1. Family Violence Prevention Month Kickoff Event
I felt very privileged to contribute to an event that is helping to raise awareness of the amazing resources available to people who are affected by domestic and sexual violence. The Calgary Domestic Violence Collective works with community partners to provide a coordinated response to violence prevention in Calgary. (And - they have one of the coolest web addresses I've seen in a while: www.endviolence.ca)
I was proud to be able to help generate awareness about this important discussion. Especially during a time when so many people are actually speaking out so bravely about this - I'm thinking of Calgary "Bad Portrait" artist Mandy Stobo in particular, who just published a pretty inspiring personal story of survival. I hope Mandy's story, as well as the work of CDVC, inspires many others to speak out!
And Introducing: Hawk!
2. Innovate West Conference
3. Startup Weekend EDU Calgary
I met Stephanie Chan at a Chic Geek speaker event. Later, I accidentally sent her a message when I was trying to get in touch with another Stephanie Chan (Edmonton's self-proclaimed "Canadian Queen of Geeks," who was hosting a panel about women in comics at the Edmonton Comic & Entertainment Expo).
What a lucky mistake for me! The Calgary Stephanie was in the middle of organizing Calgary's first-ever Startup Weekend for youth - ("Startup Weekend Education Edition") after having been inspired by her experience at Startup Weekend Women's Edition (the first Women's Edition in Canada). It turned out there was an opportunity for me to do some graphic recording of the weekend's final pitches.
4. Social Media Breakfast YYC at SMART Technologies... with a few digressions
I haven't done much digital drawing, despite having made it a goal to attempt this high-tech challenge a few months ago, at a Chic Geek "Speak Geek" speaker series event entitled "Challenging your Comfort Zone" (the same event where I met Stephanie Chan!)
Drawing on a computer of any kind definitely challenges my comfort zone. But clearly there are so many advantages to digital graphic recording - such as how easy it is to use the image afterwards in print and web. And of course there are disadvantages to "analog" recording, such as having to transport giant rolls of paper that might just tear or wrinkle at the moment I'm getting set up. But anyway, suffice to say I've had my eyes open for opportunities to incorporate technology into my work. And that's when Donna McTaggart invited me to draw some pictures for Social Media Breakfast YYC.
I am NOT a morning person, so breakfast has never really been my thing (here's a picture I drew of a breakfast I had in about 1999... when getting up early was such a rare thing as to be worth documenting!! Now I have kids, of course, so sleeping in is just something I dream about... but I digress). I discovered that the international Social Media Breakfast (SMB) organization started in 2008. Today, SMB groups are found in all sorts of cities around the world.
Calgary's group, which has hosted almost sixty breakfasts, is run entirely by hard-working volunteers. It really seems like a theme for me this month... at each event I attended, I caught a glimpse of how much work the organizers put into their events. These people are so passionate about what they're doing, it is truly inspiring - and also really causing me to hope they'll all get some sleep, whether early or late!
"SMART" - as seen from Brentwood Station - was one of the first words my son learned to read! But I never thought I'd have occasion to go into the building. I mean, I'm an artist, why would I need any technology, SMART or otherwise? I just thought it was something I'd only ever see from the train.
Ok - and now I just have to mention John Henry Cardinal Newman, one of the greatest prose stylists in the English language if my old "Victorian professor" Harvey Kerpneck was to be believed.
A Ridiculous Digression about Newman
Anyway, why am I thinking of Newman? I was just reminded of the last line of his greatest work, the Apologia Pro Vita Sua (I'm sure you're all familiar with this book, right? Yes, that's what I thought). Newman wrote the autobiographical Apologia essentially to present a defense for his radical switch of allegiance (and it certainly worked - winning him widespread public sympathy for his conversion). At the very end of the tale, he writes about how he left Oxford, his former home, when he went away to follow his new religious pursuits, in this wistful and poignant paragraph:
I called on Dr. Ogle, one of my very oldest friends, for he was my private Tutor, when I was an Undergraduate. In him I took leave of my first college, Trinity, which was so dear to me, and which held on its foundation so many who had been kind to me both when I was a boy, and all through my Oxford life. Trinity had never been unkind to me. There used to be much snap-dragon growing on the walls opposite my freshman’s rooms there, and I had for years taken it as the emblem of my own residence even unto death in my University. On the morning of the twenty-third I left the Observatory. I have never seen Oxford since, excepting its spires, as they are seen from the railway.
But this was not to be!
It really threw me off, though, that I didn't have to bring anything with me. Usually I come to work with a few giant rolls of paper, a bunch of foam core poster boards, and a backpack full of markers, pencils, erasers, etc. And I feel naked without my tool belt. This felt really weird... surely I was forgetting something?? Nope, all I needed was the stylus and I was ready. That really took some getting used to!
When I told my brother John about this disconcerting experience, he said it reminded him of the song, "The Baltimores" by Jonathan Richman. In this song, Jonathan extols the virtues of a band he loves (the Baltimores). They're an a cappella group, and according to him:
"They don't play guitar
They just sing
They bring their clothes when they sing
In fact that's all they bring."
Yes - I felt just like the Baltimores. (Here is the song, by the way, and I guarantee you will not hear anything more catchy than this if you search around on YouTube all day!)
Another fun thing about the SMByyc was the opportunity to connect with a few cool and interesting folks - among them Calgary photographer Neil Zeller, who took these pics of the event:
I also found out that there's a lot of cool stuff going on early in the morning - so maybe being an early riser wouldn't be such a bad idea after all. (I'll have to remember that when my kids wake up in four hours...) Ok, wasn't there a theme in this post about getting enough sleep? On that note - bye for now!