The Independent Artist Podcast

Breaking the Boundaries/ Bennett

April 25, 2022 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ Amanda Bennett Season 2 Episode 8
The Independent Artist Podcast
Breaking the Boundaries/ Bennett
Show Notes Transcript

Join co-hosts Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong, professional working artists who talk with guests about ART & SELLING.  This week's topics include a wrap-up from the Main Street Arts Festival, a discussion on reproductions, and planning for Jazz Fest.

This week’s guest is Bennett New Orleans, LA.  Bennett tells the stories from her life growing up as a child from the south and breaking out of the bounds that society imposes. She describes her work as a pop art-inspired funk-style mashup up on plywood.
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welcome to the independent artist podcast sponsored by the National Association of Independent Artists also
sponsored by zapplication I'm will Armstrong and I'm a mixed media artist I'm Douglas sigworth glassblower join
our conversations with professional working artists
show everyone Thanks for tuning in today yeah how's it going well thanks for tuning in good to see you on here
Douglas it was nice to see you in person uh scooting around down there in Fort Worth uh yeah if we were like uh had to
Breeze by because we were we were a little busy yeah uh that that show has a
volume of people if you will there's a lot of folks and they've been hungry to get outside and come back to the Arts
Festival whether they're actually buying or not there's so many people that just want to talk and so you were just
engaged talking to our neighbors and talking to each other and talking to the collectors walking by it is just an
exhausting couple of days there's an old tool video where it's a I used to be
really into animation I thought I was going to go into animation for a while and there's a video that I used to watch
where there's a a pipe like a water pipe full of meat like pushing down the thing
it's a really disgusting image but I can't seem to shake that one when I'm at a show like that one or dogwood it or
you know you get these huge volumes masses of people just pushing past your booth whereas like you want to get out
and just breathe for a second and you see somebody that wants to buy something and you can't even get back across the
street because there's so many damn people but yeah try doing it and now the knee cart it's like I I could fight for
most of the show I could find a section on the sidewalk where I could kind of Breeze by people and be kind of quick when that happened that was good I could
kind of rush back when I needed to right but when the crowds were thick there was it was almost a hindrance to have that
thing to try and wheel through people and run over strollers and yeah I could see Renee just taking your water away be
like no no water for you sir you're gonna have to go take a break no breaks
here's a bottle step behind the panel oh that's not my actual storage Booth folks
that's uh that's that's my little private area yeah those those particular shows when they get so busy can be a
little intense but um man no complaints for me um I know there were some challenges for
the folks that were putting the show on with with the whole Sundance Square issue but you know I I felt like it went
off uh it went off pretty well yeah what's your Takeaway on that do you think that was a flash on the pan a
one-year thing or is this going to be you know kind of lingering I don't know people that are that committed to
spending money are gonna spend their money I don't know here's my take on the Sundance Square thing they did not in my
opinion this is completely my opinion I'm not trying to uh state facts or
anything but from an observer's point of view you get you have somebody that owns Sundance Square that wants to get into a
pissing match with Main Street Fort Worth and they block off the entire area won't let us use it and it's like the
butterfly effect the old um what is it like a Ray Bradbury story maybe but the butterfly effect where you step off the
trail and you step on one thing it's like oh well all of a sudden we're not allowed to use Sundance Square that
pushes artists down the side streets it makes the show do other challenging
things they have other branding going on so it gets a bit confusing it's like have I I've stepped into a whole other
show and it it's its own thing yeah and it was like you know they had galleries
up there I'm not sure that all of the galleries were representing locals only artists but you know the Main Street
Fort Worth Arts Festival has always reached out to the community in order to encourage local artists to participate
in the emerging artists program also it's a clean slate you know and apply
apply with no knowledge of who or where these applications come from it's based
on Talent so right exactly anyone is welcome to apply so it's tough to say
well this is locals this is locals only this is not inclusive it's inclusive to anyone that's good enough well let's
face it the event has grown and it draws
bodies and now you've got people in the community who want to capitalize on that
attention and on that show and build on it for whatever their purposes are so
that's kind of why I feel like what we've come up with now and there is a
little bit of a downtown Fort Worth battle going on with the residents so I
mean this is a problem that's bigger than the show it is and it's uh the
landlord of the of a lot of the businesses has made it challenging on some of the restaurants a lot of the
restaurants that we go to as artists year after year and it's uh it's a it's
a huge bummer to not see the bird there anymore it's a bummer to go into Riata and have a stake and hear from the
server that they're looking for a new location because the uh challenges with the landlord have been to much for them
to handle at least that's what the server told me you know okay you know straight from the horse's ass yes there
you go Hey so uh but you had posted on social that there were some groups local
groups who are reporting on their side of the story of of the school what are
some of those on Instagram and Facebook and all that stuff that if people want to check those out yeah if you want to
check out on Instagram there were a couple of ones that I found pretty funny and sometimes they're so tongue-in-cheek
that I don't really even know how to get my foothold into what they're talking about like I feel like I'm a little out
of the loop but if you want to dig into some of that stuff there's one that's a play off of the what was the
um the kind of the kind of naughty uh sexy Show on
Netflix that was kind of like um Bridgerton yeah that's okay yeah it's
lady whistleblower but it's lady whistleworth wrestling whistleworth on there and then Fort Worth confidential
is another Instagram feed you can you can uh jump in and they're giving the landlord lady a hard time on uh social
and it's it's kind of uh entertaining to sit back pop some popcorn and uh read up on what's up watch the fireworks
absolutely why not so I mean the biggest challenge that I saw as far as Main Street versus the
other show was the fact that they wanted to have a headliner you know it's like oh Main Street Fort Worth has their
budget and I I don't pretend to understand what that is and they always do a great job of putting the talent
that they can afford within their budget you know mix in some national Headliners along with some local things that
everybody seems to enjoy in order to put on a really good show and I've put on entertainment before I've put on shows
and I know the balance between a headliner and then you've got somebody leading into the headliner that's a
local guy that you can afford the opener and you put the opener on that you know is going to mix in with the the
headliner and you you kind of tweak that within your budget whereas if you've got
a billionaire that doesn't care whether they're making their money back then they can just spend on Steve Miller Band or they can
drop whoever they want it's like well you know what I don't as long as I'm pulling away from your show then I don't
really care what it costs so it seemed to me my personal opinion that it was a
little spiteful in their booking of huge it's like well we've got a local Americana guy down at the end of the
stage and we're gonna put on uh the best show that we can and versus the Sundance Square well we've got Clint Black [ __ ]
you we're gonna sell all the beer in Sundance so I don't know I I wish that they would just have separate events and
uh all for one one for all for the community but this past year didn't seem to be the way that that uh was intended
you know I typically uh eight o'clock comes drop my sides and and head off to
bed but was this year different within within the show did you feel like the
crowds were still walking around we're still there because I know that you tend to stay open after half of the people
seem to be going down to the Main Street event and the other half seemed to be going to the Clint Black or to the other
headliner so I did find the streets to be emptier as opposed to needing to stay
open okay you know it's tough to say but I do think uh we hopefully can all adapt
and I'd love to see that Community have two events that were on different weekends that were great for their
surroundings I just I have such a passion for that City that I'd love to see success no matter what they're
they're trying to put on yeah well one of the challenges that existed for just
about every show that was going on last weekend uh Dogwood woodlands in you know near Houston and Fort Worth was the wind
the wind was gone awful last week yeah that was crazy I was pulling a trailer
down to Texas from Santa Fe and uh typically you know with with my big
Dodge 3500 on a trailer yeah I'm getting an environment [ __ ] nine to 11 miles
to the last year anyway oh my God so I'm coming
down the mountain and I think I'm getting no kidding Douglas I'm keeping an eye on the little Eco thing on my
dashboard I'm getting 20 miles to the gallon pulling a trailer with that Dodge the window that is like that's helpful
but I'm sure it felt like you were borderline losing control or something definitely fishtailing a little bit so
uh that Tailwind was was messing with me I had to stop and but yeah you know the winds were definitely a challenge well
we got in early our plan was to do the early setup Pace myself out kind of take
things a little easier on this uh challenge I got going with my foot and we set up on Tuesday night everyone got
the text the next morning on Wednesday which was the mass setup day for everybody that everything was delayed
because the wind was so bad it was actually pulling the big Festival tents down our boots didn't move but I had us
connected to the festival tent and when I got to our Booth to check on things it
had pulled the leg of the festival tent in about two feet like it looked like it
was wanting to come down so we actually pulled our van in and completely loaded
all the work back into the van because we didn't know what that day was going to turn into sure and then had to bring
it all back later in the day so it was basically a setup from hell I remember seeing a some kind of nature documentary
where some animal kicks over a huge dung beetle Nest sure and then the young
beetles come back in and they start tick tick tick rolling their little balls of crap back up and putting their nests
back together and I see that every time these wind storms come in and knock us
down it's like outcome my fellow dung beetles I'm gonna put your nest back together people here we go
well I will say that we got it all back up and it was very worrisome but the way
the wind was blowing for the course of the show it there were some people in such bad shape and I feel for them I
feel for their work getting blown over and what that does to your nerves all day long sitting with the gale force
winds blowing into your booth and all this work you bring to blow all over the place but uh we all know wind and the
words of Betty Yeager wind can what did she say eat my ass eat my ass the independent artist
podcast t-shirt it's our new model yeah you know we talk about the wind
drama and that brings us into a self-imposed drama uh our boy Stephen King decided to wake up and choose
violence yesterday on social media I think your official your official description was poking the bear yeah and
see Abbott was like ladies and gentlemen it has been revealed that will Armstrong is the bear who's the bear you kind of
wanted to tiptoe into it like being all calm and whatever by the end of it you're like oh that's gonna explode I
don't know here's how I feel about those social media exchanges and why they turn into a [ __ ] show and I did this
yesterday but here's here's the big issue it's like okay you've got a point
step in and make your point like okay if you read the entire thread then you're gonna make the point but this back and
forth thing like yeah but blah blah blah yeah but blah blah blah and I had a tendency to do that yesterday so uh I
was trying to paint and I was trying to finish something so uh thanks a lot for uh opening that can of worm Stephen so
the conversation was about original only show if you're not selling reproductions at that show do you need to disclose
that you sell them elsewhere on your website or at a different show that allows reproductions it isn't the issue of you can't do reproductions it's
should you disclose it I think the reason that I got passionate about that Douglas is because okay I have a
different business model for multiple different shows that I do there's a show that I do around the holidays that's
extremely expensive my booth fee is really high this is part of my business
model for that show is I sell reproduction sometimes I do little small things that I do not bring to other
shows at one point I had this this setup where I was selling these little record
representations of like a 45 of this artist on top of this map that was like
there were these little 50 giftables that I never would have sold in another art show sometimes higher end art shows
but I was sitting there thinking about how do I get this four thousand dollar Corner Booth back and I'm like okay well
this is my model and it did not cut my Integrity down to sell this giftable because it was a giftable kind of show
well I think the bigger issue is does the show that labels themselves an
original only show do they want to Define themselves as a show where the artist at this show is only selling
Originals at the show or are they saying this is an artist who only sells Originals period end of story and that's
a totally different delineation and I and I do get his point and I don't mean to like just lay down a hot-headed view
on that I mean I do understand I think there were some really interesting points that were made there are already
a hundred and 88 comments on this one thread here on the NAIA Facebook Forum
this is where the disconnect was happening for a lot of people on this thread it wasn't so much that you can or
you can it's whether you you know you send somebody away with a eight thousand dollar or two thousand dollar original
and if you say hey by the way I may be using this as reproductions or by the way I saw this on my website as
reproductions it really seems like a clunky way to actually have that conversation and my I feel like somebody
who buys an original who is in the market to collect and appreciate Originals know what it is and if they
have a disdain towards the fact that uh uh reproduction were ever to be made from this original that they're
purchasing that that would be their topic otherwise it probably doesn't even matter to them right well I mean it's
like Joey Bradley on that that Forum said and I think his was probably the most important point that that was made
yesterday is that we retain the rights to our images that's right and yes
Steven's like do we have to disclose that to people and I do think that he was he was being a little a little
tongue-in-cheek with it I I think I think it was theoretical I do think there was a because honestly how is
anybody going to enforce a rule like that they're not going to have somebody shadowing you listening to if you
disclose to a customer every single time you saw an original piece if you haven't read or will ever make a reproduction
out of it yeah so I sell a painting I am now documenting all of my images and
it's my choice on how I use those sure so if I sell that painting to someone and they all of a sudden see it on the
wall on a TV show as a reproduction they don't have the rights to say okay they
don't get to have that on the wall on that show in that movie The Artist does right I do it's my image I have grounds
for legal action they do not so I have the right for legal action if the painting appears in any kind of
production without my permission so that's that was Joey's kind of point so I appreciate what he he kind of checked
I thought that was really a well-made and well laid out point for sure better
than mine better than uh don't tell me what to do I mean you know what but
don't but don't tell me what to do all right okay so not complaining
but I'm not complaining but um I think it's it's kind of a good
thing uh this podcast has made it so people we get to learn about each other and learn about our different challenges
and learn about just kind of the nature of doing business and how different mediums work so you're making it sound
like an ABC exercise I know I'm being careful here anyway I get home from the show and the first week uh we spend
filling orders that we took at the last show and we do a recharge our oven fill up more glass and then the plan is to
spend this week making beautiful clear pristine glass for our next Big Show
which is jazz fest I'll be damned if our equipment isn't starting to fail on us we've got three
circuit breakers tripping so um we can't keep our glasses hot as we
need it to I wish sometimes I worked in a medium where all I had to do is walk into the studio and just turn on the
lights I mean having this infrastructure that has to be ready and working so that I can come in and make my artwork and
have it not cooperate is a real pain in the ass yeah that's that's huge I know
that that we have a bit of a yin and yang thing on this show but I am definitely uh I'm definitely that guy I
mean I can I can have a studio set up you can do your work in a hotel room I could I'm gonna finish a painting in the
for artists fear and plan on getting there a little bit early and finishing one that I have in the church yeah so we're having to Pivot because our glass
quality isn't what it should be based on the temperature with with melting it'll still I mean the probably most people
wouldn't find it noticeable but it is it's that thing where you you feel like you're not putting your best foot
forward when when the Glass isn't doing what I want it to do so that's been a frustrating deal here the last couple of
days and just getting getting things all ready for the next show that we're gonna head out for so you know yeah it's weird
thinking about different people's you know and I don't want to liken it to what I I go through and moving to a
higher drier climate um but like trying to figure out how the paint dries and how it flows and how it
I had to experiment for quite a while in order to get my line quality where where I wanted it and I made you know a whole
round of paintings where I was not as happy with the way it was that people would never notice but I can go back and
look and be like oh that's from the era of you know this six months where I hadn't figured out the the golden
whatever goo that I threw into my paint to keep it from drying so quick right right yeah we notice those subtleties
about what we do probably nobody else does but yeah so right uh so you're
getting ready for the next one here you're getting ready to head out to artist sphere yeah uh kinda kinda I mean
uh here's how here's how my travel schedule went I left Fort Worth and I drove to Alabama and I picked up Alabama
art panels made me these huge like nine foot by six foot panels that I'm gonna create this big tripty card if I loaded
them up into the trailer that's why I brought the trailer then I drove to Memphis uh what why okay right Memphis
so next weekend I'm going to meet my oldest friend and his dad and his
brothers and we're gonna show his dad Memphis he's the guy that got us into all of the music that we listen to all
the Sun Records and stack stuff everything from you know Otis Redding all the way through Elvis and Johnny
Cash so we're going to show him Memphis for the first time we're gonna have a weekend away awesome now you think that
five days from then I'd be going to artistsphere and just having a leisurely trip to the east coast okay 10 hours
away right yeah right well for Christmas I gave my wife tickets to Red Rocks to see Jason Isbell and the 400 unit so
those two three days I'm actually gonna be flying to Colorado out of Atlanta where I'm gonna leave my truck and my
trailer again go see a concert fly back the next day pick up my truck and trailer and then drive to Artisphere for
the Thursday night setup all of this fun sounds exhausting will we'll have to where's Waldo or where's
will at any given point in time yes you will
oh hey um I tried something new this week I'm thinking about going to Jazz Fest here and uh I tried something out
if you haven't made up your mind I'm thinking about okay I'm going to Jazz
festos in the country yeah right yeah I'm sorry okay no I'm planning my trip
for jazz fest but what I know about this show and what everybody is warning me about is the fact that it is a show
where people fly in from all around the around the country around the world and
nobody's taken stuff in their suitcase especially glass pieces so well not
nobody let me rephrase that the majority of the people are going to buy our work
and have a chip to them so I have to quickly say yeah there's a lot of shipping that goes on so I I wanted to
create a more streamlined way of doing things I hate with a passion writing all the
information down on this little piece of paper while they're looking at their watch thinking how long is this going to
take get me to the next event and whatever and then I have to sort through everything later and it's it's a
nightmare so I learned that there's this this feature in square where I can
create a digital item on my website create a QR code for it people snap their phone on it they have autofill for
payments to autofill for their address and all that stuff they click a few
buttons and within like 30 seconds the transaction is done and they're off to the next thing so I tried that at Fort
Worth and it worked pretty good worked pretty good wait a minute so you have tell me that again where is this on on
Square so they can well I use I use Square Weebly as my purchasing site too
but this witchcraft that you're talking about hasn't he hung up okay so when you've created an item you create whatever piece you want right yeah and
and you have it on your website then there is an option to create a QR code
for that item which takes them directly to the website to buy that piece so they have to go on and buy it from your
website you can make the item not visible on your website the website is the location where the the transaction
is going to happen okay yeah interesting we sold our wall pieces that are spendy
and people would QR code them they save it to their phone they can have the option to go home that night while for
dinner and say you know what I want to buy this piece and they don't have to wait to come back to the show to make the transaction they could do it
remotely they could do it while they're watching the concert so I tried it and it worked pretty good and we actually
ended up getting several orders for other stuff after Fort Worth so we had
some after sales which isn't typical we typically don't get after sales so this process is you know I'm just learning
how to work it and working out pretty cool yeah yeah that's very interesting yeah no worked out well for me and I I
have I see it progressing down the road so we'll see we'll see how we end up using it that's good so hey you had a
really cool talk with Bennett this week I've just finished uh editing chopping it up last night and it's great you guys
sounded awesome and I just I love her story then it's a great friend it felt
good I had not connected with her in in a in a while I saw her at Cherry Creek last year but didn't get a chance to
really talk but really cool to just just sit in with a friend and chat it up it sure didn't feel like an interview and
most of your talks don't sound like interviews but that one especially just sounded like we just happened to flip
the microphone on and and catch you guys just sitting in a room somewhere having a having a really cool talk thanks man
uh let's uh let's turn it on let's hear what she has to say all right welcome to the show mixed media artist Bennett from
New Orleans Louisiana this episode of The Independent artist podcast is brought to you by zap the
digital application service where artists and art festivals connect well I noticed here in zap that they have a new
promotional program for artists called an artist Spotlight yeah I saw it on one
of my emails telling me all about the different shows that were available for application uh looks like a pretty cool
program it says here that the goal is to promote the Arts to a wider audience and
bring more attention to the incredible work being done by artists on zap every
day you know zap is growing their social media presence and this is a great way to do it it's like applying for a show
there's no cost involved but then you are giving zap permission to jury your
images to use in their social media campaign another great way for them to kind of give back to our community that's awesome
Bennett welcome to the podcast how are you I'm doing good it's been uh you know
I got kind of thrown right into the the mixing bowl of of shows I I started my
season just with one this past uh I guess it's been a week and a half now but I did did Fort Worth and uh but
you've been out there on the road you know what I've only I only have two under my belt I did Winter Park and then
I did Dogwood last weekend okay so I'm I'm fresh too yeah hang on I wouldn't
say I'm fresh I feel like chewed food uh it's well it's it's been uh I don't know it was
kind of a rude awakening for me and you guys got hammered with with weather didn't you in in Dogwood or at least it
was strange it was so cold and so windy for for two days I mean it was it was I
was unprepared yeah and then Sunday was beautiful and it was insane so it worked
out it worked out but it was rough for a couple of days yeah you guys made all your money on Sunday then is that that's
what it sounds like yeah it was a Sunday show um the classic it's the classic Sunday show
all right so uh let's uh let's do a deep dive on on Bennett you go by just your
last name you know you're like Cher or uh or or sting that's it you only need you only need
one name you don't you do yeah I mean I just want to jump right in but um find out how a queer kid from The
Deep South got into art and uh through a football coach a dad I mean I just wanna I Wanna Get Down in it like what's uh
where were you where were you born I was born in Huntsville Alabama and you
know North Alabama it is um an interesting place because it's the South
obviously but Huntsville is known for well the Space and Rocket Center first
of all space camp if you've ever heard of that but um there's a huge segment of NASA there
so Huntsville is interesting because it is more of a collection of people not
necessarily from the south because there's a lot of Engineers that come there there's a military base there and
all sorts of things so while my dad's side of the family was I mean they are
deep rooted North Alabama have always been there are not leaving there my
mom's side of the family was from Texas that's how everyone ended up there but I
grew up in Huntsville and graduated and left when I was 17 years old and never went back ah 17 did you have that kind
of uh that Checkered Flag kind of that finish line thing so you could you could get older and just get the hell out yes
yes I mean you know it was interesting growing up because I you know I had a
really wonderful family and then and a great childhood and and things like that
but obviously I was I grew up in a very conservative Christian family yeah and
was obviously battling my questioning things myself and battling
my sexuality and stuff like that it was not that's not a popular subject in in
that no I'm not with those kind of folks I mean it's you know we keep everything Hush Hush in the South it's uh was this
Baptist or um what how were you no no no no no Church of Christ so Church of Christ is
bad Baptist with with all of the music removed so we did
not have musical instruments in our church right okay so it's a very like
legalistic type of religion where if it's if it's in the book we do it and if
it's not we don't so don't do it so there's not a lot of uh celebrating uh
really in that church the Church of Christ yeah all the guilt and none of the joy
all the guilt all the fire and brimstone yes for sure and so um yeah you were
you're born in on someone it's kind of a transient uh town then if it's military a lot of people coming in and out and
space program and um yes yeah you were you grew up with uh your dad coaches football is that right
that's correct my dad was a high school football coach for almost 50 years and
my mom was a stay-at-home mom so we were you know the perfect uh Cleaver family
you know on paper yeah right right yes for sure right and then you've got uh
you've got art bubbling down below you have that that come about me were you always an artistic kid no not at all
actually I mean interestingly enough my my grandmother is is kind of I guess
where it all stems from for me you know when my when my mom's side of the family
she moved to to Alabama as a teenager uh my grandfather worked for NASA and that
brought them to Alabama and so when they moved my grandmother also was the perfect you know 50s housewife and
she went to lunch with some ladies she was just you know didn't really know many people and when she went to to meet
up with someone to go to lunch the lady was painting in her house
and you know my grandmother was like what what are you doing here tell me about this and so the woman started
inviting her to come paint with her and my grandmother started painting and
strangely enough uh I mean I guess I'm like third generation art show kid in a
way I mean my grandmother she like won Best in Show at like winter park back in
the 60s and you know some things like that yeah yeah so she she would go my
grandfather would build her frames so she would paint my grandfather build her
frames and then she would go and do a few little shows right right but then once I came around they she wasn't doing
that anymore and she really she was painting some when I was younger and so when we would go over to the house
sometimes it would be kind of like here take this make yourself busy you know
while she was was painting but she was very unconventional she used a Rubbermaid spatula to paint okay she
didn't use brushes yeah you know she would like mix sand in her paint for texture and things like that you know
she was completely untrained and tethered so nice art school cool right
you know like not restricted by by training because sometimes that training will get in your head and make you uh
for sure uptight anal retentive artists like me um right I've got all the training and
none of the looseness I'm trying to I'm still trying to get it worked out so yeah yeah so how did you find that like
when you found out that I mean you knew she was an artist growing up but like did you have a kind of an aha moment
with that Winter Park like Best in Show did you when did you find that out years into me doing this yeah it was just you
know I knew she painted and you know um they had her paintings hanging all
around the house but it just wasn't really a thing you know I was a sports kid yeah and that was that was my focus
that's and that's what we did in my house you know right it's my mom is
Artistic so I was going to ask you like as a sports kid so the sports kids and the Art Kids didn't always get along
were you kind of like anti-arts kid like growing up that way no not at all I mean
I I think I was always you know I was the kid who was I was with the popular
group of kids if you want to say that so it seems so ridiculous to say that but it is a reality you know but I but I
think it's because I played Sports and because just how my personality was
growing up and then but then I also was a little on the edge because I was certainly an outsider and and always had
been to some degree and then in high school I went to a very small High School so I went to a private Christian
High School so you're a very small school so everyone knew each other and we were all kind of together right and
and it was a very homogeneous group of people in a way because it was also a Church of Christ
school and so it was just a very specific group of people you know expected to act and dress and be a
certain sort of way so there weren't a whole lot of Fringe kids yeah you know and there's no I mean I grew up and my
dad would uh he was a assistant Headmaster at a private school so I was a fake rich kid you know I got sent to
the private high school too and uh but it's like there's no dress code but there is a dress code you know like you
have to dress a certain way in order to fit in and not be you know not have your underpants pulled over the top of your
head yes and to be clear I was no I was no rich kid I mean as you you as we just
already covered I mean my father was a football coach and high school teacher my mother was a stay-at-home mom yeah we
we were certainly no wealthy family but I was actually and this is back in the
day when it was Hush Hush I mean I don't know if it's like necessarily a thing where you were from but I was recruited
to play basketball there okay to kind of establish their Sports programs
it was no I got a scholarship around the table okay to come play basketball there
so I was no rich kid so there there's yet another way I was I was on an outsider sure so uh you got recruited to
play basketball you went and played basketball there in high school did you did you didn't do much art it was more of kind of in your family like your
grandmother I didn't know or yeah I didn't know art I never took an art class in school I didn't you know
nothing cool no no nothing I mean when I was younger I did I mean I loved to
sketch and draw and whatever and and strangely my I guess my initial intro
into this whole world was when I was in the third grade there's a show in Huntsville called panoply okay you know
it's a small show but it's been it's been around for well 45 years
um and one of the things they do is like they go around to all the schools and you have a contest everyone draws a
picture or whatever that represents what whatever they think panoply is and it's like a performance music art whole kind
of festival for the city long story short they had a first second and third place winner whoever won your
image was put on a billboard you know for the whole city of Huntsville the seat right and it would be like oh
Amanda Bennett winter blah blah well my friend Jonas Wilson drew the same kind
of picture that I did okay so it turns out they announced the winners and Jonas Wilson got first place and Amanda
Bennett got third place and I was like oh that dude copied me I remember
telling my mom like that Jonas copied my my art you know and he won
and uh anyway I went to strangely the
billboard was up right by where I went to church oh my God okay and so they
they were they had put the Billboards up and my mom was like oh we're gonna see Jonas's piece you know up on the
billboard and we passed by and it was mine actually yeah I had won I had one you
know so here was my my third grade claim to fame and I put Jonas's name on the
billboard with my artwork so they got it all mixed up and yeah do you ever stalks Wilson and just just to make sure that
he's not living his best life there on on nothing trust me he is not
like yes that's right it's my art and uh copy
this Jonas so yeah man that's amazing so that kind of kick-started and that was like um I mean that it feels amazing
just to see your work even though you didn't get all the credit yeah it was cool yeah yeah it was cool and then you
know and then like in the seventh grade I entered some you know I would I was never in our class but I would enter
these these contests and whatever and I entered this contest to draw this representative piece to get a trip to
Japan and Disney World in Japan they were just opening it and all this kind of stuff
uh you know and I won that for my school I didn't win the trip to Japan ultimately but so I would enter these
random things and so I always sounded interested in it but I never you know doing those things took away from me
pursuing playing sports which is what what I was what I wanted to do you know
at the time if anyone asked you it'd be like yeah I'm gonna go play basketball in college and I'm gonna just continue
whatever happens after that and that was my focus okay so yeah it just it did not
enter into my life until well until adulthood okay so like did you go to college uh you left at 17. I went left
at 17. Alabama didn't go far strangely in in all of my years as I've
as I've lived several places I have still never left the South I for some reason cannot pull myself away I think
it has as much to do with warm weather as anything but I mean you're a southern person you're a southern woman you like
this is who you are kind of I mean I it defines and I'm you know listeners of the show will probably hear more south
in my mouth coming out just because as soon as I get around it I start I start twanging a little bit but um right I
mean it's just that that kind of it's is it part of your identity it is definitely something that I tried to
escape for years I was embarrassed by it you know and because of all of yeah oh
yeah absolutely um and I'm sure it has much to do with my identity and and me discovering
myself and what I felt like were really discriminatory behaviors and Views
towards any marginalized group yeah and it seemed to really it felt like it was
really concentrated in the South now as an adult I realize it is no we are just we globally suck as people right like I
mean um but it felt because of the history of the South you know it just felt like I
have to be I did not want to be associated with that I didn't I felt like saying if I if I'm from Alabama it
meant something to people and they assumed something about me but at the same time like As I Grew Older you know
there are things that I'm really that I mean I am a southern person right but if
you wanna if you want to paint a an ignorant human on the movies you know
you want to paint the picture of an ignorant person put a Southern accent in their mouth and that's that's what we're
dealing with whereas like the South keeps their uh their racism right on
Front Street and you get up in other parts of the country you get up into say like Minnesota I spend a lot of time up
in Minnesota and and it's like they hide their racism you know you have to you
have to start to get to know somebody a little bit before you find out we're like oh I don't you know I don't want to
talk to this person it's like your beliefs are [ __ ] up and it's it's it's hidden down deep you know uh where's the
South you know it's almost like it's a little bit easier because you know who you don't want to know what
you're dealing with yeah it's immediate it's like you find out just just almost right off the bat exactly so yeah it's
it's tough so you find yourself you're kind of coming out a little bit I mean when did you when did you come out to
your family and everybody that that you knew is that oh well that's another story another podcast tell me a story
man that is what it is way too deep but I will say that um when I was in I was
in college and uh someone told my family for me so uh yeah thanks yeah
um yeah and please appreciate that also the rest of the City of Huntsville you
know it's I I used to say there there's a sign that says welcome to Huntsville
except Amanda Bennett for a long time because it was such a such a big deal
you know my my father is he's a notable person in Huntsville people may not know
him personally but they know who my dad is and uh he's a a great man he uh has
really impacted a lot of people's lives in Huntsville and so it was big news
right it was big news you know coach Bennett's daughter
Jesus Christ okay so yeah and we don't have to dig too deep into that it's you
know again this is like a friendly whatever but it is definitely part of your story oh sure you know um oh it's part of my story and and it
actually is part of my you know the the work that I do and why I create what I
create I mean it all is is part of it yeah but yeah you know I it was
definitely a very impactful moment one that was never discussed again really or
yeah yeah it it's it's you know uh kind
of that that kind of family I mean we we're not uh I wouldn't say openness and vulnerability were celebrated within the
the coaches patriarchal you're right it's just set
up there yeah so it comes up and then it gets just pushed under the rug again so uh yeah never never came up again really
you know so yeah so except for in very hard moments if if I push the envelope
right but yeah but so I was I was still in the South I
went to school at at the University of Alabama roll tide uh I sold myself this
year yeah that's way cool you know I mean good choice clearly sure clearly sure
it's like I'm sure everyone listening to this podcast is like oh we're getting into football now yeah that's what's
happening yeah you went to University Alabama I
got a degree in education and I taught high school and coached for uh several
years and you know that was the conversation that I remember sitting across the table from my dad and him
coming in and just being like I don't care what you do with your life don't you ever teach and coach you know and of
course that's immediately what I went to do and I was doing it in Alabama
and you can imagine I definitely had some challenging professional
relationships there as I am who I am sure ended up
getting out of that strangely went on to sell used cars oh my god really strange
or not but that is strange yeah yeah I was like I'm not doing this anymore not doing this anymore what am I going to do
and I just kind of took this job on a whim just to figure out my next step and
it led me down a crazy path and led me right here so I I was selling used cars
for it was a company it's a lot like CarMax store kind of kind of thing yeah and
they were expanding and opening a store in Nashville and asked me to be the
sales manager and open the store and so that's what got me out of Alabama and took me to Nashville took me to
Nashville but more of a you know as far as a metropolitan southern city you got Atlanta and Nashville and you got right
in a Magic City to some extent but but not so much yeah um but yeah so yeah and that's where I
was I was in Birmingham before I moved to Nashville so gotcha but yeah so
Nashville uh you land in Nashville you're selling used cars um you're you get into that kind of
community too uh where do you live in Nashville initially I lived in Franklin okay
um so that's south of of Nashville and it's kind of where a lot of Franklin and Brynwood is where
a lot of like the musicians like that's what I was going to say three musicians and stuff live yeah I initially lived
there and then I ended up living in East Nashville for the rest of the time so I just lived in Franklin initially and
then I lived in Nashville for 12 years and spent most of it in East Nashville which is
where all the artists and musicians and everyone lived so right on cool so so
yeah uh you're in East Nashville you're selling cars um when did you put some paint in you
put some paint down in Nashville yeah I did that's kind of when I started you know I had been
in education and initially I had in education I certainly wasn't making a
lot of money and had a new apartment and I just didn't you know I needed to I was
like this these walls are bare let me just do something yeah and just started painting some things for myself to hang
on the wall and you know whatever some 20 something year old kid just throwing some stuff on the walls and people would
come over and be like oh that's cool where did you get that yeah and then it just turned into yeah I'll I'll make one
for you or or you know whatever and that's how it that's how it started really that's
amazing and it carried on through Nashville and yeah finally one day I was like
how how can I do this how can I do this you know right uh use cars is not so it
was a great job don't get me wrong I mean we are used car salesmen to some extent how do we get out there in front
of the public and we have to sell our Wares you know it's um so I mean that's definitely I learned mine uh through
bartending and you learned yours through legit Car Sales that's uh that's amazing
so I've I've known you for a while now I met you at the Decatur Arts Festival years ago and it was kind of uh you were
definitely new on the scene and checking your workout and it's been really cool to see it progress and you're finding
kind of finding your voice and and um right you've always kind of
tended toward you know talking about growing up in Southern Alabama and and that dictating your voice a little bit
but it's like what I see of it and I want to hear you talk about it not me
but is like this kind of 1950s wholesome kind of um you know almost like Mad Men
era but then kind of with a with an edge or with a tilt that kind of sends you off in the other direction so yeah is
that pretty fair or like that's that's it exactly you know I I think that
probably what informs my work more than anything I mean aesthetically I loved
mid-century advertising yeah I loved um the graphic nature of that I loved the
the color palette and so you know aesthetically that was always a driving force for me but
um I think subject matter you know what what was more challenging for me growing
up more so than just coming to terms with being a queer kid was gender norms
and it was so prevalent in my household in my community and it and it still is
those are oftentimes in more conservative Christian
religions more legalistic you know there is a hierarchy no it is a patriarchal
society and your home is set up that way uh your you are taught that ultimately
the man makes the decision the man does these things um and
you know it's almost like well you're in my property and you know you you vote the way I vote you you know do as I say
I mean it's it's yeah yeah and you know we it was interesting
because I just always you know I struggled with that and my dad while he
is that guy at the same time my parents were really great about raising us to be
independent and to be ourselves right you know um it much to their dismay I took that
to heart and was like all right let me let me go do this but my dad would would
really just try to do things he was just he would just try to get at me because he knew that oftentimes whatever it was
you know as I was growing up whatever it was I was having a hard time with maybe
I couldn't you know I was being told I couldn't do something because I I was not a guy well yeah he knew that
not only could I do it that I could probably do it better than the guys and
I and I had I overheard him one time in a conversation talking to someone about
his team one year because he ended up coaching at my high school okay and he made a comment that he wished that I and
a friend of mine could come and play for him because we would be his best wide receivers you know right and he knew
that that was true and so but he would always just try to make jokes and it was
always like well this is for guys you know okay and and so I always really had a hard time with
that because I mean you know I I did not understand why this was the case you know when I was younger and uh and so in
my work a lot of it is you know I have a lot of um
female bodied representation in my work and most of it is a nod to women who
just decided no I am I am my own person right I play by my own roles and I'm
gonna call my own shots absolutely and then but at the same time you'll see the same folks in uh in curlers you know and
like the house dress and they're kind of their hair is in curlers and then they're kind of they're dragging on a cigarette and they're kind of like
they're saying something along the line that throws you off of that um that 1950s idea so that's yes it's
amazing to see so you started out doing those pieces and like in that kind of
voice did you did your voice start out that way like as far as that that kind of stuff or do you find your yourself
going there oh yeah no that is that is you know I
have landed there over many years of very terrible artwork
you know I I cringe to think about some of the things
that are hanging in people's homes and I love that right I mean they love
those pieces I've got older collectors but I'm like God I'm so embarrassed by
that piece but like they're like yeah we've got this and we're hanging here and you know you can't just say why why
why would you do that but it's you know they love those pieces it's part of our journey yeah it it it definitely is hard
to see sometimes but I mean like I said at first I think mostly I was creating
stuff just as an aesthetic you know it wasn't necessarily I wasn't saying
anything it was just putting something down something that matched the sofa
sure and that's certainly not what I'm creating now but I've landed here over time and it's likely to change again you
know I well I see your work changing a lot in the last year or two too it's like we go through
um things that just that can't help but change our work I've talked to you a couple of times over the last couple of
years because I've wanted to work some words into my pieces and you know not having really the confidence to do it
and it's like I feel one way about my work and then I've worked some kind of sayings or words you you did you have
worked words into your pieces too is that how did that that first start when did you when did you first start doing
that I'm you know I think I've I mean I have mostly been doing that um
street art yeah um graffiti you know I like street art
and and you know things that are intentionally there but I also just love graffiti and yeah I love words I love
typography it is a love-hate relationship for people I mean I have had people who absolutely would not
engage with my things at all because they have words and that's okay you know um but it's it's what feels right for me
and I don't always do it but I often do it I and I honestly I'm not really sure
why okay some sometimes there's a reason behind it you know I mean I think people
look at you know generally speaking the imagery in my work maybe lighter it's
not you know something that's evoking some deep negative or traumatic feeling sure
anything like that but that doesn't mean that that's not what's underneath it right you know and sometimes there is
some commentary in those words and people can choose to interpret it that way or not well that's what I do like
about your words is that like I I like telling open-ended stories you know and it's if you sometimes if you put words
on that then no one gets a choice of what that means but with yours right
it's not so defining that it makes it so somebody can't reinterpret it the way
they want to so I've struggled with that with like how to find my words and what I'd like to use and yeah but I like that
it seems it seems fairly effortless but that's always what um is not effortless you know yeah it well I mean quite
honestly for me A lot of times that's where a piece begins so someone will say
something someone will use a word or they'll say a phrase and that's where the the work begins
I just did a piece that someone used the word raucous and I you know it just
automatically grabbed me and makes me create something around that
word so so when that happens sometimes I feel obligated to incorporate it right right I don't know why
um yeah sometimes I'm like I'm getting away from this I'm not going to do this anymore but they keep showing up yeah so
and it's subtle too it's not it's not in your face I've seen it you know some of your pieces in the past have been like
it's about the words whereas the words kind of are you you're working in kind
of pencil on top of the paint or you're working in right so I mean it's it's just a difficult thing to do you know
how to say too much how not to say too little you know what I mean yeah so yeah
for sure but your work has progressed in the last uh I don't know the last few years but where where are you going with
it now oh gosh that is a great question yeah that's a great question I feel you know
I mean I do feel kind of settled into to where I am right now
um I'm sure that will change because I it is drastically changed over the years you
know and I inevitably get the oh this work is great but I really loved
your old work you know it's like Sturgill Simpson coming out with his kind of modern sounds of country music
and you're like this is amazing and then he comes out with his sophomore album and you're like what are you doing
exactly you know and like if I wanted to hear it listen we can go a deep dive on schedule just
turn this into a music podcast because I exactly feel the same way that you do but you know it's like they're growing
but it's like well I didn't want you to grow over there could you just grow in this direction where I'm comfortable yeah but no I and it's and it's hard
yeah it is really hard do you find I mean I found with a new series this past
show that I did I unveiled a new you know a new series and it went over really well and that's super rewarding
um and it does seem to be like when I want to get weird the audience finds me so it doesn't really you know it they
they're reinforcing my weirdness so it just lets us get weirder you know
um but for sure but yeah you're um I mean like talk about this latest piece that I saw on Instagram where you've got
a big cat you know what I'm talking about right with the uh leopard let's walk is it a leopard or Jaguar yeah that
would be a cheetah I don't know my big cats I'm just uh yeah just Edgar yeah
they didn't teach us about big cats down there all right so you've got a cheetah
um got a cheetah on there you know admittedly this is gonna seem so trite but it was important for me to make
because it was an important it was it was more uh a personal thing than anything
um but there is there's a book that came out at the beginning of the pandemic
called Untamed by a writer called Glennon Doyle I love her um yeah and uh anyway her opening story
in her book is about exactly what most of my work is about
and she's talking about how her daughter you know was growing up we grow up in
this in this world excuse me as as female identifying folks and there is an
expectation of us and we have to live within within these bounds of
femaleness whatever that may be however that may be defined but there are boundaries she's talking about being at
the zoo with her daughter this imagery of this cheetah in this cage in this
fence and her imagining this this cheetah busting through this fence and breaking out like
this this cheetah does not know anything but these boundaries and there's so much
more actually the world they want to live in is way outside of these boundaries and
um the phrase is you're not crazy you're a goddamn cheetah is what she says to her daughter
essentially and uh it's just about living untamed and so that's that's what
that's from that's really cool I'm glad I asked that uh we're big fans of London Doyle in our house
um Susie listens to the podcast that she does with her wife and um the really incredible stories so that that's a big
recommend from both of of us if you're if you're into yeah clearly you're into podcasts if you're listening to this one
but what what's that one called Do You Remember um Untamed that's the name of the podcast Oh you mean the podcast we can
do hard things yeah so that's that's a big recommend yeah she's in the whole brene Brown
realm you know the whole kind of I don't know do you call them self-help
people I don't think so I'm not really sure they're like it's like Esther perel and brene brown and people that are
teaching us how to live our best lives without necessarily beating you over the head with self-help
um right so yeah we do a lot of uh of reading and listening to those folks in
our house and also trying to raise uh strong humans yeah you know I've got you
know two daughters you know how do I be the most supportive person that I can when everything that I say is lame it's
like kids in my house who think like and they think everything that I do is just super
dorky and dad like when I'm like yeah well I want to be very supportive for you and it's like well if I'm super
supportive you can go the other way and like ah your supportiveness is so uncool but yeah it is
it's like well I want you to be whoever you want to do and it's like ah it's just I don't know it's tough I don't
know I found that image to be kind of jarring in a way that's some of your other work maybe is I'm glad I asked you
about that it seems like an important piece yeah it was uh just something that I personally needed to put down whether
somebody takes it to put it in their home or not it remains to be seen but somebody's gonna take it home let's talk
about your booth for a minute do you have a presence with your booth I've like a lot of people will just put their
artwork out yours seems to be a little bit more of a defined I don't know how how do you imagine your booth and how do
you construct it I don't even know how to respond to this because I often like set up my booth and I'm like I really
need to take this more seriously but I don't think so I you know oh God
when I walked past it as a as a patron almost because I'm a fan of of you
I'm walking by and it feels like something you know there are people that do that with their their work and make
it feel like almost like you're entering into this area and do you notice I don't
know if this is intentional or not but those banners that you put up with the little Flags you can find those in used
car lots oh most definitely so most definitely yeah yeah I mean are you
playing with that yeah it's a nod yeah yeah that that actually that used to
imagery used to land in my work all of the time I've gotten away from it a little bit
um and I I but it used to be in in most everything that I did and so I was like
why don't I just hang these up right I loved them when I was a kid just because to me I thought it meant something fun
was happening there like there's something great Happening Here There are multi-colored flags hanging everywhere
you know something good is going on clearly we know that's not true but it
is good it's definitely so so that definitely is how it ended up in my work so yeah then
I just started hanging them in my booth seemed seemed like the right thing to do and they've just stuck around yeah it
does seem like the right thing yeah and you know a lot of people will do it's like that back wall uh of yours to me
there's something about it that's that's almost like 1950s TVs like a wall of like TV sales uh I don't know if that's
intentional or not but like I see that and almost like it feels like a showroom like you're walking into a showroom and
you've got that advertising popping I you know I call those little pieces snapshots because in my mind I've set
them up like old Kodachrome film yeah right so everything is a square and you
know the old Kodachrome film had has the white border around the edges I've kind
of set it up to be almost like a photo wall yeah you know but yeah it's meant
to be a lot to take in right and for me I tend to have a younger audience
because of my subject matter because of my color palette and even just the just
the way my work is and it is something that pulls people in they're smaller pieces they're more accessible but also
their conversations and then it gets people in we we have conversations about
things and it leads to my other work okay so yeah so it's an intentional
thing I mean yeah it is intentional and I love that and it's interesting to me because it's the opposite of the way
that I do my own business I I have the like put the put your giant showpiece in the
back of the booth aiming out and then that's what draws people in like oh my God what is that like your big gigantic
impact piece that you may or may not sell in the show and then but yours is different it's like you've got a a
presence of a wall of small so it just brings people in and it's like it's
interesting to me it's like well it whatever works for you works for you but you've got the the wall of things that
makes an impact that is really appealing and if it does it makes me want to come into your booth I see your booth shot
and it's immediately appealing and I zoom in yours is an experience you know it's a
different yeah well you know I think that because I would say absolutely that
would have normally or was at a time my train of thought right and then as I've
kind of gotten more in touch with who my actual audience is it also is dependent
upon where I am sure right and depending on the show and what my
experience of the audience has been it may I may make a different choice but oftentimes that is the way that I go so
you're saying you'll redesign your booth for different shows like is that depending on your market like what you
think of as the market yeah yeah I I may just you know if I'm at Cherry Creek my big piece may be on my back wall sure
you know it just depends um and I and I probably won't have as many small pieces it just that is
something I've I've like gone back and forth with over you know all the years and of course I have Daryl Thetford in
my brain telling me to go big go big go big and I would love to do that I'm I
guess I'm just checking don't maybe yeah you want to catch big fish you got to use a big bait yeah for sure yeah for
sure but that is yeah I do always have that try to have that
that wall of small pieces that just draws people in yeah my that tends to be
my audience I guess I was talking to Carol Swayze I think it was a bar conversation not a podcast she's like
well it was very enlightening to me when I started you know my perception of who my audience is versus the reality of who
my audience is and started taking notes and she's like oh my God I always thought I had a younger kind of hipper
audience and it turns out they're actually you know more established in their 50s and 60s it's it's interesting
to me too I think I make younger work but I started paying more attention to what my audience looked like and to be
honest it's it's more older people that imagine themselves as younger people
like they want a little so Ellis yeah right yeah right they think they're
younger and they're not and it's uh you know they still have the I don't know they're like they're expensive shoes is
always the the cliche that we look for as artists when they even snap to in the when the when the polished leather shoes
could walk into the booth but yeah yeah it is just interesting there you go there's there's where the used car sales
uh comes into play for me because I have had some you have some very unassuming
people oh yeah come in and just throw down some serious cash for for things
but yeah I mean I do think that I have tend to have a younger audience and
that's you know it definitely dictates where I do well because there are some shows that everyone you know is like hey
this is a great show and it's just not my market sure you know
um sometimes a smaller show is better for me right than than an A-list show
whatever that means absolutely like there are some some ones out there that like when you take where I met you I Met
You in Decatur yeah you know there's some big coin walking around Decatur and it's kind of considered oh well dog
what's the number one in Atlanta and then maybe you have Decatur or then you have this but it's like some of those smaller shows are the ones that work
like it it pays a lot of times to be the big fish in a small pond than it does to
be you know to go and have that competition unless you're going to you know some of those shows are real big
bangers and everybody seems to do well but right I don't know I like those smaller shows sometimes the pace of them
feels a little different it's a little Kinder sometimes you don't feel like you're part of the machine so I can do
exactly yeah and we're not going to tell you what our secret small shows are we're just uh we're just going to
We're not gonna give you all the secrets you know what I here's what I I do want to say this I it feels important for me
to say for whoever may be listening to this you know this is this is only my
10th year so I am definitely a newbie
I have so much to learn still but I will say when I first started doing this I I
cringe to think about uh there is no telling the conversations that people
had about my booth set up the work that I was creating you know
um wow but I yeah it was it was rough it
was rough and I have had some conversations with those people who are now my friends who were set up beside me and they were like boy I thought a good
Swift win came by we're all good we're gonna all be taken out by whatever you have going on
but I was fortunate enough to fall into a group of people who were so helpful to
me in helping me figure all of this out and you know I know this is like it's a
very competitive thing that we do because we're all vying for spots in all of the same shows and I was fortunate
enough to have people who were willing to help me out and to say hey look
here's some things that you need to think about here's some things that you can consider and you know I I
I don't know if it was Cliff maybe that that you were talking to before who had
mentioned that he was just trying to ask questions of people like and we do all have those people like how did you start
doing this and whatever else but the truth is without some gracious
veteran artist taking me under their wing I I would have never found a way to
be successful doing this and they all know who they are and so shout out to
all of you thank you um but it's easy for us to be old
curmudgeony art show carnies griping and complaining about things but we have a
really incredible way to make a living we do
you know I I I I all of the time you know listen there's there's always
things that every show that are challenging to deal with always but I
just think to myself I am not in an office building I'm not sitting in a cubicle I'm not answering to anyone but
myself right I have created art I'm in a different city every few weeks this is
incredible gratitude um yeah for sure you know for sure and I
and I think it's amazing when we can share that with other people absolutely it's easy to get into a rut you know I
had a you know I had a great show a couple weeks ago but then I'm breaking down my booth and 45 mile per hour winds
and I'm you know picking up the pro panels and whipping and my artwork too and it's like hey speed to my elbow and
it's not easy you know what we do but it's also like it should be easy to have
the Gratitude uh for being allowed to do what we do and and I I'm really interested in trying to reach out to
that next generation of artists and and to show them how we can do this and it's
really freeing and I love what we do I love getting out there and and yeah you
know it's not always easy and sometimes you get sometimes you get the rain sometimes it's your show sometimes you
sit there and watch your neighbor sell everything on their walls while you're just you know you're like it's not and not your not your crowd you know it's
it's yeah you know sometimes you're the opening act and the other people just get to go on and and you're like God
yeah they don't care about you but then you go to the next one and it's your turn and then all of a sudden you're the
windshield yeah that's it's it's a it's not for the faint of heart for sure it
is not yeah people say dumb stuff to you all the time and try to I feel like you
can you can take it the wrong way and let it beat you down but at the end of the day you're the hot person in the bar
they're just saying something to try to pick you up you know even if it's the most insulting thing you've ever heard
in your life it's still uh they're just trying to strike up a conversation yeah those conversations can be repetitive
and monotonous for sure but I definitely work harder at this job than anyone I've
ever done I don't know if that speaks to this job or my lack of
inspiration and desire for my other jobs but but yeah you know it's a really
great thing to be able to be out here and do this it is you know it really is and it's you know people say if you do
the thing you love uh then you'll never work a day in your life and that's horseshit because we work our asses off
but absolutely at the end of the day doesn't mean we don't love it absolutely yeah and that is you know
that is a that was a thing when I decided hey I'm gonna go do this you know those
1950s patriarchal conservative parents of mine said go for it you know yeah but
I do remember my dad saying what is this going to be like when your hobby turns
into your work will you have the motivation will you have the inspiration and the desire to continue pushing
forward yeah which was a great thing to consider that is a great thing to consider and do you do you talk to him
about that since like you're like hey I've still got the drive where does he see it yeah well he does because I think
they're amazed that I somehow have continued to make a living doing this you know my parents are just amazing I
don't even read like they're I was such a it's such a pain in the ass when I was little yeah yeah I mean you know I
definitely I I definitely got my father's work ethic he is a person who
does does not do things half-heartedly and so I think he knew I had that part
but just wasn't sure about how do you continue doing this when it is your work right and you know it does it does shape
things like sometimes when you're like man I've really got to have a good show it will impact the things that I create
I don't know about every everyone else and I find that that's that's a bad way to go right I just need to stay in my
lane and and do what feels right to me rather than what I think is going to sell at the show yeah or whatever but do
you have any artwork that you feel is because of our business and the nature
of feeling like we need to repeat things that there's a burden to it like how do
you avoid that or is there a burden to like oh my God I sold that I gotta make it again
oh gosh yeah I just was having this conversation just the other day obviously there for some reason are
pieces that resonate with people right more than others and I oftentimes get
asked to repeat it you know I inevitably will have a piece that I take to a show
for a first time you know sell it immediately and then people are always asking about it you know and it's hard
because in my mind I feel like well real artists don't do this you know like
which is I think just very untrue you know right how how do you not how do you
not um and and whenever I will recreate
something I just say I I will do this but it is going to be different you know
I cannot just it's just hard for me and then I just I'm not in it my heart is not in it
I don't it doesn't feel right to me but you know and and then there comes a time when I just have to say I I'm not doing
this anymore and this is I cannot yeah I do but just because it doesn't it
doesn't feel good to me you know and that's really hard to do when someone's like hey here's money will you create
this for me inauthentic okay that's amazing yeah I
have yeah good for you yeah I mean it's it's kind of like it's the burden of a great idea because
you you have this great idea that sells and it's like Dylan strasinski was talking about are fair gold and we
talked a little bit about art fair gold and then there's like do you I can't remember there's somebody that does you've seen them in every gift shop like
art people or some kind of thing they make them at a trash and write a saying on it and and it's like
um oh I can't remember what they are but they're like they're all over the place little knick-knacky stores and and
things but yeah but they used to be an art show artist that made big and it it
said we used to have it um my ex had it as a piece of artwork and it's like you
have to remember to make it all again or you have to remember to make it again every day otherwise it all goes to hell
and I I both loved and hated it's like successories for the artists yeah but
like make it again or it go it goes to hell and then it was like yeah but it I took that to mean something different
it's like if you make it again every day then what if it all goes to hell like I I feel like my entire soul is being
depleted by making the same [ __ ] every day yeah whereas like you do have to put
those you know have to get new ideas and put a charge in it and you know if I'm remaking something I try to focus on
like maybe something different about the piece like right even if it's just like
my line quality and and put my my heart and soul into that and I do find that if
I'm remaking something that I I can get a little bit of Soul by focusing on something different but when I started
the new series and then had to go back after I was super charged up in the studio and
make something old that I I just yeah it took me forever I
was just like a I was like the little kid that you see in line at the bank who's just like so freaking bored
they're just laying down on the carpet while their mom is just making a transaction it's like that's how I feel
making some of this stuff so I don't see a lot of them the same I see a lot of
the same spirit in your booth but I don't see the same pieces over and over
again which is why I wanted to ask you about it yeah you know what I do don't generally if I repeat it it is generally
for a person who's reached out about a commission it is you know I
there have been some that that I will redo or I'll have a I'll have a series
you know like this is this specific series and it's the same sort of vibe but it's a different painting
um and I and I do a few of those but yeah it's just it's too it's you know
then it just does feel like work and I know that there is there is work to what we do we are working but when you are in
charge of coming up with all of the ideas and the execution right sometimes it it feels depleting to continue doing
the same things over and over again and it's a thing that is hard for me about specifically in the art show circuit in
that we you know are submitting for shows that are seven months away and I may want to be
doing something completely different by then but you get caught in a loop of
well this is the work I submitted so this is the work that I have to create and then it's right you're you're sucked
in it's hard to make a change a serious change I mean you there can be some deviation I guess but it's hard to be
like I want to do something completely different because you just don't really have that luxury unless you have more
time than me you know right but then your your style you know it's still clearly coming from you which I find to
be right um right and you know it to the to the defense of of the artists that do repeat things I remember getting in a
conversation with Benjamin Frye about um you know when I first started this body of work it's probably been uh
I don't know this body will work maybe 10 or 11 years but I was talking to Ben about it because the previous body of
work was nothing but repetition it was the pretty much you know it was geometric abstract kind of stuff that I
would do like over and over and over and over again until I felt like my my soul was just getting crushed whereas the new
body at work I'm like I'm never going to repeat another image and I remember talking to Ben about that and he's like
well until you don't have any ideas and then wouldn't you want to go back to
one that that sold you know I'm like and you could do something and I do find that they do get better and better if I
do repeat something so to the defense of artists absolutely that do the same thing again and again you are you know
if you can find a way to put you the same amount of uh heart and soul into it and it still feels fresh
well you you do you you know yeah those are people that work smarter not harder
you know and and I I want to be one of those people because I think it is true you
know oftentimes I'm like man I hate that soul that was a really good piece and I know that it would resonate wherever why
don't I just paint it yeah why don't you so do you have a that's a great question do you have a business model with your
booth like what you want that to look like you're like I gotta have this this and this or no no okay no I am not that
organized of a human being when it comes to to things I mean you know I am I have
gotten away from well I do have those smaller pieces I've gotten away from some of the smaller things who doesn't
want to create big it's just it's more freeing it's a great place to be right
you know um but obviously we are I am confined to whatever vehicle I'm driving
at the time and how I'm gonna get it where I'm going to get it but so but as
far as having a plan no not necessarily I'm just kind of like do I have enough work to even go do this show but no real
aesthetic plan I'm sure people are like yeah no [ __ ] it's just kind of what I
see that whatever happens the reason I ask is because I whenever I walk past your your space it's like it's a very
unified to me very unified vision so um it works it's working you know
keep it going great yeah great great hey uh what else you want to get into you
want to anything we're leaving out anything you want to talk about I don't think so yeah you know I think I
mostly just wanted to to make sure that I I passed on my gratitude for all of
you you know who helped me along but yeah right I mean it's it's fun to help
uh some of the younger artists it's really really rewarding like to to meet
some of the younger folks who are coming along and I hope we can keep them going because our industry relies on that
right yeah if we don't they're gonna go create something new and then snuff us
out so you know exactly got to keep them in the folds for sure well I really
appreciate you I appreciate your vision I appreciate your humanity and and thank you for joining us on the podcast thanks
for having me thanks Bennett see you on the road all right appreciate it bye all right bye
man that was a really awesome talk you had with Bennett you guys have this this really awesome connection and it's so
great that we're able to share that with with everybody so thanks for sitting down thanks for talking to her that's
kind of what I'd like to try to do with any of those interviews is just to be able to let people understand our fellow
artists a little bit get to know them get to know what makes them tick and what keeps them on the road doing what we do one of the things I really
appreciated about uh our talk was that she just wanted to kind of think our tribe and we don't always get a chance
to do that so I like to take that opportunity now too because that is what um I don't know it's a driving force
behind this podcast really too is just kind of an appreciation for our fellow artists not to sound corny no it's I'm
I'm the king of corny over here I I really do feel like uh getting to know the humanity and the personalities and
what brings us to this business and what keeps us in this business and that connection these are conversations that
we don't have with normal people around us they don't speak this language and it's such a refreshing feeling to hear
even though the stories aren't the same you're still the the root of the story resonates yeah and it's the path that
gets us to where we are you know that gets us out there on the road and doing what we do yeah so cool well I really
enjoyed it and as I've been talking about for many weeks now my challenges
that I've been having I kind of am feeling some speed bumps here along the way and I've been waiting to talk to
Lynn Whipple for a couple weeks a couple months we've kind of had this soft line up here for a while uh but that's what
I'm talking to next and that's who's going to be on the podcast for our next episode is awesome that ray of sunshine
Lynn Whipple herself is gonna hopefully get me in a in a good mindset I can't
wait for that that's really cool I love Lynn I'm not gonna put that pressure on her but uh that's kind of what's going
on in the back of my mind anyway she's gonna show up and be in her first bad mood ever that's gonna ruin the whole
thing no I can't wait for you to talk to Lynn that's fantastic that'll uh I'll try to set up John too so we can get
both the Whipples on here and get their voices out there they've been big parts of our industry for a long time so I
can't wait to to get down in it and soak up some of that Sunshine totally so that's awesome and uh well by the way it
has been officially one year for our little project here our little project is one year old that's a walking ah it's
walking but it's still pooping its pants that's the biggest pants plenty
walking almost talking and still pooping all right well thanks so much for
staying with us with this whole ride with us ladies and gentlemen it's been fun it's taken on new legs and I really
appreciate Zap for backing us financially and NAIA for giving us a little bit of um street cred
right if any AI has street cred if it does yeah right right so yeah it's all
good and we've got a lot of fun stuff planned coming up here so the you know thanks for being along with us everyone
yeah we've got really cool talks coming up with all sorts of different artists we're trying to keep it balanced and if
you want to get in on the conversation please join us on Facebook on our Facebook group The Independent artist don't be shy and starting up a dialogue
with us it's always fun to hear what you guys have to talk about who knows we'll bring it into the conversation sure and
if you're enjoying the podcast please jump on and write us a review give us
some stars and apple it helps spread us further let more people know we exist and help build this show even bigger
help help build us our little sound for us invest in a nicer Sound Studio uh we'll
sound for it as a little uh reminiscent of a 12 year old sleepover
it is God I don't know I I it honestly is giving me uh claustrophobia the likes
of uh airplanes I get claustrophobia on airplanes yeah travel yeah big time you
know it's it's egg roll claustrophobia but it's still there all right there you go
I always it's not that I'm actually gonna throw that door open but the option is there if I need it that's
right and if you want to kick on the back of someone's reclining seat we know that's been known to happen right
Stephen King was kicking on my reclining seat this week all right everyone well we'll we'll see in a couple weeks here
and uh safe travels and have good shows thanks everybody this podcast is brought to you by the
National Association of Independent Artists the website is also sponsored by
zapplication that's and while you're at it check out Will's website at
1:30:47 and my website at be sure to subscribe
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