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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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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!

8–017
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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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Practice imperfect

It helps to figure out what you’re good at in life. It may be one thing or several things, and the more you stay in that zone, the happier you’ll be.

The thread running through the various things I’m good at is imperfection. I’m talking about a kind of cultivated imperfection that lets me know where to stop, when to leave things alone and how to see a beautiful accident.

Here’s how it works: let’s start with gardening. You plant x and y, but z pops up and grows much better. Ok, that wasn’t your original plan, but go with it. How ‘bout food? I love baking bread, and it’s way more forgiving than, say, pastry. You can take a basic recipe and improvise like crazy without ever really messing up.

I want to travel light and be able to serve up my brand of image and design goodness from wherever I happen to be in the world, so these days I’m cultivating the kind of beautiful imperfection I can get using a mix of old tools and new. Mmmm, scribbles, pics and filters: perfect!

This week’s link is the foundation of all my bread improvisations: it’s the master recipe from The New Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/2013/10/22/the-new-artisan-bread-in-five-minutes-a-day-is-launched-back-to-basics-updated).
The pic is a mix of handwork and photomontage I made to illustrate this piece.

And that’s it!

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Little Shiva

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Design and the new

One thing I love about what I do is how it’s intimately connected with the new. When people make changes, design helps define and amplify those changes. It marks new beginnings, fresh starts and changes in direction. It also shifts perception.

Change is an ongoing process that we may not even be aware of until something becomes manifest to mark the occasion. It can be subtle or dramatic, simple or complex and maybe even bittersweet, depending on where you stand.

Back when Times Square was undergoing the big transformation from peep show land to Disneyland, I was offered a freelance job designing some promotional materials for 42nd Street. I really liked the big colorful numbers I made for that job, but didn’t quite get the big picture of what was going on. For me, this one’s bittersweet.

This week’s link is to a tumblr all about vintage 42nd Street: www.vintage42ndst.tumblr.com

The pic is documentation of my archiving process.

And that’s it!

8-008 (22 February 2015)
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Little Shiva

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The recipe that fell into a stream of condolences

On August 15th, 2013 I found a recipe that looked good and made this photomontage for it. I posted it on facebook and shared it with a few foodie friends, including J.C. Life rolled on, and it wasn’t until December that I realized I hadn’t heard from J.C. in a long time, so I went to his facebook profile to see what was new. 

Oh, crap. No wonder he hadn’t said anything about the recipe: he’d died a couple weeks before I posted it, and there it sat with a cheery “Hello again!” right in the middle of a stream of condolences. 

J.C. Suarès was another of my favorite teachers who became a friend. He was from Alexandria, Egypt, spoke seven languages, designed a gazillion books, newspapers and magazines, and did beautiful drawings too. He was the first art director of the NY Times Op-Ed page back in 1970 and helped revolutionize editorial design by hiring artists to interpret entire articles with big wordless images at a time when it wasn’t done that way at all. He hung with Charles Mingus, was a fan of my zine QZ, and we also share the same birthday, March 30th.

I worked with him on book and magazine projects for years, including Variety and POZ. His storyboard sketching technique is something I still use when planning publications — yes, drawn by hand.

This week’s link is to J.C. Suarès: www.jcsuares.com

The pic is a photomontage I made while dreaming of designing a cookbook.

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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Little Shiva

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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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Little Shiva

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Making space, one choice at a time

To be ready to accept the invitation you have to first create the space. It’s about choosing what you want most and letting go of the rest.

It’s about focus, really, which can manifest itself in different ways. It can be a long-term thing that plays out over time, creating an invisible guideline for everything you do. It can also be a short burst of attention and action that gets things done fast. Focus helps you know what to keep and what to let go.

I want to travel light, so I’ve been working on decumulation for years now. It definitely requires a sustained effort. I’ve come a long way, but I still need to play games with myself to stay focused. Shoes? Get a pair, ditch a pair. Clothes? Give a bag back to the thrift shop once every few months: save the best, lose the rest. Books? Too heavy: read online as much as possible. Art supplies? Ooh, that’s my weakness, but I need to be real: there’s no point in having ‘em if all they do is take up space without getting used.

I haven’t gotten rid of any art supplies yet, but I did make space to do handwork by setting up my grandmother’s kitchen table near a window and putting a few key art supplies nearby. Ever since I did that, I’ve been doing handwork regularly. Drawing, collage, building, making, mending... fun! Handwork keeps creativity fresh.

This week’s link is to a very cool interactive website, www.anasomnia.com

The pic is a collage I made that went digital.

And that’s it!

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Little Shiva

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It’s about time.
 
Time to wake up.

Time to get moving.

Time for a change.

Time is one of my favorite elements to work with. I don’t like dividing it up into slivers of hours and minutes: my basic unit is the day, which is the time between when I wake up and when I go to sleep again, naps not included. 

After that there’s the week, the month, the season, the year, years... I plan my projects in years. I need that much space, yes. 

Have you been clicking through to see where the links take you? They’re good.

This week’s link is to Studio Roosegaarde’s Van Gogh Path: www.studioroosegaarde.net/project/van-gogh-path/

The pic is an illustration I did for La Gauche

And that’s it!

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People
Have her in circles
153 people
Rick Jones's profile photo
Stewart Home's profile photo
Khalidze Cacharro's profile photo
benoit piret's profile photo
ScaryBooth's profile photo
Costas Schuler's profile photo
Rod Summers's profile photo
Elodie Antoine's profile photo
Jeff Taylor'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