REFLECTING ON THREE YEARS

Wow. Three years. It’d be easy to put together a few sentences of laughter, positivity, and thanks, but the truth is... I have more on my mind today. Hopefully, that’s okay.

As I look back on Kalamadoodle’s past three years, I can’t help but reflect on the culture and climate that has surrounded, and often overshadowed, our events. Together, we’ve experiencedand continue to experiencesome horrifically challenging times; in our city, state, country, and world.

And while many threads have been pulled, I’ve been able to find comfort in the fabric of our foundation; in knowing our greater purpose has always remained intact.

Photo: Angel Arnold

Photo: Angel Arnold

We pride ourselves on being a diverse and inclusive group. Though we may not agree on all things, there is an obvious and abundant sense of comradery and teamwork flowing through our Kalamadoodle community. We’ve been building this together since the beginning, and that’s something I’m extremely proud of.

But, the reality is our world is full of uncertainty, and we can expect it to topple and turn from time to time. And even though these changes can be full of pain and stress, we must not easily forget our most important act; caring for one another. We must continue to engage with our neighbors; both within our events, and outside our neighborhoods. We must lend an ear and helping hand to those we love, and more importantly, to those we do not. We must use our creative abilities to start a positive dialogue, and establish a more respectful understanding of the many characters, colors, and cultures that all share this little world. It’s during these dark times that we need to shine brighter, and use our imaginations to bridge the gaps that our hands and feet cannot. These are times to be loud; there is no room for silence.

Photo: Matthew Geerling

Photo: Matthew Geerling

And while I have no intention of using Kalamadoodle as a tool for my personal politics, I acknowledge my audience, my position as a white male with privilege, and my responsibility to continue searching for positive ways this platform can be used to give hope, empathy, love, and power to those in our society who need it most. To provide a microphone for those who deserve to be heard, and are telling truths much more important and significant than my own. For me, this project was never simply about drinking and drawing. It has been, and always will be, about trying to make an impact.

Photo: Matthew Geerling

Photo: Matthew Geerling

To wrap this up, I want to give a few words of thanks:

I want to give a very special thanks to my team of volunteers. Blake, Elena, Mary, and the countless others who step in and step up to lend a helping hand. Your continued passion and support brings me purpose, and I’m thankful for the friendships we’ve forged along the way.

I want to thank our brewery and community partners for providing invaluable resources and support that allow Kalamadoodle to be successful and grow.

I want to thank the greater Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan communities for encouraging and fostering the vibrant ideas and unique opportunities that make our corner of the mitten so very special.

And lastly, I want to thank our attendees, our audience; you. Watching complete strangers come together, connect, and create with each other, is a dream that continues to come true. Thank you for that.

Photo: Mike Klok

Photo: Mike Klok

I look forward to seeing you tonight at One Well Brewing to help us celebrate three incredible years. 

Cheers,

 

 

Mike

 

KALAMADOODLE CHARACTERS: KEVIN "TK" FRANTZ

Kalamadoodle Characters is a monthly-ish series that introduces an attendee to the greater Kalamazoo community. Through these quick, bullet-point style interviews, we hope that you can learn more about your neighbors, find a common interest, and be encouraged to meet a new friend at one of our events.

Photo: Angel Arnold - Arcadia Brewing Company 2.15.17

Photo: Angel Arnold - Arcadia Brewing Company 2.15.17

Meet Kevin "TK" Frantz

  • Kevin was born in Pittsburg, but found his way to Michigan and has been here ever since.
  • He credits the pro skateboard graphics and hockey teams logos, especially from the 1990’s to late 2000’s, as defining artistic elements of his youth, and is still inspired by them today.
  • Kevin fondly recalls recreating these graphics in detention ;)
“Its really cool to see all these pro [skateboarders] have their graphics hand-drawn again and have that nostalgia factor come back.”

"I like to think of new ideas, or bring back ideas from the past, to create new inspiration for others.”

  • Kevin just graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Communications, and his dream job would be working Public Relations in skateboarding industry.
  • His favorite part of Kalamadoodle is the community. 

“I'm a bubbly, outgoing person. It's fun to meet a lot of people, and I like going out and talking to everybody. That’s the best part of Kalamadoodle. Just come out and draw! I don’t care if it’s a stick figure, a smiley face, or if you're doing a really cool landscape. Just come out and have fun. It’s not intimidating. It shouldn’t be intimidating.”

“Art is silent communication, but it speaks volumes.”

"Just have fun. Have fun with it. Don’t think about all the surrounding things in your life that are negative. Just be positive and have a good outlook on everything, and live to be happy.”

Thank you for sharing, TK! We appreciate your support and hope to see you at our next event, Wednesday, January 15th at One Well Brewing!

KALAMADOODLE CHARACTERS: PAUL SIZER

Kalamadoodle Characters is a monthly-ish series that introduces an attendee to the greater Kalamazoo community. Through these quick, bullet-point style interviews, we hope that you can learn more about your neighbors, find a common interest, and be encouraged to meet a new friend at one of our events.

Photo: Angel Arnold - Rupert's Brew House 12.14.16 

Photo: Angel Arnold - Rupert's Brew House 12.14.16 

  • Meet Paul Sizer

  • Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Paul has spent years perfecting his many talents, and has become an important piece of our creative community. 

  • There's a good chance you've seen his work. As the owner of Sizer Design and Illustration, he's created various branding and graphics for Kalamazoo College, Gonzo's Bigg Dogg Brewing, the Kalamazoo Wings, Zazio's and many more. 

  • But getting to this point has been a life-long adventure. At the age of five, he started copying the illustrations found in comic books, and as his techniques improved, he had the desire to create his own characters and storytelling. Fast forward to today, and you'll find that Paul has self-published four of his own graphic novels. 

“I’ve also tried to be adventurous, by trying out stuff that I’m not used to doing. It keeps me learning.”
  • After earning his degree in Graphic Design from Western Michigan University, Paul later returned to teach at his Alma Mater part time. With his diverse set of skills and entrepreneurial experience, he can not only teach students how to design, but how to understand the business side of the industry, offering a well-round educational experience. 
Photo: Angel Arnold - Rupert's Brew House 12.14.16

Photo: Angel Arnold - Rupert's Brew House 12.14.16

“You constantly need to challenge yourself and put yourself into situations that make you a little bit afraid because that keeps you on your toes. I’ve seen a lot of times where complacency is the biggest enemy of creativity.” [...] "As long as you find ways to invent situations for yourself and be open to things that might fall into your lap or opportunities that present themselves, and then also be brave enough to try the stuff you're not good at, that will keep you interesting longer.”

  • And did we mention Paul is also a deejay in his spare time? He has provided the tunes for small parties, the Kalamazoo Derby Darlings and even Kalamazoo Pride festival last year, all as a way to continue exploring and connecting creatively. 
“What I like about this (Kalamadoodle) is the idea of having a common ground where people from different disciplines can get together and informally monkey around with stuff and take part in the social aspect of art.”
Photo: Angel Arnold - Rupert's Brew House 12.14.16

Photo: Angel Arnold - Rupert's Brew House 12.14.16

  • In addition to creating some great illustrations at our events, Paul also understands and appreciates the bigger impact Kalamadoodle can play in the role of an artist. 
“I like the fact the Kalamadoodle has that aspect of socializing because I think art can be really solitary.”
"As integrated as I am in the art community, I still have plenty of blind spots where I’ll see someone drawing something and I’ll be like, 'where the hell is this person working?'  because they are doing great stuff and I’ve never heard of them before. I like the idea that this kind of forces artists to crisscross where they wouldn’t normally crisscross.”

Thank you for sharing, Paul! We appreciate your support and hope to see you at our next event, Wednesday, January 18th at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts for Kalamazoo Beer Week 2017!

KALAMADOODLE CHARACTERS: CHUCK STULL

Kalamadoodle Characters is a monthly series that introduces an attendee to the greater Kalamazoo community. Through these quick, bullet-point style interviews, we hope that you can learn more about your neighbors, find a common interest, and be encouraged to meet a new friend at one of our events.

KALAMADOODLE_ARCADIA_SEP_16

Meet Chuck Stull

  • Chuck came to Kalamazoo 27 years ago to teach at Western Michigan University as a replacement for another professor while they were on a one-year sabbatical. Currently, he teaches economics at Kalamazoo College and he as been there for 20 years.
  • As a student, he also studied economics, finding great interest in all the different ways economics can be used; like in research, for the government, and for business purposes.
  • But, Chuck fell in love with teaching when he filled-in as a substitute teacher for a statistics class and used a card trick to show probability. When his students demonstrated a wide-eyed expression of amazement, along with an understanding of the subject matter, he was sold on teaching as a profession.
KALAMADOODLE_ARCADIA_SEP_16_2
  • While he is a great artist in his own right, Chuck says that he didn't grow up drawing, but fell into it, “backwards through photography”.
  • He started to dabble in doodling after taking his daughter to a Mark Kistler event at her elementary school and noticed it was FUN to draw.
  • A few years ago, after picking up a book at the library about, “urban sketchers,” Chuck thought it was something he could explore and find satisfaction in personally. So he started carrying around a small notebook with him to coffee shops and bars and began to develop his sketching skills by just trying to draw objects that were accessible and around him.
KALAMADOODLE_ARCADIA_SEP_16_3
  • A few years ago on sabbatical, he traveled to places like Salamanca, Spain and Oxford, England and the beauty of the cathedrals and architecture inspired him, so he spent lots of time sketching. While in London, he was able to join an urban sketching group, and had the opportunity to sketch in a defined area with a large group of people.
“It wasn’t really competitive at all. It’s just looking at how different people draw different stuff.  In London, there would be big groups. Everyone would be drawing Saint Paul’s Cathedral but no one was drawing anything that looks alike. Some people would be drawing the whole building; that was me at the time, trying to always get the big picture, and some people would be drawing just a statue. Some people would be using watercolors, or fountain pens or pencils”. 
  • This sabbatical took place when Kalamadoodle was just beginning, so Chuck was, “watching from a distance,” with great interest to attend an event once he was back home.
  • Now, Chuck tries to bring a lot of creativity into his teaching. He has even brought the idea of, “sketch notes,” into his classroom. He also teaches a sophomore seminar, and a big part of it is preparing students for study abroad. Through his own experiences, he uses the concepts of sketching to highlight the importance of observation and taking notice of things. 
  • And in addition to his teaching, Chuck is writing a textbook for students who are getting ready to studying abroad. The book is coming together by harnessing his own creativity and personal history, and features interjections of interesting stories from his travels.
  • Chuck's love for world traveling was built on a foundation of family trips while he was young, and rekindled by a trip to China many years ago. But, from our time talking with him, we can tell he has an appreciation for currently calling Kalamazoo, "home".
“I like Kalamazoo. Over the years, it has really become so much better and exciting. Seeing the whole growth of Kalamazoo with all the breweries, Kalamadoodle, Art Hop, and lots of interesting restaurants downtown. I have really enjoyed living here”. 

Thank you for sharing, Chuck! We appreciate your support and hope to see you at our next event, Wednesday, October 19th at Bell's Eccentric Cafe!

DARE TO DOODLE FUND: FINAL UPDATE

Kalamadoodlers,

With August behind us, we've officially concluded our first ever fundraising drive for the Kalamadoodle program. In 2016, we've worked harder than ever to show the power and potential of this community-building project. And with the launch of our fundraiser in May, we've tried to be as transparent as possible, by pulling back the curtains to reveal the limitations and realities of a small, volunteer-based program, and what it will take to remain sustainable and grow.

Overall, the enthusiasm for this project has been remarkable. We've become an important and valuable asset to Kalamazoo's craft and creative communities and take great pride in the growing attendance and positive atmosphere our culture provides. It warms our hearts to see strangers sit together for the first time, and by the end of the night, leave as friends. And we find tremendous joy in bringing our event experience to the digital page, where we can continue learning and sharing stories about the interesting people who attend these events and make them so exciting. Kalamadoodle has become something uniquely special, and we thank you, the Kalamazoo community, for making that possible.

As a project made up of only a few part-time volunteers, there are understandable obligations and demands (families, jobs, personal needs) that require full attention from our team members, often leaving Kalamadoodle with the small, yet powerful, amounts of energy and resources that are left over. With a fully funded campaign, our hope was to create our first paid position for a member of our local community to fill that could help manage and grow Kalamadoodle's capabilities and reach on a daily basis. But our fundraising effort fell short of that ambition, reaching a total of $1,865.00, or 25% of our total goal for another year of events.

This fall is going to be incredibly busy for our team members. Between personal and professional obligations, our time will be very limited, and this puts us in a difficult position deciding how to move forward in 2017. As we've mentioned before, the money raised will be put to good use on this project, and we can't begin to express our appreciation for anyone who chose to support us financially; thank you.

For now, there are no concrete answers about the future of this project and how it will continue next year. There are so many different ideas that have been discussed with family, friends, and community leaders, but several of our most exciting strategies will require enormous amounts of time, effort, and resources that we simply do not have to give. This Fall, we will be continuing our strategy and planning exploration and look forward to sharing that information with you as soon as possible. Until then, we may need to scale back the time and energy we dedicate towards this project, and hope you understand.

Having said all of that, we're still extremely excited about the line-up of events that we have happening this fall, starting with our September 21st event at Arcadia Brewing Company. We're also planning some special events for October and November and will be sharing those details through our social media channels and newsletter soon.

Thank you everyone, for your continued passion and support of this project. A caring and creative community like Kalamazoo is what makes Kalamadoodle possible.

Sincerely,

The Kalamadoodle Team

 

 

 

KALAMADOODLE CHARACTERS: MIKE KLOK

Kalamadoodle Characters is a monthly series that introduces an attendee* to the greater Kalamazoo community. Through these quick, bullet-point style interviews, we hope that you can learn more about your neighbors, find a common interest, and be encouraged to meet a new friend at one of our events.

*With all of the extra (and awesome) shenanigans taking place during our Two Year Anniversary, we were unable to sit down and interview one of Kalamazoo's creative community members. To fill the void for the month of August, Kalamadoodle's creator and co-founder, Mike Klok, stepped in to interview himself, and did not enjoy writing in third-person.

Photo: Matt Geerling - Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6.15.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6.15.2016

Meet Mike Klok

  • He was born here in Kalamazoo and went to school (K-12) in Mattawan, Michigan.
  • After graduating high school, Mike spent time at Kalamazoo Valley Community College studying Liberal Arts before enrolling at Western Michigan University to receive is B.A. in Marketing - Advertising and Promotion.
  • After graduation, he worked as a Sales Manager at Underground Printing-Kalamazoo, and more recently as a Publications Project Manager at Kalamazoo College.
  • Throughout his life, Mike has always felt compelled to do two things: 1. Bring people together. 2. Create.
"In high school, I used to host weekly (sometimes daily) poker games, and in college, I started a small apparel line. After I graduated, I continued to have an itch to build something new, something different, and my sketchbook(s) started to fill with ideas. Kalamadoodle was one of those projects; literally a doodle on a piece of paper."
Photo: Matt Geerling - Rupert's Brew House 5.18.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Rupert's Brew House 5.18.2016

  • Though Mike doesn't believe he posses any natural ability in the arts, he knows it's something that been apart of him for as long as he can remember.
"In first grade, I couldn't draw straight lines or read big words, but I still have progress reports complimenting my passion for detail and storytelling in my writing and artwork. That type of stuff sticks with me. I know I'm never going to be the most talented in the room, but working hard to create an avenue for yourself, that is yours alone, as always fascinated me."
"When we were at my old house, I was probably three or four, and my Dad, a great accountant, had an office downstairs that had recently been painted white. I was too young to remember the real motivation behind the piece, but I guess I took it upon myself to paint my first mural with markers and crayons on the walls, carpet, and chairs. Looking back, I like to joke that it was my act of rebellion towards traditional work and employment."
  • And that desire to create has been with him ever since. Mike spent middle school listening to punk bands, skateboarding, and developing views that he felt aligned himself with the underdog and counter-culture.
"Growing up, I remember trying everything I could to find myself. Sports always played a huge role in my life. Learning to compete with others and push myself was something I took very seriously. I've always had this fear of wasting potential, and it's something that has followed me in every aspect of life."
"I guess I was probably considered a, 'Jock,' to some, but I was also the guy that got made fun of for writing poetry. And instead of shopping at the mall, I'd buy white t-shirts and a Sharpie to write, 'Anti-Crombie' on them to try and send a message. Maybe it was stupid, maybe it wasn't. Years later, one of my middle school teachers told me she respected it, and that was pretty cool. I think it's a shame our culture is so invested in labels and titles, and part of Kalamadoodle's mission has been to break those down and make connecting with others easy, fun, and without a title attached."
Photo: Matt Geerling - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 1.20.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts 1.20.2016

  • With two years of Kalamadoodle events under his belt, and a one-year anniversary of going full-time as a freelance designer and illustrator at Stuffed Brain Studio this fall, Mike is excited about the future possibilities for this project, as well as the many others he may have in his sketchbooks.
"Bringing this many people together is something that has certainly exceeded my expectations. But developing the foundation of Kalamadoodle is only the beginning. I believe there is a bigger mission and purpose for the community we've created and I'm excited to start exploring and implementing those strategies."
"As this creative community in Kalamazoo continues to flourish, I believe we have a responsibility to use our talents, resources, and platform for good. I'm looking forward to sharing more of what that can mean in the near future. Stay tuned!"
Photo: Lori Gottschling - Arcadia Brewing Company 8.19.2015

Photo: Lori Gottschling - Arcadia Brewing Company 8.19.2015

*Thank you for reading! We hope to have our regular format for this attendee-focused series return next month, and we appreciate your understanding. Join us at Arcadia Brewing Company on Wednesday, September 21st and you might be our next Kalamadoodle Character!

DARE TO DOODLE FUND: JULY UPDATE

Kalamadoodlers,

As we approach our Two Year Anniversary, I want to thank each and every one of you; whether you know it or not, you've played an important role in making these events possible. From our small, yet mighty, team of volunteers, to the breweries and organizations that continue to host us. And of course, the attendees and members of our community who share in our passion for spreading creativity, allowing us to have an extreme amount of fun and an incredibly fulfilling experience. Thank you, everyone, for two amazing years.

As I mentioned in our first post about the future of Kalamadoodle, we have events scheduled through the month of October and are now finalizing plans for the month of November. But to continue these monthly events, your help is still needed.

After the awesome event at Arcadia Brewing Company, as well as additional donations and purchases online, we closed out the month of July at $1,454.00, which brings us to just over 20% of our goal. At this point, reaching the $7,200 mark by August 31st is not likely, but we plan to continue using any funds raised to support the continuation of this community building project. This could mean reducing the events to every other month, or once a quarter; but in no way are we going to simply take the money and run. We're incredibly proud of what we've created; and want to continue developing Kalamazoo's creative community with all of you.

In addition to straight-forward donations, we've started to offer a limited amount of products and merchandise that can be purchased at our events and online. While we hope you feel that the events themselves are worth supporting with your dollar, we understand the interest in having something tangible that you can walk away with. These shirts were donated by Kalamazoo Sportswear & Regalia to help support this project, and we greatly appreciate their generosity. The message of Dare to Doodle speaks to our D.I.Y. roots, and the idea that simply enjoying the creative process, without structure or limitation, is its own reward. 

If you've been a part of Kalamadoodle and have enjoyed the positive message we're sharing, please consider donating to our cause. The money will be put to good use, providing supplies and resources for our small team to continue bringing you awesome events and experiences, just like we have for the past two years.

Please support the Dare to Doodle Fund today and become a bigger part of our growing community.

Sincerely,

Mike Klok and the Kalamadoodle Team

 

 

 

 

KALAMADOODLE CHARACTERS: ANGIE SCOBY

Kalamadoodle Characters is a monthly series that introduces an attendee to the greater Kalamazoo community. Through these quick, bullet-point style interviews, we hope that you can learn more about your neighbors, find a common interest, and be encouraged to meet a new friend at one of our events.

Photo: Kevin Simon - Arcadia Brewing Company 7.20.2016

Photo: Kevin Simon - Arcadia Brewing Company 7.20.2016

Meet Angie Scoby

  • Angie has a Socials Degree in Liberal Arts from Kalamazoo Valley Community College and is only a few short credit hours away from receiving her BFA from Western Michigan University, with a major in Water Color with a minor in Ceramics.
  • She owned a tattoo studio in Kalamazoo for nearly 10 years, and has been tattooing for over 23 years.
  • Her father told her not to be an artist because, “it never pays,” but she was stubborn and followed her heart.
  • She loves the idea of a “moving canvas” or “moving art” as she calls it. Angie says, “a lot of your paintings and drawings and things you do over your art career, 9 times out of 10, you will never see them again or they aren’t ever lasting”. With tattoos, it is a different story. She has often run into people she tattooed several years prior and her artwork is still intact.
Photo: Kevin Simon - Arcadia Brewing Company 7.20.2016

Photo: Kevin Simon - Arcadia Brewing Company 7.20.2016

  • Kalamazoo is not the only place she has done tattoos. She has traveled all over the country doing skin art.
  • Angie did a formal apprenticeship in Dallas, Texas to become a tattoo artist as a reward to herself for graduating from college. She is particularly talented with portrait tattoos and her incredible reputation has followed her.
  • She has participated in several skin art competitions and has won 3rd place, best female full color over all, out of 600 entries.
  • Being creative is a release for her.
  • Angie is also creative in how she decorates her home, and the clothing she wears. She also really enjoys making art with her grandchildren.

Thank you for sharing, Angie! We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you again soon!

DARE TO DOODLE FUND: JUNE UPDATE

Kalamadoodlers,

We hope you had a safe and enjoyable 4th of July weekend! With June now behind us, I'd like to provide a recap on our current Dare to Doodle Fundraising efforts, and share a reminder about our upcoming events!

If you recall, we set a modest goal of $7,200 to help cover the time and materials it takes to organize and manage 12 monthly events. When we first launched our Dare to Doodle Fund in May, we saw a strong initial push and ended the month with $736 contributed towards Kalamadoodle's future.

During the month of June, we held a wonderful event in the Bell's Beer Garden. The warm sunshine and eccentric atmosphere was a true delight, and with an estimated 200 people participating throughout the night, it may have been our most successful event yet!

In the Beer Garden, many of you purchased our Dare to Doodle shirts; the first physical product we've offered to the general public. These shirts were printed and gifted to us by Kalamazoo Sportswear and Regalia, and we appreciate their generous support of this project. We also received a decent amount of donations in the jar that we keep on the sign-in table at every event. Thank you to everyone who contributed.

But overall, the month of June fell flat. The amount raised between the June event donations and online portal totaled $179, bringing our overall total to $915, or 13% of our goal.

This puts us behind schedule for reaching our goal of $7,200 by August 31st. I can't say with any absolute certainty what will happen if we don't reach the amount needed to help offset our costs and cover some of our time, but we'd like to avoid that road if at all possible. WE LOVE KALAMADOODLE, the creativity it inspires, and the community it brings together, and will do everything we can to keep it going; but to do so we need your help!

Please visit our Events page to stay informed about ways you can get involved and support this project. Next Wednesday, we have a screening of 2001: A Space Odyssey at Alamao Drafthouse, who has been kind enough to offer a portion of ticket sales to help support Kalamadoodle's future. It would be great to see you there!

Right now, the best way to contribute to Kalamadoodle is to donate via our online portal. Having this information online helps us keep track of who has supported our cause and will allow us to provide future gifts, high-fives, and, "thanks," accordingly. (We've seen a few attempts at donations, but card info (CVV, Address, etc) wasn't properly entered or verified. If you meant to donate once but it didn't process, please try again and let us know if you think there is an error!)

On the fence about donating? We've had several friends and community members phrase it this way: If you're willing to spend $10 (2 beers @ $5/ea) on beer at each brewery Kalamadoodle visits, please consider spending $120 ($10/event) or more to help sustain the event you've come to enjoy and love, and may be the reason you're there supporting that local brewery.

Thank you, Kalamazoo, for all of your love and support and for helping make these events possible. We appreciate your enthusiasm and encouragement more than you know, and are working incredibly hard to keep this going. Please consider a donation to the Dare to Doodle Fund, and become a bigger part of this growing community!

Sincerely,

Mike Klok and the Kalamadoodle Team

DONATE HERE

KALAMADOODLE CHARACTERS: MICHAEL DUNN

Kalamadoodle Characters is a monthly series that introduces an attendee to the greater Kalamazoo community. Through these quick, bullet-point style interviews, we hope that you can learn more about your neighbors, find a common interest, and be encouraged to meet a new friend at one of our events.

Photo: Matt Geerling - Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6.15.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6.15.2016

Meet Michael Dunn

“I have fun just doodling and sketching. There is no good or bad. It's just play.”
  • Art is his release.
  • Drawing, painting and printmaking are some of the ways Michael practices creativity.
  • He also encourages his wife to be creative and have fun with drawing.
  • Michael came to Kalamazoo in 1972 after school and was washing dishes when he met an architect who gave him a job with no professional experience in the field; though he had taken a high school drafting class and one of his college majors was photography.
  • He went to the University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree and received his Masters from Western Michigan University.
  • Michael enjoyed his art classes at University of Michigan and returned to school in the 90's for his BFA and then MFA from WMU.
Photo: Matt Geerling - Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6.15.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6.15.2016

“You never know where things come from, so just start drawing and keep pushing it and see.”

Michael starts his doodles with scribbles and simply, “sees what appears,” from the marks that he has made.

“What I do for a living is very straight lined and very squared and so this allows me to do things free form, which is a total release.”
“Kalamadoodle is a great idea and it is working."
"I think it is just a matter of how you find your releases and what you can do to keep yourself sane in this crazy world we live in. And how you can keep playing in it.”
Photo: Matt Geerling - Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6.15.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Bell's Eccentric Cafe 6.15.2016

Recently, Michael has taken what a very personal item, his sketchbook, and begun sharing a drawing a week from it onto his Facebook page. He is a fan of keeping a sketchbook handy, for several reasons.

“When I meet with a client, I have to draw on what they tell me and read in between the lines. And especially if you have a couple, they each have their own ideas of what they would like, so now you have to find the balance and search out the middle area.”
“If there is some way, I can encourage people to enjoy drawing, and have fun with it. Just go out and get a cheap sketchbook, and just play. Insert collage, insert newspaper clippings, just do things in there that are totally unrelated to the things you do every day and broaden yourself outward.”

In recent years, Michael has also picked up his camera more often. He takes a lot of nature photographs and calls them his, “good morning shots”. He has posted them on Facebook every day for the last three years.

“At this point, the intention is simply to help people look at things differently when they get up. I’m just trying to help broaden other people.”

Thank you for sharing, Michael! We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you again soon!

DARE TO DOODLE FUND: MAY UPDATE

Kalamadoodlers,

As we close out the month of May, I want to provide a quick update on the Dare to Doodle fundraising efforts. Through this whole process, I hope to remain as transparent as possible, and keep you informed on our progress. As I mentioned in our previous blog post, Kalamadoodle has never been about making a profit; it's about building a community.

I want to thank each and every one of you who has already chosen to support financially. Your appreciation for the resources we need and time we spend on this project means an incredible amount to us. Your early enthusiasm has been the wind in our sails. Thank you. And I also want to thank the people who have reached out with kind words, ideas to help, and given us your support. It's encouraging to know that Kalamadoodle is on your mind and that you are interested in finding ways to keep it going.

After the initial launch of the Dare to Doodle Fund, we saw a huge increase in website traffic. Over 1,300 of you have taken the time to read about The Future of Kalamadoodle, and that number continues to climb. With all of the Facebook Shares, Twitter Retweets, and Instagram Likes along the way, it's clear that the Kalamazoo community cares about this project, and that's wonderful.

But as May ends, we're still a long way from reaching our funding goal of $7,200 by August, 31, 2016. To date, we've raised $736 (10.2%) between online and event donations. After processing fees, that number becomes much less, but I'll continue to update based on the actual amount that has left your pockets. I'll hold off on providing an exact figure here, but I do want to mention that the amount currently raised has come from a very small number of people, who have generously chosen to show they want Kalamadoodle to continue. I was surprised and flattered that many of these people have never been to an event, but believe in the mission of what we're doing, and understand the work it takes to make this successful.

[Note: While we do receive 100% of cash donations, we have no way to track who provided them, and I truly hope to find ways to reach out and give something special to those who have financially backed this project.]

So what does this mean? Currently, I'm still in discussion with a few venues and businesses that are interested in creating a fundraising opportunity for Kalamadoodle and hope to have more information about that soon. There have also been several questions and comments about creating items that can be sold or auctioned off to the highest bidder. The brainstorming is great and the ideas are appreciated, but I'll admit that there are some downsides. It will take an enormous amount of time and effort to responsibly organize and facilitate an auction, not to mention, ensuring the artists receive proper credit and compensation. And we would love to explore each and every great suggestion that has been provided, but I have to be honest and say we're already spread quite thin with the hours we can volunteer. Our hope is that the Kalamadoodle events you know and love are worth supporting with your dollar, and anything else we can work to provide, will be treated as, "that something extra".

As we move into June, I'll continue to keep you posted on any new ways to support Kalamadoodle, and also give a financial update on our progress. Thank you again, to everyone who cares about Kalamadoodle; your appreciation and support goes a long way.

Sincerely,

Mike Klok and the Kalamadoodle Team

SUPPORT THE DARE TO DOODLE FUND

 

 

KALAMADOODLE CHARACTERS: TIM POSPISIL

Kalamadoodle Characters is a monthly series that introduces an attendee to the greater Kalamazoo community. Through these quick, bullet-point style interviews, we hope that you can learn more about your neighbors, find a common interest, and be encouraged to meet a new friend at our events.

Photo: Matt Geerling - Rupert's Brew House 3.16.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Rupert's Brew House 3.16.2016

Meet Tim Pospisil

  • As a Graphic Designer and Illustrator by trade, Tim completes freelance work at night and gets to spend the day hours with his three-year-old twins.
  • He is passionate about encouraging them to draw and doodle everyday.
  • While traveling as a child, his Mom used to give him a pencil and paper to draw and keep him occupied, and his parents always encouraged him to be creative.
  • For the most part, Tim considers himself a self-taught artist, and continued his exploration at the Kendall School of Art and Design, spending four years studying Illustration.
  • He was excited to recently finish some work for AARP and is currently working on an entry for Art Prize. This will be Tim's fourth year participating in the Grand Rapid's event.
  • Tim also participates in life drawing on Wednesday nights at the Kalamazoo Boogie Woogie Figure Drawing Lounge.
Blurry Photo: Mike Klok - Rupert's Brew House 5.18.2016

Blurry Photo: Mike Klok - Rupert's Brew House 5.18.2016

  •  Born in Alaska, Tim migrated to Michigan at 13.
  • He has also worked at Perrin for 8 years doing graphic design for screen printing (before they became Perrin Brewing).
“I love drawing and being more involved in the Arts. Actually, last month I was involved in Art Hop with Carl Brown at Roguebotic LLC."
Blurry Photo: Mike Klok - Rupert's Brew House 5.18.2016

Blurry Photo: Mike Klok - Rupert's Brew House 5.18.2016

  • Like many of you, Tim heard about Kalamadoodle through Facebook, when the page showed up on his news feed.
  • Kalamadoodle events are right up his alley. When he goes back to Grand Rapids to see his friends, he insists they get together to drink and draw.
“Its one of those cliché things your teacher says, but try to draw everyday or do something creative, even writing. Every aspect that you can get your hands on, get involved with it, even watching movies or playing video games. All that stuff that involves the arts, just be involved with it on a daily basis. It really helps. Or simply try to look at something in an artistic way. If you are watching a show, look at the lighting and how it comes in, or how they create something, or how it was built.”
Photo: Matt Geerling - Rupert's Brew House 3.16.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Rupert's Brew House 3.16.2016

Thank you for sharing, Tim! We appreciate your support and look forward to seeing you again soon!

THE FUTURE OF KALAMADOODLE

Kalamadoodle Faithful,

After debating myself for months, receiving feedback from family and friends, and speaking with respected members of our community, one thing has become clear: Change is needed. And now I want to be honest with you about what that means.

First and foremost, I want to thank Blake Eason and Elena Campos. Since the beginning, these two have volunteered countless hours towards this project and Kalamadoodle wouldn't be what it is today without them and their help. I'd also like to thank Matt Geerling and Lori Gottschling, who have captured the essence of our events with stellar photography, volunteering their talents and resources to help share our experience in digital form. And to my co-founder, Nick Clark, who believed in this crazy idea, helped launch and structure the project, and has continued to dedicate time, resources and support along the way; thank you.

I also want to thank you, our Kalamadoodle supporters, and the greater Kalamazoo community. You have all played a tremendous part in the success of this project through your attendance, creativity, encouragement, and of course, doodles. Together we have built something extremely special.

Photo: Lori Gottschling - Arcadia Brewing Company 8.19.2015

Photo: Lori Gottschling - Arcadia Brewing Company 8.19.2015

Over two years ago, Kalamadoodle was created as a celebration of craft and creativity. By bringing people together and encouraging them to simply explore their imagination through drawing, we believed we could provide a fun and relaxing environment. One that allowed strangers to become friends, while spending a few hours away from the demands of work and everyday life. With a lot of effort, the help of our passionate volunteers, and the support of this enthusiastic community, we've accomplished all of that and more, exceeding our own expectations.

When we started, we had no idea what the response would be, and had no intention of establishing Kalamadoodle as its own business or non-profit. We simply wanted to build a D.I.Y. project that would benefit the Kalamazoo community. To encourage artists and non-artists to create. To show college graduates that they don't need to move to a larger city for refreshing ideas and fun events. To inspire individuals to chase their dreams, no matter how big or small. And to help others believe that with hard work and heart, amazing things are possible.

Set on that mission, we launched this project with no outside funding. We didn't ask or wait for corporate sponsors, community grants, crowd-funding, or other sources of financial backing to help get us started. We worked hard and out-of-pocket to prove Kalamadoodle could exist, grow, and turn into an impressive community building resource.  And we did just that.

Photo: Matt Geerling - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (Kalamazoo Beer Week) 1.20.2016

Photo: Matt Geerling - Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (Kalamazoo Beer Week) 1.20.2016

But as we continue to see growth, keeping this passion project going has turned into a real part time job. As the co-founder and active organizer of Kalamadoodle, I use the resources of my creative studio, Stuffed Brain, to fund, organize, and curate our events and online content. And as I continue to evaluate my own personal and professional needs, I must also be mindful of our volunteers' outside obligations and commitments, and be respectful in determining what is fair to ask of them. After reflecting on all of this for some time, it has weighed on me heavily, and become obvious that it would be irresponsible to continue moving forward without having an honest dialogue with you; the people who follow, enjoy, and embrace this project.

Currently, we have events scheduled through October, but the unfortunate truth is that without additional funding, the time we donate towards this project and these monthly events will become unsustainable in the long run. Personally, it's incredibly difficult to ask for people to support this project financially. So much so, that I thought to simply wait until October and then call it a day, without discussion, and move on with my pride intact. But, I know this project is making a positive impact in the lives of many and helping bring people together who may have never met otherwise. Close family and friends have reminded me that Kalamadoodle has been a remarkable example of how to break down barriers that keep people from engaging with one another and their own imagination. For those reasons, as well as many more, they encouraged me to reach out to you, in hopes of finding people who want to see this project continue and remain as accessible as possible.

To remain transparent, after the first year we felt confident about our monthly attendance, and began asking for a small (yet significant) amount of compensation from our brewery and community partners. We've appreciated that support greatly, but it is not enough to keep this project thriving or viable. There are several different models that could be tested to raise additional funding (Kickstarter for example), but most of them require an enormous amount of research, time, and money, not to mention the creation and logistics of securing giveaway products. We feel our real value is providing exciting events, an active blog, and an engaging social media presence. Since we are already spread pretty thin, investing in a product-based fundraiser requires additional resources that we do not have.

So now, we humbly ask you, the people who have made Kalamadoodle so special, to help keep it going. We've added a Donation Page where you can do your part to directly contribute to the stability and growth of this community building project. Based on some very modest figures, our goal is to reach $7,200 by August 31st, which will help cover material costs, as well as a little bit of our time. It will also allow us to continue developing and start implementing new experiences to share with you all over the next year. If we cannot reach our funding goal, we still plan to use any money raised to support the Kalamadoodle platform, and hope to find new ways to continue making a positive impact here in Kalamazoo.

Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart, for all of the enthusiasm and passion you've had for Kalamadoodle. It's been a wild ride these past few years and I certainly hope to keep it going. So, if you believe in what we're building, or have enjoyed our events, please consider donating today. With your help, we can continue spreading creativity in Kalamazoo, and keep asking our community to SHOW US YOUR DOODLES!

With Paper, Pencil, and Love,

Mike Klok and the Kalamadoodle Team

Support Kalamadoodle's Dare to Doodle Fund