A dramatic ‘before’ and ‘after’ with BloodLines Art

About two weeks ago I worked with Scott Schaefer as we set up a mini photo studio in our basement and shot more than 80 of my paintings. Scott has his own company where he markets classic Winchester hunting artwork, selling vintage posters online. It’s a thriving business and he has found a definite market niche.

I’ve been hoping to find a market niche of my own with my artwork. Currently, I have two different websites – https://bloodlinesart.com/ and https://tom-blood.pixels.com/

My bloodlinesart website seems to only be visited by other artists. And not that often. I haven’t really done any full-fledged marketing efforts to promote it and when renewal time comes around, I’m probably going to cancel it. There are lots of other places where I can showcase my art that I haven’t fully taken advantage of to date.

The pixels website, which is also called Fine Art America, has done a lot better as far as visitation. About two weeks ago, I was nearing my 10,000th visitor. They come from around the world. I’ve had views from China, Russia, Germany, the UK, France, Italy, India – and that’s just to name a few as well as people from all over the U.S.

The fun thing about the pixels website is that you can order items featuring my artwork on pillows, tote bags, iPhone cases, shower curtains and a variety of other items. Unfortunately, sales have been less than lucrative.

So I decided to try and become a bit more professional with the presentation of my art and Scott got me going with the hi-res digital images he took. But that’s just for starters as he showed me a number of photoshop treatments all designed to make your photography sharper than ever.

Here’s a pic of one of my paintings before:

A true, 'before' picture.

A true, ‘before’ picture.

And here is the same painting that was digitally photographed and saved in a much higher resolution format. (The image is a higher resolution than the download of this site allows.)

https://tom-blood.pixels.com/featured/white-thomas-blood.html

I’ve tried saving my ‘WHITE’ painting image in smaller sizes but with no luck. So please click the link to see the vibrant color and sharp detail that will now be present with virtually all of the images that I have featured on my pixels site. (While you’re there, I encourage you to see many of the other paintings I’ve done!)

To date, I’ve uploaded about 14 of them – so I have a long way to go. But already, the number of visitors has skyrocketed as I’ve had more than 1,000 new views since I began re-uploading my images. I wish I could say that the sales have skyrocketed, too. Not yet.

But I’m hopeful. I plan on launching a new e-commerce site sometime before the holiday season officially kicks off where people will be able to order prints of my work direct from me. Scott will handle the printing and shipping and together we’ll both profit.

I have a lot of fun creating my art. I hope to soon begin having more fun (and success) in my efforts to sell it.

 

 

BloodLines blogging takes a back seat

There really is no excuse why my posts have become so infrequent.

But I’m going to offer a few anyway.

Recently, I’ve been stepping up my blogging activity for a few clients. Unlike my own personal diatribes where I write about the items that are popping into my head at the time, these take a good deal of research and often multiple interviews, drafts and re-writes before we go live.

I generally don’t like to divulge client information without their permission so the clients for whom I’m creating these posts shall remain nameless. Fortunately, the number of clients continues to increase. So I find myself writing about a wide variety of topics.

I’m sure Google is confused by my browsing activity. They must think I have some fairly eccentric and quirky tastes as one day I’ll be researching the Army Corps of Engineers and the next I’ll be investigating Gmax impact testing. I’ve been fortunate enough to blog about museum exhibitions as well as new curricula being offered at university programs.

These days, I’ve been diving into swimming pool construction. Soon, I hope to be writing more about thermal power generation and posting knowledge about fluid conveyance systems. If that all sounds a little heavy-duty, it is. But it’s also quite interesting to go on a crash course of learning, consuming as much information as possible and then doing my best to digest it and create something that’s relevant and useful to the target audience I’m addressing.

My most recent painting is just one of many items that are keeping me away from regular blogging.

My most recent painting is just one of many items that are keeping me away from regular blogging.

On top of all that, I continue to try and get better as a painter. So there’s always a work that is in the works. One is awaiting more brushwork as soon as I decide that I’ve said enough regarding this particular post. I have another painting that is sketched out and waiting to show up on canvas as soon as I wrap this current one up.

So my attention has been elsewhere. That’s a good thing and a bad thing.

Good, because my business has been booming and blogging has had a lot to do with it.

Bad, because in order to keep building your business, you’ve got to keep at it, particularly when it comes to blogging.

What can I do for you?

BloodLines Creative provides a wide variety of advertising and marketing communications services to a wide variety of clients. From concept through completion, you get work that is on target and cuts through the clutter to connect with your target in a way that generates results. If you’re facing a creative challenge and you’re looking for big idea thinking without the big price tag, you’ve come to the right place.

Volkswagen gets it right this time

A few weeks ago I lambasted Volkswagen for their ‘Birds and the Bees’ commercial in which a couple love to procreate in their VW, eventually, needing a bigger model to accommodate their growing family – hence the need for the new seven-seater VW Atlas model.

Now, I’m here to sing their praises as they’ve taken another iconic song, this one Simon & Garfunkel’s classic, “America” and set it to a story that is both moving and beautifully told.

The first version I saw was 60-seconds. Here’s a link to the full :90 Volkswagen Atlas commercial – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rpq4NXtokNU

Not only is it a masterful telling of a story that connects generations, it’s also some brilliant editing of the song, making the most of the lyrics that are applicable to a cross-country voyage while cutting out the parts about being on a bus and smoking cigarettes.

One of the scenes from a new VW Atlas commercial using Simon & Garfunkel's 'America' song.

One of the scenes from a new VW Atlas commercial using Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘America’ song.

I was drawn into the story immediately. An immigrant father’s dying wish – for his wife to see America courtesy of their daughter and her own family. We see them leaving New York city behind and they’re off on their journey in the new roomy VW Atlas. Of course, that is never mentioned. They simply let the visuals of the cross-country trek unwind, managing to get in a few on-the-road shots as well as interior shots.

But it’s not about the car, it’s about the experience. We see the granddaughter, bonding with her grandmother and getting reassured from her mother that everything’s going to be okay. We’re along for the ride as we get to see the entire family taking the time to experience the many sights and sounds that America has to offer.

Sure, it’s a little sappy. But the cinematography is gorgeous. The on-going story, told through a few snippets of family interaction between various family members evolves and pulls you in. This isn’t meant to be Aunt Edna strapped to the roof of the Griswold family truckster. When they reach the coast of California and Grandma sets Grandpa’s ashes free into the Pacific ocean, I didn’t feel like the story had been trivialized.

And this time, the payoff of “Life’s as big as you make it. The all new 7-seater Volkswagen Atla” made perfect sense to me. I felt better toward Volkswagen as a company. I only wish that it had been Chevy that had jumped on this song and told the story rather than some German manufacturer.

But I don’t blame them for borrowing a bit of Americana and a classic American song called “America” to try and sell vehicles here in the good ole U.S.A. – that’s what commercialism is all about. And this one gets four stars in my playbook.

Watch the commercial. Then let me know what you think.

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.

 

 

 

An unexpected blast from the past

The music grabbed by attention and pulled me upstairs

The music from this 60-second commercial grabbed by attention and pulled me upstairs.

I was downstairs painting Thursday night, starting in on a new canvas when I heard a music track from the TV upstairs that immediately grabbed my attention.

It was the music we had created for an Infant Adoption Awareness commercial that I wrote and helped produce back in 2005 while working at Hughes.
http://bloodlinescreative.com/tv-radio-video/infant-adoption-awareness

That commercial has always been one of my favorites that I’ve written. It is simple, understated and delivers a powerful message at the end. The whole spot consists of a girl on a swing, coming in and out of the frame.

Each swing takes her higher, and with each swing, she knocks the type that’s on-screen out of the picture …
Like many kids,
she’s happy,
well-cared-for,
loved,
confident,
optimistic
and adopted.

A voiceover delivers the line, “To all those who give birth to, homes to, or just give thought to people adopted as infants … thanks for considering adoption.”

The whole purpose of the commercial was to raise awareness for the Infant Adoption Awareness Council of America. An adopted child is no different than any other child. So why not show a happy kid on a swing to help point that out?

We shot the commercial in Oakland, edited in San Francisco and used Elias Music to create the original score. That was more than a decade ago so I was truly surprised when I saw the commercial was still running.

Its message and ability to cut through the clutter was as strong now as it was back then.

That’s the power of Big Idea Thinking. That’s the power of BloodLines Creative.

 

 

 

City-County divide helps kick MLS out of St. Louis

It was an artist's rendering and that's as far as it will get.

It was an artist’s rendering and that’s as far as it will get.

Today’s lead story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch blamed the failure of the MLS stadium proposal on a large voter turnout in the City of St. Louis. That may be the case. But what really doomed the proposal is the same thing that continues to work against the St. Louis region as a whole – the separation of St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

We’ll never know for sure what would have happened had the two entities been one on this particular matter. So this is purely speculation on my part. Yet I’m convinced that had  St. Louis County been a part of this vote and had it been a single voting block of St. Louis County and St. Louis City instead of two separate entities, we’d be looking at a new stadium going up just west of Union Station.

As it was, passing two props was too much to ask of St. Louis City voters. With all that the City needs, putting the additional funding strictly on their shoulders was going to be a very tough sell. Helping to fund yet another stadium with a league that has been on shaky ground was a big enough leap of faith as it was.

Had the County been involved in the vote, even then, I’m not sure it would have passed and despite what St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger said about looking for ways to collaborate, something tells me that the city location of the stadium would have been its downfall with a County vote added to the mix.

Only when the City and County join forces will we truly see regional cooperation. Alas, I don’t think that’s going to happen in my lifetime. The divide is too deep. There are way too many kingdoms in the County that will continue to look out strictly for themselves at the expense of the rest of the region.

I know it’s not that simple.

I was bummed when the Rams left but we sealed our own fate when somebody created that lovely little opt-out in the lease. Now I’m bummed that there won’t be an MLS team to root for during the spring, summer and fall. MLS soccer would have been a fun alternative and addition to the Cardinals and with the soccer-rich tradition of St. Louis, I think the team would have caught on very quickly.

The plan would have gotten my vote.

I hope that someday, another plan will.

 

 

 

Removing Blood On The Walls

A few of the 40 paintings I had on display at 1900 Park

A few of the 40 paintings I had on display at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery.

Yesterday was kind of a sad day as we removed the 40 paintings I had on display at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery and Blood On The Walls is now a thing of the past.

All but one of the paintings made the return trip home and as we were lugging most of them into our basement, it bugged me that they were losing their public viewing place. Many of them have been returned to the stacks of paintings I have accumulated through the years and now won’t even be seen by anyone who visits our household.

We had more than 250 people attend the “Blood On The Walls” opening night reception. It was a magical evening and people truly seemed to enjoy the paintings, the music and the good times among friends. I received many compliments throughout the night on the work.

But only one buyer.

It’s hard to say if the paintings were overpriced as art is hard to put a price tag on and I’m also well aware that almost every painting I create has rather strange subject matter. I try and paint ideas. I’ve been trying to create more story appeal with my paintings or at least more mystery as to what is going on in the picture.

But it’s not exactly living room art.

Still, I don’t paint to sell. I paint because I can. I paint because it’s like a gift I have been given – and if I don’t paint, I am wasting that gift.

So I will continue to pursue more paintings based on conceptual ideas and continue to try and get better at what I do. I have completed two new paintings since the show’s opening night on March 3 and I’m about to start a new one that I’m excited to see how it develops.

Speaking of how my paintings develop, here’s a mini-slide show that features some of the steps involved in the process … https://www.facebook.com/BloodLines-Art-904202009683682/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE&fref=nf

This last show I had was my first solo show in more than 21 years. There’s no telling when the next one will be – hopefully sooner than 2038!

For now, if you went to the show and saw something you liked, it’s still available for purchase. You can see a lot of my work when you visit http://tom-blood.pixels.com

On that site you can also order prints of my work (at much lower prices than the paintings) as well as purchase my art on tote bags, iPhone cases, pillows, coffee mugs, t-shirts – even shower curtains.

Available for purchase at http://tom-blood.pixels.com

Available for purchase at http://tom-blood.pixels.com

Available for purchase at http://tom-blood.pixels.com

“Balloon Girls” throw pillow – http://tom-blood.pixels.com

20170209_180726

“Head In the Cloud” iPhone case – http://tom-blood.pixels.com

I invite you to explore the site – in less than a year, it’s had almost 10,000 visitors from around the world and I’ve made sales from California to New York so you’d be buying work from a nationally-renowned and internationally recognized artist if you do make a purchase.

Or, if you’d like to free a painting from the depths of our basement, let me know what you like, make me an offer and perhaps I’ll agree to let you give it a new home.

In the meantime, it’s back to work.

 

 

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.

 

A fond farewell to MU’s Kim Anderson

Tonight will probably be Kim Anderson's last game on the sidelines for the Tigers. Photo: Columbia Daily Tribune

Tonight will probably be Kim Anderson’s last game on the sidelines for the Tigers.
Photo: Columbia Daily Tribune

In what was one of the biggest surprises in early March Madness, the Missouri Tigers somehow managed to beat Auburn University last night in first round action of the SEC Tournament.

I thought for sure that last night would have been Kim Anderson’s final game on the sidelines as the University of Missouri head basketball coach – but some ineptitude on Auburn’s part in dribbling the ball down the court and some improbable 3-point shots that actually went in for a change allowed the Tigers to prolong this train-wreck of a season for another night.

I wasn’t thrilled when Kim was hired to replace Frank Haith. It just didn’t seem like a smart move to me even though he was a much-loved former Mizzou hoopster and had a strong alumni contingent pulling for him to get the coaching opportunity.

Three seasons came and went and basketball at Mizzou has gone from bad to worse.

Kim might have been an okay coach. He might even be a good coach. But as for recruiting, not so much. There are some pretty strong basketball players here in the state of Missouri. Most of them end up going somewhere other than Mizzou. And who can blame them?

The program has been on its heels probably dating back to when they brought in Quinn Snyder. His teams managed to make the tournament quite often but there were multiple off-the-court incidents that led to his departure. Mike Anderson was a tough coach and his teams did well. But there were still underlying problems that led to potential NCAA violations so when his alma mater called, he was gone, leaving a few more potential investigations behind in his wake.

Frank Haith didn’t do the program any favors, either, and he left the program in even greater disrepair.

So Kim had a mess on his hands before a whistle was ever blown. Personally, I think his gruff demeanor and total by-the-rules coaching style didn’t jive too well with the players he inherited – so many of them left. And he couldn’t bring in the caliber of players needed to get the program back on its feet again.

So tonight, (barring another March act of madness) will be Kim’s last hurrah. It was cool seeing him give Terrence Phillips what I thought was a final hug for both of them after Phillips had fouled out.

It’s hard to judge the intangibles of what Kim does behind the scenes. Ultimately, in college sports, it’s all about wins and losses. And for that, Kim now owns the worst three losing seasons in Missouri college history.

The only way the program can go, in theory at least, is up. I’m hoping this next coaching hire is the start.

 

Reliving moments from Blood On The Walls

Just a few of the more than 200 friends, family members and work associates who attended opening night festivities at Blood On The Walls at 1900 Park.

Just a few of the more than 200 friends, family members and work associates who attended opening night festivities at Blood On The Walls at 1900 Park.

Last November, I learned that I’d be having my first gallery showing in more than 21 years. It would take place at 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery and would feature at least 30 of my modern art and surrealist paintings, accompanied by the music of Tom Jr. and friends.

I was truly excited but March 3rd was a long time away back in early November. I began compiling a to-do list, starting with the overall invite. Initially, we were going to title the event “The Tom Blood Experience” – but since Tom was only playing for the opening night reception and because that title seemed a little self-serving to me, I opted instead for “Blood On The Walls”. It was simple. It was memorable. And it pretty much described what attendees would see – lots of paintings by Tom Blood, hanging on the walls.

The holidays came and went. I developed the invite and then began pushing it out, setting up a Facebook event page as well as personally inviting friends, family members and work associates both past and present. Tom Jr. began his portion of the event as well, working with several of his musician friends to plan the evening’s musical entertainment.

People began to RSVP, starting slow, but as of last week, the number eclipsed 200 and I was fairly confident, even with multiple no-shows, that we would have a great crowd on hand.

Tom and I made the painting selections, narrowing the number of choices down from more than 50 to what I thought might be a too many number of 40. It turned out to be just right. I created explanations for each of the paintings, trying to give viewers a glimpse into my thought process behind the painting and I’m glad I did as I thoroughly enjoyed watching people read the captions, then look back up at the painting.

It’s kind of unnerving when you see so many people staring at art that you created. But that’s why art exists – to be viewed and enjoyed and interpreted. It was so refreshing to unleash some of these paintings, getting them out of my basement and into a gallery.

It felt like they belonged.

The show officially got underway at 6:30. By that time, we already had more than 20 people wandering around. I was raffling off several items from my http://tom-blood.pixels.com site and the jars quickly began to fill.

People kept pouring through the doors. Cousins. High-school and college buddies. People I’ve worked with through my many years in advertising. Fellow parishioners from St. Gerard-Majella. Tom drew his own crowd and it was such a cool mix of people.

Tom and his musician friends made some magical melodies.

Tom and his musician friends made some magical melodies.

I wanted to talk to everyone – which made my attention span almost gnat-like. Every time I’d be talking to someone, someone new would enter and tap me on the shoulder or give me a hug.

At one point, I stepped off to the side and just gazed at the crowd. Though it wasn’t wall-to-wall people, it was crowded everywhere you looked. The band was jamming and I smiled to myself, knowing that, like all things, the evening would come and it would go.

By the end of the evening, I had lost my voice. Already, I was looking back, wishing I would have made an appeal for people to toss in a few bucks for the great music that was played. I wish I could have personally thanked every single person who came, (though I certainly tried.) I wish I could do it all again and savor the joy and warmth and friendship and soak in all the many compliments I heard throughout the night.

But the Opening Night Reception of Blood On The Walls is now in the past.

And all I can do is press onward and keep painting to assure that the next event comes a little sooner than 21 years from now.

Thanks to all who made this special night one for the memory books.

I shall return.

To see some of Tom’s work, visit http://tom-blood.pixels.com – there, you can order prints or a wide variety of items featuring Tom’s artwork to turn ordinary items like iPhone cases or pillows or tote bags into conversation pieces.

Getting ready for Show time

Blood On The Walls is the aptly named title of my upcoming solo art show at 1900 Park - Creative Space and Gallery.

A portion of the invite created for my upcoming solo art show.

I’m glad there’s still a fair amount of time until my first solo art show since 1994. I’m going to need it.

The Opening Reception will be on Friday night, March 3 – still more than 40 days away yet it seems much closer than that to me. Once I had heard that 1900 Park – Creative Space and Gallery was willing to give me a solo show, it sent my planning wheels into motion.

That was back in early November which now seems like a long, long time ago. I knew that I needed to wait until after the new year came and went before pushing out in too big a way. But now that January is in its final week, it’s time to start ramping up the planning.

Invites were created and a good deal of them have been sent out – but not all of them as my list continues to evolve. Since Tom Jr. is going to be the featured musical entertainment the night of the opening reception, we were initially calling the evening, “The Tom Blood Experience”.

Though I liked the title, it didn’t quite seem right to me. Plus, the show will be up throughout most of the month of March and just calling my artwork ‘The Tom Blood Experience’ wasn’t making sense to me. When you have a last name like mine, you might as well capitalize on it – thus ‘Blood on the Walls’ seemed to be an interesting and memorable name for a collection of my artwork that would be hanging on the walls.

So I went with it.

I intend to try and showcase some of the many objects that my art can appear on as well – pillows, iPhone cases, greeting cards, tote bags – the bright, colorful and often quite weird subject matter of what I paint just might be a good conversation starter. So I’ve ordered a number of items that we’ll have on display the evening of the event.

Here's a little card that a husband or boyfriend can send to their significant other as a means of apologizing. I wrote some copy for the insides that turns this into a pretty cool card and will have it on display at the show.

Here’s a little card that a husband or boyfriend can send to their significant other as a means of apologizing. I wrote some copy for the insides that turns this into a pretty cool card and will have it on display at the show.

Something's Wrong with America throw pillow. No, I won't have this one at the show, but there will be another one that looks pretty cool.

Something’s Wrong with America throw pillow. No, I won’t have this one at the show, but there will be another one that looks pretty cool.

So far, the biggest challenge is figuring out just how many people are going to show up. That’s always your biggest fear – “What if we have the show and nobody comes?”

I don’t think that’s going to happen. Rather, it’s trying to figure out, “What if we have the show and everybody comes?” 1900 Park isn’t a huge facility. Still, I think they can handle a crowd and I’m sure they’ve had big turnouts before.

So we’re trying to figure out a food and drink allotment and be ready for anything.

Choosing which particular pieces I’m putting into the show remains a work in progress as well. There will be more than 30 paintings on display. Just how many, I’m still not quite sure. But each one will have a title, a price tag and a brief explanation as to what in the world I was thinking when I created it.

I'll try and give some kind of explanation as to the meaning of this painting at my upcoming show at 1900 Park on March 3rd.

I’ll provide some kind of explanation as to the meaning of this painting at my upcoming show at 1900 Park on March 3rd.

There’s a lot more that’s going to go into this show. Tom Jr. has to work out his playlist. We’re ordering specially made t-shirts for the event (that will also be available for online purchase), There might be hand-outs and who knows what else.

So as of now, time is on my side. I’m excited about the opportunity. And even though February only has 28 days, it’s going to be a long, long month.