Monday, September 14, 2009

Gallery No. 1--Cats

I'm quite fond of galleries of all kinds, so I recently decided my next project would be a gallery. The subject matter? Cats. I'm more of a dog person but find that when I'm behind the camera, I connect with cats much better for some reason.

This particular gallery took quite a few months to assemble. Many people have asked why I decided to focus on just two cats, and the answer is that it's due to a variety of reasons. I feel the sense of intimacy is much greater with two subjects and also, I live with both of these cats so it kept transportation and studio fees to a minimum.

I hope you enjoy this gallery. I've been deciding the proper venue to display it in, as I feel the traditional "art space" wouldn't fully allow the subjects to shine, and would really be in opposition to the underlying theme of the piece. I decided to post a preview of the gallery up here, at least until I hear back from the AGO or the City of Toronto Transportation Department (for display on subways, streetcars, bus shelters, etc.). I am also awaiting responses from several school gymnasiums.

So here it is: Money & Marley.

As always, I welcome all feedback.

PS--On a related note, a few months ago, I decided to do an experiment in the 'Free' section part of craigslist and see if I could post something so pointless and illogical that no one would want it. I posted an ad entitled "Free pictures of my cat." The ad said:

"I recently moved into a basement apartment and had to give up my cat. I have a lot of really nice pictures of her and was wondering if anyone would want them. I'd hate to throw away perfectly good pictures, but I don't really need them anymore. If you like pictures of cats then you will love these. Let me know if you would like them."

I figured at most I would receive some hate mail calling me a horrible person for not caring about my cat, and perhaps some people asking if I was for real. I didn't think anyone would actually respond asking for the cat pictures--if you want cat pictures, you usually go right to Google image and type in 'cat pictures.' Well, I received both of those responses and a few more, too. Here are some of the replies I received:

"This has to be a joke - you got rid of your cat but don't want to just get rid of the photos? That's sad, or I'm just a fool.." --Bob

"Who throws away pictures? Especially pictures of your cat you once loved??" --Dr. Marvin (who also told me to "Stay Golden")

-Me and my daughter would love to have some cat pictures, we love cats!! --Greg

-"I want your cat photos a lot. I live in Montreal, so you'd have to mail them for me. I want to use them for a series of drawings. I've done cat-related work before, so you know I'm not nuts (or maybe just a little.) I can pay for the shipping if you like." --Crystal

-"Do you still have photos of your cat?"--Melanie (received one month after I posted the ad, which would mean she was going wayyyy back into the archives for free stuff)

Everyone who requested the cat pictures was sent a copy of the photos in this gallery, as a way of testing the waters and seeing public response. I received a lot of positive feedback, which really pushed me to finish the gallery and display it to the public. From this experience, I also learned that you can post anything on the 'Free' section of craigslist and someone, somewhere will want it.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Join the Crusade

As some of you may know, cereal is a huge part of my life. I could eat it 3 meals a day and remain pretty happy. Most nights I would have it for dinner but my roommate forces me to eat real food.

My cereal of choice is
Great Grains, made by Post. I'd try to describe it but I'm pretty biased, so I'll let Post do it: "Savor the exceptional flavor of Post Selects Great Grains Crunchy Pecans cereal today. It's the unmistakably sweet and abundant Pecans, crispy multi-grain flakes and crunchy granola clusters that makes this Post Selects Cereal taste so delicious." --Post website.

Well said. It's true; there are abundant pecans and they are unmistakably sweet. I'm sure I've probably convinced you to go out and try Great Grains, which is great--except

Great Grains is NOT available in Canada. I've struggled with this issue on a daily basis since I moved to Canada six years ago. Recently I grew tired of the costs of shipping Great Grains from Florida to Toronto and I decided to do something about it.

On December 9, 2008,I began a letter writing campaign.

December 9, 2008

Kraft Foods Global, Inc.
Global Consumer Relations
1 Kraft Court
Glenview, IL

To Whom It May Concern:


I would like to commend you on a product of yours: Post’s Great Grains cereal, of the pecan variety.

I am a huge fan of this cereal. I have been eating it for years, often times consuming it for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My doctor says that this is not healthy for me, but I disregard him because I enjoy your cereal so much. Sometimes the thought of waking up to a bowl of Great Grains cereal is the only thing getting me out of bed in the morning.

However, I have run into a major problem. I have recently relocated to Canada, where, to my incredulity, Great Grains is not sold. I have been attempting to locate this product for months and have scoured every major grocery store in Ontario, to no avail. There are other Post products, such as Honey Bunches of Oats (which pales in comparison, might I add; however, I do enjoy it as a second-rate replacement of Great Grains), but no Great Grains. Can you please explain to me why you do not supply Great Grains cereal to Canada? Has it been banned, perhaps because it contains so many grains?

I am willing to do whatever it will take to bring Great Grains to Canada. Would a petition help? Do you have a shipping program that I could enlist in, which would ship Great Grains to me in Ontario? If not, could one be started? I think I could find many participants. None of my friends seem to have any objections to grains, especially if they are great.

Please let me know the answers to my questions. I have asked my mother in Florida to give me boxes of Great Grains for Christmas. If Great Grains were available in Canada, then I could ask her for the boxed set of “Will and Grace” that I really want as well.

Thank you for your help, and happy holidays.

Yours Truly,

Samantha Clark

Did I shake up the Post Cereal office? Did I even receive a response? Am I eating Great Grains cereal RIGHT NOW? Read ahead to see...

Hmm. Not exactly the response I was hoping for. Still, Kim sounds pretty reasonable and eager to please, so I decided to try again.

January 22, 2009

Kim McMiller

Associate Director, Consumer Relations Group

1 Kraft Court

Glenview, Illinois

60025, USA

Ref: 18500453N

Dear Kim,

Thank you for your reply letter of December 22, 2008. Can you believe that I just received it yesterday (January 21, 2009) in the mail?? Almost a month later! I believe this may have been due to the fact that the Post Office was confused when you addressed it “Roseland Ave,” when; in fact, I live on “RoseLAWN Ave.” But how nice it would be to live in a land of roses, Kim! It is wishful thinking on both of our parts, indeed.

Your letter was very courteous and concise. However, I am still confused. You forgot to answer my questions about starting a shipping program of Great Grains cereal to Toronto, Canada, where I live. I already have 9 people (including myself and my roommate) signed up for this shipping program. They will be very disappointed if we do not hear any news of our shipments! If you could just let me know the expense details, then I would be happy to spearhead this program.

And my offer of starting a petition to allow Great Grains in Canada still stands. I honestly think that if you opened Great Grains up to Canada, you would not regret it. I think you should do a trial month of stopping Great Grains service to an unimportant city, like Delaware, and shipping to Toronto instead. After a month, see which city eats more Great Grains, and then, presto, you (and I) are set! Maybe it could even be made into a TV reality show or documentary, in which case, I would like some of the royalty rights but of course not all.

Thank you again Kim, and I hope to hear from you soon! Please know that my loyalty to Great Grains will never once waver, even if I must receive it from the United States. Do not doubt that.

Your Friend,

Samantha Clark

I thought Kim would really enjoy that letter. A Great Grains reality show could bring a lot of positive attention to Post and a shipping program has the potential to revolutionize the Canadian cereal market. Any marketing student could see that. Did Kim give me the go-ahead to spearhead the shipping program?

Let's see.

Collies? What happened to Kim?! How can I keep a rapport going if Kim's passing me off to her assistants?!

On the bright side, Collies seems a bit more receptive to my ideas. Sure, she still said 'no' to pretty much everything I suggested, but at least she applauds my creativity. My plan is to write to Kim/Collies every few months to see if the shipping program has received approval yet. A war of slow, slow attrition. Here's where you can help. I invite you to join my letter writing campaign to Post Cereal imploring them to start selling Great Grains in Canada. I plan on taking this way past Post. I plan on writing to the grain and cereal industry, the Canadian trade market and of course, our local congressmen.

Join the crusade and together, WE CAN WIN.