Mock-ups and Murals…

Mock-ups and Murals…

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It was great fun to teach a “mock-up to mural painting” program at the Montana Branch Library in Santa Monica this past Saturday.

We called it a

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and attendees looked at a number of my live and in-person mock-ups (to-scale miniatures of planned murals), and images on my site of the finished murals.

Artifactory Studio

Artifactory Studio

Oshun Center

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Planning for Elders in the Central City

Artifactory Studio

Artifactory Studio

Exterior Mural done on fence 2 stories up, seen through kitchen window.

Artifactory Studio

Artifactory Studio

Garden mural done on patio fence.

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Artifactory Studio

Living Room Wall Mural

We talked color, scale, technique, and then they painted their own mock-ups on project display boards. Big Fun!

The results were magnificent.

Each participant expressed her own style, color personality, and visual story.

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WEB6What a privilege to work with these artists, and watch them express themselves in paint, color, line shape and imagery.

Gratitudes!

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Building Work

Building Work

In a recent after-school enrichment class, entitled aptly enough, “Art, Artists and Art History”, students created their own “built environments“, then painted mini-murals on them, inspired by artist / muralist Diego Rivera.

WebS.In the process, they learned about color mixing…

WebD.composition…

Web1. WebE.two and three-dimensional art,

WebQ.painting  techniques and how to cover a surface,

WebI.planning, drawing and imagination,

WebL.their color preferences, (“I like purple!” declared this 6 year-old artist),

WebP.how to create “windows and doors”,

WEB_04.and look through them,

WEB_03.and best of all, how to create their own special world, through color, imagery, texture, openings and space.

We celebrate this!

Siting Santa Monica: Stumbling Upon Art

Siting Santa Monica: Stumbling Upon Art

WEB7Walking in Santa Monica yields beauty and discovery, as well as the unexpected revelation: all manner of art that somehow just happens to be there, as you turn the corner, cross the street, peak into front yard, or stride past a chain link fence.  Who has made these things…has these ideas, puts their creations out on the street for the rest of us to be surprised by, revel in, and adore?  Above, the “yarn bombers” send out a supportive message and wish to all who walk by and take the time to see it, on 17th Street near Olympic.

WEB2This beautiful elephant welcomes walkers on the Southeast corner of Idaho Street (or is it Washington?) somewhere between 17th and 25th Streets.

WEB3Adjacent, an all seeing eye is looking at you, kid.

WEB1A silvery car decal brings to mind the image of a  lotus. Parked at 17th and Wilshire.

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I have shared this one a number of times before…magnificent painting on a front gate…somewhere between Wilshire and Montana Street.

webx3Fascinating use of crushed cans…which become a mosaic surface of a building in someone’s artful hands, somewhere south of Wilshire, and west of 17th Street..

WEB1WEB2I saw this while driving in an area south of Olympic Boulevard, in the Pico neighborhood (as I recall), and was blown away. I had to park, get out, and document this novel use of teapots!

WEB8The use of flamingos and butterflies in this yard makes me think of Florida…someone created their own wonderland, visible to and thus shared with those walking northwards towards Montana Street…but on which block, I could not say. Part of the fun is stumbling upon these treasures, and then stumbling on them again.

20140820_102553I saw this leaf on the sidewalk, somewhere south of Wilshire, near 17th…and was struck by its gradated color. Nature’s paintbrush is a hard act to follow, but I am glad the neighbors are trying!

Thank you for the magic, and the transformation of the every day, to remind us that there is no such thing as the “every day”…every day!

Still Raving About Rivera

Still Raving About Rivera

Diego Rivera: Mexican Artist/Muralist

Born in Guanajuato, Mexico, December 8, 1886, died November 24, 1957, Mexico City

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Diego María de la Concepción Juan Nepomuceno Estanislao de la Rivera y Barrientos Acosta y Rodríguez, known as Diego Rivera was a famous Mexican painter and the husband of artist Frida Kahlo.  He is known for his murals painted in “Fresco” style executed in Mexico, as well as the United States. A mural is artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other large permanent surface, and as you can see, Rivera’s murals are huge, and very detailed, and designed to work with the architecture of the building they are part of.

 tohyf_RIVERA2Frozen Assets. 1931-32
Fresco on reinforced cement in a galvanized-steel framework, 93 ¾ x 74”
Museo Dolores Olmedo, Xochimilco, Mexico

When he very young (he begins to draw at the age of three), Diego Rivera loved to paint, so much that his father covered a room of their house in Guanajuato with paper so that the child could paint all over the walls. Diego says that it was in that room where he created his first murals.

Rivera received his formal art training in Mexico City, and in 1907, then studied in Spain, France, and Italy on scholarship.  He returned to Mexico some fourteen years later, and along with the artists José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros,  became a leader of the Mexican Mural Movement that became popular after the Mexican Revolution. His murals showed native Mexican culture and heritage, working people, and dreams for the future. Diego Rivera connected making art with history, technology, and progressive politics.

During the 1920s Diego Rivera helped to create nationalist painting style in Mexico called Social Realism”, an international art movement made up of artists who show the poor and working classes, and whose artworks often criticize their living conditions.

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“Part Of Diego Rivera’s Mural Depicting Mexico’s History”, 1929 – 1945
Also Called: “México en la historia, perspectiva: El campesino oprimido”, 1935.
Near Left Staircase. Palacio Nacional. Mexico City D.F. México. (Fresco)

His murals were painted in a Fresco (“FRESH”) style, using water and pigment, which creates color, on fresh wet plaster, so the painting becomes part of the wall.

“In his best mural paintings, he (Diego Rivera) merged past, present, and future into dense, crowded visions of an essential Mexico. He drew on Mexican history, folk art, the discoveries of archaeology and other sciences. He … made something that was not there before: a unifying, celebratory image of Mexico. In his art, he unified a people …. He said in his art: you are all Mexico.”-George & Eve DeLange

Rivera’s murals were well-known in the United States by the late 1920s and he became one of the most popular artists in the US by the early 1930s.  He was asked to create three murals in San Francisco,  was invited by General Motors to create murals at the Chicago World’s Fair; and he painted murals at Rockefeller Center and the New Workers School in New York.

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“The Making of a Fresco Showing the Building of a City”, 1931, fresco, San Francisco Art Institute.   It is a mural about murals and because it represents Rivera and his assistants creating the mural itself.

Diego Rivera with Wife Frida KahloRivera was married three times — most famously to the painter Frida Kahlo.

tohyf_RIVERA7     “Retrato de Diego Rivera” / “Portrait of Diego Rivera , by Frida Kahlo, 1937, Oil painting on wood

“An artist is above all a human being, profoundly human to the core…” –Diego Rivera

The Power of RED

The Power of RED

Whatever you want to say about it…the color RED elicits strong emotions. What are the associations and meanings  of this volatile color, and what does it symbolize to us?

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An effect of light: COLOR

From an energetic point of view, red is related to the Basis chakra (energy center), and influences the sex glands, and sexual energy.  It symbolizes life and reproduction.  Studies show that it is associated with both love and, to a lesser degree,  hatred,  as well as life, heat, fire and blood.

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Life Force

Red is arousing, stimulating,  and exciting, relating to both passion, strength, activity and warmth, as well as aggression, rage, intensity and ferocity.   One aspect, it would seem, that can be agreed upon, is that red is energizing!

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I am RED hear me roar!

 Synesthesia, the experience of a sensory “cross-over“, ” is a neurological condition in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway.“.  Thus a color may elicit associations with particular sounds, tastes, smells, or tactile sensations.  In the case of RED, is associates with loud sounds, specifically, the trumpet, as well as sweet and strong tastes and odors.  Red’s tactile association is firmness and solidity.

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Firmness, Solidity, Strength: holding it all together

What is in common here? Strength. No  half-way measures here…RED packs the proverbial “punch”.  Indeed, if we are punched, the area where we are impacted more often becomes red quickly, as the  the blow brings up our actual blood in response so healing/repair can begin immediately..  Seeing Red anyone?  Well, here’s hoping that doesn’t happen to You!

Let’s look at happy, healthy, healing and sometimes outrageous but always energizing uses of RED!

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Brilliant RED, setting off the adjacent gray, adds fire to this exterior architectural color scheme! Symmetry is avoided, but balance is achieved.

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Red does double duty here  energizing both door  and address numbers, again framed by cooling gray, which makes the red stand out that much more.

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The red door let’s us know exactly where to go to enter this charming Victorian, which also employs grays and blues and a touch of lavender as a counterbalance to the eye-catching accent door and architectural detail.

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The red side of this bar ties into other red hues in the flow-through living room, as well as the kitchen rug, and other details not pictured, such as a bright red teapot! Fresh white trim frames and accentuates it.

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Red is thought to stimulate the appetite, making it a natural choice for an eating area. In this home, the red of this dining room, and  the blue and gold of the adjoining hallway/entry and living room respectively create a potent triad of primary colors!

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Red associates with love and the heart, and thus is a natural, life affirming accent wall color choice for an organization like Dress for Success, which helps women prepare for fresh starts in their lives.

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The associations of red with grapes and wine may be obvious, especially to those for whom such spirits are their “life blood”. This red accent wall provides a vibrant frame around the vineyard scene.

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Red doesn’t always have to cover the wall to have an impact. Above, it is used as an energizing accent, and makes a statement in the context of the painting, textile, and rug. There is just enough to enliven a smallish room, and add warmth, layering and texture to the predominant hues of beige/cream, white and deep blue.

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The painting of red with turquoise blue in this narrow hallway packs the proverbial punch, and lights up our senses. The brightness and richness of both these colors holds our attention and really keeps us awake!

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Red and turquoise play nice together as strong accents on this painted chair, reminiscent of the Southwestern United States, in both imagery and hue.

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Setting each other off like black on white, the green background makes its compliment, red, pop! Loving ladybugs, anyone?

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Red is the perfect choice for a sidewalk “sandwich” sign, designed to attract attention, inform, point the way, and draw in customers!

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Flying high…the associations are here are clear!

What does RED mean to YOU?!

Article from Arden: How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

 Article from Arden: How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

Recently, i was fortunate enough to have colleague, stylist, real estate professional, and “Color  & Hue” practitioner extraordinaire,  Arden T. Reece of Color & Hue, and The Rudy Group Real Estate, pen the article  below about my work as a decorative painter, and highlighting  and helping  to define it at the same time.

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 I met Arden through our studies at the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers, (IACC), and have watched with admiration as she has created an amazing presence in the worlds of personal styling, color consultation for personal style,

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and  real estate in the Long Beach-based company of Geoff Rudy.   She is also a whimsical water-colorist, with a delightful children’s book idea up her sleeve!

Please enjoy Arden’s interview and article below, about the art and applications of Decorative Painting!

Thanks Arden!

How to Create Something Unique for Your Home with a Decorative Painter

by Arden T. Reece

debra disman, artifactory studio“We sat down recently with Santa Monica based artist, Debra Disman, who recreates rooms and objects with her arsenal of painting techniques. Her company, ArtiFactory Studio, provides custom decorative painting, faux finishing, color consultation and murals to the Residential, Commercial, Institutional and Nonprofit customer. Her work has graced the walls, ceilings and objects of many residences and spaces along the California coastal region and beyond. 

First off, thanks for agreeing to sit down with us!  Your work is amazing and you’re one of those artists that most people don’t know exist but when they find out about you, they’re thrilled! What exactly is a decorative painter?
Well, decorative painting is a bit of a “catch-all” term. In fact, the way I use it, it covers much more than “just” painting! Decorative painters use their skills and artistry to transform the ‘built environment’ – usually the architectural environment, both interior and exterior, but more often interior. We work on walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, and architectural details such as fireplaces, columns and molding, using paints, glazes, metallic leaf, and more, to create the look and feel requested by our clients. We may create full-scale murals, the look of marble, stone or wood (faux finishing), or apply gold leaf. As I say on my site, “Our passion is to translate the Client’s inner vision into concrete visual form.” I might work in conjunction with interior designers, architects, contractors, painting companies or even graphic designers to develop the textures, color palettes, treatments, mural compositions, designs and patterns that will bring a space to life and give it that extra oomph that can translate into the “wow” factor.

Wow is right — you truly are an artist in visually transforming objects and homes through color and paint!  Many homeowners love to create unique spaces in their homes but don’t quite know what to do. How do you help them in conceptualizing something?
The key is really individualized customer service and the customization of every project. Every finish, mural, design and treatment is tailor-made to the client’s need, environment, interest, and inner vision. How is this achieved? From my complimentary first meeting, through the sampling process, to the finished project, the focus is on hearing what the client (and their team, if they are working with a designer, architect, contractor, or painting company) have to say, seeing what they respond to, and continuing to listen to, respond to and communicate with them to make sure their project is progressing in the desired direction.

So…what is the step-by-step process for working with you? How can a homeowner create a great relationship with you so they get your best work?
My process for much of my work includes several steps. Once I get a referral, or a potential client has reached out to me, we discuss what they are looking for over the phone, and then set up a complimentary first meeting to review job site and potential project, and further clarify their needs, interests, vision and expectations. This gives me the information I need to determine pricing, so that I can present a quote/make a bid. I consider this meeting my first collaboration with the client, and it also functions as a consultation of sorts.

I will then, in most cases, present a written bid based on time and materials, a time-line for the job based on the client’s needs and schedule, and the availability and workload of my studio, ArtiFactory Studio. If the bid is accepted, we sign a contract, and I invoice for a deposit which is usually 50% of the total price. Now the work, and the fun, can begin! Based on meetings with the client, designer or any other “players” involved, I produce samples or mock-ups and submit/present them for approval. I will incorporate feedback and requested changes so that the client and their team’s vision develops along with mine. I will conduct further client meetings and provide consultation as needed throughout the process. Once all plans have been approved, I complete the job on-site or in my studio continuing to be open to client feedback and concerns. When the job is complete, I provide any necessary instructions for maintenance, repair options, and product for touch-up, and go over any questions the client/team may have. The last step in most cases is to invoice for balance due and leave a happy client having exceeded her expectations!

One trend that we’re loving right now in the design space is the idea of reuse and re-purpose. What are some things that you’ve done in re-purposing furniture?
I am so glad you asked about re-purposing furniture through decorative painting as it is one of my favorite things to do! Not only is it incredibly fun and creative but it also helps to minimize the waste-stream and thus supports the health of our environment, to say nothing of saving money! I have both purchased furniture from garage and yard sales and recreated them with decorative painting techniques and I’ve also taken pieces that I or a client already owned and transformed them into custom items that are specifically designed to work in a particular space. In those instances I work with the client step-by-step to realize their vision, just as I would with any other job.

Although you make it look easy to do, I know it’s not! What are some things your clients need to be aware of when it comes to re-purposing their furniture or space?
One important thing is to give the process its due.  It does take time to clarify what look and feel the client is actually going for and discover the best way to achieve that. There are so many techniques, processes, applications and treatments that can be used…the options are endless! So, the dreaming, visualizing, planning and consultation process is really important, and in most cases should be collaborative, unless the client is willing to offer carte blanche and accept the results!

Next, I would say to any prospective client, as for any project, have fun with it! This is a process designed to put your vision into concrete visual form and it should be fun, exciting, enjoyable and creative for you as the client with gratifying results. Finally, in working with an artist/decorative painter/decorative artist, understand that you are working with a professional who has trained and practiced their art form or craft (just as your architect or designer has) and that there is a charge for the service. Work out the financial details ahead of time and get it all down on paper, so that everyone involved is apprised of the costs, and agrees to them, and then you can move forward and have a great, creative/collaborative experience.

To see more of Debra’s work, visit her at www.artifactorystudio.com or contact her at 310.920.4311 for a complimentary meeting.”

GRATITUDES for this lovely piece!!!

Letter to a Young Decorative Painter: In-depth

Letter to a Young Decorative Painter: In-Depth

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In my last post, Letter to a Young Decorative Painter, I shared a list of tips and ideas, advice and recommendations that I had sent to a “young” decorative painter…IE, someone new to the field, who is just starting out, and trying to get clients and build business.

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How interesting it is to look back, and see all the things we have  done along the way to learn, develop, grow, sustain and thrive as an artist, entrepreneur, small business person, and member of the “creative class” and service industry.  A more in-depth look at my list seems in order.  Maybe it will open some doors for others, wherever they are in their career.

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  • Get a good Website, absolutely, to share and showcase your work. Absolutely essential. Anyone, anywhere needs to be able to access images of your work, your contact information, bio, and references, referrals, and testimonials.  I use my site as my online portfolio, calling card, tool of communication, and catalog! Start small, and develop your site as your business develops. WordPress sites are lauded as being user-friendly, and offering you the ability to update your own site, which can be a boon! You can choose to depict the kind of work you most wish to be hired for, and steer whoever looks at your site in that direction.

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  • Start a Blog, focusing on the kind of work you would like to do, etc. Many advise that having a blog is also essential in today’s entrepreneurial world. That may be, but only if you post on it  regularly! A blog also can be a tool of communication, a marketing tool, a place to develop ideas and attract audience, followers and colleagues as well as clients, and even create outlines and drafts for other writing projects. I have found that planning specific time each week to post helps get it done. You may want to focus your blog, or a series of posts on specific subjects, or aspects of your business.

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  • Network with Interior Designers and Architects, as well as Painters, Paint Stores, and others in the Building/Built Environment field. Networking is key, and there are many ways of doing this, in person, online, by referral, formally, and informally.  As a decorative painter, muralist and faux finisher, you may find great resources at your local paint store, design center, or design district. You may want to do some demonstrations of your paint store’s product, offer to do signage, or other small project for a designer or architect whom you admire, and would like to work with, or for a favorite charity, non-profit, or organization. Whatever you do, make sure you have plenty of business cards, and other print material handy to post, and pass out to anyone you want to connect with, or to those who may know others who could use your work.

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  • Join a networking group, such as “BNI INTERNATIONAL“, (Business Networking International). (Google it). The “BNI” model is a group that meets weekly, consisting of one person only from any profession, with the purpose of referring clients to each other.  Many skills, and challenges are inherent in the process: defining your business so that you can share about it to the group, presentation, listening and supporting others, volunteerism, and interaction, to name a few!  A tremendous learning and development experience, on both a personal, and professional level.

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  • Take an entrepreneurship or business class, or whole program, and put together a Business Plan. Entrepreneurship classes, programs and studies are becoming much more prevalent in our society, and educational systems. You can learn how to create a business plan, and put money, marketing and management mojo to work, in the company of like-minded individuals. looking at your numbers, putting your goals and objectives down on paper, presenting to a group, learning about others’ business plans can be stimulating, clarifying and sometimes startling, but always educational and growth-inducing!

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  • Have a selection of good-sized Samples, depicting your strengths, and the kind of work you most like to do, most want to do, and from which you think you will get the most business. What is the work you most want to do? Are strongest in?  is most sought after by the potential clients that are most sought after…by you? Create a set of samples, and a way to present them, so you can share with others your abilities, and what you can produce. You are in a visual business, so help potential clients imagine how you could transform their environment through your work.

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  • Create brochure, and a postcard, as well as a business card to go with your Site…they should all work together, as your business Visual Identity. Put your card and brochure in Local Paint Stores, and other appropriate venues! This is another arena where you can have fun, and put your color, design and graphics skills to use. it is not possible to do it all, and especially not well, or to professional standards, so enlist the expertise of  recommended / vetted and true graphics/web designer to work with you to develop a visual identity system that does you and your work proud. Your web and print presence are your visual calling cards, so make sure you present yourself at your best, and in the way you truly want to be seen.  Dianna Jacobsen, of  Jacobsen Design is a superb graphic and web designer who can design for clients based anywhere on the globe, and does.  Once you have your visual identity, put it out there…put it everywhere!

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  • Start an email newsletter (it can be simple) , and start building your Mailing List. Use your postcards! Keep in touch with your clients, potential clients, colleagues, associates and networking partners through digital and analogue means.  Email newsletters, blogs and social media can be a great way to stay in touch, but never underestimate the power of a beautifully designed card or stationary, and the handwritten word!

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  • Selectively, Do Some High Profile Work, at a Reduced,  or no Cost, for 1-3 Clients…to get your name out there, and showcase your skills and abilities. Have a party to celebrate it, at the job site if you can, when completed. If you are not yet known, move to a new locale, change the focus of your work/practice,  or have a great opportunity to support a cause dear to your heart, or for an entity that you want to connect with, consider doing a carefully selected and thought-out project that will gain you some visibility, recognition, and contacts, as well as give back to the community. Do not get into a long, costly, back-breaking job that will require elaborate scaffold or expensive materials. Consider something attainable, affordable, and impactful, and then use your communication systems to draw attention to it , create credibility, and potential referrals.  Ask the recipient of your efforts for a referral, testimonial or reference, and try to build your business from their. Most importantly, pick a project you will enjoy doing, and let the love show through!

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  • Get a Facebook Business Page, a  Twitter feed, and a Linked In and Pinterest  account, and keep up with them…interact and support others in related fields, and post many images. Share, support, educate, inspire and inform. Develop your online presence with care, remembering that as is stated in the wonderful film “The Social Network“, “The internet isn’t written in pencil, it is written in ink.” meaning that, assume that whatever you put on the web is there forever, for any and all to see.  So, present yourself truthfully, and as you wish to be seen…hopefully there is not too much of a disconnect between those two (!), and give to others, while spreading your own word and image.

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  • Follow “Seth Godin for rich, daily doses information and inspiration. You can research his work  through Google/Facebook. Sign up to receive his daily blog posts in your email inbox.  Pithy, rich, down to earth advice on anything and everything related to marketing, entrepreneurship, creative business, and more. Easy to read, yet resonant, such that you can reread his words many times over.  Enough said…read his generous work!

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  • Don’t get discouraged. Do something to grow your business every day, keep on  plugging, and, don’t forget to help others and give back!!I would love to hear how You are doing in the comments section! Thank you for reading, thinking, considering, and creating.  Bestest wishes!

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A Saga of Flying Cranes: Installed

A Saga of Flying Cranes: Installed

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Last summer, I had the pleasure of meeting  Kaitlin Drisko, principal of  Drisko Studio Architects, known for “Integrating the new with the old…

I was honored to be engaged to transform a custom-built TV cabinet designed for The Briggs Residence, in the Historic West Adams District. into a singular work of art, that would be the visual focal point of the downstairs of the house.  Paul Davidson of Paul Davidson incorporated served as the owner’s liaison, facilitating and supporting every step of the project, from the initial inspiration, to the design phase, through the full-scale making process, to completion and installation of the piece.

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Framed by the dentil-style crown molding above,

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and the streamlined fireplace below,

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the four articulated doors swing open from stippled side pieces anchored to the wall.

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The inside surfaces of the cabinet doors are also stippled, then  stenciled with a custom motif and variations, echoing other design elements in the room.

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The stenciled pattern creates another frame when the cabinet doors are opened,

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while the Flying Cranes add movement to the room when they are closed.

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The transformed surface becomes a focal point for the room.

This project truly has been “A Saga of Flying Cranes” and a labor of love…

Gratitudes!

Celestial Gaze

Celestial Gaze

As many turn their gaze heavenward to see the proverbial firework displays inherent in the annual Fourth of July celebration, let’s turn our gaze to the myriad of ways decorative painting  can celebrate the wonders of the heavens, celestial bodies and space…. and transform the environment we see everyday into magical spheres limited only by the imagination.

Moon, stars and planets on the “sky” of a child’s room know no limits.

And it flies too…in the realms of the imagination!

A black hole in celestial space has a function…

enjoyed by some favorite young “clients”…and budding artists.

Up close and personal…stars from the heart.

Planetary glories…

can provide an astronomical teaching moment.

Stars bend onto the ceiling,

and a sun surrounded by”mini-mes” shines down beneficently from an illuminated corner.

Even the light switch plate gets into the act, playing a starring role.

“When you wish upon a star….” is an inspiring message for a young girl.

In a bath with a star-studded ceiling, you can star gaze while you shower!

On a portable mural, view custom planes whiz through glazed skies.

Or watch a stork carry a newborn home right on your very own living room wall.

Stencils, custom designs, glazes, color, murals of all sorts, lettering, and so much more can transform your walls and furniture into celestial realms that celebrate  the mystery and majesty of the heavens, and express your inner space in ways as  limitless as the outer…and as boundless as the skies.

HAPPY (albeit belated) Fourth!

Brand New 2

Brand New 2

What is a “brand“?  I added a link to the term, because I think Wikipedia describes the concept better than I can, at least at this stage.  One of the salient words used in the definition is “identity”.  Specifically: “A brand is the identity of a specific product,  service,  or business.” My colleague  Elka Eastly Veratransformative coach and brand consultant, defines it such: “A brand is like soul DNA. It’s what people recognize you for. It’s where the “you of you” meets the world. It’s the essence of your business. “

Jim Moran, founder and manager of Co-Op, a NYC-based branding firm, says,Brand is really the DNA that defines your company. Branding is about storytelling.  it’s about bringing the DNA to life and creating perceptions.”

When Frank Mahnke, of the International Association of Colour Consultants/Designers says that color is a form of communication and information, he is talking the language of branding.  How do colors, patterns, textures, shapes, forms and images create  ‘soul DNA’, and story?

It took me awhile to realize how much like graphic design and marketing decorative painting could be.  When I worked with the talented graphic designer Dianna Jacobsen, of Jacobsen Design, on the creation of my website, business cards, brochure, and postcard, I went through an in-depth process of determining how I wanted to beam my business, my work, my self, out into the world.

It’s not just about making things beautiful, but creating an experience for people.” says Dianna, about bringing the “brand” into physical spaces.

When I found myself working with clients ranging from businesses and  organizations to  non-profits and institutions, I discovered that I was helping them do just that through visual, and often verbal elements as well.

Let’s take a look at a few of them who employed the painter’s brush as a tool for communicating their message.

921 Front Street is a historic building dating from 1859, located in the North Waterfront area of San Francisco. Originally a warehouse, it is now a commercial building providing office space. The signage in the lobby is based on the building’s logo, so there is an immediate tie-in to the brand.  The metallic copper and steely silver colors used in the lettering reflect the natural and industrial materials used in the lobby.

Maitri Compassionate Care provides exemplary, innovative, and compassionate hospice care. The Maitri Mover Campaign Donor Recognition Arch above was designed to honor the donors who participated in the capital campaign supporting its present facility. Names of donors are hand-painted onto the glazed surface of the industrial arch which supports the one-time parking garage.  Like 921 Front Street,  the lettering is done in metallic paints to draw the eye to the words, and make them stand out from the background.  Whether said background be black or white, and the words words sparse or abundant, all visual and verbal elements support the branding.

“On the Fly” is a specialty men’s store designed by  Martinkovic Milford Architects The broken stripe design suggests stitching, as well as the classic men’s pin-striped suit sold inside. The stripe patten reflects the visual branding image used in the brand’s marketing materials. The “hands on” stripe application both communicates and enhances the store’s established visual message, and is “tailor-made” for the venue!

Also communicating directly out onto the “street”, but in a whole other way, the mural above depicts an imagined “Land of Oshun”, where a host of interacting Oshun figures express the colors, symbols, and attributes of this beneficent and inspirational goddess figure. Oshun Center, a drop-in center for women and their families, is a program of the Haight Ashbury Free Clinics.   Oshun is the name of an “Orisha” or goddess in the Yoruban (an ethno-linguistic group of West Africa), Brazilian, and Cuban religious pantheons.  Oshun’s color is yellow, and her metals are gold and copper. Other symbols depicted in the mural include peacocks and mirrors, reflective of vanity and physical beauty.  Oshun represents life’s joys, and all that makes it worth living, and this is the “soul DNA”, message, story,  brand, of Oshun Center, supported in turn, by the visual language of the mural.

When we think about how everything we see, indeed everything we experience through any of our senses, transmits something, carries and provides associations, and potentially stirs our emotions, we can see just how powerful visual and verbal elements can be in telling the story of our soul, and communicating the soul of our story.

How have You communicated the essence of your own work or business, or that of another,  through the elements of color, pattern, texture and imagery?  What about words, text, or as the brand editor Abby Kerr would say, “phraseologie”?

Please share about the richness of your experience with us here.  We love to hear from You.

Remember, we  are all branding through this thing called Life, together.