Last year, I’d heard about the Creative Control Fest. At the time, we were on a serious budget. The Hero had recently started graduate school and we were living on my salary alone. I died a little inside hearing about the fun everyone had. I vowed to attend this year.
Fast forward a year and I was all in. I’m in a transitional period and really working on staying motivated to discover what moves me, what I’d do if I didn’t have to sleep or work to maintain a certain standard of living (starving artist is not in my makeup). All the planets aligned and I bought my ticket Friday morning for the full menu of events. To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. Several of my friends (who are close to my artistic heart) are involved in putting the event together, so I knew it would be good.
The opening event Friday night at The BOSCO Center (a REALLY cool place), BRUSH, set the tone for the kind of people I would be around. I admit that I was a little nervous. My definition of artistic is severely limited. I think of graphic designers, illustrators, painters, poets, musicians, etc. But looking at it from the lens of ‘creative’ blew my ideas of artist out the window and I felt comfortable, like I was with a group of old friends I hadn’t seen in years. I digress. Back to BRUSH. It was an interactive event that made anyone who wanted to be an artist an artist. Each person received a personal canvas and was challenged to paint whatever came to them. You know me….
There was also a large paint-by-numbers canvas for anyone interested in participating. This would be something cool to do at a party or for our big anniversary soiree in two years. After a Jack and Fireball, I felt brave enough to get in on the action.
There was also an interactive screen printing station sponsored by HalleBird where a proceed of the profits went to charity. I like anything hands-on so I bought two tees and screened one myself. We’re going to be Cedar Point twins!
Saturday was a jam-packed day at the Lincoln Theatre. It started at noon with Dr. Melissa Crum and Piper Kerman, author of the bestselling memoir, Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison. I caught the last few minutes of this session. For some reason, my mind had everything starting at 1 p.m. From then on, it was a whirlwind of information and events. Chris Cochran of Portfolio Creatives talked about how to get a creative job and offered some points that most job how-to presentations miss. Allison Chapman of Igloo Letterpress brought in a portable press where we could create our own CCF posters. I love some hands-on stuff and watching everyone get excited was contagious. She explained how she and her staff make the custom prints. Everyone decided to go to Igloo and have a party to make their own print. And it gives me a reason to travel to the north side of the city to check out everything Igloo has to offer.
After making my own mini CCF commemorative poster, I listened to Blueprint, a hip hop artist, talk about navigating the music industry as an independent artist. Even though I do nothing with music but listen, I came away from the session understanding that authenticity to myself and my process is important. It put me in the mind of looking at the creative process from every aspect instead of the successes. He mentioned that his fans wanted to know about the not-so-epic performances and it got me wondering how many people wonder what The Hero goes through when I make him try something awful OR when I make something great, but take absolutely no notes or remember what I did different and can’t replicate it again.
Dr. Sonia BasSheva Mañjon spoke on her experience in California developing an art community by creating and fostering relationships through art between higher education institutes and the communities where they are located. Her project in Oakland and her own personal project were inspiring. It made me wish I had talked more to my grandmothers and great-grandmothers when they were alive. It helped me realize I should connect more with my aunts and older cousins and inspired me to be available to my daughter and niece.
The last educational session by Adrian Franks, aka A.D., stressed the importance of making art social to make it better. I know without feedback from The Hero and my friends, I wouldn’t be inspired to try new things or make some adjustments in what I already do well. Hearing it though sealed the deal.
Before the awards presentation, there was an art battle. Four artists were challenged to create a drawing that represented the return of cool, feminism and Africa. Let me just say this: as a person who can’t draw, watching the process unfold was mind-blowing. Seriously. I salute all the illustrators out in the world. It’s a talent I wish I had.
The night ended with the awards presentation and concert. By now, my phone had just enough battery life to call AAA if necessary and although cool, the tablet takes awful pictures, so I don’t have a lot of pics, BUT I did manage to record a couple of clips and post them on Instagram. This morning, I found out that BBX attended the high school where The Hero used to teach. #7DegreesOfSeparation.
If you’re in the Columbus area this time next year and consider yourself even mildly interested in being creative, you should check out Creative Control Fest. You’ll meet a cool bunch of people, learn something new and have your creative fires lit or intensified.