Thursday, 26 January 2012

Keith Wilson - Graphic Designer

So today I've decided to be self-promoting and selfish. Call me shallow, but I have done some pretty good stuff over the years, and I want to share them. There's a reason though, so hear me out.

Graphic artists are a skilled trade. I went to college for this, and have spent almost 18 years developing my skills in print publishing, corporate identity, marketing campaigns, copywriting, and more. Good work is worth the money one pays for it. I'm not cheap, but there are much more expensive artists out there who I see as gouging their customers. There are also people who think that because they own a PC that has basic pre-installed software, they can design anything. Therein lies the problem. They're taking my business.

People would rather do it themselves than pay me to do something professional and worthwhile. Even some of my previous clients have gone this route trying to save a buck. I don't blame them, but because of their actions two things have happened: 1) My profession is becoming obsolete and 2) The design work you see out there is just plain crap.

Maybe I'm a little one sided on this issue, but it really bothers me.

Here are some pieces that I've done over the years that I'm rather proud of, you be the judge. I'd welcome any comments, good or bad. One thing I always told up and coming designers is that you must maintain humility in this business - somewhere down the line someone is going to hate something you've done, and you can't be offended by the criticism. Personally, I welcome it.

First off, my graphics business logo...

Next, a poster I designed for our cadet corps reunion. 12x18 gloss print. This one I'm rather proud of. This was part of a larger campaign to advertise the reunion, including smaller posters, tickets, and a facebook page.

This one is a marketing piece for my employer, done up as a leave-behind for sales reps advertising our printing capabilities. Double sided, bi-fold.
This is the inside spread of the piece.

Finally, a double page spread from a magazine I worked for called In Business. Each year we put together a huge spread on the North American International Auto Show. It usually ran 8 to 12 pages depending on ad sales, and this example was my baby that year. The 12 pages took me an entire week of painstaking work selecting the photos to be used, taking the backgrounds out in Photoshop and finally working them into the spreads. This is the intro spread.

So this is just a taste of what training and experience can do. I'm by no means the best at this job, I have worked with some amazingly talented designers over the years, and they each deserve their own credit. But this is my blog. You can view larger versions of these and other pieces I've created over the years at my online resume at

As I said, I'd appreciate any comments. I'd also appreciate the opportunity to blow our horn as a trade. Graphic arts usually costs companies money, but if it's the look you want, it's worth it.


Monday, 23 January 2012

Dead people that piss me off.

We've spent several months now trying to trace our family roots in Scotland.


My father passed away a couple of years ago now and while he was alive he forbade us from searching for his family, he didn't really believe in all this genealogy crap, even though my mother had traced her line extensively. She even earned her UE status, which is short for United Empire Loyalist - a direct descendant of Tory Loyalists forced from their homes at the start of the American Revolution.

In doing that research we found that some of our ancestors endured hardships that today none of us could imagine. They had everything they owned confiscated, and with only the clothes on their backs they walked to Upper Canada from Schoharie County, New York. It was called the year of starvation, and some of my ancestors died en route. They ended up in Fort George just north of Niagara Falls claiming refugee status. The British Government eventually granted land to the loyalists. Some of my ancestors joined the British Forces, some the Indian Department, and still others joined Butler's Rangers - an infamous 'commando' unit, known for harassing the American rebels in the Finger Lakes area, with the help of Native Canadians. Later, some ancestors moved inward and settled on the north shore of Hamilton, where Inco Steel is now. During the war of 1812, some fought against the Americans.

Obviously, there's more, our personal histories are fascinating for many reasons and each one is special to each family. I could go on about the McCombs and Depew lines of our family, but their not the ones pissing me off.

It's the Wilson line.

Dad left Scotland in 1951 for Canada and left his family behind. My feelings about that are irrelevant, but it happened. He left his family and forbade us from looking for them, but once dad passed our curiosity got the better of us. We know a lot about them - their names, address growing up, marriages, deaths, and more, but there's a huge roadblock in the way of going any farther. In Canada, many organizations have devoted their volunteer time to transcribing genealogical information and making it available online. Here, we have found census records, cemetery transcriptions, court records, military records and more. All online, all free. We've even found websites that are devoted to posting the actual pictures of tombstones from around the country.

Scotland doesn't like doing this. They want money. There are very few resources for amateur genealogists in the British Isles, so finding anything over there is almost impossible unless you're willing to pay up, which I'm not. We have spent some money on some records, but it's not enough.

My ultimate goal is to find my living relatives in Kilmarnock Scotland. I have cousins, aunts, uncles and more there, and I'd love to find them. It doesn't even matter to me if they want nothing to do with us, but putting the pieces together is important to my family. So the dead people have pissed me off. They have taken their secrets with them and to date we have no way to unlock them.

So if anyone has any ideas or clues as to where we could look, please let me know. I would just like to know where my roots are.


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Bipolar People

I've been trying to deal a lot lately with the fact that I'm diagnosed Bipolar. The thing that pisses me off about it is that it's for life. The condition, while not debilitating, is annoying. Kim has been quite vocal about the fact that one hell of a lot of artistic people over the years have had the same condition, and I thought I'd share them with you today.

So here goes...

  • Buzz Aldrin, Astronaut
  • Sophie Anderton, model
  • Adam Ant, musician.
  • Emilie Autumn, musician.
  • Andy Behrman, author of the book Electroboy: A Memoir of Mania.
  • Max Bemis, frontman of the band Say Anything
  • Maurice Benard, actor.
  • Ludwig Boltzmann, physicist and mathematician.
  • Adrian Borland, British musician.
  • Russell Brand, comedian and actor.
  • Andrea Breth, German stage-director.
  • Jeremy Brett, actor.
  • Frank Bruno, boxer.
  • Barney Bubbles, graphic designer.
  • Robert Calvert, musician, former Hawkwind frontman.
  • Alastair Campbell, press advisor.
  • Georg Cantor, mathematician.
  • Jim Carey, Comedian and Actor.
  • Dick Cavett, television journalist.
  • Iris Chang, historian and journalist for the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • John Clare, poet.
  • Kurt Cobain, musician.
  • Neil Cole, former Australian Labor party politician.
  • Francis Ford Coppola, Director
  • Rosemary Clooney, singer and actress.
  • Patricia Cornwell, American crime writer.
  • Robert S. Corrington, theologist.
  • Michael Costa, former Australian Labor party politician and Treasurer of NSW.
  • Vincent Crane, keyboard player of Atomic Rooster.
  • Ray Davies, musician: The Kinks
  • Disco D, record producer and composer.
  • DMX, rapper.
  • Mike Doughty, musician.
  • Robert Downey, Jr., actor.
  • Charmaine Dragun, former Australian journalist/newsreader.
  • Richard Dreyfuss, actor.
  • Patty Duke, actress.
  • Carrie Fisher, actress and writer.
  • Larry Flynt, Publisher
  • Connie Francis, singer.
  • Stephen Fry, actor, comedian and writer.
  • Justin Furstenfeld, Lead singer of the band, "Blue October".
  • Peter Gabriel, Musician.
  • Alan Garner, novelist.
  • Paul Gascoigne, English footballer.
  • Mel Gibson, actor and director.
  • Matthew Good, Canadian musician.
  • Philip Graham, publisher and businessman.
  • Macy Gray, musician and actor.
  • Graham Greene, English novelist.
  • Ivor Gurney, English composer and poet.
  • Terry Hall, lead singer of The Specials.
  • Linda Hamilton, actress. Star of the Terminator movies.
  • Jimi Hendrix, Musician.
  • George Francis Handel, Composer
  • Robert Hansen, serial killer.
  • Mariette Hartley, American actress.
  • Jonathan Hay, Australian rules footballer
  • Ernest Hemingway, writer.
  • Kristin Hersh, musician, formerly of rock band Throwing Muses.
  • Abbie Hoffman, political activist.
  • Marya Hornbacher, writer.
  • Jack Irons, drummer, formerly of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam.
  • Kay Redfield Jamison, clinical psychologist and Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
  • Daniel Johnston, musician.
  • Andrew Johns, Australian rugby league player.
  • Lee Joon, Korean actor and musician.
  • Chris Kanyon American professional wrestler.
  • Kerry Katona, English television presenter, writer, magazine columnist and former pop singer with girl band Atomic Kitten.
  • Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy
  • Otto Klemperer, conductor.
  • Margot Kidder, actress.
  • Patrick Kroupa, writer and hacker.
  • Vivien Leigh, actress
  • Jenifer Lewis, American actress.
  • Bill Lichtenstein, print and broadcast journalist and documentary filmmaker
  • Jack London, American author.
  • Demi Lovato, American actress, singer, Disney star.
  • Gustav Mahler, Composer
  • Arthur McIntyre, Australian artist.
  • Kristy McNichol, actress.
  • Burgess Meredith, actor.
  • Eric Millegan, actor.
  • Kate Millett, author.
  • Spike Milligan, comedian.
  • Ben Moody, musician. The former guitarist from Evanescence.
  • Seaneen Molloy, Northern Irish blogger.
  • John A. Mulheren, American financier, stock and option trader and philanthropist.
  • Edvard Munch, artist.
  • Robert Munsch, author.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, philosopher.
  • Florence Nightingale, nurse and health campaigner.
  • SinĂ©ad O'Connor, musician.
  • Phil Ochs, musician.
  • Bill Oddie, naturalist, comedian and television presenter.
  • Ozzy Osbourne, singer. Lead singer of Black Sabbath and his self-titled band.
  • Cheri Oteri, actress. Saturday Night Live Cast Member.
  • Craig Owens, singer for American band Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows.
  • Nicola Pagett, actor.
  • Emma Parker Bowles, model.
  • Jaco Pastorius, jazz musician.
  • Jane Pauley, TV presenter and journalist.
  • Edgar Allan Poe, poet and writer.
  • Jackson Pollock, American artist.
  • Odean Pope, American jazz musician.
  • Gail Porter, British TV presenter.
  • Emil Post, mathematician.
  • Charley Pride, country music artist.
  • Rene Rivkin, entrepreneur.
  • Barret Robbins, former NFL Pro Bowler.
  • Axl Rose, lead singer and frontman best known for Guns N' Roses.
  • Richard Rossi, filmmaker, musician, and maverick minister.
  • Robert Schumann, German composer.
  • Nina Simone, American singer.
  • Michael Slater, International Australian cricketer.
  • Tony Slattery, actor and comedian.
  • Phil Spector, Music Producer
  • Sidney Sheldon, producer, writer.
  • Sting, Musician
  • Tim Smith, rugby league player.
  • Peter Steele, frontman, Type O Negative.
  • David Strickland, Actor, Suddenly Susan.
  • Poly Styrene (real name Marion Elliot-Said), singer.
  • Stuart Sutherland, British psychologist and writer
  • Mackenzie Taylor, British comedian.
  • Michael Thalbourne, Australian psychologist and parapsychologist.
  • Steven Thomas, American entrepreneur.
  • Gene Tierney, Academy Award nominated actress, Best Actress (1945).
  • Devin Townsend, musician, Strapping Young Lad, The Devin Townsend Band.
  • Nick Traina, singer.
  • Timothy Treadwell, American environmentalist and bear enthusiast.
  • Margaret Trudeau, Canadian celebrity and ex-wife of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau.
  • Mark Twain, Writer
  • Ted Turner, Media Mogel
  • Tracy Ullman, Comedian, writer
  • Ludwig Von Beethoven, Composer
  • Jean-Claude Van Damme, actor.
  • Vincent Van Gogh, artist.
  • Townes Van Zandt, singer-songwriter.
  • Mark Vonnegut, author.
  • James Wade, darts player.
  • David Walliams, actor/comedian/author/charity fundraiser.
  • Ruby Wax, comedian.
  • Scott Weiland, musician. (Stone Temple Pilots, Velvet Revolver)
  • Pete Wentz, musician. Fall Out Boy.
  • Delonte West, American basketball player.
  • Mark Whitacre, business executive described in the true story movie, The Informant..
  • Brian Wilson, musician, founding member of The Beach Boys.
  • Robin Williams, Comedian, actor.
  • Jonathon Winters, Comedian, actor.
  • Amy Winehouse, musician.
  • Virginia Woolf, writer.
  • Catherine Zeta-Jones, actress.

So there you have it, according to Wikipedia (I wasn't in the mood to put that much research into this). It's common among artistic people, unfortunately, some of these guys didn't end up well, but that's because either they didn't manage it, or it was so severe that their lives were consumed by it. There's some missing from this list, but there too many to list.

Now I don't feel so different.