Playing With Fire (Megan Warkentin grad exhibition)

In those seemingly quite moments of exploration, when we’re all alone, and when we don’t know what we’re doing, that is when we might be the most alive. Consider this quote by Chuck Palahniuk, who often pulls from personal experience when writing his novels. –

Our real discoveries come from chaos, from going to the place that looks wrong and stupid and foolish.
Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters

In the month of October I released a couple of posts about a friend of mine. These posts supported an important interview I had conducted with my friend in the fall of this year. You see dear readers, she is graduating from the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Arts after a stint of approximately ten years in post-secondary education – her name is Megan Warkentin and she is a visual artist with a masters degree in painting.

Our interview was about the importance of exploration, whether inside the framework of a creative discipline, as it relates to the occupations of the mind or when considering the physical world and the items contained inside of it.

Megan has always been a creative individual, but it wasn’t until she went after her university education that she really focused in on visual arts… And now she is asking one of the hard questions of life over and over again in her art.

Why would someone risk their safety, health and potentially their life in the pursuit of stunts and dangerous activity?

What began as a number of experimental paintings that featured still images from YouTube videos of people performing dangerous stunts and the resulting aftermath, has slowly evolved into a process surrounding larger ideas of risk and exploration. Megan is fascinated by human behaviour, and wants to know why people set themselves directly in harms way, why other people are fascinated by this behaviour in the first place, and how those onlookers might react to the sport of British cheese rolling or ravine jumping. Inspired by artists like Kim Dorland, Peter Doig, Daniel Richter, and Tilo Baumgartel whose work showcases contemporary society in interesting ways, Megan wants to truly address the absurdity of adrenaline junkies through crude art, with a hint of the sublime and mystical in the mediums used.

08_warkintoncopy

This body of work culminates with an exhibition titled Playing With Fire between December 6-22 and January 30-7 at the Fine Arts Building gallery (1-1 Fine Arts Building, 89 avenue and 112 street, University of Alberta) and is the final visual presentation for Megan’s degree of Master of Fine Arts in Painting.

I realize it’s short notice dear readers, but if you want an opportunity to speak with Megan about her work, you should definitely check out the opening reception tonight, December 8th from 7-10PM at the FAB building. Otherwise the gallery hours are Tuesday to Friday 10-5PM, Saturday 2-5PM, closed Sunday, Monday, & statutory holidays.

I’m out of theories for the week my friends, but I hope you come back on Sunday for a new episode of Cross Talk.

Tim!

Extend Your Credit (Georg Rockall-Schmidt 2nd preview interview)

Sometimes you get the credit and sometimes the credit gets you.  Whether we’re talking about university or book keeping is kinda unclear, because this word has roughly ten or so definitions, but we’re gonna roll with the punches and hope that all of my generalizations will bolster a sense of respect and confidence in my writing ability.

Now that I have your attention, let’s consider the following: credit can turn you into a slave.

I realize that the credit analogies are gonna run thin pretty quick here dear readers, so instead of making a bunch of references about credit history, how arcade games work hard to turn your hard earned fast food job money against you or why all movies in the future seem to favour that word over currency, I’m just gonna make a clean break and say that credit is one of those things that you should understand but not rely on. It’ll fuck up your mojo if you let it.

bankruptcy

I mean Georg gets it. That’s why he and I spent so much time discussing credibility and what it means to him as a full-time creator of YouTube Videos. You know Georg right? Same guy that I’m preparing to release a feature length interview with in the near future.

Now the see the thing about Georg is that he is a researcher, a writer and quite bright. We ended up talking back and forth for over two hours. Which is a lot of time to edit down an interview into a reasonable length. In fact, it’s almost double what a typical interview runs for me.

Georg Rockall-Schmidt has been an excellent first foray into the world of international interviewing, and I wanted to give him as much attention as I could, so I decided (at the last minute) to release another preview of us chatting about credibility. This time the focus question is – do you communicate all of the information you need to in order to be considered authentic?

And I bet you won’t be able to guess what his answer is.

Lucky for you, I have the interview question locked and loaded. So you don’t have many more sentences to wait until the reward is at your fingertips. Now sit down if you’re standing or stand up if you’ve been sitting all day and watch this short clip featuring my friend and fellow internet darling.

Now I’ve run the theories train into the station for the evening, friends. You’re gonna have to get off here cause it’s the end of the line. But I can promise you some sweet dreams, heck, even some countrified ones that’ll make a whole lot of sense when you come back tomorrow for my Miranda Lambert music review. With that cleared up, browse the timotheories.com som more, leave some comments, subscribe, and share this post with your creative friends.

Tim!

Let’s Get Credible (Georg Rockall-Schmidt preview interview)

We can’t all have good credit scores. Some of us because of circumstances, a lot of us because we made bad decisions about what to buy, but did you know that there are factors you wouldn’t have considered? Your payment history, credit file age, diversity of accounts, and how often searches are pulled, for instance. You do know that a credit score and credibility go hand in hand according to banks, credit card companies, collection agencies, and governments, don’t you dear readers? Credibility is the quality of being trusted and believed in. Or to put it another way, it’s a quality of being convincing or believable.

Perception is reality after all.

You see friends, when people think you’ll keep your word, they are more likely to trust you and let you make decisions. This is something that all good leaders have, salespeople and business operators included. Now this is where you come in – You make art. You love to make art, but you need to be credible in order to sell said art.

And as the old adage goes, it’s easier to ask forgiveness then permission. Especially from someone who is credible.

Once you realize that your public image is just as important as the one that you internally hold up for yourself, you can begin to consider all of the options, just a little more closely. Heck, it even applies to US politics but you’ll see what I mean when you turn on the clip

Oh wait, I forgot to mention, that this is preview of my first ever international interview with Georg Rockall-Schmidt. Georg is one of the most awesome people that I’ve never met in real life. Georg is a full-time creator of YouTube videos. You can find his channel here, but effectively he creates videos about pop culture, history, parody, his personal thoughts on life, and a whole lot more. An English dude with an anti-establishment educations, he believes that credibility defines ideation, and it’s important to him to have self-awareness but to simply leave all of the unnecessary elements out of the equation.

And that’s just a teaser. I have a full-fledged interview coming up in the next week or so featuring more of his incredible insights. This is Just A Thought on all that is Georg Rockall-Schmidt. Sorry for stealing your tagline Georg!

Can you believe it dear readers? I’m out of theories for the night. But just because I’m out of theories for now, doesn’t mean you can’t read more of my own thoughts! Browse the website, leave some comments, subscribe, and share with your creative friends. Otherwise, you should have a fantastic night, because I’ll be back tomorrow with a new Dragonette album review.

Tim!

Nobody Liked This (Facebook pt. 1)

Facebook is a huge social network. Like seriously huge.

This we already know.

With just over 1.79 billion users, it’s even more popular than YouTube, which has roughly 1 billion users, but definitely more so than Instagram (5M) and Twitter combined (3M).

With such an incredible base of people using it on a regular basis, it’s kinda impossible to not jump on the Facebook bandwagon. Yes, there is an argument to be made that younger people are moving towards social media networks like Instagram. And it is true that Tumblr, Reddit, and Pinterest are growing in little leaps as well, but when it comes to large scale networking, Facebook is king of the hill.

21a37cc8fc531bf6d161a79bd200a015a82a356fda87280c55fb0c9b61350f9b

The Social Network

And it even has a 2010 movie made about it which we affectionately know as The Social Network – an award winning movie that received Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score, and Best Film Editing.

You’ve probably seen the movie too. And whether you have or not, I’m gonna give a quick recap on it. It tells the story of friends Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) and Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) who build a website called Thefacebook for ivy league students to meet and date, while Zuckerberg has been simultaneously employed by Harvard twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer) to build The Harvard Connection. The Winklevoss’ eventually sue Zuckerberg for stealing their idea, while Napster co-founder Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) works his way in on Zuckerberg to improve upon the website, while also convincing him to push Saverin out.

It’s a gripping movie which puts a dark twist on the decade of 2000-2009 and also tells a rather human story about social media.

Facebook Marketing For Creatives

But the thing is, you’re a creative professional, and you need to start marketing yourself better. You really should find a way to get your work out there and in the hands of the people who want to see your content.

I know those people exist, because I run into them all the time in both my real life AND digital travels, and it’s not that difficult to reach them. You have to understand the basics of Facebook marketing first.

Facebook has three major ways of connecting users to content – Pages, ads, and groups. Each of them has a particular value and purpose, but by combining them together you’ll learn how to get where you’re going and effectively to boot.

  1. Facebook pages are to individual profiles what corporations are to small businesses. This is where you share content with your followers and get them involved in your personal brand. You have to set up your business page if you want to get to the ads step, so do that first. Then focus on lifestyle over product. Also want to be actively involved in comments and service… this can include incentivizing your user base and sharing user content too.
  2. Facebook ads are targeted content that you share with a specific audience. The goal is to share with those consumers that fit a particular audience and ideally it will highlight particular aspects of your brand. You’ll want to have a clear objective in mind, rotate ads often to prevent disengagement, and target key data points.
  3. Facebook groups are different from pages in that they provide a place for people to get together and share content of a similar effect. It’s more community minded and less brand driven, which means that you can learn a lot about what people think of you/your business by asking questions and starting conversations.

Now to be perfectly honest, those are simply the tools in the tool-belt, what you really need are a set of instructions and a how-to guide on construction. But in order to do that, I’ll have to write more about it, and that’s better served for another theory. After all, we only retain about 3-10% of new information in a single pass, so I’ll let you mull over this for a few weeks and then come back at you with part two. Sounds good? Excellente.

I hope you have an excellent evening dear readers, and to my American fans, I hope your new president treats you well and is a good steward to the global community.

Tim!

 

 

Grow Up And Blow Away (Your Image)

Growing up is hard to do.

Or to if I were to rip it off of a writer like E. E. Cummings, it takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. Which is why Peter Pan never did it, why Peter Pan syndrome is real, and it’s also why we don’t all get there.

5ryk4

Also, I’ve never been a large fan of this above meme, but you know what? This seems like an appropriate time to use it, after all, marketing is about communicating a message, and so I’m making a solid point with a message about dummies using a baby to be funny.

Real mature dummies. Way to devalue the importance of marketing.

Hold on a tick, timotheories, are you saying what we think you’re saying?

That’s right, we’re onto post number four in the Importance of Marketing series!

As I’ve already done a few times before, I should start us on the right track by clarifying what an image means in this instance. It could be a representation of the external, whether the form taken is that of a person or a thing. It could also be a metaphor. In most cases it usually means a physical likeness, which can be best demonstrated with a photograph, painting or sculpture.

But what about a mental representation? An idea? a conception? Especially given the weird quality that computers have which allow them to produce an image themselves. And thusly we arrive dear readers. I’m referring to your online image.

An online image is that which houses all of the internet related information available to the public about you, and it can be very unflattering. Your online image is a summation of characteristics and interactions you have with other members of the internet. Most of the interaction happens on forums, content channels, and digital vending machines, but regardless of what you do with your time online, each website builds a profile of who you are and what you do.

Which is why you should learn some basic online hygiene in order to take that road. Yes, I could teach you about branding related image elements, like your logo, mailing list, etc. But upon more reflection, it occurred to me that we can all benefit from the below first, and build up to that level of attention.

So here it is, a short(er) list of things you should do.

  1. Regularly track your Google search results. Are you competing with someone else for  name attention? What kinds of URL results come up when someone searches for you and are the results consistent with the image you want to have? Is someone else with the same name in the top results? If you set Google alerts, you can run interference on both positive and negative feedback whenever someone has something to say about you.
  2. Buy all of the necessary social media names associated with your brand. For example, I have YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter locked up. Your personal URL needs to be in sync with your brand too, so look into that as well. Domain names are relatively inexpensive to acquire, and the internet is the future after all, so make a commitment now. And then make your email signature align – add all of the links.
  3. Participate in the above mentioned online social and business related groups. That also includes LinkedIn, Google+, and other ones like ZoomInfo. Your goal is to structure your profiles, replies, and posts so that you can attract your target demographic and send a professional message about your expertise. By connecting with those who already do what you want to do or are on their way too, you’ll gain access to job openings, freelance opportunities, and networking events.
  4. Blogging. I blog because I love it, but Google and other search engines love blogs too. The content is regularly updated, and as you participate in the culture, which means guest posting, commenting on other blogs with your handle, and sharing useful information. And reference other relevant blogs when you can because the community commitment makes all the difference. Of course, if you can fit your blog into a full-meal-deal website that showcases your career, achievements, and portfolio, all the better.
  5. Share your expertise. That means participating in professional associations that have physical and online forums, and take advantage of their networking opportunities. If you go to Yahoo!, Google Groups, LinkedIn, Reddit or WikiAnswers, you’ll find lots of people that’ll appreciate your help. You should also write reviews of relevant books for online publishers like Amazon and Indigo. And of course don’t forget to link it to your personal brand.

But what do you think? Did I miss anything? Do you still never wanna grow up? I know it’s scary out there, but I have a theory that if you follow the above you’ll get where you need to go on your marketing journey. I’m out of theories for now friends, but I’ll see you tomorrow with something timely.

Tim!