The happy-bi-product that emerges in this process is a more complete sense of self and a clear understanding of identity. I guess this has been called into play as I develop a logo for the site and for my business. Everything happens for a reason, right? In my family business (the other business), we carry a product called “Michigan Mitt Maps” designed by fellow local entrepreneur Michele Maltese. Like us, she was featured on “Mom’s a Genius” with JoAnne Purtan. I met her at an event and we hit it off right away. She asked to come to my shop one day and place her product there for sale. I assured her that we don’t get much foot traffic in this location and we mostly use it as our production kitchen, but I happily sat and shared a lovely conversation with her and placed her product in the store. I’ve never done that for anyone else. That was a year and a half ago and my prediction was accurate: we didn’t sell any of her wonderful product. I came in one day last week and noticed that her display was completely empty. When I asked the night crew about it, they said they let people take them because they thought they were free. This meant I had to place a call to Michele to explain what happened. When we started talking, I was quickly reminded why I liked her when we first met. It’s sad how often life gets so busy that we forget to tend to budding relationships. I’m so often guilty of that! During the conversation, I was also reminded of her overflowing creativity and asked her to take a look at my site. I told her that I’ve put small teasers out there but I haven’t done a full promotion on the new site, simply because I know I still have changes that need to be made, including the creation of a solid logo. While on the phone she popped over to it and loved what she saw. Her positive reaction was heart-felt and contagious. She also had a full list of suggestions for logo ideas. Over the next two days, we exchanged PDF’s of the designs we developed and together we came up with some great ideas about promoting the wooden panels. The next morning something was eating at me, and that was the fact that I needed to establish the identity of THATARTGIRL herself. When I brought that up to my husband Ron he acknowledged that he had already been thinking the same thing. “What you are hinting at is what you already instinctively know: THATARTGIRL is the Creative Umbrella…”
“…and she’s a person”, I interjected.
“Yes. But she is very talented and can do a whole number of things. You’re only at the tip of the iceberg here.”
I reminded him that in c. 1989 when I hit the art fair circuit, my father took it upon himself to pick a name for my tax ID Number without consulting me. He chose the horrific “Creations by Mary Lou” for the same reason. At that point I was painting t-shirts but in the future, it would probably be something else. Almost 30 years later I completely understand the rationale for it; I’m just miffed that he picked such a stupid name. Maybe that’s why I want to do it right this time.
Ron reminded me of the roots of the name, why I picked it in the first place and what was catchy about it right from the get-go. It is reminiscent of the types of trail-blazing gals on which I grew up: the Marlo Thomases and Mary Tyler Moores (my personal favorite) who changed the world and were so darn likable at doing it. These were my TV female role models and I so much wanted to be like them. I happen to have a big “M” on the wall just like MTM did. She was my hero.
So I set out to design a logo just for her: THATARTGIRL. Using the Logo from the TV show as inspiration, I wanted it to resemble That Girl but have an updated feel. She wears an eye patch as I did as a child, and she is set in a skull and cross-bones pattern where the cross bones have been replaced by paint brushes. First draft, sure but I totally love her. She’s totally me.