Brinkmann Constructors Safety Video – Part Three – The Final Product

Worker safety throughout a job site is paramount at Brinkmann Constructors. This new safety video delivers that message in a compelling way.

Worker safety throughout a job site is paramount at Brinkmann Constructors. This new safety video delivers that message in a compelling way.

Safety is the responsibility of every worker on every job site at Brinkmann Constructors.

These days, workers are getting that message loud and clear thanks to a new safety video that’s shown at the beginning of every safety orientation meeting when a new building project gets underway.

The video, titled, “I Could Have Saved A Life That Day” is the result of a true partnership between Brinkmann Constructors and the production team they hired to create the video that consisted of Pickett Productions, (which is now known as CG Studios) Mike Martin Media and BloodLInes Creative.

There were two, full, on-location shoot days, two green screen shoots at Mike Martin Media and another shoot held at a funeral parlor in south St. Louis. The plan was for Mike Martin Media to go through the more than three hours of footage and assemble the rough cut.

From there, Carl Braun, who is the Creative Director at CG Studios, began working his computer graphics and editing magic, doing a lot of color correcting, and adding graphics throughout the video to enhance or emphasize key points.

Graphics depicting Hazardous Materials grab attention and help tell one aspect of the safety story.

Graphics depicting Hazardous Materials grab attention and help tell one aspect of the safety story.

The proper angle to set a ladder is re-enforced via these graphics.

The proper angle to set a ladder is re-enforced via these graphics.

Carl and I have been working together on projects for more than 15 years. So there was a real comfort level as we worked as one to try and plus the rough cut that Mike Martin Media had sent us.

The graphics Carl used throughout gave a contemporary feel to the overall video and were also in line with Brinkmann Constructors’ new brand guidelines, which were recently developed by TOKY.

Brian Satterthwaite, President of Brinkmann Constructors delivers the closing message of the video with graphics representing the new corporate branding.

Brian Satterthwaite, President of Brinkmann Constructors delivers the closing message of the video with graphics representing the new corporate branding.

We also worked hard to enhance the most dramatic part of the video – the plunge of a worker who wasn’t tied off, resulting in a fall off the second floor of a building under construction. The end result was quite convincing.

Not being tied off when you're working above ground can have fatal consequences.

Not being tied off when you’re working above ground can have fatal consequences. This was one of several quick cuts used to help make that point.

According to Tim Myatt, Safety Coordinator at Brinkmann Constructors, the entire video does exactly what we all wanted it to do – it tells a very convincing story of the need for safety at every job site.

“When we first showed the video at an internal presentation, I looked around the audience to see what the engagement level was,” said Myatt. “The whole audience was dialed in.”

“Now, every time we do a safety orientation, I know we’re going to grab attention and deliver our safety story in a way that will be seen, noted and acted upon. Workers are getting the message, loud and clear,” said Myatt.

The second poem that is read in the video is called, “I Know I Saved A Life That Day.” The last scene in the video is of the worker who stepped up and made a difference by telling another worker he wasn’t tied off while he was working on the second floor. The video ends with that worker watching as the man climbs into his pickup, ready to go home for the day.

The man responsible for saving his fellow worker from a potential fall thinks about the impact he made by standing up and stepping in.

The man responsible for saving his fellow worker from a potential fall thinks about the impact he made by standing up and stepping in.

Thanks to this video, that could be the end result, many times over.

This is the third of three blogs regarding this project for Brinkmann Constructors. BloodLines Creative works in partnership with a variety of creative resources. If you’re looking to tell a story via video, or have any other marketing communications needs, we can assemble the team ideally suited to get the job done – on time, on budget and with big idea thinking delivered in an impactful way.

Brinkmann Constructors Safety Video – Part Two – The Shoot

When Brinkmann Constructors hired our team to write, shoot and produce a safety video that would be unlike any other safety video, we knew there would be a lot of challenges along the way.

For starters, there was a lot of information that had to be delivered – and delivered in an attention-getting, impactful way. But there was a lot more to it than that. This video was designed to tell a powerful story.

It’s the first video I’ve been involved in where we actually staged a death – and we needed to pull that off in a believable way.

A construction worker was going to die – all because another worker could have stepped in and said something – but failed to do so. As a result of one worker’s inaction – another fellow worker would fall to his death. Chaos would ensue. There would be a funeral to attend.

And it was all totally preventable – a point that is easily demonstrated in the second half of the video where we see the worker step in and do something about a potentially dangerous situation.

We had the makings of a powerful story, directly tied to two different poems that we would see unfold, line by line to make a powerful lasting impression on the construction workers who would view this video as part of their overall Brinkmann Constructors safety orientation before any project work ever began.

Long before the shoot days ever arrived, we needed to narrow down the script that I had written – my first draft was 19 pages long and timed out to about a 23-minute video. That was a little too much. So working with Tim Myatt, Safety Director at Brinkmann as well as Miranda Hill, Preconstruction Coordinator, we eventually got the script down to a manageable 14 pages which we figured would end up being about 18-20 minutes long.

Still, that’s a long video – and we had a lot going on throughout. OSHA requirements, worker’s rights, hazardous material recognitions, individual worker responsibilities, safety gear and specific, on-site safety precautions all needed to be covered.

Once the script had been finalized, Mike Martin and Michelle Anselmo of Mike Martin Media developed a shot list. We proposed two days of shooting on location at two different sites, a shoot inside and outside of a funeral home and two different shoots at their production facility to capture some green screen footage featuring safety gear along with capturing a closing message delivered by Brian Satterthwaite, President of Brinkmann Constructors.

I didn’t know if two days would be enough for the on-site footage. But I also had never seen Mike and his talented crew in action before. They were the very definition of a run and gun offense. There were two cameras in use throughout, one to capture the principal action, the other for B-roll footage and to provide another angle for key scenes.

Day One was slated to capture all of the dialogue of the safety coordinator who is the central character delivering the Brinkmann safety story. We shot on-site at an actual Brinkmann Construction project – all during a normal construction day. That in itself took a great deal of coordinating on behalf of Tim and Miranda.

Matt Deichmann, the actor we had chosen to play the Safety Coordinator, was a natural. Reading from a teleprompter isn’t always easy – but he pulled off the dialogue like he’d been doing safety orientation overviews his entire career. When the 10-hour shoot day wrapped, I was amazed. We had pulled it all off without a hitch.

Matt Deichmann was very convincing in his role as Brinkmann Constructors' Safety Coordinator.

Matt Deichmann was very convincing in his role as Brinkmann Constructors’ Safety Coordinator.

The second on-location day was at a different site and though there wasn’t as much to shoot, the challenges were perhaps more daunting. We needed to coordinate the arrival of fire trucks and ambulances. We needed to realistically stage a fall from a second story ledge into a collection bin below. And we needed to stage essentially the exact same situation, only this time, the danger would be averted. There was B-roll footage to grab as well.

Staging the actual fall involved some creativity and Mike and his crew were up to the task. They shot the scene from below. And they shot the scene from behind the worker, looking out over the second floor. Some tight close ups of the worker’s construction boot slipping and the camera almost dropping down into the storage bin below all eventually showed up in the final edit.

Several shots in sequence helped convey the potential fatal consequences of not being tied down when working anywhere near an opening on a construction site that's on a second story or higher.

Several shots in sequence helped convey the potential fatal consequences of not being tied down when working anywhere near an opening on a construction site that’s on a second story or higher.

Having an ambulance and fire truck arrive on the scene helped create an air of authenticity.

The Chesterfield Fire Department provided a fire truck and an ambulance to help make a more convincing scene showing the aftermath of a fatal fall at a construction site.

The Chesterfield Fire Department provided a fire truck and an ambulance to help make a more convincing scene showing the aftermath of a fatal fall at a construction site – a key element to the safety video.

Ultimately, there was more than three hours worth of footage from the two job site days. The afternoon spent at the funeral parlor, staging a funeral with visitors and family members and the worker who could have saved a life that day also went off without a hitch.

Ted Quinn portrayed the superintendent who failed to take action and had to deal with the pain of attending a fellow worker's funeral.

Ted Quinn portrayed the superintendent who failed to take action and had to deal with the pain of attending a fellow worker’s funeral.

Finally, there were the two shoots at Mike Martin Studios. The green screen was the perfect backdrop to the graphics we later created, helping tie-in to the new brand look being launched for Brinkmann Constructors.

Overall, we had everything we needed to make a great video. And it wouldn’t have happened without total cooperation from everyone involved – from the production team, to the city of Chesterfield, to the paid actors, right on down to all the extra Brinkmann workers and even family members who volunteered to be a part of the production.

Teamwork works.

This is the second of three blogs regarding this project for Brinkmann Constructors. BloodLines Creative works in partnership with a variety of creative resources. If you’re looking to tell a story via video, or have any other marketing communications needs, we can assemble the team ideally suited to get the job done – on time, on budget and with big idea thinking delivered in an impactful way.

Brinkmann Constructors Safety Video – Part One – The Assignment

The Brinkmann Constructors' safety video tells the powerful story of taking action versus standing by when it comes to safety.

Brinkmann Constructors’ safety video tells the powerful story of taking action versus standing by when it comes to safety.

Brinkmann Constructors was in need of a new safety video.

Safety is a key component of everything that Brinkmann Constructors does. This employee-owned construction company, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri with offices in Kansas City and Denver knows how important safety is every day, at every job site, with every worker – especially since many of those workers are contracted. So with every new project, there’s the potential to have a whole new crew of workers – and it’s vitally important to assure that these workers know all of the safety measures that need to be taken to assure each one of them goes home at night.

So they wanted a safety video that wasn’t your normal safety video – one that told a powerful story and that wouldn’t be ignored two minutes into the overview.

Like many projects that I work on, it was a true collaborative effort. In this case, I was called in by Jeff Fuelling, president of Pickett Productions (In the past year, Pickett was bought and is now known as CG Studios.) Jeff was the project lead and had also brought in Mike Martin and Michelle Anselmo of Mike Martin Media as part of the team.

I would be the copywriter/Creative Director on the project, Pickett Productions would supply the graphics and post production and Mike Martin Media would handle the shooting, casting, voiceover recording and the initial edit.

At our first meeting, we met with Tim Myatt, Safety Director at Brinkmann along with Miranda Hill, Preconstruction Coordinator and Ted Hoog, Brinkmann’s Vice President of Operations. They provided an overview of the Brinkmann safety process and emphasized the need to do something different with this video that would keep the viewer engaged from start to finish.

One of the items Tim mentioned were two related poems that he would read at the beginning of each safety orientation overview and at the end. The first was titled, “I could have saved a life that day”. The second was, “I know I saved a life that day”.

The poems deliver the exact same scenario at a construction site – the only difference being the actions taken by a construction worker. Rather than stand idly by when they see something going on that they believe is not quite right, they take action. And by taking action, they help prevent what could have been a life-altering accident.

Tim mentioned that everyone always seemed to pay attention during those parts of the presentation. The meeting wrapped, and we had our assignment. Create a video that would grab and hold the viewer’s attention from start to finish.

We were bidding against two or three other production companies. All had essentially been given the same download. Our task was to deliver a concept that would win us the job.

The creative process began. I researched other safety videos. I researched safety statistics regarding the construction industry. Initially, I had about five approaches that I then narrowed down to three. One followed a worker from the start of his day through the end, telling the safety story from a first-hand experience while still delivering all the key info that had to be covered. The second approach was very graphics driven, with key facts and statistics being emphasized as well as a range of different workers shot in off-site situations providing their particular reasons why they work safe each day – because there’s a lot of ball games still to see, graduations to attend, meals to enjoy, etc.

We were fairly confident going in that the third approach would be the winner. The idea was simple. Take the two poems, and deliver them throughout the video, interspersed with key safety facts and figures. The viewer wouldn’t just be read the poem, they would see the poem brought to life – seeing the fatal consequences of not acting and the positive consequences of taking action.

Our production team worked out some budget parameters and developed a rough timeline. We made our presentation.

A few days later we received the news. “I could have saved a life that day” was a go.

Then the real work began.

This is the first of three blogs regarding this project. BloodLines Creative works in partnership with a variety of creative resources. If you’re looking to tell a story via video, or have any other marketing communications needs, we can assemble the team ideally suited to get the job done – on time, on budget and with big idea thinking delivered in an impactful way.

I Could Have Saved A Life That Day was written by Don Merrell
I Know I Saved A Life That Day was written by Jim Morgan

 

 

A return to broadcast advertising

Early in my career, about 60% of the work I created was broadcast advertising.

At Kenrick Advertising, we were always working on some new TV commercial or radio spot. Budgets were solid and radio and TV were by far the best way to make an impact on an audience.

Oh, those were the days. The older I’ve gotten, the less broadcast I’ve had the chance to work on and when you have your own company and you’re dedicated principally to serving the communications needs of smaller clientele, broadcast advertising generally just isn’t in the picture.

That’s okay. I have always loved the creative process and whether I’m working on a new website, or blogging for a client or creating a small space digital ad, there’s still the challenge to creatively solve a problem, tell a story and hopefully, make an impression that ultimately leads to more business for your client.

But when the chance to work on some broadcast concepts comes along, I’m all in.

Such has been the case with a recent round of work where I’m partnering with an agency to develop a new TV, radio and ultimately an online campaign for a new product.

Unfortunately, at this time, that’s as much info as I can reveal. But it’s been a blast and a true partnership where everyone involved has added to the core concepts. And when we presented to the client, the client had their own significant contributions which will plus the work in the long run.

We’re still in the developmental stages but it has been a very welcome blast from my past. And I can’t wait to see these concepts turned into reality.

If your business, service or organization could benefit from some big idea thinking, we should talk. Because I guarantee, I can help.

Going wherever the work takes you

This summer, there will be a gorgeous pool here, overlooking this gorgeous view.

This summer, there will be a gorgeous pool here, overlooking this gorgeous view.

I’ve had the privilege the past two years of working on an account that’s in the business of building pools. They do awesome work and I am continually impressed at the end result of their efforts.

Similar to advertising and marketing, it’s a process. First and foremost, you have to be invited to pitch the business. Then you need to convince the buyer that what you offer is going to be the ideal solution for them. Once you’re awarded the job, you’re expected to deliver and it takes a lot of hard work along the way to get the job done right.

This past week, I went to visit one of their current clients where work is in progress. It was a cold, dank day. The wind was blowing and rain or sleet was expected later in the afternoon. Still, there was a story waiting to be told.

This pool was going to be built on the side of a hill, ultimately resulting in a gorgeous view overlooking the valley below. But in order to do that, about 600 tons of rock needed to be moved in order to flatten out the hill and build a base.

That’s truly laying the groundwork for a pool.

During my visit to the site, I took a few moments to ponder my surroundings. Here I was, in what seemed like the middle of nowhere. All was quiet. No birds chirping and nobody in sight as far as the eye could see.

Just me, taking a few photos of a bunch of rocks that had been spray painted to outline the perimeter of the pool. There was a solitude to it all and for a brief moment, I took in the view and felt a sense of gratefulness.

A few days before, I didn’t even know this project existed. But there I was, documenting the work that had been done to date. It’s going to be a magnificent pool when it’s all said and done.

But there’s still a lot of work to do.

For them, and for me.

Want compelling copy and cut through creative with your advertising and marketing communications? Want it for a fraction of what you’d pay compared to if you hired a full-service agency? Call BloodLines Creative today. You’ll be glad you did.

#successfulresults #greatcreative #creativecopywriting #stlouiswriter #getresults #poolbuilder

 

#willyoureadthis #makeitrelevant #toomanyhashtags

If you're not using hashtags in your social media postings, you're not doing the job that you could be.

If you’re not using hashtags in your social media postings, you’re not doing the job that you could be.

I’ve never taken a course in social media marketing and I guess that’s extremely evident from the number of views I get with this blog.

Then again, when your number of postings dwindles from weekly to monthly to #onceinabluemoon (the name of one of my paintings) you basically deserve to lose a lot of your audience.

But 2019 marks a major crossroads for me. I need to ramp up new business efforts for BloodLines Creative and that’s going to require on-going communications, pushed out to a variety of different social media platforms. It’s also going to demand that I get a much stronger handle on social media marketing techniques.

Part of that begins with my use of hashtags.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have never embraced hashtags and really didn’t have much of a handle (pardon the play on words) on the value of using #hashtagsinsocialmedia – primarily on twitter and Instagram.

But I am learning and I’m seeking to learn more – which ultimately is going to benefit the clients I serve as well as my own self interests.

Here are some generic reasons for using hashtags:

  1. Hashtags simplify the process – Searching a hashtag pulls results for each post using that hashtag. Using a hashtag helps you reach your target audience, and likewise makes it easier for others to find your information.
  2. Hashtags compel an action – When a user sees a post that is of interest, they will likely spend time looking through content brought up by the hashtag.
  3. Hashtags evolve – Hashtags are being used by more and more platforms, impacting the amount of information put directly in front of social media users.
  4. Hashtags reward the distinctive – Hashtags make finding information easier for social media users. A unique hashtag makes your message stand out to the users who find the hashtag valuable.

I have recently experienced firsthand the value of using hashtags via my own instagram account promoting my art – #tomblood_art

A few weeks ago, I sat in on a webinar designed to help artists better market their work. Being a marketer myself, you would think I’d be a natural at promoting my artwork. Turns out, I could have been doing so much better – not just via hashtags but also via my use of key words to describe the paintings I’ve done on my two websites: http://tom-blood.pixels.com and https://bloodlinesart.com

What works for promoting art will also work for promoting my gifts as a talented #greatcopywriter as well as my skills as a #marketingcommunicationsspecialist

I learned that any time I make a post on Instagram, it should have a minimum of eight hashtags that are pertinent to the work I am featuring. How many is too many? I’m not sure but when your hashtags are twice as long as your message, it does seem a bit much.

Still, those hashtags are driving eyeballs to my Instagram account. In the past two weeks, my number of followers has increased dramatically and now continues to rise daily. And they’re beginning to draw even more eyeballs to the many clients I serve when I post information for them.

Yes, I’m a bit of an old dog. But I’m learning new tricks.

Developing great creative and compelling copy has always been a strong trait of mine. Now, it’s time to pound the # signal even more.

Want compelling copy and cut through creative with your advertising and marketing communications. Want it for a fraction of what you’d pay compared to if you hired a full-service agency? Call BloodLines Creative today. You’ll be glad you did.

#successfulresults #greatcreative #creativecopywriting #stlouiswriter #getresults

 

 

Where did the surrealism go?

Two men shake hands in a snowstorm, set against a canopy of trees.

Two men shake hands in a snowstorm, set against a canopy of trees.

Anyone who regularly follows my work knows that I love surrealism, and love to add surrealistic elements into almost all of my paintings.

“The Agreement” contains no surrealistic images. It’s just two men, shaking hands in a snowstorm set against a forest background. Though there are no surrealistic elements to this painting, it does raise several questions in the viewer’s mind.

“Who are these gentlemen and why are they shaking hands?” is a good place to start. The answer to those questions is entirely up to the viewer.

The idea for the painting (it was finished in late November) came about as a result of a snowstorm that we had well before Thanksgiving. Having only done one other painting featuring snow, I decided snow would be my subject matter and in this particular painting, I wanted it to actually be snowing.

That’s when I decided to have two men greeting each other out in the midst of a snowstorm, set against a canopy of trees. This isn’t a particularly large painting (30″ x 24″) so it didn’t take me too long to rough in the trees.

Creating the foreground, with a blanket of snow also went quite quickly with just a few gradations that helped give a sense of depth to the image. When it came time to paint the two men, I decided one of them should have a beard. I gave them both overcoats which could have come from a by-gone era.

When I was finished painting the two gentlemen, it seemed like the setting could be somewhere in Europe – kind of a cold war feel to it. Or maybe it was more like a painting from the Civil War. Simply naming the painting, “The Agreement” builds in its own story line.

When I began adding in the falling snow, I realized that the trees in the background didn’t require any more detail. After all, there’s a blizzard going on – nothing should be clearly defined.

So this painting was deemed done and I moved onto the next one which took me considerably more time.

I like the simplicity of this painting. I like its starkness. I like its story appeal.

I hope you do, too!

If you know someone else who might enjoy hearing more about my paintings, please invite them to sign up for my free newsletter at http://bloodlinesart.com/email-newsletter Also, if you’d like to purchase prints of my work or have my work printed on items like iPhone covers, tote bags, coffee cups, shower curtains or a wide range of other items, please visit http://tom-blood.pixels.com Thanks and I wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, too!

A painting like this comes around, “Once In A Blue Moon”

A girl on a beach holding a bouquet of flowers stares out at the moon ... which is actually a blue rose!

A girl on a beach holding a bouquet of flowers stares out at the moon … which is actually a blue rose!

As I look back on this painting, technique-wise I think it’s one of the finest ones I’ve done this year. It’s such an unusual painting – (especially for me) and I’m hoping that there’s built in-story appeal to the visual.
Previously, I had done a grand total of four paintings featuring females.
I’ve always thought of myself as something of a hack when it comes to painting or drawing females, going back to a drawing class I took at Mizzou where we had live female models. My drawings always did them a great disservice.
Yet I was excited about the prospects of painting this surrealistic image. The idea behind this one came from a variety of sources, as many of my paintings do. I was paging through one of my Rene Magritte books and ran across one of his coolest paintings called, “The Tomb of the Wrestlers”. It features a giant red rose, overwhelming an empty room. The rose is almost the height of the room itself, boxed in by two blank walls while the third wall features a window, draped by some red curtains. So I decided I wanted to do something with a rose. But what? I have no desire to copy Magritte, I merely like to emulate him.
So I kept searching. Many of my paintings have some water aspect to them and the sea at night seemed interesting. So I began searching for images of ocean scapes at night – which led me to several photos featuring the moon. That’s when it hit me – I would show a blue moon only in its place, I would feature a rose. I knew there were blue roses, just like there are blue moons.
Once I had that core idea in mind, I thought of having the man in the bowler hat staring out at the moon but that seemed slightly out of whack. So I decided it should be a young girl. Then I decided that not only should she be staring out at the blue moon, but she should be holding a bouquet of flowers in her hands as well.
Were they given to her? Were they from someone who had gone away on a voyage and left her behind?
My initial working title for the painting was “Flower Girl”.
When I was just about done, the name of the painting came to me in my sleep. “Once In A Blue Moon“.
The actual painting had its own challenges – trying to paint a glowing blue rose in the night and giving the entire painting a night time feel. I struggled with the sky and the reflection on the water. I added a few large rocks to the shore but at one point, there were considerably more. I painted over all of them, keeping just a few rocks, bleeding off the edges of the painting.
The young girl went through considerable changes and most, were for the better. I wanted her hands to be delicate and I wanted the bouquet of flowers to stand out. I was pretty happy with both as well as the multi-colors of her dress that echoed the color palette of the rest of the painting.
The size of this painting is 30″ x 40”. It’s quite striking when you see it up close and would look great in a frame and on someone’s wall.
You can order prints at my other web site: http://tom-blood.pixels.com
You can also order the image on a variety of items – tote bags look pretty cool, notebook covers, iPhone covers, even yoga mats.
It was a joy to paint, even though it had its moments … they all do!

In addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I also paint by night and have established quite a following of the artwork I create. If you know someone who might enjoy reading more about my process and getting updates on what I’ve been up to, please invite them to sign up for my newsletter at http://tblood.faso.com/email-newsletter

No Exit – a play on words

No Exit is the title of this painting as well as the classic play by Jean Paul Sartre.

No Exit is the title of this painting as well as the classic play by Jean Paul Sartre.

Many people ask where I get my ideas to create new paintings and the explanation is – everywhere.
I often will peruse stock photography, looking for striking images. Pinterest is actually a great source of inspiration as I follow all sorts of art-related topics.
Recently, I ran across a photo which was so striking, I simply had to paint it and put my own spin on it. It was a photo very similar to what you see painted here, same basic set up, same kind of ugly color palette. The photo also contained an image of a man, hanging upside down, only he was facing the camera. I decided to replace that man with my man in the bowler hat, back to you, hanging upside down, hat still very much intact on his head.
There was something about the color scheme of this painting that reminded me of my grade school that had cinder block hallways that most times were painted about the same color as this newsletter. But for a brief period, they were this sickly kind of green you see reflected in the stairwell.
The harshness of the neon light was another thing I remember.
So this particular painting is more or less a recreation of a photograph, which, the moment I decided I was going to paint it, I knew the title of the painting had to be, “No Exit”.
Though the painting has little to do with the Jean Paul Sartre play, for some reason, the setting reminds me of a different kind of hell, where one is forever trapped in a building with no real exit and the world is literally turned upside down – which is actually how I painted the image of the man – with the canvas turned upside down.
The size of this painting gives it a dominance that immediately grabs your attention. It’s 36″ x 48″ and though I have no idea where this painting might ever actually hang, I do know that whoever might buy it would have a very striking image that would be sure to spark quite a few conversations.
We will see if this one ever manages to exit our home! Regardless, I like it simply because it is a strikingly weird visual.

Thanks for reading. You can view most of my recent paintings at https://bloodlinesart.com or you can purchase prints or items featuring my art at http://tom-blood.pixels.com If you or anyone else you know might enjoy reading about the art work I do and getting a behind-the-scenes look into my process, please  sign up for my newsletter at http://tblood.faso.com/email-newsletter … Happy November!

Is this surrealism? Thoughts behind “Somewhere in Belgium”

Night and day in the same setting gives this tribute painting to Rene Magritte a surrealistic feel.

Night and day in the same setting gives this tribute painting to Rene Magritte a surrealistic feel.

At first glance, my most recent painting doesn’t appear to be surrealistic at all. Yet anyone who is at all familiar with the works of the Belgian surrealist, Rene Magritte would immediately recognize traces of his work.

The statue in the painting is a depiction of the character that shows up in many of Magritte’s paintings. The bowler hat theme appears more than 50 times in his work between 1926 and 1966, making it one of the motifs for which the Belgian Surrealist is best known. These abundant bowler-hatted gents were used as stand-ins for generic, bourgeois men, the sort who wouldn’t stand out.

“The bowler hat poses no surprise,” Magritte said in 1966. “It is a headdress that is not original. The man with the bowler is just a middle-class man in his anonymity. And I wear it. I am not eager to singularize myself.”

I have explored many of Magritte’s concepts and ideas in my own, peculiar style. I recently ran across a framer who worked in the art gallery where I had my first show and he said he walked into 1900 Park two years ago and immediately recognized my work. “Your style is unlike any other painter I’ve seen,” he told me.

Whether that’s true is highly debatable. I continue to try and paint the impossible – or at least the highly improbable. And traces of Magritte will continue to show up in my paintings.

When I heard that I was going to be featured in the Ladue News and that the featured painting would be “Memories of June” – another Magritte-based image, perhaps my subconscious propelled me to create this tribute painting to my favorite artist.

Maybe there is a touch of surrealism in depicting a man in a bowler hat, sitting on a bench, staring at a statue of a man in a bowler hat. The base of the statue features Magritte’s birth and death dates and the inscription is in Dutch and reads, “HERE STANDS THE MAN”.

Lions and owls showed up in many of Magritte’s paintings. So they got their own statues. Perhaps the one quality that puts this particular painting in the Surrealist column is the presence of Night and Day in the same setting.

Everything below the sky is painted in bright, daytime colors. Yet the sky, with its quarter moon above, is distinctly night time. That combination of Night and Day was another concept Magritte explored in several paintings.

So in answer to the question found in the headline, yes, this really is surrealism.

It was great fun to create, though quite tedious as it’s one of the more detailed paintings I’ve done. This particular painting may never find a home other than my own.

That’s okay. It was my tribute to Magritte. It is fitting that I should remain the owner.

Tom’s art can be viewed and purchased at two different websites: www.bloodlinesart.com and http://tom-blood.pixels.com – on the latter website, you can purchase prints as well as a variety of items like tote bags, pillow throws, iPhone covers and much more. Please visit!