Delivering the Good for Caritas Connections – part one

A frame from the new Caritas Connections video.

A frame from the new Caritas Connections video.

Caritas Connections is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization that collects donated items and distributes them at no cost, to worthy organizations in the St. Louis metropolitan area, who in turn use them to clothe, feed and assist the needy in our community.

I’ve been involved with Caritas for a number of years – first working on kind of a subset of the organization that collected laptops and distributed them to ex-offenders and then becoming a board member about three years ago. Previously, my biggest contribution was helping them re-fresh their newsletter look with a new name and design (courtesy of Madeleine Neuner) and then writing content for each edition.

Caritas never had an overview video before – since they’re a not-for-profit, they have always been extremely conservative when it comes to spending money. But the topic continued to come up at our board meetings. As circumstance would have it, I had a lunch back in December with Scott Huegerich, who is a managing partner at Aligned Media.

Scott and I have worked on many projects together during the course of my career. He’s a tremendous editor as well as a super nice guy. I asked him whether Aligned had ever done  any work with other not for profits and when I told him about the type of work that Caritas Connections does throughout the St. Louis metro area, he was intrigued.

When I brought up the possibility of creating a new video to our board, they enthusiastically told me to go for it. So I developed several script overviews, eventually settling on two directions that I presented to our board as well as the team at Aligned Media.

Ultimately, we had a unanimous decision on “Delivering the Good”, which tells the story of what, how and why Caritas does what it does through the words of our volunteers and clients.

It’s about a five minute video overall and it lives on the home page of our new Caritas Connections website. I invite you to watch it by clicking here.

Getting all the footage and interviews for the video was no easy task. I began by going out on several delivery runs with Father Tom Bryon in the Caritas Connections van. Those involved some early start times – meeting Father at the Caritas garage at 5 am and then hitting the road.

While making these runs, I used my iPhone to take a lot of video. Many of those shots ended up in the finished product but the bulk of the footage (and all of the live videos) were a result of Scott Smith who handled the camerawork and Brad Brueggeman who captured all of our interviews in a variety of locales on audio.

I put together a ridiculous production schedule for our shoot, starting at 7 am and involving ten different locations in both St. Louis city and county, filming people who had never been on camera before. What could possibly go wrong?

Our worst mishap came when we were interviewing the driver of our van, who made an unexpected quick stop which sent Brad, who was sitting on a milk crate manning the mic into the back of the driver’s seat. Other than a minor scratch to his forehead, everything turned out okay.

Our in-van interview session had a few bumps along the way.

Our in-van interview session had a few bumps along the way.

Once we had all of our footage, Aligned provided me a time-coded version of it and I went to work crafting the story, adding sub-titles where I thought things needed more emphasis.

Chris Myers did a great job with the edit and somehow, the stock music piece that I selected seemed just right for the video.

Originally, we were going to showcase the video at the annual Caritas Connections golf tournament that takes place in May. But that got pushed back, and then cancelled completely. So now it lives on the website.

The message is fairly timeless.

A special thanks goes out to all the people in the video as well as everyone who had a hand in making it happen.

Lots of volunteers were happy to help in telling the Caritas story.

Lots of volunteers were happy to help in telling the Caritas story.

Caritas Connections is a tremendous organization doing a lot of good for this community and the need for what they do seems to continue to grow. It’s my hope that this video can help in some way – maybe someone will volunteer their services or choose to donate to the organization.

If that’s the case, it will be well worth the effort that went into making it.


It’s A Brave New World. Or Is It?

My most recent painting is titled, "Brave New World" - but it's not based on the book.

My most recent painting is titled, “Brave New World” – but it’s not based on the book.

With all that’s been going on in the world, I wish I could be as hopeful as the title of my newest painting.

Yes, it’s called “Brave New World” which happens to be the same title of the book written by Aldous Huxley back in 1931 that told the story of a dystopian society whose citizens were environmentally engineered into an intelligence-based social hierarchy.

I can’t say that the book was the driving force behind this painting. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever even read it! But I did know the basic plot structure and the combination of our ongoing pandemic and all the recent social unrest got me to wondering, “How would a child view today’s world?”

That simple thought led me to the visual for this painting – a young boy in pajamas, looking out his bedroom window at the world which is hovering above the clouds.

It makes no sense. But to me, it makes perfect sense. Because if we could all do a better job of viewing the world through the eyes of a child (one of my favorite Moody Blues songs), we might all see what a beautiful, wonderful world that we all live in.

There’s a certain innocence to this painting and to me, a magical quality to it as well. The curtains, the sky and the boy’s pajamas were all painted rather loosely but at the same time are very well defined. The back of the boy’s head might be my best rendition yet involving hair with a few curly locks and some light highlights adding to his overall look.

A few people have asked if I intended the wooden slits (also called muntin) to symbolize a cross. No, that wasn’t the intent. But if that’s what one sees, I can’t really object.

Technique-wise, I think this is one of my best paintings yet. And conceptually? I can only wish that the magic and wonder of seeing the world from the eyes of a child fits the title a lot better than the Brave New World that Aldous envisioned.

If addition to creating advertising and marketing communications by day, I also paint at night. My paintings have been viewed around the world as I continue to try and get better as an artist.

I invite you to order prints of my work on Artfully Walls. You can also order prints as well as get my artwork put onto a variety of items like iPhone covers, pillow throws, tote bags, greeting cards, coffee cups, shower curtains and a wide variety of other items by visiting my other website on Pixels. As if that weren’t enough, more items are now available on Vida – from umbrellas to yoga mats, clothing and jewelry to household items. I also invite you to follow me on Instagram to see work in progress from start to finish!

Wanted: American ingenuity to find new ways to work

We need to get back to work. But how we work needs to completely change. And for that, we need ideas.

We need to get back to work. But how we work needs to completely change. And for that, we need ideas.

Each day of this ongoing pandemic gets more grim. Our country and indeed, the world, was not adequately prepared for the challenges we now face.

Many people are in to finger pointing saying had he done this or had we done that, we wouldn’t be in the situation we’re currently facing. But that accomplishes nothing for where we are today and where we might be as a nation by the time 2021 arrives.

We have to get back to work. But the way we work has to dramatically change. Business as usual would be a colossal failure leading to more spread of the virus and crippling our healthcare system for good.

So what can we do? We need to look at how we conduct business and what types of business we should be conducting in the first place.

We need American ingenuity now, more than ever.

Our first focus has to be on serving the needs of our healthcare providers. That seems to be the current emphasis – but the rest of us who aren’t involved in any of those endeavors can’t just sit idly by, waiting for someone to signal “Everyone back in the water.”

Social distancing needs to become the norm for the immediate future in the workplace. Workers need to be checked each day at the door for potential symptoms. Are there instant temperature reading devices available?  If not, we need them.

Factory automation needs to be ramped up. Just like Ford and GM have shifted to making ventilators and masks, we need more companies to figure out ways to mass produce protective shields, temperature readers, sanitizers and other key items that could allow retail stores, restaurants and other types of businesses to re-open their doors.

Mass transit is no longer an option. But it doesn’t mean it has to come to a complete end. If we got rid of 9 to 5 hours and went instead to shifts around the clock, that could ease some of that  burden. Purchasing tickets online and limiting the number of tickets sold for each stop could also help.

We may need to go to a cashless society. We may need to eliminate personal transactions between individuals.

We need to re-think our food preparation and food delivery system.

I don’t have all of the answers. In fact, I don’t have any of the answers. Many of the above items I just listed would take months, perhaps even years to implement which is not much help to what will take place next week.

But the fact remains, our work paradigm has completely shifted. And we need to find new ways to shift with it.

Sports and entertainment are a huge component of our American fabric. Sadly, until this resolves itself, team sports are out of the equation and attending events probably isn’t a viable option either.

Individual competitions could still go on. Professional golf could return – maybe the players wouldn’t be allowed to have caddies. They’d have to meet health criteria before going out on the course. Courses could follow the same restrictions they’re currently using with no flags or rakes. Broadcasts could still go on with limited camera coverage. That would mean ad revenue and sponsorships could return.

Track & Field events could be ramped up with new restrictions regarding social distancing. Same with swimming & diving. Figure skating. Skiing. Motocross. Bull riding.

Professional bowling could return. Bowling alleys could re-open with new sanitary rules and social distancing regulations.

The key is to get people to re-think how we’ve done things in the past. And figure out new ways of doing things for the future.

We cannot afford to wait to return to business as usual.

There may never again be a business as usual.

If you agree, please share.

More important, put on your thinking cap and whatever your profession may be, think and propose new ways that we can get back to work without further risking the spread of this virus.




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



#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: and

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



Looking forward to what’s next

Labor Day will be upon us in a few days and summer will soon be in our rear view mirror.

It’s been a great one in all regards – work, art and family, though not necessarily in that order since family is always first.

Though we didn’t have any extensive travels, we did celebrate a memorable weekend in Chicago attending a Cards-Cubs on my daughter’s 20th birthday and thoroughly enjoying ourselves as the Cards bashed the Cubs, 18-5. Once they reached their 14th run, we were really hoping they could post a 20-run tally but 18 was more than sufficient.

Our visit to Wrigley Field was extremely enjoyable.

Our visit to Wrigley Field was extremely enjoyable.

This was also our first summer in our new home and we finally christened it by hosting a  25th Anniversary celebration-Open House combo on perhaps the nicest day that July had to offer. Attending the PGA on three different days also was great fun.

Any time you can get this close to Tiger Woods, it's a good day!

Any time you can get this close to Tiger Woods, it’s a good day!

Work continues to roll along and it’s what’s on the horizon that has me excited. I continue to serve a few key accounts and there are some potential great new client relationships that hopefully will become reality over the course of the next few weeks. BloodLines Creative will be entering its 8th year in business and though I’m not creating an abundance of TV and radio commercials anymore, I still enjoy the creative challenge that each and every assignment brings.

One of a series of email reminders that go out to Ad Club members encouraging them to play in the upcoming Ad Club Fall Golf Classic.

One of a series of email reminders that go out to Ad Club members encouraging them to play in the upcoming Ad Club Fall Golf Classic.

It’s always the chance to do the best work you’ve ever done and a continual opportunity to learn something new every day. I love to create and I love to turn marketing challenges into opportunities. That will never grow old.

Painting has also been a joy this year. I continue to take on paintings that challenge my skill set and I feel as if I’m becoming better as a painter. I love to paint the impossible or at least the highly improbable. Though I continue to explore many of the same concepts as Magritte once did, I think I am developing my own, unique style.

A painting of a painting showing what you would see if the painting weren't there.

A painting of a painting showing what you would see if the painting weren’t there.

I am thrilled to have received more than 20,000 views on my Tom Blood fine artist website. I was honored to have recently sold four of my paintings to one of the largest collectors in the Midwest. And I am looking forward to some exciting coverage of my work and announcements about it that will be coming in a few short weeks.

I have been blessed in so many ways. Yet you never know what lurks around the corner. So I’ll end with this simple thought. Cherish your memories. Look forward to the future. But always live in the present. For what we do each day matters. Somehow, someway, each day, try and make a positive difference in someone’s life.

You’ll be glad you did.

“View from Above” Finds A New Home

Here's the 24" x 30" painting, "View from Above" hanging on an office wall.

Here’s the 24″ x 30″ painting, “View from Above” now hanging on an office wall.

It’s been more than a year since I had my solo art show at 1900 Park. Since that time, I have created nine new paintings and will soon be wrapping up my tenth. If I were painting for a living, I would truly define the term ‘starving artist’.

But I don’t paint for a living. I paint because I can. Somewhere in me is a God-given talent that I feel as if I actually owe it to myself to keep on painting and keep trying to get better at what I do. I owe so much of this renewed commitment to my son, Tom, Jr.

Four Father’s Day’s ago, he gave me two small canvasses and some paint and challenged me to resume what I had set aside for more than 17 years. After much trepidation and fear of I don’t know what, I jumped back in and I’ve basically had a canvas in the works ever since. I have two websites. One, I don’t promote at all and nobody visits. It’s

The other site, I’ve been trying to promote more regularly and on occasion, I do get a sale or two of items featuring my artwork. (

Actual sales of my paintings continue to be somewhat of a rarity. I know I choose rather unusual subject matter. So much of today’s art is a mishmash of colors and shapes. I prefer to paint ideas and really enjoy painting what is seemingly impossible. A staircase that winds its way above the clouds. A girl holding a giant, floating boulder. A symphony conductor standing atop a giant wave, conducting the elements.

Is my work simply too off-the-wall to actually be hung on someone's wall?

Is my work simply too off-the-wall to actually be hung on someone’s wall?

So it was a pleasant surprise when I received a Facebook Messenger inquiry asking about purchasing one of my more recent paintings titled “A View from Above“. I was more than happy to oblige and after a few back and forths, we arranged a time and place to drop off the painting.

I was sorry to see it go as it was going to occupy a nice spot in our new home, but I was actually quite thrilled that somebody was willing to take that leap of faith and buy the painting, get it framed and hang it proudly in his office.

He told me that the painting really grabbed his attention and how he identified with it. In fact, he told me that he created a bit of prose to go along with the painting and when I asked if I could share it, he said, “Absolutely.”

Here’s what it says …


When I look to the sky
To a place where there is no night
What do I see, when clouds opt
Not to block my sight at the place
Where the sun holds reign over the moon

How do I fit into this orb’s cycle of life?
The struggle of one so minimal,
To the other billions’ strife

So small I feel when looking
To distances far away,
Into galaxies unreachable in tens
Of thousands of unending days

How do I reconcile these feelings
Of those things that seem important
Although they are not

To be a part of this small world,
On an almost insignificant dot
I do have one simple and clear thought –

Rejoice in the journey –
not just the view from the top

To me, it’s an honor to sell a painting of mine and I hope it sparks many a conversation. It’s even cooler when I know that something that I’ve done has struck an emotional chord in someone.

Magritte loved to create mystery with his paintings – to make you think and wonder why. I love to do that as well. I love to paint the impossible and make it seem at least somewhat probable.

A conductor standing on top of a wave conducting the elements? Impossible. Yes.

A conductor standing on top of a wave conducting the elements? Impossible. Yes.

I am finding my own voice as a painter. I believe that I am continuing to get better. And I believe it’s simply a matter of time before more sales start rolling in. But even if they don’t …

I shall continue.

Most of Tom’s artwork can be found on On that site, you can purchase original paintings or buy a variety of prints of his art in a variety of sizes. You can also purchase items like iPhone covers, battery chargers, coffee cups, pillow throws, shower curtains, tote bags and even greeting cards all featuring the artwork of Tom Blood – at very affordable prices. When he’s not painting by night, Tom creates attention-getting, brand-building advertising and marketing communications via BloodLines Creative, now in its eighth year.

A writer’s gotta write

2018 is off to a great start, but in the coming weeks, I hope it gets even better with a variety of assignments that would spin most ordinary heads.

Blogging. Video scripting. Website content creation. Speech writing. Print ads. Email marketing. Pay-per-click ads. Direct marketing. All for different clients and all tied back to delivering the brand.

What’s missing? Well, I sure would welcome the opportunity to create some cut-through radio ads and develop some local TV commercials that would truly stand out amidst the sea of mediocrity that litters our airwaves.

But I’m not complaining. I love to write. And I love to write just about anything as I am insatiably curious and love to find creative solutions to whatever marketing or advertising challenge I may face.

All of this requires an inherent ability to ramp up quickly on a subject so that i can quickly grasp the key messaging that needs to be delivered and then deliver it – in an unexpected, surprising and memorable way.

I don’t always hit home runs. And I certainly don’t accomplish everything on my own as I continue to be blessed by working with a talented team of designers, developers, editors, account people and best of all – clients.

BloodLines Creative is now in its seventh year. We’ve been staying quite busy. But there’s plenty of room for more.

If your business would benefit from big idea thinking, BloodLines Creative can be the communications partner you thought you couldn’t afford. Put us to the test. You will not be disappointed.

One year – ten surrealistic paintings


My first painting done in 2017.

Head In The Cloud – My first painting done in 2017.

With 2017 coming to a close, I decided to look back on all of the surrealistic paintings I’ve done this past year. Initially, I thought I was on my 12th painting, hoping to finish it before the year ends. Actually, I’m only on my 10th and I’m about 70% done as of December 11th. My how time flies.

Still, 2017 has shown promise in terms of my overall skill development. I am continuing to improve as a painter and though I still follow the surrealist path of Rene Magritte, I’m also developing my own, unique style.

Was there a common theme? No. I like to paint ideas and they come in a variety of imagery.

Was there a common theme? No. I like to paint ideas and they come in a variety of imagery.

I love the idea of surrealism. I love painting things that seem like they are, but could never be. I love painting the impossible. To me, it’s fun to have an idea, develop it, do my best to paint it and then have people wonder, “What was he thinking?”

The photograph doesn't do this painting justice. The bridgework is very detailed. It was a strange idea that literally came to me in the middle of the night with almost this exact image in mind.

The photograph doesn’t do this painting justice. The bridgework is very detailed. It was a strange idea that literally came to me in the middle of the night with almost this exact image in mind.

I’m not afraid to borrow. I have used other paintings as inspiration. I often use source material to get my own drawings as close to reality as my skill level permits. When I created “Bridge to Nowhere” I found a schematic of a footbridge. I don’t pretend to draw these items from memory. But I do draw them all freehand and then begin the process of turning it into a painting.

In the concept stage, I envisioned a conductor in charge of the elements similar to Fantasia.

In the concept stage, I envisioned a conductor in charge of the elements similar to Fantasia.

Some of my ideas are borrowed adaptations. Others, I have no idea where they come from. With “Lightness of Being” I was exploring Magritte’s concept of a giant floating rock. For some reason, I thought of a little girl holding a hot air balloon – only instead, it would be a floating rock. I loved that image and that’s what I drew on the canvas. At first, she was going to be standing in a field of flowers but once I had drawn the balloon/rock, I decided to shift the scene to a rocky beach. It’s probably one of my favorite images I’ve done so far!

A girld stands gazing out at the ocean, holding a giant, floating boulder that some people think is an asteroid.

A girl stands gazing out at the ocean, holding a giant, floating boulder that some people think is an asteroid.

What to paint next is always the mystery upon completion of whatever I’m working on at the time. Similar to reading a book, I never conceptualize a new painting until I’m done with the one that’s right in front of me. While searching for inspiration for my next subject, I ran across two items that I combined into one – a spiral staircase and a view of clouds shot from above, rather than below. And thus was born, “View from Above”.

A man stands atop a spiral staircase that has given him a view from above the clouds.

A man stands atop a spiral staircase that has given him a view from above the clouds.

I’ve been very happy with both the concepts and the execution of my last three paintings.

Yet most of my work seems to go unnoticed – especially when it comes to sales. If I relied on the income generated from my paintings, I would truly be a starving artist. I remember after my second gallery show back in 1991, I created a painting called “Nobody Noticed”. It featured two people walking off either side of the painting, oblivious to a roped off gallery that featured a framed painting of the night floating against a cloudy blue sky.

That painting has received more views on my pixels website than any other painting I’ve done. Perhaps that frustration that since I’ve resumed painting about 3-1/2 years ago, creating more than 30 new canvasses resulting in a grand total of two sold paintings led me to my most recent effort which is still a work in progress.

My most recent painting is about 70% done. The other art work needs to be added along with the two frames and then lots of shadowing still awaits.

Modern Art – still in progress. The other art work needs to be added along with two picture frames, a baseboard and then lots of shadowing.

Overall, 2017 has been a year of interesting concepts combined with better painting techniques. I had my first solo show in more than twenty years in 2017 at 1900 Park. I exhibited at Soulard Art Gallery twice and received an Honorable mention for “Head in the Clouds”. I also was part of MySLART’s monthly 33 show in the summer and I’ll have my three most recent completed works on display December 29th at the Old Orchard Gallery. Add in a few greeting cards via Greeting Card Universe and there’s certainly been a lot of activity.

I am determined to keep on keeping on and look forward to what’s next knowing that someday, the sales will come.

So onward we go. I’ve got a painting to finish.

(BTW, if you want to take a better look at any of these paintings, please visit any of the websites listed below.)

In addition to providing advertising and marketing communications services by day via BloodLines Creative, Tom is dedicated to becoming a better surrealist painter, trying to paint the impossible. He invites you to visit his work at his Pixels website, or via his BloodLines Art website. His work can also be viewed on Pinterest, Saatchi Art and on the mobile app, Art Loupe.

Is there a PuppyMonkeyBaby in my future?

Would I ever have thought of this?

Would I ever have thought of this?

I’ve been creating ads now for well over half of my life. During my time, I’ve come up with some rather unusual creative solutions. But I must admit, I have yet to ever be part of selling a client something as outrageous as Mountain Dew’s PuppyMonkeyBaby used to sell their Kickstart drink.

Yes, I know, this is old news. The commercial made its debut this past February on the Super Bowl. But I saw it again last week and for some reason, it really stuck with me this time.

BBDO out of New York was the agency that created it. I have no idea who the writer on it was. Amazingly, I think the ad is very strategic. The team knew they were creating an ad for the Super Bowl so it had to stand out. Kickstart is a combination of three things – Dew, juice and caffeine. On the Super Bowl, everyone loves commercials that have a baby in them – or a puppy – and yes, there have been quite a few memorable commercials featuring a monkey.

So someone had the very simple thought, “Hey, why not combine all three into some really weird creature with a dog’s head, a monkey’s upper body and a baby’s lower body walking around in a diaper?” It’ll be a Puppy Monkey Baby.

It makes no sense. It makes brilliant sense. It’s weird. It’s disturbing. It speaks – in a very strange voice. It dances. It carries its own little bucket full of Kickstart and it makes its grand entrance through a kind of little trap door in some guy’s apartment where three slackers are just sitting there chilling when the PuppyMonkeyBaby arrives.

Later commercials play up the tag line “It all starts with a kick”. They’re fun, they’re crazy. But they’re nothing like the PuppyMonkeyBaby.

So the question I ask myself is this – “Is there still a PuppyMonkeyBaby waiting inside me, just yearning to come out?”


Unfortunately, I don’t get to create TV commercials all that often anymore. It’s my biggest lament of running my own business that caters to a client base that most times, simply do not have the budget nor the need to do broadcast advertising.

So that PuppyMonkeyBaby stays locked up in my brain, just waiting to be unleashed.

It’s in there.

And it wants out.