W Fort Lauderdale – Carpe Nocturne

June 22, 2009 at 8:48 pm (Florida, Fort Lauderdale, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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The W Fort Lauderdale is quite beautiful. We joined a few friends at Whiskey Blue, the sexy and sophisticated bar owned by Rande Gerber. The atmosphere is fantastic, chrome colored fixtures hang from the ceiling – some of which end with a gentle blue glow, there’s semi-private seating available, and an overall good vibe to the place. After spending some time there our group explored the hotel. Not being a guest I cannot speak for the rooms, but the fitness area and spa entry looked very well done.

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During our exploration we made our way to the pool deck on the ocean side of the building. This is not your ordinary swimming hole. A glass-enclosed staircase bisects the pool allowing patrons to look at swimmers as though they were fish in a giant tank. The staircase leads to the Living Room underneath the pool. The trendy lounge setting of the Living Room is complete with books, board games, and even billiards! Tensile structure ceiling pieces define small VIP areas that fall in front of the linear bar, and did I mention there’s an outdoor terrace complete with a fire pit!

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I plan to go visit the hotel again during daylight hours to see swimmers in the pool, and continue to explore their “balance of style and soul.” Thanks to my friends at O’Connell & Goldberg for recommending a visit to the hotel.

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Photo Walk’n – Part 2

June 21, 2009 at 11:09 pm (Art Event, Design Events, Education, Florida, free, Graphic Design, Miami, networking, photo walk, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Photowalk shirts

There’s less than a month to go until Scott Kelby’s Second Annual Worldwide Photo Walk! As I mentioned in a previous post, I will be doing the South Beach walk on Miami Beach July 18th.

The anticipation builds each day that we get closer to the event. According to the website there are now “over 17,000 people signed up for over 1,000 walks around the world…” To add to the excitement Nikon and X-Rite recently signed up as sponsors. Being a Nikon guy, this is great news – they’re giving away a D700 and 24-200mm lens as one of the prizes.

For the second annual walk, Towner Jones Photography created a special T-shirt. Not only is it special because it’s branded to the event, but $5 from every order goes to the Springs of Hope Kenya Orphanage.

I hope you all join a walk in your area; this is going to be a great event!

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The New Normal

June 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm (Design, economy, unemployment) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

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Last night we watched part one of the New Normal, a 20/20 special on ABC. One of the stories, Workers Learn New Skills, showed how cotton farmers in Mississippi are now planting corn and beans, and how a former car plant, MasTech, in Manistee County, Michigan has been retooled to produce wind turbine generators (you can have one for around $8K).

What does this have to do with design? Well, as designers we are noticing a trend where we have to adapt, too. Many web companies are no longer looking for that extremely specialized graphics guru who can turn a design over the programmers to figure out how to make it work. They want someone who can design it to look beautiful, and program it to work.

Just like the auto manufacturer who took the welding, machining, and assembling process for cars and repurposed their skills for a new product, I have transformed a bulk of my skill sets to other industries. Where the majority of my design work was in exhibit, set, and environmental graphic design, now the greater part is in logos, branding, and illustration. In addition to just design, I have also transitioned into a Manufacturer’s Representative position at a signage company.

The Plant Manager of MasTech is challenging us to “think the same way.” It’s time to retool and repurpose our skills for the new economy. So go look at previously unthought-of avenues for your skills – I wish you luck.

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Spring Portfolio Review – Day 2

June 18, 2009 at 6:39 pm (Art, Art Event, Design, Design Events, Education, Florida, Fort Lauderdale, free, networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

From left to right: Event Flier, Fondant Monkeys, James Vincent, Sarah Tarbett, Mike Gaitan, Dan Burgos

Today I visited my alma mater, The Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale, for their portfolio review. The work was good as usual. The Industrial Design department had a fairly good showing of design for manufacturing, design process, rapid prototyping, etc. Graphic’s print portfolios were executed with technical skill, and Animation had a good mix of 2D & 3D work. Unfortunately I did not have time to visit every major, or look deeply through many portfolios. What I did see was presented professionally and beautifully. One of the aspects that stood out was the display of cakes that lined the entry wall to presentation room. Though not created by graduates, these fondant-decorated creations from the Advance Pastry & Display Class led by Chef Peter R. Babcock were a welcome addition to the day. Congratulations to the all of the Spring 2009 graduates!

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Photo Walk’n – Part 1

June 18, 2009 at 8:31 am (Art, Art Event, Design, Design Events, Education, Florida, free, Graphic Design, Miami, networking, photo walk, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Photo WalkGot plans for Saturday July 18th?

No? Well now you do.

Already have plans – break them.

That is the day of Scott Kelby’s 2nd Annual Worldwide Photo Walk sponsored by NAPP and Adobe.

What is a photo walk you ask? Here’s a quote from the website:
It’s a social photography event where photographers get together, usually in a downtown area or trendy section of town, to walk around, shoot photos, and generally have fun with other photographers.

In other words, get a camera – film, point-and-shoot, digital SLR, or anything that can take a picture (I’d be ecstatic to see a Kodak Brownie Box) – grab some friends, and join a walk in your area. I am doing the one on South Beach in Miami, Florida. I was part of the group that shot Lincoln Road in Miami last year for this event.

It will be fun, so whether you’re a professional, hobbyist, or just looking for something different to do. I hope to see you there!

Worldwide Phot Walk

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Spring Portfolio Review – Day 1

June 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm (Art, Art Event, Design, Design Events, Education, Florida, Miami, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

From left to right: Event Flier, Catalina Peidrahita, Jennifer Negron, Carmen Guadalupe, Guillermo Piloto, Veronica Cabrera

Today was the portfolio review for the latest graduating class from Miami International University of Art & Design. The showing was impressive from all majors – a very strong graduating class overall. One of the strongest portfolios came from Ozzie Martinez graduating from the Computer Animation Department. The strongest department was Visual Arts. The whole department had an impressive showing and the graduates went above and beyond in self-branding. They gave out custom made puzzles, magnets, goody bags, even dog tags – yes, dog tags branded with the graduate’s contact information.

If you are looking for some new blood, a little inspiration, or just need an excuse to get out of the office, I recommend going to one of these portfolio reviews. I hope to be attending the one for the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow.

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Art + Design Night – Miami Design District

June 14, 2009 at 5:44 pm (Art, Art + Design Night, Art Event, Design, Design Events, Florida, free, Gallery Opening, Miami, photography, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Design_District_061309Art + Design Night – Miami Design District

June 13 was the monthly nighttime gallery walk in the Miami Design District. The monthly event allows people to escape the real world for a few hours and stroll through art galleries, shows, and special exhibits.

This month’s was no exception with the opening of the “Gender Bender” photo exhibit by Kat Rabbitt. The gallery showcased gender-bending models photographed on the streets of South Florida. My favorite part was Kat’s juxtaposition between her usually joyous models set against the mix of emotions displayed in the faces of the unsuspecting passerby. Some looked amused, others horrified, and still some looked completely unfazed. And of course some of the “lady’s” were on hand to promote the event.

Next door to the Gender Bender exhibit was the opening of “Against All Odds” with the works of Mari Carmen Fernandez and Ines Rojas. Fernandez’s glazed canvases and bright colors were quite striking, while Rojas’ reincarnated car parts-cum-sculptures where very interesting in their new form and function as lamps, lanterns, and decorative pieces.

The night was great. Live music, open galleries, wine and cheese – what else could you ask for?

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Freelance Camp/LaidOff Camp Miami

June 14, 2009 at 3:32 pm (Design Events, Education, Florida, free, Miami, networking, social event, Social Events & Networking, South Florida) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Laid Off Camp

Freelance Camp/LaidOff Camp Miami on June 6th was a good time. I was a bit apprehensive at first, thinking that it was going to be a bunch of people moping around begging for jobs. This couldn’t have been further from the truth. Here’s a quick recap of how I spent my day:

One of the most interesting events outside of the presentations was the elevator pitch booth. This allowed attendees to talk on camera for 60-seconds as if they were alone in an elevator with a corporate exec and only had that short period time to make a memorable statement about their business.

Jorge Lázaro Díaz (www.careerjockey.org) made a strong presentation about networking mentality. Within his presentation he discussed ineffective job hunt activities, job hunt activities that work, and his most important advice about networking was to keep your message to other people clear, concise, and memorable.

Ray Knight, Chief Envisioneer Officer of RaynMaker (www.raynmaker.com), presented a short, impromptu, speech followed by a small group discussion. He message was simple – we have to rethink the way we sell our businesses, our products, and ourselves.  Everyone is bombarded with sales pitches all day everyday, so how can we do this differently? He presented the advantages and disadvantages of strategic alliances. I would enjoy seeing a presentation form him that dives deeper into these network strategies.

Patrick Barbanes (www.patrickbarbanes.com) gave a great presentation about Linkedin. It was entertaining and informative. The only drawback was that his time slot was too short. I hope he has the opportunity to have an hour-long presentation about getting the most out of Linkedin in the future.

The last presentation was a panel discussion regarding social media. Mediated by Rick Tuttle, the panel consisted of Craig Agranoff, Maria De Los Angeles, and Yvette Ferry. Collectively they addressed the importance of social media in business and personal relationships. The discussion also morphed into some quality information on keeping up with all this media by utilizing RSS feeds and services like Google™ Reader.

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