Back in 2007, a couple years after graduating college, and before I ventured into the world of design all on my own, I would scour the internet and job boards for hours on end looking for work. What is the one item every potential employee is supposed to have…the all encompassing “get to know me in one page before ever meeting me” resume.
My resume was a Word doc masterpiece. After 7,000 revisions and edits…or so it felt like…every well crafted word I beleived represented my best qualities to a total stranger that I often times would never meet. But being a designer, I came to learn that I needed more that a piece of paper to “stand out”. My resume had to be much more visual.
That’s why I found this resume from fellow designer, Ashley Spencer, so very interesting. Her “Info-Graphic Map of Me” is a great take on the tired resume.
The question is, would it make you as employer take notice or just toss it aside. Take a look and decide for yourself.
The works of notable abstract artist and poet, and long time Indianapolis resident, Lois Main Templeton were unveiled recently at the Conrad Indianapolis. I was honored to be given the opportunity to attend the event and visit Lois in her Indianapolis studio.
Organized and presented by the Modern Masters Fine Art, this collection of work is the first solo exhibition for the storied 84 year old artist at the Conrad. She has had solo exhibits in seven other states and her work has been exhibited in four museums, and twice showcased by the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
Guests of the artist reception enjoyed live music, complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres, as well as a book signing by the artist herself. In addition to book signings, Templeton was on hand throughout the entire event to take pictures and strike up conversations with those patrons who came to see her works. Templeton creates vibrant combinations of contemporary art and poetry. Her specialty is abstract paintings done in oil on paper, but she also makes use of acrylics, charcoal and other mediums as well.
Following the exhibition I was offered the chance to stop by Ms. Templeton’s studio, where I had the opportunity to see the artist in her element. I was humbled that an established artist such as Ms. Templeton would allow me into her studio space, speak with her about her works, and even let me watch as she prepared another piece of work.
Lois shares the space with another established Indiana artist, Phil O’Malley. Together they gave me a tour of the studio and elaborated on projects they collaborated on, including work they did for the youth in the area. They even worked on a children’s book together, which Lois wrote and illustrated herself, titled “Who Makes the Sun Rise?”
Before visiting the studio I had sent Lois a handful of questions. My purpose was just to give her a few talking points, but what I got in return was far more than I expected. Lois provided me with pages of hand written answers, a treasure trove of thoughts and ideas from an amazing artist. It was as if she had invited me into her world and how she perceives it. After reading her responses I gained a greater appreciation and even a deeper understanding of her work. I have shared her responses to my questions below.
To say it was a privilege to spend the afternoon with Lois Main Templeton would be an understatement.
What does it mean to you to have your works on display at the Conrad?
The Conrad gives my work a voice, along with Constance Edwards Scopelitis and Walter Knabe. The really great artists of Pop Art constantly surprise, and make the Conrad an exciting place as well as a gorgeous hotel. The fact that three Midwestern Artists are included with the greats seems to me an extension of the hotels philosophy as well, of course, of Rhonda Long Sharp (Owner-Modern Masters of Fine Art).
My work is itself; Independent of me. While in the studio a painting and I have a grand tussle together (from the first marks to the point where it says, “Back off, Lady”). When it leaves the studio, it is on its own. If in a home, it becomes part of that person/family. In a corporate or public space, I hope it says “Hello there!” I would rather it be somewhat bumptious than just part of the scenery, just another furnishing.
Could you describe your friendship/relationship with Rhonda Long Sharp and how that influenced your career?
I think Rhonda and I took one look at each other and said, “What have we here!” She hears a piece and places it right where it can sing. We are direct with each other, can speak our minds freely. She is a very knowledgeable woman, so I am honored (and a little surprised) that she thinks so highly of my work. Both of us are family people, a fact very important in my case.
While very much a Middle westerner, I was more than ready to get out of Dodge. Indianapolis has been very welcoming and now it was high time the work take off in the hands of a person who has live contacts in and beyond the USA. Rhonda’s enthusiasm and the energy she puts into her life’s work, are mind boggling. Plus she’s more darn fun to be with.
What inspired you to include lines of your poetry in your artwork?
Most of us are more than just one person. We are often a colony of persons – is that how to put it? I scribble my thoughts as they come. Just as painters like paint, so I like language. Faced with a big white surface, I need to mark it up – words, gestures make it my world. The words don’t have to be mine, for goodness sake, at some point the itch to paint strikes. Most of those writings and marks will be covered by paint; some are discernable. Perhaps writing returns as calligraphic gesture in paint or with charcoal. We are, all of us, body AND mind. Often my work is a reflection of that common fact. We are, most of us quite complicated persons – a colony.
Any new projects?
You never can tell! For instance, lacking studio space for several months in 2011 meant that all I would so was water color…drove me nuts. An oil painter pushes, scrapes, and digs the paint. It is very physical. It is definitely “interactive” – Constantly! My watercolors include ink, graphite, spit, and gouache. Rhonda and I decided they should be classified as “mixed media art work”. Perhaps most importantly, they can be little things done on a dining room table. So, in answer to your question, it depends on the cards you’re dealt – to some extent.
My new project is that at 84 – I am digging up bits of sketches, snapshots, notes that are here in the Indianapolis studio. Pinned to a wall here I spotted a remark of Billy Names (he was a photographer of the 1960) “I don’t mind being an antique. As long as you do something authentic you stick around.” SO- I am powering through bits of what is to see what feels authentic and THEN see if I can run with it. Remember what I said about no fear? Hogwash. I, at any rate, have fear – until I begin, at which point the paint takes over.
Being authentic is all it takes – and what it takes. Hmmm?
Well Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Regardless of your feelings, you should still show some “love” to your Facebook page…be it your business or personal page. Below are some Facebook Cover and Profile designs I’ve created…with more to come.
They are free to use…all I ask is that you show me some “love” if you decide to use em.
A great wrap up of Super Bowl in Indianapolis, from the online world point of view, as presented by Exact Target. The ability to get such a clear snapshot of an event as big as the Super Bowl, with this short of a turn around, is a great testament to the power of online media. Check out the stats.
Social Media and Super Bowl XLVI(Infographic).
Oh and here are a few more pics I shot from the Super Bowl festivities. Check out the whole album HERE!
I’ve taken the relationship with my company to the next level by becoming Facebook official. Now that the social media world is aware of our existence, I thought I would talk about the company name and how LeFors Design came to be.
“Wait, are you telling me LeFors Design wasn’t your first and only choice for a name?”, asked the imaginary person I just made up in my head for the purpose of this blog 🙂
Not by a long shot.
When I finally made the decision to move from freelancer to full fledged entrepreneur, I suddenly felt this IMMENSE pressure to come up with the perfect name. Should I try to be clever with my name? What if the name I come up with doesn’t catch on? I wanted a name that would not only stand out, but would stand up against other names out there. It can be so hard to think rationally when you see companies like Mashable, Groupon, and Pintrest becoming household names. Who wouldn’t want that kind of attention?
The company name went through many trial runs in my head. There was Mooky Media, then Muktananda Productions, LeForth Wall Media, the names go on and on. I became so overwhelmed by trying to find the perfect name that I lost focus on what was important, my actual business.
That’s when it hit me.
Our world is so interconnected now, especially online. You can see what songs your friends like on Pandora, what stories were shared from the Huffington Post, or that Jimmy and Suzie both like “The Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross (who doesn’t like a happy little tree). My company name didn’t have to be catchy, just recognizable to my peers browsing online. Lucky for me LeFors is pretty unique.
By having a large Facebook community, simply using my last name to brand my company would be enough (for now). Social media is going to play a big part in my initial growth. It’s easier to familiarize yourself with “LeFors Design” when you know who “Jeff LeFors” is, and there aren’t a lot of “Jeff LeFors’ “out there to choose from. I know of only one other.
Hence, LeFors Design came into being. It’s simple, straightforward, and you know exactly who you’ll be dealing with…which would be me…just in case you didn’t 🙂
Side note: The first two company name ideas are in reference to my middle name, Muktananda, which is a story for another time.
I know this post is also a permanent part of my site (for now) but I wanted to share it again. It’s brief, but I’ll be sure to expound upon it at a future date.
Here’s my professional experience in a brief nutshell
The first video I ever made was a Public Service Announcement. The year was 2000 and the recording device was a VHS tape recorder. My topic of choice that needed immediate attention, people leaving their grocery carts in the middle of the parking lot. Of course the message was ridiculous. Of course the production quality was abysmal. I was 17 and this was a high school production class, what do you expect. Ha Ha.
This first video is quite possibly my favorite video to date. While I do not currently have the means to pull that VHS out of the box in my closest and convert it for the web, it represents the beginning of my 12 years in production. From McCluer North High School I moved to Indianapolis to attend Butler University where I would hone my skills for the next four years. The transition from high school to college was a smooth road…
But the transition from college to the “real world” would be nothing short of a roller coaster.
If you were to translate my career experience since 2005 into a graph, it would look like a seismograph. I moved to California right after college to work on Crash as an assistant to an Executive Producer. Soon after I went to work for the short lived Fox Reality Channel, now Nat Geo Wild, as an Associate Producer. From there I moved down to San Diego to start a podcasting business, a technology that sadly went the route of the niche market and not mainstream. My Hollywood dream over, for the time being, I moved back to Indianapolis where I spent some time at the IMA before getting back into the production field doing streaming video.
By 2008 the advent and nearly unanimous adaptation of social media, combined with an unflattering economy, the video production field in which I had been trained was fundamentally changed. The industry was completely turned on it’s head. A production that once required an army of skilled professionals could now be done by a select few. Why pay an hourly rate for studio time when more and more people had a 1080p camera in their pocket. It was hard to believe that in just three short years since receiving my B.A. my skill set could be rendered useless, irrelevant, and undesirable. I had to evolve or I was toast.
My design skills which started out as just a fun hobby, an ancillary tool to videography, was quickly becoming my most likely source of reliable income. I continue to keep my camera work skills sharp while keeping up with the latest technology, but I’ve come to find the same satisfaction in the world of design as I did with a video camera in my hand.
So here I stand today a reinvented entrepreneur, ready to keep pace with the ever-changing media and arts culture. It truly is an exciting time for creative people…as never before in history has one person had so many ways to reach the masses. Sure the production industry has changed…but change is good.
For the past few weeks I have been speaking with the heads of a great new group here in Indianapolis, the Indy Intercultural Network…or IIN as they liked to be called. At first glace one would think, “Oh this is just another one of those networking groups”…but you would be wrong.
What drew me to IIN was their genuine desire to bring varying cultures into the same setting in hopes of creating an open dialogue. From attending a number of events, I can say that IIN has accomplished that task. People genuinely “talk” with one another learning both the differences and similarities cultures share.
When living in the Midwest there is no shortage in the number of people who say that the only places with culture are on the coasts. IIN is making great strides to change that.
But don’t just take my word for it. Check them out for yourselves. Are you IIN?
The Guys & Dolls Auction Gala took place this past weekend at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. This year I got to sit and enjoy the show, instead of being a part of it as I was the year before. Don’t get me wrong it I had a blast last year up on stage, no one would tell you otherwise, but it was nice to sit back and relax.
But as I mentioned in a previous post, my involvement this year with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation took on a new role as their promotion/graphic designer. It felt pretty awesome to see the logo I had created up on the big screen in the ballroom. Not since my time doing video at the Indians had I seen a product of mine up in front of a crowd. It was a cool moment…and reminded me why I love volunteering my time for this organization.
A surprise perk of this year was how well I got to know the new group of Guys & Dolls simply by creating promotional fliers for their fundraising events. The types of events these young professionals put on were so varied in nature that it made promoting them a refreshing challenge…because let’s face it…you can’t promote a yoga class the same way you promote a golf outing, or let’s say a drag show…
Below are the mock ups I created to kick off this year’s Gala…including the winning one, and a handful of the promotional fliers I did for this season’s Guys & Dolls
It has been a joy collaborating with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for their annual “Guys & Dolls” Auction Gala”. Last year I was lucky enough to be a participant in the 6-month fundraising effort with other young professionals in the Indianapolis area. It was an amazing experience to volunteer with an organization bringing attention to a disease that does not get nearly enough attention needed. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation has made great strides.
This year I felt compelled to stay involved in some capacity, and lending my design skills to the effort seemed like the perfect opportunity. I’m excited for the opportunities I’ve been given and I look forward to this relationship growing over the years.