Five Questions with Jackie Bates: The California Sunday Magazine’s Photography Director

For two years running, The California Sunday Magazine has been recognized with the National Magazine Award for excellence in photography. Behind the scenes of this achievement is Photography Director Jacqueline (“Jackie”) Bates, who will be joining us at 2019 In/Visible Talks.

Jackie is also Photography Director for Pop-Up Magazine, where she works closely with Creative Director Leo Jung. Previously, she was Senior Photo Editor of W Magazine, and she worked in the photo departments of Elle, Interview, and Wired. Her work has been exhibited internationally.

At the conference in January, In/Visible Talks Co-Founder Arianna Orland will be talking with Jackie and Leo about their prolific creative partnership. Their conversation—sure to inspire—will explore how they’ve overcome challenges together and delve into the magic that happens when two creative partners-in-crime collaborate.

As we look forward to meeting Jackie in person, here are her answers to five of our questions about her creative process.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“It’s a high-maintenance relationship. I am constantly learning, doubting myself, and leaning on others for guidance and inspiration. As soon as I get comfortable, I know that it’s time to push myself even more and to go into uncharted territory.”

How or where to you find inspiration?

“I find inspiration, of course, by looking at photography—at what my publishing friends are doing, but also at artists’ projects that I discover by stepping away from my computer and meeting and talking to people, especially those not in my field. But I feel like my best ideas and inspiration come when I’m simply walking around the city, taking in the sounds and smells, and watching the changes in light, which is so unique to California.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“I’ve always worked for magazines that have existed for decades. The photography was already part of the brands, and you just had to follow along and not deviate too much. Starting a magazine from scratch and figuring out what the photography should look like was a huge challenge, but also the most gratifying moment of my career. It was a mix of feeling pressure to make something beautiful and meaningful, but also having the freedom to play and go with my gut. Working with a team who trusts you and your vision is rare, and I feel it every day.”

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

“My mom is a composer, so I grew up in a musical household—dancing, acting, playing music. I thought I would be a natural at painting and drawing, but that just wasn’t the case, no matter how hard I tried. I started taking pictures of my friends in middle school and amassed thousands of photographs of them. During my junior year of high school, I felt like my photography classes weren’t rigorous enough, so I worked at Gap Kids all year to pay for a program at Parsons Paris. After that, I knew that telling stories through photography was what I wanted to do, so I interned at galleries, museums, and magazines to better understand the ways we surround ourselves with photography. Two weeks after graduating from the School of Visual Arts, I got a job as a photo assistant at Interview Magazine. That was fourteen years ago.”

What drives you to create?

“The people I work with. Our remarkable writers. The brave subjects in the magazine who trust us to tell their stories. My friends and family.”

BONUS ROUND: Who is one of your heroes?

“Leo finished his Q&A before me [read it here], so it looks like I’m copying his answer, but it’s the same: my mom. I grew up in an environment in which my mom said ‘yes’ to every creative curiosity I had.”

Five Questions with Carissa Potter: Artist and Author

At July’s “Feeling Things Deeply” salon, we asked Carissa Potter how she would like to be introduced: illustrator, artist, designer, or author. She chose “creative.” That pretty much sums up who she is and how she lives every day. We’ve since also learned she loves serving people (her first job was serving coffee), she “really really” loves sumi ink and big brushes, and she loves the color blue for how it makes her feel “small and humble”.

Carissa is a founder of the Oakland-based small printmaking workshop People I’ve Loved, and the author and illustrator of two books, I Like You, I Love You, and It’s Ok to Feel Things Deeply. She has worked with the ICA in Boston, SFMOMA, Anthropologie, and The Body Shop, and was an artist in residence at Facebook.

As we look forward to having her on the panel at January’s 2019 In/Visible Talks (they’ll be discussing “Instinct, Luck, and Preparation: Finding Your Moment”), Carissa gave us a few more insights into her creative process.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“If I define it as the act of mixing seemingly unrelated ideas together, I do that all day long. I think we all do. I believe that most things we do are creative, like making lunch or choosing what way to get to work in the morning. We just don’t have access to the same materials as everyone else, so their creativity seems magical. But from my point of view, whatever creative thing I do is within my personal realm of possibility.”

How or where to you find inspiration?

“Everywhere. Depends on the day. Sometimes it will just hit me. I will get excited about something, and I will feel a surge of energy. Other days I have to fight it out of me. Most of the time it has to do with some sort of problem, something that is upsetting me or a person close to me. Worry is a big one. Whatever I find my mind going back to and circling, I try to take note of and go there to unpack it.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“Getting out of bed. Feeling worth it. Keeping the faith that all of this life has meaning while still remaining critical.”

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

“Since I kinda think that creativity is a big part of problem-solving, I am not sure how to answer this. I think that my mother always wanted to be an artist, so that is a big part of why I think I do what I do. If she was a dentist, I think I would clean teeth.”

What drives you to create?

“I think about this all the time. I don’t know. I think there is something chemically rewarding to think of something and then see it come to life. I think that I like to make my and others’ lives better.”

BONUS ROUND: What’s on your desk?


November 2018 Design & Art Event Hotlist

We’re always looking for new ways to get inspired, and this month the Bay Area delivers with a number of fantastic design and art events. For help with choosing which ones make it into our calendars, we rely on In/Visible Talks’ co-founders and long-time practicing designers Arianna Orland and Dava Guthmiller and their curated list of “Must-Dos”.

Over the next few weeks, you might find creative inspiration in a discussion about architecture and design exhibitions, in open studios and galleries, or at one of the gift fairs. As a bonus, most of the events on this hotlist are free, so you can spend your money on holiday gifts for loved ones—and for yourself.

ArtSpan Open Studios.

Over 800 emerging and established San Francisco artists open their studios during this month-long event, now celebrating its 43rd anniversary. Choose a weekend, find a neighborhood, get inspired by a huge range of creativity, and fill your walls with great local art. Free. Every weekend through November 11, 11 am–6 pm. Various locations in San Francisco.

Taking Positions: Making Architecture and Design Exhibitions.

The Curatorial Research Bureau is a bookshop, a learning site, and a public program. For this event, they are inviting Bay Area cultural producers in the fields of design, architecture, humanities, civic affairs, urban planning, and more to participate in a dialogue that will explore the changing role of architecture and design exhibitions. Free. Thursday, November 1, 6 pm. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission Street, San Francisco.

38Makers 2018—Holiday Fair at Pinterest.

Kick off the holiday season with an early gift fair specially curated by Pinterest. You’ll find artisan and locally made gifts—including jewelry, coffees, wines, home & garden items, body products, men & women’s apparel, pet gear, and holiday cards & decorations—in a unique and festive setting. Free. Saturday, November 3, 11 am–4 pm. Pinterest, 651 Brannan Street, San Francisco.


Featuring gallery installations, screenings, and performances, “Intersections” explores the surprising, inspiring, and challenging crossings of art, science, technology, and play. Tickets are $20 per person. November 3, 6–10 pm. San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI), Fort Mason—Pier 2, 2 Marina Blvd., San Francisco.

Style ’18.

This curated show and sale features the latest in independent contemporary fashion, jewelry, and accessory design. Meet the makers—36 national and international artists. November 3 (10 am–5 pm) and 4 (10 am–4 pm). Museum of Craft and Design, 2569 3rd Street, San Francisco.

Barry McGee, Down for Whatever.

Artist Barry McGee is one of the core members of the Mission School, arguably the most important artistic movement to come out of San Francisco in the 21st century. Known for a street art, geometric, hand-lettered, character-based aesthetic, his work has been exhibited all over the world. Free. Wednesday, November 7, 7 pm. California College of the Arts, 1111 8th Street, San Francisco.


Looking for more ideas? Check out the In/Visible Talks blog for reviews of design and arts events we’ve attended recently and to learn about upcoming opportunities.


Five Questions with Aundre Larrow: Photographer

Brooklyn-based photographer Aundre Larrow got his start when his high school theater teacher gifted him with a Minolta Srt-101 film camera. As a teenager, he honed his skills taking portraits of friends and loved ones. He still shoots portraits—“My work has always pursued the truth that can be found in portraiture,” he says—and today his practice also includes shooting editorial and lifestyle content for clients.

Check out some of the “stories” in pictures on his website. Then come get inspired by him in person when he joins moderator Tanner Christensen on the panel at In/Visible Talks 2019 in January.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“It’s still kind of a mystery to me. But I love it for that reason, always being able to allow it to find me, challenge me, and permit my disorganized chaos and neurosis to meet in the middle and allow me to create. I have embraced it more and more each passing day, but I couldn’t just whip it out on command, you know? I just create when I feel called to or the opportunity to presents itself to me.”

How or where to you find inspiration?

“I firmly believe that the people in my life aren’t there by mistake. Everything they are passionate about, every little story they tell me, goes into a never-ending centrifuge of my ADHD–laden mind where I listen for patterns and humanity and see what stays in my head for days. I always start my creation based on conversations with others, because my work is supposed to be for others.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“Making enough time for myself to be thoughtful and thorough. I get so excited to share and be apart of things, I forget how valuable time is and that I should protect it. So I need to say ‘no’ more to make sure the stuff I am saying ‘yes’ to can be properly fleshed out.”

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

“I believe I am still realizing it. There are times I create something and am in awe of it. Not because I did it, but because this thing went from a nugget of an idea into something real. Every time I do, I am reminded of a quote from musician Jon Foreman about creation: ‘Experience is all I have. I equate songwriting with archeology. Every day you dig. You dig into different places within yourself—even finding places that you’ve rarely been. And buried within the soil is song.’ It’s something I will never quite get used to and am unbelievably grateful for. I never really had an epiphany moment. I just keep learning, or at least that’s what I am hoping for.”

What drives you to create?

“I want to do something that makes people stop and listen. If we, as humans, are a ‘we’, like we allege, then the mark of our greatness should be the elevation of many viewpoints. I am just trying to do more of that, to make more things that make it easier to see people beyond ourselves as complex, powerful, and flawed individuals.”

BONUS ROUND: What’s on your current playlist?

“III. Life: The Biggest Troll [Andrew Auernheimer]” by Childish Gambino, “Devil in a New Dress” by Kanye West, “Wants What It Wants (Blackwatch Remix)” by Andrew Belle, “Summer Friends” by Chance the Rapper, “A Comet Appears” by The Shins, and “Pothole” by Tyler, the Creator.

Five Questions with Josh Silverman: Designer, Educator, and Optimist

Josh Silverman’s first job, at age 15, was scooping snow cones at a summer carnival. “The owner of the joint was disappointed in me for filling the cone,” he says, and he’s been exceeding expectations ever since.

Josh is a designer, entrepreneur, guest lecturer, juror, and the founder and CEO of Startnership. For the past two decades, Josh has founded and scaled design businesses, advised startups, taught and hosted workshops, and built and connected communities. His favorite thing to do, he says, is design teams. Sometimes that means bringing together the right combination of designers, researchers, strategists, writers, and engineers. Other times it means teaming founders of a startup with their very first designer. He describes his work as “design leadership with heart, mind, and optimism.”

We will benefit from Josh’s wisdom and experience when he facilitates “Feedback: The Gift You Keep on Receiving (and Giving)”, a workshop we’ll be hosting on January 18, the day after the 2019 In/Visible Talks conference.

Get to know Josh, and get inspired to create.

What is your relationship to the creative process?

“It doesn’t matter what your process looks like, how many phases there are or what they’re called, or at what point you enter the process—but be sure to have one!”

How or where to you find inspiration?

“Following my instinct. Getting ‘lost’. Making connections across and between things that don’t seem to go together but do. And walking around cities, especially when everyone’s asleep.”

What was one of your biggest creative challenges?

“Getting out of my own way.”

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

“I was doodling logos and coming up with jingles when I was a kid, well before I learned it was called branding.”

What drives you to create?

“Opportunities. As well as frustrations. And turning frustrations into opportunities. There’s still so much education needed about design’s place and function in the world, and there’s so much work to be done. It’s an amazing time to be a designer.”

BONUS ROUND: Who are your your heroes and why?

“The two female founders of Hövding, in Malmö, Sweden. They won my heart by asking fundamental questions about what a bike helmet should look like and how it should perform. As a cyclist, I benefit further by protecting my neck, as well as my head; as a designer and entrepreneur, I love their story and support their success.”