The work of Toronto artist Chris Hayes.

What? I bought lobby art?

I’m a big fan of the Toronto artist Chris Hayes. I own some of his work. That’s why it caught my eye at my local TD Canada Trust branch. It turns out that my local branch manager offered to decorate the bank with the artist’s pieces as a way of promoting local talent.

All of the work is for sale.

This is a beautiful example of local marketing and what can happen when front-line people have the vision and authority to take action in their communities.

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More inspiration from DUMBO (or not)

On October 4, 2012, in Artists, by John Ellis

My wife and I collaborated on this stunning example of bubble-water colour art while touring an Art Fair in DUMBO. We paid $5 to support a local artist who gave us each a plastic straw and a demonstration of his technique.

Four jars were filled with bubble-making solution, the kind the kids use. Each one was tinted with India Ink (CMYK). To make art similar to this flawless example, dip the straw in the ink and blow. When the bubbles land, they create unpredictable art. It’s a ton of fun for half the price of a beer in Manhattan.

Try it with the kids or use it to raise some money at an office fundraiser.



You can’t go wrong with the Three Little Pigs. This is such a brilliant way to tell a story. It’s captivating from frame 1 and better than most movie trailers. Love it.

Just for fun, here’s a great little segment from one of my all-time favourite cartoons featuring the Three Little Pigs. This is some of Friz Freleng’s best six and half minutes.

Everything is a canvas

On May 29, 2012, in Great experiential marketing, by John Ellis

This incredible light projection and it’s description come from The Guardian. What a lovely way to kill four minutes. Enjoy.

An installation light projection on the Australian landmark makes it look as if its roof crumbles to the ground. The display forms part of the Vivid light and music festival in the New South Wales capital, and is created by the German design company Urbanscreen. The festival runs until 11 June, with 50 light installations across the city.

Anti-gravity tech with endless possibilities

On May 22, 2012, in Great design, by John Ellis

Watch this four-minute video and be inspired.

Because I live in a city addicted to bland high-rises, I particularly love the idea of using anti-gravity balls to show the effect of light and shade for urban planning.

Getting social right

On April 11, 2012, in Great experiential marketing, by John Ellis

What a nice idea.

At the Anthon Berg pop-up store, you get free chocolate in exchange for promising to do a good deed. The mechanics are simple: iPads are used as cash registers. You commit to a promise and that commitment is posted on your Facebook page as well as the recipient’s page.

This is a tight idea that executes simply and logically. It’s buzz-worthy, fun, viral and connects back to the brand slogan, You can never be too generous.

Good read: The 4-hour Work Week

On February 10, 2012, in Good reads, by John Ellis

I avoided this book when it first came out because I thought I would feel like a sucker if I dished out money for another lifestyle self-help hardcover. As they say, “If self-help books worked, there would be less of them every year.” I don’t know who said that, but it’s bang on.

I read The 4-Hour Workweek in just under 8 hours. That’s 2 weeks in the author’s world.

Surprisingly, there are some great ideas in this book. If nothing else, it poses interesting questions about our relationships with labour, money and success. I plan to read it again. Next time, I’ll go slower and maybe try some of the worksheets.

I plan to introduce some of Ferriss’s ideas into my daily routine. But I don’t plan to work 4 hours a week. That’s just not wise for a freelance writer. I would prefer a 50-hour week, so please hire me.

Look for the revised (post 2008) version. It will be making the rounds in the used book stores by now. Or, buy it new and reward the author. If you’re read the book, leave a comment. Other readers would love to hear your opinion.

My new 27-inch window for relaxation

On February 7, 2012, in Great sites, by John Ellis

This great little site offers a few minutes of solitude. It’s nothing more than calming images and nature sounds but it looks awesome on a 27-inch monitor. Check out relaxpls.

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Geeky wall poster for font junkies

On December 30, 2011, in Great design, by John Ellis

Fonts in “The Periodic Table of Typefaces” are arranged by family, and according to their ranks on a series of “Best Of” font fave lists from around the design world.

This makes a great wall poster.





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CineSkates makes fluid video easy

On December 29, 2011, in Artists, Great design, by John Ellis

I love the simplicity of this idea. Although this is an ad, it’s also a great story. Have a look and imagine what you could do.