This blog is dedicated to thinking about the intersections between art, ecology, and commerce. We want to be in dialogue with other artists and lovers of creativity, with people engaged in thinking about environmental solutions to our industrialized problems, and with people interested in thinking about business and marketing.
Some of the artists we plan to interact with on this blog include:
Ryan Chachi Craig
Rob Sean Wilson
Hard Candy Farms
Friend in Cheeses Jam Co.
Andy Potterfield from the Cremer House
Some of the individuals and agencies we want to interview include:
California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative 2016
California Certification of Organic Farming
Clean Oceans Project
Homeless Garden Project
Second Harvest Food Bank
SC Veterans Alliance
Portraits are an engine of artistic production. In the past, only the powerful were able to afford having an artist make a portrait of them. Today, with cell phones and selfie sticks, there’s a lava flow of portraiture erupting with volcanic intensity. More people have been both photographer and subject than ever before. Portraiture is a force.
Social media is driven by portraits. A big percentage of the photos that are made every day are of people. From the covers of magazines to the profiles of social media platforms, good photos of people are more in demand than ever before.
We want to help you to look great. We want to show your friends how confident, happy, and interesting you are, these days. We want to show your clients or employers how on top of the game you are. We want to show your love how attractive you are. We want to show the world your beauty, shining from the inside.
Portraiture is a great way to affirm the good in others. We want to bring out the best in you.
I invented a dance. It started with my assistant. Last year, I grew busy enough to require help. I was lucky enough to have a colleague at Sleepless Media, Jennifer Gallagher, introduce me to her daughter. Now, Jackie helps me run my day-to-day operations: editing photos, assisting on shoots, and providing administrative support. Together, we update various social media accounts with fresh and original content that we create.
One of my favorite things about doing social media was enhanced when I hired an assistant: it’s a lot of fun. Like all creative work, it is also competitive and difficult. Some people may not take social media seriously, but if you want a business to pay you to provide them with social media marketing, then being as professional as possible is key.
Part of that means keeping a vital connection to the material. It means renewing and retaining a spirit of joy in the work. When we represent a business, we make the case that they are the best choice in their category. In order to express this claim clearly, we need to have creative flow happening in our work. As an artist/writer/thinker/maker/seller, I have a lot of experience being able to consistently find inspiration and that is partly because of the techniques I’ve developed over time to stay fresh, tuned up, and ready to be creative.
Social Media Marketing requires a lot of work, including: photography, editing, research, and writing. A good deal of this activity happens in the studio in a typical office space environment. Lots of sitting at a computer doesn’t necessarily lead to creative flow or great ideas. When I was working on my own, I would use skateboarding to keep me feeling creatively awake, but this El Niño season has kept the roads pretty wet, so I wasn’t able to get enough time in to satisfy my desire for balance. This plus having an assistant who is now also spending a lot of time at a computer and the ever-present need to come up with new marketing strategies led me to invent a dance.
The dance is based on a physical therapy exercise: the lunge. It is a walking lunge in four parts that goes to a four count rhythm. I named it the Time Slap in honor of my friend Shawn Barney Barron, who passed away last May. He called time lapse photography time slap and so the dance is a way to honor, remember, and to heal. Barney was a great break-dancer. He was also a great marketer.
The dance, as well as being a daily practice that increases creativity, is a marketing technique. We are recording ourselves doing the dance in various places in public with the goal of reaching the Ellen show to perform our dance and to talk about our marketing ideas. Artists who have some facility with multimedia are well equipped to provide social media marketing for small businesses. Social media are channels you can use effectively to reach relevant audiences.
Anthony Tashnick is a great American artist working in the medium of waves. The debate about what surfing is (is it a sport, is it an art form, is it a lifestyle, is it a religious practice?) continues within circles for whom the subject is important, but surfing is so versatile that it can fulfill a range of needs. For Tazy, it seems to be first and foremost a source of fun. Yes, he’s a gnarly guy who charges terrifying waves on the Big Wave World Tour, but he’s also a frothing grom who refuses to comply with so-called norms. Tazy is a hellman, a wave warrior, an artist of the highest order.
Collaborating with Tazy is an adventure. He goes wherever he wants to in pursuit of waves. When you are in his presence you get some sense as to the steeliness of his will. He is driven, motivated by knowing what potential is still untapped. Dreaming big about the future of boat surfing or taking a finless half-broken foamy to surf small shorebreak, every day is about interacting with the ocean, about deepening his relationship with surfing, about leading and listening to his fellow surfers through interacting with them in and out of the water.
Collaboration is a buzz word, an idea you hear a lot.
Even so, it is something we really value and we’ve recently been undertaking some great collaborations.
As a photographer, working with other people is natural, but we’ve been trying to push further to create more extensive collaborations between businesses and artists.
Doing social media with small businesses is in its very nature a collaboration. One specific example is bringing together El Salchicherio and Aptos St. BBQ to create the 831 Sausage.
Barney vision was a collaboration between Shawn Barney Barron, Jake J. Thomas, and Santa Cruz Waves. Adding Jackiemacro to the Jake J. Thomas Photo team is a form of collaboration. Working with Gary Irving is a collaboration. Filming with Anthony Tashnick is a collaboration. Working with the chef JP Doiron at The Cremer House is a collaboration. working with Dark Horse Pottery is a collaboration. The list goes on and on.
Yesterday (Monday morning) the day after Valentine’s Day, I woke up at 4:45am as has become my habit. Lemon water drank, coffee brewed, I sat down at the laptop and woke it up with a gesture. Immediately, in my Facebook Timeline, I saw a video that drew my attention. It was a clip from an episode of the television show Nature. This one was following a group of Innuit hunters through the process of building an igloo and going beneath the sea ice during the low portion of a King Tide to hunt for mussels. Watching these people attune themselves to the rhythm of natural cycles in a life and death dance with time inspired me. That’s the kind of thing I like to view: different ways of being that leads to imagining the lives of others.
Then, wanting something to listen to while I edited photos, I went to Timothy Ferris’ podcast and clicked on his interview with Seth Godin. Timothy Ferris is a self-help guru who is interesting and worth the listen. I always learn cool new things from his podcasts, so they are a go-to edifying source of background noise when I’m working. It’s definitely more than just entertainment, as he is constantly asking questions geared to find actionable takeaways in an effort to always provide value to his followers. Ferris does it right. He’s interested and so he’s interesting.
He had high praise for Seth Godin and I was ready to like him too, but upon listening I grew more compelled by the minute. Funny and self aware, Godin is a fount of wisdom and useful advice. He’s the kind of guy you’d be lucky to have as a friend. Non-threatening, but entirely badass, he’s a ninja of thoughtfulness. Out of all of the cool things they discussed in this podcast, however, the one that stuck out the most was about parenting. Godin, in answering Ferris’ question about what advice he might have for parents, said: “Busy is a trap. Busy is a myth. If you spend two hours a day without an electronic device, looking your kid in the eye, talking to them, and solving interesting problems, then you will raise a different kid than someone who doesn’t do that.” Such a simple idea, but profoundly true.
How we spend our time is the most important decision we make on a daily basis. Carving out two hours a day to spend with your kid solving interesting problems is the most important investment you could possibly make as a parent. The intricacies and nuances of parenting are so varied and important, but spending time is the foundation.
Planning is key to success, and it’s an idea that rewards regular revisiting because so many things about our context change on a daily basis. Defining success is key to achieving it. We find ourselves in the middle of multiple critical junctures at home and abroad. If ever there was a time when the fate of the human species would be determined, this is it. The stakes are high and with their elevation comes an increase in excitement and anxiety. We all know that change is both needed and inevitable and yet the vision of how this change will be produced is not entirely clear.
What does success look like in this day and age? Who do we consider to be successful and why? How can we transform the idea of success to suit it better to our present situation?
I think that the title has the keys to our future. The concept of You Only Live Once has become a license for reckless behavior, which is good for some people and bad for others, but there’s definitely merit in the idea of living with commitment. The more important concept is balance, though. The outgrowths from YOLO include: Zero Fucks Given, No Chill, and the Turn Up movement. This blooming of Dionysian energy is core and the need to celebrate life in a primal and raw way will likely endure. Some ways of expressing the lust for life are more effective and productive than others, though. If you really want to seize the day, you have to make something new; you have to contribute. If this is your only chance to experience life, why not make a positive impact?
Blues musicians turn pain into something that is full of good feelings. They are the ultimate alchemists of the soul. Turning heart break into art is a form of emotional intelligence that is cathartic and teaches you how to be with grief. Working with the Blues artists at Aptos St BBQ and Mission St has deepened my appreciation for this art form. I admire and respect all of the artists that perform there, but last night listening to Paul Oscher was something special. The guy was cool as they come, a living legend, a direct link to the roots of American Blues music and I’ve never felt more American and happy about it. Listening to his stories of getting started and working with Muddy Waters was classic to say the least. A huge thanks to Larry Ingram for bringing this amazing artist to Aptos. Truly, that was a success!
Living well means more than feeding your desires. Finding ways to live that make you feel good about the impact you are having on your environment and on the people in your life are building blocks of positive change.