Harmonica Heroes

Harmonica Masters, David Barrett, Kinya Pollard and Joe Felisko


There are many times we believe we are alone in what we do. We for­get all those who have made who we are to be a daily reality.

We must think hard and remem­ber care­fully the many times chal­lenges that have come our way and the many souls who have made it pos­si­ble for us to make it through those times of hard­ship and frus­tra­tion which even­tu­ally have turned to suc­cess only because some­where deep inside we have the answer an answer given to us many years ago or just yes­ter­day by another friend brother or men­tor.
Think on this for a moment and you will remem­ber the many moments, thoughts and ideas we have been ben­e­fi­cia­ries of. Har­mon­ica a very small instru­ment and yet very com­pli­cated and very rich with dynam­ics, dynam­ics that take many years to under­stand and dis­cover. Teach­ers who have spent many years and dis­cov­ered the secrets of these instru­ments and are will­ing to share them with us are the dif­fer­ence. David Bar­rett, Kenya Pol­lard and Joe Felisko were the ones in my life who made the dif­fer­ence. I am in a place today I would never be in if it wasn’t for their insights and many years of prac­tice they put into the instru­ment and are will­ing to share with us those insights we need and would take us years to dis­cover on our own. Yes we must put those same years in our­selves to become great at play­ing this very sim­ple instru­ment, but their input works in our hearts, souls and minds and gives us the power to leapfrog into play­ing as we never imag­ined we would. Some­thing that would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the input these play­ers have given us.
Take a moment and reach out to those who have made a dif­fer­ence to you and let them know that with­out them your road would have been longer and harder and you may have never reached the other side. Remem­ber and be grate­ful.
Reach out and thank them. They may need the input and you and you will grow in under­stand­ing when you stop and think for a while.

Steve Jobs, Inspiration Remembered

Steve Jobs painting

Steve Jobs by David Hopson
























We live every day with his inspi­ra­tion, we carry it in our pock­ets, our back­packs,
we sit in front of it.

We look into it for inspi­ra­tion, we cre­ate with it. The chain is unend­ing.
It is with great joy that I remem­ber Steve, his inspi­ra­tion is still
at work today as it will always be in days to come.



A good friend once told me to write about what I love.

ARTIST: 5 of my Top Inspirators

In his life­time he was also often called Il Divino (“the divine one”).
Lived and ded­i­cated 88 yrs to pas­sion and art. One of the qual­i­ties most admired by his
con­tem­po­raries was his abil­ity to cre­ate a sense of awe-inspiring grandeur in his art.
His pas­sion lives on in his art and the many he has inspired like me.

Leonardo da Vinci:
His incred­i­ble imag­i­na­tion, his appetite for inven­tion and his “unquench­able
curios­ity” and “fever­ishly inven­tive imag­i­na­tion”. Even his Resume is remem­bered
today and held up as an exam­ple to fol­low. His sketch­books are impos­si­ble to look at
with­out being inspired and moti­vated to think and cre­ate. We only got 67 yrs of
his think­ing, what a mind and what an inspiration.

Pablo Picasso:
Gave us 91 yrs of his think­ing. Turn­ing the art world on its head over and over again
dur­ing his life­time. Blue Period, Rose Period, African-influenced Period, Cubism,
Clas­si­cism, Sur­re­al­ism and all his later works speak to his ded­i­ca­tion to change.
His sketch­books tell a won­der­ful story and you can see his think­ing there.
Inspired to change, to exper­i­ment and to take chances.

Sal­vador Dali:
He has the unique abil­ity to take unre­lated objects, place them together in a paint­ing,
give them new mean­ing and tell his own story.
In his book “50 Secrets of Magic Crafts­man­ship” he states, “the goal of an artist is
to inspire the viewer to ask, How did he do that?” The mys­tery is in the hand and mind
of the artist the answers are always in the work/paintings.
His mys­tery lived with us for 84 yrs.

Andy Warhol:
Pop­ism is the gift he gave us. His abil­ity to observe the world around us and present
it as Art, POPART, every­day things we live with, all art of one kind or another.
His Soup Cans, Elvis, Mary­lyn all speak to his pow­ers of obser­va­tion.
The Fac­tory, a research facil­ity for his mind. His courage to see things as they are
and present them plainly for us to see some­times for the first time, should inspire
all of us to look to the POP for inspi­ra­tion. He gave us 58 yrs and is still giv­ing
us inspi­ra­tion today.

Michelan­gelo: Inspires the Pas­sion of Expres­sion
Leonardo da Vinci: Inspires the Imag­i­na­tion
Pablo Picasso: Inspires the Search for Change
Sal­vador Dali: Inspires the Mys­tery of Thought
Andy Warhol: Inspires the Obser­va­tion of POP CULTURE

“Let inspi­ra­tion flow it is the road that leads to the com­mu­ni­ca­tion of new ideas.”

David Hop­son

My Mama Don’t Told Me

My par­ents always threat­ened me with the
fol­low­ing statement:

” If you don’t study hard and work hard you will end up a sec­re­tary and
have to type all the time and you know how much you hate that!”

Well we stud­ied hard, we made the grade and for a few years in the 70’s
we lived the dream, with your own sec­re­tary, screen­ing calls, mail, appoint­ments
and meet­ings, etc..

Then along came the com­puter and we have been typ­ing ever since, thank­ful
we took
typ­ing in High School, we have also been stu­dents in an ever
chang­ing environment.

From Page­Maker to Quark, Free­hand to Illus­tra­tor, Quark to InDe­sign,
Illus­tra­tor to Fire­works, Pho­to­shop to After­Ef­fects, Flash to Dreamweaver,
HTML to HTML5, Action­Script 2 to 3, CSS to CSS, Joomla to Word­Press and all
over again the task is con­stant as is the dis­cov­ery and learning.

My par­ents are laugh­ing at the fact that I am read­ing and typing/writing all
the time, and say­ing, “You work to live not live to work”

I ask us all to reflect on the fact, we must absorb infor­ma­tion knowl­edge
And all that we need to be able to give our con­tri­bu­tion to the cre­ative pool.
As con­duits of cre­ative thought we often for­get that we must place our­selves
in a place were we can recharge and imag­ine and travel the unknown places in our
brains, thoughts and surroundings.

Take a moment every­day to find your ZEN ZONE and take a deep
for creativity.

The word ZEN is derived from the Japan­ese pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the Mid­dle Chinese/Mandarin:
Chan, which comes from the San­skrit word dhyana, which can be approx­i­mately
trans­lated “absorp­tion” or “med­i­ta­tive state”

Find Your Zen Zone!


Philoso­phers and their thoughts for you To Zen On


Plato was one of the ear­li­est philoso­phers to pro­vide a detailed dis­cus­sion of ideas.
He con­sid­ered the con­cept of idea in the realm of meta­physics. He asserted that there
is a realm of Forms or Ideas, which exist inde­pen­dently of any­one who may have thought
of these ideas. Mate­r­ial things are then imper­fect and tran­sient reflec­tions or
instan­ti­a­tions of the per­fect and unchang­ing ideas. From this it fol­lows that these
Ideas are the prin­ci­pal real­ity. In con­trast to the indi­vid­ual objects of sense
expe­ri­ence, which undergo con­stant change and flux, Plato held that ideas are per­fect,
eter­nal, and immutable. Con­se­quently, Plato con­sid­ered that knowl­edge of mate­r­ial
things is not really knowl­edge; real knowl­edge can only be had of unchang­ing ideas.

René Descartes

Descartes often wrote of the mean­ing of idea as an image or rep­re­sen­ta­tion,
often but not nec­es­sar­ily “in the mind”, which was well known in the ver­nac­u­lar.
“Some of my thoughts are like images of things, and it is to these alone that
the name ‘idea’ prop­erly belongs.“
In con­trast to the indi­vid­ual objects of sense expe­ri­ence, which undergo con­stant
change and flux, Plato held that ideas are per­fect, eter­nal, and immutable.
Con­se­quently, Plato con­sid­ered that knowl­edge of mate­r­ial things is not really
knowl­edge; real knowl­edge can only be had of unchang­ing ideas.

John Locke

In strik­ing con­trast to Plato’s use of idea is that of John Locke.
Locke defines idea as “that term which, I think, serves best to stand for
what­so­ever is the object of the under­stand­ing when a man thinks, I have used it to
express what­ever is meant by phan­tasm, notion, species, or what­ever it is which the
mind can be employed about in think­ing; and I could not avoid fre­quently using it.”

Immanuel Kant

Immanuel Kant defines an idea as opposed to a con­cept. “Reg­u­la­tor ideas” are ideals
that one must tend towards, but by def­i­n­i­tion may not be com­pletely real­ized. Lib­erty,
accord­ing to Kant, is an idea. The auton­omy of the ratio­nal and uni­ver­sal sub­ject
is opposed to the deter­min­ism of the empir­i­cal subject.[9] Kant felt that it is
pre­cisely in know­ing its lim­its that phi­los­o­phy exists. The busi­ness of phi­los­o­phy
he thought was not to give rules, but to ana­lyze the pri­vate judge­ments
of good com­mon sense

Rudolf Steiner

“Think­ing … is no more and no less an organ of per­cep­tion than the eye or ear.
Just as the eye per­ceives col­ors and the ear sounds, so think­ing per­ceives ideas.”
He holds this to be the premise upon which Goethe made his natural-scientific

Charles Sanders Peirce

He pro­posed that a clear idea (in his study he uses con­cept and idea as syn­onymic)
is defined as one, when it is appre­hended such as it will be rec­og­nized wher­ever it
is met, and no other will be mis­taken for it. If it fails of this clear­ness, it is
said to be obscure. He argued that to under­stand an idea clearly we should ask
our­selves what dif­fer­ence its appli­ca­tion would make to our eval­u­a­tion of a
pro­posed solu­tion to the prob­lem at hand.

G.F. Stout and J.M. Baldwin

It should be observed that an idea, in the nar­rower and gen­er­ally accepted sense
of a men­tal repro­duc­tion, is fre­quently com­pos­ite. That is, as in the exam­ple given
above of the idea of chair, a great many objects, dif­fer­ing mate­ri­ally in detail,
all call a sin­gle idea. When a man, for exam­ple, has obtained an idea of chairs in
gen­eral by com­par­i­son with which he can say “This is a chair, that is a stool”,
he has what is known as an “abstract idea” dis­tinct from the repro­duc­tion in
his mind of any par­tic­u­lar chair (see abstrac­tion). Fur­ther­more a com­plex idea
may not have any cor­re­spond­ing phys­i­cal object, though its par­tic­u­lar con­stituent
ele­ments may sev­er­ally be the repro­duc­tions of actual per­cep­tions. Thus the idea
of a cen­taur is a com­plex men­tal pic­ture com­posed of the ideas of man and horse,
that of a mer­maid of a woman and a fish.

Dr. Samuel Johnson

John­son claimed that they are men­tal images or inter­nal visual pic­tures.
As such, they have no rela­tion to words or the con­cepts which are
des­ig­nated by ver­bal names.

A Book that Puts all that Zen together

Imag­ine: How Cre­ativ­ity Works  “Jonah Lehrer”

Did you know that the most cre­ative com­pa­nies have cen­tral­ized bath­rooms?
That brain­storm­ing meet­ings are a ter­ri­ble idea? That the color blue can help
you dou­ble your cre­ative out­put? From the New York Times best-selling author of
How We Decide comes a sparkling and rev­e­la­tory look at the new sci­ence of cre­ativ­ity.
Shat­ter­ing the myth of muses, higher pow­ers, even cre­ative “types,”
Jonah Lehrer demon­strates that cre­ativ­ity is not a sin­gle gift pos­sessed
by the lucky few. It’s a vari­ety of dis­tinct thought processes that we
can all learn to use more effectively…


Zen for the Zen Of It…

How Should We Pitch New Business?

I read this arti­cle and it struck me how we have left cre­ative
in the wings in favor of tac­tics and tech­nol­ogy so I ask?

A Bet­ter Way to Pitch

Time to Trash the Old Way of Doing Capa­bil­i­ties Pre­sen­ta­tions
Phil John­son is CEO of PJA Adver­tis­ing & Marketing



What ever hap­pened to cre­ative insights, cre­ative point of dif­fer­ence,
for that mat­ter cre­ative seems to have taken a back seat to tech­nol­ogy
and place­ment. We seem so star struck by all the options we have
for­got­ten the mes­sage. My chal­lenge to you is this. Name one client,
prod­uct or ser­vice and clearly state the posi­tion they hold in
the mar­ket. You can’t. Nor can I. What is the Real thing today.
It is all over the place and with­out focus.”

When it comes to cre­ative and agen­cies we have for­got­ten our souls. We are more
con­cerned with where we place ads than what we say in ads. The dis­ci­pline of keep­ing to
the brand posi­tion, a sin­gle minded and clear mes­sage has been lost. Replaced by
inse­cu­rity and a sense of being left behind.

Tech­nol­ogy is not cre­ative any­more than a tele­phone or a car. They are sim­ply meth­ods
by which we com­mu­ni­cate. The object is inert the mes­sage is alive.

As adver­tis­ing agen­cies we should be focused on the mes­sage and not the means or
tech­nol­ogy to be used. We can “google” the exper­tise in tech­nol­ogy and find many
suit­able sources. But the think­ing and insight is not some­thing one can “google“
it is arrived at through think­ing and study.

We should all walk into pre­sen­ta­tions today with the knowl­edge that all of these forms
of tech­nol­ogy are avail­able to all of us. We should focus on our think­ing and our
insights and how they sete us apart from the rest of the agen­cies, bou­tiques etc.

As we approach New busi­ness we should again stand out with our think­ing and focus
on the Brand and develop insights that set us apart from the rest. Set­ting
the Brand apart from the rest of the mar­ket is our goal.

Before the pre­sen­ta­tion, we set our­selves apart through insight­ful strat­egy.
Have con­fi­dence in our team and step out with early com­mu­ni­ca­tion, directly
if pos­si­ble. A cre­ative direct mail piece, an Ad, a video, a web site, etc.
some­thing to show you are dif­fer­ent from the pack.

Dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion, we present in a unique way not as the norm would have it.
Stand out through method, Act out the pre­sen­ta­tion as if it were on a Broad­way stage,
Dress like the Blue Man Group. Pick a point of dif­fer­ence and fol­low your cre­ative gut.
You must stand out as dif­fer­ent. Don’t present but ask ques­tions and lis­ten to the
client and their needs.  Your posi­tion is every­thing you have to offer make it count.

After the pre­sen­ta­tion, fol­low up with a mean­ing­ful doc­u­ment or com­mu­ni­ca­tion
some­thing again to set your group apart. A news release, A com­men­tary on the busi­ness,
A blog post, a YouTube video thank you, again set your­self apart from the crowd as you
intend to set the Brand apart from the rest of the Brands in the Marketplace.

If you get the busi­ness, remem­ber how you got the busi­ness and do not fal­ter from
your posi­tion and direc­tion, always seek the unique posi­tion and the point of
dif­fer­ence for your Brand. Be con­sis­tent in your focus on the Brand posi­tion
and be sure to have a con­sis­tent mes­sage that is rec­og­niz­able and clearly defin­able
by the consumer.

We all know of bat­ting aver­ages, 3 out of 10 is great. We need to be pre­pared
to loose our shirts most of the time. So it is imper­a­tive to cre­ate as we would for a client
a clear point of dif­fer­ence for our Brand and what we stand for. These things add up
to fame and for­tune. Think of Bog­art, Wayne, Bacall, etc. and why we remem­ber them.
We are no dif­fer­ent. We must stand for some­thing as should the Brands we represent.

What is your cre­ative dif­fer­ence? What sets you apart from the crowd? Remem­ber
that as we set Brands apart in the mar­ket, we must set our­selves apart as well. Are we
will­ing to set our­selves apart? Do we have the courage to stand out and be loved
or hated? We must if we want to stand out in the storm of com­pe­ti­tion which sur­rounds us.

Again we must stand out, before, dur­ing, after the pre­sen­ta­tion to insure con­sid­er­a­tion
and con­tinue with this posi­tion if we get the busi­ness as this posi­tion got us that
same business.

   “Let us all remem­ber Tac­tics, Tech­nol­ogy and place­ment are avail­able
to all of us. It is strat­egy and think­ing that set us apart from the crowd.
Where do you Stand?”