Diary 2 / Art Is Not Dead

Hello World

Hello world Art is not dead, and life is awesomely strange right now.

I have become aware that I have a unique perspective. Everything that I have ever dreamed has and is becoming real. And in this dream world I have created I am The Artist, the creator of the reality I see, and the organizer of the parts within.

Within this dream world my currency is time.

I would not say that I own my time, because even my time is not mine at this point but tied to the actions I must do to maintain this person, such as making art, and running a business, but how I choose to spend my time is my decision.

I choose to spend my time on ideas, and because of that I am also an entrepreneur. I do not own my currency, but I am able to spend it to gain value by bringing ideas to life, and if my currency is spent irresponsibly my freedom to spend it begins to run out, and once you stop spending time where your spirit desires, you are then forced to go get a job and start making money, and I refuse to accept that thought as real.

My full time job is chasing down and catching ideas, then manifesting those ideas through discipline, consistency, strategy, and relentless work, while my hobby is making money.

My art serves as my compass and my reality the globe.

Right now the projects that I am taking on require much more time and energy. In this way they are riskier for me and require new levels of focus, but these are the good problems to have. They are the building blocks of many things such as my business, my city, my career, my future, and my history. You see three years ago I was able to take every project that came my way, and do every single job. But now is not then. And time is becoming increasingly scarce for me. The truth is I want to make my art; I want to share my truth. If a project doesn’t appeal to me it doesn’t appeal. I have had to learn the art of gracefully saying no, and gain the vision to see the motives that enjoy hiding.

Three years ago I had no idea what I was doing, but I knew I had a good idea so I went with it. And through constantly fucking up, learning, then moving forward anyway, I have arrived at this point in time as an innovator, a leader, and an icon. I used to say that I wanted to be famous until I realized that fame is nothing more than any one of those three things done very well.

Now I want to be those three things extremely well.

A famous artist. I always wondered what that would be like.
It seems impossible that I am what I imagined myself to become as a child, and to look back at my younger self as a mirror image, or from my perspective a dream realized to itself.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem real how far Studio AM has come in such a short time, and the reality is that we are just getting started. I painted corn hole boards and sold those to pay rent for our first three months of business. I hated it, but it was a temporary hustle that worked. Three years later and the Studio AM brand is known nationally, and soon even more globally.

We have become an anchor and Pittsburgh destination while being located in Homestead PA, where we serve as a private event space/ restaurant/ gallery/ salsa factory/ museum of awesome/ and the experience of a lifetime.

When I started the company three years ago I wanted it to be somewhere purposeful. Somewhere that needed it.

Since then I have had to learn how to be a community builder and organizer, and for the first time in a long time there is significant business growth on the business avenue of Homestead, an area that has been long forgotten. I take tremendous pride knowing that my company is helping bring business, jobs, and exposure to an area that has needed it.

For the first time in my life I am truly part of a community, being that I have a key role in it. The kids wave at me, and all the locals say what’s up. The meter maids and I have finally reached a mutual respect, and I wave to Tom the owner of Dorothy 6, the restaurant directly across the street most Sunday morning’s before brunch.

By no means is Homestead a sparkling gem at the moment, but the moment is never what I see anymore, but simply where I am.

But only for a moment.

My mind is constantly far in the future at this point. The only past that I care to look at is the current moment in time, the flash that all of reality exists at all times, only to pass and become a memory as time moves everything forward.

In that flash I become an observer and search everything my eyes see for inspiration.

And what I see now is renaissance. Not only for the City of Pittsburgh, but also for the borough of Homestead, and it just so happens that this strange life has given me a special role in both, of both influence and documentation. The future that my mind resides in lives there, in Homestead PA, a shining gem, Pittsburgh PA, a kingdom.

The work I do today helps build that, and not just for me.
So I relentlessly hustle. I fearlessly chase. I ambitiously imagine. And consistently do.

I would rather work than sleep, so that’s what I do, and because of that sometimes my demeanor comes off as crazy. Well, because I am, but the good kind. I am addicted to seeing what I am capable of, and I challenge everyone who surrounds me.

At night I create art in The Hideout, which is my workspace where I produce all of my work from that decorates Studio AM, where during the day I create reality with my team of specialized assassins.

Right now I am confident that I am surrounded by the most amazing of people, I know this because I haven’t ran them all off yet, but have somehow inspired them. And even though we have come a long way, we still have so far to go, even though we are well known, we still have so much to show.

I am still the poor black boy from rural West Texas that grew up twenty miles outside of town and had to learn to take care of himself. I am still the boy who stargazed each and every night on the porch of my trailer home, because you see that kid there was who dreamt of a famous artist, and now I’m him.

What you see is my authentic self. It is who I am. I have no other mask I wear. And because of this I feel free.

When I chose to put my business in Homestead it was because I believed I could make a difference in that community with my art, and that could be a catalyst for change.

And as my stars would have it, after all the emotional pain that I endured during my childhood, and the physical pain that I currently endure from the ten surgeries I underwent while being an athlete, I got exactly what I wanted.

And it was all the pain that brought me here.

Because of this I feel indestructible, not because I cannot be destroyed, but because what has made me feel this way cannot, it is true and it is my own experience. I know what I am made from, and know what I have already endured even though sometimes none of it seems real, and then I am reminded that it is not, but only how I feel about it is, and I feel triumphant.

Now I sit with the CEO’s of companies and brainstorm, now I sell ideas that do not even exist, all the while simultaneously daydreaming of a place that I have never been, but am made for, because it is what I am making.

And over the last three years I have been busy. I have better learned how to navigate the projects that I take on, and how to create from the opportunities that those create. I liken it to thinking a few steps ahead in a game of chess, or in football anticipating when a hole may open up, like I did in my previous job.

I no longer look at my bank account, not because it is set, but because I don’t care about it and am ok with very little, I don’t really use money other than for food and art supplies. I have invested my life into my artwork, and built a business around that. To be financially fearful to me is the same as not believing in my own ability to produce art, and in my mind I am the greatest, so the wealth I own cannot fit into a bank account that only can hold numbers, because my bank holds my ideas.

I am an entrepreneur, a creative renegade for truth, and I find comfort in excelling while being uncomfortable, that is what winning is. And I choose to be a winner and so should you. It is always worth it.

Please never give up on your dreams, they are always right in front of you. You and your best self exist simultaneously and the only thing that holds you two apart is unsolved problems. So embrace your painful wounds, they will scar into strength and liberation.

Do not quit. Every painful step forward makes you stronger.

The easiest thing in the world to do is quit on something. Quitting takes zero effort. Quitting can even be justified with excuses and legitimate reasons at times. When someone quits at something they can even lie to themselves by saying that what they quit on wasn’t that important. To those people with that mentality this is what I have to say. If it was important enough to start, it is important enough to finish. Don’t quit. Hold on, cling to what is yours until your fingers cramp; and once your fingers cramp switch hands.

Art is not dead.

It is the idea that ideas can sustain you.

-THE ARTIST

DIARY 1 / THE VOICE INSIDE MY HEAD

Look around you, the world’s gone crazy. You might as well be yourself.

I am The Artist, and I have a secret to tell.

I have been hiding behind my art for quite some time now, not because I have been fearful, but because I have been preparing. For me my art has always spoken louder than words, but now I hope these words you hear them.

It has been some time since I have written, and that is because I have had to find a consistent voice, or rather that I’ve earned one.

I have lived as many different people throughout my time, and all of them have taught me something needed to evolve into the next, and in that way my life has been a process of pain, self love, self understanding, and re-creation.

I have always been my authentic self no matter who I have been, but as of me writing this now, I am beginning to become my true self who I feel that I was meant to find, that was prepared for me before I was born.

I think quite often that I am a man who grew into his destiny. Or perhaps a destiny that grew into a man. Either way I understand who I am becoming.

At any given moment you can choose to become, but can only understand what you are becoming when you have the vision to spot what you need to be and what for, before it happens, then owning the courage and discipline to move in a consistent faithful direction allowing self love to lead, and life to teach.

I am not so much a dreamer now, but more in love with what I see. And when I see my dreams surround, it is them that come to me.

I know who I need to be, I know what for, and in my direction I am fearless. This is not because I am not afraid, but because I love the person I want to become more than I fear the unknown.

So the unknown then becomes a friend of mine, because it is the only thing that’s real to me that allows me to see my true self, and my ambitious nature.

Sometime you must trust that what you do now know is not against you.

In the unknown is the ability to create with what has yet to exist, proving how you feel to be real while gaining the chance to see who you truly are, and to know exactly what you can be, by becoming it.

My trust in the unknown is deeply rooted in the love that I have for the person I have earned today, and the man I am continuously working to become.

Make no mistake as to where this love I have for myself comes from.

It is not from a place of ego or arrogance, but rather is from a place of pain.

I know what pain I have felt, and what I have healed from.

I know how I have consistently responded through pain, and that is by recreating myself into something stronger each time. The only way to do that is by loving the person that exists within the pain not because of who they are currently, but rather the scars they bear from battles past, and who they will create themselves to be by emerging victorious.

So I choose to love myself victoriously.

It is not a love that simply wishes well for itself without having urgency or the passion to move, it is a love that takes action, a love that accepts and gives challenges, a love that is accountable for its own decisions, and humble enough to deal with the pain that comes, embracing yet another chapter in the book of understanding.

I have learned myself, so I have earned myself, and fallen in love with the voice inside my head that encourages me to ambitiously endure, painfully love, and faithfully create.

And through these honest conversations, I have learned to love myself embracing the fear of uncertainty ahead, loving the painful things, while becoming indestructible.

Our capacity to love is only limited by our capacity to endure.

To truly be ambitious you must accept the pain of uncertainty that all change opens the door to, while loving not the prize that ambition rewards, but the process it teaches which is the embrace of fear.

The true reward exists forever as an example of how faithfully a man pursued what he loved the most, and conquered that which was most feared.

Our capacity to be ambitious is only limited by our capacity to distinguish and understand fear. And all too often we fear what hurts, ignoring the importance that pain has to love, with the danger being that what hurts us most, we must learn to love, or we choose to hate ourselves.

And I am happy for that, because it has not been the pleasant things that have given me the most strength or wisdom. But the unpleasant things that make the pleasantries so distinguishable in their beauty, and I feel that is the love of life.

I remind myself that the same hands that wiped tears away when I lost whom I loved the most, are the same hands that create this man today who I love to be the most. And in that exchange of pain and re-creation, Love whispers the loudest of words.

“Ambitiously endure, faithfully create.”

I know what my story is, and I know what type of character it took to bloom from it, because I have been all of them.

And I’m just here right now.

Typing a sentence that will be read.

Thinking to myself inside my head.

Looking at my mind as inside out, as I go to work each day.

I feel like I am living the greatest story ever told. I am not only the main character but also the author of this book, not only the hero but also at times the antagonist.

In my right hand a brush, and before me is blank.

The reality is, that this reality is one that I not only painted, but also decided on, accepting everything that will come, while changing as it does.

Reality is reality, and it will do as it does which is move and change, so in order to control it you can never stay the same but in your thoughts.

“Change your thoughts to change your stars an open mind is open bars.”

This person I am today was once an invisible seed in my head, a whispering of a voice that was prepared through perfect timing, groomed though pain, grown through self love, and bloomed through self understanding.

I am this person because of the position I have created and actions I took.

No good thing is random if all painful things are used. I remind myself of this.

I must continue to move as things move, change as things change, love more as things hurt, and show more ambition than fear.

And now I feel possessed.

I am a dream pursued so relentlessly that in time awoke as a person so inspired as to run from the idea of sleep, to keep working in his dream to live.

The phantom vision that I once chased so relentlessly is now very real and is chasing me, and I am in competition only with the last steps I took.

I think this is a sign of greatness.

I have been aware for some time now that the things I make will last much longer than I will, and in this way I feel like I have tasted immortality because my voice will not die with me, and even now echoes far into the future.

I feel as if I am both an anomaly, and a reoccurrence.

But that is what an Artist is.

We show up, create, and leave as we are remembered. Leaving inspiration in the form of the path that we created for ourselves using time and imagination, serving not so much as the blueprint to follow, but rather a lantern to a personal treasure map, that leads to a personal treasure map.

Ambition is my compass, and love it fills my sails. I no longer fear the pain of life, but rather fear the absence of feeling life’s pains, because then the ocean becomes dry making direction irrelevant because all movement stops. Pain is the water that allows the ship to explore, it is the uncertainty that certainly will be there just as the wind, to fear it, is to ignore the wonders of the ocean, and to run from a greater capacity to trust in the ship, while exercising love in a useful way.

Sometimes I feel like the combination of things that have all happened in order to create this person that I am now should have been impossible to occur, but strangely it’s the only thing that has ever happened to me, and now this impossibility is my normal.

But what’s normal anyway?

Inside my own mind I feel like I am a character in my own book, that is creating my own movie that history one day will see, and the reality is that I am just that.

I have fallen in love with the voice inside my head, and it tells me all its secrets.

It says, “You are made for amazing things.”

And I no longer fear believing it.

I have learned to trust myself to obey my voice, and have lost all fear of being wrong.

I am 28 years old now, and my journey has just begun as this person.

I am an artist and entrepreneur based out of Pittsburgh PA.

And I am in love.

I am young. I am wise. I am learning. I am a student. I am a master. I am humble. I am respectful. I am faithful. I am at peace. I am confident. I am black. I am ambitious. I am honest. I am giving. I am tough. I am direct. I am influential. I am hardworking. I am strategic. I am a leader. I am disciplined. I am focused, and I don’t give a fuck.

I build culture. I mold minds. I am an icon. I dance. I party. I am responsible.

I am respected. I smoke weed. I run a corporation. I drink wine. I am a visionary. I like my music loud. I challenge everyone around me. I am calm as I am urgent. I am changing the world as I am changing myself. I am a voice of a generation. And I have some things to share.

I walked away from half a million dollars and the life of a professional athlete, in order to make art and risk everything I had ever worked for, to earn something I can never lose.

And I have done that now. I will be around for a long time.

This is the true me.

This is my reality now, and this is who I am.

I am in love, and it feels so good to mean it.

The voice inside my head is creating history, so there will be no secrets after this.

I am free.

-The Artist