Sunday, January 1, 2012


Did you go out and get wild and crazy last night and stay up till the cows were home in bed and the sun was high on the horizon and now all you want to do is lay quietly in a dark room with something cool on your head while the football game blares in the background and make little whimpering noises?

Get up! There’s no time to waste, it’s a new year and half a day is gone already. Have you no ambition, self-respect, drive? You have important work which needs doing and you can’t lie around all day and expect it to get done.

You have to get up and get moving, you have to create a Logo for your studio and a new and exciting name for your art. Any more wasted time and it will be too late, the shows will be taking in art and you’ll have nothing on your work, but a name and address. How can you hope to stand out if all you use is your name?

I’m sure your parents were proud and why not? You come from a long line of successful people who accomplished great things and you are carrying on the family tradition by producing the most exciting and beautiful art imaginable.

But is your name enough? I mean we did survive the fifties and sixties and those were not at all good times for parental judgment. Did you get a traditional family name? One of those names handed down by generation after generation that is so horrible any sensible person would have tossed it years ago, but you just can’t do that to the honored memory of all those ancestors who did all of that striving and warring and succeeding.

I have a pal who has one of those names, a truly terrible name, both ethnic and biblical, and frankly not something that should be done to a third-world dictator much less an innocent child, but it was done to his father and grandfather before him and the family would have insisted he do it to his children, but he fooled them by being a dedicated and confirmed bachelor and so the horrible, terrible family name will die with him.

And that horrible, terrible name isn’t even one of those dreadful sixties, drug-induced names like Moonunit or Dazzel. My own legal name is Roland, a perfectly sound and traditional name for males of European descent. It worked really well for my father, a proud and dignified man with great genes who aged well and carried himself with aristocratic grace and charm. But for a fat kid from the fifties growing up in Grand Prairie, Texas, the absolute, cultural Bermuda Triangle of North America it was a curse and a cross to bear and torture every single day of school where the teachers took great delight in making everyone use their given legal names and were completely oblivious to the snickers and jeers of the cruelest population known to man, children.

So by the time I was granted my parole from public school, the very sound of Roland was like pouring salt into a wound which had never properly healed and makes me flinch and cringe to this very day and would not ever be suitable for my use as anything other than self-flagellation.

So no legal name for my logo, and then of course the Feds went and made a big, grand Supreme Court case out of Miranda/Escobedo and ruined my last name for any use beyond jurisprudence, cause when they make it a law they drop the State case, Escobedo and just use the federal case and so it becomes Miranda and not Miranda/Escobedo and every grade-school child knows Miranda is the warning they give to people under arrest and not to art projects under consideration and that means I am totally screwed.

What to do?

Fortunately the first time I needed an identifier it was for a different kind of art, performance art, theater art and even popular art and I was free to choose any silly thing I liked, which is why I called my company Poison Pen Murder Mysteries, not to be confused with the folks working at the Red Lion calling themselves Poison Pen Players or some such.

And having decided on a name, all I needed was an instantly identifiable image to go with it. I had a wonderful shot of myself as a dead body, but that was probably too morbid, so I went off and sat and thought and pondered and came up with an idea that worked and wasn’t morbid, or creepy.

Yeppers, that’s my logo and I think it does a pretty good job of letting folks know just what they are in for.

Thank you, I like it too and yes, it does look a lot like the logo used by the ABC program Castle, except I was using it nineteen years before Castle came on the air and besides I like Castle and so I won’t sue them for Copyright infringement I’ll just say that they might have been influenced by something they saw while traveling through Dallas.

That’s what you have to do when you create a logo; it has to shout your message immediately. It should give some idea of what you are doing and it wouldn’t hurt if it hinted at what you produce.

You don’t want to be Deerstalker Studios if you aren’t talking about hunting or Sherlock Holmes. Take a look at Monte Rogers’s business card or Kelle Herrick’s; ya don’t have to be an Egyptologist to decipher what they do.

Maybe you have a great piece you’ve just completed and think it would be a wonderful ambassador for your art. Talk to one of the dozens of photographers living in and around Coos Bay and get them to take a picture. Once you have the digital file, the graphic design can be worked up by one of our local folks or if you’ve got the nerve you can use Print Shop or Microsoft Word or even the high-priced spread, PhotoShop and do your own. (I’ll just bet S.L. Donaldson knows how to use GIMP for this and might be willing to hold your hand while you find your way. Ask it’s cheaper than paying a graphic designer).

Maybe you don’t know what you want, but you won’t get any closer to finding out if you don’t start looking. We have a brand new year and time’s a wasting. Branding your art won’t do a bit of good if you don’t have a way to flog that brand whenever and wherever they’ll let you!

What’s my pal’s horrible, terrible name? I can’t tell you. That’s for him to share if he wants to, I can tell you that he goes by Jack, like his father and grandfather before him.

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