BT_2013AddyAdNew endeavors come with great risk.

My friends, many of you know already, but on Jan 18th I left my job as the Creative Director of the digital company StormFrog to form my own advertising agency with my good friend Courtney Smith. We call ourselves Brandtatorship. We’re a boutique agency that’s focused to help companies take charge of their brand. When you have a moment, follow us on Twitter: @brandtatorship and like us on Facebook and join our social conversation.

The outpouring of support from the Ad Community has been overwhelming, comforting, and humbling. The agency really doesn’t take shape without the expertise of Mr. Fishingpoet who’s one of the best writers in the city of Rochester. But ultimately our agency survives on what we do from this point forward, not on what we did in the past. We are up for the challenge. New endeavors may come with great risk, but great risk promotes trepidation. Sleepless nights, and lots of stress. But it’s all good, because it’s ours. Just a few weeks in, and I love it.

These are exciting times, as Matt says: “Step into traffic. Live deliberately. Forge ideas.”


Wonderland II

Finally. The mushrooms are done. The designs are finished. The 24th annual fundraiser for the Golisano Children’s Hospital has come to a close. The event is over. The balloons have fallen, the money has been raised. This was the largest event in recent memory for the hospital. Over 900 people joined together to celebrate one night in Wonderland. My mind and body have endured a lack of sleep not witnessed since Rebekah was a newborn. My lungs, still heavy from the contact high from the mushrooms, welcome the time to heal. It was the most rewarding design project I’ve been able to be a part of to date as a Creative Director. Large scale mushrooms, 8 in all, invites, signs, ads, and the custom deck of 52 playing cards which is a bucket list design project for me that lived up to the 20 year wait. Over 20 custom illustrations don the face and numbered cards. Carrie Perlet, the Art Director, at Brite computers was a big help in the overall execution of the playing cards. They would not have happened without her help. All the copywriting was by Robin Lohkamp and Courtney kept me on track to finish in time.

Would I do it all again? Absolutely… next year is the silver anniversary.

Here are some photos from the night.


In the spring when my friend and fellow co-worker Courtney asked me to be involved with the Golisano Children’s Hospital Annual Fundraiser Gala I said “Sure” before really knowing what I was getting myself into. It didn’t take me long to realize that it was a very good decision. The children’s hospital is very important to her so in turn it’s important to me. We landed on the theme of Wonderland (as in Alice in Wonderland) and went right into concepting. Alice in Wonderland could be viewed as a tired concept, and my challenge was to give the gala a fresh perspective. I focused my attention around the Queen of Hearts and my interpretation on her flower found on the Queen’s face card, I did some custom illustrations for the invites and graphics, and overall am very happy with the outcome.

My theater set design background also has also come in handy. Courtney had given me the freedom to concept out the set designs for the entire night. One idea was building large scale mushrooms for the gala. So far I have made two, and hope to make a lot more. (Though I’m quickly running out of time, the gala is at the end of October.) The following pictures detail my process from start to finish for creating the large scale mushrooms.

I started with a sheet of 4’x8′ insulation foam that was cut, glued and stacked. Then carved by hand with a blade. And sanded smooth with my blocks and electric sander. Meanwhile I made the stems out of pvc pipe. Next I covered the mushrooms with an epoxy resin used in fiberglass construction. Then puddy some of the larger holes. Primed white, and finally painted with color. The large one stands over 7′ tall the small one is about 4′. Like I said. These are two of many I need to make. I had originally thought to make about 14, but in order to do that I would have needed to start last month, and well there was ceramic tile to lay, and a house to renovate. So as for the final number of mushrooms, well we’ll see how it goes.

Now Carrie and I need to finish the custom deck of 52 playing cards…

RPO Brand Illustrations

Last year I dedicated a lot of time in creating some brand illustrations for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) to use in their marketing communications. They have been one of my clients for several years now and they could not be a more appreciative organization to work for. These illustrations incorporated a color palate inspired by Maxfield Parrish, the accomplished American painter. One of his most famous works “The Lute Players” hangs in the Kodak Hall, at the Eastman Theatre in downtown Rochester New York. The original has since been moved to preserve it for future generations to enjoy. The Lute Players currently resides inside the Memorial Art Gallery, and a Kodak reproduction now hangs where the original once was. This campaign consists of the illustrations, posters, note cards, and the Bravo program covers. Many thanks to the four writers that helped craft the copy for this campaign… Matt Smythe, Matt Conn, Greg Shainman, and Angelo Juliano. The work was recognized at the 2010 RAF Addy Awards and thanks to can be seen online here.

Click the link here, and become a fan of the RPO on Facebook. Go see a performance or two this year.  The economy is on it’s way back, they are a cultural gem, and their performances are beyond measure.

Now, on to the work:

The Trombone.

The Trumpet.

The Bows.

The French Horn.

The Timpani.

The Clarinet.

The Piano.

The Upright Bass.

I’m planning to print, frame and sell these illustrations at some point,  so if your interested let me know and I will certainly expedite that process.

RPO Symphony Showhouse Illustrations

A series of posters designed to commemorate the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO) Symphony Showhouse. A RPO fundraiser featuring the work of leading area designers and the Ellwanger Estate, a home once belonging to George Ellwanger, the horticulturalist and visionary whose sprawling nursery earned Rochester its nickname: the Flower City. A series of custom illustrations for the posters were created to reflect unique characteristics of the 19th century home. The Pipe Organ, the Landmark Society Gardens, the Carriage House, the Architecture of Fletcher Steele, the Historic Bird House, and the Ellwanger Estate itself.
These illustrations won an Addy, as well as NY District2 Gold. The posters are currently in the international 2010 Graphis Poster Design Annual. These illustrations also recieved Special Judges Recognition for illustration, at the 2009 RAF Addy Awards. Hey, that’s the third straight year!