Forty-year old oil paintings.
Notifications you’ve made the cover of Rolling Stone (literally!).
Pre-computer design and lettering for everyone from my early work for HBO and Revlon to the logo I designed for R.S. Lauder (the son of Estée Lauder and Joseph Lauder, founders of Estée Lauder Companies).
Even a stupid trophy made for me with the nameplate reading “Best Jewish Graphic Artist (who can’t play basketball)”—it was an off-night after having not played for about a decade!
Yes, we’re in those stages of boxing stuff and preparing to move from the offices we’ve called home for the last 20 years.
One’s Sense of Time When Confronting Weird Shit
I also realized there’s a weird thing thing that happens to one’s sense of time when moving your office. In the beginning, it seems like you have FOREVER (and that it totally under your control).
Then it goes on and it seems OK.
Then your sense of reality implodes and even though (rationally) one knows they are closer to completing this move, a terror-stricken sense of endlessness overcomes one’s sensibilities and that feeling of FOREVER creeps back in (even though you’re closer than ever).
Here’s my infographic to explain it better (if you’re on a computer or laptop, click on the image to enlarge it):
Moving Your Office: My Personal Confession
The new space is super exciting (only about half a mile from our current office).
Gorgeous floors, high ceilings, terrific open-space concept with lots of wall space.
But to start the new, I had to face the old. The stuff I’d collected over time.
Having moved to the Midwest from the East Coast (I was living and running my office out of New Jersey at the time), I transported stuff and hadn’t looked at some of this since the move. Whoa.
A postcard that I somehow managed to keep from 1990 from R. O. Blechman, a brilliant illustrator asking for samples from a project we’d worked on together.
Some of the discoveries were sometimes endearing, other times completely humbling—and then there were the points when I spoke aloud to my younger self uttering, “What were you thinking?”
Part Archaeological Expedition. Part Therapy.
From early artwork (oil paintings I’d done in my teens to pre-computer design and lettering, yes folks, it was truly the prehistoric times!) to small antique collectibles to a poster I’d designed for a Jazz concert series at the original World Trade Center.
Plus the sheer volume of collected samples and other bits of “junk” I’d once considered valuable, I’ll admit it has been a therapy all by itself (filling the garbage dumpster at least 8X over).
So without any sequence or reason, here is some of the weird shit I’ve encountered while preparing for this exciting new move and next phase in the growth and evolution of our company.
I’d kept from around 1984 a trade magazine article that announced when I’d designed the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. This was a big deal at the time.
I then found another early poster which I’d designed for a NYC jazz station for a concert series at the World Trade Center (obviously before the 9-11 disaster).
Then I ran into this, wondering WHY I ever kept it.
It was made for me from a local vendor with a weird sense of humor, hence the toilet roll forming the vertical base of this absurd trophy. As I said in the introduction, the nameplate read “Best Jewish Graphic Artist (who can’t play basketball)”—I’ll admit, it was an off-night for me after having not played for about a decade (though I did finally score at least one lay up).
Then I ran into a number of great antique items I’ve always found inspiring (the small leather booklet is only 3 inches wide with lined yellow note paper inside). I’d forgotten about these, yet I’ve always loved attention to detail and fine craftsmanship.
Then I ran across some early work, some illustrations, some paintings and some typography (before there were computers—all hand drawn with something called a rapidograph. I’ve been doing this a long time so this is when we used to use a “Stat Machine” to make copies that were print quality—a good 15 years before anything could be digitally created, stored and transferred via email or Dropbox).
You’ll see a logo for Vanna for Vanna White, the legendary letter turner from Wheel of Fortune fame as well as oil painting I did of Ringo Starr when I was in my teens. Just can’t part with these creations. The sketch for “I am a New Yorker” was a concept for a t-shirt.
By this time, the office was starting to get some semblance of order (who am I kidding?):
Continuing on, I found an early piece I’d designed for Estée Lauder:
By this time, I’m starting to notice things I’d been taking for granted, things on the walls that seemed to be doing just fine without my paying any attention to them: clocks, early designs for a restaurant in Jersey, my gold Graphis award for a poster design, and a signed photo from Grammy winning cellist Eugene Friesen for whom I’d created his branding for his program Celloman.
Being into music and design, one of my early inspirations included Rolling Stone magazine so I emulated that look and feel with a journal I’d created entitled DBD Review. In 2005, I’d create a first video project showcasing work up until then and this definitely showed my love for the Rolling Stone typography and aesthetic.
I then started to sort through my poster collection and was stunned by the sheer quantity. Again, what was I thinking?
And that’s just the framed stuff, not the unframed ones in our flat files!
I then unearthed one of of my first logo designs in my career for a small theater in Greenwich Village entitled, “The Birds.” While a bit dated, I still find the concept very strong and inspired.
Slightly Less Weird Shit
Then I found a hardcover book I’d always loved, nearly 20 inches tall, made up entirely of black and white vertical photos of NYC and hadn’t seen it in years. So glad to run into this after all this time.
And then I found a photo from when I toured Russia (delivering 4 seminars in 4 cities in 10 days) around 2005, along with an unopened bottle of wine, next to a painting I did of George Harrison when in my teens.
Lastly, I found a cute drawing my daughter did when I would have her come to the office with me:
All in all, it’s been a treat digging through a lot of interesting things.
But it became two categories of interesting: interesting I would keep and interesting I would toss. I confess a LOT more was tossed.
Some things are better tossed: salad is one and useless artifacts in one’s office is another….