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The KEY Characteristic Shared by All The Most Creative People I Know — And It Can Be Yours Too

I’m a huge believer in making art for art’s sake. Taking photos that no one is going to pay you for. Shooting films that aren’t commissioned or funded. Writing words that the world may never read. I’ve said before that doing and making always trumps talking about it, but there’s also a difference between the doing and making that pays the bills and the doing and making that brings joy, that hones craft, lights creative fires, and that brings meaning to your life. This is personal work. This is creating simply for the act of creating.

For some, that creative work may lead to more “work” work. For others it is meant to be given away, shared with the world.

Andres Amador (pictured above) falls in that latter category and yet is hugely inspirational across ALL walks of artist-friends of mine. With nothing more than a rake as his brush and the beach as his canvas, he creates huge and beautiful geometric patterns on the sand – patterns that last only as long as the tide permits. (Patterns not unlike those made by snow artist Simon Beck, whom we spoke to some time back.) Recently the California-based creative’s sand art projects passed across my desk and I carried his inspiration around with me for several days – I simply couldn’t shake the concept from my mind. He’s clearly an artist whose work speaks to the emphasis placed on process – the act of making, with an acknowledgment of the value we derive from that making and from the ability to appreciate something – even something entirely fleeting.

After days of pondering, I arrived at the belief that it’s his approach / attitude / priority toward creating + making for the joy of creating, and having a point of view about that which was so compelling. And I’ve come to believe with great conviction that this is a characteristic shared by all the most creative people I know and the most successful artists – the process alone makes the juice worth the squeeze. Sure there’s other stuff at play, but all great artists take joy / pride / love / appreciate the making process. (Thx to my pal Rick for the juice/squeeze saying ;) )

Looking back – not all that far – I think this is what’s missing from 90% of the photographers who ask me to review their work. The awareness – through the work or the artists attitude toward his or her work – whether or not the work is for the works’ sake or some other masked reason. I think as art appreciators, we can smell the intention and it’s either authentic and hooks us, or it’s not.

Creating temporary art brings that right to the surface. And so as a maker of temporary art I wanted to find out more about Andres’s work. The results are the following interview. I tracked down Andres and asked him a few questions about his work and his process. My personal take-aways from my Q&A with him unlocked several key insights for me – check the interview below:

Andres, thanks for taking the time. You’ve really caught the world’s eye with your work. Certainly mine. Every artist has an origin story. Let’s hear yours:

I didn’t start pursuing arts with any seriousness until I was 28. I went to college studying environmental sciences. When I came home to San Francisco from serving in the Peace Corps in Ecuador, I soon became involved with the underground music and arts culture. My first trip to Burning Man marked a turning point. There I became friends with a group of people with whom I would go on to spend nearly 7 years exploring the arts. We formed a performance and arts troupe, living together in a run down building in the Tenderloin where we held arts and music events, bringing together a wide range of expressive styles. During that time the beach art began.

It happened during a trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. I went there for a month, bringing with me books to study ancient geometry. I was looking into the realm of sacred geometry in order to speak with people about the sculptural art I had been making for the past several years, creating large installations for festivals. The sculptures used geometric supports and I was often asked about their meaning. With a friend I made a 2 day hike to a remote beach called Kalulau Valley. With an intense backdrop of deeply gullied lush green hills on one side (the opening helicopter scene in Jurassic Park was filmed in this region) and a solid curling crystal clear wall of beach breaking waves to the other, I did an internal journey for several days. On one of those days my friend and I were playing in the sand with our walking sticks, doing calligraphy as we had seen in the movie ‘Hero’. That led to drawing designs, which led to drawing circles. The geometry I had been studying came to me and I started explaining what I had been learning- the circle representing the unity, the 2 overlapping circles representing the multiplicity, the 3 overlapping circles creating the triangle, the first 2 dimensional form, and so forth. It was though I was hit with a bolt from the heavens – I had a vision that I could do enormous designs such as I had been studying and I could picture exactly where I would do them, at Ocean Beach in San Francisco, with it’s wide flat beach. It was several weeks more before I could actualize what I had envisioned (the Kauai beaches being far too narrow and steep, with coarse grains that dry too quickly). When I got home, I immediately went out to the beach to see if my vision was true. The first run was a product in the moment, using my hand to make the marks. The next time I went back several days later it was with the tools I continue to use to this day and done near the cliff so I could look at it from above. The second piece was huge, I was off to a running start.

I imagine you feel an instinctive attraction towards the sea. Can you talk about that? When did it begin? How did it manifest itself?

There are two types of places I feel drawn to- the ocean and mountains, especially mountain rivers. I particularly love where the coast meets the mountains. The ruggedness, the drama. It was at such a location that the beach art was born. I have loved to explore coves, with their tumbled boulders and spire outcrops in the water, tidal pools and mussel encrusted reefs. I can spend the entire day at the beach. And I love to explore mountain rivers- huge piled boulders, waterfalls and pools, steep walls. Both locations are products of water, constantly moving water.

Growing up in San Francisco, I would often explore Land’s End, an area along the SF coastline with steep cliffs and hidden beaches. But it was not until the art on the beach that my life began to revolve more deeply around the ocean. Several years ago I moved inland, several hours from the ocean, to live on a family farm. My heart feels at peace on the farm, yet I feel the call of the ocean. It’s only been since moving away that I can recognize my desire to be near the ocean, where I have lived most of my life. My desire is to live near the beach again, perhaps in the Stinson area north of San Francisco.

There’s an inherent impermanence to your art, much like a Buddhist mandala. In this way it’s almost the complete opposite of a photograph. If our ideas and projects are our babies, how to you come to terms with the reality that your babies get routinely – and literally – thrown out to sea.

It feels more like my ideas are birds that I am setting free. It feels good to release them and allow them to be expressed and let go. Where do the ideas come from? Inspirations come from all around me, but it can sometime feel as though the ideas are simply moving through me, and I am their scribe. I actually find it a relief to actualize an idea, to get it out of my head and allow it life. I am then allowed to move on to the other ideas desiring expression. Having the ocean wash the work away can be frustrating when I am not yet finished, especially when I have worked hard and perhaps bitten off more than I can realistically chew. But the waves are also an essential aspect of the art in that they clean the beach and leave with me a freshly prepared canvas for my next visit.

I can’t claim to be a Buddhist but I have been influenced by its philosophy. The art is a focus on process over product. The act of doing the art brings me joy and whether or not a piece turns out as desired I feel complete with the experience simply for the opportunity to do it. The beach art has brought me into contact more than anything else I have done in my life of the impermanence of anything we can do, anything that humans can do, anything that ever exists. In the face of certain dissolution the question becomes, why do anything? My garage is filled with past arts. I can’t let them go, for they are dear to me. But the beach art I can’t hold on to. Knowing that the art can’t last has had me focus on the ‘why’ more than any other arts I have done. I find the ‘why’ to be the challenge and joy I feel in the doing of it. Its about being in the moment, which is a very Buddhist perspective. (as is non-attachment, of course!)

Although many incorrectly assume that much of the magic behind a great photograph is the combination of serendipity, quick thinking and a good eye, in fact there’s a TON of planning that goes into a shoot, and getting that single money shot. I think the readers would love to know how much of your art is preconceived – or planned – and how much of it is “go with the flow.” Talk process.

Good question. Of the hundreds of artworks I have done, there are only a couple of dozen that are truly beautiful images as photos. Not only are there the factors of happenstance of location, weather and lighting, the art itself may come out really great or may not meet my desires. I time the artwork to the tides, but I must also be aware of when and where the sun might be – the images are not nearly as vibrant after sunset, for instance.

Until very recently I have been relegated to the photographic vantage points that a location might offer me, which has been limited. This would dictate how the art could be positioned and the area I could use. Recently I have acquired the capacity to take photos from the sky via a remote controlled helicopter. This has suddenly given me the opportunity to truly utilize a location, to create an artwork that works with the whole landscape. I am just beginning the exploration of what this offers me, and I’m a bit giddy with excitement over the possibilities. Now more than ever I will be able to play with design placement and work better with the rising or setting sun to maximize the images I can capture.

Ultimately, it is ‘go with the flow’ as I must always work with what I am provided. There is very little control I can truly exert so I am always adjusting to the conditions present and making the best of what is happening.

How much location scouting do you do for your art work?

I do quite a bit of scouting. The tough part is that the only time I can get an accurate assessment of a location is during the kind of tide which I would actually do the art. So I am risking a good art day in order to check on a location. Thus I am ready to do art at the location and simply work with what I have available. Also, all beaches shift during the year. When I have a commission to do I often must scout a previously known location to see if it can still work for me.

While we’re on that subject, do you ever travel to distant beaches SOLELY to create your sand art?

Yes. I have traveled the California coast in search of good locations and there are several many hours away that I would go to for they are so nice. There is a lovely beach in Point Reyes with a waterfall emptying on to it that was several hours of walking to reach. And there is a huge beach, the largest I have had the chance to work on, south of Half Moon Bay that requires using a rope to assist in scaling down the steep hill and then a 1/2 mile walk to get to the starting spot.

On your website you advertise that you do commission work. Tell us a little bit about that.

I’ve done all sorts of work using the beach art. A big one for several years is creating marriage proposals. I might have rolled my eyes at that thought previously, but being part of such a moment is really quite special. I have done celebrations, working with guests to create together, and i have done memorials, helping to facilitate ceremonies. I have done several commercial commissions and am working on few at the moment, one being the creation of imagery for a clinic specializing in spinal care. I enjoy seeing how the beach art can be used, but the commissions bring me anxiety as I am unable to simply ‘go with the flow.’ When I am being paid there is the desire for payoff and the pressure is on.

How do you keep your work fresh and new?

There are times when it feels as though I am groping for what to do. But I have only to dip into my cache of ideas that I keep – photos of interesting patterns, cultural designs, and past sketches. I find that new directions are constantly coming to me. I am actually unable to keep up with the possibilities. The problem I sometimes face is that I seem to lack the time to develop the ideas as far as I would prefer. Also, the aerial photography capacity has me feeling like I have entered a new universe – the possibilities feel almost overwhelming. I have many years of exploration in the beach art, a lifetime, potentially, which is a comforting thought. Off the beach I have been using the same principles while using other materials. The main form this has taken is using straw, which is plentiful, cheap, and biodegradable. There is much to explore in this direction as well.

Is it possible for you to go to a beach, kick back and just relax?

Not really :-) Well, yes, when I know it won’t be a good tide day or the beach is not suitable. My recent trip to Mexico was this way often – the beaches were not so good for my purposes, so I stopped bringing my rakes.

I’m finding that there is a larger message coming through me. The success I have found in doing the art I do stems from engaging something that brought and continues to bring me joy in the act of doing it. I could never have set out to get to where I am with it. It was an outing by outing process which invigorated me and spurred me on to do more. I’m wanting to encourage others to follow that which brings them joy, regardless of the perceived outcome, for the process, the act is all that truly matters. It’s a lesson I bring to the rest of my life and I am grateful for its guidance.

For more of Andres Amador’s story and artwork, find him across these channels:

Website
Facebook
YouTube

Scroll down for more of his work:

Essential Photo & Video Gear Review — My Detailed, Piece-by-Piece, Don’t-Leave-Home-Without-It Gear Breakdown

I skip 99% of the gear gabbing you’ll find on other photography sites, primarily because I’m more interested in the creative side but also because so many other sites already do it really well. I make the occasional exception, like when a new toy falls into my hands before anyone else, or when I feel some industry hype building around an imminent release that needs to be tempered with some realistic expectations.

I did this popular review of my entire kit and how to pack it for travel…um…but that was 6 YEARS AGO. So as you might imagine, a lot has changed. Between that older video post and the number of times I get asked to highlight my fav gear — I figured it was high time for an update in one single vid. Therefore, I present you dear friends & readers a complete breakdown of my essential “working” photo kit AND the kit that we use to make all our behind-the-scenes videos, plus a few extras. Hope you dig – questions / comments encouraged. I’ll be all over it like white on rice.

In this video, I broke my kit into four sections: Still photo gear, [behind-the-scenes] video gear, data management gear and gear extras. For both the still kit and the video kit, I always roll with two of each body (Nikon D4 and Canon 5D Mark III) and 8 additional batteries for each. This basically gives me enough juice to last a week.

On the data management side, you’ll notice we also double up on our drives, both for the road kit and back at HQ. [Side note: if you're traveling with two drives on the road, keep them separate -- separate vehicles, separate hotel rooms, etc. That way if one crashes and burns, you've got back up.]

For gear extras, we have a few supports to choose from (always carbon fiber), some choice audio gear and a real sexy slider from Rhino Camera Gear that’s affordable and quite portable.

REMINDER and to be extra clear…in both photo & video scenarios what we’ve shared is the BASE kit – the kit that goes everywhere without exception. This is gear I think is worth investing in if you are a working pro. It’s NOT my complete gear list and it’s not the complete solution for every gig –we almost always add speciality pieces for particular assignments– but I thought we’d get too deep into the woods and it woulda made a video that was an hour long if we reviewed all that non-essential, non-”core” stuff. So we kept it focused as we could. Here it is. The camera kit I have with me on 99% of the commercial shoots I do:

Nikon D4 – My go-to for stills since it first made its appearance in early 2012.

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S Zoom Nikkor Lens

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S Nikkor Lens

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G AF-S VR II Nikkor ED-IF Lens

Nikon 85mm f/1.8G AF-S FX Nikkor Lens

Nikon SB-910 TTL AF Shoe Mount Speedlight Flash

Canon EOS-5D Mark III

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM Ultra Wide Angle Zoom Lens

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AutoFocus Wide Angle Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM Autofocus Telephoto Zoom Lens

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4L USM AutoFocus Wide Angle Lens

Promise Technology Pegasus J2 512GB SSD Thunderbolt Storage Solution, Up to 750 MBps Read Speed

Promise Technology Pegasus J4 2.5″ 2TB Thunderbolt Hard / Solid State Drive Enclosure

Zacuto Z-Finder EVF Pro 3.2″ High Resolution Monitor

Tiffen 77mm Variable Neutral Density ND Filter

Manfrotto MVH500AH Professional Fluid Video System, Carbon Legs

Manfrotto Kit with 190CXPRO4 Carbon Fiber Tripod and MH054MO-Q2 Head

Manfrotto 057 4-Section Carbon Fiber Tripod with Rapid Column

Rode Stereo VideoMic Pro On-Camera Microphone

Zoom H4n Handy Mobile 4-Track Recorder

Sennheiser EW122PG3A Wireless Kit

So that’s it. If you look through my BTS posts and videos, there’s a damn good chance you will see some combo of this gear in use. Time-tested; Jarvis-approved.

Special thanks to Adorama for helping me assemble my kit.

Creatives, Geeks, Freaks & Voyeurs of the World — Join Me LIVE from SXSW!

UPDATE: this is TODAY! starting at 9am SEA time (11am Austin, 12noon NYC, 17:00 London) you can join into the conversation with your truly + the most creative minds from photo, design, tech & music. If I do my job right, you’ll get more insight in a weekend than at a semester of any college – all from people who have found success. LIVE at www.creativelive.com/SXSW. Ask questions all day at #UberLIVE or @chasejarvis.

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Certainly you’re in the know of famed South-By-Southwest (aka SXSW) – that two weeks every year where the creative, film, music & tech worlds all come crashing together in little ol’ Austin, Texas. I LOVE all that stuff, so I’m here all week and ….through the miracles of technology I’ve got 2 LOVELY THINGS to set right on your lap – both of which had better add a bunch of value to YOU, or else the next round of bourbon is on me.

THING #1
chasejarvisLIVE (my internet show) & creativeLIVE (my creative education startup) are having a man-child together this week in the back seat of a Cadillac Escalade. That is right, my LIVE show + the best in online education + the ridesharing service that has taken the world by storm are all coming together in one delicious collaboration to bring you LIVE-on-the-innnernetz, real-time interviews with the best + brightest luminaries from film, photo, tech & music worlds … all while rolling the streets of Austin in the backseat of an Uber. This is your free, front row ticket to join me and an insanely talented group of creative genius without leaving the comforts of your own internet connection, wherever that might be. Things are crazy here and this list is always in flux, but here’s a couple names you might recognize that I’m preparing to hang with and bring you their nuggets of wisdom & the inside scoop….

-Austin Kleon. artist and best selling author of Steal Like an Artist & his newest…Show Your Work
-Dana Brunetti. executive producer of HOUSE OF CARDS, the netflix original hit that has reinvented TV
-Kevin Rose. founder of Digg, Revision 3 & is now a partner at Google Ventures
-Brandon Stanton. photographer & creator of Humans of New York, the world’s most popular photo project
-Gary Vaynerchuk. entrepreneur, media maven, best-selling author and wine geek
-Kristen Chenowth. actress from Glee, The West Wing, BeWitched, and other stuff
-Steven Kotler. best selling author of Rise of Superman and guru for accessing & maximizing creativity
-Lewis Howes. Former pro athlete, entrepreneur, business coach & world record holder.
- and many many more…including..ahem..perhaps some surprise musical performances

Here’s where you can RSVP for the free #UberLIVE event, find more info, and watch the LIVE broadcast this Saturday & Sunday http://creativelive.com/sxsw. (srsly – you should RSVP)

WHO: You, Me, a handful of GENIUS people from SXSW + 100 countries tuning in worldwide
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A from the backseat of an Uber
WHEN: Sat & Sun, March 8th & 9th, 8am – 5pm Seattle time (10a-7pm Austin, 11a-8pm NYC time)
WHERE: Tune into www.creativelive.com/sxsw. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #UberLIVE, my @chasejarvis handle and @creativeLIVE too

THING #2
Heyyo. I’m giving a little keynote speech for this SXSW thingie on Monday, March 10th at 3:30pm (1:30 Seattle, 4:30 NYC, 21:30 London). Here’s the tasty link to that hot mess http://schedule.sxsw.com/2014/events/event_IAP18955. If you’ll be physically at SXSW, come join in, heckle me from the audience, throw tomatoes, or whatever. If you’re at home in your pajamas, rumor has it my keynote will be live-streamed, compliments of our friends at U-Stream, but I haven’t got a link yet – will update that ASAP when I get one and I’ll tweet to let you know.

Don’t forget to RSVP for #UberLIVE. And, as always, you can follow along here… Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Unlock Your Creativity: 7 Stages To Experiencing “The Zone” + Why It’s Good For You

rise of superman chase jarvis creativity flowThere are times when the work is easy. When it’s 3am and there is a connected feeling, when ideas flow effortlessly. When the inner critic who otherwise stunts creativity gets gagged, bound and shoved into a dark closet. And then there are the opposite times. When the feeling of being “blocked” or stunted creatively is powerfully frustrating and the inner critic rages supreme – where nothing of value seems to find its way to the surface.

Whether trying to break a creative block or sustain a creative flow, we have been searching for a secret on this topic for centuries. And unless you’re completely new to this blog, you’ll know that unleashing the creative potential in everyone is a lifelong mission of mine – both personally and at scale (ala creativeLIVE). I’ve given some talks on how I believe creativity is the new literacy and anything we can do to further creative forces – I’m all for it.

Today, however, I’d like we’re on the verge of something great. Getting unstuck using science. In this upcoming book The Rise of Superman (Amazon link here), author and personal friend of mine Steven Kotler breaks down the science of this state of mind, the science of ultimate human performance (called “Flow”)

YOU know what flow feels like. You’ve felt it creatively when amazing ideas flow like water, in life when everything is just right, or perhaps in sports where you’re “in the zone”. THAT’S flow. So what actually happens in our brains when we achieve this feeling of effortless creative energy? You might be surprised to find that there is a sequence and a science behind this “zone” of flow that you we can actually tap into with regularity, and in Rise of Superman, Kotler sets out to decode exactly this. He’s been releasing a series of trailers and interviews with artists (me!) and elite athletes (Dean Potter, Travis Rice, Danny Way, others) and has uncovered some common threads to their own experiences with Flow.

For all our benefit, I reached out to Kotler with a few questions about Flow and his upcoming book. The interview below is our back and forth…Enjoy.

CJ: How did you come to the idea of flow?

There’s two answers here. The first is this is not my idea. Flow research dates back to the 1870s. There’s 150 years of really hard work that has gone into this topic. Thousands and thousands of researchers have worked on it. I just stumbled into that lineage. The story of how that happened is told in my second book (West of Jesus), but the very short answer is that flow states saved my life. Literally. I spent 3 years in bed with Lyme disease and the doctors had given up on me. No one knew if I would ever get better, but for complicated medical reasons they had pulled me off drugs—so there was literally nothing anyone else could do for me.

But it was a series of flow states that brought me back to health. It was radical and rapid. I went from like 10 percent functionality back to about 80 percent in under six months. I wanted to understand how this was possible. I mean, on the surface, it seemed crazy. An altered state of consciousness beats back a chronic autoimmune condition—like how the hell does that work. So, some 15 years ago, I decided to find out. That’s where all this started for me.

CJ: Where does the term “flow” come from, and is there actually a definition of flow?

The technical definition of flow is “an optimal state of consciousness where we perform our best and feel our best.” But the reason these states as called “flow” is because of the sensation conferred. When you’re in flow, every action, every decision, leads fluidly, seamlessly to the next. In other words, flow feels flowy.

CJ: Is flow on a progressive scale, or are you either in or out of flow? My own experiences say it feels like a scale…a progression, but what does your research tell us?

When University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi did his groundbreaking research on flow, he discovered there are seven different attributes to the state. This is essentially a checklist of things experienced in flow: intense concentration on the task at hand, the merger of action and awareness, the loss of a sense of self, the distortion of time, etc. And flow is progressive. It exists on a spectrum that is sort of like emotions. With anger, you can be mildly irate or deeply homicidal. The same is true for flow. When only a few of these categories show up, we’re in a state of “micro-flow.” When all ten show up at once, we’re in “macro-flow.”

[To go deep on the 7 Stages, how to get there, and what that unlocks, pickup the book here.]

CJ: Your book connects some very diverse terrain: action-sports, creativity, business, and neuroscience. How did you realize that flow crossed between them all – what’s the thread?

This wasn’t actually my realization. Very, very early flow researchers (back in the 1870s) believed they were looking at an experience brought on by high risk behavior (the action sports category), but, in the 1940, famed psychologist Abraham Maslow discovered the flow experiences are a commonality shared by all successful people. Then, when Csikszentmihalyi got involved in the 1960s and 70s, he discovered the state is ubiquitous. Everyone everywhere has access to flow. So flow applies in pretty much every domain. But this isn’t a business secret. Companies like Toyota, Microsoft, and Patagonia have flow woven into their corporate philosophies. A lot of the really innovative things that companies like Google and Facebook do to manage their knowledge workers comes down to flow science. Flow is everywhere in business—it’s just that most people are unaware of it.

Here’s a 3 minute video interview of yours truly and Steve Kotler about flow and creativity. You’ve felt it before, but you wanna get back there again, don’t you?

CJ: I’ve read the advance copy of the book. I’ve sat for interviews w you, etc. The book is really focused on action sports, but flow is certainly present in so many other areas – ie the creative process — as well. Tell me about that.

Flow is arguably as well-linked to creativity as it is to athletics. As a writer, I would be absolutely unable to function without flow. Every idea I’ve ever had for a book has come out of a flow state. Every article I’ve ever written that has won awards was written in a flow state. To put this in scientific terms, in recent years we’ve begun to look under the hood of creativity. We now know that the three key mental functions that produce the most creativity are mental risk-taking, pattern recognition (our ability to link ideas together) and the size of the database searched by the pattern recognition system. Flow massively amplifies all three functions. It jacks up our ability to take risk by making us feel less fear. It amps up pattern recognition and expands the size of the database the pattern recognition can search. This is why studies have shown people are far more creative in flow. It’s a huge boost. In work done at the Flow Genome Project, we found that most people report being 7x more creative in flow—that’s a 700 percent boost in creativity. More importantly, at Harvard, Teresa Amiable discovered that not only are people more creative in flow, they report being more creative in the days after a flow state. Thus flow doesn’t just amplify creativity in the moment, it literally trains the brain to think more creatively over the long haul.

CJ: One of the core arguments of your book is that the chemistry and function of the brain actually change during flow. How does portions of the brain shutting down help me be more creative?

Flow is causes by profound changes in neurobiology including something known as “transient hypofrontality.” Transient means temporary. “Hypo” is the opposite of “”hyper,” it means to slow down or deactivate. And frontality is show for the pre-frontal cortex—i.e., the part of your brain in charge of higher cognitive functions—shut off. One of the areas deactivated by flow is the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. This part houses your inner critic—that relentless, defeatist nag that is always part of waking consciousness. When the inner critic shuts off, we feel this as tremendous freedom, as liberation. This is fantastic for creatives. It means the portion of the brain that is always judging creative ideas—shooting them down before they get off the ground—is turned off. This allows you to move from idea to idea far faster.

CJ: You have compared the chemicals released in your brain during flow to some of the most addictive drugs in the world. Does this mean that people have similar feelings in flow that they might experience on drugs?

That’s a really interesting and complicated question. Flow cocktails five of the most powerful neurochemicals the body can produce and each of these neurochemicals have a drug analogue. For example, when you snort cocaine. All the drug does is cause the brain to release copious amounts of the neurochemical dopamine. Well, dopamine is released in flow. So are norepinephrine (speed), anandamide (marijuana), endorphins (heroin) and serotonin (ecstasy). You actually couldn’t produce this cocktail with drugs. Trying to take all those drugs at once and you’re going to end up drooling or dead. But the brain does it naturally. So yes, being in flow is an altered state, just like being on drugs. Does flow feel like any one of these drugs—not exactly. It actually feels a lot better. Moreover, while being addicted to drugs can lead backwards, being addicted to flow—because the state requires meeting challenges and learning new skills—leads forwards.

CJ: In your book and communications, you talk about this concept of “flow hacking,” or doing things to help trigger a flow state. Do you mean that people can create flow in their own lives?

For certain. Flow has 15 triggers—that is, pre-conditions that lead to more flow. Anyone can pull these triggers.

CJ: Besides jumping off a cliff on skis, what’s one trick you might use to help you get into flow?

As I said before, flow has 15 triggers and risk—or what we call “high consequences”—is only one of them. But even here, within the high consequence trigger, their possibility. For example, sure, you can jump off a cliff and take a physical risk. But you can also use emotional risk, social risk, creative risk—it doesn’t matter. It’s also very individual. A shy guy needs only to cross a room to talk to a pretty gal to pull this trigger.

But the most important thing to know is that flow follows focus. This is why people recommend always following your passion if you’re chasing flow. Why? Because our brain pays way more attention to stuff we’re passionate about. Put differently, a lot of what we call “flow hacking” is really ways of tricking the brain into paying more attention to the here and now.

CJ: I understand that you do a lot of consulting with business leaders on how to facilitate more flow in their workers.

Yes, I have done a fair bit of this work. My partner in the Flow Genome Project, Jamie Wheal, has done far, far more. The flow triggers we’ve been talking about are really accessible—it is not hard to design businesses around them.

CJ: Now that the book is releasing, you’re going to continue to work on flow research through the Flow Genome Project. Can you tell us a bit about that?

The Flow Genome Project is an international, trans-disciplinary organization dedicated to decoding flow. As you pointed out above, we do a bit of consulting, but our core focus is to seriously advance flow state research. We’re also in the process of building Flow Dojos—dedicated flow research and training facilities. But the most important thing to know is this is an open source project. The goal is to hack ultimate human performance. This is relevant to everyone—who doesn’t want to be able to perform at their best. Thus, we want everyone involved. Go to our website, sign up for Flow Hacker Nation, and get involved.

If you’re hungry for more, jump over to The Rise website to peep all the material Kotler has assembled there in preparation for the launch of the book in early March.

HUMANS OF NEW YORK [Best Photo Project Ever] Brandon Stanton on #cjLIVE Wed Feb 19th — Plus Win 30 Days w A Dream Photo Kit

chase jarvis hony humans of new york brandon stantonREMINDER: this show is TODAY at 11am Seattle time (2pm NYC, 19:00 London) and is broadcast LIVE at www.chasejarvis.com/live. Details below – tune in & come say hi.
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I’ve personally nailed several large scale photo projects in my career…Personal work that I grew to a large scale project. And I’ve witnessed hundreds of great photography-based projects come to life in every corner of the world…BUT there may be none better than HUMANS OF NEW YORK, by Brandon Stanton. Seemingly overnight he took a simple photo project from inception to a global phenomenon with a worldwide audience of millions, plus turned it into a #1 New York Times best selling photo book, while staying humble & hardworking through it all. In order to follow his dream, Brandon quit a well paying day job and followed his passion …. with a certain savvy that can be learned by us all.

Lucky for us, Brandon will be our guest AND our private advisor / mentor / coach / inspiration for 90 minutes on the next episode of chasejarvisLIVE this coming Wednesday, February 19th at 11am Seattle time (2pm NYC, 19:00 London time) at www.chasejarivs.com/live. Specifically, we’ll learn the key ingredients for pursuing your YOUR OWN PASSION, how to stand out in a crowded, noisy world, and how to turn your dream life/project/vision into a reality.

WHO: You, Me, Photographer Brandon Stanton + a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb 19th 11:00am Seattle time (2pm NYC time or 19:00 London)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live. It’s free — anyone can watch and we’ll be taking YOUR questions via Twitter, hashtag #cjLIVE, and my the ChaseJarvis Facebook Page

***NOTE: if you are in Seattle or the PNW and can’t join us in-studio for the live broadcast, but still want to meet Brandon and have your book signed, we are hosting a reception / meet & greet / book signing immediately following from 12:30 – 1:30pm at my studio. There will be books on hand for sale. The address is 3333 Wallingford Ave Seattle 98103. Corner of Wallingford & 34th Street. Ground floor, Wallingford side of the building.

There’s a video at the bottom of this post that highlights HONY, but some more detail on what we’ll cover are here:
_How to conceive of a photography, art, or any project that matters to you
_What were the key steps to transitioning OUT of at 9-5 job and into a dream career
_How did Brandon teach himself to be a photographer?
_How to keep your dreams alive in the face of so much negativity and uphill odds

HELP US PIMP THE SHOW AND WIN THE MOST BOSS PRIZE EVER.
In order to reach the largest audience possible, we’re right now kicking off an amazing prize. To help jump start YOUR dream photo project, give you experience with the best gear in the business, or augment the gear you’ve already got, we’ve partnered with our pals at BorrowLenses.com to give you a chance to win a 30 day rental of a top professional camera body from Canon or Nikon, plus FIVE (5) amazing lenses. (details at the very end of this post). The equipment value is certainly more than 10 grand, and the rental value alone is more than $3000. The contest starts NOW and we’ll announce the winner on chasejarvisLIVE, Wed March 19th

To help wrangle this prize, we’re trying out a new widget below. It does a few things really well:
1. manages all entries into a secure database and properly randomizes a winner
2. gives you info about how much time is left in the giveaway / how many entries there are etc
3. allows you to earn extra entries by participating more deeply in the community (following on social channels, sharing, etc)

To enter just fill in your info in the widget below and follow along. Contest rules in the widget. And note: this giveaway is live all the way through 12 noon PST during the show on 19th February.

UPDATE: THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR ENTERING! The winner has been selected–give a holla for Courtney Zerizef. :)

JOIN US IN THE STUDIO!!!!!!!!!
Want to be part of the live studio audience AND/OR get photos + books signed with Brandon?? We’ll invite the first 40 people who send an email to production@chasejarvis.com to join us +1 guest if you’d like. You’ll receive a confirmation email with attendance details if you’re 1 of the first 40. Champagne, donuts, coffee and other stuff will be there too.

And then here’s a lovely video that Facebook made about Brandon’s project.

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The Camera Rental Package you could win is either….

Canon 1D X or a 5D Mark III
16-35 f/2.8L Mk II
24-70 f/2.8L Mk II
70-200 f/2.8L IS II

PLUS The 200-400 f/4L with Built-in Extender AND your choice between the 85mm f/1.2L or the 50mm f/1.2L Primes

OR ………..

Nikon D4 or a D800
14-24 f/2.8G
24-70 f/2.8G
70-200 f/2.8 VR II

PLUS the 200-400 f/4G VR II AND your choice between the 85 f/1.4F or the 50mm f/1.4G Primes

Whichever you choose, also enjoy a 1 year complimentary membership to BorrowLenses.com, which gets you 10% off rental orders, cancellations with no fees, and drop shipment of items you absolutely need even if they are out of stock for us. A $100 value and you get a t-shirt, to boot!

Chasing a Photo for a Lifetime [chasejarvis RAW video]

When the Seahawks raised the Super Bowl trophy before my very eyes last Sunday I couldn’t help think that I’d been waiting a lifetime for this. But it was far more than being born + raised in Seattle that overwhelmed me – it was that I knew I’d captured a photo that I’d been chasing my entire life.

ENTER, the 12the man. Backstory courtesy of Wikipedia.
As most [American] football leagues allow a maximum of eleven players per team on the playing field at a time, referring to a team’s fans as the 12th man implies that they have a potentially helpful role in the game…The presence of fans can have a profound impact on how the teams perform…Thus these fans will often create loud sounds or chant in hopes of distracting, demoralizing and confusing the opposing team while they have possession of the ball; or to persuade a referee to make a favorable decision. Noises are made by shouting, whistling, stomping and various other techniques.

SO, while I’ve spent so much of my life steeped in athletics — from my middle school years as raucous little skate punk, to an athletic scholarship that put me through college, further still to a life spent in part making art around the lives and dreams of athletes from every corner of the globe — I had shot literally millions of images of the highest levels of competition known to humankind, yet I had never done any meaningful photography of… “the fan”.

NOW….armed with a lifetime of supporting my beloved Seattle Seahawks, as a kid in the 80′s when we could never beat John Elway’s Denver, to the 90s when my grandma gave me her season tickets and it was hard to get anyone go to the game with me let alone sit thru all 4 quarters (because we sucked), my team was finally headed to the big game. Never before in history was there a better time for my undertaking. SO, dreams do come true, and over the course of last weekend while 99.99999% of the cameras were focused on the field of play, I had the distinct opportunity to meet, wrangle, hang with and –most importantly photograph — hundreds, even thousands of “12th Man” Seattle Seahawk fans.

The following is a short vid we made along the way to share this all with you. Amidst the street photography, face paint and fan fare, be on the lookout for a floating BudLight hotel, a Foo Fighters concert, a muppet with a gun, a full court swish, a broken camera, cameos from Anchorman’s “Champ”, a bacon cheeseburger bigger than my torso, and –the man who made it– Epic Meal Time’s Harley Morenstein.

Big big ups to Big Chocolate + K.Flay for the beats. This song is so dope.
And double up thanks to BudLight for making all this possible. We had a blast, made some mischief, and made some art.

The final piece is a limited edition 36×60″ Giclée Print. Inquiries here.

chase jarvis 12th man

7 Lessons Anyone [YOU] Can Learn from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

macklemore grammysThe Grammys are a usually a lovely nightcap to the previous year’s music. Some celebration, some tension, a little drama and some nice performances. And whether or not you agree with where the Grammy Committee’s voting ended up in any category – one thing is for sure: 4 Grammy’s from Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – who to this day are not signed to a record label – is impressive. And perhaps what’s more impressive IMHO is that they built their success on their own ethos, according to their own plan, from when there were no “opportunities” coming at them from every direction.

Am I biased because I’ve known these cats for a while…Yes. Probably. (disclosure they played #chasejarvisLIVE in 2011 and first performed some of the tracks a capella at a little dinner party at my studio [video]) Yes, they are they wildly talented (Ryan’s actually a great photographer too), but IMHO that’s not what made their meteoric rise to 15x platinum and 4 Grammys possible. What made it possible was certainly some real talent BUT it’s also a handful of things they know that YOU can begin applying to your life/career/passion right now. Here’s 7 things:

1. Freedom is More Important Than Money
Sure having some baseline amount of money is helpful, but there is no denying that the freedom to say what you want through your art, to call your own shots and control your own destiny is supreme. Had M&RL not kept their independence (and the key it to keep it gracefully – no need to be an ass…), they’d be nowhere near the success that they are today. Releasing a single about marriage equality on a hip-hop album? The “label” would never have “permitted” such a thing if they weren’t independant. So whose ass are you kissing right now that you shouldn’t be? I’m banking that if you kept your freedom (and kept it positive -i’m not talking about being a grump) that the rest will follow. And this isn’t just about money really either…I’m talking about all the upside.

I’m guessing that there are decisions you could be making to keep your ability to be nimble – to play to the beat of your own drum…to scratch your own itch (even if that itch is being in the service of others). Follow those freedoms, not the other stuff.

2. Setbacks are Temporary
When I first met Ben in 2009 he was living in his parents basement having just come out of rehab. He had found some local success with an earlier, locally released EP but soon found himself resting on his (albeit local) laurels, only to find that he was hitting the peace pipe and drinking cough syrup instead of diving into his work. He’s said on lots of occasions how low he felt – that he might never be able to make music again, but that he would give it everything he had with a fresh outlook on life. He found Ryan and boom. If you’re like me, there are setbacks everywhere. They never end. It might take living in your parent’s basement to realize your dreams. It always feels like I’m moving 2 steps forward and 1 (or sometimes 2) steps back. Shed the voices in your head that are keeping you down. Setbacks are temporary. They are meant to keep everybody else out, not you. The breakthroughs happen just when you think your at the end of the line. Trust M&RL on this one.

chase jarvis macklemore and ryan lewis3. Only YOU Are in Charge of Your Personal Brand
I remember when I realized HOW in touch Ben & Ryan were with their brand M&RL when the emailed me one day asking if I had a RED camera they could borrow to shoot their next video video. They’d had some good vids to date, but they wanted creative control – they know how they wanted their creative vision realized and they wanted to own it front to back. That was for the video shoot of Thrift Shop. Seems like they…um…pretty much nailed it (487 MILLION views and counting….). That they had a)the desire; b) the balls to go for their vision says it all. Throw in the fact that they put their physical CD is a box made of alligator leather for god’s sake and you get the point.

What are you doing to make your brand different – not better? I bet you can think of 5 things in the next 5 minutes that helps your brand stand out from the noise. When you finish that list, nail it to your bedroom wall and reference it often.

4. Have a Point of View
In a world of mass messaging, right and left points of view, and chest thumping me-ism, I see so many artists who are reluctant to let their true colors shine. They’re worried that having a point of view might alienate a subset of fans or followers. Well, that’s bullshit. Because the only reason you’d want fans and followers is to genuinely connect with a community of like minded people – connect your authentic self with theirs. Referencing #1 above – you think it didn’t take balls to stand up for a belief in marriage equality amidst the typical hiphop anti-gay mindset? Sure it took balls, but that’s wht M&RL believe and so they found it a perfect thing to write about – with confidence. I spoke to them about it here. THAT is called having a point of view.

I’m guessing there’s a few things in your world (I know there are in mine…) that you’ve been scared to put out there. Dimes to donuts that this thing you’re holding inside will be a huge benefit when you get out of your own way and share that thing, own that thing, have a point of view. The people that will care about that thing are the people you’ll want to connect with anyone. So what are you waiting for?

chase jarvis ryan lewis cjlive macklemore5. Collaborating with Your Friends is a Good Thing – surround yourself with good people
When M&RL put out The Heist, they made it local. They made it with their friends. The solo’s and featured artists on their album? Almost entirely local talent…friends, people they admired, and by and large people without name recognition. But that didn’t matter – they made their album and their art with their circle of friends. Their tour and merch manager Tricia is Mack’s fiancé. Why chase the party when you can make your own.

So instead of waiting around to collaborate with Bono – why don’t you collaborate with your best friend, your makeup artist pal, your uber-talented homie from around the way. Again, why chase the party when you can make your own?

6. Don’t Let Them Put You in a Box
When I first heard Ben’s rap – it put me off balance. “Whoa – this is different” I thought. Which is part of why it works. I noticed it. Throw in Ryan’s beats and the whole thing goes to a different level where your brain doesn’t quite know which box to put that in… Our brains are pattern recognizers – which is why when you don’t fit into a typical pattern you STAND OUT. One Grammy committee almost didn’t let their music be classified as Rap – they wanted it filed under Pop. It caused controversy. But it didn’t matter. Ultimately it got the rap nod and then…lo and behold…claimed Best Rap Album and Best Rap song, Best Rap performance. They just made music they wanted to make and then let the world comment on it. The rest took care of itself.

So many creatives have spent too much time studying their peers our neighbors and reading the rule books written by others. Here’s a little secret – those people who wrote the rule books did so to keep you out. Break those rules, ditch that box as best you can.

7. Community is King
In their Grammy acceptance speech, Ben opens with [paraphrase] “Wow, we’re on this stage…And we could never have been on this stage without our fans.” This is true for the Grammys, but it’s also true for life. M&RL have connected with their audience in a way that I’ve rarely seen in this age of pop culture. It’s authentic, it’s humble, and it’s hard working.

The same can be said for your approach. I’ve said it here and here before: Things don’t make things happen, people do.  The world of achieving career success is a world where community is front and center – whether you’re building your own business as an independent artist or you’re making a dent from within the machine of a bigger company.  Your friends, supporters, fans, network – however you define it – is a huge is a requirement to unlock your future. What are you doing to build your community? In what ways are you giving back and asking for nothing in return? Don’t just reach up…be sure to reach sideways and down as often as you can muster.

Much respect to M&RL. Now I recommend we all get back to work at tackling our dreams.

chase jarvis macklemore ryan lewis

Travis Rice: 60 Second Portrait of the World’s Best Snowboarder

One of the many things I love about Travis Rice is his refusal to be pegged into a single hole. Yes, he’ll always be a snowboarding legend, but that athletic pursuit is powered by a creative, artistic soul, as evidenced in one way by his art gallery initiative, Asymbol, and in another by his on-going work with the Brain Farm cinema crew.

When I had Travis on cjLIVE last year [re-watch here], he spoke of being bold, and being different. It was about 6 months later that he walked the talk, and pulled the curtain back on Asymbol, his online + physical gallery celebrating the artist/athletes who capture the raw beauty and energy found in the moments that make up a snowboarder’s life, run, park session, etc. [Check out Travis's curated corner of the gallery, here.]

This 60-second portrait of Trav is a part of my ongoing project (now created about 50 of these – from Macklemore to Reggie Watts and beyond) and was shot when he was on our set for cjLIVE. Enjoy and share with your Snowboarding homies — I’m banking they will appreciate this nugget featuring the world’s best.

LIVE Shoot from Inside a Frickin’ Volcano [RENEGADE #cjLIVE -- this Friday, Jan 17]

chase jarvis jp canlis photo 3UPDATE: this broadcast is TODAY! Join us at 9:30am Seattle time (12:30 NYC and 17:30 London) here at www.chasejarvis.com/live as we hi-jack the live feed from the Museum of Glass and go LIVE from the biggest and best hot shop in the world… mixing the worlds of photography + glass blowing with yours truly and my homie JP Canlis. Of course, taking questions at #cjLIVE via Twitter and my Facebook.

Ok. So maybe it’s not an actual VOLCANO, but it’s just as hot. Read on…

My favorite part of the new world order is access. Access to behind-the-scenes ideas, information, and lives of others AND granting that access into mine. We all get to watch “the sausage being made” …as they say.

Well – access (and sausage) you will get this Friday January 17th if you tune into this SPECIAL EPISODE of www.chasejarvis.com/live between 9:30am – 1pm Seattle time (12:30 – 4pm NYC, 17:30 – 21:00 London) for a special “renegade” REMOTE edition of chasejarvisLIVE. What the hell? Exactly. While the “normal” #cjLIVE shows are broadcast live from my studios in Seattle with a guest and a crowd and some ideas (and occasionally some bourbon) this Friday’s episode is anything but that… In fact I’ll be sharing an exclusive peek into a fine art project I’m working on…in progress

Indeed, YOU are invited drop in for a glimpse of a collaboration between yours truly and my dear friend (and brilliant Seattle-based glass artist) J.P. Canlis. JP’s work is collected worldwide (including the likes of the Crowned Prince of Abu Dhabi). We will be at work and coming to you LIVE and in the heat of it (literally) from the molten hot magma hot shop at the Museum of Glass, the world’s premier glass museum and one of the world’s top glass art facilities in the world.

What you will see will NOT be a staged demo of any sort. Instead you’ll be dipping your toe midstream into an authentic artistic collaboration between yours truly and JP Canlis that we’ve been working on for the past couple weeks as a part of JP’s artist-in-residency at the museum. We’ll be engaged in a real-time, never before attempted (for all we can tell) creative process mixing my photography with JP’s molten glass. Yes, we don’t know what will happen. Since we’ll be in the hotshop – which is NOT my normal habitat – I will be primarily hosting the ramshackle affair WHILE I’M WORKING and taking your questions via twitter and Facebook in realtime during the process.

THE DETAILS
WHO: You, me, glass artist J.P Canlis and a worldwide gathering of creative people
WHAT: Interview, discussion + a worldwide Q&A
WHEN: Friday, January 17, 9:30 am-1 pm Seattle time (12:30pm-4pm NYC time)
WHERE: Tune into www.chasejarvis.com/live It’s free — anyone can watch!

Couple disclaimers:
1. The entire process will be broadcast HERE at www.chasejarvis.com/live (aka the normal #cjLIVE location) for your viewing pleasure.
2. This isn’t meant to be a polished production – you will be along for the ride on a real project that will be sometimes exciting and sometimes not. This is authentic, non scripted access, with us in a new and very different location.
3. I will be primarily focused on chatting with you all via the live broadcast – explaining what I can – in real time. So as always, questions on Facebook + Twitter via #cjLIVE.
4. The awesome peeps at the Museum of Glass are letting us use their broadcast tech and facilities so it’s going to feel a lot more renegade than normal…just how we like it ;)

It will be very casual – feel free to come and go as you please. AND!!! if you happen to live in the Seattle/Tacoma area – you are invited to literally drop into the museum hot shop right there in Tacoma. There is are seats there where you can watch us in the flesh.

Couple BTS snapshots from earlier in the project…

chase jarvis jp canlis glass

chase jarvis jp canlis

chase jarvis jp canlis

chase jarvis jp canlis

chase jarvis jp canlis

For Photographers & Musicians: How to Shoot & Design Award Winning Album Cover Art

ChaseJarvis_!!!

We may be in the age of digital downloads (behind that link is a nice present for you), but musicians and the designers behind them still care deeply about their cover art. After all – whichever way you slice it – that image evokes a narrative about the music, the artist and/or the album. So I was flattered — and immediately on board — when Mario Andreoni of !!! (pronounced/also written Chk Chk Chk) asked if they could use the above image for their album cover, Thr!!!er.

Little did I know how big of a splash (yep, I went there) the cover would make. It was nominated for Best Album Cover Art of the Year along with steep competition from the likes of Daft Punk, Elton John, and the Flaming Lips.

As a photographer who loves music – I confess to LOVING to shoot these things. You might recall a photoshoot I LIVE streamed a couple years ago while creating THIS controversial album cover (where the blog post got more than 1,100 comments). I’ve also pointed to some other favorites here. But regardless, in light of the nomination, I reached back out to Mario with some questions about shooting and selecting album cover art. I wanted to know a little more about how they found my photo as well as learn more on their process of deciding on album art in hopes that those of you who shoot music (or make it) might pick up a touch of inspiration or at least a hint or two. Also, I couldn’t resist – as a long time fan of Chk Chk Chk, I had to ask what was up with their band name… The big Q-n-A follows:

First, can you tell us about this new album from a musical perspective?

Having a new producer (Jim Eno from Spoon) and a new songwriting partner/bass player (Rafael Cohen) were the two most significant changes. Songs were still “lived in” through demos, jamming and road-testing, but Rafael’s “pop” style and Jim’s sonic sense helped push us into new territory, which is what you want when making a new LP… or at least I do.

How did you find this this particular photo? Where did you first see it?

Years ago, I saw a poster in a dodgy Brazilian touristy shop of someone or something plunging into the ocean. I loved the mystery, you couldn’t tell exactly what was exploding into this VAST body of water. The feeling of that image really stuck with me.

At the time, I didn’t think to ask if the shop would sell it to me. It appeared to be a permanent fixture on their wall. I thought I might be able to find it, or something like it, on-line, which ended up being much more difficult. I underestimated the amount of “plunge” shots on the internet.

Anyway, I caught a thumbnail of your shot one day and it gave me a similar feeling, and it was totally unique. I think you could tell through my initial contact that I felt like it would make the cover special. It sort of became the cherry on-top of making THR!!!ER.

Is it unusual to find a photo that already exists that you want to use, as opposed to commissioning work?

I tried to explain the idea to our label (Warp) and while we MIGHT be able to commission, it’d be a gamble, and there just weren’t time and resources to do it. I subsequently fell into several Tumblr holes looking for something we could use.  There are a lot of great, and not so great, shots out there.

What was it about the diver shot that grabbed you? 

The splash. It’s a good one. Visceral. I also dig the detail as well as the ambiguity in it. I’ve had several people ask me what is making that plunge.

[Chase's note - hey photog's and musicians alike, this is your key here... he used the word "visceral." There is RAW STOPPING POWER to this image. Of course they added to this with their design as well - the tie in with 3's, the !!! and the orientation of the diver. In other words, you see this image and you are compelled to stop and take a closer look, regardless of your awareness of the band or even the content of the image. IMHO this is the golden nugget of this post - to ask yourself when shooting/concepting/planning your album cover shoot. Will this photo turn heads and get people to pay attention? If yes - continue. If no, go back to step 1 and devise a new concept.]

OK, gotta ask. As a long time !!! fan, what’s the official/unofficial story behind the name !!! and how does this theme of threes show up in your work [album art modified to show 3 divers instead of the original single]?

Using !!! as our name/symbol came from the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy.” At one point in the subtitled dialogue, three clicking sounds of the mouth translated to !!!. One of us suggested we use the three clicking sounds, but not everyone could do it, so we co-opted it into using any three repetitive sounds, (aye aye aye, uh uh uh, etc etc etc), but keeping the translation !!!.

Our first few releases just had !!! on the cover, this is PRE-internet, and it was never a problem for us. You just put it at the front of your record rack!

Post-internet, our first big label (Touch & Go) asked that we supply a subtitle/spelling, and “chk chk chk” was how most people pronounced !!!, so there you go.

I guess the repetitive imagery is a hold-over from the intent behind !!!. The fact that you can actually form the diver image into a ! is more of a cosmic/happy accident.

Any details you’d like to share about the process of creating the album cover?

We toyed with a ton of variations: single/multiple images, different colors, placement, etc., and I have to give James Burton and the people at Warp a huge amount of credit for helping pull the final image together. I mainly just provided (many) opinions. The image itself is already bad-ass, placing three of them next to each other maintained our “theme” and fortunately made a compelling record cover.

For the benefit of those who are trying to license artwork, would you explain anything helpful from your perspective as licensee?

I think that whether it’s working with someone musically/artistically, it’s best to go directly to the source. Be honest about how you’d like to work with them and be fully prepared to be told to “f*ck off” & move-on.

We’ve been lucky enough to work with people that would seem “untouchable,” and knock-on-wood, it’s worked out for the better more often than not.

Is the One Girl/One Boy Video &Contest still going on?  Will you please tell us a little about the contest?

Yeah!  This was Nic’s idea. We couldn’t have Sonia Moore, the woman that sang on the LP, tour with us, so Nic thought it’d be interesting if we established a “contest” where people would record a video demo singing Sonia’s parts, and if chosen, they would come up on stage and sing with us when we swing through their town.

The kicker has been that we don’t rehearse. We just call the winner up when it’s time for the jam, and just about every time, it’s a home-run. It all works out.

To purchase !!!’s album, go to Bleep.com.

Find tour dates at the band’s website.

Follow them on these social channels:
Twitter
Facebook
Tumblr

[Check out ChkChkChk's video for their tune Californiyeah below...and have a lovely day]:

I Want to Give You $50,000 and Be Your Mentor for LIFE

UPDATE: WE HAVE A WINNER!!!! Shopify’s Build a Business competition is OVER and THE WINNER IS… Kevin Mack of Tatsup! For more information on Kevin and Tatsup, head to Shopify’s blog post announcement. Needless to say, I’m stoked to be able to be able to bring him to NYC, slap a chunk of change into his hand, and give him my advice every step of the way (or for as long as he wants it ;) )

Thanks to all the competitors who entered and make sure to congratulate the rest of the winners and I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how Kevin’s mentorship with me goes and how he grows his business with the help he’ll be getting from me & Shopify. ShoutOut to Shopify for helping make this happen.

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chase jarvis mentor build a business shopify

We are living in the Age of the Artist. Never before in history has it been this easy for creatives to create, for artists to make their art. Yet still the masses are filled with those who postpone their artistic dreams. I say the worst thing you can do is postpone.

But some people just need a bigger carrot. So I went hunting and found a prize for you. Actually, I teamed up with my friends at Shopify and am offering YOU a chance at a check for $50,000 and my promise to be your mentor for life (or until you kick me out). Yes. This actually means we will be friends.

If you’re late to the party, here’s how to enter [in 3 easy steps]:

1. Go to the Shopify Build a Business page
2. Choose your category (I’m mentoring in the Art & Photography category, but choose what suits your artistic dream)
3. Start selling and kick your business into gear.

I figure the end game can only be 1 of 2 options:

1. You win the contest, $50,000 and a mentor for life; OR
2. You don’t win, but you’ve built that business you’ve always dreamed of, and it’s now a REAL THING that makes you money and channels all that creativity you never knew (or perhaps always knew?) you had.

If ever there was a win-win scenario, this is it.

So you’re not into Art & Photography? Fine – I don’t care. I means just as much to me that you follow your dreams. Read on, because Shopify certainly has your interest category covered. Maybe you’re into Music, Electronics & Gadgets, Jewelry & Crafts, Health & Beauty, Food & Beverage, Fashion & Apparel, or Sports & Recreation. Any of those ring some bells?

Your full mentor list to choose from depending on the above category.

// Lil Jon (hip hop legend)
// Tim Ferris (4 hour everything)
// Tina Eisenberg (aka swissmiss)
// Selita Ebanks (model & health star)
// Gary Vaynerchuk (wine & food guru)
// Damond John (founder of FUBU – star of shark tank)
// Mark Cuban (billionaire entrepreneur/owner of Dallas Mavericks
// Arianna Huffington (media maven)
// and yours truly

Here’s how you win:

If you start a business with Shopify and have the most sales in your category over a particular window between NOW and MAY 2014, then you win. Pretty simple. The longer, more detailed version of all that is here on the Shopfiy site. There is plenty of time to kick ass and sell your heart out, but the time to start is NOW. Oh ya…if you win, I’ll fly you back to NYC and had you the 50 GRAND myself.

DigitalRev TV uses a GoPro to Fake my Hasselblad Masters Photo

Each time I have the good fortune to work with DigitalRev TV and my friend Kai Man Wong something memorable happens.

For example, you might recall the time that Kai and DigitalRev TV dragged me around Hong Kong with a Lego Camera on one of their infamous CheapCamera Challenges. The highlights included surprise runway models, aggravated kung fu fighters and eating pig’s anus on the street. Most recently Kai and his hilarious crew parodied my Facebook profile photo for Fake A Big Shot. The resemblance was, um, striking?

I decided it was time to turn the tables.

I showed up in Hong Kong to give Kai and the DigitalRev crew a taste of their own medicine. A CheapCamera Challenge of my design: To re-create a photo I shot with the Hasselblad H3D. This was a $25,000 piece of equipment in 2007 when I shot the photo. I gave him 8 hours … and a GoPro Hero3PLUS ($399) to get it done.

Here’s how the the final product compares to my original. What do you think? Check out the video above to see how he did it.

Chasejarvis_DigitalRevTV

Thanks to Kai and the whole DigitalRev TV crew for working on short notice and being such great sports. Subscribe to their channel here.

10 Gifts for Photographers + WIN a Sexy Sony a7 Camera

UPDATE – Happy New Year to all who entered my camera giveaway over the last month…AND a big congratulations to MARK BEHRENS, the winner of the brand spankin new Sony a7. Thanks to everyone who participated and to our homies at Adorama + Sony. BTW, for those of you who signed up for my email list — I’ll be in touch with soon more exclusive content and opportunities to connect.

Good morning friends! I get lots of emails, tweets & Facebook posts from all over the world – husbands, wives, partners, girlfriends of photographers looking for gifts for the creative loved ones in their lives. I know the gift-giving paralysis that can come from not having a few solid ideas for the creatives / photographers (photofiles?) in your life….so in an attempt to be a help to my gift seeking friends and answer all those emails in one fail swoop…. I’ve wrangled a little gift list ranging from $20 to $4000 (yikes!). I’m not big on shopping events but I do appreciate some well-curated suggestions, so rest assured this list is focused enough that any one item won’t disappoint and broad enough that there are things for literally every photog.

Annnndddd… in acknowledging that buying cameras and gear can be expensive and painful (sometimes prohibitively so…), I wanted to offset that with an opportunity for you to win a VERY tasty new camera for free… Remember that super hot Sony a7 camera that I was ranting about last month? Well, thanks in large part to support from Adorama for hosting this, they are allowing me to give away one of these delicious Sony Cameras along with the 28-70mm Sony lens.

To help wrangle this giveaway, we’re trying out a new widget below. It does a few things really well:
1. manages all entries into a secure database and properly randomizes a winner
2. gives you info about how much time is left in the giveaway / how many entries there are etc
3. allows you to earn extra entries by participating more deeply in the community (watching vids, sharing, reading posts etc)

To enter just fill in your info below and follow along. And note: this giveaway is live all the way through the 28th of December. Feedback welcome on the widget if you have any.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens

This is a seriously great all-around lens for your kit. Don’t let that low price fool you. The 50mm 1.8 one of the best kept secrets in photo gear. The lens body is plastic, but it still kicks tons of ass. I have had this lens since it first came out – even replaced it with the same thing once when I dropped it into a lake.
Price: $109

SanDisk 32GB Class 10 ExtremePRO SDHC Memory Card

Another quality little stocking stuffer for any photographer. One can’t every REALLY have too many SD cards, unless you’ve got a collection of 50 1GB cards, in which case it’s really time to poke your eyes out consolidate. The Class 10 checks all those boxes that a photog is looking for in a memory card.
Price: $60.95

SanDisk ImageMate All-in-One USB 3.0 Memory Card Reader

For just a few bucks more, you can throw in this all-in-one card reader as a goes-with gift for the above. [If you want to get creative, pull the SDHC card out of the packaging and pop it into the reader before wrapping.]
Price: $32.95

PocketWizard Plus III Transceiver

A quality trasceiver is a must-have for any aspiring photographer. The freedom to move your flash around opens a lot of doors for more creative illumination of the shot. And at under $150, you’re not breaking banks.
Price: $134

Think Tank Airport Security V2.0

For the traveling photographer who wants a safe and secure way to transport all that gear, this Think Tank rolling solution should more than do the trick. Comes with combo zipper lock and the steam-sealed raincover keeps your gear bone dry.
Price: $364.75

Promise Pegasus J2 Thunderbolt 512gb

I love this portable thunderbolt drive. It’s about the size of a smartphone and it’s super fast on the read and write speeds. It will also run without the conventional power adapter, making it perfectly for off-the-grid shoots.
Price: $499.00

Joby Ball Head + Gorillapod SLR-Zoom

For playful but solid support on the fly, nothing beats Gorillapod with the Joby Ball Head. These are great little numbers for attaching GoPro’s and other smaller cams for a sweet little time lapse.
Price: $79.95

Sony Alpha a7 Digital Camera, with FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens

I had the chance to play with the a7, and let’s just say this is a no-questions-asked, “I love you (or yourself ;) ” gift. No regifting or returns to worry about on this one, that’s for damn sure. Great design, great quality, compact and sexy as all get out.
Price: $1,998.00

Think Tank Retrospective 10-GR Small Shoulder Bag

Two Think Tank prods in one list? What’s up with that? Think Tank rocks, that’s what. THIS is how you carry your every-day camera kit around, people. Like the travel bag, this one has a nice rain seal on it for those infrequent Seattle showers.
Price: $165.75

Broncolor Senso Kit 22

This is a big-ticket gift, make no mistake. But there really is no price you can put on good lighting. I wouldn’t recommend this for the teenage son or daughter on a flavor-of-the-month kick, but it’s a no-joke upgrade for any aspiring commercial photographer.
Price: $4734.00

DJI Phantom

I’ve toyed around with the DJI Phantom quite a bit. The weight-bearing limitations do more or less count out super high end camera loads, but the aerial footage you can get with a GoPro will really take that budding videographer’s footage to the next level.
Price: $679

And always, if you’ve got some gift ideas of your own you want to share, sound off below – I may add your suggestions to this list.

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