Design Drama

documenting the delicate dance of design

A Public Service Announcement July 29, 2008

I’ve written on this blog a few times about my love affair/addiction to Flickr, a photo sharing/upload service.

Although I still find the site to be wonderful, as all things on the internet, a few screwed up people ruin things for the rest of us.

Without further rambling, I’ll direct you to Newscoma’s first hand account of her experience with the perverts that surf the web.

Click HERE for more info


Whoa… July 22, 2008

I was watching Jimmy Kimmel last night and the musical guest was Def Leppard.

I’ve had two separate conversations in the past two weeks regarding Def Leppard – one that they’re coming to town and did I want to go to the concert (no, I don’t need to spend money reliving my youth) and another conversation was that opting out of the concert was probably a good call, because why taint those memories.

So, I was watching Kimmell and their set comes on and as I sat there watching, something was familiar.

Joe Elliott is morphing into Billy Ray Cyrus.


I will survive July 15, 2008

I’ve had one of those weird Mondays. It always happens on Monday – it’s either a wild Monday or a dead one. And today is one of those dead Monday’s that give me the blues.

Last week was completely crazy. I wrapped up two jobs that were both fun and challenging. And maybe that’s why I have the Monday blues. I’ve come off a design high and I guess this is how a crack-head feels after a good score and buzz. I have a lot of friends in the same field as I, and when we talk about these moments, we laugh and say “feast or famine!!!!” Luckily, I’ve been on the feast train lately, while many of my friends and colleagues have been on the famine bus as of late. But, no matter what side of the fence we’re on, there’s always that underlying fear of “oh crap, what if the phone doesn’t ring?” or “what if that’s it for the year?” I’ve had to explain many times to people in other “safe” professions that “even if I made $10,000 in one month, I’d still squirrel it away in fear that no work would come in for a year!”

I’m being completely silly because I know that I’ll survive no matter what. I was raised with a tight work ethic and have done everything from interior design to painting rooms of houses, to being a personal assistant to production work.

I had a really fulfilling conversation a few nights ago with a friend and her long-term friend, both of whom have worked for over 40 combined years in the film biz in LA. It was really interesting to hear them talk, over dinner and drinks prior to a movie. Currently, their industry is facing a strike — similar to the writer’s strike of a few months back, but now it’s the actors union that faces shutdown. The industry is tense currently in LA — or at least everyone is holding their breath in preparations for a worse case scenario. Anyway, what I took away from their conversation is that no matter what, if you do good work and build great relationships with people, you will survive the tough times.

So, back to my freak out about my Monday blues. When these moods strike, I usually gravitate to the type of work I call “making my own shoes” — which is a play on words regarding “The cobblers children have no shoes” — in these situations, I tend to focus and work on my own stuff — my own marketing materials, and in this case today, I went back to archiving my own photos from childhood. That work always challenges me in the areas of photo retouching. Some of these photos have terrible exposure and it really makes me brush up on making something great from something lackluster. I really dig doing my own stuff… somehow it centers me. And even though the freakouts start the madness of my own production work, I’m thankful for the time to focus on the little tasks that make me happy.


Summer Work 2008 July 11, 2008

I wrote in an earlier post about my summer endeavors — gardening and archiving photos. I do actually design for a living – I work for myself, by myself – and here’s my accounting of a few of the projects that have highlighted my summer of 2008.

CHIP GREENE PERFORMING SONGWRITER ADVERTISEMENT I have a really talented singer/songwriter friend here in Nashville, Chip Greene. I met Chip through another friend, Dave of Nashville Feed. In addition to being super talented in a musical fashion, Chip is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and he’s easy on the eyes as well. Chip called me one day to request my design services to create an ad for him to be published in Performing Songwriter Magazine. Chip performs often here in Nashville – as well, he’s recently completed show dates in Memphis at the Hi-Tone as well as New York City’s legendary Bitter End. Below, is the ad I created for Chip. And be sure to check out his website for music, show dates and all other musical goodness.

ADVENTURE SCIENCE CENTER – MEMBERSHIP BROCHURE We are very blessed here in Nashville to have The Adventure Science Center in our backyard. The fine folks over there contacted me to redesign their 2008 Membership Benefit Brochure to highlight the addition of the Sudekum Planetarium. The new planetarium is a huge coup for Nashville — the ASC website describes it better than I: At the center of the new Sudekum Planetarium is the GOTO Chiron optical star projector that fills the dome with more than 6.5 million stars (the previous star ball projected 2,500). This breathtakingly realistic night sky is combined with a Digistar 3, high-definition, full-dome system that projects images and animations of the wonders of the universe from horizon to horizon. No other planetarium in the country offers the seamless integration of these two technologies. The gently sloping seating and powerful 5.1 surround sound system give the visitors to the Sudekum a unique, immersive and exhilarating experience. If you have kids, or am just a full grown space-related geek like me, consider membership to the ASC. You can learn more at their website here. Meanwhile, below are images from the ASC’s new membership brochure I designed.

TENNESSEE ANIMAL RESOURCE CENTER – LOGOS The Tennessee Animal Resource Center is staffed by some really caring people who generously donate their time to the quality of life, rescue and adoption of our furry friends. From the TARC website: The Tennessee Animal Resource Center (The ARC) was established as a 501(c )3 nonprofit organization in 2006 by a group of women dedicated to ending the pain and suffering caused by the pet overpopulation problem. Coming from a variety of professional and personal backgrounds, this dedicated board has developed a unique model designed to assist and train animal welfare agencies while promoting and funding spay and neuter efforts across the State of Tennessee. The ladies at TARC contacted me to design some logos for their cause. These included the TARC logo itself and the logo for their 2008 Spay It Forward Conference. The ladies were a joy to work with and I admire them for their hard work and tenacity when it comes to the welfare of cats and dogs. Thanks to all of my wonderful clients, past and present, for making my working life so fullfilling! And, for more examples of work from my day gig, click over there to the right, on my sidebar — there is a link that says “My Art” and that will direct you to my website with more design from the past.


Artistic Snobbery July 10, 2008

I watched this documentary the other night, “Who the *$&# is Jackson Pollock?”

It’s the story of a retired female long-haul truck driver, Terri Horton. She purchased a painting for $5 at the local thrift store for a friend. The friend ended up hating the painting (and it wouldn’t fit through the door of her trailer), so Ms Horton ended up keeping it — eventually a friend saw it and told her “wow, that looks like something by Jackson Pollock” — which led Ms. Horton on a quest to get the painting authenticated.

It’s a really entertaining story and Ms Horton is a character with a tenacious drive to get someone in the art world to take her seriously. I won’t spoil the story, but in her endeavor, she came upon some real jerks — specifically the guy who used to run the MOMA, Thomas Hoving.

Herein lies the issue I have with the film — well, not specifically the film, but the powers that be in the art world.

(A) Most artists are not the eat cheese and drink wine types. They aren’t a part of the monied society people. This is where the dichotomy meets… the starving artists sells a painting to the monied folk, where the price is driven up even higher. The commodity the artist sold is now the very thing that separates him/her from the establishment. Sure, some artists become rock stars and very wealthy, but those are very few and far between. For example, Van Gogh died penniless whereas his art continues to set new records with each sale.

(B) The treatment of this woman with the possible Pollock painting made me sad. Few people took her seriously because she didn’t travel in the circles of the artistic establishment. If this were Steve Wynn, Dennis Hopper or Elton John – serious celebrity art collectors – the process would have become much more seamless and I imagine the painting would be hailed as a new discovery of a lost Pollock work. Snobbery is at the heart of this issue… and that infuriates me.

Visual art is like music – it cuts across socio-economic divides. But unlike music, there is a divide that is established by the monied faction of people who maintain that the art world should contain a void to keep the unwashed masses from attaining certain works. I have always found and continue to find that attitude unsettling.

For the art world to open it’s doors to all people – which isn’t going to happen – would be a win win for everyone. Artists would enjoy much more publicity and the public would be rewarded with an enriching experience. But sadly, there will always be the gatekeepers – like the ticket scalpers who drive up concert ticket prices that keep the die-hard fans away — and that’s where the art world is cutting it’s own ear off to spite it’s head.