My Own Zoo / Mi Propio Zoológico

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

MY LAST JOB in the USA was managing major accounts for a technology company specializing in the hospitality industry. To say I was miserable would be an understatement. It was my final employment hell from which I couldn’t wait to escape. In the midst of it I began my own company based on the doodles I had done my entire life, doodling images out of words. The spark for a business was a doodle I had done a few years earlier when I worked for a publishing company. While sitting in an editorial meeting, I doodled a tribal-looking image constructed of the letters of the words “FUCK YOU” (no, I never DID like working for someone else). One of the artists commented — having no idea what it signified — “That is totally cool, dude.” I called the company “ToldemArt,” which was supposed to be a play on the word “totem” and the idea that I was telling you something with the art — like FUCK YOU — without being obvious. My tagline was “Tell ’em you told ’em.”

After a difficult rollout of the business due to an emergency with My Mother The Dowager Duchess, which I‘ll tell you about another time, I created a gambling collection for MGM Mirage Corporation. The collection was carried in the gift shops at MGM Grand and Bellagio hotels in Las Vegas. I was off and running. The shops sold 100 items in the first week.

And then the bottom dropped out of the economy. Businesses died all over the country (and the world) and almost nothing sold in the next month. Great timing. We moved back to Southern California for San Geraldo’s work, so although I couldn’t afford to, I finally quit that awful job and focused full time on ToldemArt. I managed to get other jewelry into some boutiques in New Orleans and, although they sold, it certainly wasn’t a living. I next created “The Zoo,” a collection of animal designs that were sold online and at the Cleveland Zoo and the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Items sold but the economy by then was so weak that it was impossible to take root. By that time, San Geraldo and I decided we were moving to Spain. And, since we applied for retirement visas, I was not allowed to work for the first five years, so that was the end of ToldemArt. It seemed like a great idea at the time!


MI ÚLTIMO TRABAJO en los EEUU gestionaba las principales cuentas de una empresa de tecnología especializada en la industria de la hospitalidad. Decir que era miserable sería una subestimación. Fue mi último trabajo en el infierno del que no podía esperar para escapar. En medio de eso, comencé mi propio negocio basada en los garabatos que había hecho toda mi vida, garabateando imágenes con palabras. La chispa para un negocio era un garabato que había hecho unos años antes cuando trabajaba para una editorial. Mientras estaba sentado en una reunión editorial, dibujé una imagen de aspecto tribal construida con las letras “FUCK YOU” (no, nunca me gustó trabajar para otra persona). Uno de los artistas comentó, sin tener idea de lo que significaba: “Eso es totalmente genial, dude”. Llamé a la compañía “ToldemArt”, que se suponía que era una obra de teatro con la palabra “tótem” y la idea que estaba diciendo algo con el arte, como FUCK YOU, sin ser obvio.

Después de una difícil implementación del negocio debido a una emergencia con Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda, que les contaré en otra ocasión, creé una colección de los juegos de Las Vegas para MGM Mirage Corporacion. La colección se realizó en las tiendas de regalos de los hoteles MGM Grand y Bellagio en Las Vegas. ¡Exito! Las tiendas vendieron 100 artículos en la primera semana.

Y luego el fondo cayó de la economía. Las empresas murieron en todo el país (y en el mundo) y casi nada se vendió en el mes siguiente. Regresamos al sur de California por el trabajo de San Geraldo, así que, aunque no podía costearlo, finalmente renuncié a ese trabajo horrible y me concentré a tiempo completo en ToldemArt. Me las arreglé para conseguir otras joyas en algunas boutiques en Nueva Orleans y, aunque se vendieron, ciertamente no era un medio de vida. A continuación, creé “The Zoo” (el zoo), una colección de diseños de animales que se vendieron en línea y en el Zoológico de Cleveland y la Academia de Ciencias de California en San Francisco. Los artículos se vendieron, pero la economía para entonces era tan débil que era imposible echar raíces. Para entonces, San Geraldo y yo decidimos que nos mudábamos a España. Y, como solicitamos visas de jubilación, no se me permitió trabajar durante los primeros cinco años en España, por lo que ese fue el final de ToldemArt. ¡Parecía una gran idea en ese momento!

I’ll share more ToldemArt very soon.
Voy a compartir más ToldemArt muy pronto.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

20 thoughts on “My Own Zoo / Mi Propio Zoológico”

  1. Fabulous !
    Love the design work going into these pieces Love all of them but the Elephant and Lion are wonderful.

    1. Parsnip,
      Thanks. I enjoyed doing these. Was proud when I came up with the elephants.

  2. They look very appealing. Too bad about about the timing!
    You are a very talented man, Mitchell. And just giving a venture like this all your energy and talent, is a great achievement in itself.

    1. Jim,
      If you ever want to know when would be a BAD time to start a business, just watch me!

  3. Well, at least you gave it a shot! Many people don’t have the chutzpah to try a new venture like that.

  4. I love them all, but especially the alligator! I like what it symbolizes and what it stands for. Plus, it is cute! Such talent you have, Scoot 🙂 !

  5. a few of my friends would probably purchase your artworks; I would go for the flamingo myself. and I like how you worked the rainbow flag into the business logo! do you still have any of these pieces? PM me at

  6. Those are fabulous! You really have a talent and an eye for the unusual. I’d buy em all!

    1. Bob,
      Thanks. I see letters in my head. (Like dead people.) imagine my excitement when MGM Mirage’s first order was for 500 pieces. (Well… and their LAST order.)

    1. David,
      The FU pendant might still be my favorite. I’ll share that and the fuck em (or fuck me) design soon.

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