Since 2003, I have had the good fortune to be involved on and off with a fabulous group of illustrators who formed a national conference called ICON. I was invited me to speak and my topic was "The Ripple Effect: Turning Passion to Action." It was well-attended, and I met many illustrators whose work I admired and who had donated their time and talent and time to Art with Heart's books.
The next year they asked me to join the Board of Directors to help plan the next one. I served as Secretary. Ann Field was the Board President, and the legendary Seymour Chwast served as Board Vice President, along with a list of other insanely talented illustrators such as Ron Chan, Craig Frazier, Joe Morse, Whitney Sherman, and Molly Zakrajsek.
We worked as a team for two years – some parts of the planing were unbelievably difficult, and some parts were seamless – yet I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Which is why when they asked me to be involved again this year at ICON8, I said yes without hesitation. This time, they asked me to run a workshop and I chose the subject "Using Your Powers for Good." I led everyone in an activity from Chill & Spill about personal power and we brought everyone's artwork together to form a 'Zine.
Participants told me later that they actually had a hard time using art to express themselves because most of their art is "for hire" - it's someone else's idea, someone else's art direction. So to make it personal was a challenge, but a good one.
I think it is hard to make room for personal, meaningful creativity in my own personal life, but it is something that I'm finding helps center and strengthen me. It helps me feel less hopeless in a world that seems to be falling apart. It helps me feel that I have something to say, even though I'm usually too shy to say it out loud. It helps me find my personal power.