How did events from your own life inspire the Live Now Project?
After being diagnosed with cancer a few years back, my attitude towards life shifted. I prioritized and organized my life around things that really matter—relationships, love, truth, purpose and inspiration.
I then created an outlet to share this new passion with others. Boom! The Live Now Project was born.
Did your experience with cancer make you see the world differently?
Definitely! It really shined light on what things we find important as a culture and what circumstances define our happiness.
This isn’t just a book: it’s a deeper message. What is that deeper message?
The basis of our message is that happiness is here for everyone—that there is a bigger picture for your life, and a will for each one of us. Do the people in your life “feel” your love? Do we inspire happiness in everyone around us? That’s our plan.
Excerpt from “Live Now” featuring Break Your Routine by Mikey Burton. “As creatures of habit, this is a good reminder to not get stuck it a rut,” Smith says.
Excerpt from “Live Now” featuring You Get What You Give by Slide Sideways. “This is a clever illustration + photography piece by my good friends. The Message is to give away what you feel you lack and watch it come back around to you,” Smith says.
Excerpt from “Live Now” featuring Overflowing Optimism by Chad Kouri. “What a perfect place for a cheerful message,” Smith says. “We just love this idea Chad came up with and plan on actually doing this someday.”
How many illustrators and designers contributed to the book?
We have 65 wonderful artists included in our book. With many others involved in the overall project. We’re always on the look-out for new artists to get involved and already planning our next art project. Do get in touch if you are interested—firstname.lastname@example.org
How long has the website been active? Is this where you found the contributors for the book?
I started the website back in March of 2008. It started out really simple with one quote/piece of art per page, and a little “about” page. As more developed with the project, and more people got involved, it grew into an online hub for the community that we are building.
The majority of the contributors either came across our website, or heard about the project from a friend. We’ve contacted very few artists ourselves, trusting in good faith that the people who are meant to work on this project would be directed our way.
Is there a common thread among the participants and some of their stories that they’ve shared with you?
There isn’t really a common thread among participants per say, besides the fact that they believe in happiness, and an optimistic outlook towards life. Although some of the participants do share a connection with cancer like myself, and these collaborations are very close to my heart.
I receive e-mails daily from people all over the world sharing stories of hope, encouragement and fight. How by “coincidence” they somehow heard about “Live Now,” or stumbled upon our link and it changed their mind, cheered them up, or inspired their life. That is what this is all about. Real life, real hope, real happiness.
“Live Now” provides artful messages of hope, happiness and healing. Why is it important to spread these feelings?
It’s important because I feel we’ve lost the truth of what happiness really is. We live in a world where happiness is defined by circumstances. The big house, fancy job, wife and 2 kids, fill in the blank. “If I could only get ____, than I would be happy.”
The problem with banking your happiness on these things is that they are always changing, and you will never catch them. They will never be enough.
We must live 100% in today. Accepting that we are exactly where we are for a reson. We must trust that today is all we really have and there is bigger picture, bigger plan for your life than a number in your bank account. There is no such thing as a coincidence, so pay attention, open your heart, and grab hold of this life.
Who is the audience for Live Now?
The project is geared towards everyone really. But specifically those struggling with sadness or hardship. With the tear-out pages, this book becomes a tool you can use to encourage those around you and spread cheer.