The art of (re)imagination

In 1911, Ambrose Bierce, that patron saint of cynicism, described the phonograph as "an irritating toy that brings life to dead noises."

Now, everyone should have a hobby to pass the time. Myself, I live for dead noise and enjoy collecting it in all its varied styles: rock; blues; bubblegum; pop; classical; jazz; international; et cetera and ad nauseum.

I was too young for 8-tracks, and cassettes never did much for me. CDs were alright… at least you got a booklet with your purchase. But something about how vinyl brought music, art, photography, and typography together into one package has always enthralled me.

It's been said that the digital age killed the music industry. But for this avid collector of dead noise, it all came back to life when I discovered the "Add Artwork" capability of iTunes. Rather than being nostalgic for an old, familiar album cover, I discovered I could combine random images and create my own version. I discovered the fun of curating my own collection!

A quick example

"Robin's Reign" by Robin Gibb. (I love early Bee Gees and Robin's overwrought-yearning of a voice.) This is the original artwork. A little dated, don't you think?


For some reason, I always get a pre-Raphaelite feel from Robin. Something romantic, yet very English. See if you agree:

So, I grabbed a painting from one of the dead masters, threw in a little photo of Robin (alas, another dead master now) and voilå:

Or, here

I took a… well, uh… kinda boring cover from Leonard Cohen's not-boring album "Song From A Room," (I mean, the album starts out with "Bird on the Wire," for god's sake.)


And added an old black and white photo of his muse, Marianne, from their time in the Greek islands.


Toss in some Photoshop tricks, and you get:

Now, there are some wonderful graphic artists doing great and timeless artwork on a lot of these album covers, and I'm not saying my work is better. It's just—I enjoy bringing my own personalized twist to my hobby of listening to "dead noises."

Watch for more!


Hugo is a contributing writer to the ConceptuaLine blog and an accomplished copywriter in both English and Spanish. Catch him on Friday nights supporting Lancer football.


Arches of Art at the Bowl


Spamalot is the story of King Arthur as never told before. A partial list of characters includes the likes of:

  • Patsy, the Servant
  • Not Dead Fred ("He is Not Dead Yet")
  • Dennis Gallahad and his Mother
  • The Lady of the Lake with her Laker Girls
  • Sir Belvedere and Sir-Not-Appearing-in-This-Show

No doubt, there are many that can expound upon the history and creative genius of Eric Idle and the Monty Python crew.

But shown in the show shown here (Ah! Eric would be proud!) are design and lighting stagecraft extraordinaire. Kudos to Tom Ruzika and Joe Celli.


Donna is a principal at ConceptuaLine, and enjoys being a contributing writer to the ConceptuaLine blog.


Mermaids Spotted In Altadena!


The Open Studios Alta/Pasa/Dena Art Tour featured local artist, Kären Bagnard. Discover a few of Kären's creations below.

Then, be sure to visit the More Than Mermaids website to view Kären's entire gallery of frameable art cards.

Remember! Photos cannot do justice to these subtly-detailed, hand-embellished cards,

Donna is a principal at ConceptuaLine, and enjoys being a contributing writer to the ConceptuaLine blog.


Chalk One Up for Fundraising Fun


Within a few hours, what was once an expanse of gray concrete was awash in color. The pavement of Heritage Plaza in Covina, California, had been turned into a sidewalk art opening. On display, the work of chalk artists who had just spent hours on their hands and knees creating beautiful, but temporary, masterpieces.

The best part was that it was all for a good cause. Sponsored by the City of Covina and, the 5th Annual Chalk Festival brought together artists, vendors, and musicians for a day of creativity and community involvement. All proceeds benefited autistic children and adults.

With three artist classifications — professional, amateur, and autistic — there were all sorts of wonderful creations to see! From superheroes to storybook figures, from unicorns to dragons, from abstract puzzles to realistic faces: The sky was the imaginative and figurative limit.

Even though it would be my first foray into sidewalk chalk art, I knew ConceptuaLine had as much to offer as to learn, and so decided to participate. Happily, I chose my subject matter wisely! I chose the cover of a favorite children’s book,“Who Is The Beast?” written and illustrated by Keith Baker. (Also in print as "¿Quien es la Bestia?")  The colorful rainbow palette of flora and fauna, coupled with the fact that the original illustration was drawn with pastels, made the re-creation process fun and enjoyable.

However, I encountered several challenges along the way. Oh, the heat! But the staff were wonderful and supplied giant umbrellas for all the artists, moving them throughout the day to provide optimal shade depending upon the sun's ever-changing position. And I have to admit, I ended up with a numb left hand, most likely from leaning on it for too long. (Would you believe eight hours??!!) Well, at least I can say I suffered for my art!


My favorite parts of the day? Having friends and family show up, listening to live music by "Who's Clayton," and walking around to see all the finalized, colorful pieces of art. Later, we strolled through downtown Covina with all its restaurants to enjoy. We settled on The Brew & Meatball Co. where a glass of chilled chardonnay was quite refreshing after a long day of drawing.

Here’s to Chalk Festival 2015!

Donna is a principal at ConceptuaLine, and enjoys being a contributing writer to the ConceptuaLine blog.