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Mission #1 = NOISY

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One idea I had for this mission was to somehow juxtaposition the feeling of being at one with the stillness of nature versus the utter utter distraction and busyness of our modern lives – NOISY. So which one speaks this concept the best in your opinion (#1, #2, or #3)?

 

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By Julie Yamamoto

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Here’s the idea for IBM Creatives interested in participating and looking for a little creative inspiration or motivation. Sometimes it’s fun to step outside what you normally like to do creatively, and it can also be fun to do something with or for other people too. So, as a community, we’ll come up with some ideas that we’ll use as our ‘creative mission’ – it could be a topic, theme, or even a photograph/image. Anyone who wants to participate can do their own creative expression of the mission (paint, draw, write, dance, song, etc.). Then share/post your creative effort with the group, and we may also vote on the group favorite for that mission at the end of each month. Here are some of the initial mission ideas that were submitted through our LinkedIn group:

-Noisy
-Personal History At A Glance
-Sparkle and Shine
-Nature
-Red
-Fabric

And, for our first mission, we’ll do NOISY as that seems like a fun way to start. So IBM Creatives, show us what NOISY means to you. Share it by posting your link as a comment to this blog or to our Facebook or LinkedIn group. You could also email the link to us at ibmcreatives at gmail.

Most of all, have fun!

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Our planned day-trip to a nearby lake for our long holiday weekend was overtaken by rain, so we had to come with an alternative idea for fun. This is what we came up with…a family art game that everyone could participate in (even the two and a half year old). What’s cool about it is that we also ended up with a nice piece of art to frame as a memory of the fun too. Here’s the basic supplies and rules of the game:

Supplies
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1) Canvas large enough for everyone to have fun. We have 6 people in our family, so we used a 24×36 canvas which was a good size.
2) Any supplies you would like to use but it’s fun to have ‘experimental’ things. Here’s what we used:

Acrylic paints
Sea sponge
Palette knife (large baker one)
Brushes
Markers
Dyes (water based)
Saran wrap
Salt
Straw (to blow dyes around)
Scrub brush (to flick specks of paint onto canvas)
Glitter

Rules of the Game
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1. Each person gets a total of 5 minutes to do whatever they want in rotation. So 5 minutes each, then next person and so on. You can only work on it again when the turn comes back to you.
2. You have to respect everybody else’s art. Which means you can enhance or paint on top of someone else’s piece but not obliterate it.
3. You have to respect the art supplies. Which means putting tops back on after use, cleaning brushes, not using in excess.

It’s really a lot of fun, and a creative way to spend some quality family time together. If you try it, share your experience with us!

For the week of Oct 16, we have added 12 new IBM Creatives from 8 countries.   We have an artist from Slovakia who specializes in dramatic pencil drawings but is also experimenting with dry pastels, a artist in the UK who creates custom jewelry, photographers specializing in black and white fine art photography and travel photography, some bloggers who are creative both inside and outside of work including one focused on the creativity crisis we are facing in America, a playwright who has written a play about a famous baseball player, and a musician who also founded a music producers community in 2007.  Here’s the quick list for this post:

  • New Artists – Jenny Totterdell (UK), Katarina Zerzanova (Slovakia), Roopa Shanbhag (India)
  • New Photographers – Johanna Blankenstein (Netherlands), Aditya Mohan (Ireland), Jakub Marecek (Ireland)
  • New Writers – Jim Keller (USA), Sarah Siegel (USA), Zsolt Gálfalvi (Czech Republic), Palak Mathur (India), Louis Richardson (USA)
  • New Performing Artists – Jomar Reyes (Denmark)

We are now up to 49 IBM Creatives across 15 countries. Are YOU creative too? Then please join us at http://ibmcreatives.wordpress.com. Also on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

For the week of Oct 9, we added three new photographers from three different countries.  We have an expressive photographer from Canada who specializes in dramatic compositions, a fashion and make-up photographer/videographer from Kenya, Africa, as well as a new amateur photographer in India.  It’s been a busy month, and we still have several IBM Creatives in the queue for writing, performing arts, and other, so stay tuned for more to come soon!  Here’s the quick list for this post:

  • New Photographers – Ginette Miron (Canada), Anu Bhat (India), Kangai Mwiti (Africa)

We are now up to 38 IBM Creatives across 10 countries. Are YOU creative too? Then please join us at http://ibmcreatives.wordpress.com. Also on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

For the week of September 2, we’ve added several new IBM Creatives from Brazil, India, Taiwan, the UK, and the USA. We have a classically trained pianist who also sings in the choir at Westminster Abbey, an artist who collects ancient seals from the Middle East and China, an art gallery owner who specializes in emerging contemporary art and unique works by Japanese printmakers and painters, a first-time novelist, an artist who specializes in Southern historical art and expressive portraits, and a portrait and event photographer to name a few.  Here’s a quick list:

  • New Artists – PH Chen (Taiwan), Ely Bock (USA), Lynn Hutchins Haney (USA), Cathy Santos Gonzalez (USA)
  • New Photographers – Niloy Das (India), Fernando Guilger (Brazil), Regan Kelly (USA)
  • New Writers – Dave Keillor (USA), Jeb Harrison (USA)
  • New Performing Artists – Julian Cable (UK)

We are now up to 35 IBM Creatives across 9 countries. Are YOU creative too? Then please join us at http://ibmcreatives.wordpress.com. Also on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

Our next featured IBM Creative is Steve Hamilton, a New York Times bestselling author and two time Edgar award winner!  He’s one of only two authors in history (along with Ross Thomas) to win two major Edgar awards (Best First Novel, Best Novel), and he’s also either won or been nominated for every other major crime fiction award in America and the UK.  His books have been translated into fifteen languages.  Professionally speaking, Steve works as an IBM Information Developer in Poughkeepsie, NY supporting both z/VM and DFSMS, and you can read more about the intersection of his career with his writing pursuit in this Greater IBM Connection story here–> http://greateribm.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/greater-ibmer-steve-hamilton-is-a-ny-times-bestselling-author/

Steve started writing when he was a little kid, and has kept up with it ever since.  He says that he got interested in writing because he loved to read so much, and that’s probably true for most writers – that is, writers are all readers at heart.  He chose mysteries, or ‘crime fiction’ to be more general, as his genre because he’s always loved mysteries, and he feels that there is a lot of freedom with what you can do with the story.  Even though there may be some reader expectations with respect to the amount of plot and narrative drive, the best crime fiction is character-driven while still being gripping and surprising.  He thinks the whole genre has been elevated by some really great writers, from Agatha Christie to Ian Fleming to Raymond Chandler.

Steve got his first book published through a writing competition sponsored by St. Martin’s Press/ Minotaur books.  Interestingly, this publisher happens to publish more first novels than all the other major publishers combined, and their writing competitions really provide a kind of ‘side door’ into the business without having to jump through the usual hoops like getting an agent first.  For other potential writers out there, you may want to check it out as they run competitions pretty frequently–> http://us.macmillan.com/Content.aspx?publisher=minotaurbooks&id=4933

IBM Creatives asked Steve about all the awards he has won for his books, and he shared this with us:

“The Mystery Writers of America (MWA) gives out the Edgar Award every year – it’s the ‘Oscar’ of the crime fiction business.  I was lucky enough to win an Edgar for Best First Novel back in 1998 for A Cold Day in Paradise, and then again for Best Novel in 2010 for The Lock Artist.  But maybe the most fun of all was going to London to appear on the Specsavers Crime Thrillers Awards show and to receive the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger for the UK version of The Lock Artist.  We just don’t televise stuff like that in America!”

Steve also shared with us a little bit about his creative process, what inspires him, and what he tries to convey through his stories.  He starts with a spark – one thing that sounds like it may be the beginnings of a good story.  He never really knows where the story is going to go and doesn’t use an outline.  He just follows the thread and sees where it leads.  He basically tries to stay out of the way and let the voice of the main character come through.  He said, “as Elmore Leonard once said, ‘if it sounds like writing, I rewrite it’”.  Things that feel human are what inspire him.  What he means by that is that even if you are making up a whole world of professional thieves, gangsters, and safecrackers, none of it really works unless you can relate to the characters on a human level.  What Steve tries to convey through his stories is this….he really wants you to feel what the main character is feeling, whether it’s Alex (an ex-cop in his fifties trying to get through another hard winter) or Michael (a 17 year old criminal just trying to get back to the girl he loves).   He says, “If I can do that and make you stay up late because you have to keep reading, then I’m happy.”

In the future, Steve is always working on the next story, but he is also planning on working on a screenplay for The Lock Artist, which will be a whole new experience for him.

The advice that Steve would offer to any other IBMers who would like to do creative things is this:

“If you ever made a promise to yourself like I did, then it’s not too late to start.  You can do that today.  As soon as you get home from work.  I started writing A Cold Day in Paradise on January 6th, 1997.  it was an ordinary winter night and I could have done a thousand other things, but I sat down and wrote maybe 500 words.  The next night, I wrote 500 more.  It’s fifteen years later and a lot of amazing things have happened, but it all goes back to that one night.  It really can be that simple.”

Thanks for being a featured IBM Creative Steve!

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