Late Night PDX

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The cursor blinks at me as I’m sitting in my hotel at midnight. I’m at the Ace in Portland Oregon for the second time.

This place has become a bit of a fantasy west coast apartment for me. I’ve always dreamed of living in Portland and having a little room dedicated towards letting me pretend I’m a local.

If you’ve ever stayed at an Ace you know that it is stereotypically hipstery with vintage modern decor and artist rendered murals covering the walls. But despite what you’d expect to be a pretentious environment, it really feels authentic in it’s efforts. I’m inspired here.

Today was the first official day of the World Domination Summit that I came out here to attend. Nearly 3,000 people have descended upon Portland from 30 different countries, just to come together and connect. Everyone has been asking me what this conference is all about – and the best way I can describe it so far is that it is a gathering of creative entrepreneurs, like-minded adventurers, passionate dreamers, activists and artists of all kinds.

It’s both wonderful and challenging attending conferences like this. I think WDS has done a great job so far, and I’m really thankful that they added breathing room into their schedule between speakers. You don’t have so much going on all at once that you are overloaded, but it is just enough to give you a few simple points to think about that hopefully shift your perspective in new ways. The challenging part is making sure you take the time to absorb the content and find a way to take action.

There were some really wonderful speakers today who I could spend a lot of time talking about here, and perhaps I will get into that over the next few days as things absorb into meaning. However – one of the most inspirational experiences of the day for me, was quietly seeing a film at the end of the night by myself, called “Finding Vivian Maier”.

I was feeling pretty lethargic all day due to one too many Rogue beers last night, however, this film perked me up. It was about a woman who hid her true identity of being a brilliant photographer. A box of undeveloped film and negatives were sold at an auction to a young curious man, who decided to dig in and learn about the artist behind the pictures. There were over hundreds of thousands of negatives that were discovered and then later collections of eccentric items, receipts, letters, clothing and newspaper articles. All tangible things that made up this woman’s life. She had just recently passed away and when this man started inquiring about her life, he realized how little people had actually known her, and how no one knew she had potential to be one of the greats. All that was left behind of her life, were these things and a few personal stories from people who she nannied over the years.

I’m not going to get into the whole thing, but that film seemed to have hit on a powerful concept that had coincidentally been echoed by a speaker at WDS earlier today by the name of, Michael Hyatt. He said…

How do you want to be remembered?  You are the architect of memories for those you love.

Michael told a story about someone close to him in his family dying unexpectedly, and that after the funeral, a gathering of people got together, told stories, looked at old films, shared memories and celebrated this person’s life. We never know how long we have and his message was loud and clear. Your life not only impacts you and everything you’ve created for yourself, but the people you care about the most. You’re life, dreams and story will be shared with people who will keep your memory alive even after you are gone.

And how often do we think about what that story will be that is told?  For me, never really. I’m too busy living in the moment and building my life’s story.  However, this concept definitely stopped and forced me to think about it. We are the designers of our lives, the architects of our dreams and our loved one’s memories.

Our decisions in life shape these memories, and therefore should be made thoughtfully. It’s too easy sometimes to just let our lives drift without taking action and making meaningful decisions.  I think thats part of why I love to travel and crave it in my soul. Not only is it about the adventure of the unknown -wondering what you will encounter and what you’ll discover along the way, but it’s about giving yourself the opportunity to embrace serendipity. Something that would never happen if you just watched your life pass by while inside your comfortable routine from the couch.

So how do you want to be remembered?  What stories do you want people to tell of you?

 

 

 

Artwalk, Studios & World Domination

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Hey guys… I have some news!  I’m ridiculously excited to say that after two long years of having my studio packed up in boxes and stored in a spare room in my attic apartment….

I have finally found my new studio!!!!!!!!

I never saw this one coming, but I have decided to buy a place with a dedicated loft, which will be the new permanent home for the Danger studio!! Gasp! Crazy right?! As a stereotypical sagittarian who is bad with finances and permanence, this is certainly the largest purchase of my life. (The next will be my dream of owning a VJ van… more on that later!)

I have been super busy packing up my beloved multi-colored apartment that I’ve lived in for over 10 years and am getting ready to kick into the next journey. I’ll be moving at the end of July and really could not be happier. This also means that I will not be taking on any additional freelance projects until August/September, once I am settled into the new studio. Lately all I’ve been doing is nothing but juggling the day job, mortgage paperwork and ArtWalk preparations – but now that the Artwalk is over I can really focus on packing up and moving out.

Speaking of which, thanks so much to everyone who dropped by to see me and support my video and print work at the Stamford Artwalk.  If you missed it, the next time you find yourself on Bedford Street, you can still catch my art exhibit on display at Lorca until the end of August.

Lorca Artwalk

The very last of my Danger t-shirts are on sale there as well. There are only 8 left and will probably not be made again after they are gone. I plan on creating a whole new line this year to replace them.

If you are interested in checking out or purchasing any of the prints that I was selling outside during Artwalk, please check out my etsy shop. For an extra 10% off, use coupon code SUMMER until August 1st. All proceeds will be supporting the new studio!!

We had a blast, setting up multiple video projectors downtown Stamford at the Palace Theater on Friday and on the side of the library on Bedford Street on Saturday night!  Check out a few photos that were captured in action below. It all worked out so well that conversations have already begun spinning ideas on how we can continue bringing this type of work to downtown throughout the summer. Stay tuned!

Here is a shot of my animation “Soul Seasons” on the Palace Theater.

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Here is a shot of our projection on the library on Bedford Street. Photo by Michael Lupinacci.

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Below is a snapshot from the Stamford Artwalk during our first year of projections in 2013. Photo by Distilled Minds.

Downtown Stamford Artwalk

Next up, I’ll be heading to one of my favorite cities, for my yearly respite to Portland, Oregon. I’ll be a first time attendee at the World Domination Summit. It’s a conference for creative entrepreneurs of all kinds and showcases a ton of my inspirational heros. I’m desperately in need of a recharge and there is no better place, in my opinion, than Portland, my creative haven soulmate city! Feel free to connect with me out there if you are in the area or at the event!   I’ll be out there from July 10th-July 15th and I can’t wait to have Mt Hood in the visible distance again!!!

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Stamford Art Walk 2014

Hey guys, save the date!!  Two weeks from today begins the second annual Stamford Art Walk. Over 95 artists will take over the downtown area, showing work in various restaurants, galleries and along the streets.

It all starts on Friday June 27th from 5-7PM and will continue on Saturday June 28th from 12-5PM.  Festivities will continue later into the evening this year as well. Franklin Street Works is hosting various performances both evenings from 7pm onward and I am excited to be projecting video outside of the Palace Theater in Kiwanis Park!  You can also come by to see me and some of my printed work up during the day at my favorite coffee shop, Lorca, on Bedford Street during the Art Walk. There will be tons of events to participate in for all ages, so definitely plan on spending a day downtown with us!

For more information please check out the calendar of events and the route map. Hope to see you guys there!

Stamford Artwalk flyer

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 Shown below is the location where you’ll find me VJing at night. Kiwanis Park, just outside the Palace Theater!

Kiwanis Park Palace 

The Wind in My Face

SOS-Friday

I often feel like we’re all just restless souls running marathons around each other

We fill so much of our time with the act of being busy. Dodging the noise and spam of everyday life in efforts to excavate the minerals and moments of meaning that it holds. If you’re anything like me, you’re surrounded by a bright splash of confidence and forward motion highs most of the time, while often also hit with lazy lows, hazy skies and neutral mind weather.

I daydream and I wander to escape the mundane. I listen to music to quiet my mind. I do yoga to instill patience and I inject myself with a daily dose of caffeine to carry on. I don’t mean for it to sound dismal because I actually think it’s quite beautiful in its own way. It’s my way.

I’ve actually based a lot of my personal art on this. Common themes I like to explore being: contrast, extremes, duality, longing for something greater, and moments of break through. How many of us feel this way? Extreme impulses of unlimited motivation, later mixed with setbacks, reality and bills to pay. I know it’s not just me. As David Nichtern recently said in a lecture I was listening to, it’s our constant strive as humans for the balance of “heaven” and “earth”. The tangible life that we lead day to day, mixed with the spiritual balance of real true meaning and connection.

Sometimes I secretly wonder if my own personal duality and identity has anything to do with one of the names my parents were going to give to me when I was born. In the back of the baby name book was scribbled,“Joy Anger”. I would have been the culmination of two opposite extreme emotions with a name like that. But for some reason those ideas stuck with me anyway as Holly Danger.

Those dualities may also translate from my experience in holding down a corporate day job for years, while also exploring my journey as an independent artist. It hasn’t been easy to live both of those lives simultaneously but I’ve found my ways and I’m starting to see new paths emerge as a result.

Balance, harmony and alignment are some of my daily intentions in both life and design.

I’m gaining new inspiration for what this means for me this year. Like I said in an earlier post, I’ve had a particularly difficult time starting this year with a rejuvenated spark. The long winter exhausted my body, mind & ideas. The cluttered apartment that I’ve outgrown is my only home base right now and doesn’t lend itself to the inspirational space that I crave.

However, there is a spark that I’m starting to feel. That magic twilight moment of the day where new ideas are born and perspectives shift. You may not understand what I’m talking about right now, but you will. Perhaps it’s the promise of spring. Whatever it is, I’m here and ready to start over and absorb the rejuvenation and rebirth that the equinox brings and I hope you feel it too.

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Spontaneous Love Letters

Anti-V-day

“Happy unimaginative, consumerist-oriented and entirely arbitrary manipulation and shallow interpretation of romance day!!”

This is the phrase that I have (half-jokingly) uttered on February 14th for probably the last 20+ years of Valentine’s Days.  I always loved to hate this day whether I was in or out of a relationship. The image above was something I created back in 2007 expressing just that. While it’s always nice to be surprised with a bouquet of rusty colored roses (a personal favorite of mine), or a spontaneous road trip or love letter, I would be evermore excited to have them turn up on an unassuming day in my life when I’d least expect it. It has always meant more to me that I was thought of just because I was thought of, and not because a date on the calendar reminding you to do so.

However, things always morph and change over time. Maybe it’s because I’m older or maybe it’s because of this crazy guy that adventures with me through life and love…

Color Me Rad

…but, I’ve definitely loosened my grip of distaste for this tradition because in the end, it is all about love, and how can you really dislike something that celebrates that?  I think the important thing is to remember to celebrate love more broadly and whenever possible. In other words, just do something nice for someone because you can. And of course, don’t forget to treat yo’ self too!!

I’ve been treating myself to a melty heart playlist all day and wanted to share it with you!

So folks. “Happy unimaginative, consumerist-oriented and entirely arbitrary manipulation and shallow interpretation of romance day!!”  I love you guys. Thanks for being my inspiration every day!  Found these amazing vintagey monster valentines and I’m in love. Remember the cute valentines you used to give everyone in your class in kindergarten? I remember some hilarious designs from the 80s. I miss those. Enjoy and have a beautiful day!

VDay Monsters

 

No Excuses No Regrets

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I know I’m a little late to be writing my first post of the year, but truth be told I’ve had a hard time getting started.

I’m feeling mildly trapped in the throws of winter, contrasted by daydreams of my last tropical excursion. How do we all manage to balance these emotional swells and swoons of everyday life while everything is so cold and frozen outside? I’m finding it difficult to focus lately and defer to spending most of my time cozied up at home, listening to Beck, baking cupcakes, playing guitar and trying new crockpot recipes while wearing furry knit hats and scraggly handmade scarves. That’s just how I do.

So on this Wednesday in February, I’m sitting here now, hiding from the world in the warmth of of my apartment and working from home. I’m burrowing under blankets and gazing at the snowy wonderland outside, wondering when we’ll get another wink from spring. We’re forced to slow down in weather like this, taking a break from the usual routines. I’m sipping a hot mug of tea and honey and can hear my boyfriend playing acoustic guitar faintly in the background. He doesn’t know I’m listening, but I’m loving every moment of it. Makes me feel this grounded sense of home and love.

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Being here is also making me reflect on my past and future months. I’m not quite sure where the road ahead is leading but instead of floating along I want to carve into it and illustrate the world I crave to see myself living in.

One of the things that has been tough for me lately has been the lack of a studio space. I had grown to really love having an art studio to retreat to whenever I wanted to play with a crazy idea. At the moment, it’s just me and my laptop and my studio is still packed away into dozens of boxes and taking over an entire spare room in our apartment. I had never anticipated this many months going by without having access to all of that stuff. I had also geared up for moving, switching jobs and a whole bunch of other changes that would propel me forward with flying force into 2014. However, the reality of the situation is, sometimes things don’t work out the way you think they will, and the best understanding that I can take away from it is we only regret the chances we didn’t take.

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I’m looking forward to letting go of this winter, making room for spring, finding a new studio, embarking on new adventures and having a fresh outlook of creativity. Thanks for continuing to support my art on etsy, coming to my visual shows and for following me on the Danger blog. You can expect to hear a lot more from me and I look forward to sharing with you!

Fate Loves the Fearless

There have been a few moments in the last month, where I think I’ve experienced a magnetism pulling me in a new direction, some sort of “sign”. Or maybe it’s not a “sign”, maybe it’s a higher perception that we synchronize with for a moment and feel a new kind of clarity. Whatever it is, I felt it. And this time I decided to act on it without fear of change holding me back.

I’ll be turning thirty-four in 3 weeks (on the island of Anguilla no less!) and I see this as a turning point in my life and in my career. Time to make moves and shake things up. The Flaming Lips sung a song that struck a chord with me a few weeks ago when they sung, “All we have is now…” One of the most beautiful and exhilarating live performances I’ve seen in awhile.

Over the last few years I’ve really honed in on some skills that I’m passionate about and have wanted to focus my life on entirely. Video editing, after effects animation, motion graphics, live performance art and video installations. I love being around crazy vibrant people who live and breathe creativity daily. I love traveling around the world and exposing myself to this beautiful place we live in while creating art inspired by those experiences. I know all of these things brings out the best in me, and I want to invite more of that into my life on a daily basis in the coming year.

A whole new life is cultivating here and it all starts now!  Wish me luck as I charge forward with a headful of new ideas for my future. The future is now!

 

Do Something Different

I don’t know about you, but if I’m not in a constant state of momentum, I feel stagnant and antsy.

This is a very difficult thing to deal with when working in a creative field. As a working artist of any kind, you are always expected to be “on”. To have all the best ideas and be able to deliver on the spot at a moments notice for a variety of clients, personalities and deadlines. And hey – that’s why you’re a working artist and not a starving one I guess!  But it’s also an added pressure that I’m sure all of us have dealt with as artists. You don’t always have the luxury of having time to explore and experiment. Actually, it’s a rare occasion that I’d every have that luxury! Most days when I edit videos for my clients, I’m given 3 or 4 days to conceptualize, draw, animate, find music and sound effects, then finalize and deliver an amazing flawless piece. After a few of these rushed timelines you start to get completely drained and need to replenish yourself with a new spark of energy. Or at least I do!  Because endless projects like this just leads to creative depletion, writers block and laziness.

When this happens, my underlying wanderlust bubbles under the surface and my need to be impulsive kicks into gear. And I’m at this point right now.

Days and months seem to be flying by so fast that I’ve had trouble keeping up and documenting here on the danger blog like I’ve wanted to. I am a spontaneous sagittarian and have never been good when it comes to keeping schedules of any kind. In the midst of my inner flux of feeling stagnant, I’ve also been struggling with the fact that I don’t have a studio anymore, and not only that, but my computer at home is so outdated that I can barely use photoshop without it crashing. I’m desperately waiting (and saving money) for apple’s latest release and really hope that it happens soon!!

Usually the right mix of music, traveling and being outdoors away from my computer is the exact prescription that I need for escaping those inevitable blocks. Or, if travel isn’t a possibility at the time, even just breaking routines and doing something out of the ordinary helps me break through.

I put this into practice over the last month and attended a variety of random events that I may not normally attend. I chanted mantras with Deva Premal and Mitan, I finally attended a Flaming Lips show, I drank unusual local brews at Half Full’s Rare Beer Night, I purchased tickets to visit somewhere I’ve never been for November (ANGUILLA!!!), I started working on a guerilla street art project, and I attended the Food & Wine Festival where I got to meet Chef Graham Elliot and Chef Richard Blais. (Which is cool and nerdy if you’re into Master Chef or Top Chef).

All of these things have stirred up my creative juices and I’m ready for whatever comes next!  I’ve learned that it’s easy to get comfortable, and that sometimes the best thing you can do is challenge yourself or do something different. If this is applicable to you – this is your reminder to change things up and make different decisions that will lead you away from the expected. It’ll surely lead to new creative directions.

Oh, and if you need more inspiration, check out Scott Dinsmore at TEDx (who created the creed at the top of this post) YouTube Preview Image

 

Holly Danger’s VJ Drive-In at the LAMP Festival

Creative Wellness: Daily Mantras

September has been a very intriguing month for me. The cooler breezes in the air under the sunshine bring an internal feeling of things changing and reflection. Summer is tapering off to a close and as I look back I am grateful for how wonderful it has been.

I encourage and invite change to happen in my life at all times because that is a true testament to personal growth. I recently began meditating daily. As a designer, I spend much of my time working behind computers and interacting with the world in many digital ways. I’ve always found it immensely important to continuously search for new ways to balance my work life with my passions and healthy living. Meditation has been one of those ways that I’ve wanted to explore for awhile, but, like most people, never knew how to “make time” or how to incorporate it into an already very busy lifestyle.

But I keep trying..

This month, I have dedicated myself to a 21 day mantra and meditation challenge, put together by astounding musicians, Deva Premal and Miten. Their music holds a special place in my heart in that when I first started yoga, my teacher, Gwen Reader, would play their music religiously at all of her classes. Their voices and instruments were forever engrained into my soul with every position we would do in her vinyasa class, and I still feel it today.

I’m excited by this challenge because each day has a different mantra to focus on, new beginnings, inner peace, wholeness, love. I wake up and have a new email explaining the focus of the day, and then they provide a guided audio file that compliments the message. It has helped me slow down and realize how important it is to work on yourself daily. Before focusing on what everyone else in your life needs from you, it is so important to do something for yourself.

So, I’m only on day 8 but am already feeling more at peace and more in control of what I strive for each day.  If you are interested in learning more or joining (it’s free) I encourage you to check it out.  Find out more details on their website.

Interestingly enough, I heard Deva Premal and Miten were traveling to perform in Bridgeport on September 19th. Nearly 3 months ago I purchased one ticket to go see them. And that show is tomorrow. I had no idea at the time that I would get involved in following their mantra practice.

Isn’t it interesting how life does that sometimes?  Things just fall into place and feel right. I love it when that happens.