Thursday, June 28, 2007

Flashpoint Animation Videos now on

Click on the title to this post or go to youtube and search for flashpointacademy

Art Bijou Met Blurb on Flashpoint

Flashpoint brain trust well-schooled in digital media

Entry level video-game developers earn fatter paychecks than many experienced accountants, health care professionals and (gulp) journalists. While many of us are not in the position to press the vocational reset button, today's teenagers weaned on digital media have educational and employment options that barely existed even half a generation ago.

"We are training kids today with things we did not even know yesterday, and we are building schools for things we won't know until tomorrow," explained Howard Tullman, serial entrepreneur, new media impresario and recently appointed chairman of Flashpoint Academy.

Beginning this September, Flashpoint will offer two-year training programs for high school graduates interested in pursuing careers in game development, computer animation, film and recording arts.

FP Construction Update - Sixth Floor Studios

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New Flashpoint Ad for Reader

Hillary Dessert Reception in Chicago

It was nice to get a chance to visit briefly with Hillary while she was in Chicago for her latest fundraiser. She spent a little time after the big dinner with a smaller group to address some questions about the Middle East. Many of the usual Chicago crowd were present and JB did a nice job of introducing her and moderating. Hard to imagine any better candidate.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Nice Interview with Glen Tullman on Illinois I.T. Association website

ITA Member Q&A: Allscripts

Company Name: Allscripts
Executive Name: Glen E. Tullman
Title: Chairman/CEO
Product/Services: Clinical, information and connectivity solutions for physicians
Company Size: 1,000 employees; estimated revenues of $300 million in 2007
Web Site:

ITA: In about 10 words, what pain does Allscripts solve?
Glen Tullman: Providing software systems physicians use to deliver better, safer care.

ITA: What motivated you to join Allscripts?
GT: I wanted to make a difference in the most important issue we face in this country: providing quality, cost-effective health care.

When I arrived at Allscripts in 1997, the company was out of money with Series J preferred stock and without a business strategy. My first action was to reposition the company as a provider of physician automation tools that focused on automating prescriptions.

The idea was to prevent medication errors by replacing handwritten prescriptions. This would make health care safer and more efficient at the same time. The challenge was overcoming conventional wisdom: that physicians won’t use technology and the prescription pad is the best solution.

Today, electronic prescriptions are acknowledged as the highest standard of care and Allscripts customers generate more than half of all the physician-written e-prescriptions in the U.S.

We have successfully transitioned to offering a full suite of IT solutions (led by our electronic health records) that help physicians and caregivers provide improved care at a lower cost whether they are in their practice or at the emergency department at a hospital.

Allscripts makes a difference in the lives of millions of patients every day.

ITA: How does Allscripts differentiate from its competitors?
GT: Allscripts is an information company rather than just a software provider.

Our goal is to deliver all the information needed to make a high-quality, cost-effective health care decision on one Allscripts screen (kind of like Bloomberg, which is the software traders use to make important financial decisions regarding stocks).

We not only deliver great software and functionality but superior clinical content behind the screen. We not only provide top-rated practice management software but we also generate new revenue streams for health care providers. We’re a partner rather than just a software provider.

Allscripts is the only company with solutions for the entire health care market that range from physicians who practice alone to multi-speciality groups to large academic medical centers and acute care hospitals.

ITA: How does Allscripts make money?
GT: The primary source of Allscripts revenue is the sale of licenses for our clinical software. Allscripts also sells clinical product education and connectivity solutions for physicians and patients along with medication fulfillment services.

ITA: How has your sector evolved over the last five years?
GT: The problems with the U.S. health care system remain as profound today as they were five years ago. This provides a vast and growing opportunity for health care information technology companies like Allscripts.

As a nation, we spend $2.2 trillion a year on health care. About $700 billion of this is wasted with 50 percent of patients non-compliant with their treatment plans and nearly 100,000 deaths each year from medical errors.

It’s a crisis of monumental proportions that has fueled a boom in technologies such as electronic health records, which aims to improve care while lowering costs. In 2001, only a handful of people had heard of the electronic health record.

Today, the technology is universally acknowledged as a clear solution to the problems that plague our health care system. Health care IT has made it into the pages of Time magazine, the evening news and President Bush’s State of the Union address.

Health care technology adoption rates are rising sharply. As a result, Allscripts has grown from $20 million in revenues in 2001 to what analysts who follow the company believe will approximate $300 million in 2007. We believe we’re at the very beginning of the market acceleration.

ITA: How is Allscripts funded?
GT: Allscripts is publicly traded on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol MDRX.

ITA: What are the biggest challenges you face as an Illinois-based IT company?
GT: As a provider of IT solutions for health care organizations across the country, to date we have experienced no significant challenges stemming from our Illinois location. In fact, our central location relative to our clients makes it easier for us to attract them to Chicago for advanced user training.

ITA: What are your thoughts in general related to the Illinois IT community?
GT: Illinois is well represented in the health care IT boom that we’ve experienced over the last few years.

That said, with the presence of prestigious organizations like the American Medical Association and the Healthcare Information & Management Systems Society, with our strong universities and with our central location, we would like to see more companies here in Illinois.

Overall, the Chicago area is an ideal location for IT entrepreneurs who find relatively affordable housing (especially compared to Silicon Valley), a highly educated and technically sophisticated work force and the financial and legal infrastructure needed to spawn and nurture vibrant companies.

ITA: How much of your work force is based in Illinois?
GT: Roughly 40 percent.

ITA: Are there any plans to get into industries beyond your current core?
GT: Our focus has always been to inform, connect and transform health care. We have no plans at this time to move beyond our core health care business.

FP Construction Update as of June 25

Progress continues especially on the major stairway, etc. and we believe that we are very close to being entirely caught up with our construction schedule.

Main Staircase

Tribune Article on Claimforce and Go Picnic and Steve Miller from Origin Ventures

Experience pays off for start-upsMany innovative leaders have paid their business dues

By Ann Meyer
Special to the Tribune
Published June 25, 2007

After decades of experience in the corporate world, Stephen Applebaum spotted plenty of gaps in the marketplace that needed filling.

Today, he and two other former executives of CCC Information Services Inc., including Dennis O'Mahoney, are targeting what they consider an obvious missed opportunity in the insurance industry, the chance to use computer technology to streamline the way insurance companies choose vendors to appraise and repair their clients' banged-up cars or homes.

"Working with the Fortune 500, it's not hard to spot the opportunities and the deficiencies," said Applebaum, president of ClaimForce, which has 19 full-time workers.

The Warrenville-based business acts like an Angie's List or Orbitz for insurance companies by scoring appraisers, repair shops and property restoration services based on service, cycle time, pricing data and other quantitative measures, said O'Mahoney, chief executive, who launched the company in late 2002.

The idea is to make it easier for adjusters to choose "the right provider at the right price and the right place," so policyholders are satisfied, O'Mahoney said. ClaimForce helps manage the process from start to finish.

ClaimForce was one of 13 companies, including four in the Chicago area, selected as Innovate Illinois winners last week by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. About 100 companies submitted applications, and the competition "was tougher" than in years past, said David Weinstein, president of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, which administered the contest. "Entrepreneurship is in vogue," he said.

Winners get a $10,000 grant, travel stipends and the chance to participate in mentoring and networking programs.

Growth engine

"The ultimate goal is providing an environment for Illinois entrepreneurs to succeed," said Jack Lavin, director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. "They're our greatest engine for economic growth. We want to nurture them to succeed."

It turns out, this year, some of the most innovative entrepreneurs are also the most experienced. Like ClaimForce, the other Chicago-area winners were started by seasoned business professionals. Wayne Rothschild, president and co-founder of Neat-Oh, the Northfield maker of the ZipBin, a storage system for toys, has more than 50 patents to his name and has worked for Kraft Foods Inc., General Binding Corp. and WMS Gaming Inc. Shelly Sun, president of BrightStar Franchising, which sells franchises of a medical staffing business she started in 2002, previously was a senior manager at CNA Financial Corp. and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Julia Stamberger, president and co-founder of GoPicnic, was a PricewaterhouseCoopers consultant in the '90s before launching start-ups, a travel content dot-com, and Turn-about Inc., focused on networking techniques to find employment.

Stamberger got the idea for shelf-stable foodservice company GoPicnic while working in business development at United Airlines with partner Pam Volpe Jelaca. "We left United to see what we could do with it," Stamberger said.

GoPicnic provides fully assembled, shelf-stable boxed meals for airlines, hotels and other companies. The seven-employee company scours the world for products to include, working with manufacturers to customize the items, which have a minimum shelf life of six months, Stamberger said. All are balanced meals and free of MSG, high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, she said. Popular items include tuna salad, whole grain and bean salad, cheese, pita chips and hummus, and gourmet cookies or chocolate.

Often, corporate experience leads to a breakthrough business idea when someone figures out a solution to a persistent problem, experts said. What's more, venture capitalists and other financing agents often look for a track record of business success.

"We're seeing more experienced folks start companies," said Steve Miller, principal at Origin Ventures, a Northbrook venture capital firm that has funded ClaimForce. The firm was attracted to ClaimForce largely because of the management team, Miller said. "We looked at what they had done previously," he said.

Miller recommends that novice entrepreneurs team up with more experienced managers, or build a team of advisers to help guide them. "They need to know what they can do, and what they can't do," he said. "Then they need to find some resources that can help them."

The trend toward seasoned executives starting entrepreneurial ventures in Chicago extends beyond the Innovate Illinois contest, experts said. "We're seeing some of the best deal flow we've seen in years in Chicago, and it's a direct correlation with more high-caliber entrepreneurs emerging over the past couple of years," Weinstein said.

Access to advisers

The key to cultivating successful entrepreneurs is in providing access to advisers who can help them overcome obstacles, avoid expensive mistakes and expand their businesses, Weinstein said.

All the Innovate Illinois winners will be paired with mentors. "The greatest service you can provide them is to link them up with great business advisers and mentors. That's the missing link," Weinstein said.

This will be the second time Sun has participated in a mentoring program at the entrepreneurship center. She also participated in the Athena PowerLink program, which she said was instrumental in getting her franchise operation off the ground. Now that her franchise business is expanding rapidly, with two to five new franchise locations opening per month, she is looking for help managing the growth. "We want to make sure we are staying in front of it," she said.

She started BrightStar Healthcare in 2002 with her husband, J.D., after his grandmother became ill and Sun experienced first-hand the challenge of finding quality medical care. The company, which has three company-owned stores in the Chicago area, provides home health-care and medical staffing services. It now employs 120 workers and has awarded 28 franchises in the past 18 months.

Neat-Oh, which has raised about $2 million in private equity, hopes a mentor will provide suggestions for long-term growth. "We're in here fighting the good fight every day," Rothschild said. "This will give us a chance to step out" and work on strategy.

"Our biggest challenge is finding ways to market on a very limited budget," he said.

Through networking, the company already has talked with Stamberger about the possibility of packing GoPicnic's food items in Neat-Oh's picnic-themed ZipBin to boost visibility of both products.

Other Innovate Illinois winners named include: Colorlab Cosmetics, K.W. Powell & Associates and Leading Edge Hydraulics, all from the Rockford/Northern Illinois area; Professional Swine Management, R Cubed Technologies and Vision Technology Inc. from Central Illinois; and Arthur Agency, Boon-Docks Equipment, and So iLL Inc. from Southern Illinois.

- - -

Innovate Illinois program

Purpose: The state program was created to help innovative small businesses grow.

How it works: Each year, 13 companies from four regions of Illinois are selected for a six-month program administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

Each winner receives a $10,000 grant and travel stipends and is matched with mentors and other resources to help them develop strategies for growth.

To learn more:

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Collection Artist Orly Cogan Interview in The Coveted

Orly Cogan's "Wonder of You" show at Steven Wolf Gallery. The show is a series of embroidery on vintage fabrics, natural and fantastic scenes of sex and cake and other things. The subject matter articulates the post-modern feminine condition (which is at best a confusing paradoxical mess) in an honest and whimsical way. It's so refreshing.

The Coveted: Tell us a little bit about yourself... what does your average day look like?

Orly Corgan: Every day is different. It depends if I am creating work for a specific exhibition or working out ideas, concepts & methods in the studio for future projects. Usually I try to take care of what I call business stuff in the morning at home. Then I hop on the subway & head over to the studio for the rest of the day. Some times there are days where I just take care of errands related to my work, like looking for new materials, supplies to work with, looking through books (researching topics I'm interested in) to translate visually. I deal with frames, mounting issues & so on. I try to be home around the same time as my fiancé so we can have dinner together! I often bring work home so I can continue to work on it late into the night.

TC: Let's talk about your work. You have several re-occurring themes; nakedness, near-nakedness, sex, drugs, cake, self portrait. How did they find themselves into your work?

OC: Most of the figures are people from my life or they are people I know that are playing a character within the world of my work. My love, my parents & friends mingle with storybook characters creating a kind of public intimacy. Using people that I know is interesting, intimate, challenging & fun for me. It's unabashed yet very vulnerable, in either case , it's a way I can stay close to them all day with out actually spending physical time together. I cheerfully try to mix things up, collapsing time & history as I combine the past with the present. My work is an irreverent yet gentle take on the conventions of femininity. Many themes I deal with include, art history references, psychology and gender dynamics ,tradition, mythology, fairy tale, nature, humor, irony & relationships. I add to these salvaged fabrics a layer of contemporary attitude (such as hand sewed long pubic hair or blatant indigents of sweets & drugs) that updates what was once considered an old-fashioned craft in a more modest age- with a kind of "happy-go-lucky postmodern perversity". (that's a quote I love from a past review by, Margaret Hawkins). The fabric becomes the foundation for a fantastical, exotic dialog between the old and the new. My life as it is mixed up with the fantasies of how it might be through a haze of innocents & precociousness that is my own inner reality.

My figures, often female heroines allude to their anxieties, insecurities, vanities & desires through visual narratives. These narratives have both a tactile and symbolic presence, transforming "women's work" into something beautiful, evocative and unexpected.

TC: How did you learn to embroider?

OC: In art school, my major was painting, so I never "officially " learned embroidery or even took any fiber arts classes. I grew up going through grade & high school where hand crafts & art were an important part of the curriculum. Growing up, my father was mostly interested in Renaissances art & nineteenth century painting. My childhood home was filled with sculptures & paintings with subject matter that often became part of my make believe play time as an only child. While my mother collected old "samplers", quilts & folk art which decorated the home I lived in during my high school years. In a way my current work embodies both these influences & sensibilities. (sort of connecting to both my parents on one hand yet simultaneously rebelling!) I think of what I do as drawing & painting in thread.

TC: I think it's interesting how you use a medium that is classically designated to women. The connotations of embroidery, of lace, fresh linens, bring thoughts of what's expected of women. Like we're supposed to smell nice, all the time. Seeing images of girls doing things we shouldn't be looking at, like having sex with each other and doing drugs... eating cupcakes. I can relate to this gap between expectation and reality, but what inspired you to address the feminine dichotomy the way you do?

OC:In a time with constantly shifting boundaries that define our relationships and our identities, I am interested in exploring some common feminine archetypes and stereotypes. Searching for that odd thing, the Feminist Beauty Queen. I mix subversion with flirtation, humor with power and intimacy with frivolity. I am drawn to dichotomies such as soft and tough, dirty and clean, fantasy and reality, especially as they relate to gender. It's been said that I "eroticses the very nature of linens and the act of hand sewing". (Michael Kisner).

TC: Who is your hero?

OC: I dont have one. Maybe wonder-woman! : )

TC: Where can we find you?

I am represented by Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago, Projects Gallery in Philadelphia, Steven Wolf Fine Arts in San Fransisco & Byron Cohen Gallery in Kansas City.

I currently have a solo exhibition up at Steven Wolf Fine Arts in San Francisco, titled, "The Wonder of You".

This summer I'll have an installation up at The Hudson River Museum in NY, titled, "I Want Candy" June 14 through September 2. I will have a solo exhibition this fall with Bryon Cohen Gallery .

January 2008 I will participate in a two person exhibition titled "Undomestic" at Peppers Art Gallery, University of Redlands, CA. Last but not least , some work can be seen in the digital archive for feminist art in the Elisabeth Sackler Center of The Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Experiencia Featured on CBS 2 Chicago Morning News

You can see the very nice 3 minute video piece that Suzanne LeMignot did on Experiencia (both Earthworks and Exchange City) for the CBS 2 Chicago Sunday Morning news by going to this link:

or you can simply click on the title to this post.

New Piece by Johniene Papandreas from Gallery Voyeur in Provincetown, Massachusetts

A new small piece by Johniene Papandreas entitled "From A Distance"

A scan from the American Art Collector magazine of the same piece.

Interview with the Artist


There is tangible sense of mystery and drama that the viewer senses rather than sees when confronted by the paintings of Johniene Papandreas. And “confronted” might just be the right word. Each large scale painting fills the plate glass windows at Gallery Voyeur at 444 Commercial Street in Provincetown, MA with an emotional intensity that may, quite literally, stop you in your tracks, and the paintings with their searching expressions or confrontational stares certainly make it hard to turn away.

“Some people experience a cascade of reactions,” says artist Papandreas. “The first impact is almost visceral. Then, as they look deeper, they are carried into a kind of shared intimacy with what the subject of the painting is experiencing. The effect I hope for is that they realize the “experience” that seems to be emanating from the painting is actually manifested by some aspect of their own imagination or personal life experience.”

The Gallery—in Provincetown’s East End—is a new venue for Papandreas, who spent the last 25 years designing for the theatre. She began that career in New York in the late 70’s and ran the gamut from Off-Off Broadway to regional theatre and opera before bringing her design abilities the world of ‘corporate theatre.’ “Designing for the corporate world served me very well, but it has been a long time since I have allowed myself such a free level of personal expression, and it is very satisfying. I have also realized that my time away from painting was not time wasted, though I always thought it was. Everything I have done seems to have informed what I want to do now and how I do it.”

During this long absence from painting, Papandreas began to notice how the way she looked at paintings in books and museums began to shift. “I suppose it has something to do with how we process visual information these days, and maybe because of my background in the theatre, I have always been particularly attuned to the concept of ‘subtext.’ In the work of the Italian masters, particularly Caravaggio, I got the sense that there was much more going on than met the eye, and as I looked longer, I found myself drawn into particular details of the scenes, almost as though there was an emotional vortex.” She was inspired to explore this inner world from a modern point of view using the classics as a springboard.

“Where the artists of the Italian Renaissance, French Romantic, and Pre-Raphaelite periods were telling specific stories for the viewers of their time, my ‘details’ are chosen to awaken an emotional response in the modern viewer. I divine and isolate an area that I think contains a ‘charge,’—either of mystery, sensuality, or emotion—reframing it in a way that will focus the viewer on what I see, and then paint them on a large scale, which serves to further amplify the power in the painting.” Through this evolution, the context of the original painting drops away and what you see and feel is something new, the distillation of a charged essence. “We are assaulted by millions of images all day long, most of them coming to us in constant short bursts. They have the cumulative effect of numbing the viewer. I hope to stop someone long enough with my paintings to let them experience a kind of communion with themselves that may not be all that accessible in today’s world.”

She has recently begun exploring the same perspective to paint from living subjects. “It’s not portraiture per se. I like to say the person is not so much the subject as the object of the painting... it’s more about some intriguing emotional aspect that might be revealed and explored.”

As if the paintings were not enough, there is an added intrigue at Gallery Voyeur. It not only houses the paintings, but also the artist’s studio. Papandreas is in residence during the summer months to greet visitors and in the fall and winter when she does her commissions she can often be found painting in full view of anyone who happens by. “I think people like to watch artists work, and it is enjoyable for me, too. I have no problem conversing as I paint and like being there to experience the reactions people have to the work.”

It is, after all, Gallery “Voyeur.”

Collection Artists Alison Blickle and Jenny Morgan in New York Show - Pink Polemic


Exhibition Dates: June 28, 2007 – August 2007
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 28, 6-8pm
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Friday 11-6pm, August by appointment

The Kravets/Wehby Gallery is pleased to announce PINK POLEMIC a group exhibition curated by Erin Abraham including new work by Nina Chanel Abney, Negar Ahkami, Alison Blickle, Shiri Mordechay and Jenny Morgan. The exhibition opens Thursday June 28, with a reception from 6-8 pm and runs through August 2007.

Strong self-reference unites the artists in PINK POLEMIC. The work of these artists is controversial and combatant at times while affirming and exultant at other times. The self-referential theme of these works operates like a polemic: the viewer decides if each work presents arguments for or against the imagery set forth by the artist.

Nina Chanel Abney toys with both gender and race in her expansive canvases that reference facets of her own life. Abney often depicts a calm confidence in friends and family while her self-portraits reflect a strong state of agitation. Negar Ahkami fuses her American upbringing with her Iranian heritage in politically charged work. Her large paintings incorporate facets of Islamic tiles into a modern day Harem scene where women peruse Harper's Bazaar while donning glittering Valentino inside the confines of a palace wall. Portraits of distorted amalgams of women by Alison Blickle take on new meaning in the eyes of our image conscious generation. The female body has been streamlined for glossy consumption and nature is confused. What happens when these women traverse the natural terrain without the trappings of society? Shiri Mordechay is a habitual insomniac who paints the imagery that keeps her awake at night. Narratives emerge amidst portals to other dimensions indicated with saturated color and fractures of light dividing the picture plane. Ashley Bickerton-esque heads roll and classic Joseph Beuys-ian performance unfurls in breathtaking panoramic hysteria. Jenny Morgan paints radiant classical portraiture. Her subject ranges from fellow artists to self-portraits to women she finds on the internet. Her work often has binding factors, whether arteries and veins extending from the eyes, swathes of red satin or conceptual restraints.

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