Creative types

Creative types

No More Nylons
Founded by Ojai resident Jodi Womack, No More Nylons is a company designed for business networking in an environment that encourages self-discovery. “Women get trapped in what they are good at,” says Womack, “and that sometimes doesn’t build them up as the creative beings that they are.” Womack’s business socials abandon the rules and obligations of the traditional networking structure — no elevator speeches, no R.S.V.P.s, no competition — and encourage women to truly connect with one another, in business as well as in life, health and family. Her goal is to establish a vibrant, engaging community of women who come together to be themselves, rather than prove themselves.

The clothes don’t make the man — or the woman
Womack recalls her father, a senior manager of a department store, arriving home, eager to get out of his work clothes and into something more comfortable. “My father wore a suit for 30 years, but never on the weekends,” says Womack. “Nobody ever chooses to put a suit on to be more of who they are; they put that on to be something to the world.” Thus, No More Nylons is symbolic of getting out of the work women have to do and into the work they love to do, without the restrictions and pressures of the traditional workplace model.

No boys allowed
Established for women only, Womack’s business socials encourage the development of the natural creative instinct in women. “Women get good at a lot of things they don’t enjoy doing,” she says. In turn, she believes women find other outlets of expression — painting, music, dance, poetry — which are not supported by our society as careers.

Womack, who also owns and runs an executive coaching firm with her husband, is too familiar with the linear mindset of “getting hired in what pays the most.” As a former event planner, she excelled at handling all the invisible support work, but did not feel she was filling out her creative side. With her company, she wishes to create a venue that honors that inner voice and supports women’s creative entrepreneurship. This idea seems to resonate with the women who attend the socials; with more than 200 attendees last September, Womack’s guests came from and as far away as Canada.

Really good at Bourbon
With the intention of promoting creativity among women entrepreneurs, Womack put a twist on nametags. Instead of making standard labels, she printed nametags asking her guests what they were good at, and left them to fill in the blanks. At first, “They didn’t know what to write,” she says. “But then the feminine creativity kicked in, and people started to come up with crazy and fun things to describe themselves.” Among the unique self-assigned descriptions were “I’m really good at Bourbon” from a pastry chef who uses the liquor in her truffles, and “Making babies” from a pediatric nurse.

Let’s get started
Womack’s vision is to evolve her networking model into every community. On Jan.11, she will launch the No More Nylons Starter Kit, available to anybody interested in establishing a business community for women. The packet will include a how-to guide, a digital pack and a graphic arts pack. Womack’s goal is to teach other leaders to change the mindset for the standard networking structure and establish a hub of resources and promotion for women in other cities. “Community isn’t about selling. It’s about giving and taking,” she says. “Women have this altruistic gene; we can’t help but collaborate.”   

Womack will hold business socials on Nov. 17, 8-10 p.m., at the Oaks; and Dec. 16, 5:30-7 p.m. at the Ojai Valley Inn. For more information, visit www.NoMoreNylons.com.

claudiapardo_art@yahoo.com

Creative types

Creative types

Jack of all trades
Philadelphia-born Verdell Wright paints every day on the patio of his apartment on Ventura Avenue overlooking the Topa Topa mountains. A former student at Ventura College and life-drawing model, Wright has delved deeply into all aspects of art and design in the last 10 years as a Ventura County resident. He is a representative for Vulgar Villains, Abstraxx and Cali Green — all clothing lines — a designer and model for Can’t Sleep, a Japanese clothing company; an artist and photographer for the record label NewWorldColor; a model at the last WAV Fashion Show; a collaborating artist in a current three-month art show tour in Santa Barbara; a co-op artist and T-shirt designer at Hit and Run studio in L.A. and a street art painter.

In the details
The father of two boys — and one on the way — Wright loves to experiment with his work. He intentionally splattered coffee on a small painting and called it “Acrylic and Starbucks.” He also experiments with how he reaches his audience. He sometimes leaves a painting in a conspicuous place, like a bus stop or a busy corner, hides, and watches what transpires. “I love it because it is street art, and through that process, it’s going back to the street,” he says.

Constantly aware of his surroundings, Wright pays close attention to the details on the streets. What many might find a nuisance or disregard altogether — small graffiti on a stop sign, stickers on the newspaper stand, writing on street poles — Wright finds inspirational. “I want to grab someone’s attention the way that street art grabs me,” he says.

The face phase
Influenced by the dripping technique of abstract expressionist painter Jackson Pollock, Wright’s paintings are a combination of several abstract methods: canvas staining, splattering, drips, and thick and thin application of paint. Largely an intuitive process, the acrylic and spray-paint canvases contain some recognizable subject matter — faces.

‘His body of work from the last 10 years depicts renderings of strange, often glowering and grimacing, faces. The visages are often one-connected-line drawings that are juxtaposed over the gestural painted backgrounds, evocative of graffiti art.

‘Consistently entering his dreams are images that end up on his canvases — aliens and monsters, flying through space and other worlds. Naturally, his paintings often suggest a contrast between modern and ancient imagery.

Que sera . . . Ceria
Wright is currently working on a brand-new series of paintings to be exhibited at Ceria in Ventura during First Friday.

“I try to stay XX fresh,” says Wright (a term he and his friends came up with). “I want my stuff to be brand-new.” His intention is always to remain innovative, and to touch everyone — young, old, men, women, upper and middle class. Aware that “street art” isn’t a commodity in Ventura, he makes efforts to align his subject matter with the expectations of his audience, yet remains true to creating only that which he enjoys. The event at Ceria will feature his new paintings, a projection screen, a performance by BLU and music by Mainframe. Wright found a perfect symbiosis with the contemporary clothing store. “I want to be out of the box.” he says. “We want to bring hip-hop [culture] to Ventura.”     

“Verdell Wright: Survival of the Creative” at Ceria, 324 E. Main St., Ventura. Friday, Nov. 5, 8 to 11 p.m. For more information, visit facebook.com/thundercat.V.

claudiapardo_art@yahoo.com

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