In June, Hayven::org commissioned Portland artist Chris Haberman to paint one of his signature murals to capture the confluence of interconnected lives and serendipitous happenstances that conspired to form the Hayven team. “The scale and exuberance of Chris’ style is a perfect medium for capturing who we are as well as our organic growth and development as a community of pay-it-forward survivors and co-survivors who are trying to build the website we wish had been there during our own cancer journeys,” says Hayven’s newest director Christine Mantel, whose recent election is another indicator of significant forward-motion this year.
The collaboration with Chris is 2014’s second creative coup.
In March, designer Frank Cubillos joined Hayven’s Communications Advisory Board to help ensure a refinement and cohesion to our multiple web presences, campaigns and promotions, and supporting print pieces. On hearing of Frank’s advisory board role with Hayven, NPR’s former CEO Paul Haaga reacted, “I’m glad to hear you’re working with Frank. He’s a good guy. And he can make even mutual funds seem exciting.” And Paul should know. Frank was the senior designer at Capital Group Companies who executed a new logo for the investment giant when Paul assumed leadership of Frank’s business area during a major rebranding campaign in 2000.
The word on Chris :: COMMUNITY
In a city so identified by a community spirit uniquely friendly to hipsters, activists, and artists that it became the setting for Portlandia, the TV series that satirizes all of them, Chris Haberman is a stand out. A native son within a community known for its strong sense of … well … community, Chris is well known for his above-and-beyond nurturing of other artists and for his community-building arts advocacy evidenced in 2010 when he partnered with Jason Brown as co-owner and co-curator of the People’s Art of Portland Gallery in Pioneer Square Mall downtown. It’s an accessible venue for showcasing local and international artists with art shows, retrospectives and events.
Chris’ path to becoming an artist was as circuitous and layered as his art. When given the chance to leave his corporate career, he took the leap and has never looked back. And Portland’s art scene has never been the same, benefitting from his vibrant art, his unerring generosity about sharing the spotlight, and his tireless pursuit of opportunities for emerging artists.
When director/CEO Carole Schabow approached Chris with the idea of painting a mural for Hayven, his immediate enthusiastic assent was completely in character. “Chris recognized us -- an emerging nonprofit seeking to build an online community for people with a shared interest in coping with cancer as smoothly and strategically as possible – as a match made in Hayven,” she jokes.
“We’ll be using Chris’ painting in more than one way as part of our effort to create a cohesive look and feel for Hayven online and in print,” says founding director Lori Donovan, who has collected folk art since graduating from law school. “Watch for it on Facebook and in upcoming fundraising and promotional materials we’re currently developing.”
Oh yeah. And among the many hats he wears, Chris is also an art coordinator for Portlandia.
The word on Frank :: CORPORATE
Whereas Chris Haberman and Portland bring the quirky and a certain wit, Los Angeles-based artist and designer Frank Cubillos brings urbanity and an unmistakable polish to the mix.
Frank’s design credentials, taste, and restraint are impeccable. These qualities served him well as senior designer for a prestigious but conservative investment firm and in his current role as designer and marketing manager for Newmark Grubb Knight Frank in downtown Los Angeles. He’s expert at art and creative direction, and has prodigious experience with brand development and corporate identity. After earning a Bachelor’s in Graphic Design at California State University Northridge, he was brought back later to teach computer graphics.
Which is not to say that Frank is a one-dimensional corporate suit. This bilingual artist paints after-hours in a style with a playfulness akin to Chris Haberman’s.
In fact, there’s a remarkable symmetry to the complementary sensibilities and skills of Chris and Frank. Even though Chris embodies community and Frank is corporate, neither is simply what he appears: Chris has a paralegal background, a Masters in English Literature, and is a published poet; he views his art as a form of writing, so it’s no wonder words figure prominently in his art. Frank is an accomplished soccer player, a suburban dad, and an avid surfer.
Both are unarguably creative, and descriptors that apply to the works of both include intelligence, vibrancy, accessibility, and excellence. They share the qualities of compassion and exuberance. And both are reminders that you can endure and find meaning in the face of tremendous loss.
Because with Frank and Chris, as is often true here at Hayven, there’s more to this news than meets the eye.
Sons of Artistry :: Twin losses as well as twin talents
Our collaboration with Frank and Chris is just the tip of the news iceberg, in our view. The backstories of each artist are as pertinent and valuable to Hayven as are their talents.
Like all great art, each man’s personal life, career path, and creative output are a fascinating mix of light and dark, of contrasts interweaving in textured point-and-counterpoint to each other.
In 2009, Frank’s father Francisco died of lung cancer. And in July 2004, Chris lost his mother, also to lung cancer. So both men live with the ongoing ache of a mother and a father taken too soon.
“Cancer is a form of biological anarchy that’s notably ruthless and impersonal. It likewise creates no-less-devastating emotional anarchy that’s highly personal and especially difficult for co-survivor family and friends left behind when a loved one succumbs,” states Carole.
“Because both men have experienced cancer and its aftershocks firsthand, Chris and Frank immediately got what we’re up to at Hayven,” she adds. “As sons who’ve lost parents to cancer, each is bringing not only their unique artistry, but a sensitivity and dimensionality to the brand and to the online refuge we’re creating at Hayven.”
Both men’s art are living proof, perhaps, that the ultimate artistry may well be the resiliency to extract meaning and create beauty from the anarchy of pain and loss that cancer so often leaves in its wake.
Design excellence :: The underlying “why”
Besides the abundant talent and qualification that Chris and Frank so obviously bring to the table, there are less obvious reasons why Hayven seeks to collaborate with these accomplished art professionals in particular.
“In the course of my communications career, I’ve learned how content and design work together as well as how to recognize what each can convey, inadvertently or not,” explains Carole. “And so, as a patient in 2004, once I got over the shock of information silos in the medical field and the burden of piecing together shards of information about cancer, I couldn’t help but notice how brochures and websites were mostly dry, institutional, or lacking truly helpful information. Pardon me for saying this, but too often websites were amateurish and difficult to navigate. It made me wince. Because clearly, compassion and concern for cancer survivors and families is immediate, genuine, and universal; but to my trained eye, materials that are unsophisticated, clinical, and disorganized convey quite the opposite. Taken as a whole, underwhelming design and pallid writing imply that cancer patient needs aren’t important enough to warrant a stellar product excellently executed.”
Carole never loses sight of Hayven’s core audience -- the newly diagnosed -- who she envisions just as she was, bleary eyed and overwhelmed as they perch in front of a computer screen late into the night with only crickets for company. “To offset the starkness of a cancer diagnosis and lives changed overnight, as well as the inherent fear and overwhelm of being unprepared and inadequately supported, every aspect of Hayven’s brand -- all our resources, solutions, and designs -- is meant to convey attentive care and respect for every person touched by cancer’s ripple effects.”
There’s no question that the motivations and aims of the cancer community to serve the general public are unimpeachable. Nonetheless, the board of directors' conviction -- that we can do better for families and individuals navigating through cancer treatment and beyond -- has shaped Hayven::org’s commitment to excellence and remains firm to this day.
The ultimate artistry may well be the resiliency to extract meaning and create beauty from the anarchy of pain and loss due to cancer