A World Tour in Images Via COVID-19, the Coronavirus

Awesome images. Deadly.

Unforgetable. Diabolical.

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Known the world over, yet we’d like to forget.

We never will.

 

 

 

Strikingly bizarre. Amazing how some life form that microscopic can wreak such havoc on mankind.

CoronaVirus

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Enemy #1

Image 3-18-20 at 10.47 AM In some strange way there is beauty among these images. Strange and weird and deadly. Awesome.

 

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Let us never forget what we’re going through, will go through and have gone through.

The Horrors.

The ones we’ve lost and will lose.

Those of us who will survive.

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No matter how advanced we think we are, we’re still no match for microscopic life on this planet.

 

 

moscow

Moscow

buildingnewhospitalinWuhan

Building new hospital

market fears

Stock market woes

From Hong Kong to San Francisco and Italy to Israel and all points in between, the Coronavirus or COVID-19 has made its mark and as of this writing sees no stoppage.

Make no mistake, we will find a cure.

But what of next time?

What of next time?

 

Special Friday the 13th Edition: Rod Serling – In His Own Words.

The Man. The Mind. The Mentor.

The Dad. The Television Star.

The Host. The Creator.

Mr. Twilight Zone himself.

Night of the Meek

Christmas is more than barging up and down department store aisles and pushing people out of the way. Christmas is another thing finer than that. Richer, finer, truer, and it should come with patience and love, charity, compassion.

Somewhere between apathy and anarchy lies the thinking human being.

Violence does not spring from a vacuum. It’s born out of other men’s violence. It gets nurtured and it grows in a soil of prejudice and of hate and of bigotry.

Every writer is a frustrated actor who recites his lines in the hidden auditorium of his skull.

Serling-Judge him

A basic ‘must’ for every writer. A simple solitude– physical and mental.” ~ AS I KNEW HIM: My Dad Rod Serling

More than a man has died…More than a gallant young President has been put to death. What has been assassinated is a faith in ourselves. What has been murdered-a belief in our decency, our capacity to love, our sense of order and logic and civilized decorum.

Our greatest responsibility is not to be pencils of the past…

This is what I learned at Antioch-when something was wrong, I could get up on my own two feet and make comment on it… I think the idea of questioning is not only a right, it is a responsibility.

Serling-young

Remember that your salvation is in your capacity for human warmth–in that remarkable propensity for love.

I found that it was all right to have Martians saying things Democrats and Republicans could never say.

My dad said in a final interview, “I’d like to write something that my peers, my colleagues, my fellow writers would find a source of respect. I’d rather win a Writer’s Guild award than almost anything…

No moral, no message, no prophetic tract, just a simple statement of fact: for civilization to survive, the human race has to remain civilized. Tonight’s very small exercise in logic from the Twilight Zone.” –             The Shelter

Serling new pic

Rod left us way too soon. Not surprisingly, he is still today someone we look up to, someone we admire. From The Twilight Zone to the Night Gallery, he put his imagination on display for millions of fans.

As a writer myself, I’ve often wondered what kind of morbid, macabre mysteries would have come alive if Rod Serling and Edgar Allan Poe had lived in the same century. Deaths-Head Revisited, Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Monsters Are Due on Maple StreetAnnabel Lee, A Stop at Willoughby, The Fall of the House of Usher, Nightmare at 20,000 Feet and, of course, The Raven.

All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream. Because this, you see, is the Twilight Zone. Quoth the raven, “Nevermore!”

Meow Wolf’s Art World Raises Millions Highlighting Creative Economy’s Potential. Houston, take note! (Part 1)

Meow who? Wolf, Meow Wolf. Based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Meow Wolf is an arts and entertainment group that is attracting audiences of all ages in its immersive art world.

Meow Wolf is comprised of over 400 employees creating and supporting art across a variety of media, including architecture, sculpture, painting, photography, video production, cross-reality (AR/VR/MR), music, audio engineering, narrative writing, costuming, performance, and more!

Meow Wolf creates immersive and interactive experiences that transport audiences of all ages into fantastic realms of story and exploration. This includes art installations, video and music production, and extended reality content.

 

Their first permanent installation, the THEA Award-winning House of Eternal Return, (HOER) launched in March 2016 with support from Game of Thrones creator, George R.R. Martin. Inside, guests discover a multidimensional mystery house with secret passages, portals to magical worlds, and an expansive narrative amidst surreal, maximalist, and mesmerizing art exhibits. Located in Santa Fe, HOER features a children’s learning center, a cafe and bar, and a music venue.

ImpactAlpha called this choose-your-own adventure, art installation, “one of the most successful examples of the creative economy.”

Meow Wolf champions otherness, weirdness, challenging norms, radical inclusion, and the power of creativity to change the world. Houston, are you listening?

Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return

Legally registered as a public benefit corporation and certified as a Benefit Corporation, or B Corp, Meow Wolf values investing in their creative team, giving back to their community, and doing their part to better the environment.

Through ticket, gift shop, food and beverage sales, and events, Meow Wolf is pulling in more than $1 million a month in revenues. George R. Martin, author of the novels adapted for HBO’s Game of Thrones series, is Meow Wolf’s landlord in Santa Fe. He’s also an investor and creative advisor to the firm.

This company, according to ImpactAlpha, emphasizes the potential of the creative economy. “This does not mean impact capital is not flowing to the creative economy—it is just not doing so on purpose,” Laura Callanan of Upstart CoLab told ImpactAlpha.

Meow Wolf firmly believes that accomplished artists must be compensated on an equal level with other skilled, in-demand professionals. Successful businesses must give back to — and participate energetically in — their communities.

Wolf provides financial assistance, expertise, and other forms of active support, and is excited to support innovative, community-focused art and social projects.

Meow Wolf’s path echoes what last year, in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, Callanan wrote: “When creative people pursue businesses that have a social purpose, they can have a catalytic impact on job creation, the economy, and social well-being.”

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Meow Wolf’s jaw-dropping 10 year journey of an anarchic art collective has grown into a multi-million dollar business. According to their web site, Wolf grew from having no access to blowing a new, profitable portal into the art world.

This tumultuous journey has yielded new ways of participating in culture and entertainment for not only these artists, but for the people from all walks of life who engage in and are inspired by their work. With a mission to provide access to and inspire creativity in everyone, Meow Wolf continues to experience growing pains, while continuing to reach for new impossibles.

Does Houston have anything like this? While Houston is considerably larger than Santa Fe, the expansive geography lends itself to challenges for cultivating a strong and viable creative economy. Sure there are the museums, NASA, Space Center Houston as well as several start-ups in and around the Texas Medical Center serving as a harbinger of creativity and innovation.

Houston logo

But is that enough? One might argue that it is not.

Houston doesn’t seem to have a “meow wolf” instigator-like venue or organization to stimulate its own creative economy. Not that the city hasn’t tried. The Houston Arts Alliance, Greater Houston Partnership, Only in Houston/OiH Creatives, American Advertising Federation Houston are but a few of select organizations who have tried, and are still doing so, to pull together what it takes to stimulate the region’s creative economy.

As Meow Wolf would tell anyone or any city, this takes continuous effort and a belief that what one is doing is worth it for everyone. That remains a challenge for Houston, and one it must overcome.

 

 

This is one Whopper we pray will never find its way onto BK’s menu.

WARNING: If you’re squeamish, prepare yourself and, please, don’t throw up on your computer monitor!

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        Burger King highlights “the beauty of no artificial preservatives” in its Moldy Whopper campaign.
Burger King

In a word, BLEAHHHHH!!!

Last week, according to Adweek, Burger King unveiled a global ad campaign  highlighting its commitment to dropping all artificial preservatives. Such campaigns, while laudable, come and go somewhat often without generating much more than passing interest.

This one is truly bizarre. It tests just how far Burger King can virtually thrust its product down its customers’ throats before they gag.

The Moldy Whopper campaign, created through a partnership between three agencies, features intriguingly high-resolution photography and video of a Whopper being consumed not by humans, but rather by the horribly incredible passage of time itself. In other words, we get to see a Whopper rotting. Lovely!

Adweek reports that each ad shows a Whopper whose ingredients are being engulfed in mold, alongside a date stamp letting you know how long the burger has been exposed to the elements (too long, but typically about a month). The tagline, are you ready for this, describes the images as “the beauty of no artificial preservatives.”

Is beauty really in the eye of the beholder?

The work promotes the brand’s pledge to drop all artificial preservatives, which it has accomplished across much of Europe and 400 locations in the United States. By the end of the year, Burger King says it will have removed artificial preservatives from Whoppers in all U.S. locations. That’s nice and laudable.

I’m still feeling nauseous.

“At Burger King, we believe that real food tastes better,” (no kidding) said Fernando Machado, CMO for Burger King parent company Restaurant Brands International. “That’s why we are working hard to remove preservatives, colors and flavors from artificial sources from the food we serve in all countries around the world.”

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Burger King

I’m sorry but this just looks gross! It’s certainly not appealing at all. I get what they’re trying to convey but I wonder if BK ever considered giving out Tums, Alka Seltzer or nausea tablets with their meals.

In addressing reality, Adweek posits that the mold campaign might be challenging to common sense, but it was also a difficult one to accomplish in terms of craft and required months to achieve.

“We are very proud of crafting this idea,” said Björn Ståhl, executive creative director for Ingo, one of three agencies involved. “Mold grows in a very inconsistent way. We had to work for several months, with different samples, to be able to showcase the beauty of something which is usually considered undesirable.”

” . . . the beauty of something undesirable.” Really? Sort of sounds like a contradiction in terms. I’m still feeling nauseous.

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Burger King

So how will it go over? According to Adweek’s reporting, in the short term, the likely answer is: not great. Head-scratching advertising tends to generate quite a bit of short-term negative publicity, usually thanks to morning talk shows and late-night monologues.

And some within advertising will call the work “awards bait,” knowing that juries at Cannes Lions and other awards festivals tend to swoon over concepts that challenge every seemingly obvious but unwritten rule of advertising, such as “Don’t make your food look like it will literally kill people.”

But in the process of sparking debate and consternation, the campaign is also likely to resonate across the industry and encourage other brands to take similar moves, knowing that the ideas will be easier to sell when something so “off the wall” (that’s one way to put it) has already been sold to a major global corporation.

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Burger King

This campaign will indeed show something else:  How strong are BK’s customers’ stomachs? This is revolting no matter how “beautiful” the photography. Just because a global corporation has gone along with this hideous idea doesn’t make it one to copy. After all, how many global CEO’s have signed off on something that should never have come out of committee?

What will definitely be interesting to see will be the types of “toned down” ideas and executions coming forth that are based on the Moldy Whopper campaign.

In the meantime, BK needs to supply their restaurants with plenty of Tums and barf bags, just in case.

 

PS . . . Thanks to David Griner (@griner), creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek’s podcast, “Yeah, That’s Probably an Ad” for source material for this blog.

Handwritten OOH Boards Deal Delicate Subject Gut Punch. Kudos!!

In most circles, any discussion of mental health is still taboo. On this side of the “pond” we often pretend mental health is something other than what it really is, a disease, which can and should be treated.

In the UK, mental health is being put to the forefront by some interesting outdoor boards.   The campaign is for Samaritan, a charity who tackles mental health and its challenges.

Featured in Ad Age, the campaign by Mother London directly takes on mental health by asking actual men, not actors, to share their stories and opinions. A unique approach the campaign uses is to feature handwritten words of advice from real-life men who have previously contacted the Samaritans feeling depressed or suicidal.

Running at locations like train stations, the boards are aimed at men when they are most susceptible, when they may be considering hurting themselves or pondering suicide. The campaign also includes social media ads.

Mental Health Billboards in UK

According to AdAge’s reporting, the campaign comes as Samaritans releases results of a nationwide survey, which shows two in five (41%) men in England, Scotland and Wales aged 20-59 do not seek support when they need it because they prefer to solve their own problems.

Paul McDonald, executive director of external affairs at Samaritans, says: “We didn’t want to create just another awareness campaign. So we asked men to share their stories with us. Men who have been through tough times and come through the other side.

“They wrote some words down, and we’ve got those words on the posters to inspire and encourage other men going through difficult times to seek help, and to contact Samaritans if they’re ready to talk.”

Being in the U.S., I can’t help but wonder what kind of effect this sort of campaign would have on men here in the states. My guess is that results would echo the UK’s results if not prove more so. Most men like to solve our own problems or not even admit we have one.

Kudos to the Brits for trying to face this problem head on. Again, creativity in this case is best showcased rather simply but directly.

More OOH Mental Board

So what, dear readers, do you think of this campaign? Think it will work. Think it will do what it’s designed to do?

Let me know your thoughts. I’d love to hear your comments!

Extraordinary Creativity. Dynamic Images, strikingly different. 100 Years Apart.

What do you get when you pair an egotistical, genius architect from the early 20th Century with a young Canadian-born illustrator producing incredibly creative work?

Oh, and throw in 100 years difference between the two.

What do they have in common? Extraordinary talent.                                 Extraordinary images.

One was a visionary; the other expresses her visions colorfully. He showed bold and dramatic executions; so does she. He was extremely creative and imaginative. Her: Ditto. That’s what this blog is all about: Various and different perspectives on creativity.

In reading articles recently on re-imaging, I was reunited with the subject of a paper I’d written years ago. This article took a different perspective. About the same time, I was introduced to a new subject of creativity in an article on illustration.

The subjects: Very different and very dynamic.

The subject I wrote about years ago was the infamous and egotistical architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. I was intrigued by his designs and his persona. His works were that of genius. My aunt, being an interior designer, was quite familiar with Mr. Wright, especially after seeing him in Chicago during the fifties. This heightened my interest and pushed me to write the paper.

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Courtesy PPG Paint Color Collection: Frank Lloyd Wright™

Since this blog centers around creativity and innovation, let alone imagination, I thought it appropriate to publish some of Wrights work with an intriguing take on some of his designs that were never built. They’ve been reimagined here in the 21st Century. Keep in mind, dear audience, that Wright flourished during the early 20th Century. He died in 1959. His last project, in Phoenix, was recently put on the market for $2.7M.

Spanish architect, David Romero, has created photorealistic computer renderings of unbuilt or demolished Wright buildings. Admittedly, as I was first reading about his process and looking at the photos, the settings seemed surreal.

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Wright’s Roy Wetmore Car Repair and Showroom was to have been built in Detroit, Michigan. Credit: David Romero

Romero also painstakingly researched the context and location of the building, including adding era-appropriate cars, traces of rain and dirt on the building, and other details in order to bring the project to life. As a result, at times it can be hard to tell these are illustrations rather than stylized photographs.

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Intended to stand atop Sugarloaf Mountain in Maryland’s Blue Ridge Mountains, the plan for the Gordon Strong Automobile Objective commissioned in 1924 called for a planetarium and restaurant to accompany a scenic overlook. Its developer, wealthy Chicago businessman Gordon Strong, envisioned it as a destination where families would drive for the day from Baltimore and Washington, D.C. Credit: David Romero

Take a trip back to yesteryear and see for yourself various Wright projects either demolished or even never built.

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Larkin-Administration-Building-inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Larkin Administration Building (left) and inside the building (right) made design statements all throughout. However, the building does not exist any longer. Wright’s Larkin Building in Buffalo, New York—his first office building—was built in 1903 and demolished in 1950.

According to Romero, after gobs of research and learning, they had to be works that did not exist, either because they disappeared or because they never came to be built. The reason is simple: 3D rendering tools serve precisely for this, to show what does not exist.

Describing his process of recreation, Romero explains: “I start the model in Autocad, then I export it to 3ds Max + Vray where I add textures, lights and cameras, as well as vegetation and the environment. Finally there is some retouching in Adobe Photoshop, although very light.”

Creativity of today depicting creativity of a bygone era. Fascinating!

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From the early 20th Century to present day we go. I find that creativity is not age based. What’s creative and imaginative is creative and imaginative, regardless of when created.

Take the young Canadian illustrator, Lynn Scurfield. She has positioned her career path thusly: “I wanted to be an animator until I saw artist Alphonse Mucha’s work in high school. I knew that I had to do what he did! Drawing insanely beautiful images and then having them used in different commercial ways was mind blowing.”

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I was taken with this illustration of a smoke monster-type creature (any Lost fans out there?) apparently poised to eat a woman who is just leaving this house, oblivious to her impending danger.

Scurfield Illust

“Hello! I’m an illustrator living in a sleepy town just outside of Toronto, Ontario. My work is defined by crazy colours and textures with strong emotional qualities.”  For Marzena Czarnecka’s article ‘Unsafe at Home, Lost in the System,’ for city lifestyle magazine Avenue Calgary.

She describes her approach as . . . “My art style, which utilizes a mix of media, really confuses people because they never know how much of my work is done traditionally versus digitally. People are also intrigued by how emotional my work can feel. I’m usually hired to create images about emotionally difficult topics, like death, mental health and separation. The fact that I’m being hired to make illustrations that emotionally connect with a general audience is special and amazing.”

. . . and her philosophy as . . . “Don’t overthink your work. When I was in school, I was always worried if my work was good enough, if it was cool enough, if I was a two-bit artist. Since I’ve started working in the industry, I’ve realized that thoughts like these aren’t healthy, and they don’t make you a better artist. I like my work more now that I care less about what people think. As long as my clients are happy with the final results, I’m happy!”

Walrus-Lynn

“For Erin MacNair’s short story ‘Thin Crust,’ for general interest magazine The Walrus.”

Interestingly, both Wright and Scurfield, though a century apart, expressed their work in striking and dramatic ways while emitting strong, emotional qualities. Imagination is at the heart of creativity and the images exhibited by these two talents stirs that imagination.

Born of different generations, one has left his indelible mark in the world of architecture while the other continues to illustrate hers. Take heed; the rest of us can learn something. Creativity and imagination are not constrained by time and space, and to a lesser degree, neither are we. Think about it!