The Power of Imagination

Never underestimate the dream of a kid and their ingenuity. I’m inspired by Caine Monroy, a young boy who took a simple idea and made it grand. Caine is fascinated by arcades, so much so that he created his own full scale functional arcade out of cardboard. It started with modifying a basketball hoop that he won at a pizza place and grew. His dad owns a hardware store and allowed him to takeover the entire storefront. You can win prizes, buy tickets, or purchase a fun pass (500 turns for $2 – what a deal!).

Caine’s Arcade now is a popular spot, but it wasn’t always that way. At first Caine didn’t get any customers and his friends didn’t even believe he was the boss of his own arcade. That all changed when filmmaker Nirvan Mullick went into the hardware store to buy a door handle. He was thoroughly impressed by Caine’s creativity and shocked to learn that he was his first customer. That inspired him to make a film about Caine which went viral. People flocked from all over the world to play in Caine’s Arcade. It also sparked the start of The Imagination Foundation, an initiative “to find, foster, and fund creativity and entrepreneurship in more kids like Caine.” Watch the video below.

Kudos to Caine’s dad for giving him the freedom to explore his imagination and hat’s off to Mullick for recognizing and encouraging Caine’s talent. If interested, here is the original film.

Even if Caine’s story didn’t go viral, his accomplishment is still noteworthy. How many people can say they literally built their own arcade?


2013 Free Wallpaper & the Best of 2012


Happy New Year Everyone! I’m excited for the year 2013 and I hope you are too. Thanks goes out to my new subscribers and to the ones that have stuck with me for the past 3 years. 2012 was a major year for me filled with highs and some powerful lows, but I’ve learned that it’s how you respond to those lows that makes a difference. I accomplished some of my goals from last year and some will be a continuous effort, like blogging more (at least once a week) and producing a monthly wallpaper. Here’s my design for the month of January celebrating the new year. I wanted something strong and dark, but at the same time pops. I also wanted something that both genders could appreciate. My wallpapers so far have leaned toward the feminine. The font I used was Old English Text MT and the outlines were constructed in Illustrator and brought into Photoshop.

2013 Free Wallpaper 1920 x 1080

2013 Free Wallpaper 1920 x 1080

Whether it’s due to color profiles, some system setup, or the fact that I’m working at different scales, the image in my psd file is slightly different from the final result. I’ve included a screenshot. I like the stronger red tones.


A new year triggers a review of the previous in a culmination of “Best of” lists. Here are a few “Best of 2012” from some blogs I follow:

From up North – Best of Digital Art & Typography

Line25 – Best Web Designs of 2012
bestof2012_line25 – The Best Smart Products of 2012

Architnect’s Top 12 for 2012

Blogspoon Graphics – Greatest Tutorial Hits of 2012

Digital Arts – Best Creative Tech for 2012

JUST Creative – Popular Posts of 2012

Wising Everyone a Bright
and Prosperous New Year!!!



How Low Can You Go?

This park goes so low that it’s underground. The Delancey Project, more widely known as the Lowline, is an idea conceived by Dan Barasch and James Ramsey to convert an out-of -service subterranean trolley terminal into green space. In an established city like New York, a huge plot of green is hard to come by and this terminal offers approximately 60,000 sq. feet (that’s slightly bigger than a football field). I keep using the word green, but that isn’t the color you would normally associate with the word underground, probably more along the lines of  gray, brown, or black. That’s what’s so genius about this project. Dan and James have developed a way to bring sunlight into the space that allows for plant growth and  no it’s not a skylight.

Their idea actually reminds me of  two tin cans and a string. It’s two dish-like solar collectors connected by a fiber optic cable. One collector is above ground that gathers sunlight, concentrates it, and then reflects it via the optic cable. The light is then emitted from the other collector below ground. The light waves which are distributed do not include harmful UV rays, but support photosynthesis. They’ve already built a working prototype.

Actually, you may have already heard of the Lowline. From the time of the idea’s conception Dan and James have gotten positive support from the city, local businesses, and it’s citizens. They launched a campaign on kickstarter to raise $100,000 to build a full scale mock-up in an abandoned warehouse and they reached their mark in little over a week. Now they’ve raised the bar even higher. Here’s what they intend to do with more donations:

100k: (DONE): they can build a September tech demo
150k: they can keep the demo up as long as possible, to enable more community engagement
200k: they build the September demo AND conduct 1 of 4 engineering studies for the full-scale park
300k: they build the September demo AND complete all 4 engineering studies for the full-scale park

If this is a cause you may be interested in supporting, visit their kickstarter page. Donations are open until Friday, April 6th, 2012.

“The Delancey Underground project envisions a year-round programming series, which invites the community into the space in new ways. From art exhibitions, to farmers’ markets, to educational series, to special events and promotions– this space will be more than a space. It will generate community, and it will inspire in the way beautiful environments can inspire.”

MTV Celebrates the Unconventional

MTV Extreme Cribs Banner

I took a quick lunch break and turned on the telly looking for something to fill my half an hour. It didn’t have to be ground breaking, just entertaining.  Surprisingly, I got both from MTv’s new edition of Cribs called Extreme Cribs. Honestly I was expecting even more ridiculously opulent homes (30 car garages instead of 10), but what I got were tours of architecturally offbeat and sustainable residences. From the 2 episodes I watched (my fascination extended my lunch break) I saw houses shaped like onions and pyramids and explored a completely rockin’ off the grid tree house. Like the original cribs, the owners show you around themselves, so you hear about the history and the quirks. I must say I’m really pleased with the new avenue MTv has taken. Watch the trailer below to see what oddities Extreme Cribs has to offer. Right now, MTv has free full episodes on their website. so take a break and take a few tours.

I’m failing (and why that isn’t so bad)

When I graduated from college in 2009, I had a dream. I was going to live in Chicago, get a job at an Architectural firm, and work toward my license. Then after 3 years (license acquired), I was going to move to Italy, Rome perhaps. Probably rent a nice little villa or apartment. Here’s what actually happened: the economy tanked, I couldn’t find an architectural position, and I moved to Florida. In terms of achieving “my dream” I failed, BIG TIME!  I received this article in my inbox titled 9 Reasons Why Failure is Not Fatal and the 9th example was a commencement speech given J.K Rowling (author of the Harry Potter series). Here’s an excerpt:

“…failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena where I believed I truly belonged. I was set free…”

Had I successfully made it to Rome with an architectural license in tow, here’s what I might never have done, at least not in the near future. I might not have made the decision to switch to graphic design. It just wouldn’t seem practical, after all that work towards becoming an architect. Granted, some people still think I’m crazy, I did complete 5 years in my college’s architectural program,  but this switch isn’t so strange. I’ve ALWAYS loved art. It was the class I lived for in high school. I excelled in my other classes because: 1. I don’t like to fail (oh the irony) 2. Great grades = great college + scholarships 3. If you don’t like the class,  why blow it off only to have to repeat it;  the list goes on…

So why become an architect, since I love art so much? Don’t get me wrong, I do love architecture as well and again it seemed practical. The impression I was given growing up was that to be an artist, you had to be struggling or starving (very cliché). Little did I know of graphic design. I do know though that if I had continued with architecture that I would have tried to put myself in the positions where I could work on the graphics (building renderings/illustrations) and interactive installations.

If I had a chance to do it all over again, would I do it differently? Probably not. I’m not saying life’s been a bed of roses since I made the switch. There’s a lot I need to teach myself and I’m still looking for more stable employment (anyone know of a paid graphic design internship please let me know or if you need some work done, let’s talk ). However, success extends beyond what you do. The relationships I’ve made at college are priceless. Some friends are more like family and my future children already have weekends booked at their future homes. I wouldn’t have met them if I had gone somewhere else and that would’ve been tragic. Also the people I’ve meet since moving to Florida have made a huge impact on my life and I’ve grown so much closer to my actual family here. You just can’t make the same connection in Italy through Skype.

So this is failure. I’m dealing with it, learning from it, and hopefully becoming a better person because of it.

Please check out 9 Reasons Why Failure is Not Fatal and here is J.K Rowling’s full speech.

%d bloggers like this: