Not surprisingly, it all started with a building. I arrived in Fort Worth, Texas at 13 under protest and prepared to hate everything about it. Then I discovered Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum, and I was a stuttering fool in love. I was seduced by the sound of my shoes clicking against travertine panels in the portico and crunching through pea stone gravel in the Holly Grove. I was cooled on sweltering summer days by breezes across the reflecting pools. I was mesmerized by the ethereal glow of light that washes the vaulted ceiling and suffuses the galleries. Above all, I marveled at the building’s silence, simplicity, and restraint. Nothing gimmicky or ephemeral here. The Kimbell, along with Philip Johnson’s Water Gardens, Amon Carter Museum, Tadao Ando’s Modern, and E. Fay Jones’ Marty Leonard Chapel were my playground. They are the origin of my understanding of the potential of good design to make life better at a range of scales and in ways large and small. In helping designers share their work with the world, I hope to play some small part in the creation of future architectural masterpieces.
And lest you think that the origins of ideaworks are all cerebral and philanthropic, the other heavy influence is my affection for 1980s commercials. I am an advertiser’s dream; as a child I had a knack for remembering every tagline, every jingle. I was a Flintstone Kid, 10 million strong and growing. I believed so deeply in the good times and great taste of McDonald’s that I begged for piano lessons so I could play Für Elise. I still think the Beef Industry ads featuring Aaron Copland’s “Hoe-down” from Rodeo are pure genius. These messages endured in my imagination for a quarter century because they’re witty or memorable or engaging. They tell a story or stimulate a feeling. I believe in the power of a finely tuned message to cut through noise, capture the imagination, and create a powerful connection between an individual and a brand. I strive to help architects and designers craft messages just as memorable and appealing, and certainly less hokey, for their audiences.