Thursday, December 30, 2010

Jake 1999-2010

Our dog Jake was euthanized yesterday. He was a loving companion who will be sorely missed.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Leaf Alphabet

I decided to go ahead and complete the alphabet I had started while doing the Thanksgiving gifts. Glad it's done.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thanksgiving Leaves

I'm working on a set of prints which I intend to give to clients as a Thanksgiving gift this year instead of a Christmas gift. Hey, why not. The Christmas Holiday is always frantic for everyone, Thanksgiving seems a better time to offer a gift—a "Thank You". Anyway, the prints are done, but I started working on the exterior label that will carry the overall greeting. I had this idea to construct the letterforms out of leaves and other natural objects that I could collect around our property. So, on a cold and rainy Saturday last weekend, I gathered a shopping bag full of natural stuff and assembled the letterforms in my photo studio. Much harder than I had imagined. Then began the painstaking process of creating a clipping path around each very complex letterform in Photoshop. This is the LAST time I will ever do this. I had toyed with the idea of a full font, but not any longer. Glad to have the letterforms done. I'll look forward to completing this tedious project.

The prints are shown below. Both are Daylilies from our garden shot this past Summer. The prints themselves will be 11 x 14 inch archival prints on 100% cotton paper.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Are you a vegetarian?

With a face like this it's hard not to be a vegetarian? This lovely creature is one of the Brady Family's sheep here in Scenery Hill. Photographed a few days ago.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Believe Video for PPS

I had the pleasure of acting as art director and designer on a video for the Pittsburgh Public Schools this past month. The video can be seen here. The script for the video was written by Lindy Kravec and formed the conceptual backbone. Videography is by Production Masters Inc. (PMI) as is sound, music, and editing. Still photography is by Terry Clark.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Year of Increased Self-Sufficiency.

This year, more than ever before, we took advantage of our natural resources here in Scenery Hill. We harvested blackberries and raspberries in the spring, apples in the summer and gathered dead or downed wood to use as firewood. Our little garden yielded a healthy crop of tomatoes--six varieties--as well as potatoes, peppers, and corn. Our deck container garden gave us even more tomatoes and a season-long supply of basil, mint, tarragon, parsley, and chives.

Last weekend I spent part of a day splitting some of the wood I had harvested, and accumulated a good supply of apple, cherry, and elm wood. Hard work but tremendously rewarding.

Copyright Nazism

Hey, let me start this by saying that I am a big proponent of artist's rights when it comes to copyright law. I lecture my clients all the time about the intricate details of who owns what, and that just because they hired an artist for a job (photography, illustration or design) does not grant them the inherent copyright attached to the work of art.

But yesterday I encountered what I believe to be the most extreme example of copyright enforcement that I've ever encountered—a form of copyright nazism. Margaret & I went to visit Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece in the Laurel Highlands east of Pittsburgh.

We were given a brochure after paying to tour the grounds that reads: "...All photographs, paintings, and sketches generated during your visit are for personal use only and cannot be sold, published or posted on a website without permission of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy..." OK, so this is an architectural masterpiece done by Wright, and any art created from it would be derivative—maybe I can buy that, but it's a real stretch.

But the really galling part is that they have works of art for sale in a special gallery with art done by members of the Associated Artist's of Pittsburgh. So, obviously these folks have been granted papal dispensation to produce art and profit from it. Selective absolution. Geez, this kind of thinking would have played well in the Germany in the 30's. Oh, that's right, it did.

So, yes, I am pissed. I think artists have the right to intrepret the world through their art: including the world that may or may not include architectural masterpieces. Should we prohibit Andy Warhol's use of iconic soup cans? Any and all artist images of the Chrysler Building? The Flatiron Building? The Hancock Building? Transamerica Building? Charles Demuth's many architecturally inspired works?

This is copyright radicalism taken to the extreme. And yes I do believe it is a form of nazism. Photos above are for sale by the way, all profits will be turned over to the Conservancy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

No Clue.

Approximately 100 miles from the nearest body of navigable water, on a small country road, in a community of less than 1500 people, many of whom are farmers, ranchers, and coal miners, a lonely boat has been sitting "For Sale" for over 18 months. It's not a particularly attractive boat: it's old, wooden, outdated, and in poor repair. The sign advertising it's sale constantly blows over. And I've never seen a single person stop to look at it. Then again, there is no phone number nor information about the boat either. It's sits on a piece of property where any one of three possible houses could be the owner who is selling the boat.

So, what's at work here? Is the seller so truly attached emotionally to the boat that he just can't quite part with it, even though his wife, or accountant, keeps urging him to sell? Has the long drive to water finally caught up with him?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Artifact Narrative

A slideshow with images that I've been working on as part of a collection called Artifact Narrative.

We surround ourselves with artifacts, sometimes the meaning and value of these things is unclear—but there is often an unspoken narrative that plays in our head regarding the importance of the things we save. This photographic study looks at a few of my personal artifacts—each has great personal meaning.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Rick Landesberg: Design & Generosity

Pictured above is my friend & colleague, Rick Landesberg and photos of a wonderful little book that he produced called "Design & Generosity". The book was done as a remembrance of a talk that Rick gave at TEDx Leadership Pittsburgh in November of last year. The book itself is something to be cherished—a letterpress printed cover on stout recycled stock, beautiful typography and design, and hand stitched by Debra Williams, a fine artist and Office Manager at Landesberg Design in Pittsburgh.

But more than the book itself, are the ideas which Rick has captured. In Rick's 3 minute talk, (See it here on YouTube)  he is able to summarize the importance and value of a fully developed aesthetic sense in work that might be done by graphic and industrial designers. He points out that even modest objects with the most utilitarian of functions can be designed so that they are imbued with beauty as well as utility. This, as Rick defines it, is the gift that is given by the designer. He goes on to define this idea as generosity and encourages all of us who create things to invest this spirit into those things that we design. "...investing our work with a bountifulness and kindness that makes the work truly generous."

 Thank you Rick! Truly inspirational.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring is coming...

I was walking in the woods looking for photographs when I came across this tiny feather, less than 3 inches in length, cresting on top of the frozen snow. A sure sign that the birds are returning, the sun is shining, and maybe, just maybe, we'll survive this god-awful winter we've had. I did add this to my collection of feathers.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

David Rohm's Brilliant Self-Promotional Mailers

I received these self promotional mailers the other day from a designer named David Rohm. 

Now we all know how welcoming we are to unsolicited e-mails—but these just grabbed me because of their simplicity and unique positioning. This guy, whom I don't know, but look forward to meeting, has written and designed what I think are some of the best self-promotional mailers that I've ever seen.

Simple, bold grab you by the eyeballs typography, and messaging that can't be beat. In the first ad at the top (I realize it's hard to read the small type) but David is offering a 30 day, no cost free trial of his creative services. 

In the second he's saying: "Graphic Design is all about me"--cut on dotted line, rotate 180 degrees. This is funny & inventive stuff here. He's captured the stereotypical weakness that designers are known for, and used it as another grabber with the "rotate 180 degrees to form "We".

The third is another take on the free for 30 days offer using the current financial mess as a platform for the idea. 

So, if anyone reading this knows of anyone looking for a brilliant designer (and writer) call: David Rohm (412) 200-2724;

Friday, February 19, 2010

Can A Local Boy Make Good?

Way back in 1967 I was a Freshman at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and like many students, needed money. So, I screen printed this series of mailers which I sent to about 60 Advertising Agencies and Art Studios in Pittsburgh. The response was actually pretty good since I got ongoing work from two of the Ad agencies. One of those was Marc Advertising, now the largest Agency in Pittsburgh, but at the time they were a small fry agency. I worked on design concepts for brochures and ads for the "Larger Lodger"-- a back yard storage shed. Dreadful work, but it paid the bills as they say. It also convinced me that I never wanted to work in an Advertising Agency. And over 40 years later, I have no regrets for that decision.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Artifact Narrative

First in a series of new images: "Artifact Narrative".

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Images from a series entitled "FROZEN". Started this last year and it continues. Some are hand made, some found.