Five Questions: The In/Visible Talks Team

They got there early, stayed late, and in between made January’s In/Visible Talks conference flow. We wanted to thank our team (those people in the fabulously bright yellow T-shirts) and hear their own thoughts about their creative process.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

Elena: “A deep-seated connection, sometimes fiery and passionate, sometimes a functional and steady burn, it is always present.”

Noelle: “Words are my creative vehicle. Everyday I have to be able to sell products and build an online community in a matter of 140 (or now 280) characters. Being prepared to find new ways of engaging with followers on a consistent basis definitely keeps things interesting!”

Preethi: “I love that the creative process is messy, and there’s no right answer. I appreciate that gut and intuition are as much a part of design as the rules—it’s liberating to be the one who defines the constraints. I get bored with repetitive tasks, so I’m very grateful that, as a creative, I can be more than just one thing. I’m a designer-painter-writer-dancer-traveler, and I love that being all those things helps me approach my work in different ways.”

Photo by Sarah Finnegan

When did you first realize you needed to be in a creative field?

Aly: “After planning my brother’s first alien-themed birthday party. There were 3D invitations and full ‘lewks’ for the serving staff (my friends).”

Kathleen: “I was 8 the first time I got a crowd to laugh and was struck by the power I had to transport them away from their cares of the day. Although I don’t get to see the reactions live through my writing, I still hear about it when people respond to something I’ve written and tell me how it impacted them. What a gift—and a responsibility to do it well and with integrity.”

How or where do you find inspiration?

Cynthia: “I find inspiration in looking at the little things. Small, almost insignificant, interactions between people or within nature. The synchronicity of life moving on around you as you sit still to observe it all happening. It is in those moments that I feel calm enough to put pen to paper and draw out my ideas.”

Anni: “Nature, always nature. Whether it be of the outdoor or human variety, watching the ebbs and flows of life is always an inspiration.”

Photo by Sarah Finnegan

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

Cynthia: “Working within strict confines of how much individual ‘creativity’ was allowed. I had to let go of my own ideas of what would be successful and follow someone else’s process. I learned that working with other people who have radically different ideas might be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to create something new and put it out into the world.”

Preethi: “Putting my work out into the world has always been hard for me. I’ve always been fulfilled by the creative process and the work itself, so it felt unnatural or unnecessary to share. That was a cop-out though. Many of my projects haven’t seen the light of day because of my fear, and I one time I literally stepped out of a conference when my app was being featured because it made me anxious. In 2017, I made a goal to Play More, Make More, and Share More. Sharing my work has only brought me more support and opportunity, but even after a year of practice, hitting ‘Post’ still gives me a mini panic attack each time.”

Who is one of your heroes and why?

Susie: “I’ve only recently fallen in love with her, but I would consider Isabelle Legeron [France’s only female Master of Wine] one of my heroes. She’s a huge advocate for natural and transparent wine practices.”

Photo by Sarah Finnegan


What was your first job?

Kathleen: “My brother, sister, and I were little entrepreneurs: car washes, lemonade stands, picking up mail and watering yards when neighbors went out of town. And I had a thriving babysitting business. If only I’d learned about investing at an earlier age….”

Susie: “Donut shop in Claremore, Oklahoma.”

What’s your favorite digital or nondigital tool?

Aly: “A Post-it. The best way to think ‘physically’ with a low commitment.”
Elena: “A super-sharp chef’s knife.”
Anni: “Watercolor pencils are a super-fun new medium I’m toying with.”
Noelle: “My trusty Canon AE-1. Long live film!”

In/Visible Talks 2018 Event Recap: Inspiration

Our vision for the first-ever In/Visible Talks conference, held on January 11, 2018, was to bring together designers, artists, and creative thinkers from a range of disciplines to talk about the creative process and inspire each other to learn and grow. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.

The speakers blew us away with their vulnerability, authenticity, and insight into what really happens behind the scenes (versus what gets reported in case studies). They entertained us with their stories, and they inspired us with their learnings.

Even the venue, The Pearl, energized us with its gorgeous and acoustically fabulous conference space, second-story pop-up shop, and a rooftop deck (where Lunch + Learn was held) featuring views of the San Francisco Bay.

It was a life-changing day. As one attendee shared with us, “[The conference] awakened my own awesome and helped me rethink how, what, and why I do what I do.”

Here are some highlights.

Photo by G9 Event Photography

In addition to signing copies of her extraordinary science-meets-art pop-up book, This Book Is a Planetarium, Kelli Anderson talked about lo-fi magic and urged us to get tactile in her talk on “The Hidden Talents of Everyday Things”.

Photo by G9 Event Photography

In “Taking a Design Stretch”, Samantha Warren reminded us that inspiration strikes when you least expect it—and “You have to let it strike you!”

Photo by G9 Event Photography

Panelists Heather Day, Tim Belonax, Adam Katz, and Brian Singer encouraged everyone to define, break, and create their own rules in “The Intersections of Art and Design”.

Photo by G9 Event Photography

Find your own “side door”, that thing that makes you and your work unique, and leverage it, said Communications Coach Dia Bondi in “The Art of Your Work—Knowing What Matters in Doing What You Do”.

Photo by G9 Event Photography

“Be transparent + invite participation + define the rules + be courageous” was one of the takeaways from Tim Murray’s talk on “Primal Collaboration”.

Photo by G9 Event Photography

Hardware Interface Designer Basheer Tome had us laughing out loud over images of his wildly destructive and brilliant creative process for his talk on “Faking the Future”.

Photo by G9 Event Photography

For the live podcast, Making Ways Host Rob Goodman interviewed Lumi CEO Jesse Genet. “Ideas fail a lot, but people aren’t failures,” was one of her many encouraging messages.

Photo by G9 Event Photography

In “Where’s the Light? Lessons in Fumbling Through Creative Darkness”, Marta Harding suggested we ask different questions when we’re stuck, such as “What do you want to do next? Who are the people you want to do it with? Am I threatening the status quo, or am I the status quo?”

Photo by G9 Event Photography

Talk about a career shakeup! Maria Giudice shared recent personal changes in “Remaking the Making Company” and encouraged everyone to “Treat everything like design. Evaluate. Iterate. Evolve. Repeat. And plan not to know the answers yet—or ever.” (Some attendees sketched their notes about the talks, as you see here.)

Photo by G9 Event Photography

“Doing nothing is completely necessary” was the big takeaway we got from Jenny Odell’s talk on “How to Do Nothing”, and sometimes that means engaging in bird-noticing—not just watching, but listening.

Hear it straight from an attendee! Read all about Lisa Clapper of the Yay Collective‘s experience at In/Visible Talks here.

The conversations continue! Find out about upcoming Salons, Workshops, and other special events here.