Caleb Brown on art and the essential dichotomies in life

Caleb

Caleb Brown is a user experience designer, a comic book artist and an incredible human being.  We met at an ad agency in Boston and I had the privilege to work with Caleb on a number of projects. Caleb lights up every room he walks in and inspires everyone around him.

You can check out Caleb’s heart-felt comics via his website at http://caleb-brown.com/, and other links and resources he mentioned below via “Selected Links from this Episode”.

In this in-depth conversation with Caleb, we talked about much beyond user experience, art, comics. Caleb leaned into an authentic exchange on the most essential dichotomy in life, how he integrates his belief in his personal and work life. As a result, his coworkers (such as myself) find it irresistible to rethink and reinvent our own lives for the better.

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Caleb speaks about “Our obligation to tap into our world and understand what is going on. We are the only people who can be HERE, right NOW. We have to be self-aware, be present and pay attention. Put the armor away.” Caleb argued, “It doesn’t matter how you perform when you are on top, but how you react and respond when things go sideways.”

We can choose to be present, choose to lean back, choose to step in and be committed in this moment, choose to be here.

“As an artist, I encourage people to draw with me.”  Caleb discusses drawing as a “risky business”. “People are afraid how things are going to come out. Does it start here and end there?” Some of it (drawing) is performance – in a business context – people with the marker has the control of the room. But what’s more compelling to Caleb is when he invites others to join in by asking, often the most silent person in the room, “the stove is now ready for you to cook”. I have never seen anyone refusing to accept the whiteboard marker from Caleb.

Whether or not artist is in your title or belief, I hope you find your way to express yourself and engage others around you.

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Selected Links from the Episode:

Show Notes (Times Are Approximate):

Caleb’s response to “the artist you are” [7:00]
Caleb’s comics and other artworks on caleb-brown.com [12:20]
The creation process of tributaries “For David”. How can one respond to the deepest sorrow [14:00]
The most essential dichotomy in life & the magical Caleb-effect [20:40]
The world of Caleb – solving problems with drawings [26:35]
Start Drawing 101 & drawing as a risky business, secret mission to make any meeting FUN [28:50]
Efforts over attributes [35:15]
What is User Experience (UX) [37:45]
How did Caleb initially engaged in UX as a web developer [40:00]
What is the point of a thing/system? How to encapsulate and correct as a UX designer? [43:45]
Final rapid fire questions [47:00]