Being responsive

Visit BloodLines Creative on whatever device you have and hopefully you'll enjoy the experience.

Visit BloodLines Creative on whatever device you have and hopefully you’ll enjoy the experience.

Yes, it took a while.

But BloodLinesCreative.com is finally a responsive website.

So whether you visit on an iPad, your phone, a tablet or on a mac or pc, the site now adapts to the confines of the device.

Yes, it should have been done some time ago. And yes, the site could use a refresh of new work that’s been done over the past year or so. That will come. In fact, the site still isn’t 100% fully functional – my broadcast reel still doesn’t play on mobile devices – but that should be addressed in the next week or so.

I have fallen victim to what so many other advertising and marketing communications companies deal with all the time – it’s tough to manage your own marketing when you’re busy helping with the needs of the clients you serve.

It’s been a busy start to the year. But in order to keep that momentum going, I need to ratchet up my own marketing efforts – and before I began that endeavor, I needed to get the website fully functional no matter how it was viewed.

So I guess I need to wait a few more days until we get the broadcast section remedied for mobile viewing.

In the meantime, feel free to visit the rest of the website – http://bloodlinescreative.com

I welcome any feedback!

BloodLines Creative provides advertising and marketing communications support to a variety of consumer, B2B, non-profit and government-related clients. No project is too big, no budget is too small. If you’re looking for big idea thinking, you’ve come to the right place.

 

Blogging takes a back seat

Maybe this was inevitable. My blogging rate has been on a steady decline the past two years. Though I have vowed to blog more in earlier posts, I’ve done the exact opposite.

I don’t want to talk about politics. There’s more than enough negativity out there as it is and I’m not interested in stirring things up.

I don’t have that much to say about sports right now. The Cardinals are already on a ledge with the loss of Reyes. The Blues are doing their usual thing of stirring up hope when in reality, they probably won’t get past the first round of the playoffs. Stan Kroenke and his endless greed is old news. April 4th will determine if we get an MLS team or not and I’d probably lean not though I wish it would go the other way.

I’d like to talk about the great progress St. Louis has been making recently. At least we’re staying out of the national spotlight and I know there are great things going on in this metro area but it seems like it’s always one step forward and two steps back or maybe a little side shuffle instead.

I could talk about the work I’ve been doing – lots of video production, some new broadcast campaigns I’m working on in sync with an agency and a few new business pitches here and there – but I haven’t really created anything earth-shattering.

Then there’s my art which I continue to pursue and I’m gearing up for my first solo show since 1994. Opening night is set for Friday, March 3rd at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery. It’s now less than two weeks away and there’s still lots to do.

Every day that goes by without posting something makes it that much harder to do the next. It’s so easy to just say no.

This blog post was like a Seinfeld episode. If you read it all the way through, you realize you’ve just read something about nothing.

I’ll try and do better on the next one but if you made it this far, thanks for coming along for the ride.

 

2016 and beyond for BloodLines Creative and BloodLines Art

So on this last day of 2016, I take a few moments to look back on the year and try to project what lies ahead for 2017.

Business wise, it was a good year. Not a great year. But a good year. I worked with a variety of new clients, lost an established one and still maintain ties with a long-time relationship which is very rewarding.

Though not a paying ciient, the invite that I created for our SLUH 40th Year Reunion was great fun and so was the Reunion weekend.

Though not a paying ciient, the invite that I created for our SLUH 40th Year Reunion was great fun and so was the Reunion weekend.

I created a number of videos, helped re-vamp one client’s website and we’ll soon be launching a new branding effort for another one. I began blogging for one client, worked on some PPC ads and I’m in the midst of working on a new TV and radio campaign as well. (Sorry for not naming client names – I only do that when I have permission and for this particular piece, I’m not even bothering to ask.)

On the art side of things, I was happy with the progress I’ve made as a painter. I created 11 paintings in 2016 – I don’t exactly churn them out, but I do stay at it and I continue to try and improve my brushwork, executing a variety of ideas that come from all places but always seem to circle back to Magritte in one way or another.

This painting was probably my favorite one that I created in 2016. It will be one of more than 30 on display at a solo show coming up in March.

This painting was probably my favorite one that I created in 2016. It will be one of more than 30 on display at a solo show coming up in March.

I began to more actively market my art this year as well. I now have two websites devoted to my art: http://bloodlinesart.com and http://tom-blood.pixels.com

The first site looks nice but has basically been useless due to a lack of promotion on my part. The second site enables you to take your art and have it show up in the form of pillows, tote bags, iPhone covers, coffee mugs, greeting cards and a variety of ways to order prints. That site continues to draw about 25-50 visitors a day and I’m approaching more than 8000 views since I started it back in July. The sales effort though has been somewhat disappointing – I’ve made enough to pay for the site but that’s about it.

Nuts and Bolts - one of my 'stick' paintings looks really cool in the form of a pillow and I've sold a few of them in 2016.

Nuts and Bolts – one of my ‘stick’ paintings looks really cool in the form of a pillow and I’ve sold a few of them in 2016.

There are more than a million works of art on the website. So I’m not overly surprised that my work isn’t selling like gangbusters. I don’t do art for a living. I do it for fun. I do it because I can. And I will continue to try and get better with each painting.

Prospects for 2017 look solid for both BloodLines Creative and BloodLines Art. Currently, I have a number of projects already in the books, some that will be on-going thru the Spring. I’m hoping to have my website fully optimized by the end of January and then I’ll begin more aggressive new business pursuits.

I hope to ramp up my blogging efforts in 2017 and have them be more focused on advertising and art. I dropped off the blogosphere and I’ve lost a lot of regular readers. Hopefully, I can earn them back.

I’m going to be ramping up for my first solo art show since 1994 over the next two months. It’s going to be at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery. It’s both an art gallery and a music venue which will be awesome as I’ll have more than 30 works on display throughout the month of March. Opening night is going to be on Friday, March 3 and feature the music of Tom Blood, Jr.

More on that will be coming.

1900 Park will be the site of my first solo art show since 1994. Opening night will be on Friday, March 3rd.

1900 Park will be the site of my first solo art show since 1994. Opening night will be on Friday, March 3rd.

I have learned in this business that you never know what’s around the corner. You do your best, try your hardest, be honest with the people you work with and have fun in the process and generally, good things will happen. I have been blessed to work with so many gifted individuals through the years. I continue to learn and explore new ways to market – but bottom line, whether you’re doing a website or online ads or developing a trade show booth, you still need big ideas to stand out, get noticed and acted upon.

I’ve still got a lot of those.

Happy New Year and I’ll see you on the other side of 2017.

 

Greeting cards for sale

Some of my artwork provides unusual visuals for a variety of different kinds of greeting cards.

Some of my artwork provides unusual visuals for a variety of different kinds of greeting cards.

I decided to expand my list of offerings on my pixels website (http://tom-blood.pixels.com) to include greeting cards that have actual messages on the front of them. Will they sell?

Time will tell. Currently, I only have four options from which to choose but there are more in the works. I got the idea of adding captions to the greeting cards when looking at the thousands of choices available on the site – <a href=”http://pixels.com/shop/greeting+cards” style=”font: 10pt arial; text-decoration: underline;”>greeting cards for sale</a>

There are all kinds of striking images – but very few of them actually had any message on the outside. Those that did didn’t always seem specific to any one topic. <a href=”http://pixels.com/shop/greeting+cards/modern+art” style=”font: 10pt arial; text-decoration: underline;”>modern art greeting cards for sale</a>

Seeing that I’m a writer, it made sense to add a few captions to some of my paintings that could then create for some very interesting messaging about topics that aren’t always found in the greeting card aisle at your local store.

The featured artwork would make for a great birthday card for anyone entering middle age – that nebulous time frame between youth and old age. (Hence the rocking horse and the rocking chair.)

Here's a little card that a husband or boyfriend can send to their significant other as a means of apologizing.

Here’s a little card that a husband or boyfriend can send to their significant other as a means of apologizing.

The greeting card featured above would be a nice little ice-breaker as a means of apologizing for any potential wrong-doings done on the part of a husband or boyfriend. Would it be enough? No, but at least it could maybe break the ice and being able to personalize your message on the inside might help even more.

Here’s another painting that I have created multiple captions that I’ll soon be posting.

Know someone who lost a job or broke a leg or just had a run of bad luck? Here's a great greeting card you could send.

Know someone who lost a job or broke a leg or just had a run of bad luck? Here’s a great greeting card you could send.

I think if you search for contemporary greeting cards, you won’t find many expressing this particular thought, even if you check the contemporary art greeting card section. (<a href=”http://pixels.com/art/paintings/contemporary” style=”font: 10pt arial; text-decoration: underline;”>contemporary paintings for sale</a>)

Here’s another card that would be a fun one to give for someone’s retirement …

Here's a fun retirement card that is sure to stand out.

Here’s a fun retirement card that is sure to stand out.

You can order these cards one at a time. They’re blank on the inside and on the site you can either type in your own message or order the card and write it in once it gets sent to you. Turnaround time is generally less than a week and they’re pretty affordable, too. Soon, I’ll have more on my pixels site so consider bookmarking it and coming back to visit from time to time – I always have new art work in the works.

So check them out and who knows – you might find the perfect occasion for sending one.

All in a day’s work – augmented reality, vehicle signage and video script writing

I don’t often post about the work I’ve been doing for BloodLines Creative – which is probably bad for business. Yet I’ve been so busy doing things, including continuing to paint in the evening hours, that I just haven’t found the time – or the energy to tout some of the recent projects I’ve been involved in.

That’s okay because business continues to roll along – never at the volume that I would prefer which would be 40+ billable hours a week – but at the end of each workday, I often wonder where did the time go.

These past few weeks I’ve been working on a new business pitch and part of our proposal involved using augmented reality. In case you’re wondering, Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

In case you’d like to see it in action, here’s a little demo you can view – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaO5tXzj58U

I won’t go into the actual applications that we were proposing but suffice it to say, it has the potential to be pretty cool – if we actually get the business.

I’ve also been involved in creating new vehicle graphics for an electrical contractor we’ve been working with via The Epstein Group. Recently, we got the opportunity to see some of the new graphics put into place on a variety of vehicles in their fleet – vans, bucket trucks, pickups and even a trailer where we wrapped the entire vehicle in graphics.

What’s really exciting is this is part of a comprehensive re-branding effort that will include a new website, print and collateral materials along with new videos.

Speaking of new videos, I’ve written a number of them recently. One for a construction company, another for a new product launch along with a series of internal award videos recognizing the collective efforts of groups or individuals.

No, I’m not naming names or showing the work as some of the projects are confidential in nature or haven’t been approved for public release.

But the work has been both fun and rewarding. And I continue to learn new things and new tactics to utilize in the ever-changing world of advertising and marketing communications.

Regardless of the tactic, they still take smart, strategic thinking in order to stand out, get noticed and acted upon.

Big Ideas Start Here.

BloodLines Creative provides Big Idea Thinking to a wide variety of consumer, B2B and government-related and not-for-profit accounts. The work we do ranges from individual projects to full-scale advertising and marketing communications across all media. If you’re looking for something out-of-the-ordinary, then resist the ordinary. Give us a call at 314.973.9197 today.

MySLArt.org 33 October Show

Tom Jr. and I in front of my 3 paintings at the My SLArt.org 33 October Show

Tom Jr. and I in front of my 3 paintings at the My SLArt.org 33 October Show

It’s always fun to have your art work on display. So participating in my fourth MySLArt.org show was a treat to be a part of and getting to meet and talk with other artists who are kind of in the same boat I am always makes for an interesting evening.

I was impressed with the variety and quality of the entrants in this month’s show. There’s truly something for everyone at these events and they’re a great outlet for artists who traditionally may not be quite gallery-worthy yet – and for others that certainly are.

I enjoy seeing people walk up to my paintings, looking closely at the details and oftentimes, talking with others about what in the world is going on with what I’m showing.

It’s also fun when people come up to me and say that my work reminds them of Magritte.

That’s probably the ultimate compliment to me. As a painter, I am a novice, still learning, still trying to get better every time I start on a new canvas. Talking to other artists at the event, that’s their quest as well.

The Juror’s Choice award went to Noelle Wagner – and deservedly so. One of her works was featured as the key image for the invite and it was even better seeing it in person. Gorgeous stuff and she got my vote!

Photography by Divine XO Photography

Photography by Divine XO Photography

Hat’s off also to Ulysses Sebastian, who received the Visitor’s Choice award for three compelling photographs that had a lot of people talking. I spoke to Ulysses (who recently changed his name) about his work and about his pursuit of creating photography that made a difference. That’s really what it’s all about – pursuing your passion, putting yourself out there and always trying to get better.

I love to paint and even though the canvasses continue to stack up in our house, that’s okay.

My best paintings are still ahead of me.

Eins, zwei, drei…g’suffa!

The fourth of four posts with musings and thoughts about our recent visit to Europe.

In case you don’t understand German, that stands for “One, two, three … drink!” Seeing that our last stop on our European adventure was Munich, which included a stop at the legendary Hofbrauhaus beer hall, that statement certainly fits.

But there is so much more to Munich, the 3rd largest city in Germany. I feel like we barely scratched the surface, getting an overview of the city through one of those guided tour buses that showed you the main attractions but all you did was pass on by. There simply wasn’t enough time to really explore.

We did manage to take in some pretty cool sights, though. Our hotel was in the heart of Munich so places like the NeuesRathaus with its chiming glockenspiel was nearby.

The glockenspiel in the tower chimes at 11 am, noon and 5 pm.

The glockenspiel in the tower chimes at 11 am, noon and 5 pm.

When we bought the bus pass, we decided to make it a two-day pass so we could travel more to the outskirts of the city. One of our first stops was visiting the Nymphenburg Palace. We had already seen our fair share of palaces and elaborate grounds but the immensity of this place did make quite an impression.

The former summer residence of the Bavarian rulers.

The former summer residence of the Bavarian rulers.

After touring the insides of the palace and just a small portion of the grounds, we climbed aboard and set out for the world headquarters of BMW, which is adjacent to the Olympic Park grounds. Though I’m not a huge fan of BMers due to their high maintenance needs, I was impressed with their headquarters and their museum. The German engineering that goes into the ultimate driving machine was also on display at their complex. It was uber-modern – very sleek and cool inside and out.

Standing outside of the BMW Museum with the Olympic Tower in the background

Standing outside of the BMW Museum with the Olympic Tower in the background

We decided to take a quick jaunt through the Olympic grounds as well but an unexpected shower put that to an end. So instead we climbed back on the bus and made our way to Alliance Stadium – home of Bayern-Munich – which just so happens to be Michael’s favorite team on the planet. Unfortunately, the tour times of the stadium which took you into the locker room and onto the field didn’t coincide with our schedule. So we saw what we could, bought a few souvenirs at their gift shop and made our way back to the heart of the city where we set out on foot, ready for whatever came next.

Home of Bayern-Munich

Home of Bayern-Munich

Much to our surprise, we ran into three Mizzou students who were all touring Europe. They had been a part of Mizzou’s Prague experience the year before and Michael had met them earlier while he was in Prague. We first ran into them in Vienna and they joined us in a bier garden. Next thing we knew, they were on our tour bus for the Sound of Music tour in Salzburg. When we encountered them a third time on the streets of Munich it was totally by chance.

They told us they had just been to the Hofbrauhaus where it was totally packed with people spilling out into the street so of course, we had to check it out. And they were right. The place was rocking with singing and toasts and beer chants going on all around us. There didn’t appear to be any place to sit – until Michael discovered the second floor and we managed to get a table that had just been abandoned. There was an Ooompah Band playing, beer was flowing, pretzels and schnitzel were great.

It was a fitting ending to our Munich adventure.

Next day, it was off to Amsterdam, onward to Minneapolis and finally home to St. Louis and its 95 degree heat and reeling Cardinals.

It’s a small world after all.

 

Extending the BloodLines brand

Besides being an owner of my own advertising/marketing agency, I have two main hobbies: golf and painting.

I love doing both though it seems that this year, my golf skills are in the deteriorating mode.

Painting on the other hand, is getting slightly better since I picked it up again a little under two years ago. Since that time, I’ve done 18 different paintings.

And sold one.

That brings the total number of canvases in the Blood household to somewhere around 60-70 paintings. Long ago, when I had several gallery showings I sold about 12 paintings overall. I have never painted to earn a profit. I paint because I can and something tells me it’s a talent (miniscule though it is) that I shouldn’t let go to waste.

At the same time, all these paintings sitting around in our house, many consigned to the storage area of our basement where they sit around collecting dust really aren’t doing anyone any good at all.

So recently, I’ve been trying to up the ante to put a little more effort into selling some of my works. I joined ArtLoupe, which has been very good to me, showcasing a number of my paintings via their tweets. ArtLoupe is an app that’s a free download for your phone https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/artloupe-buy-and-sell-fine-art/id1027498940?mt=8 and it features new artwork daily. I have quite a few paintings on display but I’m not quite sure how to find me. Maybe you can figure it out.

Another effort that I’m just now beginning to have some fun with is my new Fine Art website: http://bloodlinesart.com/

It made sense to use BloodLinesArt as the name of the website. Eventually, it will link back to BloodLinesCreative.com and even though the two are separate, they’re still related.

I really like this new site, especially when viewed from my mac. If you take a visit and click on ‘Works’ you can see a lot of my paintings. Click on View all and the entire roster loads on the page. Then you can click on any one of them and they come up on screen nice and big. I really like my “Nuts and Bolts” image on the site – the photography shows up amazingly well and you can see what a strange piece of art this really is, featuring hand painted nuts and bolts embedded into a sea of blue.

All but two of the pieces are listed as being for sale.

To date, no inquiries though I plan on adding an e-commerce element to the site later on and I’ve also been contemplating turning some of my paintings into t-shirts and other assorted wearables or offering posters of them as well.

All in an effort of doing a little house cleaning.

In the near future, I also plan on contacting a number of local galleries and seeing if I can’t convince someone to offer me a show once again. The shows I had back in the early 90s all made money for the gallery owner and for me and I think the same would occur again if given the chance.

Art is meant to be seen and enjoyed and from what I’ve been told, people really enjoy my art once they see it.

We just don’t get a lot of traffic in our basement.

A return to the MySLArt.org 33 Show

Last March I decided to begin showing some of my art again and was happy to be chosen for the MySLArt.org 33 Show.

Every month, 33 artists get to display three of their works in the Old Orchard Gallery. There’s an opening night reception and the show stays up for a few weeks and it’s always a very eclectic mix of art. I was thrilled and honored at the last show when I received both the People’s Choice Award and the Juror’s Award – one of the few times that has happened at their shows.

So I’m entering again. Two relatively newer works and one old favorite. All three are quite a departure from my surrealist pursuits and after hanging the pieces tonight, it was fun to hear some of the comments on all three.

My tribute to Jackson Pollock done my own way.

My tribute to Jackson Pollock done my own way.

The featured image in this post is called “Nuts and Bolts”. I’m not really sure this is a painting. But it’s definitely art. When our family was in London, the boys and I made a visit to The Tate Modern Gallery. There you’ll find all sorts of modern art – some pieces absolutely amazing, others leave you scratching your head. I decided then and there that I was going to explore some utterly simplistic concepts and see what happened.

One of my initial thoughts was to see if I could come up with an extension of the first painting I ever sold back in 1984 at my first gallery showing. I was so thrilled to have a show and even more amazed when the gallery owner, who took a flying leap of faith on my unproven works, came up to me and said, “Well, you got your first sale!”

“Really?” I asked. “What was it?”

The gallery owner replied, “Sealed for Your Protection” – and I was amazed. That painting came about because I had a small canvas sitting around and I didn’t know what to do with it. I decided on a whim to smother it in every paint color I had, globbing it on with a palette knife, making a colorful mess of the canvas. But that seemed kind of dumb. Looking around my sloppy painting area, I noticed that I had all these little tabs from the tops of airbrush paint bottles. I picked one up and looked at it. It read, “Sealed for your protection”.

Perfect. I stuck about 60 of them into the still wet globs of paint and they literally dried around the tabs. The tabs truly were “Sealed for your protection”.

I took that basic premise and started anew and decided to do word combos. The first one that popped into my head was nuts and bolts. I had an old can full of nuts and bolts, passed on to me from my dad and I decided they needed to be painted. So over the course of three evenings, I hand painted about 40 nuts and bolts, questioning my sanity along the way. But when they were all done and I laid them out on the blank canvas I couldn’t wait to glob on the paint with my trusty palette knife.

I love the end result.

So I continued on with “Nickels and Dimes”. This time I tried spray painting the nickels and dimes but the paint didn’t adhere so I went back to hand painting each nickel and dime. I like it but not as much as “Nuts and Bolts”. Next on the agenda was “Salt and Pepper”. I searched online for salt and pepper packets but couldn’t find what I wanted so the idea was stuck in neutral. I told Tom Jr. about my plight and he surprised me one day after a visit to a local diner with about 60 packets of salt and pepper.

That one is also on display at the show and it drew rave reviews tonight. For awhile, I went back to exploring more surrealistic concepts but recently a whole flurry of word combos popped into my head, demanding to be done. I just finished my most recent one called “War and Peace”.

My latest 'stick' painting is also my new favorite.

My latest ‘stick’ painting is also my new favorite.

 

I love this piece of art. Again, whether or not it’s a painting is debatable. But it’s definitely art.

I invite you to stop by next Friday night, April 29th from 6-10 pm at the Old Orchard Gallery in Webster Groves to see all the art on display at the MySLArt.org 33 April show. Every one I’ve been to so far has been a good time. Please. Do drop in. And ask me to tell you the story behind “Purple Splatter”.

 

Writer or artist?

During the day, there’s no doubt what my profession is – I’m a writer and a creative strategist, helping companies with their marketing communications challenges.

I don’t just enjoy what I do, I love what I do.  I get as energized now about coming up with strong concepts as the day I first entered the business which, when you think about it, was truly from another era – when copywriters created their copy on manual typewriters. No, it wasn’t the Golden Age of Advertising – that was supposed to have been in the ’60s. But it was long before the internet came along, before cell phones and fax machines and the whole concept of a blog would have sounded like some sort of science fiction term.

Creative director and writer by day. But when evening rolls around, I find it more entertaining to pick up a paint brush and see if I can get better at whatever painting I happen to have in the works. So, “Writer or artist?”

Recently, the brush is winning out over the keyboard keys.

So the blog is losing momentum, losing readers and I am losing interest – to a degree.

I don’t believe I’ve gotten any business as a direct result of the content I push out. I know I’m not following all the rules of blogdom and that if I really wanted to become a Subject Matter Expert in the wonderful world of advertising and marketing communications, I’d have to always be on point and actually push out some knowledge that could be of use to people.

There are plenty of people that do that already.

So instead, I write about what interests me – and apparently, I’ve written about enough things that interests others from time to time. Since I began this blog, I’ve gotten more than 50,000 views – which initially sounds impressive. But in reality, that’s not even equal to the attendance of a bad Rams home game (not that I can write about them anymore). And when you spread those 50,000 views out over a 5-year period, the numbers begin to get smaller and smaller.

Meanwhile, my painting prowess seems to be picking up a bit more. I had a 16-year hiatus from the canvas but now, I love to have a painting in the works.

I was proud to have my work on display at the MySLArt.org first ever “Best of Showcase”. There were some very cool paintings on display and I think my work stood on its own.

Recently, I began sharing some of my paintings on a new app called ArtLoupe, put out by Art St. Louis and I was flattered yesterday to receive a message that I’ve been chosen as one of 12 artists that they will be promoting through the organization’s various social media accounts which includes over 6,000 followers. My hope for 2016 is to land a gallery show of my own and I’m going to be pursuing that over the coming months.

 

 It’s cool when other people post your work. It’s fun when other people read your work.
Bottom line, I’m going to try and do both. But right now, there’s a canvas that is calling my name.