Welcome to W O R K

In the last few days, we began to ask a couple of people if they were curious about talking together in an online forum, on the topic of W O R K. Enough said ‘yes’ to make it *happen*. So…

This week, we have begun the journey in a set of protected pages, on this website. That’s what all the protected page posts are, if you were wondering. We’re talking together, but not in public forums, because we want to keep the circle small, cozy… intimate. You talk about the things that matter the most, and you don’t want to blab to the whole wide internet about them.

What makes for good, quality ‘work’?, this began with. In some really fascinating threads over the last three years here (behind the scenes, in protected-page posts), I have learned one hell of a lot about this, and especially, what my guests and partners in these conversations have had to say.

Things go back a ways, for example, when we were in Durham NC, DK’s Akira Morita had hosted a conversation forum that was called re (WORK).

Here’s a pic.


re(WORK) the open space hosted by Akira Morita in Durham NC when DK was based there. From left: Beck Tench, Rob Petrusz, Victor Jimenez (standing), Carter Cue, Alice Williams. The location is: Bull City Coworking. Photo: Laura Hamlyn / August 2012.

While it’s great and awesome to be able to get together in real life for conversations, sometimes people are just in very different parts of the world whom we are interested in gathering together in space. So that’s why we do the online conversations. We want to connect, and interconnect, a very wide range of perspectives so that we can learn from each other and discover new inputs.

What is ‘work’?

Well let’s just get right to it, shall we?

What is work, anyway?

That’s the focus.

This exact, narrow query.

From DK:

‘What is the future of work, that’s a different question, and a favorite of some of the people whom I used to know, back in Seattle, when we sat around with our super remote and super design-your-own-day style of working, whether over Belgian beers at Stumbling Monk at Designers’ Korner, say, or over coffee at Top Pot on Summit Avenue, which was just down the street from one of the offices I used to rent, on Olive Way. It was so good, those days of being in the space of playfulness and learning, together.

‘I still remember when LS came by to one of the ‘Dream Kitchen’ lunch sessions. I remember how he said some things that really resonated with me, and had heard about the event, somehow, I think through the newspaper maybe or some other spot, I swear, I have no idea, but then, years later, sitting in a house in the north of Finland, I suddenly remembered it.

‘How it felt to receive new people from ‘the internet’ to my office, welcome them to the conference room table, share coffee or tea or whatever, and then just… talk. We talked then in that session about what our dreams were outside of work. It was… great. To have a chance to hear out what people were feeling and thinking, but just for a time, and then everyone went along on their own, separate journeys. I wrote to LS out of the blue, more than a decade later, hoping I spelled his name correctly and hoping he was the only one who had that gmail address. Surprisingly, I got through. He wrote right back and asked me what I was thinking, where I was, how I was doing, and I did the same. Our journeys went in many directions, of course, in separate phases, but hell, what a cool thing it was to have heard someone say, ‘I remember that conversation.’

‘Really?

‘Wow.

‘But: come to think of it, I remember, too. Which is exactly why the words ‘Hit the high note’ came back to me, all these years later. LS said, on the call that we had, that they weren’t his words, but he was quoting. Didn’t matter: the feeling of wanting to raise the bar never left me, and ‘hit the high note’ expressed it so very clearly, so very well.

‘I remember a lot of them. Not all, of course. And I get to hear so many of them, day by day, because of the design intention that it took all these years to crystallize. Optimizing for the ‘a-ha’ moment–I can tell you more about this.

‘I have a lot more to say.

‘And so do our guests, I imagine, too.

‘Let’s get to it.

‘Let’s go.

‘I’m gonna share more when I’m ready, about the new things beginning, thanks in large part to SJ. It’s cool. I’m jazzed. It’s… flowing.’

Be a part of the conversations

We’re going to get started soon. I’m sending the pre-start homework out this weekend. Ask us anything, if you are curious, through the form at the end of this page. If there’s enough interest, we’ll do a real-life version of this, somewhere in Vietnam, in the early part of September.

True ‘cost,’ true value of a thing, according to HD Thoreau

Ask about W O R K

‘Logic… is the most dangerous of vices’

Logic in all its infinite potential is the most dangerous of vices. For one can always find some form of logic to justify his [or her] action and rest comfortably in the assurance that what he [or she] did abides by reasoning. That is why, for us brittle beings, intention is the only true weapon of peace.

Ilyas Kassam, author of Reminiscence of the Present

Photo: DK / ‘Good Morning,’ Dalat Vietnam 2019

S P A C E | Tampere, ‘Miia’

The zine ‘Miia’ is set in Finland’s Tampere. A continuation of earlier writings by Alexis Jokela. Plus, new photography and poetry. This zine is co-created by collaborating teams at DK. Get it on January 1, 2019, when you subscribe to S P A C E. Subscribe here.

S P A C E | Tampere, ‘Miia’

15 Nov | Book of Slow Moment

New photography by Dipika Kohli, in mostly black and white. All from the Atelier S P A C E series in Finland, and inspired by the amazing guests in DK’s concurrent online programme, ‘Slow Moment.’

That twelve-week sequence designed for people to connect and converge in S P A C E was about: slowing down to ‘see’, journal, note, and ‘be.’ Says DK: ‘How do you do that? Just start.’ Cover photo styled by artist Kathelijne Adriaensen. // DK 2018

A photozine by Dipika Kohli. Orderr here >

PHOTOGRAPHY. DK’s creative director Dipika Kohli began her freelance career in 1998 with a gig for the then Raleigh newspaper, Spectator Magazine. The conversation with editor Stephen Wissink on that first popping in led to a yearlong photography assignment to capture restauranteurs’ best arrangements of plates of salad, desserts, light entrees, and fancy drinks. From there, Dipika continued to take photographs, but began to focus more and more on architectures, and cities. The urban landscape was always her favorite. Two grants from the Japan Foundation had led, in the 1990s, to a 500-picture series, ‘Japanese Lines’. Curating large collections of snippets of 3″x3″ prints, she exhibited these at the N. C. Japan Center. She co-founded DK in 2006 in Seattle, after working as a staff editor and sometime-photographer for the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce. Special thanks: Kathelijne Adriaensen for artistic inspiration and Benjamin Nwaneampeh for the fun interview we got to do with him for ‘Don’t Just Document, Make Art’, the S P A C E podcast conversation about photography..

S P A C E | What is “good” internet?

CAN THE INTERNET bring us towards true connection? How do we get there? Listen to find out.

DK’s Dipika Kohli and Mae Rosukhon, a Sydney- and Bangkok-based member of our inner circle of S P A C E, are talking together about ‘the internet.’ Quality of life, health and relationships that are built on trust: these are the things. ‘It’s social isolation that really gets people down, especially in the later years of life,’ says Rosukhon, who has a background in government and health. Are the stream of constant notifications getting in our way of building real trust?

‘In this contemporary world and searching for the new, new experiences, new contacts… there’s an upside and a downside, right? [But] the trust between your friends, it’s that solid foundation that will always take you through and that’s got strong substance underneath.’ –Mae Rosukhon.

Read about Mae’s recent thoughts on life, meaning, and connection at this intriguing article she wrote, by hand, about death.

True connection

Images: from the series ‘Distracte’ by Dipika Kohli
// 2016

16 August | Zines x Coffee at Oulu Arts Night

DK AND FRIENDS TOGETHER co-host the zinemaking popup conversation salon and *happening* ‘Hei Kesä’ in Oulu. This is in collaboration with Kahvila Tuokio and Oulu Taiteiden Yö (Oulu Arts Night).

It was the delightful yellow bright interior of the cafe that got us thinking, ‘This would be a great place to host a zinemaking popup about summer, summer memories, summer stories, love, romance, all that kind of thing, and we’ll do it on 16 August to coincide with the citywide popup that is Oulu Arts Night.’

Kahvila Tuokio. Meet us here on 16 Aug.

An idea. A chance encounter, or two, and voila. Special thanks to Paavo Heinonen for including DK’s event in the Oulu Arts Night programme and conversing with us about how to make it even better. A great collaboration like ‘let’s do this. Let’s make it really fun for people, and let’s talk about who would want to be there, and then, what we can do to design a magic moment.’

That’s what starts all this. Sparkly things like discovering people, places, and the brightness of a yellow interior that feels exactly like ‘Hi, Summer.’

Speaking of, big thanks to Anu Lakkapää at Kahvila Tuokio for offering
the space. DK loved meeting her and talking about her passion for making cakes. Plus, the espresso was really, really good. (A must for any venue DK chooses for our events, hah.)

Cafe Onni x DK in Kärsämäki.

A SERIES. Shout-out, too, to Eveliina Karsikas. Eveliina owns the cake and coffee place Cafe Onni in Kärsämäki, which is relatively new here. If I’m correct, it opened this very summer, and we happened to be in the same town, and found it. The colorful interior here drew our eye and that’s part of why we made a coloring-book to share along with our usual zines. Eveliina had kindly co-hosted this event, ‘Hei Kesä’, with us in that town earlier this summer, on International Zine Day. (See picture at left).

OULU. Now our team is looking forward to getting the popup installed, and opening up the new zine show on 16th. The first part of our programme is a workshop, and there are very limited seats. Tickets are €15, includes materials, plus coffee, for the zinemaking workshop. Here is our schedule for the day. We’ll have all of our new zines with us to showcase and share on the day, too. All were made in Finland this summer, the set we call our S P A C E || Finland collection. Here’s a picture:

 

New zines from S P A C E || Finland collection // DK 2018

16 A U G U S T
1-4PM

Zines. Coffee. Real life.

Hei Kesä
@
Oulu Arts Night

1PM Workshop
€15 (price includes materials, plus coffee)
Ages 16+. Limited seats. Be sure to book in advance to confirm your spot: get tickets here.

3PM Zine Table
(free)


Book your ticket before 14 August, and you’ll get a free copy of the eBook by Alexis Jokela, ‘Kesä rakkausjuttu’.


Full programme of events >

21 July | A festival of the zine in Kärsämäki

ARE YOU IN FINLAND? Great.

Join Design Kompany and new friends in Kärsämäki for a once-off event, a Festival of The Zine. Celebrating International Zine Day, this will take place in various venues on Saturday, 21 July.

What are zines?
Zines are independently published periodicals. They are not fancy, nor are they mainstream. Rather, zines are part of the “indie, DIY (do-it-yourself) culture” that shares its spunky style with punk and other subcultures. With a zine you can express yourself freely, without the need for an editor. You can make as many or as few as you like, and you can decide who gets to read them, if anyone. Unlike social media and sharing of digital streams, zines are hands-on, and they’re shared in real life, with real people. You get to have a conversation. You get to see how people respond. It’s much more about the exchange and the quality of the connection, we feel, than it is about ‘producing’ for the sake of making ‘content’ for the masses. In an age where the internet can confuse and lie to us, zines give us a tangible grip on the here, and now, and remind us that at the end of the day, we get to create and write our own stories. The stories of our lives. The stories that remind us who we are.

Click the pic below to read the full programme for the day.

 

See the programme >

 

Discover zines with us at Cafe Onni. Find the event on FB >

 

For more advanced participants, we have a workshop, Atelier S P A C E. Make a zine with DK >

 

 

S P A C E update

FOR JULY CONVERSATIONS ONLINE, our workshops will also tie in with real life events. You’ll have a chance to contribute to some anthologies for the fall, and meet people we’re working with here in Finland, too. It’s been really cool so far hosting online workshops like ‘The Mirror,’ and salons like ‘A Nomadic Existence,’ and lately, a bizarre and curious one, ‘Strange Geometries.’ Applications are welcome, and preference will go to those who’re more new to DK. Built for those who could use some pause for self-reflection. DK are getting really good at holding the space and keeping you accountable to actually do the work. Read the blog post about ‘slow art’ and the ‘slow moment’, in particular, or just click the link below to see all the upcomings. (Or join this list to get reminders).

See what’s next »

A popup zine festival in Finland: ‘Hei Kesä’, celebrating International Zine Day

A summer festival of the zine in Kärsämäki


#heikesä

***

Saturday, 21 July

I N T E R N A T I O N A L  Z I N E  D A Y

H e i   K e s ä

Making zines. Sharing time. In real life.

 

P R O G R A M M E

 

10am
Atelier S P A C E | Kärsämäki


Details here

 

***

12-3pm

Hei Kesä @ Cafe Onni 


Details here

 

***

9pm
Author reading from the new zine ‘S P A C E || Kärsämäki’

Details here

25 May | KL ‘Kaunter Tiket’ zine launch party

*Happening.* Free with registration.

Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/arts-letters-society-tickets-44788701211

Open invite, +1s welcome. *Secret location* to be shared with registered guests only.

The Mirror Section Z

DK ARE INVITING a handful of new guests to participate in our online forum-workshop, The Mirror. Just six spots, details are here. (Note: a new eligibility requirement applies, please apply only if you’re new to DK in 2018.) New. That’s what we like, around here. Keeps it interesting. Airy. Fresh.

 

.

Introducing J A Z Z

‘What’s your music like?’

DK offer an 8-week online programme, JAZZ. It’s designed for jazz artists who want to be able to succinctly, genuinely, and meaningfully answer this question for new audiences.

First impressions count.

You only get 11 second to make that first impression, according to a friend in software sales.

And: ‘Oh. You like jazz? Jazz?… Jazz has a serious (design and) marketing problem.’

 

 

 

The problem with jazz today: ‘It’s hard to relate’

JAZZ MUSICIANS and jazz artists might have a great time making music, but when it comes to getting other people—fans—to see the value of it, that’s quite another skill set that takes more energy and work than many are prepared to do on their own. Hiring agents is one way, sure, but even then, you have to deal with them, and handle them, and that adds a layer of relationship management that is probably not ideal. Still, in a conversation salon with a gentleman who was in his 70s and worked in commercial photography all his life, we learned that if you don’t get an agent to market your work, for you, then you might as well give it up if you have aspirations to become ‘known.’

You do the work, make the art. Perhaps you’re aware of the commencement speech about this topic, ‘Make good art‘. But… is that enough? Artists and designers and musicians and architects and we smalltime business owners each struggle with this question. How much is enough? Where do I draw the line? Am I being true to the vision I set out to do?

But back to marketing. What if you could do it yourself, but do it in a way that really works?

That’s what we are investigating in the notes below. DK are searching the web and conversing with artists to get to know what works, what doesn’t work, and how to do this marketing stuff with real class in jazz, specifically. How do you keep it real?

What came back inspired this new 8-week only programme, JAZZ.

ART x DESIGN. Wherever we go and when we connect with our creative friends, we keep digging into this question, and others, like,  ‘What do you do when you’re not sure what to do?’ Artists. Designers. Illustrators. Manga-ka. People who are doing and making, and sharing, and competing with the world of clickbait, short-form, and the elusive arena of quality, which is becoming very hard to define, very quickly, in light of the plethora of ‘lookatthisnow’ and ‘lookatme’ selfie-ism and related attention-seeking bits.

 

IN SEATTLE in the 2000s, DK were in the business of designing brand identity. Sharpening focus, and getting people to see what it was they truly wanted to communicate. That involved deep introspection, of course. Reflective questioning. In the end, most of our clients were those in the creative fields (architects, designers, and software developers). It got interesting. It started to be about the question, ‘Why do we even make stuff?’ and sometimes more obscure and existentialist than that, ‘What am I doing with my life?’

Now, I believe, personally, from those experiences, that a big part of the reason why it’s hard to get people to see you as an artist of a particular kind (successful? Is that the word?) is because it’s hard to clarify the ‘what I’m great at’ question to yourself. I mean, communicating that in a way that people can relate to and they can see how this is going to make their life better, in some way. If you’re an artist, have you honestly asked yourself this: ‘What am I great at?’ Have you clearly narrowed it down to just one thing? When we walked through our old brand identity design process for a friend who makes electronic jazz music, he told us that the process ‘really helps me break this down.’ That was a good indicator that sometimes just talking it out and getting feedback and clarity through the process (the design process, let’s say), can get you out of the old frameworks where everything is a possibility and niching doesn’t seem possible… yet. Talking. Clarifying. Niching. These are the words of marketers, aren’t they?

In his article, ‘Marketing Jazz and the Public Perception,’ at AllAboutJazz.comChuck Anderson writes, ‘I have some thoughts on the marketing of jazz musicians and audiences. Though it’s easy to blame the media (and they deserve some of the blame), I think the biggest problem lies squarely on the shoulders of jazz musicians and the jazz community… This community has never promoted or marketed its art and craft at the level or with the same intensity as other musical idioms…  jazz… must be marketed with consistency and enthusiasm. It needs to recognize the role of fans in the success of any artist. The musicians have to do their part in promoting and marketing their art and craft… There is too often a distance and certain type of elitism that prevents audiences from getting “close.” This distance does not help spread the “good word” about jazz… The jazz musician and the jazz industry will, like any other business, have to invest in the services that are necessary to build a fan base and achieve worldwide exposure for their music, products and services. Read the article here.

Is jazz’ problem that people can’t connect?

Or something else?

What about ‘engaging with fans?’

This thread, started by jazz guitarist Henry Robinett, parses that query. Shows the difficulty in adjusting to the ways in which jazz musicians promote themselves and find new audiences. Is social media a great thing? Or is it a pain in the neck? What about the people who are ‘making it?’ What are they doing that’s so great, and are they really making it fiscally, or just in the eyes of their social media stats-watchers? I’m totally guilty of this myself; I met a pianist I thought was great and his big-deal promoter but when I went to twitter I saw he had not-that-many-as-I-thought fans. At the time I was on twitter a ton and was ‘growing my audience,’ but now, I’ve deleted it because… who cares? I’m interested in directly engaging, one conversation at a time… Maybe that’s slower… but I’m old school that way. I care about quality connection, that’s why I’m at DK. I care about art. Relationships are art. Music that’s great is great conversation, and that, too, is art. But I’m getting off topic, aren’t I? Check out that thread… it’s on a community forum about where the music is going and how to market it.

  • ‘Too esoteric.’
  • ‘Obscure.’
  • ‘Hard to relate to.’

I’m sure you’ve heard some of these things, too, before? If yes, let’s keep talking, because I think we’re hitting on something.

 

What jazz has that’s interesting to business: Creativity, flexibility and innovation

Maybe we’re not the first ones, though. Check out this abstract from a researcher:

This paper applies the metaphor of jazz improvisation to strategic marketing planning, making specific reference to Piercy and Morgan’s (1994) marketing planning model. Jazz metaphors have become increasingly prevalent in management studies, but as yet there is no specific reference to their use in marketing planning literature. The aim is to fill this gap by showing how the techniques of improvisation around a structural core can be applied to marketing planning models. Current models are too structurally rigid, and we outline steps to a more flexible approach. We invoke two models – ‘jazzers’ and ‘readers’ – and aim to show that ‘jazzers’ will yield greater success through greater levels of creativity, flexibility and innovation; elements that are essential to the success of strategic marketing planning. After characterising the models of jazzers and readers, we will apply them directly to Piercy and Morgan’s model of strategic marketing planning. —‘Jazz and marketing planning.’ That’s the title. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? Anyway, it’s by Noel Dennis & Michael Macaulay Read the abstract

 

Gain clarity and fine-tune the message with DK’s online workshop, JAZZ.

Jazz inspires business. Cool.

But what can jazz learn from business?

How to set goals, be clear about identity, make a commitment to a strategy, outline a program for communicating that vision. And yeah. Making sales.

 

‘Coletrane’ by DK, with DeLois and Carter Cue. Photo by OMNI, 2012

 

Sharpie art by DK. Photo by OMNI, 2012

 

 

If you are struggling with communicating your music and your style visually, DK can help. We’ve done a couple of really fun projects in the jazz scene: a drawing for a CD that came straight out of the notebook of a live-drawing session at a show in Copenhagen, for example, and a collaboration, ‘Math + Jazz,’ just ahead of a show of one of the mathematician-cum-pianists, who co-hosted with DK a small salon in the Elephant Bar at Raffles Royale in Phnom Penh. That was cool. Some pics:

Art by DK for Gunslinging Bird, 2016

 

Art that we make looks like this feed at instagram.

Curious what people have said about working with DK?

Check out what our (mostly brand identity design) clients have said, here.

 

SCHEDULE. This online workshop is 8 weeks. 

WHAT HAPPENS. Here’s how it works. Each week you’ll get an email with a thought-provoking conversation-starter. You’ll dialogue with DK and work through some of the ‘why do I do this?’ and ‘who wants to know?’ questions that anyone in marketing will ask you to think about. But with an additional component: a visual sketch of a single, unifying concept. The foundation for your brand. What does it look like? How does it ‘sing?’ These are questions designers like to ask their clients in early conversations during what’s called ‘the creative brief questionnaire.’ We’re going to go about it in online format, over 8 weeks. What you’ll get is a 5-word focus on the things your music does for people, and what makes it yours, uniquely, too.

WHAT YOU GET. Walk away with a clear picture of the ‘who I am’ and ‘why this matters’ questions. You’ll go through DK’s ‘focus’ programme, and we’ll work with you through an interactive conversation over 8 weeks to write your  ‘brand statement’. That’s the  deliverable.

FEES. This online programme is a flat, onetime fee.. Note: this does not include design, only dialogues and exchanges that lead to the ‘brand statement.’ This is a special sample-size programme that we offer so you can succinctly and memorably answer the question, ‘What’s your music like?’

 

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