Anyone who has been forced to spend any serious amount of time with me knows that I only have a few stories. There’s the Duck Story (for my high school friends reading this). The Spider Story (which became the Spider Trilogy) which I will retell on this blog at some later time (when I am sure my psyche can handle it). The exploding beer keg story and the Christmas parade story (both involved my time at Chuck E. Cheese’s). And that’s about it. I have not had that eventful of a life.
The Bamboo Story begins about 12 years ago during my time working as a graphic designer for a T-shirt company (as an aside, that was the only job I was ever fired from). One day, the manager of the shop asked me as a favor to create some simple Hawaiian-esque designs for her son’s glass-etching company to make some designer drinking glasses. Which I did. I made three landscape designs of Bamboo, Bird of Paradise (a tropical flower) and Torch Ginger (also, flower).
Years pass. 10 or so jobs later, I happen to walk by a medical clinic that was just built next to my coffee shop. I stopped in mid-stride and did my impersonation of a cow looking at a new gate for a minute. That was my first confrontation with my bamboo design.
A few people asked me, “Are you sure that’s your work?” Which is a reasonable question since my original design was sized for drinking glasses and this was blown up ten feet tall (I made it in Corell Draw, a vector-based illustration program so it can be scaled to any size without losing resolution). Ask any artist to identify their own work. Yes, I’m sure.
The second encounter would be sometime that year. One of my coffee shop customers asked me to house-sit for them and take care of their Bichon Frise. That’s when I noticed this on their front door.
Which opened up the flood gate of sightings. I started seeing my designs show up everywhere.
Here’s my bird of paradise next to the elevator and escalator at Kahala Mall shopping center.
A timeshare condo on Maui that has my designs next to the front door of every unit (alternating between my bamboo and my torch ginger design).
Most of an entire street of new housing in my neighborhood.
And the grand finale, this two-story glass elevator shaft at McCully shopping center (full disclosure: my bamboo is superimposed over someone else’s work on the bottom portion, I think the same design that I’ve seen on the glass doors at Honolulu International Airport).
So apparently some of my designs that I created during my downtime in my brief tenure working as a graphic designer are making a local glass tinting company thousands of dollars. What is the moral of this story?
If you want to be successful in life, you need to own your own business. Am I bitter? No, not really. I got paid my $10 an hour for the work I did. And if an entrepreneur didn’t take the time, effort and risk to market and sell that product, my designs would still be sitting on a hard drive in a computer somewhere.
If anyone had a right to be upset, it’s the gentleman who owns the T-shirt company since I was working on his computer and on his time when I made the designs.