Earlier this year my good friend and fellow artist Patty Haft agreed to come to my design agency and mentor our people in recovery in the art of marketing and sales. She was a great help to me and those people as she advised, cajoled and prodded budding creatives to learn to how work as a professional in a design agency.
I’ve known Patty since high school when she was one of a group of young girls we guys used to admire at on the beach in Santa Monica. Years later I hired her and her husband, illustrator Dan Long to work on many projects for me when I was the executive creative director at Saban Entertainment. To return the favor she and Dan hired me as a VP of Entertainment Advertising at their ad agency in Valencia. Patty and I spent many days pitching business to all sorts of entertainment companies and worked on many campaigns for Disney, Sony and others. Over the years we both got divorced and remarried and divorced again but maintained our friendship.
When I asked Patty to help me earlier this year I had no idea she was in a major transition in her life. As she tells me now her search for what she wanted to do in the future galvanized as she worked with us at BTS Communications. The result of which is shown here. Artwork pieces that use discarded paper and recycles them into beautiful pieces of art that are fun to look at and have messaging in the art with the use of pictures, graphics and typography. All of her pieces are three dimensional and some move.
Patty is a graduate of Art Center in Pasedena where she majored in illustration and design. Her career has been in entertainment advertising where she successfully ran her own agency along with her then husband Dan Long. Now she is enjoying the creation of fine art.
As we talked over some Mexican food at Sharkey’s in Beverly Hills Patty told me she was going to start exhibiting and selling her work in the late Spring at local fairs and art walks, which I enthusiastically supported. I will follow up with Patty as the months go by and update you on the results of her efforts.
Some time ago I created and published the Illustrators Journal, a magazine which ran anywhere from 15-36 pages and was published quarterly. After four issues and a failed kickstarted campaign I wound it down. It was too much for one person to publish while working fulltime as well. Since that time I’ve toyed around with other versions of the journal but I couldn’t bring myself to jump back into it. I just didn’t have the time to do it justice. However, I could see myself doing a weekly one page newsletter covering various aspects of being an artist in today’s society. What I like about this effort is it takes less time to put together and less time to read. In this era of sound bites and 140 character messaging it seems more appropriate. So here’s the inaugural issue. Sound off and give feedback. The more I get the better I can serve, Thanks,
Our still-primitive social skills haven’t adjusted to modern technology. Information ubiquity, amplification and preservation have cursed our social interactions. As a result, our conversational indiscretions can’t be hidden. “Oh, that? I was just mumbling!” Instead, our mistakes are etched in digital granite. And no platform presents greater problems than Twitter. In fact, of Mashable.com’s eleven greatest social media disasters of 2012, nine involved wayward Tweeting, each of which are summarized here in less than 140 characters:
1. With McdStories, “McDonald’s paid to promote a trend that showered the company in bad publicity.” #oops
2. Snickers paid celebrities in the UK to tweet pictures of themselves eating Snickers bars. Not allowed. #illegal.
3. American Rifleman posted a pro-gun tweet as the mass shooting in Aurora CO was unfolding. #dumb #whatweretheythinking
4. CelebBoutique posted a promotional Tweet using #Aurora to exploit a trending topic, without knowing why it was trending. #insensitive #stupid
5. A Microsoft employee criticized conservative pundit Ann Coulter from Microsoft’s Twitter account, not from his own. #oops
6. A KitchenAid employee made a disparaging Tweet about Obama’s grandmother. #firethisidiot
7. A Stubhub employee used the f-word in a company Tweet. #firethisidiot
8. American Apparel offered discounts to ‘bored customers’ during Hurricane Sandy. #insensitive #stupid
9. At the height of Hurricane Sandy, the Gap encouraged people to do online shopping. #idiotic
“Somewhere, somehow, somebody will Tweet something stupid.”—a corollary to Murphy’s Law for the digerati. The ol’ slip of the tongue, seen by 13,797 followers, viral, searchable, and archived forever for millions more!
Here’s situation we’ve all been in no matter what age we are. The more I speak with elderly people the more I marvel at how the wrinkles and crinkles in their faces tell a story of what they’ve seen and who they are. I like seeing normal aging faces, however I come from a world and business where people desperately want to hide from them. I’m talking Hollywood. One only has to look at Joan Rivers or kenny Rogers to see what can happen when you go too far. You end up being someone else. And whether that’s a better looking version or not you lose the characteristics that attracted people to you in the first place. Friends and family have to adjust to a new person. It’s just not fair.
Place on top of that the obsession of our youth culture to appear young and vital at all costs and you have a strange brew of circumstances that can lead to distressing results. So why not poke fun? Youth wants age to tighten up the wrinkles and “cold sculpt” away the fat and age wants youth to experience some of the rough and tumble events so they can get a view of what life is really all about. My father,rest his soul, used to say to me “you know nothing about the real world” and I argued that point with him on a daily basis. Now many years later I realize he was right, I didn’t know much about the real world. Now after years of a rollercoaster life I do and I am sure of one thing, trying to recapture your youth in anyway is folly. Accept and embrace the lines and the drooping body because we are more than that. Much more.
This was the scene last night at PresentTense LA put on by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles staged at the Bergamont Station. A festive and crowded affair which highlighted young entrepreneurs pitching their companies to a a packed house of onlooker, potential backer, family and friends.
So what does that have to do with me you may ask? Our design firm helped create the brand identity and the collateral materials for the companies represented. In collaboration with the Jewish Federation our firm, BTS Communications helped the young professionals present themselves via lectures about marketing and public speaking as well as working with. Our founder and creative director John Sullivan helped the entrants hone their short pitches that were highlighted at last night’s event. John won LA Fast Pitch a few years back and is well schooled to advise anyone on how to do a “quick elevator pitch” of their business. In all the event was a great success and I was proud of the work our staff senior art director Kendl Ferencz and art director Zach Fetters did to support the presenters. Ok so that was how my night went and it came after a long day that included another business pitch event that happened yesterday morning at the Twin Towers Jail downtown LA.
Recently our firm designed logos and posters for Sheriff Lee Baca’s Education Based Incarceration program. In the process of doing that John Sullivan and I were asked by Deputy Dave Bates to attend a graduation of the inmates of the program. It was a very moving and inspirational experience. Here were inmates showing the work they had done in the program with the hope in their eyes and actions that they would be recognized. I was surprised at the amazing support and synergy that Deputy Bates and the sheriff’s staff showed for the inmates. As a wind-up to the event, inmates who were artists displayed their work. The work was done in pencil on bond paper. Most of it was excellent. After seeing the gallery of work I approached Deputy Bates and told him I’d like to help the artists in any way I could. My chance came yesterday as I was asked to listen to EBI student-inmates pitch business ideas which were assembled in a powerpoint presentation. In a three hour event I watched and commented on a half dozen of them and it was an eye-opening and inspiring show of talent. All the work done had logos, artwork and in most cases financial spreadsheets. I was impressed with the efforts, research and passion the inmates showed. With limited tools under very strict and difficult living conditions they produced work that could compare to the Jewish Entrepreneurs I saw later in the day. Inspiration, innovation and passion are not bound by grey walls and lockdown steel doors. It lives in the minds of those who dare.