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?”