I went to my first creative conference, and wow, I learned SO MUCH! Luckily, the Creative Works Conference is Memphis, Tennessee, aka the best city ever. Oh yeah, I live here too!!! The Creative Works team brought successful and inspiring designers to downtown Memphis, Tennessee, only minutes from my art studio. The theme of the conference was "Creatives are Dangerous," which inspired incredible talks and panels.
My favorite speaker was Jessi Arrington, an experimental and environmental designer at Workshop. You may know her from her awesome Ted Talk called Wear Nothing New. (Definitely watch it!!! It's only 5 minutes long!) She is a Southerner from Starkville, Mississippi who now lives in Brooklyn, New York. Her talk focused on her Southern roots and how her beliefs have changed since living up North. Jessi challenged us in the audience to rock the boat and make waves using our design skills and drive. She cited many inspiring women: Anne Braden, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Lisa Congdon, just to name a few. One of my favorite quotes that Jessi mentioned was from writer Rachel Brathen: "In a society that profits from your self-doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act." At the end of her talk, she invited a few brave souls up on stage to take a pledge. I felt super inspired so I went up on stage and Jessi wrapped each of us in different color streamers! (Does anyone have a video of this?!?) Each of us on stage repeated the pledge in front of the whole audience! I definitely walked away from her talk inspired to make a difference!
Andy J. Pizza (aka Andy J. Miller from Creative Pep Talk podcast) was another of my favorite speakers. He also sat in the Creative Market and gave conference attendees our own personal pep-talks. Some of the take-aways from his talk were to BE YOUR BEST YOU! Get up off the floor and do your thing! Make a thousand things until someone looks at them! He told us many stories from his past and how he got his start. Andy drew one monster character every day for a year and guess what!?!? Nickelodeon found him on Instagram and hired him for a job.
I also had the opportunity to take two different lettering workshops at the conference. The first workshop was an Intro to Handlettering with Ken Barber from House Industries. If you don't know his work, basically he is the best. We all learned so much from hearing his lecture and then having a personal critique at the end of the workshop. Ken also signed copies of his new book! I will treasure my signed copy forever - just look at that "Emily"!!
The second workshop I attended was another handlettering workshop called Lettering as Composition with Erik Marinovich, another incredible lettering artist. At the beginning of the workshop, we picked one letter that we loved. I choose a script capital L (I love the loops). We then had to draw it tiny, draw it HUGE, draw it with our left hand, draw it with our eyes closed, etc. He taught us different ways to loosen up and play around with our compositions while still honoring the correct shapes and forms of the letter. He also showed off his dance moves a little bit.
These are only a few of my favorite moments from the conference. Learn more about the Creative Works Conference at their website. I highly recommend this conference to any designer or artist! I am already looking forward to next year's conference. See more photos from talks below!