Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday in the Park with Wes

FREE TOUR Sunday 2:00 - June 7, 2015 at Laumeier Sculpture Park 



The tour is scheduled to begin at 2:00 sharp. I am typically early and was on this day. However, I did not fully manage my time well as I was anxious to see Heritage Schooler re-installed, the Donald Judd and the seasonal return of the Tree Tent. It’s 2:02 and I was engaged in a conversation with a local couple at Marie Watt’s Earthmover. In the midst of explaining the connection to the Mound City exhibit we are joined by a woman who came for the tour. She found me but a couple and another lady bailed at 2:02 – that tells me something about the expectation of the FREE tour. Maybe they think “you get what you pay for…” or maybe they just don’t feel like waiting in the hot sun on a day when the weather is 93 degrees.  I feel like that timing mishap is unfortunate.

Part of my delay however is due to engagements around the park between 1:00 and 2:02. A lovely young couple with a sweet little girl wearing a St. Louis Zoo floppy hat on dad’s shoulders. “You are so cute. Can I take your picture?” Dad says “I prefer not.” Okay, no worries. It turns out this new family is new to St. Louis and have already found the Zoo and the Sculpture Park. “Thanks for coming. We’re glad you are here. We hope you will come back again and again.”

The woman who came for a tour certainly got one. Compelled to show her something she would not have seen on a self-guided tour – I took her on the trail to see the Triangular Bridge, Reading Room, Pool Complex and Cromlech Glen. She is definitely bringing her granddaughter with her next time. She loved Linked Forms (especially since I paused with her at Tower Hybrid earlier).

A guy with an iPhone camera is near the children’s garden and asks me for a little more information on the layout. He is originally from Texas and currently living in North Carolina but is likely to be in town on business for more than a week. “I have a couple of little girls who love art. I like to take pictures to give them ideas,” he says. He loved the piece he called the “inchworm” (Lipski’s Ball? Ball! Wall? Wall!).   

Finally I returned to the shady area where another couple found a place to sit adjacent to DeSuvero’s Bornibus. They lived in St. Louis 20 years ago and admit to being on a “junk food” tour. (Imo’s Pizza, Ted Drewes, Toasted Ravioli etc). They are interested in the tour but look so comfortable that I offer them an overview that will not require them to move an inch. They are grateful. From that spot I was able to talk about the estate house, the new Fine Arts building, Bornibus, the EYE, the Tree Tent, Dark Garden, Intricate Wall. “Does the park still host concerts?” Well I have to be truthful “Well yes and no. Generally the music is here in conjunction with Art Fair, Food Truck events and other times when the music is FREE while you spend money on food.” This couple is currently living in the Boston area.

A lovely day with plenty of activity. The FREE tour needs a bit more anticipation so a group can gather. I love the one-on-one time, couples and small groups. Two hours is never enough time for me to tell people what to see. I always encourage them to return. I hope they do.







     


Saturday, May 9, 2015

A Walk in the Park with Amanda

Amanda Aschinger is a friend of mine. She is a smart business woman. I met her when she was a producer of a local television show called All About Business. I remember learning that she has a newborn baby (her second child), husband and a career to manage. I was impressed by her ability to effortlessly juggle all of that activity.  Over coffee at the Starbuck’s at Price Crossing in Olivette Amanda explained the business model for the show.  The format offered quality broadcast production elements for featured companies to use for their marketing purposes once the program aired. A win-win argument that admittedly blurs the lines between paid advertising and earned media but an opportunity for small businesses and non-profits to cost effectively have a media presence with the bonus of video they might use for their respective websites and promotion.

That newborn is more than two years old now. Amanda is now leveraging her producer/writer credentials at Solstice Productions which she and her husband originally started in 1997. Amanda is skilled at business development and will continue to succeed in my estimation. She is a go getter in the best sense of the term.

We met at the Laumeier Sculpture Park recently one afternoon to catch up. I congratulated her on a luncheon presentation she recently offered to the American Marketing Association that was generally well-received. I encouraged her to stay close to AMA. She agreed to do so. As we headed to the parking lot, since the conversation naturally lead to story -telling I told her about my book (Failure Coach, a novel by Wes Morgan) being available on amazon.com. She smiled and admitted that she had a book in  early stages of development and that she would be buying my book.

“Great I would love to know what you think. And I hope you will let me know how your book progresses. And if/you feel ready to pursue publishing it I can share my experience but also refer you to some others who can help you navigate the process.”

“Well, first I have to write it.”

“True but consider this…Have you been to Key West?”

“Yes”

“Well you know Ernest Hemmingway was a young man when he lived there and if you visit his house – now a museum. ..Well, what I remember most from my visit there was that Hemmingway would get up each morning. Go to his small office/studio and write 600 words a day. After that he would go fishing. Later, maybe Ernest would visit local.”

“Sounds like a pretty nice way to approach a book.”

“I know you are a busy person, but I think that's the key. Make time for writing and keep writing.”



In the meantime, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment in recommending Amanda as a resource for your next corporate video production. For more information - amanda@solsticeproductionsvideo.com    

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Morgan Studio - back in the day

Morgan Studio by Wes Morgan

Morgans probably remember some of this stuff that made up Morgan Studio back in the day. (I am cc'ing Lindsey, Ben and my pal Dave Cox in case they are interested in list of the retro art studio (state of the art in it's time). I remember all about the Morgan Studio format. The “right handed” set up with the T-Squares and Northern Light exposure. God forbid someone try to work at Morgan Studio and be left handed. At its peak, Morgan Studio was a well-oiled machine.

Here are some of the things I remember:

Razor Blades – as many as you need. The rule was to throw them away often so you always had a good edge. X-Acto blades were for other designers – not Morgan Studio designers because the extra time and cost of X-Acto products lead to less efficiency.

Morgan Studio Pencils – as many as you need or want. Soft enough lead to make a nice bold line. (Not quite a #2 pencil.)

If you can’t finish up a job. You have to put it back on the production table. (This way if the artist calls in sick the next day, someone else can pick up where he/she left off. A truly industrial manufacturing approach. Henry Ford would have loved it.)

Don’t even think of reading the newspaper at your drawing table. Even if you come in early – the culture at Morgan Studio frowns on that sort of thing. Read your paper at home. (Radios are highly discouraged too.)

If you think you are fooling anyone with that portfolio case at lunchtime – you are wrong. Morgan Studio will start planning for your replacement the first time you are spotted carrying one at lunch time. It’s just obvious you are looking for another job.

Technology – Morgan Studio was innovative for it’s time. The Typographic Machine and the Stat Camera and the Color Key equipment. All those photo chemicals and all those fancy screens (for Mezzotints and effects). Why spend a bunch of money at Boehme & Blinkman when you can mock up a pretty sharp looking package design or annual report with all these great tools.

Tab Type – How about that summer I spent dusting off the tab type. Interesting concept – but not much flexibility with spacing. Again – it beats spending too much money at Arnie Boehme’s place. (He sure has a pretty nice tan for February most years.)

Press Type –  Why does it seam like you always run out of S’s on those sheets. You can’t even fake an S with press type.

Airbrush – only a few highly skilled artists can handle this equipment. Chances are you’ll have to send it out.

Job Tracking – those time sheets at every work station. Seems reasonable enough. But I’m sure glad that I don’t have to account for every billable half hour in a day. I’d have too many of those 9000 “in house” projects on my time sheet. Then again – someone’s gotta do those Claig Playhouse programs, Lake Erie Tap Water Labels and stats of the World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel (for the flats).

Jack Leg Carpentry – as long as you keep white paper board on top of all the surfaces you can have clean areas to work on things (Flap and Tissue, Trimming Keyline boards, building flaired envelopes for deliveries “West” etc.)

Sell what you got – As long as Dick Mahoney is on board we can propose an annual report with a lot of loose illustrations of business people in meetings, shaking hands and doing business (Acrylic and ink mostly). But if you have a guy that’s a little bit stronger with type design – recommend against the illustration approach.

Sign Painting – Ernie could sure do a nice hand painted sign. Not too much call for it – but as long as Morgan Studio has that dimension let’s leverage that skill for the Cleveland Federal Savings Holiday Window Display.

Guarding the fort – What a great set up that office had for the Mr. Morgan. You only have two ways to gain access. As you have said the flow was East (only a couple dared head West – Jane “Can Do No Wrong” Geiger and Mary). The only other way in was by having the audacity to sneak around Mary’s desk. Kinda like the “Wizard of Oz” (pay no attention to the man behind the curtain…)

Limitless supply of Communication Arts Magazine, Graphis, Print and other annuals. When in doubt, steal an idea from the great ones (Seymour Chwast, Milton Glaser, Paul Rand or who-ever).

Type Books Galore – If you wonder what Bodoni Bold looks like in 12 point type with 6 point leading…just pull out one of those books. Safest thing to do is keep most body copy in the Times Roman family and Headlines in Univers or Helvetica family. Ya can’t miss. But sometimes you can have a little fun with the miscellaneous decorative faces with names like Smoke or Olive Antique. If you’re really bored see if you can name the typeface without looking: Garamond, Caslon, Univers, Helvetica, Times, Futura, Bookman, Gothic. And what could be more fun than imaging words using the alternative letters with an extra swoosh or flourish. 

Awards – Morgan Studio was never obsessed with winning awards. I’ve worked at several advertising agencies that spend thousands of dollars each year entering design and advertising awards competitions. Still Morgan Studio had a respectable wall of awards from various sources – none of them for awards shows requiring entry fees.

Points, Picas, and Pocket Pal. Rulers and gadgets that showed you about how much space you needed to leave in a layout if you were considering say a standard Times Roman face in maybe 12 point type.

Rubylith, Amberlith – Morgan Sudio had drawers of stuff like this. It usually came in sheets and was stored in big old flat file drawers with Acetate and kept near the drawer with the register marks that were printed on rolls of what otherwise looked like scotch tape. All these films had a very specific purpose – to produce Keylines. Keylines that told printers exactly what they had to do.

Cold Press and Hot Press board. Railroad board. Poster Board. Tag Board. Vellum. Tissue paper. Shoot – even wrapping paper if you needed it. And if you needed it and it wasn’t there – It could be delivered in no time by a messenger from the Art Supply store.

Bonfoeys – Need something framed. Just drop it off and it will be ready in a few days. Rex Art in Miami was no match for this place.

Flap and Tissue. This is Morgan Studio 101. You simply must learn how to catch  the edge of the flap and the tissue and coordinate it with a well-placed double-sided tape. Do it wrong? Do it over.

Krylon spray paint in just about any color. Take the dowl pins you bought from Kohler Brothers across the street. Saw them into Lip Smacker-sized cylinders and spray them to suit every flavor. But do it across the hall. And open the window. And when they are dry, wrap the color keys around those cylinders with careful precision and just a twizer square of double sided scotch tape and presto:  “You’ll have 6-12 design options for Rootin’Tooty Fruity Lip Smacker in time to ‘head west’ by 5:15pm.” Jim Grace won’t believe how fast Morgan Studio rose to the challenge – Again!

RC Photo Prints – Bonne Bell wants 200 prints by tomorrow. Greg is printing them as fast as he can (and this RC paper dries pretty fast) but he might not have it done by 5:15.

 ...and one more thing....we work 9 to 5 around here. Be on time. Work a full day.

Wesley A. Morgan
Morgan Studio/East

cell 314 402-1202

Friday, April 24, 2015

Writers' Showcase

Authors Donius, Morgan, Wors and Reimer at the cupping room at Kaldi's in Chesterfield, MO (Photograph by Janet Jennewein.) 


Chesterfield (MO) at the cupping room of Kaldi’s coffee the ExecLink St. Louis professional association planned an exclusive event featuring authors and those interested in learning more about becoming a published author.  Chris Riemer has recently published his business parable Happywork; William Donius is moving forward with a follow up to his 2012 book Thought Revolution How to Unlock Your Inner Genius; Wes Morgan wanted to share some highlights of his new book Failure Coach; Victoria (Vicky) Wors is excited about launching her personal and cathartic work I Can’t Believe That Was Me… Oh yes I can, and it still is under a pen name Lauren Taylor.

The intimate gathering was ideal for a candid conversation about a wide range of topics related to publishing but, as it unfolded, it was more revealing as it provided some insight into what drives people to write. “I never saw myself as a writer” says Donius, “but as I started to practice some pretty unorthodox techniques for thinking through problems in a business setting. I was determined to test it with others.” The result was a validation of sorts, a new publisher and an expanded edition of his thesis. Donius challenges his readers to consider the power of the non-dominant side of their brains.

Chris Reimer admits that his high ranking as an influencer in social media added to his ability to get published. Earlier in his life he was a CPA and wanted to make a pretty radical career change. “My wife supported my decision to move in this new direction and she was behind me even though it meant a decrease in salary to support our family.” Chris admits the book is a vehicle for a discussion about toxic workplaces that seem all too common. His book is a vehicle for wider discussions about behaviors in the workplace. Chris is an active speaker too.

Morgan humbly admits “My book exists because I felt compelled to write it. It started as a series of blogs. It is a work of fiction and it is in some ways similar to Chris Riemer’s book. In fact my lead character meets Bill Donius on  an airplane from Cleveland.”

Bill Donius says, “I’ve never been to Cleveland.” Morgan is amused and offers, “Well you have now in my book anyway. Thanks for making that cameo.”

Victoria Wors says her book is about choices. She uses a pen name but her book is intensely personal cathartic and autobiographical. She credits Ken Walk for editing her book. Vicky’s lead character (Lauren) has a life story begins in the birthplace of Janis Joplin - Port Arthur, TX. “Thank you for introducing Lauren to the world” writes Vicky in an autographed copy of her book about choices and roads not taken.

Maybe  these authors are saying that the books they write are only a part of the road they have chosen. Keep reading. There are always surprises in the text. 

Note: Failure Coach -- a novel by Wes Morgan is now available on Amazon.com 


Monday, April 20, 2015

The Remarkable Lindsey

Larger than life is she, that angel of mine. Lindsey came to us in that window of time market researchers call a generation of Millenials. Indeed she embraced the notion that the world revolved around her - but with good humor. Yet, no one is more giving of herself as hundreds of youth groupers would attest. She is determined (some might say stubborn). She is precise (some might interpreted as persnickety). She is confident (which some mistake for arrogance). She is remarkable – no one can deny.  

If you have a project and a worthy cause. She is all in. Be ready with the wherewithal to blow up balloons, cut paper, paste or paint until it seems the world is covered with a powerful intent to solve its problem. And only then will she move on. Obsessed, driven and alive with passion. This girl is on fire. I want to be on her team. Not so much because she is sure to be a winner as much as the fun we’ll have in the effort to do our very best in spite of the odds.

She has a mission.Failure is not an option. Play through the pain and surprise surprise… you realize a gain.

The day she got married was full of joy. Naturally, as the bride, she was in the center of it all. I have always said the world is a better place with her in it. On that day it seemed proof positive. A world spinning around my shaineh maidel, that pretty girl in charge, was fantastic and a better world, if only for a time. G-d is in the details. The union of her brother Ben to Allison was dubbed the Best Day Ever. It was wonderful too I will admit. A new day that includes the bright lights of Lindsey and Allison is upon us. The future looks bright indeed.   

Sweet Linzer Torte.

There is a castle on a cloud. 

Happy Birthday Lindsey 4-22-2015 

(Photo by Gregory L Morgan)

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Max and Mary Marry 6-19-15


Another wedding day comes to pass;
Not the first. Not the last.
The union between Mary and Max;
You’ve got to like the odds -- based on the facts.
A marriage of equals in the mix.
All is well. There is nothing to fix.
The firm of His & Her, two lawyers no longer have to wait;
Partners together -- mate to mate.
Remember -- love the world and respect each other’s space
Love, honor, and obey – face to face.
No challenges to litigate;
No circumstances to mitigate.
Sun in the sky; sand in your shoes.
This is the happiest of news.
We have the highest hopes for all of your dreams;
From this day forth and for evermore;
Life as it is on the Cape and at the Jersey Shore.
Be a beacon of hope for all of us here;
Be an inspiration for people everywhere.
Recall those who have long since gone.
They are always with us – We’re never alone.
Whatever you choose, Whatever you do.
We want to see the very best in the two of you
Keep it simple and keep it sweet
Be one in victory and in defeat.
You are blessed. You found each other.
Celebrate each day. Commit to one another.
For you are the leaders of this new day and another place in time.
Your example sets the line
Honor the future, respect the past.
Hoist the flag up a great ship’s mast.
Be determined, fast and free
Take the time, seize the day and let it be.
Manage adversity
Live in harmony
Laugh whenever you can
Mary, the woman. Max, the man.
With glasses, a mustache, and a Groucho nose;
Your chances are better than most, I suppose.

Love and Best Wishes from Uncle Eyeball on your wedding day 6/19/2015.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

HAPPYWORK

Chris Reimer is a communications strategist who started his business life thinking he might like to be an accountant (CPA). Chris is a pragmatist with a sensitive side. His book, HAPPYWORK, is a business parable launched earlier this year (2015).

Reimer’s book is written in the spirit of The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann (2008). Burg and Mann use their parable to suggest that shifting our business focus from getting to giving might be a better path to success. Like Burg and Mann, Reimer shows us how much better things can be if we can agree to behave differently.  

I met Chris about the same time I met John Morgan, the author of Brand Against the Machine. Morgan, in his book, wanted his readers to know that the model of marketing by bombarding a mass audience is flawed. At a conference in St. Louis hosted by the American Marketing Association – St. Louis Chapter, John reminded us that too often “messages are unwelcome and unwanted.”

Chris is familiar with and credits Seth Godin who says in his book. Purple Cow, (2009) you are either remarkable or invisible in business. Chris Reimer also credits Chris Brogan, who co-authored with Julien Smith Trust Agents (2010). Brogan is huge in new media. On the speaker circuit he often encourages people to face their fears and counter the status quo.

So, in this crowd of non-conformists you will find Reimer. His parable is very readable and thought provoking. His story introduces us to a turn-around specialist who is desperately trying to understand Vunorri Inc. and get the bank off their case. In the process we listen in and witness despicable behavior in and around his protagonist, Sam Maslow. (I’m thinking it is an inside joke to call him Maslow. That is, if you are at all familiar with the management science theories of what motivates people -- A Maslow’s hierarchy of needs which dates back to published research in 1943 and widely read book in 1954).


Read the book and you might want to compose a HAPPYWORK agreement for your company. You will laugh as you meet people behaving badly. At the same time you might come to the realization that the world can be a better place. Little things are big things. Make the coffee in the morning. Say thank you. Smile. Have a nice day.