Resolution Guide: Manifesto -- Local Creatives and Their Words of Wisdom

It all began with a scene in Y Tu Mamá También.

In the 2001 Mexican drama directed by Alfonso Cuarón, two boys embark on an adventure to find a legendary beach and persuade one of the boy's cousins-in-law to join. As tensions rise on the journey, all three realize the trip is likely doomed. The boys get in a fight, and in an effort to restore order, the cousin-in-law delivers her own manifesto — 10 ground rules and life lessons she and the boys will abide by for the rest of the trip.

Jill Anderson says the scene, and especially the manifesto, made an impression. "I typed and printed [the manifesto] out and have it on my bulletin board above my desk," she says. "I guess you could say it stuck with me because when I was in a writing class with nothing to say, I decided to write my own manifesto. I had nothing and everything to say." 

Manifesto No. 1 designer: Jon Ashcroft
Manifesto No. 1 designer: Jon Ashcroft
Manifesto No. 2 designer: John Walters
Manifesto No. 2 designer: John Walters

Read the manifestos of some New Times staff and contributors.

Anderson's an interior designer with Wiseman and Gale Interiors in Scottsdale whose aesthetics are as straightforward, honest, and elegant as the items on her list: "Sheets are important," "Faux never really works," "It is, and always will be, Tom Ford's Black Orchid." She describes the manifesto she wrote in the fall of 2011 as a snapshot of her life at that moment in time. For Anderson, it was "more about self-discovery and confidence than self-indulgence." And after writing the 10 items, she went home and posted them on Facebook, where she inspired several others to do the same — including us.

Writing a manifesto isn't a new practice. The earliest traditional manifestos were public declarations of beliefs and intentions of the author, group, or government party and were recorded as early as the 1600s. Since then, they've been written by politicians, artists, and philosophers, including Karl Marx, Benedetto Croce, the founders of the Dada movement, and recently, Ron Paul. A true manifesto is deeply personal, and after reading Anderson's life rules and lessons, we put out the call to some of our favorite Phoenix-based creatives, authors, poets, politicians, and community members.

We then paired each manifesto with a Phoenix-based designer, who interpreted one item from the list in poster form — an idea inspired by a project graphic designer Lindsay Tingstrom began in late 2011. 

Tingstrom says 2011 was an especially turbulent year. The members of her design and letterpress firm called SeeSaw, which included herself and designers Raquel Raney and Angela Hardison, decided to part ways to pursue different projects. Tingstrom was left navigating her own personal style and projects.

She began Acorn & Whale, a letterpress project that included a few of her own New Year's resolutions. "Live Every Day," "Be Curious," "Keep It Simple," and "Do the Work" were a few of her first statements that she printed by hand on an antique Brandtjen & Kluge press onto 8-inch-by-10-inch cotton paper. She says the series, titled "Thoughts for 2012," was very personal: "I was coming out of SeeSaw and trying to figure out what came next."

What came next was a teaching gig at ASU, a branding job for local concrete artisan Brandon Gore (of Hard Goods), and a number of design projects for clients. And though Tingstrom says she has no plans of writing her own manifesto — or if she does, she'll likely keep it private — she's constantly inspired by sentences and phrases that likely exist on manifestos around the world. She has a board of quotes and statements on Pinterest that you can follow if you find her. 

The result of our manifesto series is in the following pages. Some lists are more serious than others and some designs are more abstract. Whatever the form, we hope you're inspired to write your own. Welcome to "Manifestos." — Claire Lawton

[Manifesto No. 1]


1. Never tell a kid, of any age, that he or she sucks. In fact, just never say it to anyone.

2. Use your turn signal. Every time.

3. If you wouldn't say it in public, don't post it online.

4. Words matter. Know how to use them, use them well, and use them to help, not harm.

5. Always go through a rescue organization to get a pet.

6. Never, ever let someone tell you that you can't do something. Pursue your dreams and goals relentlessly. Even if they don't all come true, chances are good an opportunity will arise that you never even considered.

7. Open the door for her.

8. Remember that I am one of the 99 percent nationally, but one of the 1 percent globally.

9. Share.

About the writer: Tom Leveen is the author of PARTY. His latest novel, ZERO, is set in Phoenix in the early '90s. It was released in 2012.

About the designer: Jon Ashcroft is a creative director/illustrator who moved to Seattle in 2012 to launch Baji Creative. His work has been featured in local and national publications, including Fender, The Atlantic, American Illustration 30 (and in Jackalope Ranch's Imagine PHX series). He's also a contributor to local design blog The Egotist.

[Manifesto No. 2]


1. I like shiny things. Get over it.

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