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Welcome to the New Lantern blog. Our goal is to shine light on leading innovators and creative artists, and how your business can learn and profit from them. Companies large, medium, and small can benefit from employees who think more creatively. New Lantern may be just the source of inspiration your company needs to spark more innovative products, services, and processes.

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Archive for Tag 'provocative'

The Art of Politics

Posted by on September 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm

Will you vote in the coming election?

Now that the Republican and Democratic Conventions have ended, the official race for President has begun! At the end of the race, millions of Americans will cast their vote for the next President of the United States.

Will one vote make a difference?

Can one person change the outcome of this election?

Could the work of one artist, one image affect the election and leave a lasting impression that sways votes?

We’ve seen many images used in politics over the years from cartoons and caricatures to photos and paintings, including this early American cartoon (shown above) from one of the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin.

Over two hundred and fifty years later in 2008 another artist made a dramatic impact producing one of the most memorable, if not the most effective works used by a political campaign in modern history. This piece became synonymous with the campaign, representing the candidate and his message during the election.

The image was of the candidate with a four-letter word that simply read, “HOPE.” This work was created by street artist Shepard Fairey. Fairy had created other well-known works including the Andre the Giant “Obey” image seen on many walls and stickers around the country. Fairey’s work conveys a dramatic message with a quick glance, leaving the viewer with a lasting slogan that is hard to forget.

Whether you agree with the politician, the image and message Fairey created is effective in its simplicity. Fairey has since gone on to become a well-known contemporary artist.

Other artists have followed Fairey’s lead with their own versions of campaign-themed art for the 2012 election cycle.

One artist, Jon McNaughton, has used art to take a critical view of the President’s time in office. McNaughton’s art takes a complex approach, leaving the viewer with an encyclopedia of symbolism. His work is so detailed that he’s created an impressive interactive guide on his website to help explain the meaning behind each image; yet, the overall message leaves little for interpretation.

It may never be known if artists have changed or will change the outcome of any past or future elections. What is known is that the work and expression of one artist can leave a lifelong impression of an important moment in time.

The Last Dance

Posted by on May 18, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Five-time Grammy Award winner and disco icon Donna Summer died yesterday of cancer at the age of 63 at her home in Key West, FL.

Summer helped launch disco’s pop music craze in the 1970s, which served up a unique bass-thumping dance beat and unforgettable sing-along lyrics.

Summer was born in Boston as Ladonna Adrian Gaines in 1948, and was one of seven children. Her father was a butcher, and her mom, a schoolteacher who said that Ladonna always loved to sing. She began singing in church at the age of 10, and her talents were noticed and encouraged as she went on to perform in school musicals.

Weeks before her high school graduation in 1967, Summer left Boston for New York to sing in a blues rock band while trying to also pursue record labels, which failed to materialize. Her first break came a few years later when she auditioned for the rock musical, Hair. She lost out to Melba Moore who landed the original Broadway cast role, but Summer did get cast for the same part for the Munich production of the musical. She moved to Munich where she became fluent in German.

After appearing in several other musicals, Summer signed on as a back-up singer for the rock-and-roll band, Three Dog Night. During this period, she met record producer Giorgio Moroder, whom she partnered with to develop her first hit, “Love to Love You, Baby.” The song’s sexually provocative lyrics and her equally provocative performance drew global attention as some radio stations refused to air it. It went on to become the number two song on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in 1976. And her 17-minute version of the song soon became a staple in disco clubs around the globe.

Years later she admitted in a Chicago Sun-Times interview that she would’ve preferred to have not recorded “Love to Love You, Baby,” and instead would have first recorded “Last Dance” which became her second big hit in 1978 and led to her first Grammy. She went on to record “Bad Girls,” “Hot Stuff,” “On the Radio,” and “She Works Hard for the Money” over the next few years which brought her more Grammys and accolades.

Although the disco era began to fade around 1980, Summer continued to sing and record up until her death. For my generation who spent our teenage years in the 1970s, we will forever hum and sing and dance to the songs made famous by this artist and trailblazer known as the “Queen of Disco.” And, we thank her for giving us the “Last Dance” and many others.

Making a Fashion Statement

Posted by on March 6, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Pop star Katy Perry showed up for opening day of Paris Fashion Week this past Saturday dressed in blue from head to toe – literally.

Singer-songwriter Katy Perry is clearly a force of nature in the music industry, and is known for turning heads with some of her unique fashion statements. At 27, Perry is strikingly attractive and curvacious, and seems quite comfortable in the public eye. And those eyes apparently love her.

Perry’s recently-released single “Part of Me” shot to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100, the 7th such song of Perry’s to hold this rarified distinction. Although she’s been performing for almost a dozen years, it was her 2008 release of “I Kissed a Girl,” that catapulted Perry to the top of the charts where she has remained ever since.

Katy Perry wasn’t always the sexy bad girl she portrays in her performances. In fact, her name is really Katy Hudson, which was the title of her first gospel album in 2001 that was released in Nashville on the Christian music label Red Hill. Soon after, the transformation to rock and pop music began at which time Katy Hudson started using the stage name, Katy Perry, so not to be confused with the actress Kate Hudson.

As if her public life wasn’t outrageous enough, in 2010 Perry married the wildly eccentric comedic actor Russell Brand. That same year, she was to appear on Sesame Street in a music video, but the segment was never broadcast as planned. The video was first released on YouTube, and sparked a firestorm as many parents were outraged by Perry’s choice of wardrobe for the video – or lack thereof – in which she showed off ample amounts of cleavage.

By the way, her marriage to Russell Brand ended earlier this year.

Although Perry’s fashion and matrimonial sense will not win her any awards, her ticket as a songwriter and entertainer has never been hotter.

So I offer the same advice to corporate America as I do to Katy Perry. Maintain a keen focus on those pursuits that set you apart and contribute to your success. And don’t fall prey to new and shiny objects that may divert your attention.

In the end, success will be your best fashion statement.

Remembering Another Freud

Posted by on July 29, 2011 at 8:17 pm

British painter and portrait artist Lucian Michael Freud died last week in London at the age of 88.

Not as famous as his grandfather, Sigmund Freud, Lucian was well-known nonetheless in the world of art for his “stark and revealing paintings of friends and intimates,” according to the New York Times.

Lucian Freud was born in Berlin on December 8, 1922 to Sigmund Freud’s youngest son, Ernst Ludwig Freud, who was an Austrian architect. Lucian’s mother, Lucie née Brasch, was German. As both parents were Jewish, the Freuds moved their family to the St. John’s Wood district of London in 1933 to escape Nazi Germany.

I know St. John’s Wood well and have walked down many of its streets given my grandfather lived in that district for many years. I also know the work of Lucian Freud and have always respected it for its thought-provoking nature. His earlier Surrealism works gave way to bluntly-presented nude portraitures by the 1950s, which served to shock the senses. For example, his “Naked Man with Rat” (1977-1978) depicted a man lying on a couch holding a sleeping rat.

The central figures of Freud’s paintings many times appear tired, aged, and distressed – which has unnerved some observers over the years, particularly in the United States. Yet, no matter what one thinks of Freud’s work, there is an undisputed market for it. In May 2008, his 1995 portrait “Benefits Supervisor Sleeping” sold at auction by Christie’s in New York City for $33.6 million, which set a record for sale value of a painting by a living artist.

Conformity is the enemy to both the artist and the innovator. Corporations are generally expert at promoting conformity, but seldom proficient in providing for a culture that promotes creative thought and action. And they do so at their peril.

The next time you find yourself trying to conform, ask this question: “What would Freud do?” No, not the father of psychoanalysis, but his grandson.

‘Event Horizon’

Posted by on April 13, 2010 at 8:50 pm

From my window of my New York City apartment in the Chelsea-Flatiron area, I can see 5 of the 31 naked sculptures that make up the unique Event Horizon outdoor art exhibit in Madison Square Park.

Event Horizon opened on March 26 and runs through August 15. It has already caused quite a stir around New York, but causing a stir is nothing new for 59-year-old British sculptor Antony Gormley.

All 31 life-size sculptures are of the same male figure – made from a cast of the 6 foot, 2 inch artist himself. Only four figures are on the ground in the Madison Square Park area. The remaining 27 sculptures are literally framed against the sky, many of them perched on top of the historic buildings that encircle the storied park.

A few sculptures are several blocks away, and one is as far as 8 blocks away standing on a ledge at the 26th floor of the famed Empire State Building, which Gormley referred to as “the exclamation point” in a New York Times article before the exhibit opened.

According to that same article, the New York City Police Department actually felt the need to preemptively issue a statement that reassured the public that the figures were sculptures and not people on the verge of committing suicide. But that is far from the effect that Gormley is looking for from observers. He’s hoping they will see these simple figures in a different way given their uncommon positions in the cityscape.

Provoking viewers to look at ordinary objects in a different way is pure Gormley. He exhibited his figures in London in 2007 atop buildings and bridges, and thought “it was great to see an individual or groups of people pointing at the horizon,” according to

As remarkable as the Event Horizon exhibition is itself, the fact that Madison Square Park is the setting for the exhibition is even more remarkable. As recently as 10 years ago the Park was an eyesore and near abandon. But thanks to the work of the Madison Square Park Conservancy, created in 2002, the 163-year-old park has been transformed into one of the most attractive big city parks anywhere.

What is on the horizon for your company? I would encourage you to find ways to creatively provoke your employees by taking them out of their ordinary surroundings, and exposing them regularly to the extraordinary.

You’ll soon find it will transform your company into a very attractive place for both your employees and your shareholders.

The Art of Business Innovation

Posted by on January 11, 2010 at 9:13 pm

What exactly is business innovation? Is it a company’s ability to dream up a new and improved product? Is it a better way of doing business or providing services to your customers? Does it represent a more efficient and effective internal process within your company? Yes. Yes. And yes. All of the above.

To some, business innovation is a science – rational, methodical, and predictable. I prefer to see business innovation as more of an art – part science, but with a healthy dose of creativity and fearless ingenuity.

What is the genesis of the next best-selling car? It is a creative design team member, working on a white board or with clay, sculpting the outlines of the vehicle by hand, possibly mimicking the contours of another natural or man-made object that captures his or her imagination.

Then you bring in the engineers, the CAD team, the developers, and the focus groups to build out and test the proposition. But it starts with an idea, sparked by a creative moment by a talented employee.

How do I get one of those you might be asking? One of those creative employees who could be the ticket to your company’s next hot product or service? I’m guessing you already have more than one of these employees who are capable of such feats. Your challenge is to find and develop this talent.

Artists and innovators need the right stimulation. They need a suitable environment that promotes imaginative thought. And most importantly, they need a corporate culture that embraces, not discourages, new and original thinking.

Starting today, commit to a business innovation program that seeks to engage employees, managers, and executives in a new way. Shine light on those who show promise and inventive traits. Challenge them with provocative training and events that develop their talents. Cultivate the artist in them. Once you’re able to get this down to a science, you’ll likely be one step ahead of your competitors.