Getting to Know the Locals: Cassie Genc

the last traveler portrait

I had the great opportunity of talking with Cassie Genc, a local Milwaukee illustrator living in the Bayview area. Her work is full of whimsy, wonder, and robots. I have looked up to Cassie as an artist for many years and have always appreciated her use of vibrant colors and attention to detail. The pieces she creates transport to magical other worlds that leave you thirsting for further exploration into her work.
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The making of a mural, in chalk

Day 1: Setting the scene
One of my first assignments at Composure was to create a wall mural. It was the largest piece of artwork I’ve ever done. It was slightly intimidating at first, but I was ready to take on the challenge. Here’s a behind the scenes look at creating my first chalk wall mural!

First, you must do the research. Pulling inspiration pieces is not only a great way to get your creative juices flowing, but helps create a starting point for what will become the finished work. As an inspiration point, I began to gather pieces from past projects, a wide mix of different works. I wanted to incorporate designs from all different clients and find a way to integrate them all together.

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Creating a cohesive layout is like solving a puzzle. You start out with individual pieces and begin to find which pieces fit together, which pieces don’t.

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Our Kids: Childlike Creativity

Anyone that knows me will tell you I talk about my two daughters—a lot. In my defense, it’s pretty much “Dad Law” that I have to brag about them whenever I get the chance and think everything they do is amazing.

All joking aside, my kids’ imaginations never cease to amaze me. Whether they are creating incredibly detailed plots for stories while playing with their toys or making up random lyrics to songs, I find myself often times just watching and smiling.

What I am most in awe of, however, is the way I can give them a stack of paper and just watch them create page after page of drawings. They’ve spent entire afternoons with nothing but their imaginations, a binder of loose-leaf paper and crayons—so many crayons.

Layla bear

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Cast of Characters

Portraits have always been about more than ink and paint to me. Part of what sparked my interest in them was finding ways to show the idiosyncrasies of the people around me. Things like the curve of a nose or how someone’s chin sits against their cheek, or in this instance, how much they really do look like their pet.

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Personalized Learning in Practice: How a Risk-Taker Tailored Learning in Her District

Wales, Wis.

A magic wand sits high on a shelf in Patricia Deklotz’s office. It was a gift in 2005, the day after she accepted the Kettle Moraine school board’s challenge to “transform the educational delivery system to better and more efficiently meet the needs of all children.” But the board had just cut about $1 million from the budget for the 4,100-student district.

What “transform” meant was undefined, except Deklotz knew that they needed to do something different for less. Innovate on a dime.

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A Few of Our Favorite Things: KR’s Type Artists

Christopher WoolChristopher Wool

Wool is an American artist famous for his black and white stenciled letter word paintings, Wool forms words and phrases in a grid style that breaks typography and word pattern rules, removing space, punctuation and vowels leaving the viewer to make sense of it. Known also for his abstract work, Wool pushes the limits of painting using of a variety of mediums and tools for mark-making. I am inspired by his ability to move beyond the standard rules and create art that grabs your attention and requires thought to decipher the work.

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Generating Effective Website Content

Regardless of the size of your company, having a functional website is a critical foundation. Whether you’re working on a redesign or developing your website from scratch, you should pay attention to and focus on the content of your site. Having a functional and attractive website will only get you so far. People often neglect the importance of having pertinent and well-written content.

What you should write—be clear and quick

When writing for your website, make sure it is clearly written and conveys consistent messaging for your brand and personality. Although it’s important to incorporate a personal touch, you should avoid getting too wordy. People have a short attention span when it comes to browsing a website versus reading a blog or online article. With articles, people have a preconceived idea of what they will be doing and expect to dedicate some time to reading. With most websites, on the other hand, people want to be able to get in and get out. It has been reported that people will spend as little as 20 seconds on your site to determine if it’s worth their time or not. If they can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, they will move on and look elsewhere.
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The Time is Right to Redesign Your Website

There may be existing features in the company’s current site construction that were optimal at one point, but that now may be working against you. There may also be new strategies that simply work much better in achieving desired results.

Get back to basics…Ask yourself if you need a redesigned website.

  • Is your site responsive?
  • Has your company evolved and your website needs to catch up?
  • Does your website show up on Google?
  • Can your client easily contact you from your site?
  • What is the first impression your potential clients get from your current site?
  • Does your current site accurately represent your company?
  • Can you manage the site content?
  • Is the user experience a positive one?

Let’s give your visitors exactly what they are looking for. First, step back and think about what your goals are. Let’s lay down a path to follow. Second, look at the content you already have on your site. What can you use for the new site and what new material will be needed? What information can we leave out? Third, let’s sit down and talk about your site history, performance, goals and viable directions. It may just be the right time to redesign your website.

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How to Avoid Drowning in a Sea of Ads

The over-abundance of advertising is now commonplace and you’re being inundated with holiday promotions. This shift is causing marketers to adapt a “more is more” approach. Ads can now be seen almost everywhere and on almost everything. Traditionally, ads were featured in newspapers and magazines, but due to decreasing reliability of those mediums and movement into the digital age, advertisers are now trying to reach people everywhere. Because of this, consumers are tuning out and ignoring traditional ads.

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