The Independent Artist Podcast

Life Proved Me Wrong/ Oliver Hampel

November 07, 2022 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ Oliver Hampel Season 2 Episode 21
The Independent Artist Podcast
Life Proved Me Wrong/ Oliver Hampel
Show Notes Transcript

Working Artists! You are not alone!! Oliver Hampel tells his story of being at the top of his game when a traumatic injury could have ended it all. Tune in to how he made his way back to the other side and is better than before. You will be inspired by his perseverance.

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong co-host and discuss topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest artist who shares their unique experiences as a professional independent artist.  This week's preamble topics include always being a noob, rebuilding studio equipment, and our personal definition of what makes a successful artist.

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.

Mailing List

The National Association of Independent Artists (NAIA).

Music  "Walking" by Oliver Lear
Business inquiries at


Support the show


[Music] foreign


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 folks it's podcast time once again I'm


back with the lovely and talented Douglas sigworth how are you sir I am well how are you I'm doing fine man a


little uh stressed once again trying to come down the home stretch on a big mission but I'll get through it yeah


good good good you're bearded I can tell you haven't had a show in a while yeah yep I'm off the road folks


and I'm working on studio equipment so yeah personal hygiene goes by the


wayside in these situations just watch the nostril hair folks and watch the ponytail you're a bald man seriously you


don't have to worry about that as much you keep it clean and tight but uh I used to joke that when I'd get salty and


cranky about art shows I'd say man my ponytail's starting to grow


oh salt and pepper ponytail you don't want to turn into a an old crank bitter


old crap bitter old cranks that was the working title of the show for a few weeks anyway well I'm actually on cloud


nine I've been in such a bad mood all week because of working in the studio on this equipment but I had my pre-op


appointment today and my surgery is full steam a headache they signed off I'm in


good enough shape I can go under the knife once this airs it'll be the day after tomorrow oh my gosh we've been


talking about this for a while nine months I've been dealing with this for nine freaking months man well you've


been dealing with it for a long time and and uh the listeners have been dealing with it as well


right yeah yeah no it's uh I I hope everything


goes well I'm sure it will I'm I'm sure you're you're in good hands are you going into Madison or or where do you


where do you go for the surgery no just right here in town just in Woodbury oh yeah yeah yeah okay well this is kind of


funny because you know I've been planning as we know and timing everything out and I started to have


this worry that I'm gonna like get to this appointment that's supposed to you know make sure that I'm not gonna die in


a surgery you know sign off on my health and everything and I go in and I'm thinking what if there's something that


puts a hold on it what if I can't go ahead in the time now that I want to do it and they take my blood pressure and


it's freaking through the roof right now and I'm like yeah a little bit


a little bit yeah a little bit so they checked me again before I left and I was just fine but yeah I didn't know your


blood pressure could drop 20 points in the matter of five minutes or 10 minutes okay all right that's wow yeah that's a


lot that is a lot yeah it's just a little stressed here and there just a little bit I think you like it is that


true you like lifting with a little bit of stress I don't think I know any other way honestly yeah I think we wind


ourselves up and uh I'm trying not to live with it but good Lord yeah I seem to catch myself right back in that cycle


that that art show cycle once again so well you know what really gets the old adrenaline up with you will is those big


vehicles pulling into the site so I think you have a story to tell us about that something about it you're selling


me stop following me yeah you're softballing me you know I told you I had something I wanted to talk to you about before it's it's like I feel like it's


Bill Maher like his new rules I feel like here's here's a new rule for art shows yeah if you can sleep in it and


I'm not talking about just like a lot of us uh a lot of us get out there on the road and they've got the cot in the back


of the van they can pull over and take a nap or save some money here and there I'm not talking about these guys okay


I'm talking about if you can wash your dishes in it Douglas all right if you can do dishes if you


can refrigerate your food if it's you know if you can live in it comfortably


if it's a residence yeah you gotta wait you gotta [ __ ] wait just keep going to the site yeah to pull into the site


you gotta your last if you can live in it your last that's the give and take first and last out though with the big


vehicle no no get it just get I don't even want to see it I don't see it I don't want to see you in your residence


uh pulling into the site I was at uh Plaza a few weeks back I was setting up it was a weird kind of window we knew


there was a lot of rain for setup and it was going to be beautiful for the rest of the weekend okay you know it's something about that kind of rain you're


not really that where worried about it everybody's kind of low stressed but you're trying to get with it you know you're trying to be a little Snappy and


get things set up my neighbors across away uh Glass artists 2D Glass artists


actually so uh they were stained glass and they had everything up and hanging in their booth and everything was all


set up and they had their awnings up and a residence came down the road and took


a tight turn oh no oh yeah oh yeah and uh it hung up on their RV and just


started pulling everything


oh yeah and uh you've you've done a really good job editing sure the podcast so when I like if I have a freak out


over my uh my I'm like if I yell and I get into scary will um Angry will I keep that from the


public the public from that yes right that's the that's the outtakes you're not


allowed to share them but anyway you know I was like stop and then they didn't stop so I was like well uh-oh I


used my scare the bear voice okay it's like trying to scare the bear off


the trail voice and I can't became very large in your arms oh yeah then yeah I'm


waving my arms I was like stop you know and smacking my hand on the and this poor woman I we've all made mistakes


right yeah we've all made really we've done bonehead plays in in the past and


we've all done and I've done it and I'll do it again but good God because all the other artists they hear me yell from two


blocks away and they're like what's going on Nothing's Gonna rally around so like big crowd starts to circle the


wagons it's nothing gravitates the crowd like that unless it's like free food for


a bunch of artists sure but uh yeah it was pretty intense so there for a minute we stopped her before she started


smashing oh smashing glass but there was there's definitely some uh tent damage yeah awning damage and stuff like that


but you know nothing we can't figure out right yeah so um shows I haven't been at


one for a while I don't even remember what it's like anymore so they're terrible oh my gosh they just really


suck yeah they're awful I don't know why we do this I've been like I mean this


whole studio thing I I opened Pandora's Box I'm like okay I'm gonna like fix my


furnace well in the process of fixing my furnace I have to demolish my furnace and on the one hand it is exhilarating


because I mean you know destroying stuff is fun right sure but sure but then yeah


it occurs to me actually as you start I don't mean to derail you but it's like you're like a pregnant lady it you're


like nesting you know you're taking care of all this stuff in your building to pray up and you're doing all this stuff so it's all prepared when the baby comes


that's right well and the baby is me the baby is gonna be me everyone so we all know Douglas we know so anyway yeah so I


mean I was getting my my stress anxiety out you know taking us apart and big


heavy stuff on chain hoists you know slamming it together with sledgehammers and breaking it apart but then there's


that terrifying part the realization it's [ __ ] man I gotta build this thing back up again you know


yeah with a deadline it's crazy but I've never built a furnace I mean I've


repaired my furnace and I know how it all works but building it from the


ground up from them sending me the components it was kind of daunting and heavy and yeah but I'm so grateful I had


a support team I had some of my old college buds from around here came and came and helped me out and it wasn't


just the muscle that was the thing it was you know you got all four or five of us however many there were here you've


got the well you know this happened to me about five years ago and have you ever considered doing it this way or


that way so we just had all these little tidbits to make sure I was doing good it was good no you lied like that oh that


would have made me insane I I need advice I hate advice if you had to build


a glass blowing furnace which costs more than a freaking you know Tesla uh you you take the advice because like for


example I got to the end of building it and the whole chamber was shifted off about two inches so that meant that when


I went to slide the door to shut it the stopper kept the door from shutting and you can't just leave a 2000 degree oven


two inches open so yeah what are you gonna do I'm not going to tear the whole thing apart and rebuild it again so got


out the old saw and just start hacking away at part of the Furnace so that I could shut the door I mean it's the


whole problem solver thing that we do in this business it's like you are standing up against a wall and you you punch


through the wall and you figure out how to solve the problem you know yeah it reminds me uh earlier uh today I was


trying to open my yellow paint and I never use yellow yeah so I had to yeah I had


to open it so with my was your pinky out when you did that no I used my teeth


okay it was fine I got my it was not a pinky out situation okay but uh no I'm


sorry yeah it's not at all like opening my yellow paint so I just want to thank


Fred camerer and Nolan prohaska and Polly cut and Jim Enga bretson your wisdom your help your muscle was


extremely appreciated so thank you so much guys big shout out yeah it's incredible to have good friends uh when


you need them so uh glad you had help out there what else we have on the docket sir what else do we have on the


docket here I have some cryptic notes from will Armstrong everyone um new show new you what does that mean


sir oh my God this was hilarious so uh there's a little art show that happens in conjunction with the farmer's market


down in Santa Fe Rail Yard okay and it actually attracts some really good artists and my wife has been signed up


to do them all summer long and because we've been in Minnesota she hasn't been doing any of them so this past Saturday


was her first one and it's got some um like Allison antelman the art show


artists will know her incredible Jeweler uh out there on the circuit as well she


is down the way and and her lovely husband Eric who uh I'm just I'm very fond of those guys but they were down


the way so I mean it attracts really good artists but it it's a it's an art show you set it up in the morning at


starting at I think eight o'clock and it runs till 2 p.m two that's it one day


show in your town 8 A.M to 2 p.m things are like really supposed to be


hopping or is that no you're passing the farmer's market closes and everybody leaves so it's it's funny actually the


it could close at one the one to two is just almost like old home week and the artists walk around and kick each


other's tires and play grab ass so I mean it's just kind of a like ass


nobody plays grab ass all right you know I'm anyway just nauseating all right so


my point being this is what cracks me up I mean I've been doing full-time art shows since 2002 right yeah so this is


my 20-year anniversary are you still a newbie art shows well yes right that's


exactly my point you're taking the punch line but my God we're like they're like


you have to pull in from this side and pull out of this side and pull it and it's like you know there's so much


experience between my wife and myself I'm like look we got it yeah we're right you know I'm not gonna break any rules


I'm not gonna try to do anything wrong I was like you know what all of this stuff with pulling in in this direction in


that direction I can get a jewelry booth on one hand truck I'll Dolly it out I'm putting it in my truck which is empty


which typically can hold three booths I'm like I'm just gonna throw it in there we got yelled at oh boy we did


they're like you're not allowed to walk across the street with this dolly and blah I'm like it was so funny I felt


like it was my first art show all over again so you're always a noob always a noob you go to a new show and you're


you're always a noob you you're the shiny little baby just and they thought I was just trying to get out of people's


way and they're like he's trying to break the rules these new artists trying to break I'm like I'm not trying trying to break the rules I'm just trying to


get out of the way and nobody believed me they just thought I was trying to get away with something well they knew you were the camper trying to drive down a


narrow I'm shifty-eyed Douglas that's what it is I'm Shifty ass well I was gonna say


about the the new thing have you ever done well you're not a craft artist so you haven't done this but what I've been


once some of those craft shows you you show up like let's say ACC or whatever and let's say you haven't exhibited for


five years or something and you always get the I'm new sign right oh yeah and


then you have to explain to everybody who walks in your booth well I'm new to this show I'm not like a new artist so


that's yeah that's that spot that's good times yeah I don't know you're always a


noob always a new Noob yep all right you know I've got a high anxiety as well


right now you know nothing is set and I hate this time of year where nothing is set for 2023. yeah um I've gotten into


one show and I'm not sure I can do it nothing on my calendar is set and I just absolutely hate this time of year so I


do too I hate the looking at the Inbox and being like okay do we got a quick rush in and buy our booth or is this a


show we're gonna actually be able to do like for example we got into the Grove and I'd like to do the Grove and I was


holding out hope I could do the Grove I won't be ready for the Grove so I had to hold out until the last you know till


when they need to know for sure to put in my I'm sorry I can't do it kind of thing so sure it's I I totally get you


trying to guess what other puzzle pieces are going to fit into the schedule for the year yeah when's the so you're


you're doing one foot but when is the first time you'll be able to get out and do something do you know I don't know


what do you I really don't so yeah well that's the whole thing it's a top what can I commit to and when and there's too


many unknowns so I'd like to get a director on here and ask them this question um when you know what I feel like when


I'm pulling out of a show I always write like a little thing I'm like I'm so sorry and I I really hope to be able to


exhibit there next year my circumstance on my calendar and it's


like there was this thing that happened a while back where artists they just wanted to get an email that there's so


much anxiety with the show it's like all right you know the title of the email it's like yeah a lot of these shows will


bury the lead I wonder if shows feel the same way we do whether they just be like withdraw just a title like no nice city


just be like withdraw it's just forget it it's the same amount it's the same deal I mean artists would complain if


it's too long and verbals or are there like or if it's too succinct and to the point it's like they they rejected me


into cold and callous of a way I mean really honestly by now I really don't care if uh you're in or you're out uh is


the heading and boom you know move on please yeah that there's a thing online about that holding please [ __ ] off you


know it's just like oh right please I got my PFO it's please please [ __ ] off


please don't don't email me back don't ask for your scores what are you going to do with your scores by the way what


are you doing do you give a [ __ ] it's like throwing a friend I don't care if it's bored I mean okay so this particular jury scored me this way next


particular jury might score me that way it's like I Deuce to the carpet it's time to rub my own nose in it you know I


just like grab myself by the back of the air and just rub my own wallow in my own shame and my misery I don't need it


that's pretty colorful image well that's how I feel I just I don't want it I just


don't I don't want my scores there was a we were talking a long time ago and I may have brought this up on the podcast before but I've always thought it was


fun if like ever it seems like all the shows come out around the same time it would be nice if they just if they do


like a zap conference right around that too and just have a big bar room filled with it's like an awards show it's like


here are people and then you've got like the losers Lounge on the other side of there it's like you go hang out in the


losers lounge or you go up to your room you're like I don't know yeah well hey I was uh on social media this week you


know our friend Evan reinheimer does his YouTube show oh yeah and he had a really interesting video he had brought


something up that I found really interesting and that was a neighbor of his when they asked about


his his art fair van they said that's for your art and he said yeah that's


what I traveled our shows and they said well that must make you a really successful artist then and so he went


into the whole concept of you know what makes us a successful artist what is a successful artist okay yeah I mean I've


got my own criteria on on what what I think you know we were talking about shows and and you were talking about


having a couple of really great ones and and I kind of for me I look at it as


being able to hit those averages I kind of have this average of how well I


should be doing and then I want to hit that average and I said this last show too whereas I want to have the


confidence that I'll reasonably be able to put a good show season together right right and hit those you know so at the


end of the day it does come down to the financial stability or the financial


sustainability of what you're creating It's Only Money it's all money yeah it's


it's all as far as like successful artists and things like that I don't yeah it's all it's it's all money-based


yeah but I mean it's not totally money based because I could go sell hot dogs sure you know I could go set up a crab


cake booth and I'd want to kill myself by the end of week two yeah or actually by the end of Saturday I'm like I don't


want to make any crab cakes well so that's a component of making what we want to make saying what we want to say


and having it be well received and people throwing cash our way right yeah


I mean that's it right that's that that's the big piece of the pie I want to be able to pay my bills doing what I want yeah well the reason I talk to a


reasonably few chuckleheads well the reason I the reason I bring it


up is in this talk I had with Oliver Oliver schnoor this week you know he's


been an entrepreneur he's done just what you said about the whole you know I could go sell crab cakes or hot dogs


whatever he didn't do that he had a successful business where he made the money but he didn't have that internal


fulfillment and it was when he got into this jewelry business and he was making


his work and having it be well received and having it be self-sustaining that


for him was like the Pinnacle and that was when he felt on top yeah that's


interesting you know I I'm glad Oliver still talks to me you know sometimes we have those shows those shows where you


are the hot thing and I had one of those in Chicago one year the the first time


that I'd met Oliver okay and he was just having an okay show right across the street but they had a front row seat to


one of those shows where I just was crushing it and I feel like you're selling like something major like every


20 15 18 20 minutes you're like oh there's another painting yeah and he was like I've had that too where you then


you look over and you the sour look not of I hate you but the look of


disappointment that it's not going well on the other side of the street you know you're being kind I think he hated me


there was another one yeah we tried to be happy


just like I don't know there was this one I remember doing Dogwood for the first time and this lady next to me I


haven't seen her since but she was selling something uh ceramic fish you know just but she was just hand over


fist with these ceramic fish just all the stuff and I was having a pretty decent weekend and I liked I like seeing


that seeing somebody else I'm like I love going to a show and realizing that you know there's an audience for what I


have there's an audience for what she brought there's an audience for this and then uh this guy comes over to my I


can't remember the guy's name well I'm not gonna I'm just getting ready to say something shitty so I don't need to call them I need to point it out yeah he's


like how about you and me grab this booth and just throw it into the river because he didn't like that though


because he didn't like her selling so many fish I'm like how much buddy how does it affect him yeah the fish market


isn't cutting into whatever you got right just let her pedal her stuff it doesn't matter absolutely there's enough


for all of us there is room yeah yeah so see she's moving a bunch of fish yeah


all right well let's get into Oliver you set it up and then I I digressed once again but let's uh let's get right into


the right right into the show well the thing I wanted to to kind of say to lead into it is you know he finds this career


fulfillment with his jewelry and then to have a severe trauma happen and then to


overcome that and come back stronger than before so I'm really excited for everyone to to hear what he has to say


about about his journey me too all right here is Oliver schnoor from Naples


Florida this episode of The Independent artist podcast is brought to you by zap the


digital application service where artists and art festivals connect no Doug I was sitting down and talking with


my wife yesterday she had just come in from her studio and she was complaining one of the big shows they decided to do


a do-it-yourself reinvent the wheel application I hate that hate that so much seriously I mean it's like


typically an application that would take you two minutes on zap all of a sudden it's going to take you an hour and a


half to reformat all of your images to their specifications it just made me think about how easy applying with zap


is you just click a few buttons you've got your 1920s all formatted and you are


good to go exactly so I personally appreciate what zap is doing and thanks for not making us reinvent the wheel


every single week like we used to have to do all right well we are here with my good


friend Oliver from Oliver jewelry in Naples Florida how are you my friend very well thank you for asking and I


hear you are awake too this is early morning hours for the two of us we are


doing the early bird session here so we've got our coffee and we're gonna have a little coffee talk


start by saying a big congratulations last month was a big exciting event for


you and Oliver jewelry you could say that you won Best in Show at a top show at the St Louis Art Fair in Clayton


Missouri yeah it was definitely unexpected it was a big honor I'm still


nurturing off of it and I think I'm gonna enjoy the whole situation for years to come it was actually something


very special for me well I would agree it's unexpected not because of the quality of your work because you do


produce top-notch work but what's unusual is how often do we ever see a


jeweler take home the top prize at a top show like that it doesn't happen very often to be quite honest any award at


that show would have been just fine with me you are invited next year it would have been perfectly good yeah the funny


thing is the whole celebration took place in a big conference room with you


know hundreds of artists there and uh one by one those Awards get read off and on sitting there wondering you know when


when are they going to call me they kind of were kind of gearing up to the highest award and I'm just still sitting


there and wondering if they forgot me or if this is a prank or anything so if I'm understanding you're right you were


given the personal invite come to the ceremony there you might have an award coming and that is that is how Saint


Louis does it okay they inform you that you won an award they hang a flag that says Award winner and then they invite


you to the artist breakfast which by the way is awesome okay and so you have no idea what you want you only know that


you will be awarded or honored in some sort of way and then basically all the


artists are there and as you can imagine if there's free breakfast there's a whole bunch of us like I said I mean


they have they have lots of rewards yeah maybe around 25 or something well I want


to speak to the mindset I mean I think we could all relate to the it's like they probably passed the best in jewelry


category and then you know they keep moving on and you're thinking to yourself wait maybe they forgot Me Maybe


This is a mistake never considering it was the top prize about to come your way it's exactly what was going from my mind


I did not expect that Best in Show would be even a consideration even though I mean don't


get me wrong I like my work yeah I think it it deserves recognition but at the


century was odd Fair it's that much more special to have the very very best artist there and I think every artist


right that really shows that the show deserves an award because it's the best of the best it's the quality of work is


just amazing and it should be recognized best of show it at that level of artistry and it was just amazing still


speechless right now thinking about it it's pretty it's pretty great but there's more to it than just being


recognized I mean it's almost like the past I can't remember when this happened


but you were at your lowest of lows about three years ago and you had the accident and then this is almost like


coming back from that as as being better than before that is right it that's kind


of the corruple life throws at you and you know going through so I had a I had


that injury in uh 2019 I'd say even more than just an injury we think of like


pulling a muscle as an injury I mean you had a very traumatic experience would


you be interested in talking about that sure I mean like like I told you earlier I actually had sleepless nights


preparing for this interview that we were planning to do thinking about the whole situation trying to figure out how


I got a word it it made me live through this whole incident or this whole ordeal


I should say incident sounds like a short degree of time but you know I mean it's still affecting me today and that


kind of gave me sleep like no sleepless nights I can't talk about it and I think it's good for me it's something that's


part of me now so I don't hide it I don't have a problem with sharing it with other people if you want to talk


about it and share that with our artist Community I'm fine with that well I remember back when this happened and I


reached out right away and you were talking about the the injury you were


talking about what happened with the saw you said as Jeweler you kind of have to do makeshift tools and this was a


situation that just went bad can you can you tell us what yeah I mean that's that's that's basically how it worked it


was a beautiful morning May 3rd 2019. absolutely gorgeous day and I was


motivated to get things done I think we just came back from uh Texas stretch of shows very successful shows had great


great events lined up for the rest of the year it was kind of eager to make new and exciting work I do work that


sometimes requires specialty tools that are not sold over the counter or that you can't buy so I buy existing tools


kind of modify them to my needs right and uh this was a wooden Dremel that you use for cuff making


I misused the shop saw as a table saw somehow the the piece of wood get


clogged and or got stuck in the saw and rolled my hand into the blade which


resulted in I almost cut him off my hand so I I remember seeing the images it was


like the saw blade went was it between the pointer finger and the middle finger or through the thumb and the and the


pointer finger right into the center of your hand yes it actually came right across starting at the knuckle of my


index finger and ended up about at the other side of the hand at the bottom so


basically I cut the bones of my index finger middle finger and ring finger all


the tendons and muscles that are associated with that functionality also got severed and this was a table saw you


said or a circular saw there's a there was like a chop sword so um basically you're only supposed to cut


through things with this it has a cover on it all those kind of things I misused this all took the cover off and kind of


used it as a table saw so you know I am to blame for the incidents that's all


different story but it was stupidity you know my part and at the time when it


happened I never had pain really I was probably under shock but okay the whole


situation was never really painful that even you know in the hospital thereafter and things like that it was more mental


challenge I really had difficulty at that point I I thought you know my life


is over it's not that gonna it's the wrong way of saying it it's never going to be the same oh I mean you you


immediately it hit you right off the bat that this was a life-changing event that this was not correct this was not just


like a a little injury this was life-changing it was I mean just looking at the traumatic injury that I had


you realize this is not just a cut there's something major going wrong and I wasn't really aware of the extent of


it at the time it was just bleeding profusely I know there was major damage but I I didn't know that the surgery had


to be as comprehensive I think that the recovery would have what if be so hard


and and long-term I can relate to the shock you're talking about because on a much more minor scale uh there was a


time years ago where I tore a hamstring and the sound of that muscle ripping was


like basically like somebody just took a pair of jeans and just ripped them apart and that's actually what I thought it


happened except for the fact that my my leg wouldn't move and there was that weird kind of shock that you go through


like what's going on why can't I physically move it I'm sure like looking at the hand with the saw blade and it


going uh this is bad this is really bad so what did you do what did you do right


after the injury happened Christiana and my wife upstairs and I don't know if she


already heard by me possibly screaming or or making unusual noises that there's


something not right but all I remember is looking at the hand and then wanting


it to be fixed right away that was kind of stuck in my head later on too you know I wanted this to be patched up


again and functional again that was kind of the the media thought like I don't have time for this I've got shows coming


up I've got plans so suddenly all of that gets pushed to the Wayside and you have to like deal with reality I mean I


think those thoughts sunk in a lot later I mean of course life changing I was aware of that but kind of how it's going


to affect my life and what I might be doing or not be doing those things kind of sink in later so my first reaction


was run up you know blood everywhere you know Taylor Christian I called 9-1-1 kind of call 9-1-1 I need an ambulance


and we look very close to a hospital here which is kind of good but it turns out that I needed to be transferred to


Bradenton which is about two two and a half hours away here so they picked me just because locally they didn't have


the the ability to manage what injury you had yeah I think that this is like


microsurgery and there is doctors Physicians that specialize in dealing


with something like this and none of the hospitals had personnel and staff that


is experienced enough to to deal with the injury that I had a little hazy kind


of what happened right well of course yeah basically so they took an initial look at it once they realized well we


can't handle the situation here and I kind of called around to the the stage to see if there is anybody or any


hospital that could you know help me and they found one in Miami or South Miami


and one in braided and I ended up in created not that I was up to my choice but that's kind of how it will happen


that's where they said oh yeah correct yeah so then you know in this specialty transport ambulance that kind of drove


me up there put me in the ER there and then I was just sitting there and same


thing that I said earlier it was like why does nobody come and see me I want this fixed up I want this to be patched


up again like it wasn't going it wasn't going fast enough like you're like trying to like this is an emergency why


isn't anybody helping me as quickly as they do they should yeah so at the time of course this is some this is the first


time ever that I had something broken or a major cut or anything so I have no


hospital experience so you you just went full on with that one right yeah so yeah


yeah if I do it I do something right yeah I know so basically I ended up


sitting there or being in the in that hospital before I got into surgery for


four days they actually said that the swelling and the injury needs to kind of


subside a little bit the swelling for a successful surgery to take place and I


never saw it really or at least I'm not aware that that the actual operating physician looked at me until the day


before you know just briefly came in looked at the injury and said he's ready now okay I think the surgery it took


like six or seven hours later I was kind of patched up with a whole bunch of of pins in my hand and things like that


funny thing is that it's not funny but iron the whole time why I was I was


sitting there in that hospital room like I said I really had no pain but every three to four hours nurses would come by


and check your blood pressure and your oxygen level and all those kind of things and one of the questions I would


ask is so how's your pain level from zero to five or whatever and even though


I had no pain I didn't want to confront their reality and and deal with the


situation so I always said my pay levels High I needed this you know just to be


subdued in some way not to right not to have a panic attack or not to just go


down that deep spiral you needed to kind of keep it all together it's it's so weird that the physical injury is one


thing but your mind is such a powerful part of you that I think I had more


problems dealing with it up here in my head rather than the the actual physical


injury for at that period of time at least that's kind of what what went through me that makes a lot of sense the


episode that was released last uh was with Anthony Hansen yeah and will and Anthony talk about the chronic pain


Anthony went through and will had also a ruptured Achilles and he talked about


something that I had experienced before I hadn't heard before and that was this


feeling of feeling kind of claustrophobic in his own body like the injury is in his leg and he's he's


feeling like I can't escape this it's I I can't like take a break from it it's it's right there you know is that what


you're describing that that kind of like needing to mentally check out the best way of putting it that mentally checking


out if I would have been at that time thinking about all the repercussions and problems and and recovery and all those


things that are involved after the fact I probably would have gotten nuts I


think that you know just being in a state where your mind isn't working at


100 at least that helped me I think that's the same thing that the body does initially when you have something like


this it puts you like a shock mode which uh you know probably at least has that what's it called that flight uh


mechanism right the adrenaline response the fight flight or freeze yeah so where you know your mind is still working at


least at some level but others think things are blocked out and pain is probably one of it and so I needed to


stay in that state for a little bit longer because I was just so traumatic but that was only the first couple days so once I got through the surgery you


know I was let go there I mean you only stay up to the surgery and then the surgery was done I think I stayed one


night for observation and then Cristiano picked me up when we drove home and then you're kind of like on your own to kind of deal with what's next right totally I


mean they give you a little you know introduction in what needs to be done so one thing is of course your hand needs


to be above your head at all times so I kind of always looked like this very eager school kid with my hand up on


yeah well and the other thing I know about the two of you you and Christiana is you guys are very like you're like


meticulous and like it's like okay if this is what I need to do to have the best possible outcome I'm gonna do that


I'm gonna fully commit and I'm gonna also like research all this other stuff


that kind of like can get me what I need to do I mean I I can really see that you


were trying to take control of the situation at some point and just and try and fix this problem I definitely wanted


to have the best outcome possible and I mean who wouldn't of course but yeah but


you know the the interesting part of it is going into this this surgeon at one


point told me that his surgery was about 70 percent off the healing process and


my physical recovery and all that kind of thing would be 30 to not 100 but at


least to functionality again and at the time I finally thought wow you know that's a lot okay now I almost think


it's the other way around it took me 70 percent of hot work and you know the surgery was like six seven hours long so


you know where does his 70 come from okay so the the road to


me actually being able to use my hand again was a lot harder than I


anticipated it takes so much more discipline than I I ever had before it takes so much more time and you know


just the willingness there's a lot of times where I could have just given up but I think that the outcome would have


been not satisfactory for me you didn't accept that that was that you were now


unable to work with your hands yeah you made the decision that you were going to push through that end and keep working


it totally I mean so for the first six months after it I couldn't really move the hand so I still had the pins in


there the whole hand or the everything needed to be kind of calmed down again


settle the swelling needs to be going down so there wasn't much physical therapy that I could have done initially


and you know all you do is kind of you know run around the right hand up and I had those Cube uh it's like a blue foam


Cube that has several holes in it that I can stick my hand in and that I that way I can sleep with my hand over my heart


so you know this this blue film Cube kind of became my buddy yeah and so for the first let's say two


or three months there was really nothing I can do other than cleaning the wound and just giving it a rest so in the in


that early period when you couldn't really physically do anything to start


on your recovery I mean how did you manage your mental health during that period there were dark times I'm sure so at


that point it was really I needed to deal with the situation I needed to kind of maybe come to conclusion or to


realize that my life won't be the same that I might not be making jewelry again I mean I I started to kind of try to


write with my left hand and I know that the body is pretty amazing and it can adjust to a lot of things and my injury


is probably compared to other people's problems just minute but you know it affected my life I'm a hand crafter and


not having your hands is kind of a difficult thing well and I've known you for a long time and we've talked about


the fact that you've had a history a background end of being an entrepreneur and doing lots of other projects and


just always kind of being a real business-minded person but since you've been working as a fine crafts person in


jewelry this is like this was like the Pinnacle this was like you had arrived at where you wanted to be what you


wanted to do this was like fully realized and then to kind of have that that threatened had to just really mess


with you it's interesting that you bring that up but what I do now and what I've done to that point as far as jewelry


being part of the artist Community having that business model of selling


your your work on art shows yes and the most fulfilling thing in my life being


an entrepreneur or trying to create a business in the past always was just


about making money so I was I was chasing a goal I was never enjoying the


journey and the switch really came in my mind for what my wife is responsible for it but secondly the the Fulfillment that


I got out of what I do now you know making jewelry seeing the customers that


enjoy the work being part of this family is is something that where I realized


yeah I enjoy the journey I enjoy every day I I don't I'm not chasing a goal I'm


not getting up every day and going to work out of some necessity to pay your bills you're getting up to kind of


fulfill your dream and your passion totally fulfilled I mean you know I make a good living with what we are doing and


I enjoy it so it can't be better and The Rock was kind of pulled underneath my


feet when avoid that injury happened I I was afraid that that might go away right


roller coaster ride I mean within that time I had highs too and I had the lowest lows that I probably ever went


through I think changed my character I'm I'm a different person now than I was before how so much more disciplined I


mean the whole the whole idea of you know having to exercise your hands I did


it several hours a day and just trying to grab on to to your life as it was


makes a difference it gives you a different mindset appreciation uh humbling too I mean there's so many


aspects that I took for granted initially and now look how quickly things can change like you know what I


mean like it's not a given but everything is just gonna stay at the state that it's at you know that's


extremely scary I mean seriously an incident that takes less than a second can change your life forever and that


realization is pretty stunning but it can happen to anybody and it does all


the time all over the world so this is kind of a sensitive topic and I I know one of the things that when I first


talked to you after it happened and I hadn't left me feeling a little helpless is is that idea of blame I mean


something that happens in a second and I remember you saying I I totally caused this for myself and and feeling


responsible and and kind of getting over the shame of of causing it I mean it was


that part of the mental part of its worse stupidity you know I I'm the person that not necessarily she's blamed


for actions that I do I think I behave pretty well towards others and towards


myself so blame is probably not the right word I just remember feel like oh I wish I could lift that burden from you


which I'm sure it's a normal burden for all of us I mean I think for myself I just felt stupid you know to even


attempt this before that like I said I've never had an injury or anything that had me end up in the hospital and I


felt Invincible I never thought that that could happen to me and you know just by not being careful or overly


confident that to cost like this just ended up in me being disappointed in in


my decision making it was super stupid so it's not going to happen again well


how did how did you lean on on others to kind of get through that like what what kind of support system did you have you


know I mean my wife is great without


a lot of things in my life wouldn't be as smooth running and as good and it's nice and it's fulfilling and warm as


they are so and this was no different so she really gave me everything that I


needed in order to recover and that is like you said initially the the research


of what what this whole interview involves and everything that can be done can be purchased can be consulted


anti-inflammatory vitamins anything like that she was on the ball


of having that is of course really really nice and our neighbors here are great too so you know I got flowers and


soup people came out of the woods that I usually don't interact with that much and charge their their concern that was


really nice so this is just in our area here but beyond that I mean you know you reached out right away of course by


leave us in their shock but there were so many friends in the artist community that contacted me and expressed their


concerns and they were hoping that I heal up really quick because again another one thing that I take for


granted that I really never see you don't like everybody but I never thought that they you know think about me they


take the time to contact me and let me know that they hope that everything is going to be good yeah it's very special


it's a strange business we're in I mean we kind of take for granted those relationships on the road we know oh


we're going to be in this city next month and we're going to see 200 of our closest friends but maybe the day-to-day


we're not interacting as much but we just know that that friendship exists and it's going to be there when we show up there so for it to kind of exist in


your own life after this happens and people reach out to you it's got to feel overwhelming totally I mean you know


that that kind of one thing that of course is involved in this injury is that you know hopefully you have good


health insurance and you know hopefully you have a way to pay for it because those bills were pretty high and there


is a lot of therapy and things that I needed to have and those are not necessarily covered by any insurance so


we did make a crowdfunding or uh like GoFundMe or whatever it's called right


we actually had so many people contributing to my medical bills that despite of the well-wishes people


actually went pointed up financial support and that was that was another very humbling realization that people go


out of their way to help another artist another family member that was great and it certainly did help I took a lot of


physical therapy it certainly you know that aided me in my recovery quite a bit


well the outpouring of Love Is that empathy is that knowing that people care but that also the GoFundMe that helped


with the bills it had to take at least of all the stresses you've got dealing with it can help lessen the stress of


that financial burden so you can focus just like on what is important which is healing and getting better it does it


was very very amazing that people went out of Hawaii and they have no idea how much it helped me that's being thought


of this kind of like kiss on the on the head people think about you it helps you


it gives you strength it gives you a motivation it's a very powerful gesture that helped me


wow so once you were able to start physically doing the exercises and after


surgery and when you could actually start doing stuff how did that change things for you


um to the positive you know the thing is once you realize well there is


Improvement and it was the minutest things I mean you know just being able


to kind of wiggle your finger a few millimeters was progress on me and it kind of gave me frustration on one end


because it took so long but hope on the other because I saw that I can control my fingers again and I weren't


completely stiff you could start measuring some benchmarks and and right Physical Therapy like I said where I


went to here in the United States actually held quite a bit but I went to Europe to visit family because you have


dual citizenship you're originally from from Germany right right yeah and my parents at the time lived in Spain and


so do my in-laws so we went to Spain and I saw a physical therapist there that


talking about pain I said I never had pain until until that day that yeah stretched my hand like you wouldn't


believe it it's totally incredible and he pushed me to the Limit where I thought he's going to break something


you know he's going to call okay attendant or break a bone and I thought what is he doing but I needed that so


that guy really showed me the limits all the things that I had here was like picking up cards or you know fine motor


skills kind of thing that didn't really tell me where I need to push myself in order to really improve or go to the


limit so his name big shout out that guy changed my recovery process well was


there an aspect of so you're doing all the fine motor skills from your physical therapy in the US is there a little bit


of like you've gone through this trauma it's like you feel broken he kind of manhandles it and moves your hand around


where you're thinking I can actually be that rough with it and I'm not going to break myself again that's exactly it you


you are so careful with it because you don't want to re-injure it or do anything like that that you yourself


would never approach it that far so having somebody that has the understanding of what is possible and at


what healing stage you are and showing you exactly where you need to take this if you want extreme recovery


then you know that needs to be done I I myself would have never done this having


him actually show me the ropes was really helpful and after that I took her


to another extreme and I think from that point on they recover really really took off I mean now I'm I'm actually able to


do it everything that I was able to do before the hand doesn't look as pretty anymore but well you're not modeling


your jewelry with your hands so it doesn't need to be pretty I always wanted to open it


and so there are limitations but not they are more aesthetically rather than


functionality-wise so okay I picked up playing the guitar finger picking guitar because I always thought okay you have


the isolation of each finger where you need to if you need to put pressure on each finger individually that helped me


tremendously too so however I know with the physical therapy and playing guitar really changed my my projectory as far


as recovery is concerned well I'm sure the guitar was a two-fold thing obviously it's the physical fine motor


skills but then you just can connect to the music and relieve some of that pent


up stress and just create totally yeah it's a great instrument that like you said and it's not just a physical


exercise but it helps you relax and soothe and just enjoy yourself that you


know what you create that you were like you know kind of coming back from it I mean you were you were to a point where you could make jewelry again and you


were ready to kind to resume that life that had been taken away from you and


then you get that one-two punch then we have covet happen so it's just like it seems like in your recovery maybe on the


one hand you were making great physical strides but it's like the universe was not playing along for you it certainly


wasn't my injury was something that was in my microcosmos that was me and nobody


was really affected by it other than my close family but yeah yeah you're right


I mean I'm actually at the point where I thought this light at the end of the tunnel I can make it life hasn't been


rearranged to a point where I can't make jewelry anymore and I was really really


excited and happy and motivated it had a great show schedule ahead and just like you said then all of a sudden we have


covet into our lives which changed it for so many of us yeah and the whole


mental roller coaster started all over again so right the same thing went through my mind only that it was a


little bit different level where our business model is not going to work anymore people won't buy jewelry I chose


won't be there anymore it was so difficult to overcome one hurdle only to


stand in front of their wall and what seemed like any yeah an even bigger hurdle and and that I I don't think we


should forget the fact that we didn't know what the outcome was going to be with this virus in the middle of it it


felt like you're right is this industry now dead is this doing things in person is this a thing of the past are we going


to have to recreate how we make a living or how we express it I certainly need to think that way like I think so many of


us especially in our medium jewelry I also always thinking okay people wearing


masks however I got a judge their their aesthetic with the face covering when


they try on earrings or a necklace you know if you if you sell 2D work or wall hangings or or you know sculptures it's


not as per personal personal yes as jewelry is so I especially for my medium


I was very concerned that it might have negative effects definitely well I didn't think of it like that it's


interesting how you have so many situations that tell you or that try to


tell you one thing and then we talked about it in our kind of Prelude when we preparing for this and then I end up


winning an award that means so much to me I have such a successful year that's


so if it would be up to me a pessimism would would survive probably or or win because I thought you know this is not


going to end well and life proved me wrong it ended up better than I could expect and that's not just financially


that's me personally um and everything in my life actually turned out to be good I mean I don't


like covet I don't like what it does to us but it didn't end my life so okay I


have to say with what I'm going through with my with my ankle it is hard to feel like there's better days ahead that this


isn't just like this is the new normal or oh now I can't do what I would want to do so to have that realization that


you could come back from something as severe and traumatic as that and just on top of the world basically I mean I see


it for you and I'm sorry what what you're going through and you know half ahead of you but yes keep in mind that


you are in control and you can change your future and if you work hard on


recovery and those kind of things there will be Improvement and life goes on we


are very resilient if you don't give up you will come out better on the end in the end at least that's my experience


and I had many hearts in the past well we've talked about uh Cristiano hampel


your wife how she has been your rock and you guys have this really great


relationship and you know just getting to know you over the years it's really interesting that I don't know if


everybody knows this but when you you met her she's the jeweler she was a the jeweler in Germany who kind of taught


you everything you know right you're right yeah she pulled me out of this hunt this Chase of financial success and


put me on the path of daily fulfillment that I feel now yes when when we met I


had actually a signed business I did graphic design and signage for the


housing market here in South Florida I like the whole jewelry idea we did a few small shows here and there in the local


area and was that selling her work or was this working yeah yeah I I was tent


monkey at the time so you know he's responsible of setting everything up and then you know she did her thing and I


kind of you know kind of enjoyed it I've been to our shows before prior to that but I've never sat on the other side so


to speak so I kind of enjoyed the process and in 2007 2008 or somewhere


around there when that housing market completely crashed most of my customers went away they filed for bankruptcy well


down scale and my business was kind of at a standstill no one needed signs back


then correct oh I I was not motivated to chase the small accounts because I


really established a well well-run business at the time and I didn't want it again and so sure we kind of thought


you know how about we we try jewelry full time and it was a rocky road I mean


initially you know we didn't make much money with it we can hardly pay the bills it of course meant that I needed


to delve more into the whole process you know not just from the business side of use it's selling the work but also


making it getting into the medium of jewelry it is a difficult market for one


just the number of people who identify themselves as Jewelers and apply to these fine fine art shows right I mean


so did you kind of have to find your way in through that as well yes I mean I think that's part of the growth that you


have if you are in in our industry so to speak I think that you need to figure


out your own way jewelry of course is a highly competitive medium and it's so


deluded unfortunately which is a curse but it also


allows you or gives you the need to stand out and I think that that highly


competitive industry or Market or medium really pushed me to create something


that's recognizable has its unique voice stands out it's you know a one-off it's


something very special so I do like that because of it but of course there are


many things that influence the jewelry category that are not very likable and


one positive is definitely that it pushed me to the next level it always does I mean I always want to create


something better and greater and more unique so I think that it gave me


opportunity you know when you start at a time where this application wasn't around and you know you had to mail in


your slides and all that kind of stuff it wasn't really that apparent then and you know we learned by by going to art


shows talking to different artists you know figuring things out that way and then there's kind of at one point that's


an art address horse book came out and about and he was like wow this is a Holy Grail so you know all the art shows


where to apply to and how to do it and now it's the application I think that's even more complicated more complex more


competitive for every medium because now everybody's applying to every show at any given day and you know it's if you


have 2 000 applications for 200 spots at a top show that's that's high competition it's tough to get in yeah


would you say that you bring to your the jewelry business that you stepped into


kind of the the learning curve of being an entrepreneur and how to make something that stands out and and the


kind of the business side of things that that helped you find your way into the market definitely did there's two different things that I think are


important for me one is I'm not traditionally trained which doesn't give


you that that tunnel vision you know it allows you to think outside the box I think so so


that helps the creativity aspect of it I think because I'm not bound by what


people say you can or cannot do so creatively I think that really helps and


from the business point of view yes I think that if you have a sense of how


you can sell something and you know how you can talk to a person it really does help to sell something so I think that's


we are in such a multi-tier complex environment where you need to be


creative and create unique work you know you need to have the time to do that but


then you're also your own sales person you you play oh yeah the shop so the job list goes on forever right I mean you


know people really would know what's involved I probably wouldn't enter this business but right well you you say that


coming into it you bring this you don't have the baggage of being traditionally trained you know jewelry techniques but


you do have that as a resource and and at your disposal in your collaboration with with Christiana so I guess the


creative is wide open but then when it comes to technical you guys can kind of lean on each other for that yeah so


jewelry is very complex medium where money many people don't think about it but you know other than creating an


attractive object first of all there's a lot of technical skill involved in actually doing it but then on top you


have so many aspects of it it needs to be weighted correctly it needs to be aesthetically pleasing it needs to be


comfortable you know so if the person wears something it becomes a whole different ball game then you know I put


this on on a pedestal or something like yeah or on a wall or something that's got to be correct it's got to work into


somebody's life correct going to a special event or whatever it's gotta be


a form of self-expression uh versus you know something you show your friends


when they come over for dinner so so this it additional complex city is


something that a traditional Jeweler is much more versed in in creating something like this so initially my work


was probably not waited correctly or it didn't feel good when you were it and so you know those things really are


something that you either learn the hard way and takes a long time or you have somebody that actually tells you how to do it christian is an amazing Jeweler


skill level over the top so having her in this really helped and initially of


course you know I was I was the helper I you know I looked over her shoulders 15 years later she's has physical


limitations making jewelry takes a toll on you physically and actually my injured head I can clinch a fist that is


tighter than Christiana can with hers so you know there's because she's got some


arthritis going on right yes so there's there's so many aspects of it that kind


of wanted to take a step back and gave me the presentation or you know put me


on the pedestal yeah you step into the spotlight and yes I want to talk about your work and talk about your designs I


was you know looking on your website and it sounds like what you describe about your work is that's kind of this


combination of contemporary methods you know combined with traditional technique


what does that mean yeah so jewelry making is an Ever evolving industry and


I mean as you see you know you you pull out pretty amazing jewelry out of the Tomb in Old Egypt and you wonder how


people have made those in their craftsmanship is impeccable but with uh today's Technologies uh it's it's


possible to use cat design a 3D printing scanning off objects that you can then


manipulate further into wearable art so it would be blind you know it wouldn't


be the right thing not to explore and incorporate those Technologies into the


creation of work because I I'm a big believer of the end result not necessarily of the techniques that got


you there yeah if you can get to a place where something has never been seen before that's the whole thing in this


business is to stand out as unique that is correct so art should not be judged by how it's made but what the end result


looks like and what what the effect that it has on to you uh and I mean of course


there's crafting involved in making jewelry which is a category that is not necessarily completely considered art


which I don't agree with but it is but we all use tools you know I mean a


painter he uses a brush and you know if they Advance maybe they do a little bit Printing and enhancing and all those


kind of things so there's a lot of things that influence our work these days because of what technology allows


us to do I'm not shy of exploring that okay I think that um everybody should if if it's in their


abilities I heard this from somebody is this true that Germany is known for the trade of jewelry that they have some of


the best tools and um I mean I think that you know craftsmanship in Germany was always a very high valued profession


you know it's every person in Germany used to be very well trained the


European Union kind of loosened the education system a little bit and the requirements to achieve certain levels


of craftsmanship yes you're right in Germany some of the gemologists and


stone Setters and so they do great amazing work that I've never seen anywhere else it's just amazing how you


once you put time into something how you get better and if you geologists drive and create unique work you really see


the journey and I'm you know I've been doing it for it 15 years it's not that


long for Germany but I can really see how it changed the work that I do and and that way that I approach things it's


it's it's a nice progression very interesting and I mean every experience you have up up until the day you decided


to go down the jewelry route those little bits and pieces also help shape


who we are as Independent Artists and in with our work with our designs but then also in the overall business you know it


it there is no wasted experience when it comes to creating you know what I mean


when it comes to creating what we what we do it is it's all an amalgamation of our life experiences


internal weapon and that's that's really what it is and um I think that if the


customer relates with that and that's kind of what we have on our shows you know we we the customer gets to meet us


and relates to us the whole package then ends up being possibly a sale you know


where that they they need the individual the artist get a little bit of your experience a little bit of your


personality and then they get to own something that you create I think um you know it's that's special about our shows


and the way that we sell our work I like to create a aesthetic that is organic


but yet futuristic so it has this melt of something that looks created by


nature but also is something you know somebody can wear and it looks attractive and contemporary and modern


so the cat design initially had a big part when we first started out it kind


of subsided a little bit now so my statement still talks about that but I think a combination enough computer and


and traditional making jewelry is what you see when when you look at micro collections definitely and and also I


mean that that influence of nature your scuba diver right so you've got some of your influences from the sea yeah that


is correct I actually at one point in my life I wanted to make that a profession I I'm really a Dive Master with the


intention to become a dive instructor and then you know kind of Life changed and had different interests but I spent


a lot of time underwater you know scuba diving was a big part of my life I don't dive anymore I haven't in a while I mean


I can't always crash it but I haven't been in a long time but the The Inspirations or the memories the visuals


that I took from that time impact me today I think it's such a different


world and to really enter a different world it's nothing that if you've never stuck your head on that water on an


ocean reef you are missing out so all the different shapes uh textures and and


creatures that I encounter during that time initially worked themselves in the


work unconsciously I didn't really intend to do that as my theme so the


first few pieces that I did with that concept A word was experimental that I have it turns out that people really


enjoyed it and once I had that feedback I made it my mission to use that as the


inspiration for most of the pieces that I do so I like microorganisms like viruses I mean you know look at the


coronavirus the image that you see every once in a while I think it's so cool yeah right um microorganisms and ocean


inspired creatures are is really the center of my design philosophy well you


work with expensive materials you're working in gold and jewels and one thing I would anticipate is a little tricky


with the creative process is taking a risk on making a design that you don't


know how your collectors are going to respond and having so much money into that piece it is something that I don't


know it any other way so it's it's normal for me that in jewelry or the


jewelry that I make you have a high investment in material it's just it's just the fact so I've never been a


painter I've never had the luxury of buying a canvas for you know fairly


little money and I know pain can be expensive too but you know overall it's nothing compared to what you have to


stick into a piece of jewelry it's the uncertainty if somebody's gonna like it yeah but what I


enjoyed and well I had the privilege really is that everything that I really put out there


was enjoyed so people like it so the feedback was pretty immediate yes yeah


and it was yes and and that allowed me to to stick to my philosophy and not


deviating from the path to make something commercially interesting yeah I can always create something or at


least I was lucky enough that everything that I created found a customer at one point or another Well speaking of


commercially interesting I guess Thinking Beyond just art shows every


retail Center in a city every mall has got a jewelry store and so when you have


a public that where jewelry is readily available and then to come to a fine art


show like that that's another kind of specialized Market or a specialized


Target of of who you're trying to speak to it is um and I'm so blessed that that


that exists um jewelry stores I'm not a big friend of um you know online sales don't really


work for me social media something that some people swear by it doesn't work for me so without our channels there will be


a big problem really okay I think that my customer to demographic wise is kind


enough you know in the what's starting in the late 40s and then going upwards


so you know the new generations definitely not into jewelry that much


and not in what I create at least I think that you know there are some young people that are interested in it to get


back to your question um the yeah I mean the market is diluted to such an extent that you have all the


Sheep stuff that you or or not well made jewelry that yet you can buy in a more


kiosk on right then you go well level up you go to a mall store or those kind of things but it's all mass produced it


doesn't have aesthetic I think in most cases I mean beautiful jewelry here there because most of it is really for


the mass Market it's not like sculpture for your personal aesthetic or your personal design that somebody would want


to make a statement about themselves what they want to express as opposed to just like something shiny on their


finger you know that's right yeah I mean it's a totally different customer and um the the person that buys


Oliver Jewelers jewelry is really somebody that is confident it's not


brand oriented and wants to express themselves the way they like it doesn't matter what their friends say it doesn't


matter what their colleagues say you know that's them and they either take it or leave it it's something special


something unique it's very fulfilling I think if somebody really expresses their personality with things that you create


it's special and I'm blessed that we have our shows for me to experience that


because otherwise I wouldn't know how to do it so everyone knows that working as a jeweler you have that risk that risk


of theft that that risk to safety and I don't want to out what you do specifically to protect yourselves or to


be prepared but I'm sure that the idea of of being robbed that's always on your


mind yeah it's a subject that concerns me and that I think about every day and it's such an unfortunate part of making


jewelry it's something that you can't really prepare for and happen to so many I think us we are just always very aware


I'm always a prisoner of the art show so to speak I mean I never leave the booth


or very seldomly I am always on the lookout for people that you know might


not act or behave the way that they should on an art show and we I actually left an audio just during the show to


pack up the entire thing over left because of safety yeah I had such a bad feeling about one individual that was it


looked like they were checking their workout to be taken and we just packed up and left the show so that hyper


vigilance I mean it's like on the one hand you have to be carefree not a worry


in the world interact with people talk and have stories but then in the back your mind you're thinking is this person


playing me is this am I a mark you know what I mean like I said it's very sad that it happens but it's part of doing


business I guess but it doesn't influence me that much that it cripples me but at give him show we don't


socialize much I spend money most of the time other than small restroom breaks at the booth after the show we hardly ever


go out to dinner with with friends and make it just about the fact of selling the work and the socializing comes later


yeah that is because we want to protect our investment and our work and that's smart I mean it's something that has a


glass blower I don't ever have to think about if someone melted down my glass they're not they're going to get Pennies


on the dollar but you melt on your designs and it's uh so it's just something that not all of us think about


and and I know it's it's a conversation we've had with other Jewelers where safety and it's it's it's important it's


a very very important consideration it's very unfortunate that my medium comes with that added you know security


concern but I wouldn't change it I mean I like what I do I wouldn't change you know anything about it you just have to


be aware and if you don't feel good about anything walk off walk away you know follow those instincts right follow


foreign and protect your yourself before you


protect your work well speaking of the expensive materials if I understand


correctly don't most Jewelers have a much smaller markup on what they're


creating than say a painter or glass blower or whatever like you don't have


that wiggle room for Price negotiation is that true that is to absolutely true


um in the markup especially if you go into the higher grade Metals gold 18 carats and things like that I mean you


can't just go crazy in your pricing so the markup is lower and I don't like


haggling anyways right I mean I price the work fair and it's uh leave it or


love it situation I mean most customers really are great and they don't have


well I I know that we all as in our medium we have like someone will say how long did that take you and that's


usually the kiss of death of them trying to to get down to the the brass tacks of how much money is in the piece that


they're purchasing but I was in your in your booth at Ann Arbor this year and I heard the perfect response from you you


had a customer come in and ask you how much is the gold worth that's that's in


this piece and do you remember what your response to them was I don't know did I say something like


this that you'd pay for a design if the material is free or you did it was so incredible you're like tell you what


don't even worry about the cost of gold I'll throw that in for free if you're willing to pay me what I'm asking for


the design of the piece I mean that was so choice that wasn't off-putting it didn't send them away they're kind of


like oh oh okay kind of reframe the conversation yeah it's it's kind of


refreshing that you actually experience the same thing but it's yeah in in jewelry unfortunately your work is


judged not only by the creative results that somebody sees in front of it but also by the value of material that goes


into it and they have a perceived value too so if they perceive that they're spending a lot of money on something


that has intrinsic value it heightens the the desirability yeah it does it


does I mean you know in order to actually kind of answer that question for most people I always thought are going to have to do it yourself kid you


know like a piece of metal file and inflate throw and here you go you know try it yourself pull out a little piece


of gold and put it up on top of the thing here you go here's the one thousand dollars worth of gold have at


it I'll try and if you if your result is not satisfactory you come back to me and buy this piece


well Oliver I can't even believe it's been an entire hour we've just kept on talk talk it was just an easy


conversation we scratched the surface there's so much more to talk about well before we go I wanted to bring up the


fact that you are in Naples Florida that's right and hurricane Ian just came through can you tell us what's going on


down in Florida speaking of hurdles right hey yeah well Naples is the windy city now okay oh I lived here quite some


time and uh we had in the last decade now we have five year frequency so Irma


was the last one which left the air quite devastated we actually did the plaza in Kansas City the the show prior


after Hurricane hitting here and we're half flights to come down and put shutters up and secure the our home yeah


and then and at first it looked like it was going up to Tampa St Petersburg so you weren't really in the in the line of


fire right so we checked the weather forecast on Sunday evening and see well you know it's going into Tampa and it


doesn't look like we should be concerned whatsoever so we canceled those flights and then of course you know Monday


morning we check again and that wind took that Eastern return heading right for our area and that's how where it


ended up you know the wind damage didn't seem to be that catastrophic I I


actually feel that Irma did a much worse thing here nature looked like it was put


through a blender whereas when we came back here now two weeks after the fact we still had one show and then came back


to Naples it looked all very clean up until you reached the areas where


flooding did a number on the houses and unfortunately the storm coincided with


high tide so it pushed in at 10 much high tide into everything that is within


let's say a mile off the beach so a lot of flooding place so when you mild yeah


I mean that's hard to even it's like we talk about this and then to like actually process what a mile Inland


looks like it's incredible it's incredible and I mean you know so did that reach all the way like to Tamiami


Trail um 41. if you see some images there that was all underwater that still had like


three feet of water you know all across and three feet you can imagine that runs into the businesses and all the


single-story houses uh down there so now if you drive through that area because


people had to rip out all their belongings the drywall the carpeting and everything is piled up in front of the


houses so it looks like the the war zone I mean it looks like okay the tornado


went through there but it's all man-made and piled up there it looks devastating I mean if you can't just imagine the


value and the that people lost and then of course they you know that the fact that they have to rebuild their lives


there's incredible I'm sure the contractors are just flocking to South Florida to to get some some jobs to to


it's on the way on the way down here um we we drove I-75 going south and then


just what you said I mean there's so many individual contractors that you can really see that kind of you know they piled their equipment up onto the truck


and then just headed down here and so we have that that contrast of the the contract that's going down to Naples


then we saw all the electric vehicles coming back you know the bucket trucks and all that kind of stuff came towards


us because they had so much repaired at that point and then once it's also to Naples you had all those Vehicles being


tracked off that you know that got damaged because they stood underwater yeah for a couple days for three to four


feet so all the cars got damaged too and we saw those coming towards us well even things that we wouldn't expect like we


planned on doing this talk a few days ago and something as simple as the


internet connection was just crappy there was no way we could do this buffered conversation back and forth and


until we could figure out a way to get a stronger signal but even something like Wi-Fi was affected down there yeah and


it still is I think that if you prioritize it of course a lot of damage is the biggest one that yeah to the to


the homes in in people's houses the second one of course is electricity so a


lot of people were cut off of electricity that FPL which is a local power company it did a pretty amazing


job getting people back on I think there's a small percentage that's still three weeks after it has no power but


overall they did a pretty good job and then what you said internet so telecommunication


cell towers got damaged and on all those kind of things so it's quite incredible


how fast some of those things are put back into place but then on the other


side I would just um The Ritz called here just yeah not that I can afford to


stay there but they just they just said that they're gonna open back up mid next year okay so so it made her hotel of


course they are right on the on the beach you know is not able to kind of push their repairs to be done by the end


of the year so that they're ready for season right just because they want to get it fixed doesn't mean they can just like have it happen that there's going


to be a a roll out of when things can get fixed yeah and you know I mean covet


and supply chain issues and all those kind of things play into this too so that you know it's a lot of materials


they probably can't get better readily and and things like that so that that's got to be uh tough for recovery and it's


going to be a longer process for repairs but like I said I mean this is just another hurdle you mean for not


necessarily the impact the direct impact and damage that the hurricane did to our


own property but there's yeah tourists that can come into the area because like


I mentioned the hotels aren't functional they're snowbirds have have to repair their their units before they can spend


money on spend their money on luxury items you know you know we have the Florida season coming up yeah and I


think that the area might be impacted by it but you're not going to go on right and go on record as it's gospel but I


mean that that would be the impression I'm sure from any anyone who who's standing down there looking around at


what they're what they're seeing yeah right I mean here's my personal take I'm gonna be pessimistic I think it's not


going to be great but if all my pessimism learned me one lesson it's going to be the other way around people


are going to flock out to the art shows like on it you know they're gonna visit the stores and they're gonna spend money


because they want to live and enjoy life well your attitude got you through your trauma so let's let's hope that a


positive attitude will get people through this one as well I hope so yeah I mean it's it's very sad


and the impact that it has I think we're going to have Decades of scars that


we're gonna see here Edwin is going to take that long um but overall I mean we're a very affluent area here I think we're going


to rebuild and recover quicker than most other areas so well one last question here as we wrap up I just wanted to ask


you with everything you've gone through in the past four years all the ups and and the Downs do you have any like words


of wisdom for somebody who might have be in a similar position as you who had the rug pulled out from under them what what


they should kind of keep in mind you know I tried to address it earlier in our conversation I think that they never


give up uh kind of attitude is what's needed there's so many things in life that throws us back and it seems


actually last last decade it it accumulates there is more and more


negative and things happening that kind of affect our life and you can't stick your head in in the ground and say you


know I'm not going to take this anymore give up but uh don't right I am so surprised of how


if you allow it to it turns into something positive and just keep working on what you're doing and enjoy the


process don't chase a goal and I think um you will come out happy strong


satisfied fulfilled just keep living just keep living and striving and dreaming right yeah if if your mind is


you know if you have physical issues and you your mind is down you know build yourself back up have a positive outlook


for the future and you know there's so so many things that people are influenced by but there's always light


at the end of the tunnel and you should run towards it well I'm going to keep that in mind because I I think by the


time this airs or maybe shortly after I'm gonna be they're going in and they're gonna be working on my ankle and


I'm I don't know I'm gonna try and take your advice Oliver I'm going to stay positive and hope for a better days


I and I feel for you seriously and I I wasn't expecting you every day and like


I said if you need anything I'm here for you I will do that thanks for this talk thanks for everything Oliver and I'm


just so happy to have this conversation with you I'm happy for the outcome that you've had with everything you've gone


through and and thanks for sharing your very personal traumatic story of course certainly I actually to be quite honest


I was a little disappointed that you never asked me before I always said you know yeah we're close friends how come


you never asked me for an interview like am I a black sheep or what nope it


was in the it was in the back of my mind and it was it was all coming in due time and a lot of these conversations we have


like you know like last episode we talked with Anthony and my surgery is coming up and it just kind of seemed


like it was a good time to fit in and just have this this talk because it's so personal to me this this project is so


personal and we go through things at different times and our experiences are


kind of lining up right here and I thought this would make for a really good talk I'm that it did I think what you're doing with a podcast is


absolutely amazing I'd say great welcome to what we need and I'm glad that I could be part of it so thanks thanks for


picking up We Appreciate You Oliver thanks so much man have a good one thank you


I loved your talk with Oliver snore Douglas it was uh it was eye-opening you know it's it's funny there's there's an


element of that kind of trauma that you were talking about on the lead-in that's almost like you know we all care for it


our our fellows but there's also a little bit of the you know oh my God you roll the window down and look at the


traffic accident I was like that was a horrific accident that he he got in there yeah but he kept moving forward


and I felt like his message for me especially what I'm about to undergo here you know soon to know that there


are better days ahead to know that you can keep pushing forward and a positive


outcome can come out of a shitty situation so it was it was definitely inspirational to me you know I was


thinking about your uh your operation you know you why don't you get the one done you know and then just chop the


other one off and go Peg Leg J McDougall style um that is Plan B actually that's planned McDougall


Clan McDougall all right yeah he'll carve you once I don't know that he'd be the best one I just do a big old like


just a one with flames I want a hot rod one when I go Peg Leg this never happens


to me all right folks uh don't cut your own feet off uh stick with us we'll be back in a couple more weeks we have some


exciting things uh planned coming down the pike I've got some some good interviews that uh I don't want to jinx


just yet so gotcha cool well uh next episode we'll be entering a new chapter


a new phase into the podcast and it's going to be titled Douglas on painkillers so oh good I'll drink some


beers well don't get addicted and uh keep it on the straightener they only give you a


certain number you just gotta be careful all right let's kind of keep them yep all right brother good luck all right


man thank you appreciate it see you later this podcast is brought to you by the National Association of Independent


Artists the website is also sponsored by


zapplication that's and while you're at it check out Will's website at

1:29:39 and my website at be sure to subscribe


to this podcast to be notified when we release new episodes [Music]