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Little Shiva
Works at littleshiva.com
Attended Parsons School of Design, NYC (82-86)
Lives in Charleroi, Belgium
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Little Shiva

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Familiarity’s a breeder, and excellence is one of her kids.

We live in a commitment-phobic world. Marketing fuels the fear: there’s always a new this to replace an old that. I’m not against change, but if what you have is good and you’re happy with it, why not stick with it and work it?

The thing I love most in the world is my garden. I never get tired of working and re-working the same spots, season after season. I know the land so well I can even walk around in the dark: that’s one of familiarity’s rewards.

Then there’s technology: talk about something that’s constantly changing — it’s enough to make your head spin! Take WordPress themes: each one’s a world of its own, and upgrades happen, sometimes big ones. The more intimately you know your theme and your site, the better you’ll be able to ride the waves. Familiarity makes the process of getting things done go smoothly, making it easier to see a job through from start to finish. And being able to do that is excellence in any field. 

Familiarity also breeds love, but that’s another story for another day.
This week’s link is to Giles Slade’s Made to Break, a history of planned obsolescence. www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674025721

The pic is a familiar garden mix.

And that’s it!  

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Little Shiva

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Little notebooks and fetish objects 

It’s rough being a thing-lover and an aspiring minimalist at the same time, oscillating between the clinging beauty of objects and wanting to toss everything and live in empty space. My mind is definitely more in the “toss it” camp now, but reality is slow catching up.

Occasionally I’m able to take a day for myself and play a round of Toss It, but most of the time, the best I can do is prevention: just don’t buy or make any new stuff, and definitely avert my eyes when walking past piles of interesting stuff people have left on the street. 

This leaves the touchy subject of gifts: Leave No Trace is a good rule of thumb here, but travel expenses work too.

This week’s link is to The Minimalists and their advice on answering life’s most dangerous question. http://www.theminimalists.com/do/

The pic is a little notebook collage I did when the urge to make something got the better of me one day. I later gave it away to a friend who likes to keep notes.

And that’s it!  

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Little Shiva

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A chip on the book of pins 

My dad went to Russia with the Peace Corps in the early 1990’s and stayed awhile. One of the interesting gifts he gave me during that period is a big book of pins. The pages are full of little plastic pockets containing various motivational pins that were given to workers in appreciation of this or that achievement, or in celebration of special days.

When I lived in Charlotte, NC and published an underground zine called QZ, Mike Carpinelli, the manager of the copy shop I used, asked if I’d like to design a motivational gift for his team. He had a contact in the poker chip printing biz, and he wanted to have some custom chips made. All I had to do was use the company logo. Ok, I did it.

What motivates me? Well, getting paid is always nice, but working with appreciative people who recognize what I do well and leave me plenty of freedom to do it goes a long way too. So thanx, all of you who motivate and inspire me! 

This week’s link is to the future QZ archive: www.littleshiva.com/QZ.html

The pic is that chip I designed on the book of pins: the Kinkos logo 
is on the other side.

And that’s it!  

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Every two or three years from the time I was born until I left home for art school in NYC, my family moved: across country, to another continent or at the very least to a new town. Leaving people and places to embark on new adventures is as natural to me as breathing. I’m especially fond of a few specific places in the world, but there’s no one place I call home: for me, it really is wherever I happen to be hanging my hat.

There are a few people I’ve kept in touch with throughout my travels, but something about the continuity of objects creates a sense of history, lineage and belonging. It’s as good an anchor as any.

Objects hold stories and evoke memories, but what I love most about my faves is just the fact that they’re still there, silent and beautiful, like the twisted silver bracelet I bought at a thrift shop in Coronado, California when I was around 15 and that I’ve worn pretty much ever since. I’m fascinated by the continuous twist in the metal with no visible seam. What’s one of your favorite objects, and why?

This week’s link is to Hakim El Hattab’s mesmerizing animation, Hypnos: http://lab.hakim.se/hypnos/

The pic is a collage I made, plus that bracelet.

And that’s it!

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Little Shiva

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Lil Miss Hot Mess vs. the evil f 

Back in January when facebook blocked my profile unless I used my legal name, I went looking for people who’d fought this monster and won. I came across articles about Sister Roma and Lil Miss Hot Mess, and wrote to them immediately.

They’d already successfully fought facebook to get their names reinstated, and had even gotten facebook to clarify their “real names” policy: apparently what they meant was “authentic identity”, but the clarity stopped there.

During my 68 day exile, Lil Miss Hot Mess became my contact on the matter. On April 1st, facebook gave me back my profile, no joke. So thanx, Lil Miss Hot Mess, for  keeping the pressure on the evil f and continuing to fight for other people whose identities have been violated. 

This week’s link is to Lil Miss Hot Mess: lilmisshotmess.com

The pic is a typographic tribute.

And that’s it!
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Little Shiva

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Mental minimalism

Minimalism is a journey. It goes against everything our consumer culture teaches us about the meaning of success and how to get there, which basically comes down to “work hard, make money, buy stuff.” I like to reframe that as “keep learning, keep growing, have fun and make yourself useful.”

I practice mental minimalism: I’m good at remembering things that matter to me and letting go of the rest. This is a good skill when it comes to design, too: being able to pare things down to their essence. 

Planting trees is fun and useful, so that’s what I’m working on this week. Preparing the land, getting it ready to receive. Heavy rain, fierce wind and no internet connection conspired to piss me off for a minute, but I got over it. Sometimes doing nothing is good too.

This week’s link is to a really good DIY permaculture site, 
www.deepgreenpermaculture.com 

The pic is from my travel diary: on the bus from Zagreb heading south.

And that’s it!  

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Little Shiva

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A kiss on the neck  

Sometimes meeting in person isn’t a option: it’s the reality of life and work these days. A recent info traffic jam I got into made me realize that establishing guidelines for the way people communicate may be the number one design priority in any given project. Let’s KISS: Keep it super simple.

I’m not a fan of multitasking: I think it’s counterproductive. But sometimes it happens: schedules get re-arranged, new people come on board, new information has to be processed... life is dynamic, and we just have to deal with it. Anyway, that’s part of the fun!

Visual presentation is often the bottleneck: people work together to create content, then a designer gives it form. Wine flows through the neck to get to the glass. So here’s a kiss on the neck: cheers!

This week’s link is to ten kissing performances that are actually art: http://flavorwire.com/445746/10-kissing-performances-that-are-actually-art/view-all

The pic is a toast to communication.

And that’s it!  

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Little Shiva

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Facebook continues to allow members of the LGBT community to be maliciously targeted and reported based on identity. Our accounts are being unfairly suspended and we're being forced to "prove" who we are. Many of us, especially trans men and women, do not have any government issued ID that reflects our authentic identity. Our community is disappearing from Facebook — and they're letting it happen. Do not let them march in our parade! ‪ #‎MyNameIs...
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On knowing when to head for the bunker

One of the most startling pieces of advice I ever got was “skip class”.

What made it startling was the fact that it came from my high school biology teacher, George Arnall, a big, kind-hearted Aussie and the first eccentric I ever met. 

George was a great teacher: he made up a song about the details of Tay-Sachs disease which I still remember, chewed out the goofballs when they needed it and walked scowling through the classroom saying things like “sometimes I’d rather be a plant.” The advice to skip class came during the lead-up to final AP exams, giving us permission to ignore everything and focus on study. It’s a simple concept, but I wouldn’t have thought of it on my own.

Ever since then, I’ve used that trick whenever information overload starts to make me crazy. I can feel it coming on, and that’s my cue to get off facebook, answer only essential e-mails, turn off the phone and get some damn work done. Or just shut out the noise to get the peace and mental space I need to think and create, because after all, productivity isn’t everything.

Does information overload make you crazy too? What are some of your tricks for dealing with it?

This week’s link is to a geeky interactive website about the scale of the universe that puts things in perspective, visually: www.htwins.net/scale2/

The pic is the view from in front of my local post office the other day mixed with a recent Croatian sky.

And that’s it!

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Little Shiva

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Resistance is...

Whether it’s the collective power of the people fighting for justice or individual acts of resistance, choosing to resist beats giving in to things you don’t like or things you know are wrong.

But what does resistance look like? How does it feel? How can you tell if it’s working? Aaah, this is where it gets interesting.

For me, believing in it is already half the battle: fuck the Borg. Persistence is the next ingredient: you have to keep at it. Knowing what you want to invite in once whatever you’re resisting disappears is crucial too.

I invited peace and beauty and am really enjoying their company.

This week’s link is to Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle’s new project, “Here Come the Ecosexuals!” Logo design and funky graphics by yours truly: TheEcosexuals.org

The pic is a rock that tried to resist a plant root. The plant got through, and the rock got two beautiful holes.

And that’s it!
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Little Shiva

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Kinky bugs and the birthday tree 

Fifty-one years ago tomorrow (March 30th) my mom squeezed me out of her body, all slimy, crinkly and ready to discover the world. It’s my favorite day of the year, and I usually do something big to mark the occasion. In 2007 I moved to Belgium, last year I went to a pro-choice rally in a black corset and pink tutu, and this year I’m planting a fig tree.  

Fig trees are amazing: they can grow without any help from humans, even pushing through cracks in rock to find water. The fruit is an inside-out flower, and the pollination process is pretty kinky: a female fig wasp crawls through a sort of barbed tunnel to get into the fig, losing her wings and antennae in the process. Once inside, she fertilizes the florets using her egg-injection tube, then dies and is digested by the developing fruit.

Baby fig wasps mature inside the fig, then mate. After sex, the wingless males chew a hole through the side of the fig so the females can fly away. The males die inside the fig, which matures and ripens over their dead bodies. Mmmm... figs, anyone?

This week’s link is to the intro animation for Maya the Bee, in French. Good inspiration for garden design: www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5igWxSPDaI

The pic is a little somethin’ somethin’ I concocted for your viewing pleasure.

And that’s it!  

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With the wind 

You know those childhood memories that are so vivid they stay with you for life? One of mine is when I first realized that I couldn’t be in two places at the same time.

We were living in Athens, Greece when I was around eight, and the saying “God is everywhere” had somehow made its way into my social education. The concept of God didn’t make much sense to me, but omnipresence? Oh yeah, I got that. And if God could be everywhere, so could I. 

One day there was a scheduling conflict, and I had to make a choice. It was between two birthday parties, and at first I didn’t get what was being asked of me: yes, of course I’d go to both. My mother patiently explained that they were at the exact same time and in different parts of town, adding “you can’t be in two places at the same time.” 

That just made my little brain explode. I stood in the hallway and cried really hard, not wanting to accept that so-called reality.

My mom died in 1986, so she never got to see the internet. Now you really can be in two or more places at the same time, as long as your concept of presence goes beyond the physical. So hello: I’m only a click away.

This week’s link is to an amazing animated wind map I discovered via Annie Sprinkle: http://earth.nullschool.net/jp/

The pic is wind action frozen in time.

And that’s it!  

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People
In her circles
163 people
Have her in circles
152 people
zahrah khalil's profile photo
Miguel Ruibal's profile photo
Nicholas Vitale's profile photo
Jacqueline Heer's profile photo
Allan Revich's profile photo
Annette Labedzki's profile photo
Dorian Mono's profile photo
Maya VanJeier's profile photo
ScaryBooth's profile photo
Work
Occupation
image + design
Employment
  • littleshiva.com
    Queen of Everything, 2000 - present
  • The Ministry of Fun
    High Priestess, 1993 - 2000
  • Keith Godard / Studio Works
    designer, 1990 - 1993
  • Trotter & Uretsky Design
    partner, 1984 - 1989
  • Reba Sochis
    paste-up girl, 1984 - 1984
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Charleroi, Belgium
Previously
Charlotte, NC - New York, NY - Eugene, OR - Coronado, CA - Huppaye, Belgium - Overijse, Belgium - Athens, Greece - Monterey, CA - Coronado, CA - Norfolk, VA - Pensacola, FL - Chapel Hill, NC
Story
Tagline
image + design
Introduction
hello yes hello
Bragging rights
am still alive
Education
  • Parsons School of Design, NYC (82-86)
    communication design, 1982 - 1986
Basic Information
Gender
Female