, and Megan presents her take in an almost unbiased personal way in a time when soooo very much bias not only exists, but is flung around. (More on this disgust in an upcoming blog post!)

andreadorfman

ANDREA DORFMAN – This woman has made some seriously amazing films! I urge you to check them out… there are little ones and even a big one! How to be alone is the first film of hers that I came across and have shared widely as well as find myself coming back to watch it anytime I need a ‘tiramisu’ (= “pick-me-up” in Italiano). The incredible playful drawn style mixed with a challenge for people to spend time alone and be ok with it completely rocks. It’s a short, under 5 minutes! Go watch!

fridakahlo

FRIDA KAHLO – A recent visit to the New York Botanical Gardens, where a few of Frida Kahlo’s drawings & paintings hang on display and a replica of her and Diego’s gardens embraces passerby’s to walk through, woke me up. I walked out feeling inspired by the plants living among bright colors (despite the bugs in my plants at home), hopeful of personal transparency as Frida’s way with her personal struggles and understandings showed up on her canvas, and reminded of the way art helps us deal – with life, with ourselves, with the context around us. Art allows us to express our struggle in a way that just words, or just one modality never could….

 

TO Amanda, Elle, Brene, Margaux, Marie, Kelvy, Megan, Andrea, Frida & all those other instigators and inspirators,

A HUGE THANK YOU for meddling in my brain waves, challenging my threads of thought and encouraging me to see the process, to acknowledge the process and listen deeper, to experience the dark bowels of the process (which might kick me while I’m down because I’ll learn so much more from failure). It’s through my own journey, reading into the art and writings (etc.) that you share, that I find myself inspired and hopeful that I will fail again! And again! And again! And I will learn more than I thought I could. And perhaps along the way I’ll encounter and collaborate on some interesting projects. I’m out seeking canvases, collaborations & color!

Sending LOVE,

Lyons (as I’m known when there’s another Amanda around)

 

 

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process

blog undergoing a redesign

Hello! Just a bit of warning that things are changing & may look wonky. We’re undergoing an accidental redesign. I broke it – heehee! Things are evolving! Woohoo!

constructioncolor

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process Reflection

an assumption no longer held high

What happens when we take an assumption and listen deeply? When we pluck a structure’s brick for examination of its holes? An intense staring ensues, the kind where eyes lock and you forget to breathe, the kind where your heart skips a beat but not because you’re falling in love, because the pressure squishes, smushes, suffocates.

Step one is awareness. Check. I’ve stared at this assumption so hard, my jaw tightened, nose scrunched, eyes squinted. I couldn’t see the holes in the brick anymore. Too much. Needs air. I let myself breathe again & I keep telling myself I’m letting go of this brick. Keeping just the holes.

assumption = My writing & drawing (all blog content really) needs to fit. It needs to be professional, a certain way. I find myself editing before I even write a post & wonder if I’ll be questioned on my authority, my expertise or lack there of about whatever subject I am sharing about.

the Brick = Tightness. Constriction. Barriers surrounding. Holding onto a way that isn’t me and is the way I’m supposed to write, draw, share under the auspicious idea of what ‘business’ SHOULD be, professional (what does this even mean today?), not necessarily personal and certainly not me.

Taking that assumption from its hidden pedestal makes the world, my/your world, shutter. Seismic shift. Be gone brick! And the sun comes up on another horizon.

Which brick is next?

If you pulled a brick from your mortar, what might you see?

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business Definitions

creative commons licensing is the way to go

Creative Commons licensing = some rights reserved, you pick!

(watch the video & read about the different licenses)

In a video on the Creative Commons’ website, someone wraps up the thinking behind these concepts well, “[It’s a] move away from thinking about content to thinking about communities.” YES! If we listen on a deeper level to what’s going on around us, we’ll be serving ourselves and each other better, rather than stuck with our noses and our egos in our idea of ownership and what that means.

As one who values acknowledgment of complexity in our human ecosystem (including the digital), I find myself wondering more and more about how to fit these complexity values into my business practices? It’s about changing with the times rather than holding onto traditional ways. It’s about noticing. It’s about having more open conversations with people on sometimes difficult topics in many art forms. It’s taking open source learning beyond… I’m excited to share that I’ve found a way that allows me to approach traditional copyright differently: Creative Commons licensing! 

My backstory goes, that I’ve always known I am an artist and I will someday do something with my art. That knowledge has always lived in me somewhere. Naturally, copyright comes up as you get older and learn more about the way business works in the world. I’m not a lawyer and so my understanding of copyright is based on whatever research I’ve managed to do & mini conversations with lawyers. I’ve always said, ‘I don’t understand it.’ Thing is, I think I was actually saying, ‘It doesn’t feel right to me’ – I have a gut feeling about traditional copyright that has always left me backing up away from doing anything where I would need to better define my copyright. (Disclaimer: That said, there is a time and place for confidentiality. I’m not suggesting that everything always be open, rather that open be our default.)

So, I’m jumping in with two feet and am excited to be using this creative commons licensing with my graphic recording work (including it in contracts, etc) whenever possible and plan to use it with much of my artwork! It’s a learning journey. Woohoo!

I’m also quite excited that the folks at Creative Commons are creating a Creative Commons Toolkit for Business to help businesses (i.e. people in business) understand why and how Creative Commons licensing works.

 

MORE

Creative Commons’ twitter = @creativecommons

Here’s a link to an article with more information on open source learning for teachers!

*Next time I’ll draw this post!

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Graphic Recording

the Gloria and Wilma School for Organizers

The Gloria & Wilma School for Organizers is an initiative in partnership with Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts. The idea came out of the friendship between Gloria Steinem (writer, lecturer, political activist, & feminist organizer) & Wilma Mankiller (first female chief of the Cherokee nation). I had a blast getting to know this amazing community as well as adding some graphic recording to the event! Here are a few highlights!

Social change happens at the intersections, where people meet even if they happen to be going different ways….

drawing of an intersection with a stick figure walking and a squiggly arrow coming from the center of the intersection

Empathy matters!

Language matters. In the past, the language of women’s and other minority stories have been changed so it doesn’t include important and sometimes painful truths…

talk bubbles in colors being hit by a bat

Gloria Steinem is full of amazing quotes. “When you’re an old person, you become an archive.” was part of her preamble to sharing some information and connections for specific topics discussed… brilliant!

drawn in a frame: "when you're an old person, you become an archive" - gloria steinem

The gathering included women and LGBTQ community members. It was referred to as a ‘women’s space’. The atmosphere felt different in a positive way because of the people who were present. 

We’re making history. It’s not always in the past! 

There was an amazing sense of team in the group which consisted of many different perspectives! “We’re in it together!”

 

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Arts business Reflection

evolving / stepping into the unknown

There’s a moment somewhere when your mind shifts, your brain rearranges (disclaimer: I am not a scientist), when you find a way to listen differently, more deeply, and actually see what’s emerging. I experienced one of these extraordinary moments this Fall. This moment for me was the moment I decided to get out of my own way & begin to embody my beliefs (not in a scary way). For a long time now I’ve been coasting along, trying things here and there and not allowing things to stick, not really ‘going for’ anything. I asked myself, Why not? And when I didn’t have a good reason, I let go of the ‘should’ and jumped into conversations with those around me (thanks for the support y’all!).

I am asking questions, challenging my own assumptions, creating relationships of radical acceptance (clients & all) & expanding my practice, VISUALS for CHANGE, to include more transparency & more art. I have a few big projects I’m working on and am accepting commissions as well. (I’ll still be doing some graphic recording and teaching and many of those things I’ve been doing all along. Now I’ll share processes, questions, struggles, artwork, and whatever else you ask for. )

ART MATTERS!

art = expression &, for me, questioning, sitting with the struggle of disparities, acknowledging and questioning the ‘silo-ization’ of everything that leads to blaming, shaming…(go Brene!) and all that which keeps us locked away from even ourselves – trapped by fear. Art is about pushing the boundaries of perspectives, of assumptions, of that which seems to have become rather than that which is…

I’m standing up and sitting down, walking around, breathing & being ‘art matters.’  And, I’m daring to say that art matters everywhere & BELONGS everywhere – in business meetings, in class rooms of all disciplines, in our homes and towns and cities. Art nurtures curiosity & questioning (things our school system so often try to put in cages with control). Art brings creativity and helps us evolve to be better people. I’m stepping in, up, out & I’m feeling alive! I’m curious, What makes you feel more alive?

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Arts Education

art creates space for differences

“At Madison elementary school in Phoenix, Arizona in the late 1950s, problem students like me were often sent to the art teacher’s room.” – Howard Rheingold

I love this quote. As one who firmly believes that art nurtures our curiosity, our questioning skills, our ability to struggle with ourselves within the context of the culture in which we live, this notion of sending the student who doesn’t fit in the education system’s box to the art room completely resonates. I’d also like to go deeper and ask about why we’re labeling students ‘problem students’ because they’re different or bored or…. We have a society that says it appreciates differences and then asks students to all sit the same way in the same place doing the same thing and when anyone steps out of this form they get in trouble, often without considering the greater context of their situation and learning style, etc.

(Even long after school in the big wide world we are having serious challenges bringing people who think differently to work in the same spaces. Check out Why Diversity Is Difficult for more on this as a workplace challenge.)

I realize that there are people out there doing amazing work teaching with questions and teachers breaking school’s rules to help students learn their way. HUGE props to them out there in the wild west of school systems! And I realize that it’s a complex system that we have here, so it’s not a simple 2d spectrum of good and bad, or how to do it and not do it. It’s more complicated than that or else we’d have figured it out by now. So, I’ll exercise my questioning muscles & do more listening:

How can art serve students and people to help them understand themselves and their cultural context? And allow them space to challenge cultural context?

“Mrs. Rheingold’s philosophy of teaching art was that all human beings are creative innovators, have a need to express ourselves creatively, ….” writes Howard of his art teacher who also happened to be his mother. What if we took on Mrs. Rheingold’s philosophy of teaching art and applied it in our lives? What would be possible then?

How can we illuminate situations for deeper understanding so they aren’t cast in this good/bad continuum that doesn’t actually exist (more on this in an upcoming blog post soon) because things aren’t that simple?

What if we appreciated art in the way we appreciate business? When will we, as a society, realize and appreciate that art creates space for differences?

 

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change Reflection

shift your thinking

Reflecting upon my learnings and the continual evolving and emerging of VISUALS for CHANGE, I found this post awaiting. I read it and smiled. Shifts in thinking are no small things. They’re real and big and there’s a process that takes time… well, I’ll let my younger self talk for me:

Lately, every which way I look someone is asking a question that has me delving into my own thoughts. Although, what I’ve found hasn’t fully surprised me, what I didn’t expect is that the simple act of changing the questions I’m asking has allowed me to see more and be calmer.

 

Let me get more specific. In the last few weeks I’ve attended and/or worked a variety of events including a Vicarious Trauma Training, a Digital Media & Learning conference, a New York Collective of Radical Educators conference and a few dinner conversations with friends. Although each of them brought to light different pieces of a continuously shifting puzzle, each also enlightened my thinking as each experience built upon the last. When I think about the ways in which we influence and effect each other, from simply entering into conversation or shifting to include someone else at the table I smile. It’s dynamic. It’s relational. When I think about each of us taking that conversation, learning, idea from the table and into work the next day or on the subway to another conversation, and then take this even further and add Twitter with however many of one’s 900 some followers who happened to be paying attention at that moment in the stream, I wonder how far it will go and in what form? Will they smile and retweet to their 300 followers? Will they share in their classrooms or board rooms? Will they make it their own and attach a story? See something I didn’t even understand? Ideas, they move – they come and they go. Yet, it’s more than just ideas, there are frames of mind associated with each, contexts, assumptions made, questions asked and unasked, answered and unanswered in each individual, not to mention the collective. The environment is always moving, a complex system.

Some ideas are spun into institutions, industries or even governing bodies, each upholding some value. Yet, in this world, so many opposing values exist & are sustained neighborly – somehow. I’m brought back to thinking that my thinking is limited. That what I can see and understand is in my purview extremely limited not only in time and space but in my own particular context which sits within that of those around me and those around them and so on – meta, right?

So, what matters? I found myself at moments focusing narrowly to see a piece of this moving puzzle I hadn’t noticed before, yet panning out to notice the space between me and that puzzle piece, asking questions. I’m appreciating this new sense of awareness and the acknowledgement of space!

Shift your thinking = Shift your world. Our perspectives, our thoughts are nearly everything.

If you take a wide lens view of your own thoughts, what perspective do you see and what don’t you see?

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Graphic Recording

goosebumps

One of the most amazing moments in which I’ve watched people graphic recording happened this past summer at the IFVP (International Forum of Visual Practitioners) conference in Austin, TX. There was a session where folks from all over the world jumped in to record in their own language. We had 8 or so people listening deeply, & translating real time in order to capture in different languages. A picture wouldn’t do the feeling justice.

I had goosebumps.

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Graphic Recording training offered

upcoming graphic recording training in NYC

I’m super excited to share our next fun training!

Sun, December 6,2015!

WHEN, WHERE, HOW MUCH? Check out visualsforchange.com/grtraining for details!

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