Posts tagged art
Using art to help child survivors of war find joy again — with Bethany Williams

“Sometimes these children just don’t have the words to express the trauma they’ve been through. That’s a reason why I believe the arts — art, dance, drama, music and drawing — are so powerful in bringing us to the next level of healing.” 

BETHANY WILLIAMS, Ph.D., Founder, Exile International  

Orphans. War. Child soldiers. Displacement. Abuse of nearly every form. Topics like these often feel so astronomically huge that we don’t know what to do or where to begin — let alone feel as if our tiny effort could actually make a difference.

Thankfully there are people like Bethany Williams in the world who not only refuse to buy into that narrative, but decide to do something about changing it.

Bethany is world leader at helping restore children — emotionally, psychologically and spiritually — who have been affected by war and who can’t yet imagine a life worth celebrating again. Bethany pulls from her own hurt and brokenness (documented in her book The Color of Grace) as well as her training as a psychologist and counselor to help these children. And it all starts with art therapy that includes a white handkerchief and some markers. It is on a simple yet symbolic handkerchief that children can express in pictures what they don’t even have words for. It is where the pain within can safely be expressed to initiate the process of healing.

Led by Bethany and her husband Matthew, Exile International is going into the darkest places to do this difficult and often emotionally devastating work. But thanks to that willingness, there is a generation of former child soldiers, abused daughters and sons, and war-torn kids who now get to dream again. They get to experience renewed joy. And they can imagine a life of great expectations — just like any other child.

Exile International

Bethany’s story

What it means to “Brave the Woods” — with Brad & Krystal Woodard
 

“The one thing weve learned about our business is that no one is going to come to you and say “Oh, you want to do a children's book, here you go” or “Oh, you want to teach or speak more, here you go.” If we want to do it, we've got to make it happen.”

KRYSTAL WOODARD, Brave the Woods

 

 

In order to brave the woods successfully, you’d better walk into them with a plan, some goals and the right tools. It’s not an analogy on how to work with Brad and Krystal Woodard, owners of Brave the Woods, but rather a mindset of how they look to build a family-run business that’s going to fulfill and stretch them in all the right ways. 

Brad is the face and accomplished designer behind their action-oriented moniker while Krystal keeps all things non-design running and mapping out the journey, quick to push Brad out of his comfort zone for the sake of growing. 

This Boise, Idaho duo stopped in Columbus as part of a cross-country workshop tour and talked with us about what motivates them and how they are motivating others. From Kickstarting a children’s book to support victims of Typhoon Haiyan in The Philippines, to crowdsourcing Artists for Education with educational design for teachers to use in the classroom — doing good and building community are part and parcel of their craft. It’s those brave and unselfish acts that are key to their success and opening up opportunities that fuel their business, which also reveal new ways to do meaningful work and have a positive impact on others.  

Brave the Woods

Artists for Education

Taytay's Gift (children’s book)

The power in pursuing small things — with INCH x INCH
 
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“We didn't set out to create a business. It was more about how can we create something cool and possibly do a little good in the world.”

DREW HILL, co-founder, Inch x Inch

 

"It sounded just ridiculous enough for us to get really excited about it." 

BOB EWING, co-founder, Inch x Inch

When two longtime friends and artists decide to finally collaborate, naturally they land on... one-inch buttons?

As quirky as it sounds, Drew Hill and Bob Ewing gravitated to this tiny canvas with much a bigger purpose in mind. What if they could get other artists to submit designs? What if by buying a series of rad buttons from Inch x Inch, patrons would also be supporting arts education (which is continuously in danger) and fuel a future generation of artists? What if their own idea about collaboration turned into an organization that was fully reliant on collaboration and committed partners?

Drew and Bob talk about the importance of side projects, how theirs came about and ensuring it wasn't all about them, and how something as ridiculously inconsequential as one-inch buttons is actually making a tangible difference.  

inchxinch.org

It’s never too late to pen a new script — with Bill Lilly

I thought because of the skill that I had, I should make big bucks. When I turned it down (the White House job), the pay was equal to a truck driver's union-skilled job” 

BILL LILLY, International Senior Master Penman, nonagenarian and retiree

You might not know it from his gregarious laugh and unimposing stature that measures closer to five-foot tall rather than six, but Bill Lilly is a legendary character who pens legendary characters. He is regarded as the world’s foremost Master Penman — a title he’s held for the better part of three decades. Bill’s story is one of his incredible talent in scriptwriting and flourishing with a steady hand, and how his love of script has led to genuine surprises and unforeseen stardom. 

At a youthful 90 years old, Bill sits down with us in his humble in-home studio and weaves tales about serving in WWII, leaving college to improve his script, turning down a job at the White House, plowing through a career he never really enjoyed, and how he ended up becoming a world sensation long after his retirement from International Harvester. For the past 25 years, Bill has been showcasing his work while also giving private lessons to both young designers and hobbyists who desire to learn his technique and who actively seek him out from all over the world.  

Bill's story is a testament to finding one’s joy, honing a hobby into something more, and never abandoning that passion from within. His rise to unlikely fame reveals a remarkable journey that has spanned nearly 70 years in the making. 

Running from boredom (part 1) — with Andy Pizza

From a young age, I always felt I was doomed... because I thought there’s no way I'm going to have a job that isn't boring.

ANDY J. MILLER (aka Andy J. Pizza / Dr. Pizza) illustrator, instructor, speaker, and chief motivator of the Creative Pep Talk podcast.

It wasn’t that long ago that Andy J. Miller was in need of a pep talk specifically for himself. His so-called “beginners luck” and initial momentum as an illustrator began to evaporate and the need to fill the income void came in the form of other important, albeit less creative, roles. But as they say: once an artist, always an artist. Getting back on the horse wasn’t easy, and Andy learned a lot of things about himself and his craft along the way — things he now imparts on the Creative Pep Talk to thousands of loyal listeners who need a regular dose of creative inspiration.

The “doctor” is in for a two-part podcast where he prescribes practical ways forward for creatives and relays his insights about main gigs vs. side gigs, being entrepreneurial vs. an employee, commercial art, the need to evolve, and on being an artist with ADD. He also ends the debate, once and for all, on which pizza version is superior: thin crust or deep dish.  

You can check out Andy’s illustration work on his site andy-j-miller.com and listen to his podcast at Creative Pep Talk.