Highlights from ICON8

What a great week it was, hard to believe it's already over! For those who weren't able to make it, I thought I'd share highlights and some of the shots I was able to take in those few moments when my phone had battery power. 

First couple days were occupied with workshops where I got to get my hands dirty. In "Ride the weird" with Josh Kenyon and Colby Nichols each table had a wacky topic and a few people, and we switched around a lot. The point was to get used to collaborate and build on each other's ideas. One take away I remember the guys shared from their studio practice is to adapt their work to whatever length of time they have for a job and go for experimentation rather than stick to a fixed process. 

In their Experimental media/print workshop the Clayton brothers shared their collaborative and experimental studio process with printmaking and how they look at a lot of DIY printmaking for inspiration. They brought a bunch of unexpected printmaking material like scratchy foam, foam sheets with a sticky back to make stamps from, wood, colored papers, etc. We started with a writing exercise using vintage portraits photos then for about an hour, we were to fill a large book with as many marks and prints as we could. I'll admit I'm more comfortable creating alone with time to think so this setting was a bit challenging. But it was definitely an enriching experience, and now I want to go buy some of that scratch foam!

Another workshop I took was Art with Heart with Steffanie Lorig. She creates books for kids and teenagers with health problems and other difficulties. Of course these books are illustrated, and they encourage the kids to explore their own creativity and healing power. For the workshop's exercise we had to make an illustration that reflected the theme "powerful". Everyone's drawing was bound into a booklet that was sold at the conference bookstore. It was a challenge again to create in a group on the spot, and I was a bit intimidated to submit my doodle, but in the end it was a positive experience and I'm happy I got to do this.

On my way between the workshops location and the hotel I saw a sign with the conference's theme work+play, and then a couple stacked elephants which are strangely like my elephant fable drawing I just posted before going. 

Here's the beautiful tape mural done in Brian Rea collaborative workshop and displayed in the main conference room. So cool, I wish I had signed up for that one too! 

To kick off the conference, a marching band with circus dancers and acrobats, very impressive and fun! After the opening, we got to hear Paula Scher and see her amazing projects and also the infamous creativity staircase slide: 20's peon/wunderkind, 30's pro, 40's aging pro, 50's POWER, 60's waning power, 70's total decline, 80's lifetime achievement awards and/or death. Yikes! 

Then the evening's Roadshow was packed with people and goodies! I snatched a beautiful letterpress poster from Lisa Congdon.

2014-07-11-16.18.56.jpg

There was so many inspiring and amazing presentations I wish I could document them all but instead I'll list what I can remember. I got to hear a panel with Cole Gerst, and afterwards talk to him while buying his book Buckminster Fuller Poet of Geometry, yes pretty cool. The Google Spotlight stories demo by Jan Pinkawa was also very awesome.

I'm a big fan of Carson Ellis and cannot tire of seeing her beautiful work, but she's also funny and entertaining to boot! Another really humorous presentation was that of Calef Brown. Not only does he make wonderful illustrations but he can also write and recite incredibly funny verses! Wow that was amazing. And a tough act to follow, but Georganne Deen came and showed her surprising and unusual work, touching us all with the endearing sincere way she talked about her struggles.

I also really enjoyed Nobrow's presentation and the whole story behind the publishing house. On that slide Sam Arthur remarked that was he likes best about illustration is that they can "lie" because the can make their offices look as crazy as they want, although they don't really appear like that in real life.

And there's Souther Salazaar showing the incredibly creative worlds he makes in all sorts of ways, using collages and installations in addition to illustrations, and blurring the lines between them all. I loved how he started his talk, he said "most people told him they were looking forward to hearing him talk because he is soft spoken yet he sees himself as a party animal so there's a bit of a conflict there." Love that, and I can certainly relate!

2014-07-11-11.53.53.jpg

I also got to hear Lilla Rogers, my Make Art that Sells teacher from whom I learned so much the past few months. Here on the slide she's sharing her favorite quote, "people buy your joy". It was a joy to meet her and many of my classmates in person at the conference and then at the meetup lunch organized for the students present in Portland. There she is sitting with us after eating, answering questions and opening herself up to suggestions for the classes.

2014-07-11-20.06.53.jpg
2014-07-11-20.08.51.jpg

Last but not least, the Land Gallery show was another great highlight of the conference. We went there on a double decker bus, it might have been my first time sitting on the second level of a bus! The gallery is located in a very cool neighborhood of Portland, packed with fun boutiques and restaurants. If I lived in Portland that would probably be where I'd settle in. 

Here you can see some of the cool artwork from other attendees and then me in front of my piece. If you like it and would like to buy it (wink wink), it is available for sale at the gallery sister online site, buyolympia.com. But hurry! It's only there until Aug 24th.

I'm looking at all these photos and realize I'm missing the biggest highlight, all the wonderful people I connected with this week! Too busy talking, no photos, haha. Anyway, I'm very happy I got to go and I'm planning to go again for the next one in Austin in 2016! Hope my little tour makes you want to join too :).