July Creative: Deep Space Traveler, Adam Villanueva

Monthly Creatives

Discover My Favorite Creatives!

This segment is dedicated to all my creative muses. Each one of them on the daily hustle, working hard to support what they love the most. Whether it’s music, art, personalities, jewelry, or clothing, I support it all. I hope you take the time to check out their pages, like their socials, and show them some love.


Please introduce yourself:

Hi, I’m Adam Villanueva. I am from Highland Park, Los Angeles California. I started doing art for my band SEASONS (see video at the end)  in 2006 and over the years it got better and I started making money off of it. Now I make art, stickers and shirts for other bands. I had a few successful art shows as well, you can check out my etsy shop where I sell some of my paintings and jewelry.

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How would you describe your art?

Colorfully twisted spacey clever and unique..

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What is your creative process? Does your art tell a story?

My paintings are influenced by camping trips but with a space vibe to it. I like using pyramids and other shapes to create a optical illusion. My cat painting tells a story of house cats that party when the owners are gone. You can see them drinking, dancing and swimming in the after hours.

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After hours Pool Party

Who and what are your influences?

Picasso, Dali, Okuda and friends. Instagram is a great source for inspiration and ideas.

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What are your current projects?

At the moment I am working on a stop motion music video for my band.

* Adam is in two bands: SEASONS and VETERANS OF FUTURE WARS – see Spotify link below

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What are you currently listening to right now?

Vanishing Twin.

Are there Any Artists on Instagram or Etsy that you are obsessing over?

Okuda 

As an LA resident, what are some of your favorite places to hangout and get some inspiration?

Downtown LA Arts District.

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Who are some of your musical influences?

Beatles, Tame Impala, John Coltrane, Chet Baker, Anchorsong, Charles Bradley, Black Moth, Super Rainbow, and many more.

Any secret artist you embarrassed to say you enjoy?

Not that I can think of right now.

Do you have any pre-show/recording rituals?

I like to make videos or drawings related to the event the day of to help promote that show. Does that count?

Has politics changed your creativity?

Yes and no. I have been wanting to do a political painting but I haven’t. Maybe I’ll do a stop motion of Trump’s head launching missiles out of his mouth into his ass. I don’t know yet.


Adam’s latest video project with his band Seasons:

Please visit Adam & his Band’s socials and show them some love!

Adam’s INSTAGRAM

Adam’s ETSY SHOP 

SEASONS BAND FACEBOOK

SEASONS INSTAGRAM

VETERANS OF FUTURE WARS on SPOTIFY

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more unique creatives ❤

 

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June 2017 Layouts

Illusions of Productivity, Picture Diaries

A little late on this one, but I’ve had a pretty busy month.

A lot of big things happened in June :

I had a performance, which always takes a lot of time and energy to prepare. But then once that performance was over, it cleared up my weeknight commitments allowing a lot of time to sit and think about my life, which can be a very overwhelming for a Virgo!

Learning how to be still is difficult .

I was apartment hunting with my boyfriend. Then I was looking for someone to fill my current apartment because – Hooray! We found a place.

There were a lot of little things in between: Friends in town, SF Pride, brunches, coffee dates, and consulting projects.

Motivation and inspiration was sparse, especially in a sudden bout of change. Here are some blogs/websites that really helped me remember my goals and focus:

https://tinybuddha.com/ – Simple Wisdom for Complex Lives

The Orange Dot – Headspace: Meditation Made Simple

John WestenBerg on Medium – Productivity, Motivation, and Failure

What are some blogs you enjoy reading?


Alas…. my June 2017 planner layouts ❤

 

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Happy Planning!

-D. Marie

May Creative: Paul Dab founder of Fete Concert Series

Monthly Creatives

headshot beach windyMeet Paul Dab, pianist and co-founder of Fete Concert Series currently living in San Francisco, CA. Like Paul, I share a passion for classical music and admire his work and creative endeavors to bring the beauty of classical music to the social sphere of San Francisco’s night scene.

As an Orch Dork (orchestra dork) in high school, my friends never quite understood (especially at that age) the transportive experience I felt, and still feel, when I intertwine in melodies with a quartet; or ride a wave of sound with a grand orchestra. I found myself trying to hide the fact that I was in the school orchestra. People often think classical music is boring. But there is so much more than watching a symphony in a concert hall (which is still majestic in my book). Classical music can be intimate, funny, conversational, and so much more; if you get behind the story of what composers were saying through those little black dots, lines and squiggly marks, it’s really quite interesting what they conveyed through music. Not to mention, the incredible history of a written piece, how sound travels (and survives) through time, as musicians tackle on the notes through different eras and different perceptions -the musical idea still remains the same.

Paul and his crew really bring this essence to the public, and it’s worth sharing this experience which is why I am excited to feature him as my May Creative. I had a great time talking with him over coffee as we shared our passion for this misunderstood art form in the mainstream. If you’re in the Bay Area, I hope you check out his show and experience their creativity first hand.

In fact, their next show is Saturday (May 6th) !

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How did Fete Concert Series come about? Who is part of it?

Fete Concerts began in 2014 when two of my fellow students at SF Conservatory, Annie Smith and Chelsea Hollow, decided to plan a recital featuring the music of Richard Strauss on his birthday. They asked me to be their collaborative pianist and they commissioned composer Eric Choate to arrange Happy Birthday in the style of Strauss. We included a reception of wine, cheese, and homemade birthday cake. This became the basic format for Fete Concerts and the name came after the second concert. Since the beginning, Chelsea, Annie, and I have been taking care of the programs, venues, receptions, finances, and marketing as a team. Each season has become a bit more organized and fluid.

Photo: Kersh Branz, 2016.

Photo: Kersh Branz, 2016.

How are you personally connected to the mission? Explain a little bit about why this is your passion project…

The mission of Fete Concerts is to display great works of music in a lively environment that encourages socializing and discussion. Each concert is a chance to delve deeply into the work of a specific composer. It is also an opportunity to discover the work of a composer I didn’t know about. As a performer, I get to choose the repertoire that we play and make a program that flows well. There is no one telling us what to play and so we let our love and passion for music guide the process. During each concert we teach the audience about the composers life to give context to the music and introduce each piece with a bit of our personal connection to it. Communicating with the audience about the music I love is a joy for me. It makes me more comfortable in my performance and gives the audience some direction in their listening. We also engage with the audience during intermission and after the concert so they can ask us questions or share their own opinions. This encompasses my dual passions of playing music and discussing music with others.

Photo by Betsy Kershner, 2015.

When did you fall in love with classical music and what made you decide to take it on professionally (going on to graduate school…etc.)

headshot5There is a saying that you don’t choose music, but music chooses me. This has certainly been the case in my life. My grandparents decided to bring me to piano lessons at a young age and I did not stop taking weekly lessons until after graduate school. There was never a question in my mind that I would pursue music throughout my school life and beyond. I chose to attend a high school with a strong performing arts program instead of one with a stronger academic program. This school provided a community of like-minded students and instilled a sense of professionalism in the way I purse my musical life. I played piano, percussion, and violin in different school ensembles but when it came time to think about college, I turned my focus to classical piano and never had a second thought about majoring in piano performance. In college my desire to practice and study piano grew stronger and the more I learned, the more I wanted to keep discovering classical music. There has never been a doubt in my mind that I want to play piano every day of my life and I am working on a career that makes that happen.

What kind of music do you enjoy listening to?

I love bluegrass music. I lived in Nashville for five years and found out that I love listening to string bands, mandolin, and fiddlers. There is a great joy and energy in the music and a sense of community among each ensemble. Bluegrass has a great mix of virtuosity and simplicity which draws me in. The solo lines and the accompaniment are sometimes complicated and sometimes straightforward This genre of music is almost impossible to replicate on the piano and so I experience it as a spectator. One day I may pick up the violin that I haven’t played in over a decade and try learning some fiddle tunes.

Photo: Kersh Branz, 2016.

Photo: Kersh Branz, 2016.

What does your practice look like? Do you ever run out of inspiration? What are some mental obstacles you face as a working musician? Are you working/learning a piece right now?

I try to keep a regular practice routine every morning at the very least. I have technical warm ups and I have music that I am learning for different performances. I structure my practice around specific goals so that I can keep track of my progress. When life is busy, piano practice is the thing I look forward to and the thing that can also get left aside. Lately, my schedule has been busy and I have several exciting projects and so inspiration is easy to come by. That is not always the case and there are times when I don’t feel inspired to practice. If I am able to, I allow myself to take a break. If I need learn music without that inspiration, then I must structure my time and goals so that I can work efficiently. I also have certain pieces that I can practice and play that will always feed me inspiration. A mental obstacle that I often face is the desire for perfection in what I do. Often times I can hear the music in my head exactly as I want it to sound and I must make a plan for how to make my hands create that music. I try to arrive at each performance with confidence in my playing, however there are always things that can be improved. The concept of what is a perfect performance changes and can never be fully achieved.

What is your favorite piece right now?

Chopin Nocturne in Eb Major Op. 55 No. 2

Any last words about your love and appreciation for classical music? Give me your 1 minute pitch!

Classical music contains an incredible range of styles and characters which give us entertainment, joy, and beauty. By appreciating old music we can see how emotions, struggles, and pleasures from the past still exist today. In listening to music, we connect with people across time and place, giving us the strength to move forward.


You can catch Paul’s performances on Fete Concert Series’ socials.

Please check them out and show them some love!

Instagram

Facebook

On Creativity

Creative Writing, Illusions of Productivity

“Creativity is intelligence having fun” – Albert Einstein


Working in front of a screen inputting and analyzing numbers all day takes a toll on me mentally and emotionally. I work full time and consult on the side, sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about all the things I want to do and have to do once I get home. It’s also hard to find personal time, I really need to carve it in anywhere I can. Having a Type A personality , I find it hard to sit still, there’s always something I should be doing.

With the constant need to feel busy, I find that cultivating my creativity helps satiate the angst I feel in empty spaces. Not only does it help my mind step away from my lists and anxiety, it gives me a fresh look at how to execute all of my projects. Even if you don’t consider yourself an ‘artist’ here are some reasons why you should incorporate creativity in your weekly or daily habits.

Creativity is within all of us.

Contrary to belief that the creative process is a right brain activity, Social Psychologist Graham Wallas’ model of the creative process emphasizes that from Preparation to Verification, creativity is a whole brain activity. When you think about it, humans in nature are a creative species, our ability to manipulate our environment is what sets us apart from other animals; so to say that one is not creative is to deny your innate ability to solve problems, which is essentially a creative process.

One of my favorite modes of creativity is sketching. The act of taking in a scene and translating it onto paper is a remarkable skill. Now, I’m not the best at it, but I enjoy tapping into the basics of perception, shadows, and shapes. The senses used to solve the problem of translation from the intake of what you see, to manipulating your tools to draw it on paper, is something I feel helps reset my brain when I’m having a stressful week or am in need of inspiration for words, or other departments of creativity.

When you draw, you become more aware of details and awaken many suppressed senses. While starting out my sketch of the Golden Gate Bridge you see above, it took me awhile to get the correct proportion of the towers, which even still could use some improvement. This mental exercise in itself- spatial improvement and functional connectivity –  helps relieves stress, sharpens your brain agility, and improves emotional awareness (Bolwerk, 2014).

Awakening of the senses.

This awakening of the senses that study after study proclaims art and creativity does for the brain, is something that is so important especially now in the digital age. One thing I hate about social media is that you can easily find yourself stuck down a rabbit hole staring at your phone screen! I’m guilty of this, and when I finally snap out of it, I feel like my brain has been buffering, numb, or blurry – kind of like when you use the street view on Google Maps and the image is a blurred collage of earth toned, pixelated streaks… yea, that’s my brain after wasting an hour of my life scrolling through Instagram.

One of the reasons I’ve started blogging is to expand my creative practice. I was telling a friend the other day that I kinda (key word KINDA) miss writing essays! That was crazy to hear coming out of my mouth; but I felt like in this ‘like, share, comment, tweet in 140 characters’ age, my thought process was becoming too shallow. So for me, blogging is another creative process where I can practice formulating complex thoughts and expand one simple idea into a beginning, middle, and end (like this post ;)).

Simple modes of creativity.

Even if you can’t commit to a full blown essay or mural of the Golden Gate Bridge, there are little things you can do to squeeze in that little bit of creativity. One of my favorite tips I heard from a colleague is that she challenged herself to write haikus on the bus instead of looking at Instagram. I don’t find myself writing too many haikus, but one thing I do enjoy is experimenting with descriptive language – writing a small paragraph about the scene I find myself in. I use my phone to keep these notes, and sometimes these paragraphs turn into something more that I expand on later.

Force yourself to learn something new.

I’m a huge fan of formal instruction, I take cello and bass lessons at a community center. I’ve finally convinced some of my musically curious friends to sign up for a class! The point is not to chase some pipe dream of becoming a professional musician, but to force myself to step away from the screen, learn something new, and awaken my musical senses. If you find that adding that little bit of creativity on your own is something you can’t commit to, then sign up for that guitar or ceramics class you’ve always wanted to try! Find a community center, many of them have sliding scale prices; you’d be surprised what your public library offers- plus you get the benefit of building your creative community.

Creativity is our super human power!

We are a creative species, it is our super human power and you should find ways to inspire yourself to create every single day. When we create, we are changing the structure of our brains, creating new connections in our neural pathways, lighting up different parts of the brain (Scientific American, 2007). Think about it this way – your brain is a muscle and therefore, you should exercise it like one. Don’t let your brain become a couch potato.

Picture Story: San Diego, CA

Picture Diaries

Products Used:

HP Sprocket $139

Happy Planner Mini $12.99

Me and My Big Ideas Sticker Pack: $20

Sony Hx80 $340


I spent Easter weekend with the family in San Diego. It was actually supposed to be the ‘Grandparent’s weekend’ (my parents, my nephews; my aunt and uncle, and my two nieces) but I decided to crash the party.

Spending time with family completely unravels me to the core. It’s hard to go back to work after a weekend full of happiness and love pumping through my veins!

I recently purchased the HP Sprocket printer and couldn’t wait to use it for this trip. It’s really taken my planner journal to a whole new level! My planner addiction has completely gone overboard but I love it. 😉

Here’s a little recap of my favorites this weekend as well as how I captured it in my planner.

Enjoy!


Favorite Discovery: Attention fellow coffee shop dwellers!

Lestat’s in North Park is open 24/7!!! One of my favorite things to do on a day off is to wake up early, and sit in a coffee shop to catch up on my favorite blogs and the news…. I was very pleased to stumble across this.

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Favorite Day: Hiking Sunset Cliffs Natural Park

This was my first day in San Diego, and as you can see the weather was beautiful. It was nice to get out of foggy, rainy San Francisco and take all this vibrant color in.

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Favorite Photo: Because the Middle Child is the Best aka Middle Child Syndrome

The three of us haven’t been together since Christmas, so it was fun just messing with each other and acting ridiculous.

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How I captured the weekend: HP Sprocket & Happy Planner Mini

This planner addiction is completely contagious and I got my sister into it last year when I bought her a Classic Happy Planner for her birthday. We both enjoy creating so it was an easy sell; but since then, we always find a way to go to Michaels to feed our crafty addiction and stock up on planner goodies. On the third day, we got our coupons ready and went shopping! I even got my nephews excited about making a memory sticker book. Living far away from them, using my printer and teaching them how to scrapbook has been a fun activity that we can keep together from a distance. I’ve already sent them a little card with some stickers to add to it <3.

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Yours Truly,

D. Marie

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Keeping Up with the Current – A poem.

Creative Writing

Lying here like a rock under current

Anxieties of today, tomorrow, and yesterday gently sweep over me

like a sparkling golden water blanket.

Always sliding forward. Moving fast and noisily into the deep silent blue beyond.

A rock lying on it’s back looking up into the sun rays.

As sea foam fizzles off the sand.

Rock belly bottom.

Modern Death Trap – A poem.

Creative Writing
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Based off what you’re telling me, you no longer believe in magic.
you have chosen to be forgotten
you have chosen to be fatigued.
Based off what I’m seeing, your a dying soul, a fogged out rainbow
greying out of the spectrum.
I’ll pity you tomorrow
Im too busy sniffing flowers.
Come to me next week and I’ll have your color pallette ready
I’ll rub it in your face, your skin
I’ll cover you with petals and daffodillies.
There now, go to sleep
rest your eyes
become obsolete
Rest your head, never wake up
your trapped in a world of grime and muck
This is what you have chosen.
this is what you believe.
leave me to my fairies, I’ll be seeing you beneath the trees.
Image: acrylic/ink/watercolor/electrical tape circa 2011

April Creative: LA Artist Deakin Handmade

Monthly Creatives

April 2017


Discover My Favorite Creatives!

This segment is dedicated to all my creative muses. Each one of them on the daily hustle, working hard to support what they love the most. Whether it’s music, art, personalities, jewelry, or clothing, I support it all. I hope you take the time to check out their pages, like their socials, and show them some love.

 Deakin Handmade

Meet Roxie and Beamer Hoge, a small but mighty duo behind the handmade ware brand Deakin Handmade. Roxie and I went to the same elementary school; she was in the same class as my sister. They caused some mischief together 😉 After my sister and I transferred to a different school district, it was a while (about 10 – 12) years before I ran into Roxie at my favorite coffee shop. There she was crafting up a beautiful latte, we’d exchanged the usual over-the-counter-barista-talk and then there was that moment when your eyes locked and “HOLY SHIT!!!!” we recognized each other. It was as if you could hear some R2D2 neurotransmitter sound effects going on as our brains subconsciously calculated each others faces.. anyways, I could really dork out on some existential stuff about this holy shit moment, but that won’t be fair to you, the reader, who’s just here to learn more about Roxie’s awesome work with her husband.


What inspired you to start your creative journey and how long have you been creating?

I picked up leather crafting as a hobby in 2012. My husband and I had just started dating and he had recently invested in quite a few tools and was making belts and things for friends. We hosted a weekly craft night, and our pals would come over with food and we would all snack, drink and make simple projects. It was so fun! Soon enough, friends started offering us money to make them things. Word got out, and we found ourselves making so many wallets for friends and acquaintances, we decided to launch the business!

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What is your creative process?

I usually have a few new designs in mind at any given time. The one that actually gets put into production is whatever I find the most need for; or whatever I get the most requests for. We’ll sit and draw out a couple of different versions of the item before actually making it, keeping within our realm of timeless aesthetic and simple, classic design.

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What are you working on right now?

At the moment, we are working on a passport wallet; something I’ve been meaning to make happen for quite some time.

Who are your creative muses? What inspires you the most?

My creative muses are everywhere! They are hard working, busy-as-heck, and need reliable carry goods to help them along the way. If you ever stop to ask someone about their wallet, it’s amazing what they’ll tell you! The’ll say what they love best about it, and why it works so well for them, and what they would change about it to make it *perfect* for their specific needs. It’s a very personal thing, and I just love it. I draw inspiration where I find necessity, and I find necessity by talking to people and watching the way they use their carry items.

What is Deakin Handmade?

Deakin has grown from a longstanding appreciation for function-driven timeless goods, and was built on the idea that the things we carry with us every day and all day long should wear in – not out.

We are very small team with a vast set of skills and interests – carpentry, art & sculpture, specialty coffee, mechanics, climbing, canyoneering, food & cocktails – we are adventurers, tinkerers, builders and find inspiration where we find necessity.  As individuals, we are drawn to things that are made well and have set ourselves to the task of creating & supplying durable, and elegantly simple wares that will stand up to your adventures and improve with age. We do our best to ensure heirloom-quality construction in each of our pieces with the hope that they will be used well, used often, and passed on for generations.

And finally! A peak at their amazing work:

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Huck Strap - Natural Tanbutton stud cable keeper 02 (1)

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But wait! there’s more! They make tote bags, belts, and furniture collaborations…

Check out all their beautiful products on:

Deakin Handmade Website

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