Archive for category: Art

Give The People What They Want

12 Sep
September 12, 2018
screaming boy

Power to the People

The following is my first post from the new Creative Kinds agency blog. You can follow it by visiting: https://thecreativekinds.com/blog/. Our blog is primarily geared to who else… creative kinds, and all those involved or interested in marketing, branding, advertising, and design. Enjoy!

 

“Everybody’s a genius…” – Albert Einstein

What started out as pro-bono work for an upcoming local stair climb event turned into something much larger and more exciting for the Creative Kinds team. It also provided a great example of how to avoid a common creative trap: assuming that your professional (creative) opinion, based upon years of experience should always outweigh the client’s because “they don’t do this for a living.”

In actuality, the single goal of every agency should be one thing: Delight the client.

But more on that in a minute…

Sharon Baroncelli, Director of Development for the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation (NFFF) was originally looking to brand an individual regional 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb event with a new logo. The events, held in various locations throughout the country, raise funds that help the NFFF create and maintain programs that support fire service survivors.

This includes providing assistance to the surviving families and co-workers of the 343 firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001. Each participant pays tribute to an FDNY firefighter by climbing or walking the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center.

In a day and age where Americans seem to increasingly have trouble agreeing on anything, I think it’s safe to say that most in our country still hold our firefighting heroes in the highest regard, and recognize the importance of honoring and supporting those who gave their lives to protect our own. Naturally, we were very excited to help.

Subsequently, via karma, great creative, or some combination therein, the work we submitted to the NFFF was deemed so strong that it was forwarded to the national Board of Directors who voted to use one of our marks for the NFFF’s new national logo for its 9/11 National Memorial Stair Climb events.

The only problem: Which one to choose? There were many great options and the Board loved all of them! 🔥🔥🔥

Here are a few of our original concepts.

NFFF Logo Concepts

NFFF Logo Concepts

Of course, being the creative experts, we felt compelled to voice our own opinion about which mark we felt should be selected. We decided that #9 (L to R, Top to Bottom), the mark with the American flag-themed stairs would be the best choice. The rising stairs perfectly portrayed what the stair climb events are about, both physically and spiritually.

The shield form made for a perfect patch (which firefighters love) and the logo felt crisp, light and modern while simultaneously classic and timeless. We’d need to sharpen the feathered edges of the stairs for vector art applications but overall, felt this was the mark that needed to be selected and that would be.

Until we asked our client and an audience of, ahem…non-professionals.

You see, to confirm our flawless instincts, we put $5 behind an Instagram carousel post (a great survey tool, by the way) targeted to our firefighter audience, and quickly racked up over 400 “Likes” and dozens of positive comments. People loved the marks, all of them, and many noted that it was difficult to choose a favorite.

But ultimately, by an overwhelming margin, our test audience chose their preferred mark: option #5, the silhouette of the kneeling firefighter. In short order, the NFFF agreed.

At this point, we might have strongly encouraged the NFFF to reconsider our preferred mark, the one we wanted to see promoted on their highly-visible national platform. After all, as design professionals, we’re often told by our peers that we are obligated to steer our clients in the “right” direction.

Albert Einstein once said, “Everybody’s a genius…” But he finished that statement with “…but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” In other words, we’re all great at different things. Non-profits are great at organizing events and raising funds. Firefighters are great at fighting fires. And designers are great at design. Ergo, we, the designers, really needed to push our client and their audience to make the “correct” choice.

Right?

Wrong!

Because who’s to say which design was the “right” one?

We wouldn’t have presented any marks to the client that would have been wrong.

Design, you see, is subjective and quite frankly, logo design can sometimes be overrated, with more importance placed on it than what might sometimes be merited.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Great logo design is not easy. They take a lot of time and surprisingly few graphic artists are really good at it. The best logos can become foundations for iconic brands and be relevant for years with only occasional evolution for the passing of time.

At the same time, the great thing about design is the unlimited nature of ideas. There’s always more than one right answer, always another possibility. We provided the NFFF with several. Their first choice was our second choice. But theirs was the only one that mattered.

Take it from someone who’s been there. Don’t ever assume there’s only one best answer and that only you are informed and insightful enough to understand it.

Remember that there is only one imperative in business and it doesn’t take a genius to understand it: Delight your clients.

 

Surf Art, Santa Monica

03 Sep
September 3, 2016
surf art, Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier, CA

Some fun surf art in Pacific Park at the Santa Monica Pier, near Venice, CA

Instalove from Radimus Platypus

05 Jun
June 5, 2016
Radimus Platypus Instagram

A shout-out from the Radimus Platypus Instagram Channel for the recent book review I wrote on their behalf, for The Inertia. The article detailing author Mikey Bondoc’s inspiring story and killer book series earned over 430 Facebook likes!

Freshie

05 Jun
June 5, 2016
Whisnant Surf Design

My current ride… a beautiful new 6’1″ Whisnant Surf Tri/Quad combo, ultralite with single layer 4oz glass on top/bottom. Thanks Mike!

Morning Sunshine

01 Jun
June 1, 2016

Orlando Lakefront Sunrise

The Ice Plant, St. Augustine

01 Jun
June 1, 2016
The Ice Plant, St. Augustine Beach, FL

The Ice Plant in St. Augustine, FL is an excellent example of reclaimed architecture. The former working ice plant is now a restaurant. Cool spot! Nom Nom.

Meet Radimus Platypus: The Web-Footed Shredder Who Will Inspire a New Generation of Learners

30 May
May 30, 2016

Radimus PlatypusAsk anybody who has ever stood up on a wave and they’ll tell you there’s nothing like that first time. It’s an incredible feeling you never forget, one that can change your life. The same is true of skateboarding and snowboarding. Mastering these admittedly challenging skills is so exhilarating, not only because of the pure joy we experience when performing them, but the self-confidence we gain as a result. Such moments lead us to believe that if we can accomplish these feats, then there’s likely much more we can achieve from having the courage to try.

Mikey Bondoc understands this concept. A talented surfer, skater, designer, writer and illustrator, he also understands that self-confidence doesn’t come naturally for everyone, especially kids. While all of us are born with unlimited potential and a desire to believe our dreams can come true, those feelings can easily fall by the wayside if not purposefully encouraged and pursued. So Mikey’s using his own unique gifts – some he only recently discovered- to help others understand this concept. He’s created a children’s book series centered around a singularly unique, memorable, character: a blue-billed, web-footed platypus who loves to surf, skate and snowboard.

The Hatch: The Radventures of Radimus Platypus is the first of Bondoc’s seven book series. He has written all seven volumes and published one for proof-of-concept to line up investment to be able to complete the rest (one very well-known, highly respected global brand has already expressed interest in helping Bondoc, based upon the success of The Hatch).

In this first book, the curious, creative Radimus bursts into the world. His mother worries for his safety, but ultimately allows Radimus to follow his heart. Each subsequent book takes Radimus, who expresses himself through his love for board sports, on another surprising “radventure” where he learns new things, discovers what makes him happy, and grows as an individual. In subsequent books, Radimus surfs, skates, snowboards, wakeboards and even discovers yoga.

Parents of all children will enjoy sharing “The Hatch” and its encouraging messages with their little ones. And parents who happen to be into surfing, skating and snowboarding will quite likely want to set this brilliantly illustrated rhyming tale right up alongside classics like, The Cat in the Hat and Oh, The Places You’ll Go. To be certain, Radimus channels the positive spirit of Dr. Seuss and other lovable, iconic characters of youth like Kermit the Frog. At the same time, Radimus’s unique, modern context allows the playful platypus to connect with today’s generation in ways that are more relevant and thus, likely more meaningful to them.

Bondoc’s own story of self-discovery is a radventure unto itself. An accomplished graphic designer, art director and apparel consultant with more than 20 years of experience working for big-named brands, Bondoc moved from New York City to Orange County in 2008, craving more time outdoors and in the ocean than he was getting where he was at.

Once there, he rented a 100-year old oceanfront cottage in Laguna Beach and began practicing yoga to invigorate his creativity while freelancing. In 2009, a friend -an intuitive medium- told Bondoc that when she looked at him, she saw the Sesame Street character, Big Bird, and felt he had the potential to work with children. Exactly one week after that event, the name Radimus Platypus came to Bondoc, along with the entire storyline for “The Hatch”.

Bondoc, though creative, did not envision himself as a writer, nor an illustrator. But he continued thinking about developing Radimus while working, surfing, practicing yoga and meditating. In 2010, while on a weekend juice cleanse, Bondoc wrote volumes 1-3, and completed volumes 4-7 within the next two months. “It is still the most creative experience I have ever had”, says Bondoc. “I never aspired to write anything. The books seemed to write themselves. The words and sentences just seemed to flow out of me. Each storyline came in one shot, and I knew exactly what was going to happen in each subsequent book.”

With stories in hand, Mikey reached out to about two dozen publishers and a handful of agents, but received little response. One agent indicated that he liked Bondoc’s character and stories, but felt he was the wrong person to represent Mikey.

In 2011, undaunted and realizing he had to take the next step, Bondoc commissioned an illustrator to work on the books. But after a year of trying, he terminated the contract because the feeling just wasn’t right. Too heavy. Too much color… It just wasn’t what Mikey was envisioning. He put the project on the back burner for two years, occasionally researching illustrators, but with little money to commission another one. In 2013, with work ebbing in Orange County, Bondoc decided to return to the creative energy of New York City. A few months later, he would experience another transformative moment on his path to personal growth and the development of his book series.

“Through daily yoga and continuing meditation, I was given the confidence to illustrate Radimus Platypus, myself. Since day one, all of my friends insisted that I should illustrate the book. I was the only person who did not believe in myself. I did not think I had the skills and talent to do it.”

“Over the years, I had journaled a lot about my vision for Radimus. I wrote about traveling the world and inspiring millions of children and adults to follow their hearts and be their true selves. After a yoga class that involved journaling and deep meditation, that message came through loud and clear: “I can illustrate the book.” It repeated over and over again, until I heard it, and felt it in my heart. For the first time in my life, I felt fully capable of illustrating Radimus and all of the books. I loved to draw as a kid, but always of things I could replicate– characters, band logos, skate logos- I never drew from my imagination. That’s why I thought that I couldn’t illustrate the books. But it was only my own confidence and self-perception stopping me”

In 2014, with only some sketches of Radimus in hand, Bondoc launched a Kickstarter campaign to help finance production of his books. His campaign was selected as a “Staff Pick”, but Bondoc says he set his goal too high, intent on using one of the best eco-printers around. The campaign reached 18% of its goal, before stalling.

In 2015, Bondoc completed illustrating The Hatch. He made his first printed copy and held a few readings around NYC, where he found kids were both stoked on Radimus and enjoyed engaging with Mikey. Bondoc launched a second Kickstarter campaign and was again selected as a “Staff Pick”, but pulled the plug after two weeks, due to a lack of traffic.

Determined not to give up, Bondoc decided to front the costs of a small run of books and sell them himself on his website. In early 2016, he signed with Bookmasters in Ohio to print a limited quantity of high quality hardcover copies and opened sales on his website.

Since then, Radimus has been steadily gaining traction. The character’s made-for-Instagram IG channel boasts over 1,700 young fans and followers, who, along with their parents, are posting fantastic pictures of themselves doing things they love to do– the things that make them unique… and rad! Radimus encourages kids to tag their posts with the hashtag, #imradtoo.

With the groundswell of interest in Radimus rising and the likelihood of finding investment also stacking, both Bondoc and Radimus may soon find themselves living out the very lessons they’re both so committed to imparting: Be yourself. Follow your dreams. And don’t be afraid to go for it. Because all of us are rad in one way or another. And if we’re just brave enough to live that out, we might surprise ourselves with what we can accomplish.

Radimus Platypus surfing

Note: This article was originally written for and published on The Inertia. To see the original article and response, click here.

Imagine

08 Oct
October 8, 2015

Can you imagine what this might have been like? This guy didn’t have to. Pretty magical moment.

Motion by Morgan Maassen

22 Jul
July 22, 2015

I love Morgan Maassen’s work. He is such a fantastic still photographer and clearly is equally adept with motion. His eye for color, composition, pacing and ability to evoke emotion, while showcasing the beauty of life puts him among the elite in his profession. It’s no wonder Maassen works with some of the world’s premiere brands and media. Of course, Red Epic/Dragon cameras, and surfers like Kelly Slater, Dane Reynolds, Stephanie Gilmore don’t hurt; but there’s so much more that goes into creating art like his- some of it learned, but most of it, God given.

While Morgan absolutely has his own signature style, some of his imagery reminds me of Chris Bryan’s work. I’d love to see those guys collaborate, if they haven’t already. I’m sure that whatever they produced together would be mind-blowing.

You may notice at the beginning of the film, that there’ an African American photographer shooting images. Shawn Theodore is a Philly-based artist and photographer who shoots really cool images (mostly portraits) of vanishing African American landscapes. I know Maassen has said that he is inspired by Theodore’s work (and the man himself), and it looks like Morgan included Shawn in this piece, filming the photographer doing his thing. If you want to see some beautiful, vibrant imagery, then check out Theodore’s Instagram feed at @_xst (and Morgan’s at @morganmaassen). Great stuff! Also dig the music here.  That’s “After Gold” by Kelpe. Enjoy it!

Sometimes, you just need a break…

12 Jul
July 12, 2015

A really inspiring story…

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/07/08/homeless-and-luckless-a-piano-man-wows-the-internet-and-gets-a-new-start/

You Haven’t Seen Slo-Mo Like This

17 Feb
February 17, 2015

This is as beautiful as it is amazing: This fantastically surreal three-and-a-half minute music video was shot in ONE take in just FIVE seconds at 1000 frames per second, from a car traveling at 50 km per hour.

Pretty incredible, huh?

Now go to Siska’s Facebook page to see the actual shot in real time. Genius.

Friends in High Places

01 Feb
February 1, 2015

You know, I’ve lived long enough and experienced enough to understand that things are never as good or bad as they seem. Life, for the most part, is what you choose to make of it and there are tradeoffs for almost everything. What you see on the surface doesn’t always accurately reflect exactly what’s underneath.

If you’re a surfer and an adventurer like me, then you’re going to want —you’re going to need— to keep this top-of-mind when you watch this beautiful film from Cyrus Sutton. It leaves me with many questions, but I’m not going to bother asking them. Nope, I’m just going to enjoy it for what it is. Hope you do the same.

Right Whale Festival 5K, 2014

16 Nov
November 16, 2014
Right Whale Festival 2014 t-shirt artwork

Beautiful graphic art for beautiful animals

Right Whale Festival 2104 5K Men's Results

2nd in age group, 16th overall. I’ll take it!

 

Some nice looking graphic art for this year’s Right Whale Festival swag! I did the 5K on Saturday am, Nov. 15th up in Jax Beach. Always fun, relaxed and for a great cause! The festival was going on all day. I’ve done the run a couple of times now and enjoy supporting them. I gave it good effort and finished 2nd in my age group, 16th overall with 8.10 min miles. Not too shabby, and listening to Jack Johnson the whole way! I can’t believe I’ve got a “50” hanging by my name in the results. I still feel 35 on most days, but doggone it, they got it right!

Breakdown

10 Nov
November 10, 2014

I hope this old train breaks down
Then I could take a walk around
And see what there is to see
Time is just a melody

With all the people in the street
Walk as fast as their feet
Can take them
I just roam through town

And though my window’s got a view
Where the frame I’m looking through
Seems to have no concern for me now
So for now

I need this
Old train to breakdown
Oh, please just
Let me please breakdown

Well, this engine screams out loud
Sayin’ the beat gonna crawl westbound
So I don’t even make a sound
‘Cause it’s gonna sting me when I leave this town

And all the people in the street that I’ll never get to meet
If these tracks don’t bend somehow
And I got no time that I got to get to
Where I don’t need to be, so I

I need this
Old train to breakdown
Oh, please just
Let me please breakdown

I need this
Old train to breakdown
Oh, please just
Let me please breakdown

I wanna break on down
But I can’t stop now
Let me break on down

But you can’t stop nothing
If you got no control
Of the thoughts in your mind
That you kept in, you know

You don’t know nothing
But you don’t need to know
The wisdom’s in the trees
Not the glass windows

You can’t stop wishing
If you don’t let go
The things that you find
And you lose and you know

You keep on rolling
Put the moment on hold
The frame’s too bright
So put the blinds down low and

I need this
Old train to breakdown
Oh, please just
Let me please breakdown

I need this
Old train to breakdown
Oh, please just
Let me please breakdown

I wanna break on down
But I can’t stop now

Read more: Jack Johnson – Breakdown Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Perspective

09 Nov
November 9, 2014

Check out this incredible time-lapse video featuring thousands of images from the International Space Station stitched together by french photographer and filmmaker, Guillaume Juin. I’m actually a bit of a space geek, always one to be looking up at the sky and checking out celestial events. I love nature and of course, space, as Gene Roddenberry once wrote (and Captain Kirk said), is the final frontier. Thanks Ryan Ketterman for sharing this one with me. Seeing earth and looking out into our universe this way provides such amazing perspective about our world. It reinforces certain beliefs for me. But, I’ll leave you to watch it and formulate your own thoughts. Enjoy it, and go full-screen if you’re able! It’s spectacular!

WestTown Teaser Video

01 Nov
November 1, 2014
Screen grab from WestTown teaser video

A screen grab from the WestTown Teaser Video. Click the link to see the video.

westtown_video

I was going through some old files today, updating my business portfolio on Contently, when I came across this old spot I conceptualized and helped produce in 2007. It was for a pitch we created for WestTown- a planned LEED-certified, mixed-used community that was to be Atlanta’s largest residential development in more than a decade (located in the west-Midtown area, thus the name, “WestTown”). The community was going to be a pioneering effort, expected a draw young professionals, artists, creators and those drawn to the development’s trendy urban location in a redeveloping industrialized area, not far from Georgia Tech. This, as well as its “live-work-play” and “sustainable” qualities. We came up with the theme of, “Go West” playing upon the west-Midtown location and the idea of going “west” for “opportunity”, as the neighborhood was going to offer affordable living in an otherwise expensive area. The video was intended to be a teaser for the community that would ultimately be formatted for both web and television. The music track is a song called, “Haley” from the album “Yuppie Ghetto” by the band, War Called Peace. It’s the closing song on the classic surf video, “Searching for Tom Curren”. Marc Rapp, a super-talented friend, NYC-based Creative Director and former employee at my old agency, Renaissance Creative, handled the digital development. We ended up winning the account. Unfortunately, before getting to market, the real-estate bubble burst, forcing the developer, Brock Built Homes, to put the brakes on the project. Atlanta missed out on what would have been a really cool, high-profile, signature neighborhood. Not to mention a fun, innovative marketing campaign.

 

Surfing at 1000 Frames Per Second by Chris Bryan

31 Oct
October 31, 2014

When it comes to surf cinematography, a few trends have really propelled the medium forward over the last decade- GoPros; UAVs (Drones); and High-Def Super Slo-Mo, such as that which is showcased in this incredible short film from filmmaker, Chris Bryan, revealing the beauty of surfing at 1,000 frames per second.

This. Is. Incredible.

The opening sequence is a break called, Shipstern’s Bluff, located in Tasmania, an island state in Western Australia. I’ve featured other Shipstern’s clips in this blog that are amazing, but this one provides its own unique experience. Shipstern’s is one of the most dangerous and compelling waves on the planet, and watching fearless surfer Mark Mathews navigate this wave’s multiple shelves and jagged rips at the speed of molasses, is quite spectacular. The clip also features Kelly Slater, John John Florence and others. Check it out!

Cardboard Chaos

27 Sep
September 27, 2014

Wow, this is pretty crazy- a cardboard surfboard! It was designed by legendary surf shaper Jeff Doc Lausch for Signal Snowboards as part of their Cardboard Chaos video series. They are working with a California-based packaging company, Ernest Packaging, to make crazy things out of paper! They already made a paper snowboard, so they pushed it a bit more and built a surfboard, using a honeycomb design. It’s see-through- they say you can sit on it and watch the fish pass beneath you. Most incredibly, it looks like it rides pretty well, too. Check it out!

Sea Life’s Beauty

30 Aug
August 30, 2014
Driftwood on the beach

Sea life’s beauty, tossed up on the shore.

Water by Morgan Maassen

15 Jul
July 15, 2014

Wow- a real work of art. Here’s a video that is not so much about the joy of surfing as the joy of the ocean. Or more essentially, water. Get ready to be completely mesmerized. A stunning creation by Morgan Maasen.

Peace

03 May
May 3, 2014
Caffe, Etc. in Hollywood, CA

Cool coffee – Caffe, Etc. in Hollywood, CA – Great art direction.

CBGB Movie Wall Mural at Whiskyagogo

03 May
May 3, 2014
CBGB movie wall mural at Whiskyagogo

CBGB movie wall mural at Whiskyagogo on the Suncet Strip in Hollywood

Whiskyagogo

03 May
May 3, 2014
Whiskyagogo: Rock -n- Roll history

First it was, “The Whiskey”; then “The Whiskey – a go go”; then “Whiskyagogo” and then of course, “.com”

The Roxy

03 May
May 3, 2014
The Roxy, Hollywood, CA

The Roxy- The iconic nightclub on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, CA

David Hockney Pool at The Roosevelt, Hollywood, CA

03 May
May 3, 2014
Hollywood Noir- Hockney Pool at the Roosevelt

Hollywood Noir- Hockney Pool at the Roosevelt Hotel. Feels like a cool crime scene.

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