Branding, creative direction, story development, concepting, creative decks, cultural engineering, and thought leadership for Ace Hotel in New York, Portland, London, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Palm Springs, Pittsburgh, and creative for confidential new developments in the US and internationally. Collaborating with artists and musicians, poets and activists—as well as design shops like Roman and Williams, Commune, and our own Atelier Ace, we work to create a brand that functions like a relationship or cultural engine and sets the tone for a highly curated and conscientious lifestyle.
As Creative Editor in Chief, I establish and lead the voice and aesthetic of Ace Hotel. While helming the copy department and overseeing Ace and affiliated outlets across properties and partnerships, I work with my colleagues on the direction of design, architecture, graphics in Ace’s projects on a global scale, including new brand development and branding and identity of the iterations of Atelier Ace.
Creative direction for the release campaign of Paul Thomas Anderson’s Warner Bros. film Inherent Vice. The first production of Thomas Pynchon's work blessed personally by the man himself. The launch included a red carpet screening event at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA, corresponding art shows in New York, London, and LA based on the psychedelic ground the film covers including Joshua Light Show, John Van Hamersveld, The Haas Brothers, Steven Harrington, Alia Penner, Travis Millard, Lili Lakich, Dustin Stanton, Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe. Rounding it out, we launched a special release on limited edition 10" vinyl of the Inherent Vice Soundtrack with Jonny Greenwood and had a listening party for cast & crew. Print/digital/social/curation/event/spiritual.
You shouldn’t trust someone who’s never worn Vans. So when it was time to outfit the crew at Ace Hotel Downtown Los Angeles, Ace worked with Vans to create Ace Hotel x Vans Era 59. Guiding the creative vision of the campaign, an ambitious satellite of the intricate Ace x Vans footwear nexus, Noise Grind came to life online as part of our unveiling. Rolled out in advance of National Go Skate Day, Noise Grind is an interactive audio game designed and produced by Atelier that tests players' ability to identify skateboard tricks by ear. Working closely with Vans to guide trackpad traffic to the site — with prizes including dishing out a new pair of Vans each month for a year, two nights at Ace Hotel Downtown LA to top scorers, and putting shoes on a ton of feet. The campaign also included a special party and screening of Stacy Peralta’s Dogtown and Z-Boys with Tony Alva and personal skateboarding hero Steve Caballero showing up to shred 11 in The Theatre at Ace Hotel. App/social/digital/events.
Nike Innovation wanted a fresh perspective for the beta launch of EasyKicks, a sneakers-on-demand club for grade school kids and their parents. As creative copy lead, I worked to build a fresh tone of voice and executed copy across the project, from headlines to website copy to email campaigns, with a little UX for good measure. Brand/voice/website/email campaign/e-commerce.
The lifestyle and clothing concern nau was looking for a changeup: developing an evergreen messaging direction and public-facing communications package that reflected their new brand strategy.
I leveraged the fresh nau narrative and strategic direction to create a set of brand statements of varying lengths to be applied across platforms and applications. Retail/seasonal campaigns/social/e-commerce.
Atelier Ace always enjoyed its position as the secret sauce shop for all things Ace. But when Ace Hotel co-founder, public voice and spirit guide Alex Calderwood passed away, the top brass needed a new voice to represent the Ace movement. It fell to the Ace internal creative studio, Atelier Ace, to become that voice.
As Creative Editor in Chief, I established the tone for the Atelier, which became the public-facing voice for Ace Hotel. I wrote the website, brand guidelines, and helped lead the overall look and feel of the Atelier debutante. Brand/voice/website/strategy/brand guidelines.
The blog is the spirit animal for Ace Hotel. For better or worse, I've got the sole set of keys to the fiefdom, the engine room of the cultural engineering machine. We post whatever we want, like artists visits and interviews, but not like "babes" and "hot dogs." Maybe a gif of a cat dressed up as a hot dog and sent to 100,000 humans.
Alexander Chee, novelist par-excellence and brain parent of Amtrak Residency for Writers, on his sojourn in Portland after his initial residency, and I met at Stumptown to talk lit-world shop after meeting through mutual friends. The conversation's child was Dear Reader, a micro-residency for writers at Ace Hotel New York. Each writer stays at the hotel, gets a tab and supplies, and writes a letter to the imagined Dear Reader. We print up the letters in an edition of 300 on good paper, and one night during the month of the writer's stay we deliver each guest of the hotel the letter. We also interview each reader on our blog. It's a passion project proved true, expanding the cultural conversations Ace has in the world.
The American Southwest has been home to people with grit for thousands of years. Every spring when it starts to heat up in the in the Coachella Valley the desert’s energy calls out. So we go out to commune with the shamans wielding guitars and drums and keyboards and even laptops around the Big Show at Coachella. We make a party layer cake every year at the Swim Club and it’s called Desert Gold.
For the two weeks each year the Coachella valley is at its most psychedelic, we make events and parties and popups and in the most euphemistic sense we make experiences surrounded by music and artists for brands and their fans—Marc by Marc Jacobs, Mutato, tumblr, Amoeba Records, Moon Juice, Remezcla, Mail Chimp, Festival Nrmal. It's a good place to fall in love for as long as you want.
The Clinton Foundation wanted to work on an innovative campaign for their women’s global health initiative, so we came up with a codeathon — a hackathon, but swap the bruhs and energy drinks for women and people traditionally excluded from the conversations in code, some healthy snacks and stretching. Set folks to work on developing tech that can be used in underserved areas throughout the world to support the health of women. After an initial success in the lobby of Ace New York, the Clinton Foundation, tumblr, and Jawbone worked with us to expand the program to LA, Palm Springs, Boston, with an eye towards more events in the future. To date, every last participant in a Codeathon is healthy.
Branding, creative direction, story development, concepting for American Trade Hotel, the first in a series of portfolio projects through Ace Hotel / Atelier Ace, working with design shop Commune on the 50-room hotel in Panama's Casco Viejo.
The old part of Panama City, Casco Viejo and the building for American Trade Hotel had for decades fallen to neglect, housing multiple street gangs and kidnapping syndicates before its tenancy was successfully renegotiated by Atelier Ace.
I created the brand narrative, established and grew its blog and social media platforms and helped lead the sensitive and complex positioning for our brand in our first venture into a post-imperial urban environment, as well as being recognized by Architectural Digest and Condé Nast Traveler as one of the best hotels in the world in 2015. Brand/blog/brand guidelines/social media.
As Creative Editor in Chief, I lead the web presence across all platforms for Ace Hotel and its affiliated handles on a global scale, growing our brand through organic, in-bound content and pitch perfect engagement. During my tenure as social seer, Ace averaged over 5000 unique new followers and over two million page views per month, the majority of traffic coming from new visitors who feel the gravity of our unique cultural perspective in the world. Our blog and Instagram have been widely recognized as the best in our brand comp set, and in my two years as master soothsayer in the dark arts our followings across platforms grew over 150% to more than a half-million followers.
In 2010, I was sitting with my friends Zachary Schomburg and Drew Swenhaugen at Stumptown Belmont in SE Portland lamenting the lack of a nationally-recognized poetry event in our city. Before moving here in 2008, we'd been involved separately in literary projects in Omaha and Tucson and Tempe, Arizona — communities with small but dedicated scenes that punched above their weight. We saw a huge poetry scene in Portland, and an opportunity to create something that crystalized the vibrancy of the community. Bad Blood was born.
With our backgrounds in bands, activism, and advertising, we created a reading series that became a bonified scene in Portland, creating a reputation for bringing dynamic, nationally-recognized poets to town for readings that felt more like a DIY house show in the '80s than a stuffy poetry reading.
We made good-looking, limited edition pamphlets and flyers for each reading and gave them away. We were the first independent reading series in the country to secure an alcohol sponsor, so we gave away booze, too. Our events were always free and community based, leading to a national reputation and recognition as the best reading series in the country from 2011 until we celebrated our final readings at the 2016 AWP conference in LA, where we curated an entire weekend of events at our takeover of Ace Hotel DTLA.