Being creative is good business sense…

The arts, being creative, thinking outside the box, brainstorming, throwing ideas around, not judging, playing, trying things on, inventing, engineering, dreaming, meditating… all verbs that bring us to innovative ideas that can turn your business around, bloom high returns, and even save your business if you are in trouble.

buffoonery workshop drawings

Unfortunately, there is a world out there that doesn’t seem to want to teach, or guide our young (and older) this way. The results or pending results are not promising. If we don’t have dreamers who are permitted to drift off into potential brilliance, or employees who, in play, discover just the right answer for a serious business quandary, then we are stuck.

The following article addresses this subject in relationship to America, but I believe this dilemma runs around other parts of our world, including Canada. Especially after our very conservative election, we need to pay extra attention.

By Laura Seargeant Richardson

Play Power: How to Turn Around Our Creativity Crisis

The division between work and play is a myth. If America is going to teach its youth to innovate, we need to unite the two.

Nearly a decade ago, John Howkins wrote a book called The Creative Economy: How People Make Money From Ideas. Similarly, Richard Florida identified the “creative class” and suggested that innovation would come from a “super creative core.” But somehow, even with this knowledge, we have fallen further behind.

Read the rest of the article by Laura Seargeant Richardson for the Atlantic

For more on the subject I encourage you to read Daniel H. Pink’s “A Whole New Mind”

Constraints and Creativity…

When I was studying acting at Le Conservatoire d’Art Dramatique in Quebec City, I remember being introduced to the idea of structure and restrictions within the creative process. At first it seemed like a negative idea. No one was going to tell me what I can or cannot do!

Then I embarked on an observation project with one of my fellow students. We had to go out into the world, choose a location, observe, over a period of time, the people, sounds, smells, and whatever else came to the senses. We chose a bingo hall in “Bas Ville” (lower town). After a night at the “salle de bingo”, we had to play back to the class each and every moment we witnessed and remembered. The next step, once we had given a full playback, was to create une pièce de théâtre for our final 1st year project.

We decided to restrict our playing area into a small square around us. A very small square. This constraint gave us the freedom to delve deep into all our characters, the sounds, and situations of our Bingo piece. It forced us to become very clear about our story, and the characters. Our energy turned deliciously contained and compelling for the audience to watch. A very valuable lesson.

My father, who is a painter, also encouraged his students to limit their palette. Less colour choices made for some unusual results.

The following article by Nathan Weller is a welcome read on the benefits of limitations in the creative process. What do you think? Have you used this concept?

Adding Constraints May Boost Your Creativity

The Benefits of Constraints

Constraints offer up a lot of benefits. Most of you illustrators/designers are familiar with scenarios like this (especially as kids) – “Hey, you’re good at art! Draw me something!” Ok, what? “I don’t know…something awesome!” And at times, it doesn’t get much better in the professional world. Lets say the owner of a paper store comes to you and says, “I’d like you to help us re-brand and appeal to a younger audience” immediately followed by a blank look of expectancy. You’re thinking… geez, thanks for the direction…as you scramble to come up with something brilliant.

Read the rest of the article by Nathan Weller

Remembering to Play….

“Play is a simple and powerful catalyst for successful and joyful living.

When we play, we open our heart and expand our creative mind to new possibilities. We are more curious and engage with life more fully in the moment. We live with less attachment to ideas, agendas or the perceived “right way” of doing things. We connect to a world beyond our limited self and allow the mystery of life and all its potential to unfold more easily and naturally.

In turn, we become more flexible and adaptable with life’s unpredictable cycles, find creative solutions in unconventional ways and take risks to try new ideas. With levity, life becomes so much more productive and enjoyable!”

The above comes from talented friend, Vince Gowmon whose wonderful biz, Remembering To Play, inspires groups to open their playful horizons.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet and work with Vince for a Living Vision Retreat, where we shared the stage and lead a group of 60 into their bouffons. I would work with Vince again in a heartbeat! (and I can hear his voice gently scolding me and correcting my vocabulary, “play with Vince again… play, Trilby”. He’s right!

Enjoy his reading his recent newsletter…. (okay.. I admit it.. he featured me, too,… just scroll down to learn some more about the art of buffoonery or go directly)

And don’t forget to PLAY!

On Motivation…

What motivates YOU? I would really like to know. Really… it’s not a rhetorical question. I ask myself this question a few times a day, subconsciously, and sometimes consciously.

Occasionally I have a specific answer. But, mainly, anything that spurs my creativity seems to inspire me out of bed in the morning. Or fear *said with a higher tone*. But, fear doesn’t feel good. And fear doesn’t really produce rewarding results.

This evening as I was driving home, I was thinking about the several bartering moments I have been enjoying, and imagined a world without money. I came to a conclusion that money wasn’t enough of a motivator for me.

Daniel Pink, a favourite author of mine, explains so wonderfully the myth of motivation, and what truly makes us rise to our potential. It’s NOT money. When businesses and organizations finally realize this, and implement the ideas, Pink offers, they should witness some positive changes.

I highly recommend his book on motivation “Drive” – an enlightening read.

In the meantime, settle in for an 18 minute TED talk by Daniel Pink and learn what motivates us.

A 12-Step Guide to Fostering Your Creativity…

I love this article. It simplifies, polishes the creative process, and gives you a good structure to aid in being creative. It inspires me so I hope it inspires you. Thank you Kelli Shaver!

Drawing your bouffon

By Kelli Shaver

One skill that every designer must learn — and quickly — is how to be creative on-demand. While there will always be specifications that guide a project as well as tried and true methods of solving common visual problems, one must still be able to get focused, get creative and produce work that doesn’t end up looking formulaic or forced.

Unfortunately, though, not every project will be tantalizing and fun, and there will be days when you simply don’t want to go to work, no matter how much you love your job. How do you keep the creative spark going when you’re not feeling particularly inspired? We have 12 simple tips you can use to foster a more creative mindset.

While most of these tips are for the freelance designer who works independently, anyone in a creative industry should be able to relate and gain insight from them.

To read the rest of the article go to Kelli Shaver with Mashable

Listen to Your Heart…

Madame Rouge dances

(I love what Karl Staib is saying with regards to listening to your heart. My last project, the Bouffon Flash Mob came fully from my heart, and there was no question of it not being right. It just was. As a result, many more found joy from it. The heart is the honest driver… thank you Karl!)

By Karl Staib

Cells are the foundation of life. Each cell works together to help you survive. Undernourished cells become sluggish. It’s these cells that are starving. They don’t just want to live they want to thrive.

You must constantly feed these cells to keep them energized. That means eating right, sleeping well and feeding your curiosity every single day.

You’ve seen a train pulling over a hundred freight cars behind them. It takes a long time for a train to get the whole load moving, but once it does it requires a lot less energy to maintain velocity.

Your Internal Train

Your mind, heart, and cells want to do amazing work. They want work they can get lost in, be so consumed that time ceases to exist. The best way to do this is to find a deeper purpose behind your work. If you are working for the paycheck the internal train will stall on a regular basis. There is never enough money to compensate you for your time away from things you truly love.

Read the rest of the article by Karl Steib at “Work Happy Now”….





Gregor Collins, actor, producer, writer


I was on the phone last week sitting on my bed in my Hollywood, CA apartment, talking to my mom sitting on her porch in her Reston, VA condominium, and we were discussing a subject not uncommon to our regular weekend powwows: ART. In this case, the one involving paint. My mother and I could talk for hours about everything from The Renaissance to Post-Impressionism, from Michelangelo to Matisse, without realizing time wasn’t in fact frozen.

Kathryn Grant, an art history major from Vassar College, always went out of her way to expose my brother and I to the world of art. I remember once in high school there were 36 original Vermeers making their way for the first time ever from Holland to Washington, D.C., and so she rounded us up and we drove thirty minutes to a private museum that was free to get into, and stood there witnessing some of the most beautiful works of art of the last 300 hundred years. And the other kids were at home watching reruns of “Saved by the Bell.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Read the rest of the article by FilmCourage

Humour is no laughing matter…

by Dave MacFadden, Vancouver Sun

There’s a line between what’s appropriate or inappropriate

A 2005 study out of Boston discovered that bonuses earned by senior executives are proportional to the amount of humour they use. It also found that exceptional execs used humour more than twice as much as average in the study interviews.

Is this really surprising? In my experience, maintaining a good sense of humour is crucial to good health -and so, by extension, to success in most of life’s endeavours, work included. It’s hard to imagine how tedious our day jobs would be if we couldn’t take ourselves lightly, or gently joke with coworkers to lighten the mood of the work environment.

Living Big 3

Playing at a Buffoonery Workshops session

7 tips to boost creativity…

And sometimes just watching the sunset helps!

And sometimes just watching the sunset helps!

by Alje van Hoorn

Often people tell me they feel stuck and don’t know what to do. They blame their lack of resourcefulness on an inability to find creative solution to the issues facing them. From personal experience I have faced many moments where my thoughts have felt backed up against a wall, unable to think of what to do next, my creative centre experiencing a moment of draught. I don’t think of myself as being highly creating but with these 7 tip have shown me how to boost my problem solving capacity and my creativity.

The creative doldrums effect even the most creative people. They to get bored, starts going round in circles, or hit cul-de-sacs. Try the following 7 unusual creativity boosters that research has shown will increase your creativity:

1. Psychological distance

People often recommend physical separation from creative impasses by taking a break, but psychological distance can be just as useful.

Participants in one study who were primed to think about the source of a task as distant, solved twice as many insight problems as those primed with proximity to the task (Jia et al., 2009).

◊ For insight: Try imagining your creative task as distant and disconnected from your current location. This should encourage higher level thinking.

Read the rest of the article by Alje van Hoorn