Chicago IL



Discover your Inner Artist Guided Mindfulness & Creativity Watercolors with Hillary Johnson

About this event

Join us for a transformative outdoor experience aligning your body, heart, and spirit through creative play and mindfulness in nature!
Feeling like you want to...

  • Regain your mental & emotional balance?
  • Activate a calm presence?
  • Really get into some creative play?
  • Feel really relaxed and at ease?

But youre not sure where to begin?

We got you. In this guided hiking adventure youll feel:

  • A connection with your deep inner balance
  • Calmed and refreshed
  • Inspired, expansive, creative
  • Connected to your inner well of peace


A lot of jumping up and down over here today in my studio.

@saveartspace announced the locations of the outdoor public exhibition #iamwater! This is a wonderful collaboration between @ecoartspace @ourhumanitymatters @saveartspace and a handful of really great artists. Im thrilled to be included.

Water isnt a resource, its LIFE.
No water? No life.

Go see the installation and snap some selfies with #iamwater and #thewatersweswimin

This is the image which will be on my billboard.

Here is the full list of artists and the locations of their wonderful work for this important project:

Lisette Morales
Flushing Ave & Evergreen Ave

Holly Fay
Metropolitan Ave & Grand St

Danielle Siegelbaum
Morgan Ave & Harrison Pl

Joan Perlman
Flushing Ave & Forrest St

Helen Glazer
Flushing Ave & Forrest St

Hillary Johnson
Grand St & Catherine St

Basia Irland & Derek Irland
Grand St & Catherine St

Maria Whiteman
Grand St & Catherine St

Margaret LeJeune & Hanien Conradie
Grand St & Metropolitan Ave

Ellen Kozak
Grand St & Metropolitan Ave

Ellen Jantzen
Metropolitan Ave & Woodward Ave

All billboards are within walking distance from each other in the Bushwick and Williamsburg neighborhoods.

#iamwater #thewatersweswimin

How Did I Get Here? 
From tech to art to finding my voice along the way. Get TIX

About this Event

Change is inevitable. How we deal with change whether to embrace or resist it shapes our journeys. Join visual artist Rollence Patugan as he shares different chapters of his personal journey and how the residuals of his choices have accumulated and created a path to where he is today.


Rollence Patugan is an American photographer based out of Los Angeles, CA. Identity, diversity, and being seen are undercurrents of Rollences work. Having originally come from Baldwin Park, CA a small but diverse town in the San Gabriel Valley of Los Angeles County, Rollence wants his work to serve the underrepresented. Growing up in the 1980s as an Asian-American of Chinese and Filipino descent, he did not see a reflection of himself nor his Latino friends in government, sports, entertainment, and the arts. Rollence felt he didnt exist as an American. In his work, Rollence strives to reflect the ethnic diversity that has always been a part of his experiences and uses his voice through art to allow people to be seen
Love art in yourself and not yourself in art.  Konstantin Stanislavski
Explore more of Rollences work: http://www.rollence.com/

"Mindfulness meditation doesn't change life. Life remains as fragile and unpredictable as ever. Meditation changes the heart's capacity to accept life as it is. It teaches the heart to be more accommodating, not by beating it into submission, but by making it clear that accommodation is a gratifying choice." Sylvia Boorstein, PhD

I love this because it offers amongst other things, the chance to live with more ease and acceptance.

As someone frequently locked into a place of struggling with what is, I rely on practice to show me my heart can open to what is, as it is. The frenzy of struggle only causes more misery. Being clear and open I can try to choose wisely, compassionately. I may not always succeed but thats why its called practice.
What does this quote evoke or stir for you? Id love to know. Please share and use the contact me page to share your own thoughts ad feelings if you feel so moved. Mindfulness is at the heart of my practice as an artist, whether I am making photos or paintings or installations and m ost of all how I try to live my life with my husband, my family, friends and community.


Introduction to Mindfulness-Based Emotional Resilience 

Starting JUNE 2!

Wednesday evenings  5:30-6:30pm CST on Zoom.

$80 for the month. 

If you will miss a class, the recording will be available afterwards so you you'll never miss a thing!

Are you feeling worn out from stress, anxiety, disrupted sleep, worry, racing thoughts?

Maybe you feel stuck in a rut of unhealthy habits or patterns mentally, emotionally or physically?

Do you wish you could feel more in charge of your own mind states rather than falling prey to life's constant ups and downs and the whims or moods of others?

In this class you'll learn:

what mindfulness really is and how to apply its lessons in very practical ways to your day to day life

  • where your stresses, fears and anxieties come from and how to navigate them better and mitigate the harm they can cause
  • embodied practices for identifying what you're feeling physically, emotionally 
  • identifying the thoughts occurring under the surface empowering you to work skillfully, change your mind state and release what is no longer serving you
  • how to cultivate feelings of happiness and wellbeing on the regular
  • how to begin and sustain your own practice

I'll be available for questions during a weekly morning live on Facebook each Friday at 9am as well.

Register by sending payment $80 to one of the options below. 

Once you register, I'll send you the zoom link. 

Please don't share the zoom link so we can avoid zoom hackers. 

Register by Sunday May 30th and save $15 - Pay just $65! 

Payment for class is available through:

Venmo: @Hillary-Johnson-1

CashApp: $HillaryHelios

QuickPay: hillary@hillaryjohnsonphoto.com


As a friend said, this photo is a celebration of the magic if unconditional love between mother and daughter, but that also, it's possible to have that kind of unconditional love between people who may have deep connections of other kinds.

Besties in pairs or especially intimate, deeply connected groups; spouses and partnerships of all kinds, family of choice bonds and many more.

These portraits I make in the water are a way of profoundly witnessing, honoring, and celebrating those connections.

The prints become the beautiful evidence we can connect with each day as we look at the photograph and sigh with pleasure and recognition as we connect to those feelings. The prints are the future heirlooms for the generations yet to come.

As we enter this season of warm water floating for Chicago, I'm offering a limited number of immersive aquatic portrait sessions. (sessions are also available in other states and locations starting after May 11th. North Carolina and Florida in June)

Especially after this year of physical closeness deprivation, making photos that celebrate our deepest relationships feels right on time.

A perfect Mother's Day gift (purchase now and make your photo later! I'll deliver* a hand painted card announcing your gift by end of day Wednesday for you to gift your special nurturing figure - all kinds of people mother us if we are fortunate! Add flowers, or other delicious add-ons like springs of homegrown aromatics like lavender and rosemary (for remembrance).

Sessions start at $500.

Add embodied, transformational rituals for releasing what no longer serves your most prized and precious relationship and calling in what you want to manifest together.

Full bespoke packages $2500. Contact me to learn about this option and how you can radically transform the vibration of your relationship and enjoy the beautiful results and documentation for years to come.

xo Hillary Helios

*in Chicago, hand deliver others by FedEx sent out by end of day Wednesday

Are you feeling perhaps overwhelmed, concerned about your levels of anxiety or depression lately?
Are wondering if what you are feeling is okay?
Do you feel yourself wondering, what's wrong with me?
Do you sometimes wonder how you will ever get through whatever comes next?

If yes is the answer to any of those, I invite you to join us for this healing social art, social action event.
These experiences and rituals will help you feel more grounded, less overwhelmed and will give you tools, strategies and practices to take with you to help you care for yourself going forward.


Join me out in the wonderful fresh air on the beach at the end of Pratt Street for the first super moon of 2021 to be part of a beautiful community healing spiral on the beach.


Monday April 26, 2021 6pm SHARP!


To hold space for normalizing all the feelings and experiences arising from COVID-19 and the many social tensions and species-level trauma we've been and continue to be experiencing.

The program will open with healing musical vibrations and will include shared meditation and loving kindness practice.
Each participant is invited to come with a small flashlight or you can use the light on your phones. Each person will receive a piece of black tulle to hold aloft.

We will form a spiral, standing at 6 feet apart, the distance of our times, on the beach.
We will come together to release something we really want let go from the last year. We will cover our eyes with the tulle to symbolize the veil of suffering which has been in front of our eyes.

Then we will remove the veils, releasing the pain and calling in what we want to bring forth. As we lift the tulle into the air over our heads, we expand, calling in what we want to manifest or heal. As we lift our hands hold the streamers of tulle, we expand as we expand our consciousness.

We will have another meditation a closing musical experience to sustain the raising of our collective vibration.
All are welcome. Please invite all your friends. Bring family, children, neighbors, strangers, the person you may know but may not speak with that much.

Let's spread a MASSIVE RIPPLE OF HEALING OUT ACROSS OUR CITY with this healing art installation, healing art experience. Your presence is a great gift.

Feel free to make photos and videos during the event, share them and please tag on social media @hillaryhelios (IG and Twitter) with your reflections on the experience. #tulleexperiment

I am beyond thrilled to share this interview (my first podcast!)with Mary Meduna-Gross, Ph.D. for her podcast, titled, "In Flow with Soul." 

Mary is a mindset coach who works with entrepreneurs to clear the blocks to success and a full and happy entrepreneurial life.

We talked about the creative healing work I do helping my clients find their authentic selves through artistic expression. It was such a fun and hopeful conversation. 

Please give it a listen and share with anyone you know who's ready to make a big leap into their most authentic expression and life.

As you listen, I hope you will feel inspired and excited. Perhaps even ready to follow those intuitive nudges which have been whispering quietly inside, that it's time for you to blossom. That it's time to discover who you really are deep inside, heal those tender inner places, unleash the gifts that are uniquely yours. This work helps you step into your sovereignty, get aligned and do the great work of your life.

I'm grateful for your presence here. I appreciate all the hard work you are all doing. If anyone you know might benefit from the healing work I do, I'd be grateful for you sharing this podcast with them. Let's spread the healing everywhere.

Thank you, Hillary

Zen the F* Out.

A meditation class for anyone who's tried and "failed," based on the idea that anyone can do it. Clear, lighthearted teaching. (virtual)

About this Event

If I had a million dollars for every time someone said to me, "I've tried to meditate..." and then there's a longgg pause.... "but I just can't do it."
So I ask them what they mean. Because I really want to know.
And every single time, they say something like this:
"Well, I've tried but I just can't make my mind settle down! I sit there and my mind is ALL OVER THE PLACE! UGHHHH! I just can't do it."
And this people, is The NUMBER ONE bit of boloney people have been sold about what meditation is.
1. Meditation is not about MAKING your mind do anything, shut up or become all calm and silent or anything like that.
2. Anyone can learn to meditate, yes, even you. For real.
3. The Secret Sauce? Suspending Judgement. Learning to drop into the present moment, on purpose, non-judgmentally (that is the biggest challenge.) We are so used to having opinions about our opinions, that it can be hard to imagine complete unconditional presence. But we can practice this and what a life changer!

Meditation helps you:
-know yourself better
-reduce suffering
-reduce confusion
-increase clarity
-increase happiness
There's a TON of other things it will also do for you but let's start with basics.
Join me Saturday at 10am CST for a basic intro to what it is and how to do it. (we use Zoom)

-Why we do it
-How to it
- How to keep going

Hillary has been teaching meditation since 2008 for individuals and organizations, in hospitals and health care, law firms, schools, universities etc. She offers group classes, consulting and private instruction/coaching.
Join us and learn what the f* the practice really is.
No special experience or equipment or anything needed. Just you, your mind, your breath, your body. Together at last.

Once you register for class you will receive a Zoom invitation via email. Come as you are. Get yourself comfy with whatever you need, a glass of water or some tea, blankets, cushions. Silence other alarms and devices to gift yourself an hour of peace and quiet. Tell folx you live with to leave you alone for this hour as your sacred You Time. Bring a notebook and pen or pencil.


I hold this class each Saturday from 10am-11am CST. You are certainly welcome to sign up for individual weekly classes each week. I know we sometimes get busy as well, and you may want to commit more fully to these classes for your own self care. One way you can do that is to sign up for a bundle of classes that expire at the end of the three month window. 6 classes normally costs $120. If you purchase a bundle of 6 all at once, the cost is $100 (you get one free class). You just have to use the classes up by the end of the third month. So if you purchase that now, your six would expire at the end of May.

If you are interested in attending every class in the three month window (highly recommend this commitment to your self care and emotional resilience and equilibrium) you may purchase those in a bundle as well and save a little $ too. There are 12 Saturdays between today and the end of May, which would be $240, but if you purchase them all at once now, the tuition would be just $200, so two classes gratis. (Put another way, if you bought a large latte or other coffee beverage at Starbucks or similar each day for three months, at about $5/each you would spend $450 by the end of May. WHAT?!   It's true. Instead, consider gifting yourself a little mental clarity and emotional wellness for less than half of all the jitter-inducing caffeination!)

If you want a bundle, email me and use one of the following to make your purchase.

Zelle Quickpay: use email: hillary [at] hillaryjohnsonphoto [dot] com

Venmo: @Hillary-Johnson-1

PayPal: @HillJPics

Thank you!

Meanwhile, please let me know if you have any questions. I am very happy to offer light support between classes.


Winter chill is coming back in force in Chicago. Many people are living on the streets without access to clean warm clothing. One of the biggest challenges is keeping the extremities warm throughout the long cold winter. Access to new clothes especially socks is extremely difficult to come by. Two of the most requested items amongst the homeless people I've spoken to around Chicago are warm socks and chemical warmers for hands, body and feet. The danger of frostbite and the complications which can arise, including amputation, is serious.

A few years ago I started asking for donations for these items which are then handed out to those who need them and it's time to do it again. I ask that you please help us out by purchasing any of these items and depositing them through the mail slot at our studio/kung fu school at: 

1839 S Halsted St Chicago, Il 60608. 

Alternatively, you could mail them to us as well at the same address if that is easier. If you want to arrange to leave a larger package off let me know, and I will arrange to leave the front vestibule door unlocked or meet you to pick them up.

The first year we collected over 100 pairs of socks, I'd love to see if we can double it this year. The addition of the chemical warmers was something I did the second year. They are small things which make a huge difference.

Please help us again this year won't you? 

Thank you so much, Hillary

Here are some local resources as well for food and more:

Food resources and organizations that would appreciate your support:Greater Chicago Food Depository###emsearch by your address to find nearby food pantries and distributions and their hours. >/em###Love Fridge Chicago###em/em###Pilsen Food Pantry1850 S. Throop 
Open M-F, 10:00 to 1:30 and Thursdays 2-5pm
Community Canteen Free (or pay what you can) takeout hot meals Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5pm at 960 W. 31st St.

Monthly food distributions: 
First Thursday of each month
2:30-3:30 at 1954 W. 48th St.
Sponsored by our office in conjunction with Commissioner Alma Anaya and The Greater Chicago Food Depository

Second Monday of each month (with any remaining food distributed the next day as well)
2520 S. Western Ave. 9-11am 
Sponsored by Instituto del Progreso Latino 

First Lutheran Church of the Trinity and God's Closet:
Clothing pantry 2-6pm; Community meal to go 5-7pm at 643 W. 31st. St.

When I look at this photo of Don walking through his shop which had existed for three generations in his family, before it was looted and burned in May, amid protests which turned in some cases into something more, what I see first is all the destruction of a place I love. The darkness and scorching, all those cameras neatly lined up on the shelves. How many hours have I spent staring at them, with my wish list for cameras or a new lens growing longer, talking with Don about the virtues of one over the other.

I see so much darkness. And feel the pain that propelled all that destruction.

But then, I look again and I see Don, persevering, his headlamp glowing, carrying bags of whatever gear he was able to save. He knew exactly where every single camera was and all the stories attached to each piece. Central Camera has always sold lots of great used gear and each kit came with a story; who'd owned it before, a man, a woman, a father, grandfather, an uncle, a mother, grandmother, aunt or nanny perhaps. In some cases the stories tended to kind of sad. Someone passed away and now, the gear had been found in a box and sat unused, and someone in the family had brought it all in to Don. Lots of times, many film cameras had lost a great deal of value but an exchange was made, money pocketed. But then, the cameras and lenses would be cleaned and prepared for sale and join the ranks of so many other cameras awaiting new homes. The resurgence of film especially for new young photographers, meant that many days, if you hung around the shop, you could watch fresh young faces come in and look and select a camera that somehow spoke to them or had just the fel or lens or format they were looking for. And so the cameras were transformed, much like the stuffed bunny in The Velveteen Rabbit, into an object of love and potential or new creative energy.

Where some may see a burned out store, I see love and community and diversity and a home for photographic arts in Chicago with Don and his staff right at the heart of it. 

Don Flesch Walks through his shop after it was looted and burned

This is why I'm offering a special sale of prints of limited edition of 5 of one of my favorite photos from my project,The Waters We Swim In, which I've been shooting entirely on a Leica Q I purchased from Don. In fact, to get it, I had to trade in almost every other camera I had and then some, because Leicas have never been inexpensive but worth every penny, and it's been the perfect camera for this work. (if only it were waterproof...)

One of the reasons I love this picture is that it came into being with so much serendipity. I'd photographed my friend Tai last summer in Lake Michigan. Tai has been generous in her enthusiastic sharing of this project. Out of the blue, I received an email from Sylvia, a friend of Tai's who I didn't know at all but she had seen some of the mother and daughter photos from the project and wanted to participate herself. It's always amazed me how this works. The magic of the project and incredible community.

So we set a day for Sylvia and her daughter, Viola, to meet and float and make photos. To say that Viola is a much loved child is an understatement. She's always extremely comfortable in the water and arrived for the session with two complete mermaid outfits. I could see that Viola had this luminous quality as she floated and seemed completely able to ignore the camera and enter her own world. I feel like I always know when something special has happened, a decisive moment, but I always worry or suspend judgement till I see the film or in this case the digital file. This was one of those moments. 

Recently the image was selected for online exhibition by Elizabeth Avedon which was a real thrill and honor.

Now only three prints remain.

And to protect your investment, this image will never be printed at this size again.

25% of the funds go to Central Camera in support of their rebuilding. The sooner they can do this, the better. Make your purchase for yourself or as a gift for someone you love.

Print 3 is $250
Print 4 is $300
Print 5 is $350

Purchase with Venmo (Hillary-Johnson-1), Zelle (email to use is: calmchicago at gmail dot com, PayPal (@HillJPics), or cc.

Use contact page to arrange your purchase.

Support the dream and enjoy this beauty forever.

Please share this fundraiser with your friends.

PS. When you make your purchase feel free to add to the amount as a tip, extra investment in community and art.
Thanks so much.

#thewatersweswimin #centralcamerachicago #community #artistsupportpledge

Don Flesch of @centralcameraco has a dream to reopen as soon as possible to keep serving the community.

I have a dream to keep making new work for The Waters We Swim In, offering quiet from the noise and refreshment and renewal. So needed right now.

Have you ever thought of investing in a dream?

You can invest in these dreams by purchasing a print from this limited edition of five today. It would make a lovely gift for yourself or someone dear to you. Viola, to me, reminds me of our own capacity to be in the moment with child-like innocence and an open heart, ready to take flight to our deepest dreams of a full well-lived life.

There's only three prints left.

After that this photo will never be printed at this size again.

Print 3 is $250
Print 4 is $300
Print 5 is $350

Purchase with Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, or cc.

Use contact page to arrange your purchase.

Please share this fundraiser with your friends.

PS. When you make your purchase feel free to add to the amount as a tip, extra investment in community and art.

Thanks so much.

#thewatersweswimin #centralcamerachicago #community #artistsupportpledge

It feels good to give back. Especially now when we are experiencing so much isolation. When we find ways to help each other out of our difficulties, it's like getting a two for one on the warm and fuzzy feels. We help someone who needs what we can give AND we feel good ourselves from practicing generosity and selfless giving. It's 100% WIN WIN.

When Central Camera was looted and burned is felt like a real stab in the heart. As one news story put it, it was like a photography museum had been destroyed. Central Camera is much more than a camera store, selling gear and supplies. It's community center that brings people together from all over who share a love of photography. Some folks I know have been shopping at Central since they got their first cameras, perhaps as a gift when they were little and now, the still come.

One of the things I love most about Central Camera is that in an age where everything can be purchased online, they offer real people who know their stuff and will happily explain and answer questions, and deliver a level of personal service that no one ever gets from some online retailer. They all have a  real passion for photography and it shows.

And Don Flesch is always there with a bucket of candies, a funny story and a genuine love for the place and people who walk through the door. The store feels like generations of tradition and family-feeling are baked into every inch of the place.

Don is a man of great integrity, old-school values and deep compassion and empathy. When the store was destroyed, he said honestly, that he wasn't angry and that clearly our country has so many inequities that need to be put right.

To help them raise the needed funds for re-opening, I'm offering a special, one-time only, opportunity to purchase a print of this photograph, Viola, from my project , The Waters We Swim In.  

The Waters We Swim In is a global photography project; portraits of people floating in water, transforming perceptions of ourselves as isolated, incomprehensible individuals to recognition of mutual belonging and beauty. The images stand as resistance to identity politics by celebrating human vulnerability, beauty and diversity.

I was thrilled to learn that Elizabeth Avedon selected this image for an exhibition, and doubly love that in the show catalog, it's the last photo on the last page. I feel like it sits there reminding of us of our hope and inner beauty, the childlike innocence paired with a deep knowing that children often possess, even when they don't yet always have words for it. Many people have said of this picture that it appears that the young girl is held by a great luminous hand, like God or Source or whatever you want to call it.

I am only printing 5 of these images using Piezography print, (edition of 5, on 8x10 paper, archival) of this photo. Right now there's only THREE left.

25% of each sale goes directly to Central Camera.

Print 1: $150 - SOLD!
Print 2: $200 -SOLD!
Print 3: $250
Print 4: $300
Print 5: $350

Use the contact page to inquire and purchase. I accept Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, or CC. I make all prints myself.

Please share and help save Central Camera, a vital piece of Chicago community.

Thank you so much, Hillary

Last year at this time I was getting ready to fly to Hong Kong to see for myself what was going on with the protests.

It seems like a lifetime ago now.

The concerns then felt so specific and clear.

When we arrived we tried to go see friends in the north part of Hong Kong and realized quickly that we wouldn't be able to get there. There was no MTR running, no taxis to take us.

And yet...

In the midst of the struggles there was so much joy.

(A big sigh.)

Every day we think of our friends there and miss them so much.

When will we be able to go back?

"On the night of May 30th into early morning May 31st, Chicago's oldest camera store, Central Camera, was destroyed and burned."  To help them reach their goal of $250,000 for reopening, I'm offering an exclusive print sale.

Here is a recent news piece from WTTW. I have to say watching the video brings tears to my eyes.

While most people may have felt extremely angry, owner, Don Flesch, has remained positive, kind and understanding. It's amazing and inspiring.

Central Camera has been an integral part of the Chicago photo community for three generations. Don Flesch has helped more people than can be counted (myself included). His selfless and generous spirit are an inspiration.

You may purchase a Piezography print, (edition of 5, on 8x10 paper, archival) of this photo, "Viola," from my project and global movement, "The Waters We Swim In," which was recently selected by Elizabeth Avedon for exhibition.

25% of each sale goes directly to Central Camera.

Print 1: $150
Print 2: $200
Print 3: $250
Print 4: $300
Print 5: $350

Sale expires on Nov. 13, National Kindness Day at 12noon.
Use the contact page to inquire and purchase. I accept Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, or CC. I make all prints myself.

Please share and help save Central Camera, a vital piece of Chicago community.

Thank you so much,


 "On the night of May 30th into early morning May 31st, Chicago's oldest camera store, Central Camera, was destroyed and burned."  To help them reach their goal of $250,000 for reopening, I'm offering an exclusive print sale.

Central Camera has been an integral part of the Chicago photo community for three generations. Don Flesch has helped more people than can be counted (myself included). His selfless and generous spirit are an inspiration.

You may purchase a Piezography print, (edition of 5, on 8x10 paper, archival) of this photo, "Viola," from my project and global movement, "The Waters We Swim In," which was recently selected by Elizabeth Avedon for exhibition.

25% of each sale goes directly to Central Camera.

Print 1: $150
Print 2: $200
Print 3: $250
Print 4: $300
Print 5: $350

Sale expires on Nov. 13, National Kindness Day at 12noon.

Use the contact page to inquire and purchase. I accept Venmo, Zelle, PayPal, or CC. I make all prints myself.

Please share.