ALT recap and why making it happen has never been more exciting.

{image via  FLICKR }

{image via FLICKR}

So. ALT:

I won't go into the nitty gritty details about the super fab conference from last week. But I do want to talk about how this era of online living is allowing creative people to find success in ways that were never before possible.

What was ALT Design Summit all about? Well, it was for people who:

1) Really like design and everything under that bracket: art, food, photography, writing, fashion, you name it

2) Are interested in the social network and media scene

3) Have their own business and/or make a living from their hobby

4) Think outside the box. Because, well, items 1-3 really don't fit into one, do they?

There were panel discussions, presentations, and hands on workshops like this photography class by Nicole Hill Gerulat where I had the chance to really rethink the way I shoot pretty things.

I took some pretty mean pictures (thanks to One Charming Party who put these tabletops together and Nicole Hill who knows her stuff!)

That top picture is me in green skirt, thinking hard about getting my hands on a new camera.

But really, what I loved most, was being surrounded by really smart, creative people. You think you like reading blogs? Try meeting them in person. Super enlightening.

I was part of conversations that answered questions, but more importantly ALT inspired my own creative thinking. This era of reaching people, building businesses, creating spaces and launching ideas is a really thrilling place to be.  There are rules, but there is no set path to follow when it comes to having an idea and making it happen, because the rules are constantly being rewritten.

I know so many of you are creative doers and are part of communities (online and off) where you connect with other like minded people. So you probably understand that  building communities around what you do and what is important to you, is how ideas are supported, published or become successful in whatever you consider success to be.

I was able to interact with people who had a creative idea, and made it happen! Come know that's easier said then done!  But these people didn't accomplish their goals by "traditional" measures. Instead,  by using social media to connect with people, they were able to build communities around those ideas and find success through networking with like minded people who supported those ideas.

Why is social media so important then? Because this is the era of transparency: Where the world is getting smaller and more personal (because of the internet) which is how we as human beings prefer to connect. I'm not talking about stalking celebrities (gag!) or finding out what Obama had for lunch. I'm talking about connecting the human side of all that we are and do. That is how businesses are growing. That is how we are connecting as people and communities. That is the story that we are telling and want to hear. And that is how artists, designers, and creative thinkers are carving their paths and making their voices heard. They aren't writing books and just sticking them on the shelves. They aren't just taking pictures and submitting them to the NY Times. They are telling the story behind the story and building communities around what they love. You get the idea.

They, like me, are interested in connecting their art to people.

It's an amazing era we live in.

So, being around people this week who are willing to take a few risks and put themselves out there in this new era of "transparency" was just really inspiring. If you have a blog, or if you have a space where community is important to what you do, I think you can imagine the limitless potential and positive outreach there is.

I am just super passionate about this whole idea of putting yourself out there and finding new ways to make ideas happen. Maybe I get it from my dad. He is a man of big ideas. A dreamer, if you will, and always encouraged us to think things up in our heads without paying too much attention to the hard fast rules out there in the world that would stop us. I owe him a lot for that. And now, more than ever in the history of the world, ideas have a place to grow: all because of the limitless communities that are out there or that have yet to be created.

Or maybe I love talking about this because that is how I went from being a no-resume, no-art-degree, no-business-degree woman into a full-time illustrator, designer and business owner. I still marvel that I am doing what I am doing. But it's all because now is the era where if you want something badly enough, you can make it happen.

So I guess this post is for you artists out there. There is no one right way to get yourself out there. Dream up what you want with your art, and there is a path for you. Making it happen has never been more exciting!

So, there you have it. I really like smart people who come up with conferences like ALT that support the notion that crazy people like me (mother of 3 young children, wife, children's book illustrator, designer, business owner, blogger, and creative doer) no longer have to identify ourselves as one or the other. We can be all things wrapped up into one. All those hats we wear? They are part of a greater whole called "YOU." And the new era of social media means that being "YOU" is just as important as your art or your hobby or your business. In fact, being you is your business. And I think that's a pretty neat idea.