Sunday, June 19, 2016

It took me a few minutes to draw this logo, but 48 years to think of it.

As a man who's made his living all of his adult life coming up with ideas, I think this may be my best.

No wonder it took me so long to come up with - and begin to understand- its possibilities.

I actually came up with the ORIGINAALS name about 15 years ago. In the early 2000s, I was just beginning to develop as a painter, although I'd been an art director in advertising for more than 30 years. The original ORIGINAALS idea was to create a collective promotional piece that I could share with other AfrAmerican artists. We could all put a sample of our work on the front and our contact info on the back. Then we all could pass them out and be promoting each other's work as we promoted our own.

It worked pretty well. But then I got busy with other projects, like writing my book, "African Americans in Chicago" for Arcadia Publishing, helping Tom Burrell write "Brainwashed", finding a cheaper studio in Chicago's Uptown area and even designing a piece of "street sculpture" that's supposed to be erected in front of Uptown's famous Riviera Theater. I've also written a few more books, "RaceMan Answers: America's Toughest Questions on Race, Inequality & More" and "Brand New Race", my first novel.

But recently the taste for ORIGINAALS suddenly came back into my mouth. I went to the studio and drew the logo you see above in less than a minute. I drew 3 more in single primary colors - red, yellow, blue. But this one said something to me the others didn't.

Now I'm working on an ORIGINAALS T-shirt. As soon as I get it done, I'll post it here to get your reaction. Please stay tuned.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Black on the Blog

I know, I know, it's been a while since I muttered any timeless insights on the AfrAmerican creative world. I have no excuse, uh...arah..hrummph, have no excuse.

But I haven't exactly been silent - no matter how much some folks may dream. I've made myself heard on another AfrAmerican artist's blog. Joyce Owens has been very productive in generating content for her highly informative and disarmingly honest blog. I'll add a link as soon as I get a chance.

I just got the chance: Joyce Owens' blog.

Meanwhile, I'll ask again for any other AfrAmerican artists out there to send me a jpeg (not more than 100 k) of one of your works for the ORIGINAALS Gallery. It's free. Send it to OK?

Oh, and BTW, one of the things keeping my mind off this blog is my "Dreams Can Come True" piece. I'm offering limited (100) edition 24"w X 18" h signed and numbered posters of it. They started at $100. After the first 25 the price is up to $175. It will probably go up again when I reach 50. Interested? Contact me at

Friday, July 4, 2008

A painting I just had to do.

I've just added a new image to the ORIGINAALS Gallery. It's a painting I started planning before Barack Obama's historic securing of the enough votes to be the nominee of the Democratic Party for the presidency of the United States of America.

The original painting is 48" w X 36" h. The response to it has been greater and more gratifying than any I've ever done. Even my youngest brother was impressed (and you know how hard it is to get your family to appreciate your work).

I'll be unveiling the piece at various locations, including on the streets of downtown Chicago - as part of my "Man On Da Street Walking Art Gallery".

I'm even thinking of asking other artists, writers, etc. to join me in an exhibition of work related to this event. Whatdya think?

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Two new artists in the OriginAAls Gallery

I've just added two new images from two of Chicago's most unique artists and characters,
Melvin King and Emmett McBain.

For those already familiar with Melvin's work (and I'd guess many collectors are), the image in the gallery is quite a departure. Mr. King's most popular paintings and prints usually depict stylized, multi-peopled scenes of African-American life and history. But, as he told me when I first went to his studio, his first real love was abstraction. The image here is one of many that show his other side.

The other new image is by a man I've known and admired over 35 years, Emmett McBain. For those of you in the ad game, the name should ring a bell. (If it doesn't, you should buy the book, Madison Avenue and the Colorline). Mr. McBain was one of the most creative and successful AfrAmericans in advertising. He was co-founder of Burrell-McBain, the ad agency that blazed new trails in advertising in the 70's, 80's and 90's, which still (as Burrell Communications) is one of the leading companies in the business.

A few years ago, he started painting again after decades of confining his skills to advertising and communications design. I think we're all the better for it. What about you?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lowell's in the Loop.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I hate to toot my own trumpet. But I've found out that sometimes that's the only way it gets played, so please forgive me. Besides, I'm also tooting the axes (or should I say "chopping"?) of 39 other Chicago artists as well.

I've just come from seeing my painting in downtown Chicago; an area actually just north of the Loop proper (for you out-of-towners it's called the Loop because of the way the L train "loops" around the heart of it). The painting is just one of 40 by Chi-Town artists that were selected for its "Chicago Looks" exhibit that runs along the "RiverWalk", the lower level of the south bank of the Chicago River from State Street to LaSalle Street.

My painting is between Clark Street and LaSalle. I'm posting a jpeg in the ORIGINAALS gallery, but you're really missing a lot if you don't get up close and personal. It's 30" w X 40" h.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New York ad agencies progress in "diversity"?

The New York Times' vet ad columnist Stuart Elliott wrote today on how the big ad guys are doing in meeting their self-policed campaign to become more "diverse" - whatever that means.

They were forced to at least acknowledge their lack thereof a few years ago when the NYC Human Rights Commission threatened hearings on their almost exclusively"whites only" hiring policies in their professional and upper management ranks. Elliott's article today mentions a report the commission released yesterday on what progress has been made. According to Elliott, the agencies are making some progress, if not meeting some of their more ambitious goals.

The story is interesting to me because 16 years ago I instigated a similar examination of the business nationwide. Even more interesting is the fact that no other source, including the NYCHRC itself seems to think the issue is important enough to even mention. I googled "New York City Human Rights Commission - Diversity" and there was nothing about their report anywhere else, even on their own sight.

That fact and the fact that none of the successful hires are broken down into racial, ethnic, age, gender or sexual orientation tells me even their modest success is padded with diversifiers not of's just say "darker hues".

Call me paranoid but it looks like diversity perversity.

Business and BS as usual.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Basquiat: The Spook who sat by Warhol's studio door?

Chicago-based art maven and creative critic, Nathaniel McLin, has an interesting piece on Jean Michel Basquiat, the graffiti artist some ignorant white bloviator once called "the only important Black artist in history". The title, "In the Shadow of Basquiat: The Spook That Opened the Door" is suspect, but McLin makes his case.
I like mine better, but maybe I'm just "dead playa hatin". Check it out at Paint magazine online. The link is here somewhere.