Category: Work

Santa Claus Fact Sheet

For those of you who are interested in creating content marketing material with visual impact, it’s hard to beat the incredibly effective and popular infographic. I’ve discovered that you can make fairly decent infographics using Microsoft PowerPoint. Yes, that’s right. PowerPoint.

Start by sizing your slide as “Custom” under the Page Set Up menu to create the infographic palate size you want (in this case, I went with 30 inches x 90 inches).

Slide layout settings menu
Slide layout settings menu

From there it’s simply a matter of making use of PowerPoint’s text, shape, and image tools. To create icons, combine various shapes from the shapes menu, position, color fill, and size the pieces appropriately until you have your recongizable icon, and then highlight each component (Shift+Right Click) and conjoin them as a group (there is a group option in the menu). You can then move, resize, and manipulate your icon as a single piece.

When you complete your infographic, save it as a .PNG file and share away.

I’m not much of a graphic designer, but if you are, you can produce some pretty decent results. It’s not as slick as Adobe PhotoShop or Illustrator, mind you, but it’s much more impressive than I expected, and it uses software that most business people have on their laptop already. My first shot at this is below. Happy Holidays to you, and happy content marketing.

Santa Claus Fact Sheet Infographic
Santa Claus Fact Sheet

How I Turned Sculpture into Performance Art (and Learned I was More of a Words and Ideas Guy)

Although I was eventually compelled to major in philosophy, I began college as a fine arts major. During my freshman year I took this 3-D Design course, which mainly concentrated on sculpture technique in various mixed media. Most of my work in that class was crap, although I seemed to be getting by okay grade-wise.

Eventually, however, I found myself in a panic on the Saturday night before my final project was due (on Monday). Being an undisciplined college freshman, I’d procrastinated. I hadn’t even begun!

The Big Final Project

The assignment was to create a 3-D self-portrait. This course also required students keep a a design journal documenting their creative process. The journal was turned in and evaluated with each assignment throughout the semester. This made the final project even more daunting.  I considered artistic creation to be a rather spontaneous, unplanned affair at the time. Consequently, my creative journal entries had been faked up to that point. First I’d make a sculpture. Then I’d fabricate a creation narrative to fit the piece.

For the final project I decided to start with the journal. Almost immediately the idea hit me. Why couldn’t I, in the flesh, serve as my own 3-D self-portrait? It was brilliant, primarily because it meant I didn’t have to do any actual sculpture work. I could spend the entire remaining time–which was a single day–writing the creative journal entry. I knew it needed to be a pretty powerful journal entry if I had any hope of a passing grade.

I spent Sunday writing and illustrating a powerful argument for why I was an ideal self-portrait of myself. It was a self-referential landmine, mind you, a rhetorical dance with what I would later learn that dialectal philosophers callthe problem of the identity of identity and difference.


Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Evaluation Time

On Monday morning I walked into the studio. All of my classmates were there, nervously placing their creations of papier mache, plywood, clay, and various other media onto the work tables for evaluation. I had carried a small stool to the studio, and when the professor entered the room I stood on the stool, thrust my shoulders back, stared straight ahead, and stood statue still.

“Steve, it’s either an A or an F,” the professor told me as he walked past to collect my creative journal. All of the other students looked at me wide eyed and began to whisper among themselves.

The Take Away

I received an A+ for that final project. And years later I ran into one of my fellow classmates, who told me that my performance had become something of a legend, a story that professor told to his class year after year thereafter.

Given that my best creative efforts appeared in the journal and not in the sculpture, it makes sense that I abandoned fine art as a major after that semester and eventually found my way to philosophy. I’m an ideas guy, much more suited to narrative and conceptual endeavors than the plastic arts. However, I did accomplish something in that class. I turned sculpture into performance art.