December 2nd 2014: Holiday Party and Short Program

With the announcement of the upcoming lecture series and it’s topic of the power and effects of changing business models through the use of various mediums, the short program discussed creative professionals being underpaid due to their general excitement for their work.

Using the Arts as Social Architecture

December 2nd, 2014
Angelica’s Restaurant
863 Main Street, Redwood City, CA

December’s gathering introduces the 2015 season innovation theme; Human Potential and Innovation. The 2015 series of programs will explore the power and rippling effects of changing models through arts, sciences, business and technology, and the resulting effects that may be possible in society as a result.

The December short program explores a Work in Progress. Artists, writers, musicians and other creative professionals in nontechnical areas are frequently undervalued in terms of financial compensation — in part because their passion for their work allows them to accept less.

The Berkshire Columbia Musicians Collaborative (BCMC) is currently in the process of implementing a social architecture which exemplifies how changing models alter both how to invest our energy and the results we can achieve in our lives.

BCMC – The Guthrie Center

Concepts of “innate ability” limit people. Skills and talents are innate in the human mind, but must be developed and put to work. Self talk changes perceptions of self. Questions such as “how good a painter were you when you were 4?” and statements like “I’m not good at xxx” change the way we operate and how we create meaning and “MeaningPlace.”

Innovation is not something you “have” (it’s developed, learned, and unfortunately, too often “un-learned”).


Next events at Angelica’s Restaurant, 863 Main Street, Redwood City CA.
Appetizers provided. No host dinner & drinks available.
Pre-Registration Tickets ($15)  – On SALE Now!

SEPT 5th 2012 (Recap): Images Speak

A picture is worth a thousand words…but try saying that with a picture. – Brazilian proverb

While the power behind the ability to communicate through images has long been revered, the different ways images are used in communication are constantly being invented, combined, redefined, and rediscovered. Last Wednesday at SVII, we got a taste of the different ways that people are refining their craft of connecting with an audience through picture-based communication.

After a riveting opening performance by San Francisco-based artist, Scot Sier:

…and delectable food and drinks from the warm hosts at the Angelica’s:

..we embarked on our adventure to explore the leverage of visual media.

It started with Emilio Banuelos, a photographer whose passion is found in the stark truths that can be gleaned from everyday life:

He uses a rather small classic camera because he knows that it is unintrusive and puts his subjects at ease. In order to get authentic images of the way people live, he enters their environments and lives and travels with them (having spent time in Mexico and traveled across the country in a Greyhound bus). When photographing someone, it is important for Emilio that the subject also feels that they are treated with respect and knows that he values their time.  This, in the end, also leads to better pictures:

Our next presenter was Christos Chrestatos, a filmmaker and creative director from New York City:

He took us deep into the process behind the making of one of his music videos, “The Hard Way,” by Gotham Green and Quickie Mart:

Christos reminded us that we naturally move towards things that we love and that make us feel loved, and that unconditional love for your client’s project is also necessary in order to discover and draw out the potential behind a brand’s identity (which is ultimately also a reflection of the owner).  He also drove home the importance of uniqueness supported by rationality (doing things differently, but always in a way that makes sense) when generating creative concepts for a new client.  In this video, he uses broad symbolic imagery in a way that is not typical in the hip-hop music scene. His inspiration comes partially from myths and epic movies that he has been fascinated by in the past; Such experiences give him a deep well to draw ideas from for the projects that he works on now.

Our final speaker was Max Sims, author and expert in Maya, graphic artist, professor, designer and entrepreneur:

He does many things, but the driving force is always innovating and creating. He gave us insight into how you analyze images (and objects) based on the emotions that they elicit–and how to actively design for different emotions. (For example, sports cars tend to evoke strong emotions due to their tendency to value flair over balance in their designs; This manner of taking shapes to their extremes serves the alternative purpose of sports cars which is to double as fashion pieces.) To learn some more from Max, check out:

Of course, we then concluded the evening with a dynamic panel discussion led by our own dashing chairman and founder, Howard Lieberman:

In a way, the evening we had at the Angelica’s was like a history (and projection into the future) of image making–starting off with classic replica making (photography), moving on to directing and integrating (film), and finishing with an elaborate form of creating images from the ground up and inside out (graphic design and modeling). The bottom line? There is still much more to learn and discover about the possibilities behind image making and its unbounded potential to establish meaningful and generative human connections.

To join in on our next adventure together, Greased Lightning!, sign up here: 

And as always…Keep innovating!

– SVII Team

JULY 18th 2012 (Recap): Innovator’s Showcase (Happy Birthday in Style!)

Thank you to all who participated and attended our 7th Year Anniversary Celebration!


Here is a little recap of the evening by our own Adam Kauk:


It was a pot-luck of talent from around the SVII community; We had a schedule of presentations and performances that were so varied, it looked like a microcosm of SVII’s history. (The delightful setting and delicious food were provided by Angelica’s Bistro in Redwood City, and the soup within that bowl was provided by the SVII community…)


We started with creative and engaging melodies from Neubop, the duo of Howard Lieberman (founder of SVII) and David Solhaug.
Then there was a tantalizing presentation on dark matter by Thomas Buckholtz.




This was followed by three different presentations of visual art. First, Elzbieta Holsztynska talked about how her own art teaches her different things about science..



Then, Jason Marsh played a video taken by an iPhone on a bunch of helium balloons (and dazzled us with some out-of-this-world violin looping)..



Finally, Geri McGilvray did an animated live portrait painting demo… 



…with Jessie Chen as the model.



The final third of the night came around with Adam Kauk transferring a guitar song onto the piano (Signe, by Eric Clapton).



Next, Birgitte Rasine transported us to a hot day in Rome with a reading from her own book.



Finally, the evening ended with a bang as Andy Markham and the Polyglot Quartet played their unique blend of various genres and took us to the finish line.


A good time was had by all–especially me (Adam).

Join us next time (After the summer fiesta, we will be back to our first Wed of the month schedule!) on Wednesday, September 5th, 2012!  We will be discussing how to engage your clients and audience through emotional relevancy in media (graphics, photos, and film).


Mark you calendars!

JUNE 18th 2012: Jason Marsh demonstrating Rapid Iteration in Live Music Performance

Last month, SVII hosted an event focused on the concept of rapid iteration–which is a quick production cycle of something for the sake of quickly adjusting as you see the results of previous cycle. That may seem complicated, but it just means that you figure out how to do something better while you are doing it, and you figure it out rapidly.

Here is one of our presenters, Jason Marsh, demonstrating rapid iteration in the form of musical performance:

12/7/11: Holiday Party with CAST Labs

SVII and CAST Labs joined forces for an end of the year celebration. The program featured live jazz, opera arias, a tango dance performance, and a dinner-debate. The theme of the evening – art, creativity and innovation, a collaborative exploration.

Here is an excellent blog post by Theral Timpson about the evening.
Read more

Painting the Music Recap

We were treated to a magnificent and innovative performance from Jeremy Sutton. He showed his unique style and process he engages in order to produce his original paintings.


When Jeremy Sutton asked us to make sure there was a bit of space up at the front for him to dance during his presentation, I wondered what we were in for. It turns out we were in for a powerful look at the intersection of art, technology, music, and improv, with a bit of swing dance thrown in for good measure.

Jeremy Sutton is a physicist turned artist who uses a combination of digital tools and traditional painting techniques to create his artwork. We’ve all experienced the magic of listening to someone create music. Or watching someone perform dance. It’s much more rare that we get to see art in the creation stage. Jeremy took it one step further, and did his best to draw us into the creative process, from the beginning stages of percolating ideas, to the loose throwing of paint onto a digital blank canvas, to the final steps of reigning in the wild brushstrokes to make something that really captures the subject.

In this case, the subject of the painting was SVII’s director, Howard Lieberman. Howard was also an active participant in the creative process, offering improvised piano music that helped influence the rhythm of the brushstrokes.  Piano pairs very well with art.

At our August event, our topic was improv. We talked a lot about how improv relates to business. It opens up our thinking and lets us accept what is, rather than what we’d like things to look like according to our careful plans. Jeremy’s presentation touched on many of the same things. He mentioned that he never uses the “undo” button, although you’d think that would be one of the blessings of being a digital painter. He doesn’t use undo, because he sees every brushstroke as a gift, as a step towards something bigger. Mistakes are worked into the creative process, not “undone”.

As innovators, this mentality should feel familiar. People who keep trying to undo errors to manage their creative process won’t allow themselves the freedom required to make breakthroughs. It’s beyond a simple willingness to fail. It’s a knowledge that what we’re trying to reach is about ten steps past failure, and that failure was necessary and helpful part of the process.

If you’re interested in seeing more of Jeremy’s work, check out his websites: and You can also stop by his studio this weekend (Oct 8-10) for his Fall Open Studios event. Or check out his live performance as Vincent Van Gogh at the de Young on October 15th or October 22nd.