People Pulse: Bob Kodzis

It’s been some time since we’ve published a “People Pulse” feature, but the recipient of this particular piece is one awesome dude! If you’re not addicted to this guy’s enthusiasm after learning a little about him then you’re crazy!

BobKodzisQ: Before getting started, what’s one fun fact about yourself you’d like people to know?
A: I regularly write letters to my 93 year old great aunt Dotty and she handwrites me a note for every letter I send. I cherish the love and the insights in those letters. They are inspiration, family history and wisdom all in five pages of chicken scratched notes. It’s an amazing correspondence that has brought good things into my life.

Also….the proper way to spell my name is B-O-B. Please note that there is only one “O”

Q: How long have you lived in the Central Florida area?
A: 28 years. I moved to Central Florida in 1981 to attend UCF I graduated in 1984 (U Can Finish…in three years with a Business (Marketing) major, and a Computer Science minor – Woo Hoo!) I have been here ever since.

Q: What do you enjoy most about Central Florida?
A:  Central Florida has so many amazing possibilities. I love the arts community here. We have some AMAZING visual and performing artists in this community. In addition to their artistic gifts, so many of these people are very fun and kind folks. Thankfully, we are discovering more and more ways to incorporate the arts into the fabric of our communities. With all these brilliant people wandering around, it always feels like we are on the verge of something great.

Q: You’re an awesome artist! Have you always been creative in this format?
A: Thanks for the kind words. I love them. I have been an artist since I was a child. Picasso says that all children are artists; the problem is keeping the artist in them as they grow up. I agree with him.

I am into two kinds of art right now…drawing and photomontage collage. I love scratchboard and charcoal and pencil and ink. I love powerful images and love the challenge of taking something very cool and giving it a whole new meaning by surrounding it with new a visual context or story

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your art?
A: Everywhere. There’s a Calvin and Hobbes title that best describes my view of creative inspiration…”Treasure, Treasure Everywhere” I wrote a column for a national magazine called “The Quest for Creative Inspiration” and learned from people who are far more creative than I am, that there are a billion ways to find your inspiration and to stoke your creative spark. I’m in the process of trying them all.

There are themes that tend to permeate the art that I have created so far: People, religion, hope, beauty, love, war and wonder. I also love contrasts and paradoxes. That makes me sound deeper than I am. But it’s true.

Q: Is your artwork available for purchase?

A: Yes…I’m not currently showing at any galleries or art festivals, but I have been selling a bit of art this year…which is great. I do it for love and the money seems to show up. That’s beautiful reinforcement…but not why I do it. Of people want to buy my art they can e-mail me at bob@flightofideas.net.

Q: In addition to your artwork, you’re also an actor. How did you get started acting?
A: My first public performance was on stage as the letter “w”. With my brother and three of my sisters we spelled out the word “Amway”. Mom and Dad were very successful (Diamond) direct distributors in the Amway Corporation…back in the very early days of the company. They didn’t hesitate to get the kids involved. We were the Osmonds of the Amway Corporation. My only line was “W is for work, which is not for me!” It killed.

I acted in a few plays in high school. Fun fact: The girl I married was an usherette at my last high school performance.

I didn’t act again (other than on the business stage) until 1999 when I enrolled in an improv class at SAK Comedy Lab in Orlando. After a couple of years of classes, I began performing improv with SAK’s Lab Rats and I currently perform with SAK’s Gen S and Ensemble Troupes as a performer and a host. It is great fun and a great challenge to my brain (and my courage) to jump on stage without an agenda and work with my playmates to take whatever the audience offers as inspiration and weave it into a funny, often poignant, scene.

This stuff is also great training for thinking on your feet in business and in life.

Q: Do you perform regularly in the Central Florida area?

A: I perform every week, often multiple times a week. It’s an addiction. But I intend to eventually get on the improv methadone program.

Q: Is there a creative platform you enjoy more than others?

A: Improv is my performing love. Street Painting (watercolor pastel), drawing in pencil, charcoal and ink and photomontage collage are my visual arts loves.

I also love film as a medium and intend to see what I can do with that powerful communication tool.
Bob working on Ray
Q: Are there any “movers & shakers” in the arts Community we should be familiar with other than yourself?
A: Oh there are many…people like Beth Marshall the maven of the Orlando Fringe Festival, Anna McCambridge who champions Visual Fringe every year and is an amazing artist herself, Margot Knight who runs United Arts of Central Florida so deftly and Dave RussellTerry Olson two of the Founding Fathers of SAK Comedy lab. Dave is now the Artistic and Managing Director of SAK and Terry is the head of Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs. andI love so many of the artists at McCrae Studios: Dina Mack, Larry Moore and the Whipples (John and Lynn) are among of my favorites. Jeff Wirth is constantly stretching the boundaries of interactive performance, and you should see Jessica Mariko and the gang at DRIP dance and speak with their performances. Mark Baratelli is emerging as a force for the arts with his Taco Truck and Mobile Art Show and his City Arts Blog. And have you seen any of Thomas Thorspecken‘s illustrations? He drew every day in 2009…amazing details. Finally, I also love Lee Jones who is the president of the Florida Chalk Artist’s Association. She helps artists break into the medium of street painting. You don’t have to travel very far to find wonderful advocates for the arts.

Q: Have you ever performed at The Fringe Festival?

A: Yes – I did a monologue for a show “A Day to Remember” last year and in a previous year I was a Patron Saint of the Fringe – Saint Marco Delirium with 12 other anointed freaks…together acting as ambassadors of fringe performance.

Q: Are there any “hidden gems” in the Central Florida area, with regard to the arts?

A: The grounds of the Maitland Art Museum are a very subtle treasure that I enjoy. SAK Comedy Lab is always fresh and fun. Walking through McCrae Studios while the artists are working is inspiring…I also love Timothy Gallery in Winter Park…they get some interesting and unique stuff.

If you have never been to the Orlando Fringe Festival, you need to go. It will change your mind.

I also like some of the art that shows up at the Cornell Fine Art Museum on the campus of Rollins College. The best art show I have been to, ever, is Art Basel Miami Beach (I know that’s South Florida but it is accessible art to all who have a car and a tank of gas) It happens every December and it is a blinding array of art in every possible form, from all over the world…and the people who come to see it are as much art as any created object or performance.

Q: You do quite a bit of public speaking. Is this something you enjoy?
A: I love it. I love people, so whenever I can assemble and audience full of them to listen to what I have to say, it’s a good thing. I love to talk about happiness and creativity and leadership and life. I love humor and hope and striking ideas and images that leave a lasting impression.

Q: What sort of events do you speak at?

A: So many kinds…I have spoken at events ranging from the statewide leadership of “Safe Kids Georgia” to the entire Internal Auditing team at the Federal Reserve Bank. My audiences range in size from 10 people to 5000 – but I prefer groups of 500 to 1000. Some of the titles of my talks are “Burning the Box ©” “live happy ©” “Plan to Improvise ©” and “Revolutions ©” I love traveling around and talking to people from all over the country. Good fun!

Q: What is your company, Flight of Ideas, about?
A: My company is me. I make no illusions about having a huge corporation. I travel light…and that is perfect for me. I help leaders and leadership groups to have more fun, be more creative and to define, align and achieve their goals. I am a facilitator who works with boards, executive groups and creative teams.

I am also an idea man. Clients come to me for creative ideas or to help them unleash the creative genius of their teams – whether trying to generate new product ideas or trying to solve a vexing problem. I help them to think so far out of the box that they forget what one looks like. OK that was hyperbole…but I kind of liked it.

If people want to know more about the work I do through Flight of Ideas, they can check out my website at http://www.flightofideas.net

Q: When did you start the company?
A: 1999 – I launched FOI After 14 years with Orlando Health. I was the Executive Director of Marketing of a 72 person group of departments. I ran all of marketing and creative services for the 9 hospital system. It was a GREAT career, but at age 35 I had done everything I wanted to do there, so I decided to design my own career path. It was scary…but more exciting than anything else. I have been out here making my way for more than 11 years now and I don’t ever see me going back to the corporate world. Square peg, round hole. I’ll take the freedom and chance.

Q: What is the one thing you’d like to leave with our readers, be it advice, a thought, etc.?

A: Be Happy. It’s a choice. Stress is an option. Reject it and you will live longer and happier than the stress junkies around you.

How’s that for advice?

It works for me.

Here’s one of Bob’s photo collages:


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