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.