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Creative AF // Discussions at the intersection of creativity and mental health
15 minutes | Nov 3, 2020
Creative AF - BONUS Mindfulness Episode - Anger and Negative Thoughts
Hey everyone…. Welcome to a special bonus episode of creative AF. During my years in sports medicine one of the things I learned that I completely underutilized during that time was mindfulness, meditation and progressive relaxation techniques. Probably because throughout these techniques I would tend to fall asleep to be quite honest. But 20 some years later I’ve learned how important these exercises can be for our mental well being. As I’m recording this today it’s the morning of November 3, 2020. We have no idea what the outcome of today will be but we do know that all of this craziness has worn on us. We are exhausted, scared and many of us feel completely lost. So I want to take a few minutes to help bring some focus back during these times. There will be two exercises I’ll take you through. One on anger, and one on dealing with negative thoughts. Take some time to find a comfortable place, even if it’s as your desk, a couch, your favorite chair, or even your floor. Find a place where you can relax and connect to something that will help ground you over the next 15 minutes or so. As you go about the rest of your day, remember to acknowledge the feelings your are feeling, name them, understand the thoughts and feelings that are behind them, and continue to move forward. Have a great day and we will talk to you soon
62 minutes | Oct 30, 2020
Creative AF - Dave Scheponik, Pittsburgh Penguins Sr. Manager, Creative Services
Dave Scheponik is a name most of you listening may recognize from our sports design twitter circles. Dave is the Sr. Manager of Creative Services for the Pittsburgh Penguins. If you’ve been following Dave recently you know that he isn’t one to mince words. Dave wears his heart on his sleeve and as he tweeted out recently, sometimes throwing it out into the universe is a great way to help himself cope. Dave’s journey started out and has continued in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. As you’ll hear soon sports wasn’t dave’s passion, but it was in his blood as it is in most of the population of Pittsburgh. He would have never guessed or even dreamed of it growing up but Dave would become the recipient of two back to back Stanley cup rings fairly early on in his career as a designer. But, with that achievement, always comes a high amount of stress and an insane amount of work, as many of us can attest to. Dave and I get real, and very raw emotions come out as we discuss the current sitation Dave is battling. He's deep in it (at the time this was recorded) and dealing with mental health, relationships, marriage and work, all in the midst of the COVID pandemic and NHL teams playing in a bubble. In Creative AF we dive into the intersection of Sports Creative and Mental Health. How we deal with the ups, the downs, and everything in between. Many of us are still in sports and many of us are out, but one thing is for sure, we will always be a part of the sports creative family.
94 minutes | Oct 17, 2020
Creative AF - Episode 8 - Sammy Silverman
Sammy Silverman is a name that should be super familiar to most people listening, but what you may not know is his story around his anxiety and how it caused him some pretty major burnout. As you will soon see, Sammy is extremely well spoken and insanely smart. Those traits took him from a full-time intern to one of the top creatives at The Ohio State University. This was a program that in the early wave of social media, really took off and became one of the preeminent programs in the country, leveraging not only a high energy coaching staff and leader in Urban Meyer, but also some truly unique personal branding for the student athletes and recruits. But with that dedication seems to always come a level of work that no-one would wish upon anyone else. Sammy was deep in the grind and as you’ll hear it really changed who he was as a human. Speaking of that, I wanted to start this podcast a little differently and just ask Sammy, how he was really doing during this crazy time in our history…
56 minutes | Aug 24, 2020
Creative AF - Roxy Dominguez
Hey everyone, I’m Jon Willey and this is Creative AF. A podcast that dives smack dab into the messy intersection of creativity and mental health, sharing stories of your highest highs and lowest lows. Roxy Dominguez is a name that some of you may know and many of you not, but I can guarantee you’ve seen her work if you are a fan of baseball or MLS soccer. In her first real job after college Roxy would find herself on a World Series Winning team in 2017 with the Houston Astros, as part of one of the premier design teams in all of sports at the time. But with those highs, came many lows, and many changes over the next few years. From a young age Roxy grew up in a very strict household where she became somewhat of a homebody and introvert but not always by choice. Roxy’s family was what she calls a traditional Mexican family where dating young or going to parties was simply not part of the culture. But creativity and art were never stifled. From a young age Roxy used her time in school and her access to magazines and yearbook club as a place to learn about the essentials of design and dabble in many different types of mixed media. With a family who loved sports and played sports growing up she had always had an affinity for sports, but honestly never played much of anything. Living in Texas in her childhood home and finishing an associates degree in fine arts, Roxy went away to the University of Houston to dive into a more focused degree in graphic design, and her parents moved there with her… Created by: Jon Willey Recorded and Edited by: Jon Willey
82 minutes | Aug 9, 2020
Creative AF - Episode 6 - Tyler Trout
Tyler Trout is a name that many of you listening are very familiar with, but you likely may now know what Tyler’s been up to for the past year or so since leaving the sports design world! Like many of us Tyler grew up with a love of sport and playing sports as well as a need to create all the time. As a D1 collegiate Discuss and Hammer captain he gained the leadership chops to really outline where he wanted to go in life. He got started early as you will hear, filling a need at the University of South Carolina creating some marketing posters for some of the lesser supported teams. Tyler would take this new found passion and run with it, making the right connections and building the right relationships along the way to land him in some of the most prestigious design jobs in the country, yet this drive and hunger to do things right also meant months and months of living the unhealthy grind life, working till 3-4am consistently for months on end and being completely disconnected from all outside life and relationships, including his marriage at one point in the not so recent past. But, like many of us coming through college with a sense of wonder and openness to new ideas Tyler would go through many different paths to eventually end up really falling in love with design.
54 minutes | Jul 23, 2020
Creative AF - Episode 5 - Alex Krahling
Hey everyone, I’m Jon Willey and this is Creative AF. A podcast that dives smack dab into the messy intersection of creativity and mental health, sharing stories of your highest highs and lowest lows. What you will hear at the beginning was a recent post from our guest on this episode, Alex Krahling. Alex is on her way to fast becoming one of the most influential young design business owners I’ve certainly known, and is doing it all while teaching others her secrets and the reasons why doing something for yourself first and foremost is THE most important part of your journey as a creative. I first met Alex when Surf Melendez and I were invited to come down and have these classes at Miami Ad School pitch campaign ideas to us. Alex and her friends Steph and Bre went out of their way after their pitch to invite Surf and I to lunch in Wynwood and we’ve kept in touch ever since! While her story is one of success and ownership now, it wasn’t always perfect. Alex battled through some extremely low points in her life that all seemed to hit her all at once. But her competitive spirit and hard working, make ideas happen NOW ethos really propelled Alex into the next and current phase of her life, which in all honesty is one that I strive for as well and we should really all strive for at some point in our career. But Alex wasn’t always in the design space and didn’t even study design in undergrad… She started out like many of us, loving to make cool shit!
124 minutes | Jul 10, 2020
Creative AF - Episode 4 - Kyle Chuises
When he was growing up as a skater and self proclaimed rebel during the early 2000’s, Kyle Chuises could always feel that something wasn’t quite right inside. Struggling through a messy divorce of his parents and dealing with some early loss of some close friends Kyle had to make some very important decisions on how to move forward with his education and how serious he needed to begin taking things, even though as you’ll hear the best decision wasn’t always made. Now while many of the stories we’ve told on this show have revolved around the struggles and pressures of sports design and creativity, what Kyle realized was that those dream jobs he would have would certainly have an effect on him personally and his mental health, but his story shows us that so many of the external elements in our lives outside of our jobs can also be primary contributors to our personal mental health issues. This life journey that we wake up in every day isn’t easy and sometimes we actually use our jobs as an escape for the reality of what our home and personal life may be! Similar to many of us, through some hard work and a lot of self proclaimed Luck, Kyle landed in some amazing sports design jobs, but he has also experienced the other side of the design life as a UX/UI and product designer for a few different digital agencies. Starting off though, Kyle’s love of sports was manifested through his love of skateboarding! He found that skateboarding culture was driven by art and design in everything from the boards themselves, to the clothing lines and brands associated with it! This passion led him to some interesting places throughout his childhood…
101 minutes | Jul 2, 2020
Creative AF - Episode 3 - Will Posthumus
The sports industry is one of the most exciting and fulfilling careers that anyone could have. But this business is so much more than the 16 NFL games put on by a team during the year, or the 162 MLB games in a season. In order to fill those stadiums with people, make them look beautiful for an entire season day in and day out, entertain 70k people for every second a play isn’t occurring, and push the 24/7 social media content machine to be the best in all of sports, it takes a team of people working sometimes non-stop to make this happen. When Will Posthumus was deep into his 11 year tenure as one of the leading live event and video producers in the country in professional and collegiate sports he never thought one simple timing misstep in a commercial break of an NFL game would lead him to re-evaluate the entire career he had built up to that point!
11 minutes | Jun 26, 2020
Creative AF Bonus Episode // Mindfulness Meditation on Loneliness
Welcome to our first bonus episode of Creative AF. Each week I will record a mindfullness exercise based on my past experiences and some resources I currently use. Similar to a calm or headspace meditation but bringing the focus into some of the current struggles we are facing today and letting ourselves stop and breathe. This episode will focus on Loneliness. We will do a 5 breath exercise together and steady our mind to better understand our feelings of lonelinss, accept them, and learn how to use them as an ally.
13 minutes | Jun 24, 2020
Creative AF - Episode 1 - My story
Hey everybody this is Jon Willey and I’d like to Welcome you to the very first episode of Creative AF. As the cliche so eloquently puts it, the struggle is real. And I personally know how real it is as well. On January 12th, after 20 years working in collegiate and pro sports I stepped away. It was a decision that haunted me for many years before I made the jump but I knew deep down in the depths of my gut that my time was up, and not to anyone’s doing but my own. I had no reason to leave the job I was at. I was fully vested in both an MLB and NFL pension, I had rebuilt two creative and photography departments into something I was insanely proud of and most importantly I had made lifelong friends and as those of us in the business would say, a new family. But the toll this life took on my mental health was one that I thought I may never recover from. I hope you enjoy this first episode of many more to come!
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