Content Writer Hannah Miller

Month: July, 2012


It’s the idealistic, yet brilliantly simple concept that got me. Combine art, philanthropy and bicycles and you have a unique mode of art dissemination. Papergirl takes art to the streets and delivers it straight to the people, in the style of a newspaper route. It’s a global art movement in its second year in Vancouver, and as an appreciator of both biking and the arts, I had to get involved. This week, all the donated art was exhibited at the Roundhouse Community Arts Centre and I went along to the opening.

This is the poster I contributed. The only prerequisite was that the art must be able to be rolled up to go into the delivery bags and baskets. When I was apartment hunting, it felt like I visited just about every apartment building in Kitsilano. I noticed that so many of the buildings have these endearing names scrolled on their doors. Being near what Vancouverites call a beach, some of the names have a seaside feel, and others allude to Maple something-or-other in an act of Canadian patriotism I suppose. So I’ve been collecting photographs of these as I stroll the neighbourhood. And that’s what I made, that right there.

Here is a piece that caught my eye because they must have a 3D camera like mine, with the 4 lenses.

Papergirl Vancouver ExhibitionAnd this is a shot of the bicycle sculpture they had dangling overhead. I like the unpretentious peg display method too.

The ‘giftervention’ is happening tomorrow. Papergirls will ride out, placing art in the hands of unsuspecting strangers on an undisclosed route. I wonder if I will spot them!



I’ve never seen so much cherry blossom. The streets were so pretty with all the petals sprinkled over the cars like confetti, making little white patches in the grass like snow. It makes a walk around the block feel like walking down the aisle, sorta. Then the sun comes and shines through those white blooms making me lament every time I left the house without a camera. Apparently it’s really annoying to clean off your car, but since it’s someone else’s, I’ll go on admiring it. These pics are all taken just around our neighbourhood, with my Olympus Trip and 400 ISO 35mm.

cherry blossom, sunlight, flare, car

cherry blossom, spring

blossom, spring, sidewalk

swing, sidewalk, blossom, sunlight

Failing to Define Creativity

Lately the idea occurred to me that I’m not so much a maker or creator; I’ve become more of a documenter, a collector of other people’s stories. When I drew for Vancouver Draw Down, I remembered that even my drawing ability centres around copying exactly what I see. It’s the same with my photography, I collect images of things I happen to see and want to keep the memory of for later. I feel like my imagination doesn’t kick into gear much any more – it’s lacking – or I just don’t push it enough. What do you think? Is imagination intrinsic to creativity?

My making is strictly non-fiction of late. Perhaps I should I force myself to write something fiction to test if I still have any imagination. But then am I being too hard on myself? Can you really say that either fiction or non-fiction has more creative value? I know that I really admire the art created by people that can dream up images in their head and transfer those images to their mediums. But then again, there’s the incredible street photography of Vivian Maier, which depicts everyday people, places and events. Her undeniable talent is in seeing the value in that moment and capturing it in a way that others can still feel and identify with today. Not that she intended  anyone to see it.

I’m unsure about creativity. I do feel it takes more imagination to create something from fantasy, and I don’t feel like I’ve done that in a long time. Yet, creativity and imagination don’t have to be one and the same. Even if I do wish I remembered how to use mine.

At the same time, I look at that list of ideas I just wrote and I feel satisfied and inspired. I know I am an ideas person. I have more ideas than I am able to actually complete. And generating ideas is definitely an act of creation.

Ideas 38 to 48

This idea list is also becoming somewhat of a To Do list.

Idea #38:  Pitch a video series idea to Vancouver Is Awesome. Make one video first, to show as part of the pitch. (I’ll keep the actual concept secret for now.)

Idea #39:  Go for a walk in the mornings to wake me up. And take photos. Creativity and exercise 2 in 1.

Idea #40:  Vancouver photo sets I’ve started working on: house names, view from bus stops, hedges.

Idea #41:  Do a Papergirl submission with photos from these sets or maybe a lenticular pic.

Idea #42:  I have a few awesome pictures I just got developed (soon to appear here), mostly of all the spring blossoms in local streets. I love the way photographs are being used to create digital prints in fashion lately (See this lookbook). I can imagine some throw pillows that are just big photographs, and I could make them using this technique. I could even do People I’ve Slept With pillows again! It works with laser printed images, but maybe not coated photographs. If not, there’s a simple trick of using freezer paper to put fabric through an ink-jet that Quilters have been using for years!

Idea #43:  Move this blog and People I’ve Slept With to be self hosted wordpress with their own domains. I can/should also learn how to make use of more Word Press plugins. Some important ones I saw featured at the Northern Voice 2012 conference that I recently attended were: SEO by Yoast and the Facebook plugin. I’d also like to use a lightbox for images.

Idea #44:  Then I can get letterpress business cards from Etsy with the new domains!

Other Northern Voice related ideas

Idea# 45:  Use my recently acquired lynda.com subscription to learn Ableton and Garage band so that I can add music to my audio and video docos and interviews. (Northern Voice reminded me that so many things can be learned on lynda. I’d been meaning to get it for video editing programs anyway.)

Idea #46:  Put pictures from my blog posts onto a Pinterest board. Pinterest is a huge traffic generator, I just have to learn how to best utilise it.

Other productivity ideas:

Idea #47:  Go to a coffee shop at about 3pm so I can work through a few more hours beyond when Jay gets home, instead of feeling distracted and stopping. I had been struggling with my productive time being interrupted at 5, because I work best from about 12 to 7 when I’m at home. Following the advice to remove distractions, re: Mike Vardy’s talk on blogging productivity. “People leave distractions up because it gives you an excuse to bow out.” I’m finding that at a coffee shop, I barely get up in case someone steals my laptop (Though Canadian’s are generally too honest for that). It’s too noisy for audio editing though.

Idea #48:  Use Evernote or a similar program for better lists, note taking and task management. At the moment my lists and ideas are scattered around on my Stickies, a growing number of .txt files on my desk top, some written in a book, some in the notes on my iPod Touch, and some bookmarks on Springpad. I have envisioned exactly what I want in a list making app, but hopefully I’ll find it already exists in Evernote once I give it a try.