Surprising combinations

Several years ago, my wife Sarah and I went to New York City to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. The trip was enchanted. We got to see a Matthew Barney exhibition at the Guggenheim, went to the Met, did Central Park, and got to see the Yankees and Red Sox play in Yankee Stadium. I also got to see Sarah's supreme navigational skills in action for the first time. But, the experience that left the most lasting impression was our dinner at John's Pizzeria

John's on 44th Street occupies an old church (complete with stained glass windows) and has two brick wood-fired ovens in opposing corners of the dining room. The pizza was amazing, the atmosphere was wonderful, but the most memorable part of the experience is what happened while we waited for our pizza. 

A group of young adults quietly gathered on the arced balcony overhead. Their director came half-way down the staircase and put his arms up. It's been said that music is the universal language, and I agree. I couldn't understand the words they were singing, but their collective voices spoke to me. I distinctly recall thinking, "This is what makes New York amazing. This is the kind of impromptu goodness you'd never get in..."

Last Saturday, Sarah and I took little Simeon out to the Oldfields Gardens on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art (IMA) to be kissed by the sun and let him explore the forest of grass. As we played and baited Simeon to crawl from here to there, I noticed a man walking off into a clearing north of the rose garden with what I thought to be a tripod. It wasn't a tripod at all. No, not a tripod at all.


This bagpiper found a spot with only trees within stone's throw, warmed up for a few measures, and then started playing — beautifully. I thought back to the musical experience in New York, and was equally surprised and delighted that similar impromptu goodness was happening right here in my fair city. 

Then I started thinking about how I never would have paired the serenity of the IMA gardens and bagpipes as a winning combination. When I shared my thought with Sarah, she said quite Sarah-ly, "Well, it's not exactly the kind of instrument you can practice in the house."


One proud art director

I rarely, if ever, mention my profession or talk shop on this forum. But, I'm particularly proud of this project I worked on for Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL) in collaboration with my Creative Director, Jenn Berry, copywriter, Colin Dullaghan and illustrator, Penelope Dullaghan.

IPL sponsors tons of worthy causes over the course of the year, and those sponsorships often come with ad space in programs and the like. As you might imagine, the ads are placed in a wide range of publications. We did ads that focused on causes in the following areas: The Arts, Diversity, Environment, Social Outreach, Sports and Education. While IPL is an energy provider, we wanted to focus on the worth-while causes that people use their energy on to make our community a better place. It's a bold thing for a company to focus on someone other than themselves.

I am really proud of our client for having the vision and willingness to do something completely different from the rest of the sponsorship ad landscape, and totally different from what you'd expect to see from an electric utility. I'm really proud of the writing that begged to be brought to life with some expressive typography. And I'm really proud of the illustrations themselves. Do yourself a favor and flip through the book below. Don't forget to zoom in and check out some of the subtle and beautiful details and textures. I think you'll like them.

As a project winds down, I'm typically eager to move on to the next thing. I'm more of a starter than finisher. But, I would have been happy to just keep producing these babies.