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Episode 137: Hosts Lisa Slagle + Iris Matulevich on Radical Intentionality In Creativity

That's right, it's a reverse interview! The interviewers become the interviewees on this very special episode of Outside By Design. We asked friend of the podcast Andrea Slusarski (artist, professor of art education, and Instagram sensation @drawingfromnature) to interview us and hot damn, she nailed it!

Lisa and Iris chat with Andrea about how they express their creativity, what they've learned from the podcast, what design really is, and how conflict and curiosity impact creativity. This episode dives DEEP, so don't forget your SCUBA gear.

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Episode Transcript

Andrea: Hi, welcome to Outside by Design. This is a podcast takeover with your host, Andrea Slusarski AKA Drawing From Nature AKA Professor Slu, and I'm here to interview Lisa and Iris. Hi guys!

Lisa: The tables have turned.

Iris: You're doing such a good job.

Andrea: Well, thank you. I learned a lot from listening to Outside by Design, so I'm happy to do my best today. And in that, my first question to both of you is describe where you are and what are you looking at?

Lisa: [laughs] This is so fun. Okay, well, this is Lisa.

Andrea: Thank you for being here, Lisa.

[Lisa and Iris laugh]

Lisa: Thank you for having me. I'm in my office in Crested Butte, Colorado. I’m in my home office. It's really trashed right now because my friends came to visit me and they have three wonderfully artistic children that used all my art supplies and just threw them everywhere. So, I'm blaming children, but it was probably me.

Andrea: Yeah, probably.

Iris: This is Iris. I'm at the WHEELIE office, but I'm inside an office inside the WHEELIE office, which usually I don't spend time in because I need space for all my activities. But right now, so it's quiet, I'm sitting in a small office on a couch and I have blankets and a podcast mic. That's it.

Lisa: And you're in Montana.

Iris: Oh yeah, I'm in Whitefish. Whitefish, Montana.

Andrea: Well, Iris, thank you also for being here. I wish I could send you-

Iris: You’re welcome!

Andrea: Yeah, I wish I could send you some of the Colorado sunshine that is springtime, right now where I am in Denver.

So it's been four years since you have introed yourself with the podcast. And I'm… that just makes me so curious. So I'm so happy you've invited me on here to interview you both. Do you want me to start with my hard questions or my easy questions?

Lisa: I'm not one for small talk. So let's, let's do it. Let's go right into the hard questions.

Andrea: You know, that is why we are pals, Lisa Slagle. I want to know from the both of you, this is Outside by Design, talking about creativity and its intersection and the outdoors. I want to know how you personally express your creativity. What is your creative voice? And I'm hoping for nontraditional answers here.

Iris: I think that I like to find creativity in two ways and one is at work, obviously, because we're a creative agency. So, pretty much all the things that I do, which is a lot of different things, at WHEELIE are creative in some way. And then also, I like to be creative outside of work, where I'm maybe not getting paid or not having other parameters. And I kind of liked those two different ways because at work there's, like, parameters that you're operating in and you're kind of creating for someone else or for a brand, so you get to be creative almost within… a fence - not a box necessarily, ‘cause you get to push the limits a little bit - but there's like parameters. And then if you're… like at home, in my personal life, I have the opportunity to create without parameters, like without any rules, without any boundaries. And that can be really challenging, but it is also fun and frustrating. And so that's like through art or creating stuff, writing, like journaling, reading, moving my body. And I find that really difficult sometimes to not have any parameters, which is why I choose, like, creative work that does have parameters. But to have both of those is like working different sides of your brain. And I'm glad that I get to explore creativity in both those ways in my life.

Andrea: Yeah, Iris, that's really cool. And that's really touching on some really important aspects of creativity. So I'm excited to dive into that more with you after we hear Lisa, how do you, how do you express yourself or your creative voice? What does that mean to you?

Lisa: Well, that time you were at my house in Crested Butte, and we were using alcohol inks, we really determined, I still hadn't found my voice, [laughs] not with my new medium. You, on the other hand, made professional quality artwork that's probably going to end up being the cover of my book because…

Andrea: I'm a professional, Lisa.

Lisa: You are a professional. It was quite hilarious though. The difference of what we were making. Other than the use of alcohol inks, I feel more comfortable with my creative voice. And I do think that creativity for me is like a way of being and that I just can't get around. I'm constantly looking and thinking about why things are the way that they are, how I can find new solutions to things, how many different solutions I can find to things. And just being really curious about the world that we live in. I think this comes out sideways sometimes. Like, I feel sad for any man who's ever dated and lived with me long-term because I like to wake up at three in the morning and be like, “Hey, do you think that animals know what happens when we die? But they just can't speak English?” You know, and these are like things that get to me in the middle of the night and I just need to know. And so I just feel like curiosity is the backbone of it. And then I do think that having a sense of humor is the way I survive my own creativity daily.

Andrea: Yeah. You need some of that humor to really be in and be able to be out of seeing your own creative voice, too, at the same time.

Well hot dang, you two. So in my day job, I am a professor of art education. And I really like to dig in and dive deep on the psychology of creativity and understanding how creativity, you know, is taught and how it impacts our brains. And, you know, as an artist myself, I've really enjoyed listening to this podcast throughout the years and learning from all the creatives and all the variety of creative voices that you bring on to this podcast. It really, you know, just layers onto my interests of being an artist in the outdoors and also studying creativity.

Now, you both picked like really cool things about creativity. So I want to dig in deeper with you. Can we do that?

Lisa: [laughs] Yes. !ou are, you should just host this podcast. You're amazing.

Andrea: I mean… just… I've been practicing. I'm so excited. And Lisa, you said that creativity first was a way of being, which is super cool because Iris talked about her creativity being in these two separate areas. But if you really think about it, those two separate areas are all everything that Iris is doing. So you both, I want to, you know, art teacher clap to you that you've worked really hard on keeping that creative voice. Because that… being able to see creativity, like I asked you, I don't know, like non-traditional senses, like, is it drawing or painting? You both answered like as a part of your life. So I want to know a little bit more like how you thought that way or what kind of learning or lessons in your own creative lives, or maybe through this podcast have led you to seeing creativity as something that you've threaded through a lot of things in your lives.

Lisa: A hell of a question. Wow. Wow. My brain is like short-circuiting cause there's so many ideas at once.

Andrea: I see your face and I love it. That's where the humor is the best is because like we just can laugh at these things. They're huge concepts, but they're so great. Yeah.

Lisa: So I… I think that life is full of conflict. And creativity ends when conflict is viewed as a wall. And so there is no creativity. Right? But then if you have curiosity, I think that those are the two things conflict plus curiosity is where creativity comes from. Because if you get curious, you're going to start thinking, well, what else is possible? Can I go over this wall? Under it? Through it? Can I build something? Does it float? You know, and so I think that having a curious mindset is really the key to all creativity and also a desire to get over the wall or move past it. Right? Or whatever, in my weird metaphor. But I do think that there has to be a willingness to try and a willingness to fail. And know that what you're making probably won't work, but you just keep trying, you just keep showing up and one day you will be able to make alcohol ink art. You know, one day.

Andrea: Iris, what do you think?

Iris: I will say that, Lisa, Andrea's question made me think about our favorite podcast review that we've ever gotten, which said something along the lines of, “for the love of God, please stop calling yourselves creatives all the time.”

[Andrea laughs]

Iris: And I think about it a lot, because it's like, who's to say? Like, you, you don't get a license to be a creative. Like, you don't have to pass a test. It's just a state of being. And I… to me, it's a consequence of being human, right? Like, if you're being a human on this earth and moving around and not just staying in bed (although staying in bed in your dreams, like, you're creating dreamscapes). So like, you can't not be a creative. And I think it made me think about it because in a lot of like traditional visual art, like you said, like painting and drawing, like that's not my wheelhouse. And so I did also have the feeling like people say like, “oh, I'm not a creative because I can't draw.” And it's like, no, you just, that's not your calling. Like that's not your area of expertise.

But to be creative, you don't have to be good at it. You just have to do it. Like, that's it. You can draw something shitty and you, you drew something! And to keep doing it, you get better at it eventually. And I think that is what I love about creativity, is that like, who cares? No one has to see it. No one has to look at it. It can suck. It can be awful. You can hate it personally, but you did it. And that's all it takes. That's all it takes, is just deciding to do it, to make something that wasn't there before.

Andrea: [snapping noises] I mean, snapping. Yeah!

[ad break]

Andrea: You know, to continue that on, to get more of your thoughts, you know, I'm gonna just reiterate, Lisa, you, you gave us that beautiful math equation, that conflict plus curiosity equals creativity. And Iris, you know, to quote Nike, you just gotta do it. Both of these really make me think about your mindset and how you grow your mindset.

Because in order to stay curious in times of conflict, you have to almost, you know, I know for myself personally, it's, it's definitely like a mantra that I have to remind myself, even when I know I have like the skillset. So how do you think… this is a two-part question, I guess. One, what has doing this podcast and interviewing all these creatives, what have you personally learned about your creative mindset? And then B, how do you see your creative mindset or what are you currently like viewing it as? Like, do you think about it daily? Is it… or is it just something that has been embedded in your life? I'm just curious about that.

Lisa: Well. Okay.

Andrea: I mean, I just like go in between like your snowboard punk artist friend, and then like a psychology professor. And I'm sorry, I feel kinda like I'm jerking you around on this one, but this is what this podcast like really means to me is like, I love hearing people's mindsets and how they've kept their creativity going and then their podcasts, you get them to be really vulnerable about that.

Lisa: Well, this is - again, hitting me with a great question. So the podcast is a really interesting medium for me in a lot of ways, because oftentimes I feel incredibly socially awkward.

Andrea: Heard that.

Lisa: [laughs] Yeah. And so it's, and it's hard sometimes to have like a heavy conversation with someone that you've never met before and speak for an hour. And part of your brain knows that the words are for someone else because we have listeners and, you know, so it's very interesting that we're working through all these layers on the podcast. And I've worked really hard to become a good podcast host through the years. But I can't say it was that natural for me in the beginning.

And… that being said, my main medium of creativity is writing. And so I am a woman of words. And for that reason, I really like the podcast because it's an exchange of words and ideas. And so a lot of mindset clues - to me ,when I'm interviewing people - come from their word choice, even simple word choices between ‘but’ and ‘and.’ Or the tone in which someone speaks and the cadence in which they're thinking things through, like. So I've kind of picked up on some social cues to make podcasting easier and better. And the thing that I've learned about the creative process is that everyone is so unique and badass, and we have all these people on the podcast. And I really think the magic of the creative process is bringing your own special flare to it. And that's where things get really good when you don't copy- Oh, I saw a quote on Instagram the other day. Speaking of copying, I was like, “oh, that's so good. I wish that I had written it. It said when we don't know who we are, we copy. When we know who we are, we create. LAnd I was like, Ooh, right to the gut. I was like, that's…

Andrea: That gets ya.

Lisa: Oh, that's a good one. So anyway, that's, that's where I go with this and that question.

Iris: Yeah. I think you summed it up really well. Especially since you're the one interviewing people and I'm usually the one behind the scenes, like setting it up and everything.

And I would just say that it has taught me that you never… like, not to put people in a box. Because time and time and time again, I ask someone to be on the podcast and then they just like blow us out of the water, talking about something completely different. And so often we ask guests to come on the show and then they're like, “oh, can you send me a list of questions?” And it's like, sure, but… on this show, for some reason, we go into tangents. Like, it won't end up to be the questions that we sent you anyway. And I think that's what I find so interesting about the medium is that it's incredibly intimate because it's like you're having just a corner of a coffee shop conversation with somebody and you get to learn so much. And man, every time we have someone on the show, it seems like we're surprised. Like - and not because we didn't think they'd be interesting, but just the conversations go in places that we didn't know that they would, the way that, like, deeply entrenched business people talk about creativity, the way that deeply entrenched creative artists talk about business. And it's always just so fascinating. And it just goes to show that you're a lot more than who you are on your LinkedIn profile.

Andrea: Wow. I mean, I'm excited that this podcast goes on tangents because I'm happy I asked you both that question.

Lisa: And Iris edits the podcast. And so she gets all of it, you know, she gets the raw unfiltered stuff and doesn't really have to like polish it much typically. But I think you're deeply ingrained in the podcasting process over there, Iris.

Iris: Yeah. I listen to each episode about three or four times over. [laughs] So.

Andrea: Awesome. Where, okay-I guess I'm going to go back to my sketchbook notes. Because I made sketchbook notes.

Lisa: Nerd.

Andrea: Yeah. Nerd alert! Totally. And I want to, you know, maybe dig back - or, into the word design now. And, you know, I love to like piggyback, just taking ‘by design,’ I like how that phrase is, is almost like an invitation for people. Like, design your creative process, design your mindset. And what's really cool about design - right back to that word - as someone who's studied design, is that there are processes we could take and there's kind of tricks and tools along the way. So with… let's start first, just, I want to get both of your opinions of like, what is design to both of you and then maybe what do you hope sharing people's design processes helps in hearing.

Lisa: Iris I’ll let you kick that one off.

Iris: Okay. I don't know where this came from, but when you were asking that question, I thought… like my definition of design is like, it's more than creativity. I think it's like creativity plus, like, intention, because… [laughs] with creativity, like that can be doodling. That can be like, absentmindedness, and… but that's not designed to me. And like when you're designing something, you have a purpose in mind, you're approaching it with intention and you're trying… it's creativity, but like being pushed in a direction, creativity with direction, maybe. And so that's kind of… I like the name of the podcast for that reason as well, because design can apply to so many different areas of industry and art. And that's kind of what we talk about is like, “Hey, how do you explore creativity? And with what intention do you do it?” That's, that's the vibe I get from the word design. [laughs]

Lisa: Iris is a genius.

Andrea: [laughs] Yeah she is!

Lisa: I know, I don't know if the audience has known it all along, but I've known it since the day I met her.

Andrea: Genius.

Lisa: [whispers] genius.

Along those veins there, Iris, I also thought design is intentionality. And like doing… that was the exact word that came to me, was trying to do something with the art of intentionality and not necessarily the attachment that it has to work. And so graphic design, you're trying to accomplish something in the two dimensional space.

If you're designing a life, there's a radical intentionality about how you want to live or the parameters in which you show up. And so, yeah, I think that I don't have a ton to add to your really brilliant answer there, Iris. I think, I think it's all about radical intentionality.

Andrea: Yeah. And, and I want to share a connection that I heard in your definitions, to get a further perspective from you both. Because, I confess, I'm kind of a WHEELIE fan girl.

Iris: [laughs]

Andrea: I mean, kinda, I mean, by a lot. I'm super stoked on just, not just this podcast, but also your work and a lot of your, you know, Lisa said, you're a woman of words. And just like reading kind of what WHEELIE has to say about creativity in the industry it's, it's really inspiring to me. So A, thank you both.

But as an educator, I teach what's called the backwards design process and that is something that I love to use the term “student-centered.” Where I start with who my student is. And I think about what their interests are, what their needs are, what their cultural wealth is maybe in the classroom. And, and then I, and then I blow it out from there and I use a design process in how I like and construct my curriculum and how I teach it to that student. What I've been seeing from WHEELIE and what I'd love to hear more about your perspective is having the human at the center of your design process, because I don't think it's very far off from how I look at it as a teacher thinking of my student as the intentionality.

Lisa: Hmm.

Andrea: So how do you see humans as intentionality and design?

Iris: Well, as the marketing major inside me, I think that really ties into kind of a pitfall that people run into in marketing, which is forgetting about who your marketing is for. So- and this is specifically like in creativity when it comes to business - like, we can put out, your brand can put out something that you like, but if it's not made with the consumer in mind, then it's not going to have the impact that you want. So like the intentionality there with things that you're creating as a brand or as a personal brand, as a person - even as an artist, you're trying to invoke something in the viewer, right? Like, you can't necessarily control it, but you're creating with what you want the person to feel in the end. And that's not necessarily you. It's who your consumer is.

So I love that kind of idea. And I think we forget about it a lot as marketers. ‘Cause you're like, what are the trends? What's the catchy sales word that is converting the best? Right? And like, what's the cool new font? But if you're not remembering and like creating it around the consumer, or if you don't know your consumer, then it's going to fall flat. And that's like the attention that you have to have specifically with creativity from like a business perspective.

Lisa: Well, I’ll try to not be too heady in this response, which is this. As a creative director - which sounds often to me like an oxymoron in itself, as well as the word creative agency, also an oxymoron. I digress.

So anyway, as a creative director, I usually am responsible for budgets and return on investment, ROI. And so when someone invests money with WHEELIE, it's our job to double if not triple their investment. Even if it's through brand impressions, which are hard to measure. So at the end of the day, because there's this transaction happening, that does guide a little bit of the creative process.

However, I deeply love what I do for a living. I love it so much. And, and so it's this really interesting place to be in time and space because… and it's really, really human. So. You have to basically hold this tension between the past, the present, and the future, and you have to exist in it. And really, really… It's a tension. And it's held up because in the present that's the creative process, but you are focused on the future, which is the outcome of the work you're making, the impact it will have. So you're being very future thinking while accepting the present process and also embracing the fact that every single person working on the project brings their past lived experiences and knowledge into exactly who they are when creating in the present moment.

So you have to honor the past and all the human experiences, enjoy the present and really get curious about your creative process, and hopefully do something future minded in a way that all the work pans out, the risk was worth the reward, and it makes the intended impact and connects with people in the world.

One last point on this, is that the deep belief that… we love our clients, we love our work and we love humans in general, humanity. And so to be loved, you must be seen. And allow yourself to be seen. And conversely, to love, you must see. So really, really looking at shit and letting yourself be wrong in that creative process. Letting yourself find surprises allows others to be surprised and delighted by the work that you make.

Andrea: Thank you, Lisa.

[all laugh]

Lisa: Yep.

Andrea: I mean, I giggle, but I also really take that little mantra to heart too. And I'm just going to repeat it back to cause, you know, while you're talking, I'm like frantically scribbling my words. And that is to be able to exist in three modes. And that's honoring your past, enjoying your present, and being hopeful for your future.

And if I could, like, start every meeting I have with a class or with colleagues with like, you know, that kind of attention, I think we would have, like, really great conversations.

Lisa: Yeah. And that's why it's so important who's behind the lens as well as in front of it. Right? Because when someone picks up a camera, they're bringing all their lived experiences into literally their lens of the world. And that's so beautiful.

[ad break]

Andrea: You know, a theme this season I've been picking up on is that Lisa really loves every episode.

[all laugh]

And like, I can't lie. Like, I've also been like loving and, you know, just like totally being frothed out on all the topics. And it makes me think of the humanizing of the creative process that you talked about with Casey Callahan at Burton.

Lisa: Oh yeah, she was cool.

Andrea: And, you know, I think that was such a cool takeaway I got from the podcast then that kind of connects back to here, thinking of what your intention is for creativity or, you know, how are you going to follow design to get to there?

Lisa: And non-attachment yeah.

Andrea: Yeah. It's all about that process, baby.

Lisa: Yeah. Except when people are throwing quite a budget at you and you're like, “oh, it's about the process that works. But, you know.

Andrea: Yeah, yeah, it's a balance.

Lisa: It's a balance, it's a balance.

Andrea: Always a balance. Do you… do either of you have anything you'd like to share more on my podcast? [laughs]

Lisa: I would like Iris to describe like… a normal day at WHEELIE.

Iris: Oh God.

Andrea: Yes, please, Iris.

Iris: Does that exist?

Andrea: I want to hear what a day at WHEELIE’s like, because I've always like secretly dreamt of what it would be like.

Iris: [laughs] Well, I would say there isn't a normal day at WHEELIE, especially with just the conglomerate of ADHD creatives that we've amassed over the years. [laughs] I would say it usually starts with Lisa sending like a G chat message, like way too early on some thing, like article- so like I wake up in the morning and there's like a message. It’s like, “look at this article I found at 7:00 AM!” ‘Cause she's been awake for like three hours.

Lisa: It’s true.

Iris: And then, gosh, we have like Monday morning meetings - which are really fun. We used to have them daily, but we spent like way too much time just being friends. So it was a huge waste of time where we were just talking about anything but what we were actually supposed to be talking about - But where we kind of lay out everything that's going on that week, all the different clients… because agency life is a little unique in that there's so many different projects going on and they're all on separate timelines and they all have different people involved and they all have different goals in mind. So that's kind of what I've always enjoyed about kind of the agency model is doing something different constantly.

And then usually like our accounts-side people are in a hell of a lot of meetings. And I am not. Which is great.

Andrea: Smart, Iris.

Iris: And we listen to some like, ambient tunes for the most part and crank out a bunch of creative. Sometimes there's dogs involved. Sometimes we have lunch club, eat lunch together. And yeah, it's very interesting to work with creative people. All of their different quirks. And to like learn each other's quirks and see like how people like to be communicated to, how people take notes, how people explore their creativity, is just so fascinating. And it's been really fun over… what, like four years now.

Andrea: Wow, Iris. And that's really cool, especially how you said earlier that, you know, work is also like a really good creative parameter for you too. And hearing you talk about just like what you learn from the other creatives, too. Like, that's really cool in a creative process.

Iris: Yeah. It's why I could never be a freelancer because it's just like… having people to bounce things off of and that whole, like, support system is so helpful and important.

Andrea: That's awesome. You both told me at the beginning that, you know, you're not the greatest at introducing yourself, but I've really enjoyed this conversation today. And I think I've learned a lot too, about your creative and design processes.

Lisa: I think, I think I would like your outside perspective. On what… okay. I get really insecure about my leadership skills because I'm really trained in creative services. Right? So I'm very confident in my abilities as a creative director, but I've been an employer for over 10 years now. And I'm still… that's the hardest thing is kind of that. I would just love some feedback maybe from Iris and Slu, because Iris works with me every day, you know, how would you describe my leadership style? And Slu, you work on the outside, you know, you're not, you're, you're just, you're a homie. And, so, you know, how does it look on the outside? Let's fact check and close the gap.

Andrea: Okay. Fact-check. Iris. You go first.

Iris: Ooh. I would say that you do a lot of like leadership from behind, like pushing people maybe into their discomfort a little bit and you're there to like catch you if you fall. But like you, you know that we can do it even if like we don't believe in ourselves necessarily.

I think like that's probably your happy place as a leader instead of like more of a delegator in that sense, you're like pushing your team to find their own creativity and to come up with their own solutions. That maybe is in a different direction than you would have gone, but that's okay. I think like that's kind of where you default to, for the most part.

But man, there's so many different kinds of leadership. And like being… like, you bring a lot of like emotional feelies to things, too, that the rest of us probably would never think about. And like bringing that up a lot. So like emotional leadership almost, that maybe the rest of us are just like grinding out the to-do lists and like the steps. And then you're like, “okay, but how does that make you, like, how does this make you feel and how does this impact the people that interact with it?” and that kind of thing. That's how I, I feel like your leadership comes out.

Lisa: That's really nice. Iris. I try so hard. I think that that's so, that's so nice. That's great feedback.

Andrea: No one's allowed to cry.

Lisa: Okay.

Andrea: Because I, like Lisa Slagle, like my feelings.

Iris: I won't.

Andrea: Okay. I'm going to first piggyback on you Iris and maybe transition it out into leadership and the context of like colleagues and just fellow creatives too. ‘Cause I think we also are leaders in our communities, whether or not we think or want to be.

And the thing that stood out from her business leadership that you said, Iris, was just like being there, like as a cheerleader and like really being joyful in the successes of others. And I would extend that, you know, Lisa talked with my class on creativity last year, actually, and her theme was celebration. And it was intentional of why I chose Lisa on that theme because she knows how to celebrate. She knows how to celebrate daily lives. She knows how to celebrate individuals’ wins. She knows how to celebrate, celebrate big wins. And she also knows how to celebrate like the hard times and the challenges, which I think is a really great leadership quality. ‘Cause it's very real.

Yeah. And then like, as a friend and just as a creative and just as someone who got to like cross paths with Lisa Slagle at one point in our lives, you know, she's… you’re super inspirational. And I think that's really fun in leadership and that you live your life to encourage others to live theirs. And I've always loved sharing creative ideas with you. So I'm super thankful for that friendship. And it's one of celebration.

Lisa: It really is. You're my, you're always my first call when I have a really complex idea that I'm like, “Slu, listen to this.”

Andrea: And, and, you know, to like kind of extend that - I love whenever you do that. And I'm the first one to be like… Iris, I'm an early riser too. So I'm like, at six 30 in the morning, like “Lisa, I have an article!” I emailed her like the dorkiest article literally on Monday. Like.

Lisa: I've read it like seven times.

Andrea: Yeah, it was good. Where was I going with this? I got distracted by our nerdy articles. Oh, I think, you know, we've shared this on a mountain bike ride probably before I like threw up because it was hard or something. But I’m super fortunate for Lisa because I feel like there's a lot of sides to our creative selves too. And, you know, I think of like, you know, I have like a professor side and I have an artist side and then I also have kind of like a reserved myself side and to be able to find people that you can share all of your sides with in leadership and creative collaboration is super cool.

Lisa: Hmm. That's, that's so nice. And it is rare. I try really hard. Like the way that I try to lead my company and my team is like through, through a space of joy because I don't think… I think that fear kills creativity. So I try to keep things really exciting and I try to keep things like from a state of calm and joy and, you know, even if there's the pressure of deadlines, I do always talk about how I have this secret fantasy where I wish that we were all firefighters and unfortunately we're not. We're just nerds with computers and like, no one's going to bleed out if we get our color palette wrong in a design. So there's really no need to yell, really no need to freak out ever really. ‘Cause we can always figure it out. Nothing's urgent and I mean, things have deadlines, but again, no one's going to bleed out. And so I try really hard to keep that perspective.

And then I do think it's incredibly difficult to like have a creative team and like, who's to say which idea is the one to go with? You know, who's to say, like, that's the quote unquote best idea for this project? And so just kind of being able to make those decisions and trust in my decision and get people to rally around it is something that I've had to work on quite a bit because everyone on the team is so effing creative that, you know, picking one… and like obviously our clients weigh in on that too. But, you know, picking which one we're going to rally behind takes an incredible amount of awareness for the overall vision of the project and society and the intersection of brands and culture and all this shit. And so, it does take a lot of experience and effort and try hard.

Andrea: And try hard.

Lisa: I got a lot of try hard.

Andrea: You know, Lisa, and then to bring it back to snowboarding.

[all laugh]

Lisa: The greatest topic of all.

Andrea: The greatest topic of all. I really like how you talk about failure and like just being able to kind of be in that and what snowboarding has taught me as a creative is that like you're gonna fail, but it's okay. Because, like, there's always something you can learn or there's always something that is going to feel good once you get it.

And I think, you know, just to bring up snowboarding and how… keeping yourself intrinsically motivated to be creative and to be joyful, it takes work and it takes a lot of practice, like you're saying. So I just wanted to give some credit to snowboarding, ‘cause it's definitely taught me some lessons and like pain and hanging in there.

Lisa: Oh, it's true. I think coding websites is like riding rails because you'll like, try this like weird little snippet of code. And it's like riding a rail where you're just going to eat shit over and over and over, and then you get it. And you're like, goddammit, there's another one. There's another rail. Anyway, so I think coding websites is like a giant rail park.

Andrea: Well, awesome. Well, I think I learned a lot about both of you and I think your listeners on this podcast - now I'll give it back over to you - got to learn a lot too, so thank you both for chatting with me. Let me be host for a day. Let me try it on. I hope you giggled.


Iris: Thank you so much for tuning in to outside. This show is produced by WHEELIE, you can find us at our website, You can also visit To find more episodes, transcripts, show notes, and our affiliate partners. We are on Instagram at @wheeliecreative. Please subscribe, leave a five star review on your podcast app and share this podcast with a friend who you think might enjoy listening.

With that, I'm Iris. Thanks for being here.

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