I grew up in an almost football free environment in Eugene, Oregon. Back when I was growing up, the college football team was horrible (since then, Nike has pumped in tons of money and they are one of the best teams in the country, but that was after I moved out of state). In high school, soccer was higher prestige than football. Oregon had no NFL team. So football really was not on my radar as a kid.
Now I live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where football is so woven into the culture, it practically IS the culture. From youth football, to college, to the Steelers, football glues this town and region together.
I see the appeal. It’s an interesting game. It also dovetails with Pittsburgh’s blue collar past. The Steelers were dominant at exactly the same time it’s steel industry collapsed in the 1970′s. People remember them as a bright spot in that bleak time, and football helps Pittsburghers feel tough as they sit behind their computers punching numbers into spreadsheets and designing logos with graphics software. And it serves as an important touchstone for the Pittsburgh diaspora who scattered around the country during the city’s economic collapse.
But it grosses me out at the same time.
It’s a brutal game, practically designed to create head trauma and other physical injury.
It’s an absurdly macho game. I would hate to go to high school here, in the shadow of this sport.
And like any institution that is venerated, that puts people on pedestals. important figures get away with behavior that is totally messed up. Jerry Sandusky? Ben Roethlisberger (OK, not proved in court, but would you leave your daughter anywhere near this guy? Ick)?
So, whatever. Enjoy your football. In point of fact, it’s growing on me. But I sure as heck would not want my kids to play it. And I would not even want them to grow up in such a football saturated environment. There’s more, and better to life. Pittsburgh is blessed with natural beauty, culture, and brains, but I think football will always be hugely important here. And that’s great for a lot of people. Me, not so much.
(Capturing conversation at the community partnership workshop)
If you are in any of the photos and would like your name captioned, send me an email jonny(at)envizualize.com, or comment below and I will write a caption for you.
Helping plan and run an International Forum of Visual Practitioners (IFVP) conference was a powerful learning experience, once that I am still processing a month after the 2012 event. It was great to go through all the photos in the conference photo group to find these. The thing that made me happiest of all, was seeing the number of people who showed interest in helping produce the 2013 conference! It was a privilege and an honor being part of IFVP 2012. I was very excited to see a number of people show interest in producing IFVP 2013 in NYC. That kind of passion and ownership from the community bodes well for the IFVP and for visual practice.
At MAYA Design. One thing we did differently this year: we held a few sessions offsite at MAYA and at the Toonseum.
Roberta Faulhaber, at the offsite mini-workshop at MAYA Design, visually exploring how to communicate the business value of one of her services.
Mike Roy led the mini workshop on developing a visual statement that communicates the value of our services.
Where one of the early planning sessions for the conference took place, Leah Silverman’s chalkboard equipped closet . That’s Leah Silverman, Emily Marko, and myself from left to right.
A video I produced to promote the conference which they showed in Hawaii. Most people don’t know much about Pittsburgh, so we thought it would be useful to make a little informational video.
Pittsburgh City Council Representative Bill Peduto sponsored a proclamation that July 24-27, 2012 be “International Forum of Visual Practitioners Week” In Pittsburgh.
Visual practitioners from around the world flocked to Pittsburgh.
Mike Rohde talked about his Sketchnoting journey.
Yes, there are a lot of bridges in Pittsburgh.
Zane Groshell, Prezi Evangelist, who dove into the conference headfirst.
A happy person!
We had an absurd amounts of swag to give away. It was grueling for my co-emcee, Heather Willems of ImageThink (right) and myself.
Getting groovy at the Warhol Museum party.
Pictures do not lie.
Getting thoughtful at the Business Panel.
Leenie Fabri, who will be one of the co-chairs of the 2013 conference in New York City.
Board from Jim Nuttle’s cartooning mini-workshop
Michell Boos-Stone displays her mastery. It’s a masterclass just being in the same room with her.
More goodies…this is getting out of control.
Lynn Kearny, getting digitally graphic.
Never. Ever. Mix. Stripes. And. Dots.
The right shoes are critical. Mine above.
A moment of joy.
Local artist Terrell makes his move.
Lloyd Dangle’s iPad notes from the design thinking panel.
Still in art school, diving into visual practice.
I just like this.
In the zone.
Lynn Carruthers, who produced the 2011 Conference in Hawaii, came to the City of Bridges to connect.
Community workshop panarama.
This is real. I swear.
Photo from the author event, where visual practitioners shared the ideas from books they authored.
From the general meeting where attendees worked on the IFVP’s organizational strategy. Rachel Smith of the grove on left.
Pre-conference Graphic Recording 101 Workshop with Lisa Arora and Rachel Smith instructing.
Lloyd Dangle cartooning workshop.
Our wrapup speaker, Nahum Gershon, Principal scientist at the MITRE Corporation, being engaged by a conference participant. MITRE Corporation is one of the major R&D players in the country. From Wikipedia:
It manages Federally Funded Research and Development Centers (FFRDCs) supporting the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the Federal Judiciary.
I am lucky to have John Sully as a friend and occasional artistic partner in crime. He swung through Pittsburgh recently and I handed him my McNally Strumstick to see what he would do with it. He had never played one of these, but he figured it out in about 6 seconds.
Here John is using a lighter to play slide strumstick:
We did a little blues jam here:
And here’s John putting the strumstick through a variety of paces from Banjo to Flamenco stylings:
Our daughter is 9 months old now, and I had not sketched her for way too long. So here’s the latest. She was moving around so I kind of drew from my imagination for part of it. That means I probably was influenced by the face I have drawn the most—my own, so Josie looks a bit less like me than this drawing indicates.
My wife tried to influence our newborn’s taste preferences by eating flavorful foods while pregnant. NPR featured her in a story about the research behind this approach to encouraging children to enjoy various food flavors. Listen here.
For the folks who saw me talk at Pecha Kucha Pittsburgh, here are some links I assembled put together to resources for people interested in rethinking the drug war. Yes my talk was called “The War on Sugar,” but it wasn’t really about sugar. It was about what happens when criminalize something lots of people want. Yes, over consumption of sugar is bad for you, but do we want to throw people in prison for it? Is that the best way to deal with the problem? I don’t believe so.You’ll have to make up your own mind about it. What do you think?
Pecha Kucha is an event which happens in cities all over the world where people give 6 minute talks along with timed slides about whatever they want.
I will be giving a talk called “The War on Sugar” accompanied by my own hand-drawn illustrations. The talk is a thought experiment musing about what would happen if we banned sugar the way we banned a variety of other substances like cannabis, heroin, and methamphetamine. After all, sugar is very bad for us—over 71,000 people in the USA had diabetes listed as the cause of death in 2007. In the same year over 161,000 death certificates listed diabetes as a contributing factor, and surely over consumption of sugar was a contributor to many of those deaths. But would we want to criminalize consumption and production of sugar? Hmmm….
When: 8PM, Thursday, June 30
Assemble (Art and Tech Community Space)
5125 Penn Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15224
In this event, attendees will describe what makes their neighborhood great, not so great, and just plain distinctive as I render their descriptions as illustrations on the wall so everyone can see the stories unfold with pictorial accompaniment. This should be a great way to learn about different parts of Pittsburgh and meet some community minded folks.
When: 7:30 PM, Thursday, July 7.
Where: Assemble (Art and Tech Community Space)
Assemble (Art and Tech Community Space)
5125 Penn Ave Pittsburgh, PA 15224