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On July 10th, Catalyst Arts joined dozens of performers and caterers for the annual ISES Gala at SF Old Mint. For those who don’t know – ISES is the International Special Event Society, which is the association for special event professionals, so of course, we were excited, not only to show off our beautiful circus-themed stilt walkers and serving skirts, but also to debut a special new Signature offering: our unique Become the Art cart!

become the art cart by Catalyst Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Become the Art Cart is an interactive mobile photo opportunity suitable for any event. That night, the cart was particularly popular amongst the ISES crowd, because unlike most stationary photo booths, this one wheeled right up to people. Sporting a nice golden frame and a attended by a pro photographer (in this case Gustavo Fernandez) and a friendly costumed attendant.  The Become the Art Cart allowed guests to choose from a variety of custom-made props- from the ever-so popular mustaches on sticks to the cute circus hats and boas. After a click and flash, the playful experience becomes a very unique photo gallery to bring back memories well after the event is over.

become the art cart mobile photo opp

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the second half of the event, we collaborated with The Other Woman, an event catering and planning service. Their delicious treats settled nicely on our Sweet Cakes Serving Skirt. At first people weren’t sure if the desserts were for display only – but after a little encouragement, anyone who had a sweet tooth eagerly snatched a snack to taste.

sweet cakes serving skirt of Catalyst Arts

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all, this event was a huge success and milestone for Catalyst Arts. We were able to get our name out there with event planners, made friends with talented performers, and debuted our brand new Become the Art cart, which was so enthusiastically received. Now we can’t wait to get the cart to it’s next special booking — maybe somewhere near you?

http://www.catalystarts.com

or http://catalystarts.com/circusgala/ to see the whole gallery!

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Costume Closet

I have been playing dress up pretty much my whole life.

I have been being paid to play dress up for about 10 years now.
(I’m a performer, stilter, & face painter)

My inner child is thrilled about it.

Dressing up in costumes is fun, creative, and occasionally truly glamorous, tranformational or therapeutic.

I go out in public in costumes on a regular basis. I love Halloween because everyone else shifts shapes and comes to the party as something new (& hopefully) interesting. So maybe you are not a dress up type but you just want some ideas for Halloween costumes so you don’t feel left out. Or perhaps you are a clothes horse and want to up your game in terms of costuming yourself.

THE TIPS

1.) Choose a character direction that is currently genuinely inspiring to you.

It could be compellingly attractive or compellingly disturbing, but it should be compelling. If it is tired, or more true to the old you, it won’t make you come alive when you wear it. If it doesn’t have juice for you, you won’t really rock it

2.) If you don’t have a great idea, use your friends.
If you are drawing a blank then make a brainstorm game out of it with some friends and bounce off each others ideas until you get one that makes you really excited. Or you could ask everyone you know what their all time best Halloween costumes were, and then just steal your favorite idea. (provided it meets tip 1 criteria)

2.) Give it time. Don’t wait till just before the party/gig/event to pull it together.

If you know you are going out for Halloween or are invited to a masquerade ball or need to pull a _____ themed costume out of the hat for an event soon to come, give yourself as much time as possible to daydream ideas, shop at stores, yard sales & thrift stores, and pull it together. This way you won’t feel stressed and be tempted to sucker out. This way the magic and synchronicity have time to help you get it together. (costume fairy’s do exist!)

3.) Strive for Originality. Don’t go for a made in China ‘costume in a bag’.

Oh it can be tempting to go online or sneak into some halloween superstore and just grab yourself one of those one size fits all costumes in a bag. If you do really want to be a sexy nurse or a vampire or a pirate or some other trendy character- find a way to do it so that you don’t look like the other 20 people at the party who bought the same cheap-o costume. Browse google images for inspiration. Repurpose fabrics & clothes in new ways. Bribe a friend who can sew to actually make you something. It is worth the effort to not look like you came off the assembly line.

4.) It is all about the Face Paint and the Attitude.
If your face paint looks great and you are totally in character, it can make up for a shabby costume. It goes a long way to actually try to be the character your costume is indicating. Get into it. Have a different accent and do things you wouldn’t normally do. That is a huge part of the point of costumes in the first place. Intimidated by the face paint part of this tip? Find a friend who is good at it or look up videos on you tube. (or hire someone like me:))

5.) Bring a Prop and have a Schtick. *
This is crucial for having a fabulous time in your getup and contributing greatly to the overall social dynamic. You will have a lot more fun if your character has some sort of playful gimmick or way to engage other party goers. IDEAS & GENERAL EXAMPLES: If you are a geisha, bring a fan and cool down the sweaty folks on the dance floor. If you are a giant banana, bring a banana and tell people they have a phone call on it. PERSONAL EXAMPLES: I was once a princess of hearts and I went around painting hearts on people with my red lip liner. Last year for Halloween I was a genie and I had this super cool lamp filled with yummy oils and I asked people to touch the lamp and make a wish and they smelled the oils and closed their eyes and made their wish and I told them it would be granted. This was infinitely more amusing than just wandering around looking like a genie. It is all about interaction. Schtick Schtick Schtick.

So, I hope this helps and I hope you have fun creating  another costume for your arsenal.

Sometimes a book jumps off my bookshelf and says look at me again- Now!
Being that I am currently studying marketing, when I picked up the book ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’ By, Richard Florida again, I had a whole new appreciation for its contents.

This national bestseller written by a professor of economic development, makes many key contributions to the discussion about the central role of creativity in the economy, and specifically highlighting a growing class of society he calls the creative class.

HERE ARE SOME Gold NUGGETS  or KEY QUOTES to chew on:

“Many say that we now live in an “information” economy or a “knowledge” economy. But what’s more fundamentally true is that we now have an economy powered by human creativity. Creativity– “the ability to create meaningful new forms”, as Webster’s dictionary puts it- is now the decisive source of competitive advantage. In virtually every industry, from automobiles to fashion, food products, and information technology itself, the winners in the long run are those who can create and keep on creating.”

***

“The economic need for creativity has registered itself in the rise of a new class, which I call the Creative Class. Some 38 million Americans, 30% of all employed people, belong to this new class. I define the core of the Creative Class to include people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content. Around the core, the Creative class also includes a broader group of creative professionals in business and finance, law, health care and related fields. These people engage in complex problem solving that involves a great deal of independent judgment and requires high levels of education or human capital. In addition, all members of the Creative Class– whether they are artists or engineers, musicians or computer scientists, writers or entrepreneurs– share a common creative ethos that values creativity, individuality, difference, and merit.”

***

“Given that creativity has emerged as the single most important source of economic growth, the best route to continued prosperity is by investing in our stock of creativity in all its forms, across the board. This entails more than just pumping up R&D spending or improving education, though both are important. It requires increasing investments in the multidimensional and varied forms of creativity– arts, music, culture, design and related fields– because all are linked and flourish together. It also means investing in the related infrastructures and communities that attract creative people from around the world and that broadly foment creativity.”

***

The Creative Class  has 3 FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES TO ADDRESS:

1.) Investing in Creativity to ensure long-run economic growth.
2.) Overcoming the class divides that weaken our social fabric & threaten economic well-being.
3.) To build new forms of social cohesion in a world defined by by increasing diversity and beset by growing fragmentation.

This book shows how codependent and increasingly connected are the worlds of finance/business/economy and the worlds of the arts/creativity/culture.

It also really broadens the scope of what we may usually categorize as “creative work” and illuminates the integral role that creativity has in many of the jobs central to our economic health.

Artists are known for being the pioneering out of the box types. But then so many find themselves in a frustratingly small competitive mini world going for the same gigs or galleries as their counterparts. Lack of inspiration and lack of compensation are two of the biggest pitfalls to avoid while we adventure down an artists path. With so much pulling back and shrinking going on these days, I think we creative types need to stretch out and think BIGger.

Expanding the sphere of our art is good not only for the creative stimulation the challenge brings, but also for the new sources of income it can generate. In a nutshell, splashing out of traditional containers can be both fun and profitable.

Well the visual artist’s primary canvas is the human eye and perception/imagination field.
The paper and easel and computer screen are common containers for that art, and yet in being small squares, they have their limitations.

EXAMPLES of CANVAS EXPANSION FOR VISUAL ARTISTS:
Tattoo Art, Body Painting, Face Painting, Designing Fashion, Painting Murals, Caricature Sketches, Graffiti Art, Air Brushing clothes and walls and people, Silk Screening, Live Painting at music shows, painting pregnant women’s bellies, drawing your dream home on your lover’s back and taking a picture of it, decorating cakes, doing custom signs for local small businesses…

Musicians primary canvas is the human ear and the emotional and social field.
The live show and the compact disc or mp3 are the traditional containers for this audible art.

EXAMPLES OF CANVAS EXPANSION FOR MUSICIANS
Play in mental hospitals or old people’s homes, teach kids in schools or private lessons, collaborate with other artists on a large public art project, create a music therapy project at a local childrens hospital, go in a tunnel and record your most heartfelt music and sell it to gardeners to play to their plants, make fun little snippets of music for commercials, ring tones, your answering machine…

Performing Artists like actors and dancers primarily use a stage as their canvas.

EXAMPLES OF CANVAS EXPANSION FOR PERFORMERS:
Perform on the streets, perform for your neighbors or block party, collaborate with photographers and film students, for charity events, in beautiful spots in nature, in ugly industrial settings, make up a new theatrical telegram service, work with wild new props, dance with fire, put on a show with your favorite kids for their parents, do political satire miming at the lawn of a federal building, dance at rallies, try go-go dancing, wear a mask and perform on a bench during lunchtime in a big city, teach your art form to kids or under-expressed housewives and businesspeople,  hang up a big sheet at a party- shine light on it and shadow dance behind it, build a stage onto a big van or ice cream truck and take the show on the road…

You get the picture.

Integration Exercise:
(cause it is oh so easy to scarf through ideas with our minds and never build a bridge into action)
Answer these questions in your journal or with another artistic partner.
1.)    What are my main 2 artistic forms?
2.)    What current canvas are they being expressed on?
3.)    What new ideas do I have for other outlets and canvases to explore?
Then circle the most compelling ones. Then do them, or if you are the forgetful type- write them and hang them up in a visible place to remind you of them till you get around to trying them out.

Would love to hear your comments or ideas.

Art can change your Life- art nouveu poster

I have been a quote junkie since I was a teenager. Here are a couple of handfuls of good quotes from my collection. Do you have any favorite arts quotes? If you have a lot of creative friends, you can print these up onto nice paper and give them out to them, or to complete strangers.:)

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” –Pablo Picasso


“…art is not just ornamental, an enhancement of life, but a path in itself, a way out of the predictable and conventional, a map to self discovery.”
– Gabrielle Roth
“Art is neither a profession or a hobby. Art is a way of being.” -Frederick Franck

“For creative beings (and we are all creative beings) experience is only half of an experience. We experience life and then digest it by making something out of the experience. Creativity makes life useful to us. It also makes us useful to life.” – Julia Cameron

“A concerto is a cake is a sculpture is a scrapbook is a sonnet is a sweater. There is no difference between the human impulses behind one act of creation and another. The distinctions between “good” and “bad” quality or “high” and “low” art don’t’ really exist. There’s only creation, and the joy that comes with it.” – Sandra Magsamer

“All arts we practice are apprenticeship. The big art is our life.” -M.C. Richard

“Art is the kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purpose through him.”
-Carl Jung

“Inspiration is our contact with the divine, our ability to access the interconnected and energetic nature of life. Expression is our desire to give form to our experience of the divine.” -Tom Crockett

“The sterility of the bourgeois world will end in suicide or a new form of creative participation.” – Octoavio Paz

“Inspiration cuts through the cultural trance suspending the prescribed goals and expectations of this conditioned cultural mindscape so that alternative realities and solutions may be perceived.” – Philip Rubinov-Jacobson

“By descending down into the depths of the soul, and not primarily by a painful acquisition of many manual skills, the artist attains the power of awakening other souls.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We recognized the role of imagination and ritual that is shared between contemporary psychotherapies and all ancient traditions. It was also evident that the arts are the bridging existential phenomena that unite ritual, imagination and dream-world in a way that no other activity can do.” -Paulo Knill

“Creativity is the power to connect the seemingly unconnected.” -William Plomer

“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.” -Henry David Thorou

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Want more infusions of Inspiration??
Sign up for the MuseLetter & get a Free Promotion & Productivity Resource Package- http://www.catalystarts.com

This is the 1st post in a new Series-
Key Principles for Creative Life & Career Design.


FIND INSPIRING (virtual) ROLE MODELS

Knowing what is possible for you in your careers scope and impact is greatly supported by finding exemplary role models who’s works and achievements truly inspire you. They don’t even need to be accessible or alive to act as a muse and guiding force.

“Almost all artists derive succor from the dead. The dead continue to give willingly when the living won’t return phone calls and refuse to remember your name. Holding fast to your creative heritage is a way of building an impassioned support system without dealing with anybody! …Having a deep love and understanding for the men and women whose work has inspired and influenced your own can create a spiritual family that has just as much power as a living friend.” -Carol Lloyd from the book ‘Creating a Life Worth Living’

Of course, it is more ideal is if you can find a role model who is not only alive, but also willing to do some active mentoring with you. These relationships can be hard to come by, and the people worth having them with are often very busy. In all centuries previous to ours, apprenticeships and mentorships were the primary ways that trades were learned. Even though we have come so far from that now, many of us feel a sense of nostalgia, or a yearning for that sort of relationship. And anyone with a good heart who has had a fruitful career wants to find ways to help those who are coming up with similar callings. So if you do find a living role model from who’s guidance you would greatly benefit, create a win-win proposal of how you can also benefit them and then pitch it to them!

My own college experience was more based on mentors and advisors than teachers. I did a self-designed degree program through Prescott College (Integrative Arts major & applied Ecopsychology minor). Each course that I designed had to have a clear objective, a set of activities to meet that objective, method of evaluation, and a local mentor who would oversee the course. I was responsible for finding that local mentor and requesting their help. Even though the monetary exchange was very small, I almost always got a yes, and so for 4 years, at any given time I was engaged with 3 or 4 mentors loosely helping me to achieve the objectives of my courses. It was very enriching to work with so many people already established while I was just a student, including authors and key contributors to my field. One of those mentors in particular became a key advisor to me and is now on my board of advisors for Catalyst Arts.

Now most of my role models are virtual and I tap their wisdom through their books and their examples.


Integration Exercises:

1.) Write a list of 3-5 people who’s career path inspires you and what it is about their work that turns you on.

2.) What would your ideal apprenticeship be? Who is the teacher (if they don’t exist imagine them up) and what are you learning from them?

3.) Make a word document of web sites and bios of anyone you come across who does something either similar to you or something you aspire to do. You can also put businesses and organizations on this list. I call mine ‘Role Models’ and open it up when I need a good reminder of what is possible 5-25 years down the road.

At first glance at the proposition of making money from a creative passion or hobby, it would seem that there are no Cons. After all, being creative is better than doing a boring day job and having money is better than being broke. I do encourage creative people (especially committed artists) to monetize their skills and transition into making their livelihood from their art. Yet I am not quick to suggest people quit their day jobs or push their passions into businesses without consciously weighing it all out. In some cases, it is best to keep the job and let the art be about passion and self-expression, and not about making money.

Here are the top 2 pros and cons of turning an artistic talent or creative hobby into a significant income source.

PROS

  • You have a great excuse to do more of what you love to do and less of the unpleasant or unrelated things you do purely for money. (who wouldn’t love that?)
  • You become identified with your artistry in a professional context which can lead to more opportunities, heightened self-esteem, amazing connections, and a greater sense of fulfillment in the career sphere.

CONS

  • Some of the innocence, fun, and magic will be lost when the hustle of commerce comes into the equation
  • You could lose passion for something once it becomes a job. Things like comparison, competition, & sales can dampen the pure creative fire and take the spark out of the work. Once you  no longer feel passionate, it is tempting to drop it, thereby losing a perfectly good creative love affair.

So, I advise you consider both sides of the equation with any decision about a creative enterprise.

I am thrilled that I make good money doing the performance work that I love, and yet I am really glad that when I do any musical or collage project that it isn’t about making money, so there is a sort of purity that thinking through a commercial mindset can diminish.

INTEGRATION
Journal thoroughly about both what excites you and concerns you about any new enterprise you are considering.
Which of your talents are ripe to get developed into new revenue streams? Which ones would it be wise to just keep hobbies and art for arts sake?

Here is a link to an article I wrote about CREATIVE PROCESS vs. CREATIVE PRODUCT

What about your experience? Others pros or cons? I welcome your comments. 🙂

ImageSpark-
This is a really fabulous tool that you download for free that helps you to capture and collect into one place all the great inspiring images you come across in your wanderings through cyberspace. It is especially good for visual artists and designers, as you can grab images that are a “mood” you are going for with a project and use them for your own or a clients reference.

How it works:
After you sign up and download it, a little star like icon hangs out in the top right corner of your computer. You see an amazing image you love and just click the icon, easily capture the image and file it in your library for future reference. You can create “mood boards” and easily view and capture images from other users, and you can choose if you want an image to be private or public. A great part is that you give credit to the source of the image (which is good both for honoring its creator and in case you want to use it on something you can check with them and give them proper credit) Here is a clip I took using image spark of my own image spark library.

imagesparklibrary

Go to the Site and get it yourself: – http://www.imgspark.com

And another snapshot of my library

imspklibrary2

highlighter-yellowHighlighters can be little magic wands of a kind. Magic because they help to select what is essential and worthwhile to you and bring it to the forefront of awareness. As I explain more below, this literal act can lead to the strengthening of a valuable perceptual tool.

When I am reading a good book, I always have a pencil and a highlighter by my side. I underline and star outstanding passages with the pencil or pen, and then I highlight and draw keys next to the “key” content. That way when I glance back over the book months or years later, I can easily get straight to the juicy parts.

If something is usable to some aspect of my work (like an exercise or diagram I want to reference in a workshop) then I will dog ear it on the bottom or more recently write the page number and a brief note about it on one of the blank pages in the back of the book. That way, I can extract and access useful content out of the book in an efficient way. I read books like a prospector looking for gold. When I am done, the treasure I found is literally highlighted in gold.

The great thing about highlighting key passages in books over many years is that it teaches you to think with a highlighter filter. Trains you in highlighter perception if you will. You automatically look and listen for the most exciting, relevant, and profound sections to jump out at you and then you give them the ability to easily jump out at everyone because of their bright color. This ability to listen for the essence of something has served me very well in working with coaching clients. My mind is naturally highlighting key parts of what a client is saying when they are sharing about something.

Who has time anymore for excess and fluff? We want to cut straight to the chase, get to the point, and get the juice of a concept without having to chew on a lot of excessive fiber.
So get yourself a literal highlighter and use it on articles, poems, instructions and books. Also practice highlighter perception and listen for and then “highlight” the essence of what a person is saying to you or the core of a situation.

INTEGRATION  EXERCISE

Write in your Journal if you have one or just do a Free Write on a piece of paper.
Go over it with your trusty highlighter and mark the parts that jump out at you as interesting.
Write a new and more streamlined expression using mainly the highlighted sections of the old.

What about You?? Any good highlighter tips?
Comments are welcome.

I’m blown away. I have been in a phase of spending most of the day everyday glued to my laptop screen navigating the fruitful landscapes of the web. Yes, we all know that there is an overwhelming array of cool content hanging out there in this virtual net in ‘cyberspace’.

What is blowing me away is how much valuable advice and informative gifts everyone is giving away! For a while I was roving around like a greedy bandit gathering a bunch of educational treasure and stashing it my computer and mind. Now I am intentional and discerning in my gathering. Sure, a lot of the free gifts are dangling carrots luring people onto newsletters and hopefully into paying for products and services. But, I am glad to be on these newsletter lists and know about the offerings available to me.

It reminds me quite a bit of the ‘gift culture’ at Burning Man. (for those who don’t know, BM is a huge participatory week long costume party in the Nevada Desert- an experimental visionary artistic explosion with very few rules, one of them being not to sell things, only barter and gifts)

It takes a while getting used to, having people giving to you without expecting money. Giving affirms that you are abundant and sets goodwill in motion, which does come back to you. It is really profound to free ourselves from the paper chase and cultivate another kind of economy, based on a creative currency. Innovation, Information and Inspiration become a valuable currency, in the desert, on the web, and in the world that we are building.

The generosity factor is taking the Competition to Cooperation equation one step further. Yes, we need to be less divisive and competitive and learn to cooperate with each other more. Cooperation is something that can (and should be) taught in schools and workshops. There is another level beyond this though. A level at where you recognize interconnectedness and interdependence as more real and more important than your personal identity or agenda. When you see personal success and happiness is tied into community and collective success,  you have an inherent motivation to contribute to others. Generosity is a natural extension for someone who understands Oneness on an experiential level.

In fact the measure of a great person in many tribal societies is one who is the most generous, and one who leaves a legacy. At Burning Man I see people pour thousands of dollars, and countless hours of visioning and hard work into their theme camp, an art car, a fire opera, a sound stage, etc… This is not an investment that gives back to them in a tangible sense, and so from a business perspective it makes no sense. But since our culture has strayed very far from the model of giveaway and leaving a legacy of generosity, I think it is healing and transformative for people to invest so much into a gift and then give it to an appreciative community. Many go so far as to allow their thousands of dollars and months of work to go up into flames, as a part of the ritual of the offering.

That reminds me of the tradition of Tibetan sand painting where monks make these incredibly intricate, elaborately beautiful paintings out of colored sand, only to scatter them to the winds as an offering to impermanence. Some see impermanence as a reason to despair, consume, and basically take all that they can get. Others see it as the reason to get busy giving the gift that you came to this world to give.

“You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.” — Winston Churchill

In this incredible time, life’s banquet tables offer us a taste of anything and everything. May we sample the fruits of others with gratitude. May we concoct our own masterpiece to bring to the potluck. (after all, it isn’t a dinner party in our honor, it is a potluck in everyone’s honor) The world is full of abundant tables and empty tables and full nets of the mind and empty canvases. My wish is that you find a fit place to offer your gifts, to live your calling with generosity, and to leave a legacy.