Monday Morning Dispatch - Volume #126

Start your Monday off right:

  1. Jason Silva on his youtube show, Shots of Awe, passionately talks about the revolutionary power of technology and it ability to change the course of human history. A great way to spend a couple minutes to hours on his channel.   
  2. We think of personality as permanent. Yet, a new study came out stating that our personality changes over time to the point that we are different at age 14 and age 77. This may seem scary but it also means that you have the ability change traits you dont like or which may not be helpful to your current goals. 
  3. Street artist, Alex Senna, creates these beautiful black and white murals with her trade mark lanky almost cartoonish characters and excellent use of shadows.
  4. The title of this article was correct and I had never heard of Catherine Leroy before. She was a combat photographer on the very front lines during the Vietnam including parachuting in with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. Her images are amazing though brutal as you can image.
  5. Richard Diebenkorn scribbled his 10 rules for starting a painting on a simple piece of paper. My favorite rule is #9, "Tolerate Chaos". 
  6. Human nature is to always to compare up versus compare down. We look at those doing better than us and wish we had their life rather than realizing how great we have it compared to those beneath us. Derek Siver describes it as, "Think like a bronze medalist, not silver".
  7. "You must want to be a butterfly so badly, you are willing to give up being a caterpillar."  Sekou Andrews
  8. Lagom magazine spoke to a handful of creative entrepreneurs and collected their best advice. The advice may not be that different but its a great reminder. Their companies are also quite interesting if you are looking for something interesting. 

  9. The famed Pareto Principle (aka 80/20 rule) began as a simple observation of peas from Pareto's garden. This simple observation was then applied to almost every competitive pursuit. James Clear explores why small differences often lead to large differences.  

Living paycheck to paycheck yet I bought an entrepreneur's future

I fundamentally believe that financial success for an artist is easier than it has ever been. However, "easier" is a world apart from easy. The internet and the current break down of the traditional earning models is forcing artists to embrace entrepreneurship in a way they never had before. For better or worse, you can't just sign with a gallery or a big photo collective like Magnum and ride into the financial success sunset anymore. Yet even with this disruption, the industry has failed to innovate This is why I have aggressively looked for business advice and models outside of photography to implement in my career. 

Jason Zook is one of my biggest entrepreneurial mentors. He, more than anyone I have seen, has merged creativity into entrepreneurial endeavors. In 2015, Jason sold his future. Every product/course he has built and access to every product he would build plus private access to an amazing slack community of fellow entrepreneurs.  At that moment, we (my wife and I) were living paycheck to paycheck juggling expenses and upcoming bills like a seasoned Vegas street juggler. Certain bills were paid days late depending on how the paychecks fell that month. I managed to sell a large piece giving me just enough money to buy his future in violation of his directive not to buy if you didnt have the money. Even though this decision made the next 4 months financially extremely difficult, this was one of my best entrepreneurial decisions. Much of my business evolution and experimentation is directly a result of following Jason Zook and this purchase.

I am writing this because Jason Zook is selling his future again. This time he is joined by his now wife, Caroline Zook (an artist and entrepreneur), and is selling their combined future from March 28 - April 11. The bundle includes 23 existing products (software, courses, and books/guides) and a guaranteed a minimum of 8 upcoming projects. The combination of "How To Get Sponsorships" and the "Better Branding Course" alone could change your career. You also get access to whatever they create in the future. This part of the deal was what pushed me to purchase two years ago even when I honestly didnt have the money to spare. Jason and Caroline have a solid track record of continually producing new products. Selling his future didnt slow Jason down in the least. So I will happily pay a finite amount of money for a massive upside (my years in finance are showing). I can only imagine what the two of them will create over the next 20 years.  

In full disclosure, I am an affiliate (aka I get a cut if you buy). If you want to make art your career, please consider investing in yourself to get the skills and the support necessary to make it happen. Just remember that buying this will not change anything unless you put in the work. If you have any questions, hit me up. If you have any concerns, hit me up. I will happily share my honest opinion with you. 

Monday Morning Dispatch - Volume #125

Start your Monday off right:

  1. Zach Parker dropped out of EMT school after his father died to take over the family BBQ restaurant. The video cuts in footage of him at 14 talking about working and learning with dad. It was touching to see the dreams at 14 come about even though it also meant that his father passed away. 
  2. PowWow is great street art festival that originally started in Hawaii. The video from this year's festival looks amazing. All these various artists coming together to transform boring blank walls into beautiful art pieces. 
  3. Tomas Kellner created a cubist style of architecture photography. Each piece is created from a single roll of film that is shot in a precise order and then sequenced in a way to create the famous building. 
  4. Marathon des Sables is known as one of the toughest races in the world as runners must run 156 miles across the desert in Southern Morocco over 6 days. This photo series is enough for me and I dont need to die in the desert. 
  5. At 88, everyone would forgive Elliot Erwitt for taking a break. However, he is still travelling the world working on upcoming books. Erwitt talks to NY Times about his need to work. 
  6. I was unfamiliar with the photographer, Arthur Tress, until this article and I am really happy for the introduction. His images range from the haunting to the humorous but all of them are expertly done.   
  7. "Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life." -Golda Meir
  8. If the name Roman Mars doesnt ring a bell, he is better known as the creator and voice of the popular podcast, 99% Invisible. The quote I took away from this interview with Chase Jarvis was "Stealing plus a lack of talent equals creativity."

  9. CJ Chilvers hit it out of the park again this week with his post, The Importance of Being Small. The internet is full of people trying to sell you on the idea that your business will be better if it was bigger and they have the secrets to make that happen. CJ talks about having the patience to keep your project small in order to keep working on it for the length of your career. 

Steal this idea

When I decided to start producing a small book every 50 days of my 365 project, I had no idea what might come out of it. I had procrastinated producing my first "book/zine" for more than a year. The relentless deadlines of a 365 would force me to forgo perfect and just focus on producing something. In the process, I discovered I could work directly with a commercial printer and produce a higher quality book for the same price as Blurb. I immediately began considering how I could use this knowledge to help other photographers to produce their own books. Here is my idea and anyone can steal this if they like.

My idea is run a photobook publishing company similar to how Cotton Bureau sells t-shirts. Photographers (and artists in general) submit book projects for consideration. The selected projects are posted every week/month (depends on how you want to set it up). If a book sells more than 25 copies, the book gets printed. The publishing company handles all the fulfillment responsibilities. The book project is up on the website for a set period of time (I think 2 weeks is enough time).

On the money side, the publishing company keeps the money from the first 25 copies of the book. The artist keeps all the profits (minus the cost of printing) over 25 books. The artist never has to pay the publishing company. 

The reason I am not immediately trying to build this is that I dont have the career gravity yet necessary for this to make sense. I want this to become a market place for cool projects that allow artists to make money without the big up front costs. My reach is probably no different then anyone who would submit a project at this moment. So I would be asking artists to give up a certain percentage of the profits without gaining a sizable benefit.  As my career hopefully grows, I will have the resources to make this exchange work. 

For those who have no issue doing everything themselves, I found Smart Press in MN and they have printed Volume #2 & #3.  Search what type of book you want to produce and contact the printers for a quote. If I could figure it out, so can you. But if you would have an book project and want help, hit me up. I can try my best to help you.