April 10th, 2007

While working on the site for Wreck this Journal i noticed an incoming link from the blog for the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency in Toronto called “the fruits of imagination”. When I clicked on it I found this post. (you must go read it so you will understand my response.)
and as you may have already seen, I posted the following response:
ha ha! oh the great irony to all of this jason is that many years ago when i was a fledgling illustrator i packed up my tidy little portfolio and made a trip to the leo burnett agency in hopes of finding some work. i do not recall who looked at my portfolio (it’s possible it was a drop off), but no work ensued.
one might consider this a great gift because in due time i was to learn that i had no interest in pursuing advertising work (in fact i have turned away from the medium entirely), but instead I would eventually focus my energy on writing books, thus illustrating and devloping my own ideas. maybe I should thank leo burnett in part for my current success.
i am greatly flattered and humbled that you look to my work for inspiration. (and also to be positioned beside miranda july, someone i greatly admire.)
thank you for the post.

This just proves that sometimes (always) the universe knows better than you do.
Thank you Leo Burnett. Rejection is not always the terrible thing it appears to be when you are in it. Sometimes it is a great gift, you just have to wait to see what form it might possibly take later.

April 9th, 2007

I am currently battling a cold that seems to be unwilling to release it’s grip (i thought I was winning for the last couple of days) but I feel compelled to post these images I found in the recent issue of adbusters. If i ever had doubts about my crusade against the proliferation of advertising in the modern world (which are actually few to none these days), these images help to erase them completely.
The first image is a playground in India. I need not write any of my own feelings about this here, instead I’ll let you experience your own reaction. suffice to say this is not the kind of world i want to live in.

The second image I am sad to say is from my country’s national newspaper, The Globe and Mail. What is happening in this instance is that the lines between advertising and content are blurred in a literal way, (the fries are actually the article). I suppose one could say that ‘at least they are not hiding their intent’. But I can pretty much guarantee that the article is not about healthy eating, (this would never be allowed). Those who argue that advertising does not affect content have no basis for an argument in this case.

Further reading of the issue reveals that according to some new poll data by Yankelovich the number of ads that an average urban dweller in a rich nation is exposed to on a daily basis has increased from 3,000 to 5,000. Recently an artist created this video which demonstrates how this is possible. (link via the anti-advertising agency).
i must add another link found at the aaa which had me laughing out loud. I can say that I wholeheartedly echo David Lynch’s feelings on the subject of product placement.
correction: as one sleuth-like reader has uncovered, the “fries editorial” was run as an ad only, not as a combination editorial/ad (I misunderstood the article it seems). thank you ann for doing this investigation.

April 3rd, 2007

For years I have been searching for a copy of “Wandering” by Herman Hesse. Long out of print, it is a hard title to find, and on occasion very expensive due to it’s elusiveness. While browsing contentedly in the RPI library I found an old copy of it, to my delight. Not only was this title there, but with it a whole shelf devoted to mr. hesse himself, full of old volumes, (for these are the ones i covet most). On this particular day there were two co-incidences that occurred (if indeed there are such things). but as I have mentioned before, my life seems full of them, one thing linked to another in some endless cycle of connectedness.
the first connection was that on this day I had been watching a short video of Milton Glaser, and later reading aloud a quote of his to my husband. When i picked up the hesse book i noticed that it was none other than glaser that had desgined the cover.
the second connection was that as you will notice in the previous post i spoke in earnest about the importance of talking to the trees. so i was excited to open up the hesse book to an excerpt precisely on this subject. not only advocating the practice of it but also interpreting the language in a very distinct way. I found this passage to be wonderfully profound, and while the references to god at times push my own more secular beliefs (read: non-religious), I think mr. Hesse in his interpretation has brilliantly presented a metaphor for life and sprirituality that many of us would benefit from hearing (at a time when we are feeling somewhat out of touch with the natural world/sense of spirituality). And I think it deserves to be read by as many people as possible, and even passed around at will.
(note to the publisher: if you do not like that fact that I am reproducing this text here, PLEASE PUT THE BOOK BACK IN PRINT! until you do i will be quoting passages at length, because quite honestly you could quote almost the whole thing. had i my own copy it would most definitely be underlined in it’s entirety. and dog eared.)
And so for my readers, an excerpt from Herman Hesse’s “Wandering”:
(forgive me for quoting the whole thing, but i really couldn’t cut any of it.) Read on if you feel so inclined. and then read it again. memorize it so that it’s truth can live on in your body and you will always know it.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. The do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neighter here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’ suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts. Trees have long thought, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives that ours. The are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve and incomparable joy. Whoever has leaned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.

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