Part 2 of 3


“You can learn as much or more from one glance at a private space as you can from hours of exposure to a public face.”
— Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking


During a visual tour of our cramped quarters at 126 Pine Street, I found lots of unusual, one-of-kind items tucked throughout personal workspaces, but also an abundance of similar things. The most common items found throughout were personal pictures of loved ones, especially kids! It seems we have lots of little “Arketypos” running around as of late, a good thing I must admit.

I myself have a large restored photograph taken in the early 1920s of my grandfather, whom I’m named after but never met. Dressed in a minor-league baseball uniform, he looks out over my cluttered desk and chaotic office. A kindred spirit, I often look to his powerful image at times throughout the course of a workweek.

Perhaps this is why so many of us have images of loved ones surrounding us in our workspaces. They provide reason for our hard work, justification for why we are here 40 hours a week, and gently remind us of what we can look forward to when the workday is done.


Robb Mommaerts, Arketype designer and illustrator, notes these observations about his personal workspace:

“The current space I occupy is an eclectic mess of items that are meaningful to my past five years here at Arketype. It’s almost like a museum of objects chronicling my own little personal experiences here. Kind of like when an old person moves from his house and you find all these strange things that represent unique stories about him or events that happened during his lifetime. Each object in my workspace tells a story, whether it’s the partially mummified orange Tami left on my desk…or the Easter Island mug Jim found for me. It’s a comfortable, good space that brings me a lot of memories…good, bad, fun, weird memories.”

The second most popular item in workspaces is what I’d call souvenirs. Many folks display a travel log of items they’ve picked up along life’s journey. Here are just a few you’d see at Arketype:

• Full-size Texaco Red Star Metal sign with its green “T.”
• Henry Mancini’s Mr. Lucky album jacket with its mysterious black cat.
• Three-foot plastic reindeer that has been here forever.
• A Betty Boop radio.
• A baseball bat from the early 1900s.
• Hundreds of vinyl action figures.
• 12-inch Godzilla.
• Retro Birely’s Orange Drink Bottle Cap sign.
• Retro Coca-Cola pencil sharpener.
• Signed Broadway posters for the productions “Hairspray” and “Wicked.”
• Massive amounts of “Nightmare Before Christmas” action figures.
• Many advertising icons like Big Boy, Tony the Tiger, The Green Giant, Pillsbury Dough Boy, and The Taco Bell Chihuahua, right alongside Yogi Bear, The Tin Man, and Jesus.

Are these things essential to a creative environment? What’s necessary for developing a space that can foster and promote the creative thinker? Stay tuned for insights on these questions in Part 3 of S P A C E.

Paul Meinke

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~ by Paul James on December 13, 2006.

One Response to “S P A C E”

  1. Excellent blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m hoping to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Bless you!

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