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…