Archive for March, 2006

The Art and Logo update

Tuesday, March 21st, 2006

_2 Assante Gold proud statue.gifHow hard could it be to create a logo? Plenty. Imagine having some nebulas idea, but not an exact design in your mind and a million ways to approach creating one of the most important elements in any business. I knew I needed help so I asked three artists to give it a try. If I could just get some rough ideas, I knew I could direct their electronic pens and paint brushes to what I liked.

Assante DesignLeonard Assante did about a dozen really great logo designs. I thought the variations of the tall statue he had were cool, but it did not test well, “too imposing” the test groups said. As Leonard was giving me more designs to consider, I hired graphic designer and friend Trent Truman. Trent’s approach was to take the name and craft it into something that exemplified what he thought were my thought’s. But my thoughts were evolving everyday, could he catch me with the right design when he was finished? While he was hammering away I also hired a professional animation studio Animotion in Syracuse, NY to see what they could do.

The testing continued and the expenses mounted, but with each and every logo I received friends, family and strangers gave their opinions. Most of the nods seemed to be in one direction. Trent Truman’s design won! Leonard Assante was good enough to place the finishing touches by designing the word “studios” and positioning it under Trent’s “Bibleland”. Although it looked great, bouncing back and forth from artist to artist and idea to idea challenged at least one artist’s patience with me in the daunting process task of finding that look and feel that will forever define and represent our company’s personality, but in the end it was all worth it and everyone agreed. A magnificent logo was born!_2 Trent Logo Bibleland B&W Original.jpg

In our next blog we will unveil the final finished logo and we’ll drop in and see Elfred Lee’s progress.

The Invitation 2003 – Phase Two

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

Elfred in Front of Invitation may 2003 500k.jpgElfred!! WHEN am I going to see what you’re doing?, I asked while phoning one day. Promising to get me a video soon I wondered if all this time and money would pay off. It was a lot to risk but I believed people needed an accurate painting of Noahs ark instead of all these cutesy versions with giraffes and elephants sticking their heads out of flimsy reed boats. Little cartoon paintings didn’t do justice to such a massive event in our planet’s history where all life was destroyed in the thousands of volcanoes, massive tidal waves, earthquakes and storms that tore through the Earth. The worldwide graveyard of fossils needed their silent story told.

Elfred back painting invitation sepia may 2003 500k.jpgWithin weeks I knew we were on track. Watching the video that Elfred sent I discovered that his talent knew no bounds as he effortlessly painted with a paintbrush in BOTH hands. Animals sprung to life as he captured that last moment in time before the door to life forever closed on the ancient world. Every object took on new depth of meaning and significance as Elfred shared some of the symbolism hid everywhere in the painting. My trust grew as I realized that this wouldn’t just be beautiful and accurate but it would also touch hearts as they saw the gospel proclaimed in art.

Next up…Bibleland’s Logo and the forever process it took to design it proper.

Invite the Dinosaurs

Thursday, March 9th, 2006

Invitation-Teradactle 5-14-2003-1.jpgElfred politely inquired what the problem was. The two women scientists stood in the back of the room, their irritated comments, way out of proportion for such a meeting and certainly anything but “Christian”. Their complaints stemmed from feeling insulted because of the lack of science in the painting. But rather than encouraging the artist they removed themselves from the room. The six remaining scientists looked sheepish as they rolled up their sleeves. Their constructive criticisms would be tremendously helpful and appreciated, adding a wonderfully prehistoric feel. Soon excitement replaced the thick atmosphere of criticalness as ideas were thrown on the table for consideration.

Inv. Dino Sepia 5-14-03.jpgMore dinosaurs Elfred, they said as they scrambled for reference material. Elfred is highly visual and the more illustrations they produced the more excited he became. Scientifically accuracy was brewing by the minute. Elfred eagerly trekked back to the studio to pour over the ideas.

Meanwhile a name for the company was still lacking. Ark Media and Heavens Think Tank were the only two names that could possible replace Bibleland. I went to a professional naming company. The president asked me if Bibleland tested poorly. I said it did. She remarked that most successful names do NOT test well. So after much thought and debate it was settled. The organization that would publish biblical resources spanning the gamut from fine art, such as The Invitation, to DVDs and all available forms of media, would be called Bibleland Studios. The creative, brainstorming,factory of Biblical ideas aspect perfectly captured by adding “Studios” to the name. Bibleland Museum would have to wait another day.

In our next 2 blogs: Bibleland Studios hunts for a logo and The Invitation enters phase two.

Pass and Review

Wednesday, March 8th, 2006

Bibleland Naming.pngJohn, you have to use something other than Bibleland. People will be turned off, friends kept telling me, especially the ones you hope to impress“ the non-churchgoer. I thought about their advice as I rummaged through my imagination. How about Paradise Studios or Ark Media, I suggested to my wife. What about Heavens Think Tank? I could tell we were getting nowhere. The list of potential names grew longer, as did our indecision and frustration. I thought this part was supposed to be fun! We set the list aside again and again hoping to come back with a fresh perspective, but with each brainstorming session, one name kept rising to the top, the birth name that first christened our exciting idea – Bibleland.

Invitation Sepia Cocker Spaniels2.jpgMeanwhile at the street studio in San Diego, Elfred sketched, traced, and stroked the 4×8 foot piece of canvas. It was slow going. He labored over every inch; knowing that giving life to the biblical story of Noah was a huge responsibility. Much was riding on this project for all concerned.

By 2002, the Invitation was in the sepia tone stage – ready for its first round of critique. So, off it was to the Institute for Creation Research to meet good friend and president Dr. John Morris. There Elfred encountered a few artists among the 30 scientists. Ever looking for the improvements that would make this painting great and humble enough to open himself up to criticisms, Elfred listened patiently to their suggestions. He then headed north to the Geoscience Research Institute and that’s where the trouble began.

In the next blog hear the ranting of two woman scientists and see the company name finalized.

New York Calling San Diego

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

It was Christmas 2000 and I was excitedly dialing San Diego, California. ”Hello, is this Elfred Lee?, I asked. Artist Elfred Lee was the perfect choice for the project that would properly stretch me and test my potential ability to bring a museum to fruition. My desire to see Biblical stories and concepts depicted in an intelligent, realistic and interesting way led to Elfred as he was not only an artist but also an explorer who had searched the Middle East for Noahs Ark. _1 Hagopian Full shot of Ark 1908 copy copy.jpgHe would bring realism and depth to The Invitation“ a painting of Noah pleading with people to enter the ark. I knew he would perfectly accomplish my goal of having projects done so well that they not only added credibility to the Bible but would attract non-Christians as well.

On March 15, 2001 Elfred Lee and I signed a contract to begin this magnificent painting that would cost in the 5 figures after the artist and reproduction expenses were figured in. It would take 3 years to complete this 4 x 8 ft. masterpiece but Elfred always tells people 40 years because it was the fruit of a lifetime of research and exploration.

Ed Davis & Elfred.jpgElfred’s credentials were fundamentally important to this painting. From 1969 to 1985 Elfred had been on 4 separate expeditions up Mount Ararat, the biblical resting place of the Ark. During that time he was also introduced to 2 actual eyewitnesses who had claimed seeing the ark. Separately these men recounted their unique experiences and like a crime scene artist, Elfred sketched both the shape and position of the ark. Though these men had never met nor spoken to each other, the resulting sketches matched completely and became the basis for the ark design used in The Invitation.

In our next blog we stop in and see the painting’s progress as we pick out a name for the company and begin to narrow our focus.

Adjusting the Dream to Fit Reality

Sunday, March 5th, 2006

LWM Blog_7A.jpgHave you ever been faced with a decision and did not know which way to go? How do you know when God points you down the right path in the fork in the road? The Bible says, that in the multitude of counselors there is safety. Counselors? Men of character, men of wisdom with experience. I chose three whom I respected for their sound judgment. Each were posed the question after a brief explanation of what Bibleland was. Each response was affirmative. The additional studying I was doing seemed to give me a green light also. To be honest I did pray but not nearly enough. Was I afraid that God would somehow discourage me through the unspoken time alone with Him? We should never fear that.

So with all the confidence I could muster I pushed ahead. By then as my friends were made aware of these big plans of a multi million dollar Christian Disney-like facility, one dared to challenge me and thankfully she did. Jennifer was an accomplished songwriter and singer with several albums under her belt. Respect for her help create a listening and receptive ear as she made it clear the contempt she had for Sanguines, like me. She explained, “Sure they are big on ideas, some truly great!” she admitted, but they never follow through and finish anything! I could feel the frustration in her voice. But she was right. I, like my many Sanguine cohorts, have many grand dreams and most of us do not have a clue as to the enormous effort and time commitment it takes to accomplish it. She went on, “Listen John, I honestly like your idea of Bibleland but why don’t you try to stretch yourself and grow into it by first completing one good sized project?”

Did I take her advice? You bet I did and in the next blog see the first project that would help define Bibleland.

A Dream From the Past Resurfaces in 2000

Friday, March 3rd, 2006

Blog 6-Bibleland Early Concept Drawing.jpgY2K loomed, but chaos and destruction soon turned to sighs of relief. Actually, I never did buy into the whole doom and gloom scenario. The year passed quickly. Summer turned to fall and with the crisp cool air came a certain magic“ bringing a desire for new adventures.

Bibleland had wintered from 1992 to August of 2000. Now I was revisiting the dream again. Allowing my mind to be free of all monetary restraint, I envisioned a Disneyland like facility. Instead of Mickey Mouse there would be Noah and Abraham. Imagine, I thought, of the biblical Tree of Life in the middle of the Garden of Eden! As paths meander through lush tropical plants, you see Seth, Adam, Eve and Cain retelling the story of Genesis. Just how big is Noahs Ark? I mumbled as I grabbed my calculator.

Would people be interested in seeing a replica and scenes from the pens of these inspired historians? My mind raced from one new and exciting diorama to the next. Sketching and writing every idea that flashed in my mind exhilarated me. BUT, I had to have one approval before I set out permanently and with confidence on this journey. The most important approval would not come from my wife. I would need hers secondly but my first approval would have to come from God.

In the next blog learn how God answered my request plus see a friend save Bibleland from the impetuous mind of a sanguine.