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If you would like to get in touch about working with me on your project, use the form at the right to send a quick message.

I create work across many mediums, including: logos, identities, information design, websites and ecommerce marketing, editorial design, retail signage and branding, corporate communications, advertising, posters, packaging, invitations, and photography.

 
Got recipes?

I'll prepare them, shoot them and then do the dishes for you.

What I'm available for:
Professional editorial styling, photography and retouching.

Styling, photo, retouching and layout/graphics services for menus and cookbooks.

Styling, photography and retouching for online media.

I'm also available for:
Assignment food-related articles and recipe development.

Photography Rates:
Hourly rate, with discounts for full-day and multiple-day assignments. Industry-standard image licensing rates. Additional costs for travel and groceries may apply. Email for a quote.

 

           

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Blog

My thoughts, my work, and things that spark creative thinking

Design + dataviz = a more connected and environmentally aware community

Alyssa Yeager

Up to 30 million gallons of spilled oil, more than 100 brownfields, 18 State Superfund sites, 19 waste transfer stations, 12+ registered point source air emissions facilities, 22 permitted combined sewer overflow pipes, the largest sewage treatment facility in New York City, and 2.7 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted stormwater annually. All of these things and more are in and around Greenpoint's Newtown Creek, according to the Newtown Creek Alliance.

Estimated (and please note, it is an estimation) by the gallons of paint it would take to cover the area, if the above illustration only shows the oil spill, then the billions of gallons of raw sewage alone would more than cover all of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Visualize the oil in cubic feet as gallons of water and the resulting illustration looks even more devastating.

As a Greenpoint resident for the past 9 years, I've long wanted to pool design, creative and non-profit resources to reinforce and further ignite environmental awareness and change in the community. And with the influx of new residents as the waterfront development begins and the neighborhood continues to be on the rise (literally), I've got a plan...

My team and I at work are preparing to explore a Creek-related side project over the course of the next year. The project will allow us to utilize data visualization, design and interactivity to build better community engagement around Newtown Creek and the environmental impact of pollution to the surrounding communities.

It has always been right in our backyard, but if our project is a success, we'll have a platform that will allow us to better see it, talk about it and create solutions together.

Crazy people making art

Alyssa Yeager

Let's talk about schizophrenia.

What I really mean by that is, let's talk about Nick Blinko. You may not know him—most people don't—and, really, I only know him because the first guy I "hung out" with in middle school listened to a British punk band called Rudimentary Peni. Nick Blinko was that band's lead singer, and he made amazingly intricate, schizophrenic drawings for their album covers.

These days, Blinko is billed as a British outsider artist, not a schizo anarcho-punk. His drawings and paintings have been shown in galleries worldwide. He's also been hospitalized in the past, and suffers from delusions when not on medication. But he says that his need to make pictures is stronger than the desire for the psychic "stability" brought by therapeutic drugs—they adversely affect his ability to work.

His images are filled with iconography and constructed of microscopically detailed elements, sometimes consisting of literally hundreds of intricate, interconnecting figures and faces. And what's more, he draws them without the aid of a magnifying glass—literally, just draws them.

Now, I'm not saying I've ever necessarily been inspired by Blinko's work, or any schizophrenic art for that matter. But there's so much about it to be fascinated by. It just goes to show how mysterious the mind is.

A lot of artists notoriously "medicate" to make their art.  But the pictures I've sourced here (and all of Blinko's works) were produced during periods when he was not altering his mind. He couldn't do it any other way.

That (elusive) secret of success

Alyssa Yeager

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.
— Henry Ford

The last unicorn

Alyssa Yeager

Design is a full-time job. If you’re asking your designer to write code, you’re asking them to spend less time designing.
— Braden Kowitz, Google Ventures

You can also replace "write code" with write copy, produce video, animate, photograph products... You get the picture.

If you're hiring a graphic designer and the job description mentions the above additional skills, chances are high that you'll scare away the best candidates — they'll be able to tell that you're asking too much from a single person, and that you're not familiar with design.

Coloring a purple cat

Alyssa Yeager

Illustration by Eric Carle

Illustration by Eric Carle

Graphic design and structure go hand-in-hand, and in this field rule-breakers aren’t always celebrated—even breaking the rules needs to be done with some semblance of structure. This is important, though, because in order to establish a successful graphic system or a brand visually, there needs to be a strong underlying structure and a little bit of authority. I am fully bought into this.

But here is where both the free-spirited hippie and the petulant child in me join hands and want to take over. Because, wait. It’s still creative, isn’t it?

During my childhood, my parents were always being called up and called in to speak with whichever teacher was upset with one of their children for inadvertently thumbing our noses at authority in school. Maybe I was chasing the boys around the Preschool playground, or using a little more glue than the teacher had instructed the class to use when gluing glitter to our craft projects. But no experience of free-spirit-meets-authority takes the cake more than the time my sister, Emily, colored a purple cat in Elementary School art class.

To my memory, the class had been presented with a drawing of a cat and told to color it in, then instructed on how to do just that. The final drawing was supposed to be a black cat with green eyes. Only, Emily wanted her cat to be purple. So she went rogue and colored a purple cat with green eyes.

Emily’s cat didn’t end up looking like any of the other cat drawings in the class, and that was a problem.

My parents received the call shortly after, and my father explained to the teacher that in art class, he expected that my sister would be allowed to be creative. She could follow rules and regulations in other classes.

To this day, Em doesn’t think she’s creative—that she didn’t get whatever creativity gene it is my brother and I both happened to inherit. When you teach kids they’re wrong for drawing a purple cat and single them out, that’s what can happen. I think that’s a shame.

But back to graphic design. Because commercial art does need to follow some rules, and designers are notoriously tight-assed when it comes to perfect lines and making all the right choices. We’re taught the rules—the craft— in art school and we know better than to break them recklessly.

Maybe we should stop feeling threatened when we see others exploring their creativity. Maybe, instead, we should celebrate that.

When I worked at Jonathan Adler Enterprises, things were very free, and JA always wanted me to make type bigger. “Go big or go home!” he would say. And then when I would inevitably fail him, “Graphic Designers always want to make tiny type. It’s, like, your thing.” We would laugh, but he was so very right.

I tried my best, but I just couldn’t make the type enormous. To me, type had to be beautiful and perfect, not recklessly in-your-face—if it was going to be big, it needed to be big for a solid conceptual reason. In that instance, I remained mostly tight-assed.

JA reminded me in some ways of an incredibly cool teacher I had during my first year of art school, David. David taught a foundation drawing class. He was the first person ever to physically loosen my death grip on the charcoal I was drawing with and force me to just let go—to be free. I told David that I was planning on becoming a graphic designer, but he insisted that in his class I needed to loosen up. He had talks with me about finding my own way of being free with my work, he introduced me to weird music—like Can—and showed the whole class Gimme Shelter one evening.

By the end of David's class I found that my way of being free with my work was creating abstract floor-to-ceiling charcoal, ink splatter and oil stick drawings. I would start by spilling or splashing some ink on the paper and watching it bleed. Whatever form I saw it as making would then dictate the concept of the piece. The final drawings were both graphic and free. David was so happy, and truth be told, so was I!

A few years ago I started freeing myself again and openly exploring photography. Not with the intention of becoming pro, but just because it made me feel happy and creative, and I liked doing it. The better my photos got and the more I wanted to share them, the more heat I felt like I was getting from some of the professional photographers and designers I knew. They didn't seem to want me to really explore and potentially be good at something in addition to design.

I was beginning to feel the way I imagined my sister must have felt when she got in trouble for making that purple cat.

My point is, maybe we should stop feeling threatened when we see others exploring their creativity. Maybe, instead, we should celebrate that. People can make recklessly gigantic type if that's what they're feeling, or be good at more than one thing. There’s plenty of opportunity to go around for everyone. Let’s let them color a purple cat, and then we can always reel them in when and where it may be necessary. But never should we make someone feel bad or wrong, or less confident, for doing their thing.

New photography work

Alyssa Yeager

Recent photography work for Bailey Brand Consulting, Sinfire Cinnamon Whisky and Lucid Absinthe Supérieure. Photography and styling by Alyssa. All photos ©Alyssa Yeager.


Recent photography work for Bailey Brand Consulting, Sinfire Cinnamon Whisky and Lucid Absinthe Supérieure.
Photography and styling by Alyssa. All photos ©Alyssa Yeager.

Going naked

Alyssa Yeager

After my first three years as a New York City resident, I started writing about myself and my experiences. In some weird way, I think this was my attempt at piecing together the puzzle that I was feeling had become my life, and viewing it with a little bit of humor.

Living in this city will force you to learn more about yourself in a relatively short period of time than you're likely to learn about yourself during a lifetime elsewhere. I think that's a good thing—especially for a young woman.

This weekend I came across all of the essays I've written over the years, and after reading through some of them, decided to make a blog to start posting my favorites to—a new side project.

Rather than be embarrassed by who I am and the experiences that have shaped me, I'd like to share them with anyone interested in reading them.

The blog is called Naked, and can be found here:
Naked: Life as I've known it for the past 35 years

Why go Naked?

The short answer is, to combat fear. Throughout life I've become used to hearing a lot about how I shouldn't say this, or do that, or admit that I think certain things—I might embarrass myself because someone might misunderstand or not agree with me and, essentially, not like me if I share my views. But if overall you're a good person, feeling afraid to put yourself out there is silly when you really think about it.

You can have a party with a hundred people, and ninety-nine people are all having fun. And if there’s one guy in the corner not having fun for some reason, we as human beings will fixate on that one person and let it bring the whole vibe of the party down. Even though there’s ninety-nine motherfuckers having a great time, that one person not having a good time just sticks in your head and you start thinking to yourself, “Oh, my party’s not that good. What can I do?"

Every time you put something out there, you invite two sides: There are people who are going to be into you and what you're doing, and there are people who will make fun of it and shit on it. Both are just as valid, and both mean nothing. As time goes on, you loosen up and realize that's what makes the world so great. You and I can look at the exact same object and call it two completely different things.

True influence is taking everything you’ve learned and been inspired by and then turning it into your own new thing.

By writing about myself and my experiences I've been able to loosen up and laugh at myself, while learning all sorts of things that I would have never learned had I just ignored my history or left it to memory. Through the process of making the essays, one after another would lead me to a question, and that question would lead me to another one, which would lead me to another one, which would lead to a realization... And the realizations opened up all sorts of avenues.

I think the way we grow and shift according to those around us is interesting. We pick up new ideas, interests and habits to carry along with us in life. But true influence is taking everything you've learned and been inspired by and then turning it into your own new thing. True influence is never a carbon copy of the thing that has inspired you. So the idea was (and still is) to write about my experiences, learn from them, and see where that takes me—maybe it will result in a series of photos, or a design project, or a book, or... Who knows! Same as with anything in life, if we're really serious about exploring an avenue, we have to actually get down to the business of exploring it.

I remember reading about how one time Sinclair Lewis was invited to talk to a group of aspiring writers. He asked, "How many of you are really serious about being writers?" All of their hands went up. And he asked, "Then why aren't you all home writing?" And then he walked out of the room. This could apply to anything, and to me it's Truth. If I want to accomplish it, I have to do it. It's not up to someone else to inspire me or show me how—it's really only up to me.

Art Direction, explained.

Alyssa Yeager

What exactly does an Art Director do? Having worked in Editorial, Web, and Retail design, at design studios and in-house within an large field where it's possible to find a Graphic Designer, a Designer, an Art Director, a Design Director, and a Creative Director all under one roof, even I get confused sometimes about the difference.

I have always loved the job of an Art Director. To me, this job encompasses all of my personal strengths and lets me pool them together in one role. It allows me to lead and still be hands-on, and it provides me with the opportunity to help create experiences beyond just designing one aspect of them.

So what is an Art Director? I haven't seen the role explained better than in Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne's 2009 book, Art Direction Explained, At Last! And even within the pages, nowhere have I seen it so beautifully explained as in the book's opening spread:

A Fable/Preamble:
"I Am An Art Director," Said the Fox

By Brian Collins

Once upon a time there was a raccoon who made a living making and selling banjos.

One day a donkey entered his shop. "How can I help you?" asked the raccoon.

"Well, I would very much like to play the banjo," said the donkey.

So the raccoon sold him a basic but lovely starter model. The donkey went on his way, rejoicing in his new purchase. The raccoon was also quite pleased, reckoning he had just gained a repeat customer, as the donkey would certainly be back for a banjo case, strings, finger picks, a pitch pipe, sheet music and—eventually—a top-of-the-line banjo.

The donkey went home and flailed away at the instrument for several days. But, as the timbre of his playing did not meet his expectations, discouragement soon set in. He stashed the banjo under his bed and did not revisit the raccoon's shop.

Soon after, the raccoon was lamenting the circumstance to some of his friends. Frankly, it was not the first time a promising customer had failed to return. Business was flat.

You are not exactly a writer. You are not exactly a poster-maker. You are not a brand consultant. You are not a web designer. Yet you did all of these things...

"Your logo is outdated," said the mole, a branding guru; "I will spherize it for you!"

"I will write you a clever TV spot!" said the bear, who was a copywriter. "I'll hire Joe Pytka to direct it."

"You need a transmedia, multichannel, viral marketing strategy!" said the rabbit, who was a web tycoon. "I will monetize all of those eyeballs!"

The raccoon felt paralyzed. Then the fox—who had been listening in the corner—spoke up.

"Perhaps what your customers really want," he said, "is not the banjo itself, but the magic of banjo music. So, perhaps you should be in the art of delivering them that magic."

"What?" said the raccoon, but dimly comprehending.

"Look, why not let me make some posters offering banjo classes? Then allow me to redesign your shop so it feels inviting. I will set up some chairs, put on some hot coffee and ask everyone in. Then you can hold jam sessions in your shop, where new players can mingle and hone their skills. And I could invite a visiting virtuoso to give a recital. I'll create a little newsletter that explains what you do every week. I can also film the sessions and create a website to make it all available online for creatures living in the outlying hollows. In this way, you'd start giving customers banjo...joy," suggested the fox. "Consequently, I believe the demand for your instruments will blossom."

"Capital!" exclaimed the raccoon, catching on.

And that's just what he did, following the fox's suggestions. In no time, his shop changed from a mere banjo store to a hive of banjo action. The donkey, hearing that lessons were to be had, came back. And he told others. Who then told others. Demand skyrocketed. Then raccoon hired assistants and opened a recording studio. Customers came from everywhere. Best of all, the dells resounded with the dulcet ding-a-dang of the banjo.

When the raccoon went to pay the fox for his remarkable services, the raccoon asked him what line of work he was in. "You are not exactly a writer. You are not exactly a poster-maker. You are not a brand consultant. You are not a web designer. Yet you did all of these things for me."

"Well, that's because I am...an art director," answered the fox.

And soon after the raccoon came to see himself as not a banjo builder, but a "maker of musicians."

And so did everyone else.

Coffee table reading

Alyssa Yeager

I've always been bad at displaying my creative books with any sort of purpose. There's one book shelf leaning against my living room wall, and when it became too full to squeeze even one more book on, the coffee table seemed like the natural next place to start putting them. And so it is that now I've got the books that are inspiring me most at any given moment displayed in stacks on my coffee table—they're visible, and most importantly, always within reach.

Here's a quick look at the creative conversation-starters on my coffee table right now:

Inspiration for my inner food photographer
Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-all by Brad Thomas Parsons
This James Beard Foundation Book Award winner is a fantastic and well-written guide to all things Bitters, with beautiful, full-page photographs of drinks, bar tools, and... Bitters!

Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite by Sarah Copeland
Lovely, fresh vegetarian meals. But most importantly, beautiful full-page photographs of some of the plated dishes.
 

Inspiration for my inner graphic designer
Graphic: Inside the Sketchbooks of the World's Great Graphic Designers by Steven Heller and Lita Talarico
There's nothing quite as inspiring as having a bird's eye view of sketchbooks belonging to a heavy handful of amazing graphic designers; from Milton Glaser to Noma Barr, Michael Bierut, and many more.

Bibliographic: 100 Classic Design Books by Jason Godfrey
The perfect way to get a glimpse inside all of the classics—many out of print and very rare.
 

Inspiration for my inner interior designer
Living in a Modern Way: California Design 1930-1965 by Wendy Kaplan
This thick companion to a major exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a stunning and comprehensive look into California's Mid Century Modern design.

Bohemian Modern: Living in Silver Lake by Barbara Bestor
Silver Lake California is synonymous with hipsters, so full permission is granted for eye-rolls—but a look at the bohemian interiors inside will get you well past that.
 

Inspiration for my inner lover and weirdo
Mapping Manhattan: A Love (and Sometimes Hate) Story in Maps by 75 New Yorkers by Becky Cooper
Ms. Cooper walked Manhattan with blank maps, asking strangers (and also some of the most famous New Yorkers) to map their Manhattan. What resulted is a study of memories of Manhattan from those who know it best. A beautiful and sometimes poignant trip down the memory lanes of longtime New Yorkers that will make the hearts of other longtime New Yorkers sing. I promise, after you're done noticing every part of every map in the book, you'll want to map your Manhattan, too!

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey
Need I say more? "L is for Leo who swallowed some tacks..." And the Love I'll always have for this little book—we go a long way back.

The Doubtful Guest by Edward Gorey
And I had to save the best for last. Maybe it's just my odd sense of humor, but Gorey's book about the strange creature who appears at the doorstep of a family one night, runs into their home, and creepily just becomes a part of the gang is by far my favorite Gorey book ever. It's a permanent fixture on my coffee table.

Kitchen (La Bohème) redo

Alyssa Yeager

Damn, Squarespace—you make it so easy to make a website look so good. 

I figured it's about time I made the effort to turn Kitchen La Bohème, my food blog side project, into something better. And what's more, with a portfolio of great photography that's getting lost in blog posts, it's time to pull it all together and showcase it properly.

The better part of my Saturday was spent playing with layouts until I settled on the format shown here. The whole site should be populated and ready to launch by the end of May, fingers crossed!

Be an antenna

Alyssa Yeager

What you're doing right now doesn't need to be quicksand.

What I mean by that is, whatever your work involves at this stage in your career doesn't need to dictate what you'll do from now on or what you may be doing in the future, especially if what you're doing doesn't make you happy. And there's no point in not letting your freak flag fly if you decide you want to make a change—it's usually the interests and personality traits that make us weird, and make us who we really are, that lead us to what we should do next.

Our little quirks are what give us personality and set us from apart from others, so why not let them propel us towards a new adventure, or new and exciting work? I started approaching my work in this way years ago, and it's stuck with me.

Back then I read an interview with the lead singer of one of my favorite bands in which he compared himself to an antenna—always on, always picking up signals that lead him to new creativity in his work. Weird and quirky, huh? But I figured he was on to something. So I decided to become an antenna, too. Instead of viewing creativity as something that is accessible, I began to view it as something that I was just always open to.

That was when I started to see things I hadn't really been noticing before. It was also when I started taking photos while out and about in the city. I'd found a new way to share with others the things I was seeing in exactly the way I was personally seeing them.

Then in May of 2010 I started a food blog to explore a secondary passion, and quickly, it became obvious that increasing the quality of the photography featured was necessary. The intention was never to become a Photographer—just to learn how to create halfway decent photos of the recipes I was posting. But something interesting began to happen...

Four years later I have a fancy camera and fancy equipment and I'm being paid to take photos. More than that, I'm incredibly happy when I'm styling and shooting food. I'm still not sure that makes me a Photographer, but I'm learning that what I decided to pursue 16 years ago when picking my major in art school doesn't define me any more than the color of my hair or my shoe size. And that even my résumé doesn't matter too much if I'm willing to put in the time and effort necessary to follow my heart. In exploring a secondary passion—one of my little quirks that gives me personality and distinguishes me from others—I've discovered an interesting additional direction.

Recent photography work for Bailey Brand Consulting and Sinfire Cinnamon Whisky. Photography and styling by Alyssa. All photos ©Alyssa Yeager.

Recent photography work for Bailey Brand Consulting and Sinfire Cinnamon Whisky.
Photography and styling by Alyssa. All photos ©Alyssa Yeager.

Raise a glass...

Alyssa Yeager

Three successful photo shoots down! I'm not able to share the work yet, but below are two Instagrammed outtakes that paint a better picture of the subject matter.

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Photography and styling by Alyssa. Photos ©Alyssa Yeager

Ten things young(er) creatives should keep in mind

Alyssa Yeager

The older I get, the more I find my focus changing—from design to photography to writing, from graphic designer and maker to creative director—and not only that, the more I find myself in a position to teach.

What have I learned over the past 13 years that's worth putting out there? I'll list a bunch of things and then let everyone else be the judge...

1. Never give up—never. People will say you can't. They'll say you're too young, or too old, or not exactly right in some way or another. But if you've got talent and you know it, and if you are right and you know it, don't ever give up!

2. Make some frenemies. Why? Because no one feels motivated to push themselves further when they're surrounded by admirers. Nothing beats the cold shove into being better than you were before that only a naysayer can give. 

3. Don't pay attention to anyone's expectations but your own. It's your life and your career. What do you want? Figure it out and set your own list of expectations for yourself—then follow those. It doesn't matter where anyone else expects you to go in your career. Where do you expect you to go? 

4. Listen and learn. We're never to old to learn, and even the youngest of us may have something to teach. Respect those above you—they have the most experience and expertise—but realize that none of us has learned everything there is to know, and young and old can share great value with each other in different ways.

5. Speak up. When someone tells you you can't, tell them all the ways you know you can. And then show them that you can. Meek and mild won't propel you forward, it will only leave you unnoticed and get you left behind. 

6. Become more literate. Read! Write! Write terribly and get better and better. Sketch! Draw! Paint! Become a photographer! Practice more than just design, because there is so much more to creativity. Becoming good at all of these things will make you well-rounded. You'll be your own one-(wo)man creative powerhouse!

 7. Don't be afraid to do anything bad or wrong. Just do. And the more you do, the better you'll get. Also, the more you do, the less you'll regret not doing later. Unless, of course, the thing you're about to do is just plain stupid. Use common, educated sense. And then, just do!

8. Push yourself each day to be better than you were the day before. If you can do that, and nail all of the above, you'll find yourself ready to lead—and you'll suddenly find that there are plenty of people who are willing to follow you.

9. Discover another perspective. Learn about other cultures. Travel. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. Practice empathy and don't forget that just because you see something one way doesn't mean everyone else sees it that way, or even that your way of seeing it is correct. There are many ways of seeing the same thing, and all of them hold value. Learn to celebrate individuality and differences of opinion.

10. Don't listen to me. Figure it all out for yourself. That's what I would do, anyway! 

Wisdom and method

Alyssa Yeager

Those who know me well (and also some who don’t) know that I have an assortment of tattoos. Say what you will, but to me they’re all special and meaningful. Last weekend I added a small, delicate arrow to the collection.

After studying various esoteric religions and symbols for the past five years, these days I've been focused on Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhist art. In The Handbook of Tibetan Buddhist Symbols, Robert Beer says,

Like a magic mirror it lights up with meaning the longer that you gaze into it, and I bow down in gratitude before the Enlightened Mind that conceived all of this divine beauty.

What a great way to express Tibetan Buddhism’s wonder and meaning.

It may seem a little strange to focus on weapons when choosing a symbol for my new tattoo. But Tibetan Buddhism considers the Bow and Arrow symbols of Wisdom and Method. The bow is naturally held in the left “wisdom” hand, and the arrow in the right “method” hand. So the bee and the ouroboros I have tattooed on my left arm are my personal symbols of wisdom, and the arrow on my right arm reminds me not to forget about method.

More than anything, my arrow reminds me to keep moving forward—if I ever feel momentarily lost, as long as I’m moving forward I’m always headed in the right direction.

Screen shot 2013-09-14 at 8.33.24 AM.png

Let it fly...

Alyssa Yeager

talitha2.jpg

This weekend when visiting family, my mother picked me up at the train station and we had an unexpected conversation on the drive home. "You've always been unusual," she said. "You've always been a bit of a flower child... A free spirit. It took me a while to truly realize but now I see, you're different [than the rest of us]."

I'm not entirely sure what started us on this conversation but I'm glad we had it. It took me a long time to embrace my tendency to go against the grain and stop being afraid of it; but I'm happy that I did, and that I didn't wait too long to do so.

As a child I would draw and draw, let my imagination run away with me, and according to my mother, "feel things more deeply than everyone else". I laughed when she said that but as an adult looking back on my childhood, I know what she means.

Being different and letting people see that you're different is a scary thing, even as an adult. It takes strength to embrace your personal brand of strange rather then be embarrassed by it and afraid to admit to it.

I'm thankful to my mother for not only recognizing this "difference" in me, but for allowing me the freedom to explore it as I was growing up.

(Also? Bonus points to anyone who can name the 60s style icon in the photo above...)

Be reckless, be bold

Alyssa Yeager

Better to be reckless than careful. Better to be bold than safe. Better to have your work seen and remembered, or you’ve struck out.
— George Lois

Celebrating freedom

Alyssa Yeager

997883301543363642d970c.jpg

Every year on July 4th I think this: Welcome to the best and worst of America, all rolled into one spectacular day. And this year, while it's still hard to ignore the gaudy and glorious worst—sketchy fireworks shot off in the yard next door, a massive hot dog eating contest, red white and blue everywhere, and the obligatory hodgepodge of lame patriotic songs/speech excerpts choreographed to an impressive pyrotechnics display (that's so American)—I wanted to take a moment and focus on the best. Because no matter what, I know how lucky I am to be here.

So here's to more freedom, more equality, less violence and more opportunity in the coming years—no matter who you are, what you believe, or where you came from.

Happy Fourth!

Sixty is sexy

Alyssa Yeager

sixty.jpg

In February, my mom turned sixty; so to celebrate the occasion in a big and unexpected way, we decided to throw her a surprise party. The theme was "I'm Sixty and I Know It." Commissioned to handle the invitations, I arrived at a "sexy" gold and black Studio 54-style concept and rolled with it, creating a nice little mark and invitation that went out as an HTML email invite (and a printed invitation for those who were not as hip to the whole email thang). This concept became the art direction for the whole party—we chose groupings of gold and black balloons, and gold tablecloths. Gold and black confetti was placed on each table, and a mirror ball (that I was hell-bent on finding) was hung from the ceiling.

I traveled home to Philly for the big event and crashed with my brother so no one would know I was there. Mom was definitely surprised... And thrilled! They all made me hide in the kitchen for the initial "Surprise!", and motioned for me to walk out afterwards for a second little shock. Mom had no idea I was there, so we hit her with the good ol' double surprise and totally made her day.

Art direction and design by Alyssa. Work ©Alyssa Yeager