Tag Archives: Maya Angelou

5 Minutes With … Louise Yates

English Illustrator and children's book author, Louise Yates.

English Illustrator and children’s book author, Louise Yates.

If you are lucky enough to meet talented Londoner LOUISE YATES do expect to be captivated.  Louise displays instant warmth and thoughtful intelligence with an artists’ inflection.  Perhaps that is partly why her gorgeous children’s books have scooped up countless prizes and international recognition.  The Daytrippers Team has read Dog Loves Books, Dog Loves Drawing and Dog Loves Counting so many times the edges have begun to fray!

Louise stands next to her portrait and chats to HRH Prince Charles

Louise stands next to her portrait and chats to HRH Prince Charles

At University, Ms. Yates read English at Christ Church in Oxford and she wrote a letter to Sir Quentin Blake to which he responded and they met to critique her portfolio.  That was over 10 years ago and the rest is history! We Are Daytrippers is happy to have had a brief interview with Louise and we look forward to buying her newest book Dog Loves Fairy Tales!

The Daytrippers Team:  Did you have a role model or mentor as a child?  

Louise Yates:  I’ve had many mentors. To me a mentor can be anyone who’s example you hope to follow – someone you know personally, or even someone you’ve read about or heard of. Even a small aspect of someone’s spirit or attitude can be your mentor: it needn’t be someone’s whole being that inspires and makes you wish to follow their example. Perhaps for this reason its best to look for the best in people. We all rub off on and influence each other and I think that by focusing on and cherishing the best in others we are more able to become a richer and more diverse mix of the good we encounter. I’m very grateful to the people in my life who have seen the best in me and given something of themselves.

The Daytrippers Team:  Who is currently your role model or mentor?

Louise Yates:  I heard earlier this year that Dr. Maya Angelou had died. I’d not heard of her before and I’ve since listened to a wonderful talk she gave. I’d like to study the things she said and wrote and try to learn from her.

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent and how do you cultivate it?

Louise Yates:  I write and illustrate, mainly creating children’s picture books, but I also love other forms of writing and art, particularly drawing and painting portraits and writing stories and poems. I cultivate this by finding time to be alone and time to be with others. I read and go to exhibitions. I love looking at the work of people I admire, and if I’m lucky enough to know them, I love spending time in their company. Friends of all kinds are essential to cultivating creative talent, especially as some forms of creativity can be quite solitary.

The Daytrippers Team:   Have you had any experience with disabled or terminally-ill people?

Louise Yates:  I was very lucky to go to schools that provided for able and disabled pupils and teachers. One of my favourite mentors was a teacher who taught me when I was seven or eight. She was born with a physical deformity that meant she was around the same height as us. She first inspired my love of poetry. She made our class feel like a family and each of us feel special. I still love reciting the poems she taught us.

Later, at a different school, I had a teacher who suffered from a severe and debilitating skin condition. She was very disfigured by her condition and movement was painful and challenging for her. Despite this, she was determined to become a teacher, and was training at the school. Sadly, she died unexpectedly as a result of a complication during an operation. She was very inspiring: we were very lucky to be taught how to be courageous and determined by someone who embodied those values.

When I was sixteen I worked in a textile factory that was run by, and that employed, people with disabilities. It was my first work experience and I met some wonderful people who looked after me and taught me how to print.

When I was at university I travelled to Bulgaria to find orphanages and institutions that needed volunteers. Many of the children I met there had been placed in the institutions because of their disabilities. They faced many challenges, but the greatest of all was neglect. The lady that helped us find the orphanages and who translated for us had a disability herself. Her family had supported her at home and her help was invaluable to us, she was very able and talented. It made me realise what a great advantage love and care gives people no matter what difficulties they face.

The greatest sadness in my childhood was the death of my Grandfather. He had cancer and his terminal diagnosis came some time before his death. I still feel very close to him – his expressions of generosity are a continuing gift to me and I still enjoy his sense of humour. I often laugh because I know something would have tickled him.

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you share a challenge in your life?

Louise Yates:  I think one of the greatest challenges is losing someone you love. I try to focus on the fact that love itself does not end and it has many ways of finding expression: it may be given to or received by someone specific, but it belongs to us all.

The Daytrippers Team:  Would you like to share a quote with children who face difficulties?

Louise Yates:  I like these words by Maya Angelou, she said: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer; it sings because it has a song.”

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Louise Yates.

Connect with Louise Yates:  @_DOGLOVES


See Louise in conversation with Sir Quentin Blake:

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5 Minutes With … Jeremy Dean

Jeremy Dean, Artist

Jeremy Dean, Artist

The clever, thought-provoking international artist JEREMY DEAN challenges the average human perspective.  Naturally talented and a hard-worker; Dean’s first project was an award-winning documentary called Dare Not Walk Alone.  The film exposed the civil rights movement and its aftermath in St. Augustine, Florida.  His Futurama Series continues to raise eyebrows and received continuous National press coverage as he toured the USA in an H2 Hummer converted into a horse-pulled stagecoach. Jeremy works in a variety of artistic realms; animation, drawing, interactive sculpture and installation.  He has spent this year in artist residencies preparing his next projects.  We Are Daytrippers chats to Mr. Dean about role models, mentors and creativity.

The Daytrippers Team:  What was your childhood like and did you have a role model?

Jeremy Dean:  I was raised the son of missionaries in the Amazon jungle of Peru and the Yucatan of Mexico.  As a kid we grew up among native Indian children, and we had almost no idea we were different.  In fact, we tried very hard to overcome any differences of language, culture, or food (especially food!) that made us or them, feel “other.”  In doing so we hunted with bows and arrows, fished for piranha and ate monkey on several occasions. During this time my parents were my role models.  I didn’t fully understand it at the time, but the way they approached life with an openness and acceptance of new experiences and people has always stuck with me.

The Daytrippers Team:  Who is your current role model or mentor?

Jeremy Dean:  When I was in college I had a first year art instructor who opened my eyes to art as a way of understanding and exploring the world. To this day I still count her as my mentor… Maureen O’Neill

Work in Progress combined chairs Jeremy Dean

Work in Progress
combined chairs
Jeremy Dean

The Daytrippers Team:  What is your creative talent and how did you cultivate it?

Jeremy Dean:  I would say that I’m not that talented, but I work hard.  I work really hard at thinking.  The nice thing about thinking is that we can all do it, basically at any time, any where.  You don’t need specialized equipment, tools or even an education… you just need curiosity, questions and a willingness to follow wherever the thought leads.  That’s not to say that thinking is not hard work, because it is… but i have found that it makes the making of art easier.  Thinking is working.  Drawing is thinking, and when you are making, hands can think on their own…


The Daytrippers Team:  Would you share a challenge in your life?  How did you overcome it and what did you learn?

Jeremy Dean:  Almost two years ago I found that I have a fractured vertebrae that is continually moving out of place, and will eventually shift so far that it will need to be fused.  I had a lot of difficulty walking, working and even sleeping.  I’m a pretty active person and have spent a lot of time surfing (which I could not do), so I started swimming.  I swam every day for almost 6 months and I started to get relief.  The condition won’t go away, and the pain is always there, but I found something I could do that I enjoyed and with a lot of work, I am seeing progress.  What I learned is that life is always going to be a series of obstacles… that is just the way it is.  Some of us have more then others, but we will all have them at some point. It’s important to know that when we are in the middle of an obstacle not to give up, remembering that at some point it will pass.

American Flags, 2011

Rended Flag Series, 2012 Jeremy Dean


The Daytrippers Team: What motivates or inspires you to be creative?

Jeremy Dean:  I’m pretty curious to figure out why things are the way they are… I’m not that motivated to try to make things that are cool (not that there is anything wrong with that) but I am really motivated to make things that help me understand how things work… or more specifically how  we as people work and how we relate to one another over time.  I’m pretty interested in the “why” of things.

Rended Flag Series, 2012 Jeremy Dean

Rended Flag Series, 2012 Jeremy Dean

The Daytrippers Team: Do you have any advice you might want to share to children who could be facing difficulties?

Jeremy Dean:  The poet Maya Angelou passed away recently and I find comfort in her words… You can not be any more human than you are Find a piece of art to love, and when you find it, recognize that the person who made it was a human just like you are human.  I think what she meant by this is; recognize  that the common denominator in art is our shared humanity. Others may have a better ear for music, their body may move more easily in a dance, drawing may come easier at first… but they can not be any more human than you.  People make art. What you have to make your own music, is yours, and what another might have to make her own painting is hers, but it does not change the fact that real human people with all of their own struggles and complications, figured out a way to exercise their own voice – and so can you.  You have everything you need to express your own vision, and in fact that is what art is – your own vision.  What others have, you don’t need – that is theirs – what you have is all you need- that is yours.  Your unique story, with all it’s complications, setback and heartbreaks is what gives you the platform to express what it means to be you.  We need to hear your voice, and when we recognize your particular song as something we also feel, then we understand what it means to be human.

The Daytrippers Team:  Thank you so much Jeremy.

Contact Jeremy through his agency Creative Thriftshop:  http://www.creativethriftshop.com/Artist/Bio_JeremyDean.htm

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