Life benchmarks, twist and turns.
BIO Timeline Overview
Where there is fear there is no
Richard's blatant artistic and musical gifts are evident by age three. By age six they are unusual. An ability to mimic complex music composition then duplicate it flies in the face of a 1958 diagnoses as having severe learning disabilities. While the impairment will prevent him from ever reading music, he still wins a spot in the newly formed California Boys Choir. Director, Douglas Nesland mentors Richard when no classical educator will. Richard leaves the boys choir for an opportunity to perform in young people's concerts in Europe touring as a guest solo artists under the new name Christopher Lowell. While musicianship at the piano is competent, the ability to insightfully explain the creative process to peer student attendees simultaneously from the stage makes him a novelty on the classical concert circuit. His performances are continually compared to that of Victor Borge, whose already made the infotainment style famous.
Christopher's stage presence comes to the attention of casting agents but an inability to do a cold-read makes auditioning impossible. Christopher re-enters theater through his design skills. His ability to seamlessly integrate set, lighting, and custom design births new dimensions when he introduces graphic iconography as a way to enhance script and characterisation. It becomes a signature the press responds to. As a result, directors gave him free reign. Now he's is called a prodigy in the arts but academically is still classified with forms of mental retardation. His severe dyslexia does not get formally diagnosed until his junior year of high school. Still Christopher is invited by a frequent theater goer and psychiatrist to work as part of a team on a learning project that will later be known as The Title One Program. Designed to foster confidence and self-esteem in students with various critical learning disabilities Christopher uses creative dramatics and music as the tool to cut through and unlock their hidden potentials. Its success is evidenced when The Title One Program goes national.
Christopher's, creative reputation in several circles of the arts now precedes him. His ability to adapt his vision from one medium and media to the next defies categorization. Richard is given rare opportunities to try his hand in multiple disciplines on high profile conceptual projects that spanned the worlds of performance, graphic arts, fashion, space design and multi-media communications. Meanwhile, his preoccupation with the origins of personal creativity and its distinction from "Talent" finds him conducting workshops first at the request of performing arts teachers, then in workshops he creates to include nonprofessional or academic participants. His reputation for skillfully facilitating extraordinary creative breakthroughs for a majority of his students spreads. Intermittent research workshops will now become ongoing for the rest of his life.
Now given access to scripts in advance of auditions Christopher wants to experience acting first hand. He continually wins principle stage roles that garner excellent notices. Armed with an accurate actor's insight, Lowell returns behind the curtain now as a director. Meanwhile, the world of advertising beckons. Lowell formalizes himself and is one of the first to coin the term "Visual Marketing," to describe his left brain/right brain multimedia aptitudes. By now, Lowell's ability to re-engage inner creativity finds him accepting offers to work privately with leading actors and performers dealing with pressures of fame. He leaps at the opportunity to investigate its effects on creativity. His lack of agenda and ability to maintain trust and confidences soon garneres him the nickname in private circles as "the talent whisperer."
Talent can have a short shelf life...but creativity is ageless.
Richard Lowell Madden is born in the homestead wilds of Alaska 110 miles above the timberline of Anchorage. It will be four years before the territory becomes an official state. His arrival is almost three months early. Consequently, he's pronounced dead at birth, but miraculously he is revived. He requires extensive incubation but his parents Hank & Josephine can't afford it on a military salary. Ingeniously Hank makes his own. He repurposes an old oil drum by splitting it in half, adding hinges and a glass porthole. For close to a year it rests on two sawhorses in front of the log cabin's fireplace. Cocooned on a mountain of newspaper and blankets, Richard floats between two worlds, remarkably content, and cheerful. This alarms his mother who is sure the extreme birth coupled with extensive jerry-rigged incubation has left him with brain damage.
"I began to see that talent could often evaporate when fame entered the picture while fluid, creative thinking remained in intact"
Lowell's advertising years as a visual marketer find him working for leading Fortune 500 companies* specializing in lifestyle, beauty, and fashion. His success on their bottom lines additionally makes him a sought after "fixer" where he's often whisked privately into corporate back rooms, boardrooms, and ad agencies to re-do, re-position and re-message campaigns that aren't connecting with the desired target or client. His storytelling and ability to flag essential zeitgeist and monetize them, then step back into the shadows makes him a secret weapon in the world of advertizing. Meanwhile, Christopher'sstudies in tracing the origins of inherent personal creativity now take him beyond the realm of the arts broadening his circles to now include academia, philosophy, theology, and psychology. His private creative therapy work also escalates partly due to the advent of personal computers that add another potentially invasive element to many of the artists lives he is asked to consult with.
Christopher reduces his corporate workload spurred by the desire to understand how the open sharing of the first global database will impact his study of inner creativity. Will it further blur culture's understanding of it, or could increased use of the intuitive technology bring us closer to a deeper understanding of how creativity really works? His growing concern that in the course of a nation getting up to speed with the technology, potential mass self-diagnoses and a bombardment of a new kind of pop culture could have unforeseen side effects.
Lowell decides there's an immediate need to create a public commercial forum to share what he already knows about creativity with a mass audience. He wants to create a dialogue with audiences as they, for the first time, begin to enter the unregulated internet world. He wonders if the life-affirming techniques he's perfected on artists, class and workshop attendees can be taught on a mass scale through mainstream media. Even if they cannot his primary goal is to at least try before the burgeoning new platform called social media puts "talent" and fame-chasing so forefront that personal creativity seems even more inaccessible than it already does for much of the nation's citizens.
Lowell targets television and the virtually wide-open genre of home-improvement. Feeling it's the ideal metaphor to illustrate creative cause and effect between one's emotional interior and one's physical interior. He opens Christopher Lowell's Decorative Home Arts Center in Chagrin Falls Ohio, the home of his last 3-year reimaging job for the company Matrix Essentials. Here, he will create what today would be classified as a pop-up store, along with a classroom style design studio. He will attempt to integrate his creativity techniques with easy hands-on home design and film the process documentary style. The off the street patrons are quickly converted into clients and students, many of whom fall into the category of working women or isolated stay at home moms. Under the guise of home improvement and interior design, Lowell teaches and graduates hundreds of students capturing their personal transformations on film.
With the recent (and long overdue) reclassification of "introversion" from yet another misdiagnosis, as "arrested social development" to that of simply "cautious reserve", Lowell uses this to help students feel liberated and more open to candidly speak to his cameras about their course experiences with him. The collected documentary footage of personal transformation is astonishing. The integration of how-to with his creativity techniques works evidencing a compelling, profound and joyous mix just right for the Discovery Channel. They immediately greenlight a daily daytime how-to series with a caveat that Lowell, in addition to being its creator must also be the on-camera host. Reluctant, Lowell ultimately decides that the importance of the message far outweighs his personal comfort zone and in 2001 Interior Motives, with Christopher Lowell makes its on-air debut. Even with minuscule budgets and an increasingly incompatible production company, based on the strength of Lowell's infectious personality, performance style, and sound teaching techniques, it becomes an immediate ratings-grabber.
Adhering to Lowell's ten-year marketing plan and employing his imaging, and design skills, he debuts his signature home brand simultaneously in 3,800 retail stores nationwide with global vendors. Under his direction, the in-house agency produces both his designs plus all packaging and advertising materials connecting all the dots between personal (often abstract) self-help with tangible mass-market commerce seamlessly. The brand generates over a billion dollars in retail sales. Meanwhile, Lowell, in efforts to dodge fame and his mounting red carpet duties, embarks on a 20 city tour with his first live one-man show to help his audience make sense of recent events like Columbine, 9/11 and the economic crash that has just hit his 11 million weekly viewership the hardest. The sold-out performances will continually reshape the show's content and keep it timely and thus ever-compelling. His mantra "Where there is fear, there is no creativity," now appears across all platforms from media and commerce to product packaging and even care labels. Lowell has done more than what he'd set out to do. In the process, he's amassed millions of letters from viewers accounting how his show became lifechanging to them. Lowell's efforts are aknowledged by the Clinton administration with consecutive invitations to The White House. Lowell's national radio show about personal empowerment is now heard during drive-time accross the country. Nevertheless, Lowell knows he can do no more as the crash continues to bear down.
With the economic crash in full swing, Lowell anticipates that forecasting any lifestyle trends will be impossible if not insulting to his increasingly devastated audience. After his series Work That Room, for The Fine Living Network, he decides to make a quiet exit from TV much to the dismay of his companies and his audience. Suspecting that the particular order of disasters coupled with the first time in recent history that Americans have been forced to physically reprioritize will push everyone to join social media if only to discuss their plight. What they'll learn about each other untethered by their socioeconomics, is what Lowell wants to find out. What stories will they privately share with each other for the very first time? To monitor it all, Lowell sets up camp in Santa Fe, NM to track its cultural effects. Already a magnet for the countries leading artists and intellectuals, Lowell continues his research there while doing workshops to help struggling artists use the internet to re-brand themselves. It also allows Lowell to regain his anonymity and the solitude he now needs to continue his new project. Lowell hopes his media silence will help put distance between the public's perception of him as only the carefully constructed "character" he'd performed on television, yet still maintain its goodwill equity.
With the initial goal to write his 7th book RightSIZE UP, Lowell spends the next four years devoted to extensive research tracking what he feels will trigger a historic and complex social shift. From every conceivable angle (emotional, physical, spiritual, design and trend forecasting) he begins to create a new workshop and outreach based on the stats. Central to its message is a forcast that he and the leading experts he's consulted with have vetted. All stats pointed to, for lack of a better term, the first renaissance in centuries and an important seismic shift.
Having had a remarkable life devoted to inspiring others to surmount their fears, re-direct their addictions and exercise their human right to reinvent at any time, Lowell continues on now, wherever he's needed. He recently finished his 7th book RightSIZE UP which is a compelling look at the next American Lifestyle.
"Today I humbly seek association with those who understand the power of personal creativity to heal and transform. Where ever it's being done and where ever the next journey takes me I'll be there."
With its success proven, Lowell then co-produces the next phase of the series which moves to Universal Studios. Finally, he forms his own production company where he executive produces The Christopher Lowell Show, now the highest rated daytime series the network has ever had. Six Emmy nominations later, the show then wins the national daytime Emmy; the first for both Lowell and the network. Lowell becomes the first to redefine an entire genre with his mix of inspiration, sketch comedy, achievable budget make-overs, sound psychology and the very creativity techniques he's now perfected. Lowell also commits to writing a book a year which broadens the publishing category into a best-selling mix of how-to and self-help. In all, Lowell not only brings a multi-grid, vertical stacking production style into the television genre (a template that later becomes the inspiration for an entirely new channel of programming called HGTV), but he's now ready to bridge media self-help and education with retail the moment viewers ask. They do.