Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cultural Encounters: Jean Paul Gaultier @ de Young

Jean Paul Gaultier is a voyeur of multiplicity, curious about everything and especially fascinated by differences. He finds inspiration in diversity, embracing realms seldom seen in the hallowed halls of fashion–from street looks to the styles of many ethnic cultures. “I respect individualities and I like particularities. I mix and match, collect, twist and crossbred codes. Past, present, here, elsewhere, masculine, feminine, remarkable, humdrum–it all coexists,” says Jean Paul Gaultier at the exhibit at de Young Museum in San Francisco.

For Gaultier the skin and the body are inexhaustible sources of inspiration. His transparent knits become “second skins”; and with his prints of flayed flesh or tattooed bodies, he transforms each wearer into a trompe-l’oeil work of art. In his words: “I like the blemishes, scars, emotions of the skin, of the flesh, of movement, everything that is human.” This carnival fascination has led to designs both romantic and fetishistic–a duality that reflects Gaultier’s playful, provocative and sophisticated understanding of the gender issues that resonate still today. Through his fashion, he demonstrates that nothing should be overlooked and everything is possible.

"Designers are the catalysts of their time; their role is to translate the changes, the mutations, the evolution of society." – Jean Paul Gaultier.

Gaultier celebrates a woman capable of asserting her masculine side and her feminine.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Cadence Gets His Porsche

Adventurous. Enthusiastic. Courageous. Liberated. Direct. Determined. Spirited. Mature. These are some of the words that represent the Porsche 911.

The Porsche 911 was created to redefine the everyday driving experience, delivering exhilarating performance with surprising practicality. Today, my son got his in lime green and truly loves the automobile. With its potent and efficient powertrain, luxurious and purposeful interior, outstanding performance and safety, the baby Porsche delivers a rare combination of driving passion and everyday play.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Royal Bank Of Canada: Future Proof Your Dreams

JustMachine has global reach. Here is a new branding project for the Royal Bank Of Canada­–repositioning itself in a more transparent way such that it's in honest consideration for home mortgages in Canada.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Driven By Vision

In an age where high levels of competence at your craft are assumed, the thing that differentiates us is vision: the way in which you wield your craft to tell stories you see with your eye and your heart.

Vision is what you see and the unique way in which you see it. It is the meeting place of all that you are, all that you bring to your craft and the medium of ideas. The hard work in making your vocation is not finding someone, anyone who will pay you to count beans; it’s in finding a market for your vision. The biggest earners are those who have retained their vision while serving their chosen market. They’ve married their craft with their commerce and done it while uploading their creative integrity, excellence and loyalty to their vision.

Vision is your biggest asset. It’s that one intangible for which clients will hire you. Arguably, there are levels of competence at this craft. And there are certainly true masters and total hacks, but those are the extremes.

By saying this whole journey begins with vision, I mean the vision for your life: the ability to receptively see the future as you’d like it to be, to hear the whisper of the voice that is calling you to something beyond what you are now. Calling you to a life beyond convention–to a sustained creative endeavor that nourishes both your soul and family. It is vision that will help you find your way when it’s confusing with good opportunities threatening to jeopardize even greater ones. It is vision that will put you back on the track when the pull of the commercial world is so strong it draws you too far from your craft and you need to make your way back. It’s what makes great art and great lives. It’s all the virtues at once–the hope to see a different future, the faith to reach for it and the love to keep going when it seems like working at the local job would be the path of least resistance, if not also the path of least reward.

Live In Abundance (Not Scarcity)

The more I look at people I respect, the more I see the constants as more than coincidence. Chief among those constants are vision and passion. Vision drives the endeavor and passion fuels it. There is no substitute for passion–no way it can be made up for with scarcity or slick tactics based on insecurity.

Passion sustains you through the hard work and the need to learn skills you never planned on learning–like marketing or bookkeeping.

Passion pushes you to be better, to improve your craft and give a more salable, unique offering in the marketplace.

Passion makes the difficult moments and clients worthwhile.

Passion attracts people to you like nothing else because there are so few people doing it this way.

Passion defines what gigs you take and why you take them. It defines how you do what you do.

Passion is the thing that made people like Van Gogh or Picasso such celebrated craftsmen and artists. It’s the thing that got mistaken for insanity and obsession.

Do it for money and your mojo will come and go. Do it with passion, and while the same thing might happen, you’ll have a reason to keep going.

Like vision, passion is an asset you need to protect and fiercely nurture. Work on projects you love and when you are asked to work on something you don’t love do not work it. Or work it in a way that you do love. But being chained to your job that sucks the life out of you isn’t why you began this journey. There’s a trap in not doing what you love for a living.

Find a way to keep the passion or consider going back to doing this for the love of it alone. Life is too short. But find your passion, follow it, nurture it and you’ll be nearly unstoppable.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sounding Your Barbaric Yawp

If you are convinced there are good reasons to launch or relaunch a blog here are a few blogging tips for running a blog that’s a solid resource for the community or clients for which you are writing:

Pick an audience. Make some intentional decision about who you are writing for and why you are writing will keep you focused. The best blogs appeal to a specific audience and serve that audience well. Know who you are writing to and why and that determines what you write and how. Look at your blog as an in-house PR magazine with the goal of being perceived as an expert who knows and understands your mission.

Post often. The most successful blogs are the ones with the most consistent readership and you get that in part by blogging consistently. I haven’t always done that but I notice a significant increase in traffic during those consistent once-a-day stretches. The more you post, the better.

Make it look great and easy to read. You are an artist–you specialize in visual communication. The better-looking your blog and the easier it is to read and navigate, the more people will settle in and read it. Space things well, give lots of space in the margins and don’t make your column width too wide. People tire quickly–so make it as easy to read as possible. Photos and graphics help but only if they have some synergy with the written words.

Edit your words tightly. Use spell-check. Trim the fat where you can and give us hints that your grasp of the language includes a working knowledge of grammar and syntax. Readers can forgive much, but it’s unprofessional to hit Publish without checking it over. Losing a reader’s trust because you were too lazy to proof the article makes your blog a liability, not an asset.

Interact. Comments provide an excellent mechanism for exchange and conversation. Be sure to provide this level of dialogue for readers. You needn’t reply to every comment, but the more you engage your readers and make them part of things, the more readers will stick with you. Besides all that, you’d be amazed how much readers can add to the value of the blog for others.

Link to others. Be a giver, not a taker. The more links you have out, the more links you’ll have back in. The instinct we all begin with tends to be a protective one.

Write with your brain and your heart. Both your heart as well as your brain are big in size. People want to feel connected to you and they’ll feel that more if you let them in a little. No need to share the deepest secrets of your life–but things you’re passionate about. This in turn will attract and hold more readers.

Engage. Share the love. Connect with writers and photographers. Be a positive part of the conversation.

Be yourself. Bolggers with their own unique voice get read. Have an opinion and share it. But only be yourself if you’re a linkable person. If nobody on your street likes you or you tend to start rumors or street fights, you may want to to adopt a persona and write from that perspective. Or be yourself and attract belligerent clients the rest of us can only dream to have.

Write solid content. Writing solid content that educates or inspires brings people back. Resist the temptation to toss in filler. Not everything you publish will be helpful or appeal to everyone in your target audience, but most of it should. In the world of the internet, relevant and reliable content is king in terms of drawing readers. While this may take some effort, blogging is the fastest and easiest way to get yourself out there.

Blogging Means You Have Something To Say

The blog has risen to such prominence as a form of communication and branding that it would be crazy for creative professionals to not have one. A blog is a tool–and like all tools, whether you should use it or not depends heavily on what you want to accomplish. Here are some compelling reasons to consider blogging:

Blogging is relational. Blogging is a higher-touch use of technology than your conventional website. The more people get to know and love you, the more they’ll be inclined to hire you or your company.

Blogging can make you famous. Or infamous. Or almost famous. A great blog stands out in a sea of really mediocre ones and even if you’re not getting 10,000 visits a day, a good blog can provide a growing platform from which to launch your fame. Consider your blog your in-house PR firm. Blogs are the new fame-makers. If one of your goals–and all of this must be driven by specific goals–is to be seen as an expert in your field, then blogging is among the fastest ways of getting there.

Blogging is about connections. A good blog connects you to other people in your chosen field and it increases your access to people you can serve with your particular expertise. Connections in the viral world lead to more connections and they multiply exponentially.

Your so-called competition is bloggling. If another person in your field is blogging and you are not, it’s more exposure for them than it is for you. If you’re working in similar markets, this is a way to keep your visibility up or if others in your field aren’t blogging, it’s a way to be first and much more visible.

Blogging forces you to keep current. It can help keep your paint stirred. Like teaching, it can be an excellent way to learn and solidify your thoughts and practice.

Blogging makes you a producer. Blogging allows you to produce and not merely consume–it enables you to give back to the community and that’s a karmically cool thing to do.

Blogging is a form of conversation. If you buy into the notion that all opportunities in life begin with a conversation, the benefit here should be obvious. The more conversations you have, the more likely you are to encounter new opportunities because opportunities come through other people and our primary connection to other people is conversation.

With all these reasons taken into consideration, it should be said that blogging is not for everyone. It’s a tool and in the right hands it’s currency. In the wrong hands, it can do more damage than good. Here are some reasons you might want to give the world of blogging a miss:

You have nothing to say. Some people just aren’t there yet. I think everyone has an opinion–some of them even informed–but not everyone has the confidence to express their opinions (which in some case is good.) If you don’t have anything to say, your blog is dead before it gets off the ground.

You can’t write. Let’s face it, some people choose images of their children as their medium because they’re better with these images than words. If this is the case, don’t force a square peg into a round hole. I do suggest, however, that before you jump ship and abandon the idea of blogging entirely, you consider publishing an image of your children every day or each passing week. We don’t always need words and there are other ways to blog than to write.

You’re a shameless self-promoter. If you insist on plugging your latest achievements and ego drivel, the blog may not draw the audience you hope it will. People come to your blog to get something, not to give it. If you suck the life out of your readers with the All About Me Show, you’ll find them dropping like flies. Unless your’re Paris Hilton. Or Angelina Jolie.

You don’t have time to commit to it. If you publish a personal blog to keep family updated with the latest pictures of your kittens, then how frequently you publish is not much of an issue, but professionally a blog must publish with reliable frequency. Sure, take a hiatus once in a while, take a no-blog month or publish only on Mondays. But make it reliable and consistent. If your readers can’t rely on new content they’ll go elsewhere.

You just really don’t want to blog. Fair enough. Don’t blog. If you hate blogging and you do it resentfully, it’ll come across in your writing and eventually you’ll be blogging as We all have to communicate with our markets in the way it works best for us.

No one is forcing you to blog. But there are compelling reasons to consider it. A blog is good marketing, it’s also a good way to give back to the community and it’s good for the soul. If you do it right, a blog can be a real asset and a real blessing. Making some intentional decision about who you are writing for and why you are writing will keep you focused.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Artistic Light

Turning O–N–E

Walking in fame’s footsteps at 1 year young, Cadence is in the top percentile for growth in comparison with children in his age group. Happy Birthday Caaadence, you are no longer an infant my athletic boy. Ah, the joy of parenthood continues…!