Archive for the ‘The Tangle of Christmas Lights’ Category

Hemingway and the Art of Being Concise

December 10, 2013

mmi

For sale: Baby Shoes, never worn.

Six words, one very full story.

As the legend goes, famed author Ernest Hemingway won a bet with those six words. While lunching with friends at the Algonquin, he wagered ten dollars to everyone sitting at the table (and probably a bartender and a few waitresses) that he could craft an entire story in just six words.

And then he did—on a cocktail napkin.

Six words. That’s all it took to make an impact. Hemingway proved that you can get right to the point, without missing it.

He’d probably punch me for saying it, but he would have been one hell of an ad man.

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There’s a lot of similarity between that storied literary tale and advertising; beyond scribbling something on a cocktail napkin, a concise message must tell a whole story, and it’s worth far more than a few ten dollar bills over lunch.

It’s the difference between making your point, or blending in with the rest of the white noise.

The average focus-attention span for a human is 7 seconds, and it decreases annually—that’s two seconds shorter than a goldfish. Divide that time in half while in motion.

That isn’t a lot of time to make an impact.

You don’t have time to explain every detail, but if done correctly, it’s enough to stimulate the desire to know more.

How does one say so much with so few words?

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It’s a matter of selecting the words carefully, and with both sides of the brain—and what is left between those words, is the true craft of writing.

Be it humor or wit, a touching moment, the beginning of a mystery or a desire to grab a person by the shoulders and scream, “LOOK AT THIS,” the only way to say more is to get their attention in the first place.

In about six words or less.

Hemingway proved it can be done. Now it’s up to us to continue doing it correctly.

What will your six words be?

newestrings

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Tangle of Lights: When Words Fail…Art pt. 2

September 26, 2013

len_art

Far too often, my work has ideas of its own; no matter how well I plan out a project or try to envision it as a finished piece, even before I begin, I know it will go where it must.

Me? I merely go with it.

It’s like steering a runaway horse that you know won’t stop until it wants to.

You hold on tight, and hope to god you don’t get lost.

It’s a very stark contrast to my creative process for advertising. That is a system all its own, with calculations in both strategy and risks. It has a budget, and far more accountability on a fairly immediate level.

But deadlines are for the mad.

This most recent one has taken me into a dead forest full of petrified skulls hiding in the mud, if you look close enough.
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Sometimes I vomit my emotions publicly through words, through music and performance.

Other times, I merely exorcise or, more to wit, recognize my demons.
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I’ve reached the stopping point for piece number two in my series, it’s ready to be ignored for a spell, so I can return to it with a little separation.

So it’s on to the next process, the next piece of the series, and in the most obvious of clichés, the next piece of the puzzle.

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I haven’t any idea just how far deep this rabbit hole goes.

But.

I’m okay with such things.

Hell, I jump in head first, regardless of how I might land.

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Tangle of Lights: When Words Fail…Art

September 24, 2013

len_art

I don’t always get to pick what I work on. Sometimes, I merely must.

Sometimes, I want more than anything to do just one thing.

But I do something else—entirely.

It’s not a misdirected obsession, merely an opportunity to follow my inner muse wherever it may lead.

Sure, today I wanted to work on an essay about the importance of writing by hand. The scientific background attached to a higher plain of thought resulting from a journal.

I’ve been researching it for months.

But my words are hard to come by these days, save for the occasional misread poem or random short chapter.

I wouldn’t call it writer’s block, so much as a motivational lull.

Words are so much easier to misread than art.

Art is open.

It was meant to be misunderstood, made personal in message, kept individual by the souls that witness it.

When words fail, the simplest truth is found in a more direct emotional response.

I started a new piece tonight, a new process to fall into and be swept away by. The second in a series focused on the roots of human emotion.

More specifically, mine own.

This has been the primary subject of my therapy recently, both in a licensed professional’s office, and in my own head and heart as I create songs, words and art.

But words have failed me as of late.

I am fortunate to have so many outlets—so many options to express myself.

Through eloquence, through a messy rage, through melancholy, I can look deeply into my own dark soul and search.

My mind is mine. My mind is mined.

My mind is always on public display, to help avoid confusion of character.

Why look to the words of others, when it’s already there, waiting for you to see?

So until I find the words, the process continues, as do I.

theroot2(click it to see it much larger)

But this is merely the beginning.

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Tangle of Lights: the Process, Part 2

September 20, 2013

len_art

The process. There’s a process for nearly everything in life. From grieving to growing, everything is some sort of process.

But the process of creating, this is different.

For me, it’s deliberate. Like a long, slow fuck.

This is nowhere near completion, I like taking my time, devoted to every inch of the canvas. We’re about 50 hours into this one, now…

bloggrphc-Recovered-Recovered

I’m not one to finish too prematurely.

theroot

Tangle of Christmas Lights: The Process…

September 18, 2013

len_art

 

The process.

 

I love it.

 

It is, in essence the art, more so than the final product.

 

The process is what gives the masses their pretty picture; their art.

 

The process is what I treasure most as an artist.

 

The fear of finishing, not because it isn’t done…

 

Because I’m not.

 

len

 

I’ve been working on a piece for a good 20-30 hours now…starting with individual pieces that will ultimately barely be noticed, if at all, save for the moments when a drug-addled college kid stumbles across my work and stares too hard…which is just hard enough for why I did it in the first place.

 

It has to start somewhere…

art1

 

and from there it went. I continued adding things, moments, faces, torments, stress, baggage of sorts…Symbols of a man’s mind when he can’t find the silence.

 

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(click the image to see a larger variation)

Where it goes from here, I do not know just yet. The process is far from over.

Just wait and see…

Lost Art.

August 25, 2013

len_art

 

I admit, I wasn’t thinking things through. I wasn’t thinking ahead. And I didn’t learn my lesson after the first or second time.

 

I have now.

 

I made the mistake of using the women I loved as the subjects of my art. Art made beautiful by the work, by the models, by the intimacy of the moment in which it was created.

 

Art that will never see the light of day.

 

Work made obscure when things went awry.

 

Art that will adorn no wall out of respect for those that do not respect me.

 

Is this a tragedy?

mtchmid

For me, it is.

 

Because regardless of the subject, regardless of history, this is my work. My attempt to create something stirring, something beautiful—something true.

 

I can do nothing but accept this. Appreciate the process. And learn from it.

 

And create new work for the world to see.

 

art1

Tangle of Lights: Poster Boy

August 2, 2013

ashtry

I have designed a lot of gig posters over the years. I like to think I’ve kept a fairly decent level of variety in my approaches and layouts, while maintaining my own recognizable style.

 pstrwp

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Except when it comes to the Beggar’s Carnivale. When we started, I made a very special point to keep all the posters looking very similar, to develop our brand recognition from show to show. I think it helped.

That’s not to say this approach didn’t have its own challenges. I had to do more than simply change the date and performer lineup. While I wanted people to recognize it immediately as a Beggar’s Carnivale promotion, I did not want them to think it was an old poster, for an old show.

It still required work, new images, no background colors, etc. But it was still essentially the same, recognizable format.

gigpstrsbc

But.

Here we are, into our third year. Three years of capacity shows and a growing fan base throughout the country.

I think it’s safe to say people know who we are. Our logo is strong enough to stand alone.

So, I’ve decided to take a few creative liberties with this season of productions. Stepping away from the templates I had created for the previous seasons, I decided to try to be a little more true to the era we’re emulating in our work.

 newestrings2

I am not very good at art deco. Never have been, probably never will be. Sure, I’ve used bits and pieces of the style…fonts, borders, flourishes…

But I’ve never tried to emulate the overall look and feel.

bcgd

The challenge in this is maintaining enough of the Beggars look and feel, while stretching my creative wings.

So here’s the poster for our next Beggar’s Carnivale. It’s not a completely authentic deco design, but it’s about as close as I could get while keeping the brand standards. Standards I set.I have a lot invested in this next show creatively, so stay tuned for more developments about the…developments.

flprdprMore to come, friends and/or neighbors.

Shedding my ‘Skine, Part 1

July 19, 2013

len1

I’ve been feeling a little lost as of late—disheveled.

I mean, more disheveled than usual.

I filled the last page of my last moleskine, and have had nothing in my pocket to catch the random crap that falls out of my brain. My journals, notebooks, sketchbooks…this is where ideas get mapped out. Fleshed out. Worked out. It’s where simple sentences are recorded for a rainy day when I need a spark.

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And it makes me smarter. It’s true.

Just the simple act of putting ink to page on a regular basis improves how I think. Scientifically speaking, studies have shown that writing by hand is a process that requires an integration of visual, motor, and cognitive execution for a stronger, more stimulated mode of thought.

ms1

The simple, singular focus on that little piece of paper, rather than a constant exchange between keyboard and monitor allows a more centered point of thought. A more centered point of thought allows more expansion of thought.

And I have nowhere to do it.

I’ve been using Moleskines for years. Personally, I don’t care if Hemingway used a Moleskine or a roll of toilet paper to record his thoughts. I have been using them because I like the binding, size and paper weight.

I do not, however, like the page count. At 80, they fill up far too fast to keep up.

Nor do I like the price.

mtchmid

So I’ve decided to branch out and try some different brands.

I ordered a Piccadilly, a Pen&Ink and a Pentalic pocket notebook/sketchbook. They all win on price.

Quality is another thing entirely.

As I said earlier, I have been carrying around Moles because of the binding, size and paper. The latter being the most important selling point. The stock of paper needs to be thick. I don’t just write in these. I carve into them, and build the initial mockups for bigger, more thought out ideas. I abuse tape, spray adhesive and glue sticks.

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These journals come with me everywhere. Client meetings, backstage amidst the beautiful chaos of show time, family events, road trips, business trips, mind trips.

They are chew toys for the puppies, coasters for my cocktails, and bulging at the seams with thought.

msk1

I’m not sure which new brand will arrive first, but I will use them as I get them, and compare and contrast with the iconic hipster accessory I have lovingly used for years, and report back to you.

Because I have better things to spend my money on.

Like hookers and blow.

Or, you know, rent and stuff.

Tangle of Lights: A different angle

June 27, 2013

rs

 

You know what they say, measure twice, cut once.

 

They also say, if at first you don’t succeed, take a step back, have a drink and smoke, and try another approach.

 

Okay, maybe I say that.

cliche

I’ve been working on a new direction with my art as of late, utilizing angles, lenticular illusions and physical depth mixed with the root idea of tilt-shift perspective.

 

Once upon a time, before I was a Mad Man, before I sang for beautiful women to shimmy about to—before I even learned the fine art and skill sets of the service industry, I was an art student. Painting, drawing, and mixed media…this was before Adobe Photoshop even existed; before there was digital photography, before the Internet. When being an artist was a very different craft.

 

At least for me.

len_art

This was back when we, the paint splattered fine art majors, turned our noses up at commercial art students, those future sellouts forced to hand draw their fonts with gray markers and display them next to our paintings of nude models.

 

Ah youth. If I knew then where I’d be now.

 

Back then, mine was a reckless form born of undeserved indignation to a world I hadn’t even begun to understand. I rarely entered into anything with a plan. I didn’t even start with a sketch or idea more often than not. I would simply start, and get lost in the marks, the brush strokes, the scratches and smudges. The digressions and mini-evolutions as my inspiration raced against my frantic output.

 

I’m proud of that work. But it’s not how I work.

 

Not anymore.

 newestrings2

Maybe it’s my age; maybe it’s a constant strife for more efficient use of my time, given how little I have these days. Perhaps it’s as simple and obvious as my daily bread bleeding over into my personal work. I spend my working hours building creative strategies. I plan, and think about what might work, and what will probably fail. I have learned the value of versions and drafts, tests and mock-ups.

 

Another fine cliche: you’ve gotta break some eggs to make an omelet.

 

Not every idea works the first go round. Or the second or third sometimes. Each misstep and failure teaches me something to apply to the next variation.

 

So I take a step back. Then a step forward. Then back again, then forward…Then I’m doing the hokey pokey.

len5

I have been working with lenticular illusion, and the varied approaches to this strange optical illusion. In tangent, I’ve also been working on physical depth. This is something that has piqued my interest for quite some time now, though I’ve yet to find the application that works for me and my vision and underlying statement.

 

I’ve never really applied science to my art before. I’ve never done anything but close my eyes, take a deep breath and dive in. But I’ve always loved the process as much as the final product, if not more. Now the process is deeper, and more developed. More thoughtful.

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Last night I built a mock-up of a lenticular based on open space and proper angles to view, with three physical levels of the scene to create a surreal perspective.

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I almost got it right. Almost.

 

The front view looks fine, with some mild tweaking.

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One angle worked great.

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But.

 

The other one…not so much. I need to reverse the order of the images on the other side of the lenticular blind.

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And this is why I mock things up first.

 

So it’s time to do the hokey-pokey and turn myself around and then try, try again.

The economics of thought

April 29, 2013

len1I’ve been studying thought a lot lately.

 

Not the abstract idea, the literal exercise of thinking.

 

More to wit, how to think more efficiently to produce the work I want, with the results I need.

 

I know how to think; we all do to a certain point. It’s an innate mechanism of being a human.

 

But there’s a difference between the average moment of decision, and a deeper exploration of the challenges at hand to find a better solution.

 

Everything I learn garners three more things I need to research.

 

I’m still formulating my ideas of how thought is both useful, and used within my profession. There’s a lot more to learn.

ms1

Ultimately, I’m just trying to find the best pattern of thought to produce the best work possible. Work that satisfies the soul, the psyche and even the statistics I do my best to ignore in the early stages of a concept.

 

Most recently, my research has lead to me to behavioral economics, which is normally used to predict the market. There are a lot of aspects of this I believe can be used to dictate the market, rather than react to it.

ms2

So many people look for the easy solution, the fast payoff. We live in a world of immediacy, and far too often this causes rash, poorly planned strategies.

 

Those that step back and think; they are the ones that create trends, rather than follow them blindly.

 

I will always be a student in the school of thought. But now, I choose the curriculum.

rs

Rain

April 26, 2013

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Sometimes, a gentle rain can be my muse.

The sound—as it hits the roof of my car, silently drawing tear stained trails down the windows. The low thunder pushing the normal sounds of the city far below, turning the world outside into a silent movie.

Sometimes, a gentle rain is all I need for that moment to arrive.

rn2

I was beating my head against a wall this morning, failing at every attempt at wit or aspiration in my words. Distractions didn’t help, they simply lived up to their name.

So I stepped out into the rain.

I neither lingered nor ran. I simply lit a cigarette and walked to my car, with sky speckled glasses.

I wasn’t in search of a warm, dry refuge.

I was in search of my muse.

A tangle of smoke, a tear drop of rain and perhaps a small spark that I might turn into a fire.

Inspiration comes from anywhere, if you let it.

fndlygrphc-Recovered

Mad Man, I: Selling Thought

April 18, 2013

madman

Sometimes, this business is built on a vicious series of reactions, rather than solid strategy. Far too much time is spent speaking to the existing message, rather than changing the conversation entirely.

Now, as a Creative, I could very easily (and often do) simply blame the Account team. Their sole objective is maintaining a good relationship with the client’s money by virtue of keeping said client happy.

Far too often, what keeps the client happy in the initial phases of a campaign are the very things that sabotage its impact upon launch. If we back down from our strategies, we aren’t going to succeed and risk losing our client. But if we push too hard for our ideas, we risk losing our client.

It’s a very thin tightrope that must be walked.

By someone other than me.

I have never been an Account Executive, but I was married to one once.

Once.

mtchmid

By the estimations of most Creatives, it’s the Account’s job to take our ideas and convince the client they were theirs; it’s about providing the client with the confidence to let us do what they hired us for in the first place—convincing people to buy things sold by other people.

If Creatives don’t think deeply and thoroughly, we fail our ideas, and our client. If an AE doesn’t sell our ideas, they have failed us.

But they cannot sell what they don’t understand. They have to believe in the idea before anyone else will. And that requires a deeper collaboration between two very opposing schools of thought.

That requires the Account people to trust our ideas, as we must trust that they know what the client ultimately requires to remain a client.

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As a Creative, I get to hold tight to my ego by virtue of a false artistic integrity. I only have to think of the challenge at hand, relying on my creative prowess over statistics and test marketing, human nature over strategic complacency.

Because I can.

Where others in the business react, I get to step back, light a cigarette, have a cocktail, and just…think.

Deeply.

I’m not discounting the importance of research. Research is crucial at the beginning and throughout every process.

It’s just not always right.

It’s not about what people do. It’s deeper than that. It’s about what makes them do what they do.

What truly influences their decision?

Peer pressure? The color red? Celebrity endorsements? Sex?

Yes.

But…why do these things influence a decision?

That is at the root of every client challenge I face as a creative strategist.

To work in the creative part of this industry you have to be one part temperamental artist, one part psychologist and one part fortuneteller. You have to change a person’s perception. More challenging, you have to make them want to.

I suppose, that’s what the Account Executive does too, on a more singular, personal level.

So we have to come up with an idea, they have to convince someone it’s good.

Which one is really the Creative?

Simple.

Those who think. Deeply.

 

It’s the best strategy we, as persuaders, can offer a client.

ashtry

Tangle of Lights: Perspective.

April 9, 2013

rs

Perspective.

I’ve been thinking about it a lot, but not in the capacity gained through time and space—more a literal approach to the exploration.

This isn’t a dear diary, self-help post, after all.

This is art, dammit.

The idea of perspective has interested me for a fairly long while.

It’s been a consideration in both my visual art and my novel, Fondly.

 newestrings

I originally began writing Fondly in third-person, with a non-linear timeline. It became hard to follow and even more difficult to write.

It became hard to believe in.

So, after a lot of consideration I went back through what I had written, kept the timeline but switched to a first-person narrative. This is all fine and good, and the voice works well, even in a jumbled time frame.

Now I sit at another crossroads, as I consider the notion of putting both narratives in, but all from one singular voice. This is a design to better push the slow mental breaks within the main character, and I think it could create a very interesting way to tell a story.

My concern is the readability of it. The flow.

Though framed as small vignettes that elude to other periods of time and the propulsion of a plot, I don’t want to lose the reader by switching too much.

But.

If I do it correctly, there are a lot of ways I could take this style of narrative to push the story arc, and add to the symbolism and complexity underneath.

mtchmid

I’m also working on a fairly large-scale piece for an upcoming gallery show at the end of the summer. I don’t usually  have enough time to put a decent amount of thought into submitted work, or to actually work on it. There are enough deadlines in my life, both at work and at play.

But.

This time, I have time.

I have time to really think deeply about what I want to say, and just as important in the visual arts, how I want to say it.

Writing is an entirely different kind of execution with far more immediate results.

Think it.

Write it down.

Rinse and repeat.

It’s not quite the same thought process, or energy extolled as creating something visual.

Honestly, I love them both, and perhaps it’s the variety in my process that keeps me spinning in so many different directions most of the time.

But.

I digress.

 pen

This time around, I actually have time to think about the piece. Really think about it, from multiple directions.

Tonight, I’ve been working on the approach and execution, not the imagery itself.

I had a thought. Okay, it’s more a stolen idea.

But.

I stole it from myself, so I can sleep at night…or at least stay up with a clear conscience.

A few years back, or maybe just one, it’s hard to keep track, I conceived a campaign direction for a re-brand for a client that was having some mild identity issues.

Most people hadn’t heard of them, and those that had, hated them.

Once we convinced the client to make some large adjustments to some underlying problems, it was our challenge to get people to give them another try.

Of the ideas, I was most excited by one of mine called “Shift Your Perspective.”

It was designed to utilize a variety of media executions, all revolving around a “different perspective” illustrated through various optical illusions, negative space, building installments, anamorphous perspective and many, many other executions. I was inspired by all the great street art, which I often think is more appealing than just about any billboard I’ve ever seen…

This would not only help reinforce a change in the client and the consumer’s current opinion but would be an engaging, impactful approach, grabbing the consumer’s attention, forcing them to pause and spend more time with every billboard, print ad, television commercial, guerilla/environmental installation, etc.

If you can’t change someone’s mind, shift their perspective and let them change it on their own.

This could have been the type of campaign that would have made me known throughout my industry, if executed correctly, or…you know, if executed at all.

I spent a lot of time researching some interesting eye-benders and how they worked, and feared I would never get to use all this new information.

We presented a variety of directions. They went with the safe option. They always do. All of them. The client literally told me it was too intelligent of an approach for their demographic. I tried to explain that I was trying to get them a better demographic.

 madman

Short story long, I’m taking one of the outdoor print executions and using it for good, rather than the cruel mistress that is the fickle client.

I know what I want the basic idea of the image to be, and a fair idea of how to create it. The message is there and it’s just ambiguous enough to make you draw your own conclusions. I even have the general idea of how it should work, in theory.

But.

It’s the construction and ultimate final execution that must be figured out first.

Now I must rely on science or something.

My plan is to create a large-scale lenticular, to hopefully tell a full story, but only once you’ve seen it from both angles.

So I made a miniature mock-up. I’ve been known to do that from time to time.

I didn’t spend a lot of time on the images themselves, I just threw something together through the miracle of selfies and photoshop for example’s sake.

I started with two images.

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Then I cut them up and rearranged them.

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After that, I printed it out and corrugated it.

Here’s a shaky, lo-fi example of my shaky, lo-fi mock-up…just imagine this being about 5-10 feet wide or so…for starters.

The real question is, where can I push it from here?

newestrings2

In both cases, I’m utilizing the literal idea of perspective to push the more metaphysical meaning of the word out to the viewing audience, but without screaming it at the top of my lungs. Nobody wants to be told what to do.

But.

If they’re not careful, they just might accidentally get a fresh perspective from my work.

ashtry

Nocturnal Admissions

April 3, 2013

newestrings2

I haven’t been sleeping much lately. This is a fairly common thing with me.

When I was younger I could never call it a day because something hadn’t happened yet. I never knew what that something was, just that it hadn’t happened.

These days, it’s quite the opposite. Everything is happening.

Sometimes I’m listening to music, typing away for work or play. Writing checklists, or scratching things off.

I used to lay awake thinking about the things I wanted to do; now I sit and think about what needs to be done. It’s an evolution of thought brought about by an evolution of life, so I’m comfortable with this train ride.

tw

But.

It’s never that simple.

When I’m working, I’m not only thinking about what needs to be done, I’m doing it. It takes a certain amount of focus even for someone like me, who is in a constant state of charming dishevelment throughout my waking hours.

It’s probably because I need more sleep.

newestrings

But.

It’s those other times, when I sit in silence writing the great American narrative in my head, words that never escape the steel trappings of a distracted man, that keep me up at night.

It’s those quiet moments, when my woman is asleep, keeping the bed warm…as the dogs curl up around me, that Pandora’s box is opened, just a crack.

Retrospect.

It follows me like so many living ghosts. My life. Those moments.

All of them.

The ones you want to relive again and again and those moments you wish you could take back. A twisted nostalgia that leaves one pining for the innocence of youth, but with the jaded knowledge picked up since.

This train of thought is not bred out of discontentment, nor tainted by too much regret. It’s what we never have time to think about when there’s so much else to be done—what we wish would fade quietly away like a dream you know you had, but can’t quite remember.

It’s hard to fully let go of the past sometimes, for fear it will vanish altogether.

It takes time to vanquish demons and cast out ghosts—making peace with oneself, and the things we hold onto…the things that haunt us, when left alone with our thoughts.

But.

At least it gives me something to think about, when I can’t fall asleep.

rs

Mad Man, I: The greatest work you’ll never see.

March 18, 2013

madman

For close to a month I’ve been in campaign mode at work. It’s the best part of the job, in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the audition process, as well as the overall production, filming, and editing. It’s nice to see something develop from a tiny spark into a fire.

But it’s that spark that gives me the most fulfillment as a writer in this business.

It’s all about the concept. That big idea that everything is built upon. That underlying voice, tone and strategy. The message. It is the beginning.

The beginning of everything.

It has to be. Without a concept, all we have are pretty pictures that miss the real challenge of convincing someone to stop, pay attention and ultimately, consume.

The challenge doubles, then triples the more times you have to sell the same thing.

Moleskines are filled, and walls are covered in staples and tape, as if our brains have exploded outward.

This moment is electric. The big idea. I’ve had a few now, but none have ever seen the light of day. Not how they should. Because ultimately, there is always a client, and I’m not always there to convince them to make the bold move.

This campaign, I poured myself into five different directions, all of which could be effective and successful, one of which would truly stand out: A simple story about a boy, a girl and some olive juice. A direction that saw me working late into the night, and early into the morning for weeks trying to create something effective and cohesive; something beautiful, relevant and most importantly, something real.

Something strangers would invest their attention in.

Tomorrow, when we make our pitch, it will most likely fall to the wayside with so many other ideas. But we’re a better agency for offering it. And I’m a better person for having thought of it.

The toughest part of this job is letting go of something. Our best work is crumpled up on a creative director’s floor.

I create the greatest work you’ve never seen, and I’ll do it again and again until someone runs with it. Then I’ll keep on doing it.

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Tangle of Lights: The thinnest fat man you know.

March 5, 2013

You would think that for as thin as I spread myself, I’d weigh a lot less. But then, I suppose if your plate is always full…

I wear a lot of hats—literally and figuratively.

We’re one week out from a very ambitious Beggar’s Carnivale, with lots to still learn, tighten, tweak and lock down. Rehearsals every night. There’s barely enough time to come home, grab a bite, kiss my woman and scritch the pups before heading back out until late into the evening.

I still need to work on T-Shirt designs, graphics for the performers, and memorization of a half dozen songs.

And then, of course, there’s my day job; my career. A world I’m equally passionate about. And in my waking hours as a Mad Man, I’m responsible for concepting four campaigns for three clients, all due at the same time, all important for the livelihood of the company and the people who work with me.

And these are concepts I’m really excited about. Concepts that could give me the chance to create something truly touching—beautiful.

And of course, there’s Fondly, a book I’ve been putting a lot more time into.

All of these things are important to me. Important for me. I would not trade any of it, there’s nothing I could cut out without feeling as if I lost an important part of myself.

With so much on my mind, such a long to-do list, sleep is rather elusive. So I sit up and think. Plan. Work.

and sometimes, I’m so overwhelmed with things I have to do, I simply create something mindless because the process grounds me. Lately I’ve been doing pop-culture movie graphics…for no real reason other than the process.

playay

pink

butcherbill

shonuff

I haven’t had any true bolts of inspiration for original pieces since Naughti Gras.

I work in the persuasion business.

I work in the persuasion business.

Well then, you’d better have one hell of a presentation.

Well then, you’d better have one hell of a presentation.

It’s my job to know what you want, even before you do.

It’s my job to know what you want, even before you do.

And what do I want?

And what do I want?

Whatever I tell you.

Whatever I tell you.

I have some ideas for some new pieces, but I’m not ready to produce them quite yet. I need more time than I have right now. I need to clear my plate off a bit before I can heap more on…so…Time to dig in.

Last Practice…

April 24, 2012

This week we stepped away from Django Tango and other such pieces to focus on original transitions for the next Beggar’s Carnivale, May 19th. We’re giving the key characters their own themes, and scoring the action. Professor Thump and Baron Von Winterbach are a regular Rogers and Hammerschtein.

The first piece is a little bit of Too-Me’s theme song. Just a taste, though…You’ll have to come to the show for the full shebang.

The other piece we worked on is the Knock’em Outs/Bon Bons Theme, two variations on the same progression.

All in all, a good practice. Only two chairs were broken.

Tangle of Lights: On your mark, get set…

April 16, 2012

I can’t sit mentally still. I have far too many lights blinking on and off, all the time. So this weekend I found myself designing new sets for the Beggar’s Carnivale. Our talent, our production value, the symmetry of the shows…They have all moved to a new level, and our set needs to follow suit.

The idea: Rotating panels that provide multiple scenes within a small plot of stage. Something that folds flat for easy transportation, something that sets up quickly, and is robust and movable. Something that cane be developed as new acts and transitions enter the fray.

Step one: Concept

The first phase is always born from the pages of the moleskine, it’s a simple way to get the basic idea in front of me, so I can figure out the specifics.

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After that, I needed to make a miniature mock-up, to see if it would actually work, and if so, how. I imagine three sets of triangular panels, images on both sides, providing as many as 18 distinct backgrounds. When turned flat, it provides a straight backdrop.

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When rotated slightly, it should provide a linticular effect, giving perspective and additional wings on the stage for performers to utilize for blocking.

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Rotate them more, you get another scene.

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Rotate again…

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And you get a third scene.

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Each panel will be built with hinges that allow the panels to be folded in reverse, for three additional scenes.

So far, it’s just an idea, a concept, a kernel. Stay tuned.

Tangle of Lights: Notes from the Moleskine

April 11, 2012

I always have a Moleskine on me. Always. Every song lyric, every sketch for a piece, every set design, poem, random thought, checklist, shopping list and client note goes in there.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about perspective and depth for some pieces I’m developing. I’m not exactly sure where it’s taking me, but we’re going somewhere. I’m not sure if this will ultimately flatten out into a 2D print, or if it’s destined for something deeper and more involved. You’ve got to love the process.

Here’s a small mock-up I did in my Mole over the weekend, a simple exploration of a bigger idea. I usually work best if I sketch something out first. My idea of sketch is a very loose interpretation of the notion.

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Show and/or Tell

June 30, 2010

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any works in progress…

I figured now is as good a time as any to catch you up on what I’ve been doing…poster-wise.