Mike Bannon

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Director of Advertising Production, Bob’s Furniture Stores

Professional Photographer

Age: 59

How did you come to your present positions in advertising and photography?

I studied printmaking, sculpture and art history in my college days and all of these interest areas are critical to my position in advertising today. For the Bob’s ads we use a rare art form known as stop motion animation and the Bob character is actually a puppet that is photographed many times as he makes basic hand or leg movements. Imagination plays a key role in the development of “little Bob” as you have to create the puppet and give him a voice. There is also an element of acting and projecting yourself through the puppet. Thus “sculpting” to make the puppet, printmaking for the ads and art history since new concepts are inspired by items from the past. In addition to my work here I serve as an adjunct professor teaching classes in experimental animation at University of Connecticut and community college.

In the past I spent nine years working at Reckless Abandon Studios in East Granby where we did ads for Columbia Dental, the David Lettermen show, and national ads for Mountain Dew, Talbots and Fischer Price. We went from two to 75 artists and wound down in 2005. These days I pretty much work exclusively for Bob’s and have photography as a sideline. (In 1991 Bob’s began as one store in Manchester but is now a nationwide chain). In addition to the creation of adverts, I hire, train and recruit artistic personnel. 

Talk about your photography and something new you’d like to try…

Landscape photography is my passion. I have sold photos but prefer to take pictures of locations that I feel a personal connection to. Since each one of us looks at the world in a different way the process of noticing the unusual, and trying varied ways to capture that scene is what matters to me. Beauty can be found in everything even simple forms that compose factory buildings. I have done a series of these industry-scapes and enjoy observing the simple functionality of the architecture that includes a sense of rhythm in repetitive parts such as smokestacks or towers. Several of my photos are of a power plant in Hartford because of its uncluttered design and use of bright primary colors. They are all posted on my website: mikebannon.com 

As for something new, I’d like to try in some way combining art with music. There are so many similarities between art and music and one uses the same terms to describe each of these disciplines. Rhythm, pattern, juxtaposition, layering; something emerges while something else fades, are all things that happen in both disciplines.

Thinking about the process I use when painting or taking photos, I have to laugh when people ask me to try meditation. While involved in the creation of a piece of art I completely lose track of time and place, so this is my form of contemplation.

Wondering about Granby; how do you imagine the future of our town?

I love Granby because of its small town charm, in particular the town meetings where individual concerns are truly listened to, along with the successful family businesses that exist here.  I don’t see that going away. It is quite rare for a town of this size to have such a commitment to restoration of properties and maintenance of nature preserves (land trusts). There is a rigorous effort to keep the parks in town in great condition and filled with activities. New businesses come in such as Lost Acres Vineyards where people can socialize in an atmosphere with art and musical events. The quality of life is a cut above and the educational system has been fine for my children.