Archives for category: creativity

For manga artists who want to bring their self published books to the Leipzig book fair, doing so is pretty much a matter of chance, as you get a stand exclusively through a lottery win. You apply for a stand in the so-called doujinshi area, and you wait whether they draw your lot or not. No application portfolio, no names considered, just a raflle. Well, I got lucky this time, and this was literally the much needed little kick of luck to my artist butt, to get moving and drawing my own picture story again. After all, what is a stand made for if not to actually present something new to offer and sell?

Comic_Marianna_Poppitz_Ghostwriter_SliceOfLife

This is my first completely self made, not anthology style publication. In the next days until the opening of the Leipziger Buchmesse, which starts on March 23rd 2017, I’m going to post more of that slice of life story that I came up with throughout the last weeks: Ghostwriter.

Meanwhile, I’m not forgetting at all about my ongoing projects, such as my Tokyo Travel Comic Series, or the documentation of my most interesting professional graphic recording outcomes. This is just a hint to you, friends and interested people alike, that there is an opportunity to meet me, if you happen to be at the book fair in Leipzig this year (more infos to come). And that I still breathe, and never stopped loving to draw, actually.

Sometimes it takes a pause, to be able to say that: Feels good to be back. Long time no see, dear Blogosphere ;-).

Why I love drawing like a little kid, forgetting everything around and focussing on that piece of paper as if my dear life depended on it?

It reminds me of happy times. Of childhood. A childhood rediscovered, so to say. With its particular naivety, that gives me the permission to immerse my entire attention into what I like most.

There’s a simple equation: Wherever you put your attention’s focus is where your energy goes. It’s the Theory U lesson that marked me most. There’s so much distraction going on, an incredible amount of energy to be wasted. But there is always something more specific and worthwhile calling your permission to immerse yourself. So I’d rather put my focus and energy where my passion dwells, a path of personal growth. Have you given yourself permission to follow yours?

Most answers to our crucial questions dwell somewhere inside, we just need to harvest them.

Visual Harvesting Methods

Harvesting thoughts with a pen is rewarding in many ways, because it makes insights rise, shine and last with ease like no other method.

To the visual thinking crowd in Berlin: If you’re curious to try out visual harvesting methods that fit into a flip chart, today’s the opportunity to do so @ the Vizthink Meetup at Neukölln’s Kulturlabor Trial&Error.

For those of you who want to use visual tools in order to make your most desired change & impact happen, the next Visual Tribe’s workshop on May, 7th will help you to thrive doing that.

When the place you inhabit becomes too narrow for your dreams, move out!”

… said the bird to the wanderer, so wander we did.

manga lucid global village bird and wanderer
When a journalist recently asked me to draw a manga sequence for a TV feature about two Japanese players from the Berlin based football club Hertha, it kinda made sense. I’m not that big of a football fan, but this year’s world cup saw me taking more interest in the game than usual. Starting with a first excitement about (the Chilean) outsiders who went for unexpected chances, eventually closing the chapter of former (Spanish) domination…

…I gradually went more emotional seeing the German soccer team making its way til the finals – and beyond. Around the games I found small hints of what I think really matters in a good teamwork: a kind of fair play and moving on together that transcends the sport context.

Three months later, the idea to use manga drawings for a TV feature on football came quite out of the blue. On the occasion of an away game, the rbb regional broadcasting station’s journalist Christian Dexne figured out an unconventional story hook: portraying two players of the local team who hadn’t really been in the spotlight yet, using a typical medium of their far away Japanese homeland.

Both Hajime Hosogai and Genki Haraguchi are relatively new in Berlin. Meant as an encouragement for them, this visualization project actually became a great motivation to me, as well.

After a friend had already filmed me drawing for a documentary project, this new experience gave me an even deeper look into the whole process of professional TV making. From first idea discussions to interviews, filmic execution, cutting and sound recording, I learned in a few days what has interested and bothered me for years now. How to plan a sequence of scenes, how to decide on what to cut away and what to keep in, how to synchronize the music with the visual content? Is the work of a sports journalist that different from mine as an urban researcher, when we skim our documentation material for decisive hints – for foul play on the football field, for signs of social appropriation in contested urban spaces?

We actually took chances. Before knowing how Hertha would play, we made a big fuss about how they were maybe going to win.

And they wouldn’t win, at first. The TV feature was broadcast shortly after Hertha lost a match against Schalke. One week later, though, our “motivational medicine” took effect:

Playing in Hamburg, Hajime Hosogai managed to realize what his comrade Genki Haraguchi had promised, enchanted, after seeing my manga depicting himself:

We’ll make these pictures come true.”

Sometimes, life is made of second chances. If being seen is what matters most today, then changing the script of how you’re perceived by others can be crucial. Switching from raw sketch…

manga illustration storyboard
…to final picture always ends up reinforcing my confidence and the will to experiment. Nowadays, I’m realizing things from a bucket list I haven’t even written yet. Teamwork has often been the key to realize the most difficult steps of worthwhile projects, and making it happen is what counts most.

I guess, I’m kind of a football fan, after all.

manga YOLO bucket list
*The colored pictures shown here were made last Saturday at this year’s AniMaCo. Inserting them here means checking another item from my unwritten bucket list: show more of your drawings at a faster pace, since you can do it.*

Had you asked me this in my younger days, at age 20 maybe, I’d never have deemed this possible. Finding inner peace and sorting out the constant flow of images in my mind through buddhist meditation techniques?

meditation Chiba Japan
Back in the nineties, I used to despise those Hollywood stars turning towards far away rooted religious traditions, maybe just to hide a lack of local connectivity and personal spirituality…

So I thought, and so would I have brushed off the idea of finding access to a practice of self acknowledgement from the far east.

meditation Berlin Kreuzberg
And here I am, thinking back of my younger self not knowing for sure yet but feeling already how better things were coming my way.

Reading my old short prose poems about light embellishing the urban streets we daily cross.

meditation Quito Ecuador
Finding my first pictures taken far away, of moments in between and the  delight of dwelling it: calmly, joyfully.

Then, I’m skimming through photos from newer travels, some maybe still “unprocessed” in my mind.

meditation Tokyo Japan
I’m not so different, now. Just improved the art of being and staying myself.

So, the tighter you’re gripping the bars, the more they restrain you?

manga watercolor prisoner
Let go, then. Think of what’s beyond, and we’ll see how fast you’ll make it disappear: a prison of thoughts and habits holding you back from the next step towards more awesome things.

manga_watercolor_prisoner_work-in-progress
Big thanks to André for encouraging thoughts on the freedom to pursue a personal passion: Your words inspired this picture and its message. It was fun being filmed while drawing, and I’m looking forward to further documenting sessions.

A closer look on what held Vivian Maier back to publish her posthumously acclaimed street photography work unveils parallels to a very modern dilemma. To be honest, we’ve all become data junkies, aimlessly stacking digital media just as the nanny used to stack her (mostly undeveloped, unseen) visual material. Nowadays, every new app, every new technical device invites us to produce more of the global amalgamation of data junk. And yet we are rarely invited to meditate about what we produce, why we do so, and what we could renounce to do in order to focus our energy on something more worthwhile.

Learning from Vivian Maier urban street chronicle
So let Vivian Maier speak to you, a “socialist worker style” woman with her favorite hat and a shaded, enigmatic glance. Listen: she might tell you about her life, her regrets and unfulfilled wishes. She could talk about her experiences on the streets of Chicago, or maybe not, knowing her photos do the job better than words ever would.

Learning from Vivian Maier creativity imitate to learn
…maybe she wouldn’t talk to you at all. In front of the incredible audience that she got now, I guess she would rather choose to rest in amazement. Eyes intently fixed on what she never expected to happen, she would finally realize how many people are actually seeing her, speaking through countless picture frames. Whoever sees and likes Vivian Maier’s work nowadays can testify what an astounding effect a layman’s visual work can have, once it is physically there, for the world to see.
Learning from Vivian Maier creative pen and paper
Now, it’s your turn. Time to take that deep breath of self acknowledgment: If you are reading this, needless to say, you are alive. If so, you got a blissful prospect to fill, with dreams and actions as well. No matter your age and your condition, there is something essential to realize: Nobody is resourceless.
Learning from Vivian Maier creativity blogging community ressources
Even in the truthful realization of a lack lies the power to search for a compensation, for help. And there has never been a better time to search for each other, to connect and unite forces in order to get better things and projects done, better stories told. The making of “Finding Vivian Maier” is just one excellent example of it.

(Note: This 6th episode concludes the series “On Creativity: Learning from Vivian Maier”. Your comments are very welcome, I’m curious to know what you think.)

For me, the key to Vivian Maier’s story is not her posthumous success. Her visual work is there for us to see and to remind ourselves of what we care about. Concluding this, I care to give a shout-out to the many people whose talents remain locked and whose works, professional or not, remain unseen.

Learning from Vivian Maier Zeitgeist-follower needs to publish
Vivian Maier never had the chance to interact with her (potential) public, so her story is a sad one, regardless of her late recognition we are witnessing. For us, though, now is the time to publish our doings and to interact with whoever might be interested in what we do and what we like. Our lifetime is the precious moment to enjoy our own creativity. And we rarely live up to the potential of our own skills. I often notice that people don’t acknowledge their own skills because what one is able to do well always seems so normal, natural to oneself.

Learning from Vivian Maier visual talent displayed
If you want a film to make a difference in your life, put some metaphoric thought glasses on when you see this documentary. Ask yourself: “What exactly made Vivian Maier resourceless? And to what extent do I resemble her?”
Learning from Vivian Maier through metaphoric thought glasses
(tbc: The 6th episode will conclude this series.)

As in any other art business, the path to publish and gain visibility often requires faculties that are not directly linked to the art & craft a specific artist masters. So, no matter the quality of your product, you don’t necessarily know how to approach people in order to market it. More concretely: Vivian Maier had no idea how to turn a hangar full of negatives into paper prints.

Learning from Vivian Maier Archiving the essence of urban life
After developing the photos, John Maloof chose a modern way to expose her work, by putting it on tumblr and letting the internet audience decide about the quality. Positive resonance received, he probably gained enough motivation to pursue the search of suited exhibition platforms, and despite the daunting task, he finally was successful.

Learning from Vivian Maier Finding the audience
(tbc)

Can you imagine why it takes so long, sometimes, to bring your own creativity out to the bright daylight, for others to see? Might be because your creativity has grown overwhelmingly, while your knowledge of publishing techniques still equals zero. Vivian Maier’s story may be unique, but her output dilemma isn’t, at all. A nanny piling up stacks of journals for background reference, documenting the urban everyday life around her in clandestine photos. A person who remained a stranger to everyone who knew her.

Vivian Maier creativity Rolleiflex disguise
Understanding the kind of solitude that characterized Vivian Maier’s lifetime, one thing in John Maloof’s documentary portrait moved me to tears. On the one hand, consider this sheer helplessness of an unacknowledged talent. On the other, realize how a belated helping hand enabled publicity and triggered a success that Vivian Maier herself, who passed away in 2009, couldn’t experience anymore.

Learning from Vivian Maier creativity photography print teamwork
I was struck by this unexpected help of a total stranger, posthumously dedicating time and energy to sort Vivian Maier’s mess out and to dig her photographic diamonds out to the bright daylight. He explains about the division of work between photographers and photo developers, and while he mentions working his way through stacks of boxes with undeveloped film material, the load of such an unseen, unfinished legacy takes form.

Learning from Vivian Maier creativity load unseen photographic legacy
Vivian Maier didn’t keep her work away from the public eye because she didn’t want it to be seen. She lacked the means, back then, to produce her imagery physically, and professionally.
(tbc)