The Independent Artist Podcast


July 04, 2022 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong Season 2 Episode 13
The Independent Artist Podcast
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The Independent Artist Podcast
Jul 04, 2022 Season 2 Episode 13
Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong

Join co-hosts Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong, professional working artists who talk with other independent artists about what's important.

Look back at the Pearls from The Independent Artist Podcast

Featured clips from:

A Constant State of Becoming/ Justin Teilhet
Breaking the Boundaries/ Bennett
Ballpoints, Legos, and Blues Bars/ Tai Taeoalii
My Ridiculous Little Life/ Kina Crow
Sharing Your Authentic Voice/ Clifton Henri
Fully Awake/ Cindy Olmes
Capital F/ Dylan Strzynski
Going Big/ Eric Lee
Defining Your Path/ Chris Dahlquist
The Courage to Say No/ Daryl Thetford
Let's Get Back To Work/ Stephen King
The Art Fair Fixer/ Cindy Lerick
Striving to be Better/ Michael Schwegmann
Carving Out The Details/ Helen Gotlib
The Big Reveal/ Jeribai Andrew-JaJa
A Look Through the Window/ William Kwamena-Poh
Art Show DNA/ Mikyung Cunningham/ Reiko Uchytil
Partners in Paint/ Signe & Genna Grushovenko
If It's Easy, I'm Usually Not That Interested/ Amber Marshall
Garment Builder/ Annie Bisone
The Boss/ Betty Jäger
Rare Birds/ Jay McDougall
A Look Through the Window/ William Kwamena-Poh

PLEASE RATE US AND REVIEW US.......... and SUBSCRIBE to the pod on your favorite streaming app.

VENMO/ username @independentartistpodcast or through PAYPAL.ME by clicking on this link

Email us at with conversation topics, your feedback, or sponsorship inquiries.


Support the Show.

Show Notes Transcript

Join co-hosts Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong, professional working artists who talk with other independent artists about what's important.

Look back at the Pearls from The Independent Artist Podcast

Featured clips from:

A Constant State of Becoming/ Justin Teilhet
Breaking the Boundaries/ Bennett
Ballpoints, Legos, and Blues Bars/ Tai Taeoalii
My Ridiculous Little Life/ Kina Crow
Sharing Your Authentic Voice/ Clifton Henri
Fully Awake/ Cindy Olmes
Capital F/ Dylan Strzynski
Going Big/ Eric Lee
Defining Your Path/ Chris Dahlquist
The Courage to Say No/ Daryl Thetford
Let's Get Back To Work/ Stephen King
The Art Fair Fixer/ Cindy Lerick
Striving to be Better/ Michael Schwegmann
Carving Out The Details/ Helen Gotlib
The Big Reveal/ Jeribai Andrew-JaJa
A Look Through the Window/ William Kwamena-Poh
Art Show DNA/ Mikyung Cunningham/ Reiko Uchytil
Partners in Paint/ Signe & Genna Grushovenko
If It's Easy, I'm Usually Not That Interested/ Amber Marshall
Garment Builder/ Annie Bisone
The Boss/ Betty Jäger
Rare Birds/ Jay McDougall
A Look Through the Window/ William Kwamena-Poh

PLEASE RATE US AND REVIEW US.......... and SUBSCRIBE to the pod on your favorite streaming app.

VENMO/ username @independentartistpodcast or through PAYPAL.ME by clicking on this link

Email us at with conversation topics, your feedback, or sponsorship inquiries.


Support the Show.


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 hey everybody welcome back to the


podcast uh happy 4th of July Independent Artists out there hope you had a really


good weekend at shows for those of you in Denver or other Fourth of July holiday weekend shows I'm sure you're on


that Monday morning hangover that afterburn hope it went well for you I'm


sure it's become a little bit obvious by now that I'm flying solo today we're all


in the midst of the busiest time of the year for art show artists I got back


from Des Moines right as will was heading off to Denver so we have something a little different planned for


you all today that we hope you enjoy you know as we talk to guests here on the podcast throughout the last year and a


half someone will bring up a topic and it will make us think back to a conversation we had previously with


another artist so one of the things we've commented on is that these


conversations never really end it's almost like they just keep rolling on


and so today we decided that we would take kind of a look back at some of the


pearls from the past year and a half and pulled out some of those points that


have kind of left its Mark I'm going to do my best to jump in between some of the clips to let everyone know who is


speaking who the artist is but if you have any doubt you can just jump onto


the episode notes so if you want to go back or if you want to for the first time listen to their entire talk and


have kind of a reference point or framework as to to who it was that was talking in that moment but some of them


I might just let them roll right on through because it does seem kind of like where one story lets off and the


next one picks up it seems pretty seamless almost like you know 35


different artists jumping in on the same conversation and allowing it to to kind


of move and kind of flow so thanks for listening everyone uh strap on that seat


belt get comfortable and have a safe drive across the road home from your show or firing up your studio and making


some great work we really appreciate you tuning in and and joining us on this ride this first talk that I wanted to


revisit is from Justin tillett the talk zeros in on branching out being inspired


to try new materials and so this is what he's talking about here in his episode a


constant state of becoming I threw my first pot when I was five you


know and and that's a different story but I had never gone more than a few


months in like 40 years without throwing a pot I I feel you on that I'm feeling


the same way I'm like kind of like stepping into your shoes and I'm thinking okay what if I started considering a series or something that


was a departure from glass and I start getting this like this feeling like you know sad inside like right right but


also exciting it sounds like it's exciting because you've got this puzzle to solve that's opening new doors it is


it is and I you know I I it's been a while since I've sat at the wheel it's been you know it's been a year or


probably since I really sat down and did a good session I thought that that would


be huge you know but it hasn't been and I think that what it boils down to is


fingers wiggling you know as long as I've got some material in front of me to


manipulate somehow then then that part of my brain satisfied the connection to


the wheel was more yeah I guess it was more emotional than it was really


connected to a need to do that particular material in that particular manner do you think it's uh it's also


kind of getting out of the comfort zone like you know we work so much with a material for years 2030 I mean your case


since you were a little kid and we feel like we know this material there's still the new things to learn


with it but for the most part we feel like pretty good with it and then to step away from that and be like okay now


all I'm having to learn solve new puzzles with wood or new puzzles with with metal and you get in a vulnerable


place of having to do that rediscovery of what am I doing am I out of my element here yeah yeah that's a that's


that's every 10 minutes every every 10 minutes um that's why I was up till the sun came


up you know I don't know there's something I I guess inherently


satisfying about that need to solve that puzzle you know I mean it's it's it's


hell when it's happening but that 10 minutes we all get at some point in time


to sit across the room by ourselves staring at that thing that we just finished and it's done and and oh I


remember when that that that piece broke off or I remember when that went awry you know but but now here I am it's it's


realized that moment you know is what we're what we're after the satisfaction


of like I didn't know exactly how it was going to turn out but I got to the other side of it and then the discoveries that


come from it and we're still bringing the years of experience of being an


artist of artistic design and principles and all that sorts of things to new materials so it's not like we're coming


into a new material like as beginners or anything even though we feel like beginners when we start this stuff yeah


yes you know that's what's one of the great things about the way we've gone


about it we've all gone about it from so many different directions and it takes all those directions to make it work but


so oftentimes we are in the company of our peers and and that's when you realize like you can't you can't just


tiptoe through this I mean there's people are amazing at what they do and


and seeing that on a regular basis it just it really I often feel like the


best I can do is be on par with these people you know that I'm that I'm surrounded with on a daily basis on


a on a monthly basis whatever it is this this artwork that I see by these people that that are it's just it's astounding


you know and and just to just to be able to stay on par with that is what I think


challenges me to to keep going with it the minute that my work is good enough I


guess I'm done you know is that you know it's it's there's there's always a lot


of room to grow um yeah Bob Dylan said never stop becoming and you'll probably be okay


and and that's that's that's good words I mean you know if we can achieve and we


can achieve and that we can achieve with our with our abilities and and as long as we have something to chase I think


we're gonna be okay just next section is about finding the artistic voice where


artists will use what's going on in their own personal life reflect that into their artwork to make a statement


or to work through something creatively or or personally featured in this


section is Bennett with her episode titled breaking the boundaries we have Tai taioli with his episode titled


ballpoints Legos and blues bars also Kina Crow with my ridiculous little life


and Clifton onri with sharing your authentic voice 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 like 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 you know I struggled with that my parents were really great about raising us to be


independent and to be ourselves right you know 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 he would


just try to get at me because he knew that oftentimes whatever it was I was


having a hard time with maybe 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 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 rules and I'm gonna call my own shots I mean like talk about this latest


piece that I saw on Instagram where you've got a big cat gotta cheat 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 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 we grow up in this world 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 the phrase is you're not


crazy you're a goddamn cheetah is what she says to her daughter


essentially and it's just about living Untamed so that's that's what that's


from that's really cool 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 yeah whether somebody takes it to put it in their home or not it remains to be seen but somebody's gonna


take it home yeah yeah a lot of artists in in this industry are


so afraid to say anything you know it's like there's a lot of decorative work out there there's a lot of really good


decorative work out there but they're not saying we're like well I really wish I could get political I wish I could but


nobody's going to buy that which I think you know you walk into your booth and clearly that's obviously nonsense you


know I mean you say whatever you want and that's I have I've always admired I mean do you ever find yourself well


maybe I shouldn't say this or do you I mean because it seems to me like when I walk into your booth you're just going for it yeah you know well thank you and


I I never I've always had an artistic talent but I've never considered myself


an artist and never even un like understood the world and I still don't


that's not something I ever even really want to understand um I


I what I have a verbal communication issues I I have adjective recall is one


of my I practice every single day um to remember adjectives and to uh work


on my communication skills I've done that for it's almost like I have a stutter I jump ahead like you can hear


it I hate to ever point it out because if you ever go back and listen to anything that I do I'll start saying


something and I'll jump over somewhere else


but no one really is drives my wife's not my wife nuts I know that but


um so my my work my artwork has always just been me the


only way I can communicate so and I have never ever been afraid to say things


that I like or say things that I don't like I've no I've never had any fear of


that so my artwork is just an extension of of that I think so yeah sometimes it


gets me into conversations that I don't care for with people I was wondering I


mean is that it's got to I mean we the way we show in a lot of the different places that we I've seen you in Des


Moines I've seen you in Fort Worth and I'm like I you know Fort Worth uh it can be a bit of an edgy town and I could see


you know you were there the first year that you were there I was and I'd never seen you there I was like oh yeah


they're Gonna Eat You Alive like it's just your Market but I could also see Cowboy you know cowboy hat guy walks in


and gives you a hard time or says well what's this about and um I don't know how do those


conversations go you know what I find most most people with my artwork is if it's not your thing it's almost like you


don't even see it so the people who ever come in and have some sort of issue or


want to uh start up some sort of drama there are people that are always looking for it


and so they'll come in and they'll and most of the issues I ever have are


usually like religious based people want to come in and try to ask me if I found God and stuff like that


um they always side like T-bone like they'll do like a trick well they'll be like oh wow you're so incredible


um how do you do this or do you think that it's some other Spirit from above you know I was like well I don't know I


mean I just enjoy it and then all of a sudden to have you accepted Jesus


I'm with people with religion but then they start trying to go into things about well this is what you're drawing


here is um the sign of the devil and all that stuff and I don't even I don't even think about that at all I've also I'm


heavily tattooed which back in the day used to be kind of a scary for people to


approach me but I have learned over the years people are afraid to approach me but I'm a teddy bear man I I'm I'm


emotional and sensitive and um I just have a look that sometimes


comes off as like I'm a hard ass but I'm really not the good thing about that is it usually keeps those people at bay


where I don't have to usually get into too much confrontation so I don't like coffee a lot of the concepts for the


pieces or the titles come from my struggle to get over my


insecurities and which honestly age totally helps with that you know but um


and and learning to like get over myself and that [ __ ] I get these epiphanies and


I'm like oh I'm totally ridiculous and and the more I can make fun of myself


the better the pieces are then I come up with these great ideas you know well


would you say that your your work is self-referential absolutely you know okay I I'm doing a


lot of custom work now where people will say oh you know this is me and this is


my life and I'm able to after all the years you know because I do love other people and their stories I love stories


so um I'll take people's stories and then try to write something specific for them


and um and that's actually harder that's that's much harder yeah well to me


um it comes from a very theatrical place a very like as a trained actor in method


acting I spent so much time building a backstory for every character for that


one minute on stage you know I mean you figured out where they went to school and their storyline and what they had


for breakfast what happened the minute they walked in the door you put all this into it just to walk on and have your line and walk off again so your pieces


have this Rich backstory and hearing you talk about it on seesaw literally I mean


you have a whole fleshed out life for these characters that you've created in


your work I I think I've known them all along but oh it's so funny that you talk about method acting because I totally


studied for a few months with the actor Studio okay I totally know what you're


talking about like you said they are self-referential all right so I already know them you


know I do have a ridiculous imagination yeah which is why I can't find my keys


because I can never find my keys because I'm always thinking about something else you know oh right right but you know


what I think is like it's it's like I go back to that like weird like little three-year-old dancing on the table for


in order for my father to drink and I always thought but I'm not religious but


I always have a joke that uh God made me fat so I wouldn't be a table dancer


because I can't think of anything better than like dancing naked on a table except I'm way too chubby to do that so


I think I'm trying to do that within my pieces but for sure for sure this is my it's my little journey but it's not just


my my journey I really you know and this is the most awesome thing about doing art festivals rather


than selling your work at a gallery you meeting people who are looking at your work and who are identifying with it and


it makes me feel like oh I'm not such a crazy [ __ ] there's like so many other people out there who feel the same way


that I do it makes me feel good it makes them feel good it's like you know to


have those especially like those weird little naughty strange parts of you like


recognized and go oh yeah yeah I I'm I'm batshit too and it's okay yeah you make


the invitation for people to walk in your booth or connect with your work and to see you were Brave to say you know


this is part of me that's kind of insecure and they wanna they will be like I can be brave too and I can let


you know that I connect with you on that level and that's really cool so yeah yeah I love it and I I try to do so I


try to have the funny stuff uh because I love hearing people laugh


um and then I I'm like I love to have the really sort of deep more uh


introspective poignant stuff because I also love it when somebody comes up and they're told we're crying


every show and it's like yes oh well it's got to be like such a


rewarding feeling when when someone walks in and just has a full-on belly laugh like that like if you evoked that


response it's awesome yeah so Finding Your Voice through photography uh really


it's my perspective what I would like to see represented out there you know so a


lot of my work is uh black and brown faces so portraits of you know people black and brown uh of African descent or


Latino descent like that's what I'm interested in seeing that's what I


didn't see uh going to you know museums and Galleries and things like that growing up you know I wanted to see a


reflection of me and the communities that I grew up in and the people that I know and that I'm friends with and


things like that I found that other people were interested in seeing what I wanted to see and applauded me


because they got what they wanted out of the work that I was naturally producing


you just have to believe in what your uh what your mission is or what your narrative is going to be let the


narrative be the uh the core that drives the work that you that you produce kind


of what I've noticed and talking to like Gallery owners and Museum curators and things like that and just my own opinion


a lot of the work in the art world that is celebrated is more so celebrated on


what the artist was trying to do rather than what they actually did


and interesting which which means to me that the mission


or your calling or your message or your intent is more important and more


significant than the actual like final product so it has more to do with


your heart your heart in the work and being able to convey that to people and


then people understanding it like I think that's where


that's where the the rubber meets the road that's a successful it's a successful piece if you can convey what


you want to convey and people will receive it within the realm of what you were trying to say and then that's a


dope piece that's what helped out in graphic design too well I'm glad you said that because I


wanted to bring up one of your pieces it's one of my favorites there's a young man standing on top of a wheel yeah you


know and it's an incredibly strong image uh it was chosen by Bayou City as the


poster image that one is uh so that one was shot in Ghana and the name of the


piece is the high road a lot of my work revolves around the idea of a perspective you know a change of


perspective uh the reason I shoot what I shoot is to kind of change the The


Narrative of the imagery we see of black and brown people you know so it's more


of a positive more uplifting more of your your everyday beautiful nuggets of


life and not just like tragic scenarios that we you know are kind of used to


seeing like within the media right um but yeah that was a powerful piece they wanted Wings you know they want it


okay I was going to ask you about wings next yeah you know they wanted to they wanted to use wings and and


I'm saving her I don't know what I'm saving her for but you know for the uh


for the publicity of any event and a


festival or something and I'm not getting an end on it yeah with that


being my most popular famous recognizable piece you know


something's just like nah don't don't do it because the next guy like oh you used it for that one and


you used it for that one and they used it too yeah they're right now okay well what else you got


yeah yeah I do I know exactly what you mean you posted wings and you you got I mean


there's a little girl she's standing in her mirror and she's standing on the sink she's got her arms raised and it's


such a powerful image of of strength and a pride in young girls and and pride in your in yourself


you share that on Instagram and it went viral I wanted to ask you a


little bit about that because I I mean everybody's kind of fantasy right it


kind of picked up on that too so anyway talk on that a little bit all right there was there's a show in uh in Miami


during Art Basel during uh Miami art week called prism and I had a couple of


pieces selected to be in the show uh so Wings was one of the pieces that was selected in the show


so during that week I ended up posting wings and because you know all kinds of


celebrities and everybody is out that weekend like I'm kind of pushing it a little


a little hard like yo come to the show come see the piece you know I'm looking looking for my break right yeah of


course and uh you know a handful of important people end up coming by the show end up seeing


the piece they ended up photographing it finding a copy of it or whatever tweeting it sending it out but the big


swing uh came when Alicia Keys posted the photo yeah it went it went simply


bananas after that yeah simply bananas it didn't I mean Holly Berry commented


on that too or am I making that up uh no no no no no she was on there she was on there for


sure I had to screenshot that too yeah and I loved what you did with the Kamala


Harris image too that was cool too I was on the I was on the fence I was totally


on the fence about it but I'm like it's cool when you can I don't want to I


don't want to call it a bootleg but you know what I mean but you when you can revamp your own piece where there is like some


significance like in the world right now so let's call it a remix not a yeah there's so much excitement when


that happened for sure and there's so much pride and and that and and pride in our country and and for what has been


accomplished absolutely the walls that are breaking down so you know you can't fault anybody for getting caught up in


that in that kind of excitement and I loved that image for sure for sure but I'm glad I'm glad I did it she has seen


it has she really she has how do you know how did you find out a woman that


purchased she purchased like maybe five of them only did a small a small amount


of them is good friends with her incredible yeah so uh I think one is going her way which is cool that is


really cool congratulations thanks man I appreciate that yeah yeah that's unbelievable this episode of The


Independent artist podcast is brought to you by zap the digital application service where artists and art festivals


connect well sometimes I'm in a real hurry and I just love that I have things that are saved in zap too streamline my


process saving shows as favorites is my personal way of using zap uh that's my


favorite uh I know a lot of people use the calendar they use the events but for me if I'm saving the favorites of


anything I've ever looked at or thought about doing then I can check out those deadlines on a regular basis but then


there's other times when I have a little more time on my hands and I'm looking into other shows all the information is


right there in the prospectus with links to the website I can see who the artists are that have participated in the past


that's a great idea Douglas because one of the ways that I was finding shows at the very beginning was to go online and


see who I felt my work looked good with it's just great that all that information is organized and easy easy


to look over when planning our next show season


a little bit like I'm an animal in a cage like I'm trapped here instead of


loving to going to work every day there had been a shift and yet it's just


seemed like an impossible decision to to close the business I mean it was the


frame shop was my baby it was the baby that never grew up and was never going


to stop needing me and at some point I I think I wanted the baby to go away to


college or something right that's a really good point right


I mean I loved debate debate yeah I


felt like I would be betraying it to even consider it but then it really


just sort of reached a point where instead of trying to figure out all the


reasons why I could or I couldn't or how it would work if I did or if I didn't I


just decided to make a decision yeah and and that that so much of what I


think holds people back is they're trying to figure out all the little minutia of of the decision when they just need


to make the decision and then things will fall into place when I started Custom Framing I didn't know how to


custom frame I didn't know how to run a business and what I figured out right away was that I should never look up


just take the step then you take the next step and you take another step and


all of a sudden you've walked down the road right well that served as an example to


you that while I've done it in this aspect so I can apply the same skill walking


into a new way of selling my work I don't have to know everything about it


I just need to take the next step and then continue to take the next step and you would have confidence in the fact


that you just figure it out like you figured out the other thing yeah yeah well yeah I wish that I'd had that Clear


Vision but you know it was really I was walking my dog it was a Tuesday morning


and and literally I felt I felt myself


walk out of myself because I was Milling it over in my brain how am I going to do


this how could I possibly consider doing this and then all of a sudden it was like I saw myself she was walking down


the road in front of me and she was done had made a decision and I just needed


to follow her lead so I came home it was a Tuesday morning and my husband was


working from home that day and I said do you mind if I close my shop I would just want to be an artist and he he gave the


perfect husband answer if it makes you happy yeah that's great that's awesome so I


did and I say that you know that was a Tuesday morning by Sunday evening we sent out a mass in


set effect ively I no longer frame wow it's I mean it seems abrupt like you say on a


Tuesday and then on Sunday but you sound like you had two years of really needing to come to terms with that before it


could settle in and be like I don't have to have reasons X Y and Z I can just


make the decision and it's okay that I'm done with this now and it's okay that I'm done with this yeah


yeah it's like it served its purpose and it does not negate its value in your


life or its emotional connection or like it meant it wasn't what you were supposed to be doing it would just meant


now it was time to move on to the next thing you know time to make a change and


I think it's one of the things that I struggle with you know change uh it


scares me it upsets me our neighbor moved out recently and I just keep thinking how could he do that how could


he change his life like that and just leave us


exactly it happened too quickly for me once I


gave up the frame shop my thought was and this is kind of funny was that this


will be easy I'll just be an artist and I'll do some a show or two here or


there and and now I realize I mean I've worked a thousand times harder at this


than I ever did at framing right because you've now you're taking on two or three full-time jobs the full-time job of


creating the full-time job of selling the full-time job of marketing the accounting I know that I didn't know


that but but you're like you said you're feeling joy every day so this is this is


like the trade-off it's the the tasks of a joyful life versus the feeling like


you can't do this another second longer whatever that life would have you know


what I mean whatever the other tasks we commit ourselves to no I mean I I feel like I feel like I am


really for the first time I'm fully awake


I'm fully alive I'm fully present what what this career asks of me is


everything I want to do and be and give wow


that I mean that's got to be an amazing feeling right there it is it is I mean I I've I think the


first year that I was doing this full time I just kept saying I'm awake I'm


awake now I'm awake


that was Cindy alms in her episode titled fully awake and you know a lot of


our conversations this year centered around how we got into this business how we made that leap of faith and her story


was one of our favorites okay coming up next it's that industry


shift that we notice on the road the discussion about going big making things


in a large way and appealing to the the high-end collectors the first


conversation is with Dylan strasinski in capital F and followed by Eric Lee the


title of his episode is going big you know and for for me this is really


important thinking about artists who work in a way that I relate to myself


where you're kind of doing like a range of work and it's a new body of work I think there used to be more artists


that did that yeah and the the thing that has happened in


the last 20 years but particularly since 2008 when when wealth has become kind of


concentrated in another Direction you've sort of lost that middle part of the audience at art fairs yep what what it


caused was a real demand in emphasis on


large bold work that can appeal to


somebody who has fairly Deep Pockets and can also be


somewhat more easily produced do you know what I mean like you have


it's a weird it there's like like it has to have the art fair gloss the art fair


presentation that you have to have to stand out to attract that type of buyer and with that comes


scale and I don't even know people are doing it conscientiously but as an acknowledgment of what the actual


demands of the market are right like I do I consider you to be an example of of


the type of show artist who can easily grab that that that that type of


consumer who is showing up with the money to spend you know your things are pretty bold they're pretty large yeah


they have a real like slick presentation your people you can walk down yeah you


can walk down the street and there there's no there's no ambiguity about it it's like there it is right there you


know where and this was the error that I made in this last like two years


and I because I understand that but because I was left alone to do whatever the heck I wanted I


I started making these things that I really liked that had this like real textured


you know kind of subtle layer and you know material usage that all is so like


it's raw but it's kind of thoughtfully put together and and it all became


like kind of small yeah and not very bold in the the large pieces that I did


make when you're just passing by on the street they don't they don't look like


any anything interesting you know it doesn't occur to you that oh I gotta walk up there and look and like oh my


gosh this is well these little these things are cut out and this thing is covered in this Staples and it's covered


in paint and there's like this little line in the space between the things that I stuck together and like none of


that you're not getting that you're just walking down the street you're like oh man here's the big stuff over here right Bam Bam Bam this guy is this quiet


little weenie over here is his own little little world of oh this guy's over in his own little world Meanwhile


your next door neighbor has literal mustaches that you can ride and bananas


you know right so for some reason like the the


culture of art shows and the way the art is successfully presented and sold on


the street has skewed in this this large Direction you know


this large slick non-ambiguous Direction like there can't be much question about


what you're you're looking at and if there is it has to make a lot of sense as soon as you enter the booth and start


looking right you know and and I in my weird high brow fine art with a capital


f conflicted with a guy who wishes he could draw like Boris Vallejo world I


started like doing the kind of the opposite thing even though I know better yeah yeah you seem to be able to design


and have a market and sell for those really high-end clients I started


working with those clients even before the crash I had a lot of response from


corporate clients early in my career I started working with hospitals and


lobbies for for residential commercial buildings so I I guess the best way to


to describe it was I when people ask me even when the crash happened why you don't lower your prices and go to


smaller work and my response was essentially that if someone's driving a


mid-range Beamer they may be strapped they may be just to the point where they're getting their bills paid but


someone driving a Bentley doesn't have a car payment and so you know you find that people of means


seem to always have enough disposable income to purchase art and and actually the other thing I was thinking about


that is people take it more seriously when it's significant in terms of its its size and


and actually it's cost as well you don't try and price yourself out but you do have to be uh be considered a serious


artist not just a a person who's dabbling there you go yeah and in your presentation when you went big when you


show up and put a couch in the middle of your design room as opposed to an art


fair tent it gives that impression the Cayenne collector has to walk up and say


I can visualize this in my space as opposed to like I'm looking at it in a tent absolutely and the along those


lines to follow up on your point they remember your tent so they'll walk around see 200 other artists but they


remember the one with the leather couch and with the tables in it and the flowers and that type of thing it's a


branding issue I guess and that's a big big part of what I crafted my career


around is having my work be memorable so as an artist and also the work itself to


be memorable the idea of interacting with clients so that that you make a


connection is it goes a long way toward toward having a successful career I


believe okay so this customer base we're talking about do they actually shop for themselves or


do they hire a designer or somebody to kind of scout you and then they bring your designs to the client are you still


having that one-on-one connection with the end of game buyer well I'm glad you


brought that up because they're a Cornerstone of the way I viewed my career was to have multiple revenue


streams by that I mean not having complete dependence on art shows or


galleries or designers or or work that's been sold through other institutions


like showrooms that because there'd be Peaks and valleys in each area of for


sure and so if if shows were letting off I would have interior designers I would be able to tap into and if if interior


designers may have been a little quiet for a while I would work with art consultants and that's I did a lot of


work with hospitals and and Commercial interiors that way it's a real mix of where my client base comes from some are


directly from interior designers it's a tricky thing working with Interiors people though I do enjoy it and it's my


previous career so I I speak that language and I can read a set of drawings so I can make suggestions yeah


but it's a tricky thing because you're one removed from the client what the client requests and what the designer


perceives that to be and how they transmit that information to you maybe miles apart and to me the client is


ultimately who I'm painting for or working with so the idea is to interpret


what the designer says and and if ever possible I try and avoid not having


contact with the client right I always try and find a way to speak directly to


see how closely the designer is interpreting what the client is looking for I think you're very responsive and


intuitive and you can read that client you have a different understanding level than maybe what the designer is you know


because they don't make the work they just are shopping for the work and their their goal is off into not so


much to increase their or enhance their career is to to promote their vision and


and I believe that the person is going to live with the work is the one that should be governing the the eventual


product how it turns out because the designer will be on to another project and the the person waking up every day


looking at the work is the one that that the artist literally for well covet taught us a lot of things we had that


moment to kind of stop and reevaluate and we had a number of those conversations over the year one of the


first ones we wanted to highlight was Chris dalquist in her episode defining your path she


describes creating business practice that is based on being proactive versus


reactive and in the next clip we talked to Daryl Thetford in his episode titled the


courage to say no who encourages us to take a hard look at the choices we make


in our business and sometimes saying no even if it seems like a hard choice to


do I've been working with artists for about a dozen years now building sustainable practices and the one thing


that they all have in common all of the ones that have successful and sustainable careers is that they're very


proactive about creating that career for themselves that concentrate a lot on goal setting


and defining the path that you want to go as an artist that's absolutely has to


be the place you start with a proactive career artists tend to work really reactively and it kind of stands to


reason because when we're in our studio we're often working reactively how so


well as a glass artist my guess is that you're reacting and you're responding to the glass as it's giving you feedback


right right or as a painter you're reacting to the last Mark that you made on the canvas right it's this process of


reacting oftentimes to the last thing that you've done or to your materials I see yeah that makes sense as opposed to


kind of wrestling the materials you're working in concert with them right and


the creating of our work we start with a plan a goal of what we're doing you know


we react to the evolution of the piece but now when it comes to the business side of it we need to be a little bit


more of a planner and and look at the end game is that kind of what you're saying yeah in fact the way you've laid


it out in terms of um the way we might work as an artist is very much the way we should work with our career to have


that end goal to have a vision of where we want to go and then begin mapping the course from here to there and a lot of


times it's just about reacting to an opportunity as it comes up like oh they


want they want me to show here or this opportunity has come up without really analyzing it does it get me to my goal


is this going to help me get to that end objective that I have do you find that


if we only focus on being reactive that we don't make ourselves aware to what we


actually want to create in front of us and like you know if you're proactively saying I want to work in this way or I


want this opportunity to come to me that we then have our eyes open and see the


subtle cues 100 yes absolutely there's so much opportunity around us once we


set the course towards it it often will uh we'll see it in our environment that


those opportunities are there how does an artist sit down and kind of Define a


business model or an objective or goal for themselves you need to start with the end game in mind at the end of the


day where do you want to be and so in a lot of the workshops that I do we start with a very holistic view of where do


you want to be we actually start with sounds morbid it is not meant to be morbid it's meant to really Define our


values we start with writing a eulogy for ourselves meaning like at the end of


your life what do you want I see we have accomplished right what do you want people to say about you and what do you


want to have accomplished okay at the end of your life like we start with this very big big view we get so wrapped up


in the details of getting to the next show or pack in the van or making X


number of pieces whatever it is that we don't take this large view of at the end


of the day what do I what am I really doing and what do I want to have been doing yeah and I think I think the last


year has really given us a a reset to step off the hamster wheel for a minute


and really think about what what and why am I doing this um I I totally relate to what you're


saying the grueling schedules that we set up for ourselves it becomes really


just trying to execute like this Amazing Race this Tough Mudder kind of mentality


of I just have to do you know this step this step this step without there being a kind of a step back and a thoughtful


approach about how we do it and what we're trying to accomplish and the pandemic has really made us all go whoa


not what do we do and kind of reevaluate yeah I think think it's actually kind of


a lucky stroke for me I had always been real intentional with building my practice or I thought I had been at the


beginning and then I got on the hamster wheel of doing festivals and I kind of forgot to step out to really consider


what I was doing I was working with Polaroids and in 2008 they stopped manufacturing Polaroid film I remember


that and so I had the same kind of not to the degree of course that we've had


this last year but this real sudden reset of my practice and in that same


spring of 2008 I was fortunate enough to go to a workshop with an organization


called creative Capital that really asked you to dig into why you're doing


what you're doing and it all kind of came to a head with


the loss of the film and that that I could really really evaluate what and why I was doing it and set a new course


for myself right and expand and grow yeah so So what at first looked like a


terrible thing ended up being a really important reset for me it was painful


painful at the time right I was completely panicked I had no idea I had shows scheduled and no material to make


work that I had juried in with right so of course it was terrible at the time but looking back at it I can see how


instrumental that introspection was I am hopeful that we'll be able to look back


at this time 10 years from now 12 years from now and say oh that is when I


course corrected or that's when I got on this path it's so counterintuitive but


back when it's photography for several years I did 25 26 shows and which was


horrible yeah I mean I know a lot of people still do that but it was just that was not for me but I was excited


and new and and frankly just had to do it to to make money right at that stage


and at some point I begin doing different work and doing uh the


digital work I just like I can't do 25 shows so I cut down to 16. and I


realized I made just as much money doing 16 years I did make 25 because I was


more prepared I was fresher I was fresher for the audience yeah and then I was my work was faster and then I cut it


down to nine shows Dolan diamond and I were sitting in Denver at a restaurant


and I said I'm on the 13th he goes I will too we kind of made that


commitment and I ended up canceling two and I did not and I paid just as much


during nine two and 16. and because I just again it was the same thing I was


fully stopped I was fresh I could talk to customers I you know I don't sit down


I just I walk and pace and talk right and engage the whole time I mean yeah and that's but it's hard to do that if


you're doing 16 or much less doing five shows yeah it's impossible to do I remember meeting you when you were doing


photography and and I don't think you know I couldn't I couldn't read the 25 shows on you but you could definitely


read it on me when I was just plopped down in my chair I was going to ask like as far as like cutting your shows down


to nine if you get that run that that typically it's a June run but if you get


that Old Town Lakefront Des Moines Cherry Creek a lot of people feel like I've got to do it I've gotta I've got to


just go and and do the whole run how do you feel about that like how do you put together a schedule of nine shows well I


mean it's changed over years yeah you know I did Old Town in Des Moines Cherry Creek for years and finally


got Des Moines I mean much as I hated to because director I always had a great reception


there I would just crawl the Cherry Creek just so exhausted and my


inventories depleted I'm exhausted and I go okay I probably took at least a third


uh but I would have done to create a way by doing Des Moines right and at some


point it's like well how much am I really making at Des Moines if I added that third from Cherry Creek and so that


was kind of my my decision that I felt like I was losing enough at Cherry Creek that I would make up a lot of losing it


Des Moines if I dropped yet at Cherry Creek because I'll be fresh and have a full body work that's what I felt about


Sausalito too like um I mean some people loved that that Sausalito show but I


drove all the way out there from Virginia at the time and then had to do the Cannonball run back to St Louis and


as I was doing St Louis I'm like and I had a decent show at Sausalito but


obviously I'm exhausted from the drive um I had to drive through fires in the


Sierra Nevadas and I mean it was just a nightmare like I had planned on going hiking in the Sierra Nevadas but they


were on fire so instead I went to the brewery so not exactly still fun not not the health


kick that I needed but I don't know I I got to St Louis I'm like there is nothing in my booth at the end of the


show that I sold at Sausalito that I could not have sold at St Louis I'm like I could have just done one yeah I think


that's the formula for me right and as far as old town after I think 14 years old town decided that I was doing it I I


didn't actually make that decision to invest in my knowledge all right they forced you into retirement they said


yeah you're done it happens wwdtd what would Daryl Thetford do has


become one of the running conversations throughout the course of this year and thanks Daryl and we appreciate your


Pearls of Wisdom all right the next section of this episode we talked to a


couple show directors this year who are real friends of the artist community in


the first clip will talks to Stephen King from the Des Moines Arts Festival back in


2021. at that point we weren't even sure if the summer season was going to be open for business Stephen talks about


all of the protocols and everything they went through to get that going and the second clip I talked with Cindy lyric in


her episode titled the art fair fixer both of these episodes really gets to


the heart of the symbiotic relationship that we have between the show directors and the artists out here on the road I


feel like some artists do have kind of an unnecessarily contentious relationship with show directors so how


do you deal with that without getting bitter I mean I'm sure you have to deal with some challenging personalities on


the street like how do you do that without getting just hating artists in general am I better no I'm saying you're


not no no give me a few minutes just give me no


all right you're like well who are we talking about yeah you know will I gotta


say one of one of my favorite things and one of the reasons I'm still in this business


is Thursday yeah I love load in it's like a big


family reunion isn't it I mean you guys get to experience it every single week I get it once a year for some of the


people that I see I've known them for every year I've been involved and in the Archer industry from way back in Fort


Worth right so I really enjoy that part there will always be some folks who will


especially post jury rights and I do have a file yes I do my Wall of Shame


I'll say of just you know 2 A.M drunken


rants that I receive via via email about why why why why didn't I accept them


into the show and that's hard that's that part's hard because a lot of times


we do take that personally I know we shouldn't because we have a jury and somebody else selects the work then that


that's really true really is true um the you know some of my favorite


artists who I've got work here in my house have not always been in the show right I know I do and some of my fellow


directors we do take that personally and we do try to work on now we can better communicate things and and how we can


but you're just not going to get away from it right if you've got 1100 artists 1200 hours applying for the show and


you've only got 150 spaces some people are going to be angry at you right um and we understand that we we understand


that that a rejection email means that they have to rethink mortgage or a car


payment or you know all those different things and we understand and we appreciate that


you said just so I guess to answer your question I I I take it you know I take


it in I know when it's going to happen it's going to happen post jury right um


there's a reason why we issue acceptance and regret letters on Friday afternoon at five o'clock you know I was going to


ask you about that because that is so so common I mean there's a week right there


you know where everybody's kind of like at the end of the day and it's like I can kind of see are you guys just sitting there with your finger on the


you're like pretty much and we turn our computers off as soon as we hit the enter button


that that really answers a big question for me because we have always wondered that and I always feel like you should


be able to have a like maybe the the announcement should be made like Oscar's


style you know and there should be like the losers lounge and we're over there we're like I can't believe I didn't get


into this and uh I need to go over there and drown your sorrows with your friends instead of making the drunken emails


yeah but um yeah so I started reaching out to people for sponsorship and one of


my sponsors turned to be Mentor said to me you know you really need to get your name out in front of the Artisans and


he's like well go to the Edina Art Fair you just walk in say hi I'm Cindy I'm


the new executive director of the Uptown Art Fair and just have a conversation he said you're no one in the running


Community now you got to get none in this community so I go to Edina on Friday afternoon and dine is either


raining and humid or hot and humid well yeah I live in this area so I do the


local shows and I will say that I've experienced the Cindy lyric visit I've


experienced it in St Louis I've experienced it here in the Twin Cities and no other show director does that no


one comes and says hey we're looking forward to you being part of our show it's a nice it's a nice Personal Touch


well thanks my first time it was not the greatest experience


so I walked in and I did not know this person and I walked up and I had Uptown


garban you know I was like oh this is what I learned in rollerblade you looked the piece you walk the walk you talk the


talk okay so I'm all decked out in uptown and I'm like hi I'm Cindy


um I'm the new executive director of the Upton Association and this person just


starts screaming at me what and he's like just so upset about everything in


the show and I remember my eyes were getting bigger and bigger and in my head I'm going like smiling odd smile a nod


take it in don't cry don't cry it was


that bad oh it was horrid it was horrid so I went out of that Booth took a deep


breath and then went to the next Booth okay and same thing not like oh nice to


see you oh I'm glad to meet you thank you for stopping by just everything


horrid about even just say hey I'm glad you're here I want to tell you a couple things that you could do better it was


like this this reaction that was just over the top


I could not hold it back I just started bawling just crying the kind of crying


where you're and I'm like got out of there and I went


to my car and I I had my uh my running stuff to ruin my running hat threw on my


running jacket called the mentor and said hey this is not going good I'm only


going to now go and talk to people that have Smiles on their face and I'm not


telling them who I am after that I took what people had said


and I just started asking a lot of questions you took that that initial abuse but then you kept the conversation


going with artists to really know well what do they need what will make a good event and then you could balance that


with business sense on honing in on where to start tackling the the benchmarks of what will make this show


better yeah I was very fortunate that I had that help and and that I listened yeah I had an artist group too a


committee group that had been around working with artists for a while and it took them a while to understand the plan


because change is hard and I was a person who was going to Instagram meant some change for some people who had been


there for a long time and my transition into that group wasn't like easy peasy


it took a while and I was questioned over everything I was trying to do from


reducing booths to having a more transparent jury right yeah if I was


going to do this I'm kind of that person I needed to do it the best I could and I had to have all the information I'm a


lifetime learner I have to yeah I'm sure I'm covering all my bases and so I was


just out there searching I did not like the jury process so I called people up


and said hi I want to come and see how your show was Druid I'll volunteer I'll


buy myself in I will stay and I'll I'm coming on this date and I would just show up well that that takes a lot of


guts and not a lot of ego either because sometimes our egos get in the way and


they say I want these people to think I know what I'm talking about and here you are being willing to say I don't have


the answers I want to learn from you I did that so much I need and I still do that but I did that when I first got


there David Pinson was at Cherry Creek he ran he was in a business district I


was in a business district okay I just called David up and said can I come to your office and just Shadow you I didn't


know this man at all right but you saw the parallels between what


you do what he does and also you kind of aspire to Growing Uptown into their


model so it would be beneficial to go check it out yeah for me I wanted to be


the best we could be and to do that I had to set goals and I had to set


objectives and I had to know what was good I had to understand what the


largest stakeholder the artists were saying was good and I couldn't do that if I didn't experience it all right so


being the best we can be that is another theme that kind of followed us through


the here in the next two clips we speak first with Michael schwegman in his


episodes striving to be better he talks about that drive to do the best


to improve in his craft and it talks a little about the shadow side of that


next we speak with Helen Gottlieb in her episode titled carving out the details


she's talking about integrating multiple techniques to push herself beyond the


limits of of what she was creating previously and always getting better at what she does


I was always really good at school tested at the highest the 99 file kind


of thing yeah so I was just always assumed I would go use some sort of professional you know enclosed kind of


thing and so I went up there and I thought well maybe I'd be like a math and English teacher you know something real heavy and intelligent because I was


just academics yeah yeah you know I was just really good at math and really good at kind of everything in school and uh


but then when I was up there I did some Ceramics I wanted to do some art and I really liked it and you know I had a


background in construction my dad was a carpenter so I grew up around doing you


know Hands-On stuff but you know you know at that age growing up in the 80s you know was like well don't don't be a


worker you know you want to use your brain and knock your hands okay you know don't be crawling around in the sawdust like me you know you need to be a


professional right like that you know that's what you're getting taught you know I mean that's what I was taught your dad wanted you to he wanted you to


have like a desk job right like well right to be more successful you know like sounds like the very beginning of a


um you know the biopic like the classic buy I don't want you to be like me so I know exactly right and get this dirt


under your fingernails well you know and we we brother and sister and we you know we


admired him because he was you know he's a cool dude and worked uh hard and you know he'd be on TV sometimes with its


camera Crews would come around and film like for some news story about unions or something like that and they're like oh


my God he's on TV he's so cool you know like we thought that was so cool because Dad's on TV it was a big deal and uh but


then he'd come back you know I don't want to ever see you on TV like that you know go to college to be a smart guy and


got into Ceramics and uh really liked it and you know I had an Infinity for it I


was really good at it and got a bit obsessed about it I remember having a conversation with you at


um some restaurant or bar after a show at one point and I mean you're aesthetic


and your work ethic and it clearly you get that from your dad you know that that kind of like a caller board yeah


yeah I remember you talking about your drive to create okay maybe even kind of


cutting into relationships that you've had like that that drive I wanted to talk about too just to to make a certain


I don't know to get better that drive to to to get to where you want it to be oh


right yeah well yeah whatever however we would define success but I guess trying to be I don't know try to get as good


you know do be the best in the field whatever the hell yeah whatever the hell that means right like I I know there's a


a reasonable metric for that but I went to Jesuit High School and so the idea is you know you are the best you know you


have to be the best right like you're gonna go to Harvard you're going to go win a Nobel Prize I mean that's you know these kind of these metrics and that was


some idea I had to be the best and really yeah like you said uh mentioned you know four wins personal


relationships just to improve the work improve the craft you know I mean part of our Obsession in terms of making the


artwork and and it's like hey I got another idea I got another idea how can I be better better better A lot of


Saturday nights yeah just being in the studio all night thinking like okay well after I get this part done I'll then


I'll go out and then and then then it's 4 a.m like I'm still in the studio and it's like oh okay we'll miss that


weekend again you know I had girlfriends who would call and be like hey like would you just come over and see me for


a minute you know and be like um yeah but after I go to the studio and of


course they'd be like well wait a minute you'd rather go to the studio than than bang and it's like well that's the drive


right that's a real drive and it's you know it sounds ridiculous uh but you


know it's like well part of my brain was like well it always the opportunity to bang but when not I was opportunity to


make work which is completely ridiculous but yeah you feel like going back in the time we're seeing me like God I wish


there was more time to pay yes well yeah yeah right exactly you know you need your bank time higher than your time


yeah that was uh yeah that would be definite and there's regret there because ultimately you want to have


human connections yeah and relationships and but you know I also certainly don't regret being good at what I do right but


putting in the tens of thousands of hours you know that's taken me to you know develop the technical skills and


recipes I have for my specific work but then also you know the skill set or the knowledge and the thought and of a


certain philosophy about what I do and why I do it but you don't get that by you know going out and partying and I'm


not saying that one's better than the other that's just a choice no no yeah I mean and it's gotten you to where


you are yeah yeah honestly I'm like always in this weird competition like with myself health and to me the words


don't really matter I just want to like keep working and make my my work grows and I feel good about it it's great if I


get acknowledged but if I don't get acknowledged with the words I don't really care as long as I can sell enough


to keep having this life that I love does that put any added pressure on to you like well I got acknowledged for


this show now I need to continue at that level or I need to make something better


or does that get in your head at all no no I think that it's more about I hope


that every time I make work you know each new piece is better but like I think it's just like every group of work


you hope gets better and you know within that group sometimes there's there's ones that you feel like you really hit


and then other ones you're like that is the one that's like taking me somewhere you know it's like my idea is I can feel


it's leading somewhere but I'm not quite there yet but like all those pieces need to happen it's like a journey you know


it's it's like um being in a laboratory and just like you know putting things together and say what if I do this


what's gonna happen and just this and then like Oh I like that outcome like I should use a little bit more of that and


like move to this thing so if I'm hearing you right it sounds like you're really you're really deep in the process


and the learning from the materials and the learning from the design and the


external part of it does not play a role in your process yeah most definitely I'm


I'm more interested in in the work and and like I said if I get acknowledged with an award great if I don't that's


fine too if you were to step outside of yourself and view it as an outsider why


do you think there has been this recognition what about your work has changed that stands apart because it's


not just getting you know like uh a little nod these are like best in categories and best in shows these are


like getting the top tier type awards at great shows I think some of it has to do with like


you know when you learn about artwork and and you learn different techniques or process a lot of people are like I'm


just doing painting I'm just doing etching I'm just doing silk screen I'm just doing like they just really stay


like within this one little category or or like even like in a section of a


category and what I'm trying to do with my more recent work is kind of turn it


into this mixed media thing and say like oh I like this thing that painting does and I like this thing that printmaking


does and I like this thing that carving does and I think that maybe I'm getting acknowledged or because the work is a


little bit different because I'm like putting all these different techniques together oh there's an integration of different things to create a direction


maybe that hasn't been seen yeah and people get surprised they're like oh is that 3D is that carved wait how do you


do like because I think when people see 2D work they just want to say like oh that's a painting and then they like


look close and then they get kind of confused because they're like wait like in my booth like most of the time instead of even talking about what the


artwork is about or what my uh inspiration is a lot of time I just you know talk about technique because people


don't know what they're looking at which is fine it's kind of good to just be able to engage with people and and keep


them you know interested interested and just like learn more about artwork in general then at that point I was like oh


no let me just not just talk about the physical or how I felt on the inside too


so I started creating drawings that showed my emotions because I know these


emotions that lead to the physical changes you know if I feel stressed most spots come out so I also created a


drawing which is with the animal within that talks about and I really feel stressed about it yeah so I was I now


felt this could be a live series because this situation is something that could last for a lifetime it could stop by


itself you know but at that point this situation kind of burn um another purpose for my art


and created that series that I felt I could start so I called it black


metamorphosis which is changes and my melanin Journey which is me losing my


Melanie so that's how the whole stuff started wow I would also anticipate that your


pieces take so long to make yeah so you spend so much time on that self-portrait


with what you're going through with with the skin changes and you're working on


the shading and you're working on the detail was there actually a period of actual acceptance and loving the image


that you were seeing in front of you so it wasn't just about the revealing it to people it was also about you not feeling


like it was something you didn't like anymore you know what I mean like were you falling in love with that image all


right so it was two parts the self-portrait one whenever I started doing it it was a mixture of fighting


against myself and loving myself um so that 170 hours is a mixture of I


don't want to do this should I really do this and another part telling me spend


your time and enjoy and choose to love these spots you can feel the emotion


part and you can also feel how detailed it was because I really wanted to draw it and own it and accept every detail


through my art because that was my outlet General so I was pouring all the emotions and making sure I spend as much


time as I can to draw that spot that I could see as a form of I'm accepting you


and putting my time I'm investing my time to accept you mm-hmm sometimes I cried even when I


even finish this piece it took me a while to post it because it was just


like it was just like I mean security you know I just don't want yeah for sure yeah you really you almost seem like you


embraced that too that insecurity through these Tick Tock videos another


one I found really interesting was you decided that you would face the viewer


and you would take a Clipper and shave your head so that you and the viewer at


the same time could see what vitilago has done through your scalp so it was such a revealing moment of vulnerability


saying I'm going to share this with you see how I can be vulnerable and that was another one that just went crazy across


the internet yes so whenever I could finally show my face and for those two


years I kind of knew something is happening on my head of course you know well I had not that was you know steps


you know difference that but um I was always leaving my hair always


wearing hats and stuff like that and it was not about me anymore at that point


when I saw the way you know people reacted to it and the way it could help other people so that really really


boosted my spirit to be like okay you know what now let me find out let's see what has been under my hair and I feel


that would also help me out in accepting this process and also help others out so


for that particular one I didn't do it beforehand I decided to do it at the same time I was posting The Tick Tock


yeah lifetime watch that yes that was Jeremiah Andrew Jaja who we


lovingly refer to as Jaja in his episode the big reveal Jaja talks about how he


used his artwork to help him come to terms with the changes in his skin


through Vitiligo he has his foot firmly planted in the art show world so all


eyes on on Jaja another set of conversations that we had on the podcast this year focused on race


and on social issues here's a clip from William kwamanapo's episode titled a


look through the window followed by Art Fair DNA featuring Mickey Cunningham and


her daughter Reiko yucatel yeah I mean I love Texas I love to do shows I have had


great shows in Texas till the laws change so all of a sudden it's like you have this open carry laws where people


walk around with guns and stuff like that yeah it's not a comfortable zone for me I was not part of of the


foundation fathers who wrote this laws about the right to bear arms but


somewhere along those lines I feel like those laws were specifically talking


about people of enslaved people so that they will be kept in place now a lot of


people tell me yeah it's different it's better whatever what if it is this is the only country that I know that has that kind of a law that you have a right


to pay off right I don't know about it I've not read the Magna Carta or whatever for other other programs


yeah but the issue to me boils down to this why do you need a gun now when you


want the police and you want the police to still be enforced and you still want the police to be be militarized you


still want the police to get bigger so if you need all these things why do you still want to have a right to bear arms


if you have a gun keep it at home fine right but you say well if I go out I might get shot so I'm carrying my gun


you know the moment you you buy a gun in my opinion and you have a gun in your


pocket or in your backpack part of you says that I believe I can kill somebody


and it's been used for years to Target people of color to keep us in our place quote unquote you have to remember every


time a black person is carrying a gun or shoulder is carrying a gun the police or any other major force in


that City or that country or whatever wants to make sure they kill you they said every citizen has a right to their


arms but if we all do why is that when I'm carrying it I'm more dangerous twice


as dangerous than the person who is just like carrying the gun so it makes me very


uncomfortable to go to Texas I would love to go back to Texas but you know I feel like I can stay within a certain


Zone a certain place and be okay you know even when I'm driving going to shows is you know ever since


Trump came into Power Billy Joel said We Didn't Start the fight was burning before we got here and so true Trump did


not started it was burning and it's always been going on but now he just blew it up and made it like tell the


cops yeah now come upside the head when to do something when you arrest them just give them you know hit him harder


yeah so when you drive you feel like you always have to be watching yourself


because you can stop not for doing something wrong but just for being a


black man driver just driving while black yeah guy black so it's like you never know when you're gonna get pulled


over so you always have to be careful the blessings of the good Lord is what keeping me and a lot of Us Alive because


yes at the end of the day that's what we have to do so yeah I I worry about it


now worry about it every day yeah it's kind of the ugly side of what we do for


a living or what what you have to go through but do you have to work in extra time do you get stopped pretty


frequently when you're when you're going to shows or is it a certain area that you will get stopped more or I got


stopped about two years ago so the last time I got stopped and I was coming from


a small show I did in Athens and the cop said this was right here in Georgia


because nothing's right here and I was coming and he said to me I didn't see your seat belt so I just want to check


and see that you had a seat belt on and I said yeah I mean it says how's your day and I'm like it was it's not great I


had a lousy show but the good thing with artists that you can always sell it tomorrow so I'm okay you know you know


just try to make conversation with him and try to make my diesel okay and all this stuff and then we'll see my license


which I'd already pulled out and so I gave it to him he checked it and says all right old man have a nice day and I


said to myself well if this Gray beard is going to keep me alive so we got to make sure my face because see the


mentality is he's older he's not a threat whatever if that gives


me the reason to feel safe right what power you know but again all kinds of people have been killed for no reason


you have all the men have like my age have been stopped so you never know what's what but


this year when I start this time when I'm driving more so than anything else yes I try to drive during the day as


much as I can because you feel like if you drive during the day and somebody pulls you you get pulled over there's


more witnesses to help you you just keep on being prayerful I I wanted to bring


it up just because you know part of the podcast is is to kind of understand each other's experience and exactly what goes


on and it's like the last person that I spoke with Was Daryl Thetford and then he and I are talking about putting


together a schedule and just you know to recognize the privilege that we have in


not having to think about that you know and just to have more empathy for each other and our experiences the last time


I was in Fort Worth I see a family of of open carry walking down there's like a


bubble of nervous energy around all of the guns and this family that's carrying their their guns and a little boy who's


carrying an assault rifle and you never know what's going to trigger that kind of thing and and in public and clearly


they're doing that just to make people feel uneasy just to take that to to your


level and to understand what you go through too thank you so much for having me and having this conversation on all


kinds of levels because it is important and I know that you know we cross people all the time and I probably have met Joe


with a lot of people who have guns but I didn't know that they had guns on them and tried to deal with people on an easy


level because I don't want confrontation I'm one of those who I just don't even even when I have small confrontations with


people that are friends and I still have to deal with it I have a problem dealing with it you know so then then just


imagine getting angry and going out there and trying to fight with somebody in the street through who you never know who has got so it's tough it is you've


made your living out on the road setting up your work and interacting with with


collectors did you ever experience any personal struggles with interacting with


the public either with your race or with your gender in the early years you know


I was fully young like 22 uh I found that people didn't really take me very


seriously at the shows I remember experiencing that I never quite felt the respect you


know I was young obviously I mustn't need to earn it so I did come across that uh being an agent


um you know I had a lot of comments things like is this made in China or just maybe to spark a conversation or


they just want to say something those things really never bothered me I just kind of let it go so whether it was


Prejudice on their intention or I I just I didn't make a big deal out of it or


ignorance and do you think it's that you wanted to just not have confrontation on that area


and just kind of let it move on and just and and just you know not let it right let it affect I am not a confrontation


person you know being an orphan I got teased a lot so from early age so when


people made remarks or whatever I just kind of Let It Go it just didn't matter


yeah okay did you have any um challenges in the past year with the uh pandemic


and and you know the comments about the China virus you know I I did not have


any kind of personal attack on me but myself uh the challenges were you know I


feel more vulnerable out there I had more fear I guess you know I've never experienced that fear of the Prejudice


being agent but I did last year I was in Florida and I was trying to get back to


Iowa it took me probably two weeks to contemplate like I'm gonna travel


um you know stopping to get gas hotels I had to really think about all that for


the first time in my life and um it was really uncomfortable


um upsetting and I think you know even still our whole family you know Ray cool


being have Korean um and we've had kind of this discussion um and I think we are


all just a little bit more careful of our surroundings I've always admired Reiko you've seen


the perception I have of you is that you're kind of fearless I mean I was


setting up a show and it was late and I was getting ready to wrap things up and I observed you just getting to the show


and setting up at you know 10 or 11 o'clock at night you're by yourself and I'm I part of me was like should I offer


to stay and help her but you seem like you were good and you had it all under control can you talk a little bit about


the vulnerabilities of traveling as a woman yeah so definitely have always had


safety on the mind you know if I start to get drowsy while driving I really have to pay attention to where I want to


stop and nap and you know and if I do nap in my van like can somebody see me


and I just I try not to put myself in a vulnerable spot you know I I do carry


protection as far as the little kitty cat keychain thing and uh I have a


couple knives in my van yeah you feel like you have a way to defend yourself because yeah you can't just you know


naively walk into things you have to have a plan right and before I ever open my door if it's late at night you know I


look around and see what other vehicles are there so that way I'm not caught off guard you


know I always have to be the proactive one at least that shows you know it's such a comfortable setting because


that's what I've been doing my whole life whether helping Mom and Dada to show with their work and then you know


continuing with my work it just it's so familiar that


um I I feel fairly safe you've grown up with watching your mom go off and do


shows on her own and you know bring you you and Luke so I mean maybe it just was


that example never even made you think that it it's anything to even have a red


flag about right and you know all of us developed such a relationship that you


know the other artists become family and always talking to see who's going to be


at the show and you know who's camping who's staying where so there's always some kind of Outreach that you know if


something happens I I've got someone to go to so that's always very comforting


Jenna how do you feel being like the background artist you're the support that Sydney's kind of up front she's got


the painting out front she's got the composition and so I know she probably gets a lot of the love where you're like


yeah but I supplied a lot of the energy and the um the Palette too uh how does


that feel for you like kind of being behind the scenes well you're a music man so I feel like a composer basically


so I'll write the tune why do I write the lyrics and she's the front man so


she gets to see him too but at the end it's a single piece right of Arts right


that's that's a probably pretty accurate description I mean I've got my Stone's uh sweatshirt on so I'm kind of thinking


about but you don't have you don't get Mick without Keith yes true yeah you


know I mean that's the those are the two parts it's like the the energy the the backing the backing track is is


everything too as well as the performance you know the performance on the front yeah you know I haven't made a


painting without Jenna in in 20 years so I mean it's a it's definitely an


incredibly like symbiotic situation at this point and you know I give gun an


awful lot of credit for the the success of our of our body of work and I think


what he's saying is a really good metaphor it's definitely like that music and lyrics type of a relationship also I


think personality wise like I just tend to be really kind of a hard driver like a type a person and I think again it


just tends to be he's just more easy going than me so he just lets me be all crazy and run stuff and then luckily it


works pretty well well that's what's really cool about you guys personally too because your artwork your I'd say an


artwork your type A and then when you're out selling um I mean for a long time I kind of knew


you as more of an introvert zigni you were more of uh you were more quiet and again it was the salesman and and so to


hear you describe yourself as type A is pretty interesting would you have you grown into that or is that I'm still


extremely introverted and um that's definitely you know one of the places where you're gonna kind of shines and


and is oftentimes a little more up front is in our you know basic quickly in in


the in the show situation and also kind of in our our social life as well like


he tends to be the the more upfront one so I think when I say type A I kind of


mean more about just the fact that I'm kind of a control freak and like to sort of be in charge


so it's less about that right um yeah she says the agenda yeah I'm the


agenda Setter yes for sure um but also you know I can't give Den


enough credit like he he also participates in the harvesting of the


images that we're going to use uh as reference for the work so he's very much also in that um sort of up front


what are we going to do what's it going to look like like he participates in that part as well and you know also does


so much of the physical work of our work you know he very lovingly builds all of


the supports does all the framing has been doing all the coordinating around the shows as well so I think we're


pretty good we're pretty equally yoked with each other I think you are I mean that's it's it's


amazing because you've got that um I don't know you've got The Upfront part of type A in the artwork and then the


kind of the behind the scenes type A and you get to be type A with him and then when you're showing it off then he can


kind of take over and be type A when you can you can be the underpainting when you're actually at the show and be the


support um it works really well it doesn't work really well for everybody but you guys


have that it's it's an appreciation that is uh I don't know fairly rare we've all


been next to the the art show artist where you you get you're like the husband and wife team next door that


they're like oh my God how in the hell I mean we've been we've been most people


too well I'm sure there have been some people next to us they were like huh geez Louise especially early on but yeah


I feel like those bugs got worked out pretty quickly for us like within the first couple years most of the fighting


has come around trying to put up a tent you know or actually like the technical


and physical challenges of it so that has been where we've had the most kind


of trouble but at this point it's been so long that it's much more that's all pretty wordless and and effortless at


this point thank you this putting up a tent is like I mean with two people it's like trying to dock a boat or back of a


tourist yeah it's a nightmare that was signi and Genna gurus chavenko


their episode was titled Partners in paint and I know a thing or two about working


with your spouse in your art business just like the two of them Renee and I we


both design the work and execute the work and and how you navigate through that there were lots of conversations


this year with all different kinds of Partnerships in this industry couples


who work on separate bodies of work couples like Dolan and Ali Marie Guymon


from last week's episode where one of them is the person who's in charge of the business and the other one is in


charge of the art that's been a big topic for us this year this next clip


that I had with my friend Amber Marshall fellow glassblower it's titled if it's


easy I'm usually not that interested which perfectly sums up the mentality of


a glass blower I am also very out of touch and


I know that it's an incredible tool to use but I just can't


do it I don't know I'm just like haven't been able to jive with it and I I actually hired


someone last summer to sort of help me work through that that's why there's as


many glass posts as there are now but I was kind of a bad client right because it seems like we're used to using it on


our own kind of like what we like to look at you know personally and professionally but


when we try and use it as a means to represent our work the thing that drives


us all crazy that well how many people engaged it can send you to the nut house yeah yeah it doesn't feel like a healthy


arena for me yeah as an anxious person and also like I never joined Facebook


for that reason like I knew that I couldn't at the time I thought oh I can't handle


this I don't think I should dip my toes in this but then yeah Instagram's the same for me I want to get more


comfortable because it's ridiculous not to use it yeah and using it in the right way and


and all that kind of stuff it's a learning experience I admire all the people that can and do use it to sell


work and promote shows it's like it's such a skill and I don't know why I make


it so hard for myself it's like I'm always tripping over my own feet or like I don't I don't know why I make it so


[ __ ] hard for me to just do it you know post you're going to a show post you got an award like just it's not that


hard you know well I wonder you talk a lot about how coming from the Midwest


really affects your relationship with glass and and you really identify with


being a midwesterner that kind of Midwestern mentality is not one to like toot your own horn and and do an


Instagram post look how great I am it kind of feels really foreign and uncomfortable yeah well yes and no I


think that there's also some personality traits in there that squished in with the midwesternness so yeah I don't know


I'm sure there's something to that that's the other thing that I don't even understand about being Midwestern is


like what can I attribute to my geographical upbringing and what is


actually just me you know so I I yeah I mean I'm with you on that


I'm with you on that well when I read what you said about your relationship with glass and coming from the Midwest


it's like from kind of that blue collar mentality that getting your hands dirty


working really hard trying to solve problems being stubbornly independent


wrestling this material that we work with this glass to get an outcome and at


the end of the day we've just you know we've just been run through the ringer and you kind of feel like okay I've


accomplished something today because my body is wiped out I'm tired I've you know what I mean yeah yeah I am very


attracted to that quality of glass blowing a little bit less so as I'm getting older but that's what brought me


into it at first and I'm also attracted to like backpacking for days you know it


doesn't sound like a vacation for a lot of people but I like it when it kind of hurts a little bit and then when you're done the pizza tastes the best that


you've ever had and that kind of thing feels rewarding for me if it's easy I'm


usually not that interested oh okay do you have an athletic background yeah


actually I grew up playing volleyball and basketball and played volleyball almost year round on travel teams and


stuff I found that a lot of my friends that are glassblowers are clay artists


um grew up as athletes have you seen that my wife and I have different connections to glass for different


reasons and she comes to it because of being a soccer player and she was in art


school and she did all different kinds of mediums but nothing really fit until


she saw glass blowing and it was the physicality of glass blowing that hooked her from the second she started it and


so I've always thought there is kind of a draw to people who are in athletics


because we're like you know doing one thing with one hand while we're working with the other hand and we're moving


through space and it's a total dance the glass is moving and we're moving and


it's a coordinated kind of thing and also one thing that I think about is that I


spent most of my childhood and teenage years doing practice and skills you know


like you go to volleyball practice and you do the same skill over and over and over and over and over and over again


and then you finally see some improvement and that's the exact same with glassblowing you know if you want


to learn how to drop a blown foot you do it for three hours for weeks you know


and then even then you might still suck but you know I'm still right or I think


about when we try and experiment with new work and you take that time you let's say we're going to set aside a


week or two weeks and you think okay well this is plenty of time to work through it and you try some experimental


stuff and you look at it and you're like this is like student work you know what I mean until you until you've refined it


there is that muscle memory of doing things over and over and over again before it can kind of become second


nature it's funny that you say that about student work and senses about art fairs I'll bring it back to an art fair


but um I started making some new vessels I guess since 2011 I maybe got into some


art fairs I shouldn't have and um my work was okay but it wasn't refined and you know years later I'm


still going to the same art festivals and this woman comes up to me


and it's like oh you know you know I think I think I bought some of your work when you were just a


student did you show here when you were a student and I was like I was so mortified


um because you know yeah sure whatever makes the story feel a little sweeter


for her I guess yeah oh that's so embarrassing no it's probably out of school for like eight years already but


it was just like oh [ __ ] that's embarrassing I have a tendency


when I don't have the kids that's my production mode and when it's my turn


with my girls then I'm I'm dad and I'm an artist when they're at school but I'm


you know full dad mode so you got to make sure that all of that stuff stays up there and everything gets its proper attention or you're not I don't know how


do you do it I I don't do it well I don't think and I feel I mean I don't


know I think I'm also really hard on myself and there is the whole baggage


that that carries like as a as a mom right like we have this idea of like what moms are supposed


to be capable and all the things that you know whatever the minute I get home I get Xander and I have 10 days to make


as much work as I possibly can and each piece I make is like about 16 to 20


hours so right I don't even know how I even


and then it's full like I just am working all the time I'm juggling making


meals I have a 14 year old son who seems like he's always hungry oh my God yeah


everyone knows yeah like I talk about it so much like oh it's Andrew's hungry by the time I clean up the kitchen and we


eat totally different like he's all meat and I'm all not and so it's like I'm


making all the meals for like I'm making six meals or five meals a day or more or


whatever it's just like Bonkers so I I don't do the balance well and I get


stressed out and I don't always handle it yeah I I feel


like there's a lot of guilt I feel like I carry around a lot of guilt a lot of like looking back like oh my gosh am I I


mean I think it goes to the point of like I I've always been a lover of kids but I


never actually intended to have any of them oh wow yeah so I always wanted to


be the best auntie or the best like you know friend of the you know like


girlfriends whatever right you have kids and just like I wanted all in on that I


was like so into caring for my two younger sisters because there's six of


us total in my family wow it's never been like an I'm an anti-kid I just know


like how much I need for myself as an artist like I just


I could never quite Square how I could make all that work and I continually keep proving that to myself even though


I keep running up that mountain I still am just like but I'm not I can't do it


all well or whatever but you are doing it you're you're doing it you're trying to stay focused but it's like I do the


exact same thing to myself where I feel like if I'm giving 60 to my kids and uh


thirty percent to my wife and that leaves ten percent for my art then I'm


like I'm a shitty artist and now I I get the guilt but it's like you have to you have to give yourself a break we're


doing the best we can it's yeah let's talk about uh let's talk about how you got them skills Let's uh let's rewind


the clock and and tell that the Annie bassoni story yeah that's a that's kind


of a fun story and I feel like as I've gotten a little bit older and more introspective about stuff is like I feel


bad that my paternal grandmother hasn't seen where I've come with what she's


taught me so oh man I was eight years old is when like I'm sure like a lot of


us listen to Ted Talks or you know at least know what that is and there's so much science out there that that talks


about that recall that happens in our brains where we can look back to whatever we learned at around that age


and we can we can already have this like Foundation to work from so it's like when people learn an instrument or a


language that's why all those things are so important at that age too so for me I didn't have all of that except I had


sewing I was the only one who like took to it wow and she never gave me like any


immediate satisfaction and at that time like what I really wanted was like some amazing jams which is funny because I've


really got a short wearer yeah but I was like I had in my mind like like the super 80s print like I just knew like


the look I was doing you were gonna be so cool I was and I had to wait so long so she would take me to the fabric store


she would like show me how to read a bold what the content was I had to do all the laundry for it I had to wash it


and she like made me iron it all and like cut out the powder like I had so


much like ground level Foundation skills that I kept building on and the other


thing about her is like she had such and I didn't have the words for it then and it kind of took me a while to come to it


but she she was so entrepreneurial and she lived through the depression oh wow yeah like women's hair for like side she


had all these side hustles and she did Ceramics and would sell like she would like do the sort of tchotchke molds and


sell with plants at the you know when hospitals had like their whole gift shops like that was different I remember


helping her with that and she'd tell me what to glaze and like she had a kiln in her basement and she was always just


making stuff yeah I mean in so many ways like the things that she's into is like the things that I I'm into so yeah


I wish that she could like oh my gosh I like look at me now like I'm doing this


thing right yeah I don't know it's pretty it's pretty great that is really great that's incredible all right that


was Annie bessoni and her episode titled garment Builder where she talks about the relationship with her grandmother


and about being a mother herself and the and the and the guilt and the struggles


we had a lot of conversations like that over the course of the last couple of Seasons but talking about the real life


struggles that we deal with and also the relationships that got us into this


business and and what's important to us while we're getting to the end of the


episode here today and there's just a couple more Clips uh the next one is


Betty Yeager the boss how attractive is it for us to be our own bosses and not


answer to anyone else's rules or as will would put it we're just completely


unhirable on that point we also have Jay McDougall in his episode rare birds talking all


about the unique qualities we need to be professional Independent Artists thanks


a lot for listening this week you guys I'm just going to let it roll right on out to the end with the final parting


words being from our good friend William kwamanapo Susie just looks her head up she goes


Betty's here and I was like what and I'm like she goes listen and then we listen


we heard like three aisles over I like Betty's coming and then it was like a thunderstorm it got a little louder and


I'm like oh yeah here she goes it's coming it's yeah and you're a force I


mean and that's the thing you're a social Force too and so it it kind of freaks me out that you're not out there


doing shows you've totally reinvented yourself as far as who you sell to and


and how do you do it how to get the goods yeah but you don't seem to be having any trouble yeah


let let people know where to find me they know how to find me I how how'd you do it I think it's because I only sold


in person once upon a time I don't have a website my website's a Tumblr that I


haven't touched and in two years maybe I think the other day somebody was like yeah your website's


not working and I'm like what website there's a reason that's not working it doesn't exist yeah it's basically a page


with my contact info I think that putting myself in that position once upon a time when I was doing shows has


only helped me yeah make a little scratch I never wanted a website where


you could just go and see my entire collection of work uh I didn't even know how to ship [ __ ] before the pandemic so


I told everyone that I only shipped through FedEx as a deterrent because it would cost them 96 dollars to have


something shipped nice Tuesday's over that's not the case anymore thank you


USPS you have not lost any of my packages and I love you not yet right


don't get cocky yeah I know but that's what I love about you too it's like there's something very kind of punk rock


uh rock and roll about your work uh about your Imaging about the way you go


about your business and what I think is cool about that is that you refuse to kind of change that even though you've


had to change your your business model yeah uh I've always kind of done what I


wanted you could probably ask Susie to attest to that because she's known me


for almost 20 years right and you know it's like if you want a boogie you gotta


pay the band but I'm the band and I'm the Boogie machine so like


it's not going to be hard to title this episode


Graham I've always felt um and I think you're the same way that if you want me you gotta meet me and


it's it's like we have to have a personal connection and if I'm having a shitty show then I'm looking at myself


and like well I'm sitting in my chair my arms are crossed uh I'm not engaging with anybody I'm not particularly


likable uh okay get off your ass get up engage with the people open it up and


and be yourself you know and how are you doing that online I think I'm still following my own rules you know uh for


the longest time I feel like I've heard you got to do this you gotta post every day you gotta you gotta make reels you


gotta do hashtags and it's like I don't have to do any of that if I don't want to


and you can follow that if you want because it works for other people but I think as artists we all started


doing this because we didn't want to have a [ __ ] boss I know I want to have somebody telling


us what to do when to do it and what pot to [ __ ] in and I still that whole thing of


you got an audience fall and let them catch you right and that continues to


work and you know I don't make normal [ __ ] and I don't work with normal people and no I've always had that freak flag


flying pretty high and I think it just got a little higher and this is really something that's very difficult to


for For Young Artists to accept that so much of what you have to do is rejection


I mean that's part of the deal and all of us I I think I can speak for all of


us who have been doing this for a while we've had probably as many failures as successes depending on how you measure


it but the fact of the matter is I firmly believe that absolutely every one


of those successes or failures had to happen in order for me to be where I am at this moment for sure I mean that all


made up where we are right now and without any one of those it would be a


different place I'm sure and that just goes with the territory in virtually any field one pursues uh and the art world


is certainly no different and I could argue that it was probably even more so yeah I know if you're experience jibes


with that yeah I would guess it does well getting ready for our talk I I was putting a lot of thought into what we


have in common and I kind of felt like I was this college student again you know


writing a literature paper and seeing all of these symbols and parallels and I'm like maybe I'm imagining them but I


you know just hearing a lot of the things you're saying really resonate with me and that physicality in our work


you know the creation of glass the the power tools and all the the hard heavy


noisy type work that you do you know to start taking layers away from your your


wood it is something we share and I totally get that you almost feel like a


mechanic or a farmer or something it's really hard but then we have that


element of our work too where it's more delicate or there's different aspects


involved to finishing the pieces and I think it's easy of course you know I


work alone and you I know you have Renee but still it's oftentimes a very


solitary Endeavor I get a lot of time a lot of time to think and


it's easy to think that what we do is pretty common you know because we that's what we do because it occupies our head


space all day long yeah it does and it's like well there's really nothing to this I'm just doing this and I mean I'm you


know anybody could do this but when you get right down to it the different skill


sets that have to come together in order for us to do what we do you know not


only have be able to handle the physical nature of it be able to handle the mechanical and


the technical nature of it be able to follow it through from beginning of the


process to the final created thing and that's only half of it because then we


have to have those tools in our bag to go out and communicate with people to Market our work to sell our work to


drive across the country all of this and when you put all of that together we're really rare birds yeah that's just the


way it is and I think we take a lot of what we do for granted for any way I do


and until I really start to think about it and then I have moments where I feel pretty good about myself


I'm fleeting as they may be it's not about money it's about shared


experience it's about actually keeping the laughter in your system it's also


about actually making sure that people know who we are Society needs people


needs artists because what we are supposed to do is to question Society but it's also to keep us


alive and to make us see things differently my job is to really make


sure that I can get people to see us we see each other you see me I see you


let's do that and that's what work is supposed to do and that bridge will help


us find the humanity of all of us and it's important that we do that it is important and I see you I really


appreciate you yeah I really appreciate you thank you thank you so much I appreciate you too yeah thank you cool


foreign this podcast is brought to you by the National Association of Independent Artists the website is

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