Recorded live at Wythe Hotel on December 5, 2017 as part of The Great Discontent Live series. Host Tina Essmaker talks to creative director Isabel Urbina Peña and illustrator Ping Zhu about their very different paths, working by hand, and following intuition into opportunity. And Comedian Matt Ruby performs!

This episode was produced by The Great Discontent and Benjamin Welch. Learn more about The Great Discontent and read 200+ long-form interviews online at thegreatdiscontent.com.

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00:00:03this is the great discontent podcast
00:00:10this conversation was recorded in front of a studio audience at the Wythe Hotel Williamsburg Brooklyn as part of tgd live a monthly interview of NC rates your lovely and well just hose for the night was Tina s make enjoy the show
00:00:24tonight we actually are starting off with a performance hope you guys are ready to laugh so I'm going to introduce our first gas and then he's going to come up and perform and then him and I are going to chat for a few so let me get my fancy intro ready our first guest is a stand-up comedian from New York City his debut album hot flashes is out now he's a comic because he likes to tell the truth and you realize that being funny is the best way to do that he talks about relationships politics race religion technology and sex he's also the creator of booza a video comic strip about the tech World which is called which was called the spinal tap of startups by Mashable hot soup one of the hottest live comedy shows in New York City he's been seen on MTV's girl code and the comedy show on C so he's also been featured on CNN.com Huffington Post New York Magazine time out and he's appeared at comedy venues and festivals around the country please give a warm welcome to Matt Ruby
00:01:27keep it going to Tina for setting this whole thing up by everyone
00:01:33oh yeah good to be here this is going to be an interesting stand up comedy sets or not yeah I like I like the room tone as forced meditation Dynamic nothing New Yorkers like less than having to shut up for 30 seconds then like is it over yet yeah I'm going to tell some jokes. Like 10 minutes and then we'll sit down and chat where to begin this is my luck you know it's like Pitbull if he was Jewish that's my thing you know
00:02:09myVegas overly nice yeah I got called creepy by magician last week that's a wake-up call right side
00:02:18feels weird. And I never been married but I feel like I got the energy of a guys doing really well with his divorce and I gots like I don't see the kids enough but I'm going to burning man that kind of dudes you know that's what I'm putting out in the universe and yeah I'm going bald at side so are you know I got to grow the beard so we have to do about the boots I don't know why I have it's like right up here cuz of the waterfall down here I think is the theory but none of my beers just going gray so I feel like death chasing me around the house
00:02:49play the worst game of hide-and-seek ever
00:02:52hey it's such a weird solution to if you like how you just shave it all off be confident about it like that's your solution of going bald to go bald faster
00:03:00like I don't think you get how Solutions work it's like we don't do this with other stuff in the world like some guys like yeah I'm having a really tough time finding a job you know what you should do be homeless yeah
00:03:11the sleep under a bridge be confident about it no one says that
00:03:17I am a Jewish fellow is an interesting time of year to be a Jew I feel like whatever like Jewish holidays and Christian holidays happen at the same time I feel like it just proves how much better Christian people are at marketing
00:03:30do you know what I mean is I Christmas is Grace Kelly fat guy runs running sled throws gets down your chimney is a good time, cuz like we only lasted for a to whattabargain
00:03:42should make it a holiday or Festival of good value
00:03:50I don't know how Nazis are making a comeback God damn and Nazis are kind of dog bottom the only thing we're done with him in 20 years ago how about that
00:04:01I see these guys in Charlottesville being like Jews will not replace us Jews will not replace us and I'm like what part of your crappy hillbilly lies you think Jews are coming for
00:04:11like I said this is never been said that juice told my job at the coal mine never been said we're very claustrophobic people
00:04:19what are you going to use it to coma if there's like fresh lox and bagels down there that's the only way that's happening
00:04:24Hillary has no Jewish Duck Dynasty that's another thing is be a bunch of old Jews in the bio be like always this humidity I'm spitting only
00:04:35but yeah I know I don't sensitive nowadays stuff stuff out there wanted his Muslim ban I'm not opposed to that they're not around like big city levels were fine banning guns cuz we're not around them red steak and Sarah's they're fine being a Muslim so they're not around them like all we need is an exchange program in order to conserve the typical hookah party baba ganoush Falafel me like why was super delicious the hell are we thinking
00:05:07cuz it's easier to band stuff that you don't need I can smoke it was like why we got a new band like man buns and Magnum condoms in like yeah that's fine with me
00:05:17I go to the airport I'm every half will tell you that much
00:05:30got to talk about the Constitution
00:05:34then I love trumps at Mexico City other drug dealers and rapists to America first thing you said was running for president Mexico sing all their drug dealers in America have you seen her we send to Cancun
00:05:48that's not exactly the cream-of-the-crop but we've been exporting South of the Border
00:05:54know how to Rhodes Scholars at Senor Frog's if you know what I'm saying
00:05:58that I like everybody every year there's like a month where we just send the drunk is dumb as people we have to be exact same city in Mexico like a Ramadan of stupidity that they must endure the address when I cash out Mexico hasn't demanded a while actually like Mexicans like
00:06:21will take Molly listen to Tiesto they applauded when the plane lands it's weird like touche Mexico you bring up a good point
00:06:33people that were all fine hating on though which is women who are basic
00:06:39I don't know why that's what everyone says
00:06:44I'd like to look at this basic bitch look at how basic she is and she rides on in a pool in the Hamptons she goes to SoulCycle she wants to The Bachelors got a Michael Kors purse I'm like yeah that all sounds amazing just living my best life I'm jealous are you mad at her cuz she's cozy
00:07:09cuz honestly I sit around my apartment in my boxers vaping watching sports that are eating hot pockets are pretty sharp basic as fuck
00:07:16I own the Entourage movie I'm the problem let's be honest
00:07:21oh yeah did you guys say they started that National Database that tracks your religion and race and location yeah it's on Facebook have you heard about it
00:07:31yeah we're just giving it to him I don't know if you know this but the volunteer program. And I'm addicted to my phone and Technology like you had to have to go to the bathroom without my phone I don't know what to do with myself to start sleeping on towels like I was ugly. Yeah open the shower curtain
00:07:51what happens to shampoo every time
00:07:56but yeah I was getting drunk and take an Uber though that's probably my favorite technology
00:08:02when I get drunk and take Uber supposed to I get the feeling like a billionaire
00:08:06is there going to step outside the bar like my chariot awaits
00:08:11ticketsnow Manhattan Bridge Muhammad why yes we should pick up two drunk sorority girls in Lower East Side along the way good idea
00:08:21I don't like we were always tells you that the car is going to be there like in 2 minutes and then went to take a nap hour to get there I like back is exact opposite of what I promised ladies in the bedroom I was like I'll take a half hour and then a minute later like
00:08:35it's like a bottle of water in the charger sorry
00:08:41I don't think I'll see when you got out of the bar that you like four different Ubers waiting there you never know which one's yours I kind of feel like that's a grown up version of playing clue
00:08:49cuz I'm your kid you like okay Professor plum in the library with a Candlestick and I was a grown-up you like Shades Eddie and a Kia Optima license plate th3 Eddie where are you
00:09:00I need that you was like I'm Kevin like you are not the father all right
00:09:05but yeah I spend a lot of time on the Facebook it's a whole thing huh to tell you how much they love their husband or wife via Facebook like you know the reality yet every anniversary it's like opening night on Broadway and it was like 12 years ago today I met the love of my life Harold is my best friend my teacher my comrade my spiritual Guru I'm so humbled and blessed to have Harold in my life the other day he may be poached eggs breakfast in bed just the way I am mechanics you live with him tell him all right
00:09:45God damn what did I sign up for your relationship theater when did that happen cuz you could go down on them in front of me and that would be better than this honestly this is too much PDA I'm not having it
00:09:56also I got jealous ladies to for how supportive of each other you on Facebook so supportive you know when that new profile photo goes up in the support of female friend Mafia descends on the comment section
00:10:09you're all this is a new haircut but everyone's guys like a bat signal for compliments went out your the photo goes up it's like OMG you look gorgeous yes Queen 27 exclamation points you know I was going to top it from there I literally can't even
00:10:24that hand clap Emoji one like you are a goddess
00:10:31about my Facebook experience at all like I can post a photo of LeBron James and the Loch Ness monster finding that missing Malaysian airplane
00:10:39one, two my uncle asked me to call him
00:10:43and I'm flagged as inappropriate I don't know why that part happens
00:10:55thank you questions and just laughing too hard over there alright so thank you for making us laugh it's raining outside of course so I have to be a normal human being I don't know how I feel about that you talked about you a little bit right now and you can tell me whatever you want I don't know anything about you I did a little research online but you can make things up if you want but tell me a little bit about where you were and how your childhood influenced your ideas about creativity and what was possible there and my dad was a prosecutor and assistant DA in New York City and the total Law & Order guy so I feel like I'm just the Civil War that it was inherited
00:11:55between the two of them like at my brain is like don't do drugs now that's like why you got some
00:12:04so and yeah I don't know I guess you know my dad was obsessed with the Marx Brothers and James Bond and so I feel like I grew up just thinking like being somewhere between Groucho Marx and Sean Connery as James Bond was like the Pinnacle of what you should go for and then I remember I was in therapy 1 time in my my therapist asked me about my mom if she was really at the comedy and I was like now I don't even remember ever seeing her laugh at all I was one of those like lightbulb moments are you going to therapy this is what happens if you like it I don't remember seeing my mom laugh no wonder I spend my life trying to make strangers left all right all that's up so the kid is even I spent years in a band doing music stuff before I ever did comedy and you know I like writing and taking photos and make him stuff I feel like I don't know
00:13:03we're all going to die in Like Making Stuff along the way it seems like the best use of time that I found at one point he probably not going to talk about this some secrets on the internet but you were number one at 37signals which is now base camp and you were there for I think 10 years and you started as a designer and then you're you focus on media so tell me a little bit about that. Of life or what did you learn while working there besides getting fatter for your jokes now yeah I got to work with some really smart people and we we started off as a web design firm and we made this product to are we made something to manage our projects cuz we can find anything out there that was working well and then every client that we had asked if we could if they could use that same software to manage their projects and I know maybe those are
00:14:03Frontier entered into a product and you have served taking the company from nothing to something and was definitely like a sort of inspirational thing to be along along the ride for and I'd say maybe what influenced me was like we were very assertive out of the Silicon Valley mode of thinking and sort of a different path of don't take investment funding build something small try to have a real product charge money for it don't spend money on Advertising promote yourself through teaching and educating other people and trying to share information and trying to build a real business in the old fashion sense of having something that you sell that people want to pay money for which is in the world of technology some crazy idea where everyone's trying to monetize attention so and you know writing books and a Blog and other stuff about how to start a business and then eventually I was like maybe I should try to start a business
00:15:03so I want to believe in a company and starting my own video production company that produces the show and check companies in other people Harris to make funny videos and Splinter videos and commercials and other things for the Samsung should have been this long and winding path along the way but yeah I guess I was doing technology stuff and then I was doing comedy stuff and then I had this sort of personal unification theory of like is there a way for me to come by and what I've learned with technology and what I know in comedy and access to the talent pool in New York comedy where there's a lot of talented people and what came out of that was the show whose and the video production company that I have now with it because when you're working at a cat 37signals that was in Chicago and then you left there and move to New York so was it a risk for you at the time and did you know the time that you wanted her to pursue comedy or was that sells them in that was just in your mind is an idea did not know it wasn't that much of a risk cuz half the company then I'm still no work remotely
00:16:03Casino Queen 8 software that enables people work remotely so I kept working there even after I moved from Chicago to New York and yeah I don't know I think I didn't want to move to New York I was still making music I've been in a band in Chicago and I put out of solo album those are doing singer-songwriter shows around New York City and I was like I don't like singer-songwriters I don't want to be one like I like to be in a band but singer-songwriters always feels like some dude wearing a scarf is trying to sleep with your girlfriend and I just like fucking annoy and at the same time is it in the East Village and there's a place called rififi which is since shut down but there is a video store in the back data showroom where there was these incredible like for your cheap comedy shows every night of the week where I got to see people like David Cross and Patton Oswalt and Zach Galifianakis and younger people at the time like John Mulaney and Nick Kroll sort of like these incredible like meat comedy shows and that's me feel more rock and roll than any of the music stuff I was seeing in New York at that time
00:17:03and I don't I don't like love comedy but I don't I haven't thought about trying it until I kind of started seeing it multiple times a week and decided to one one time give it a shot and then all the sudden he's like the rabbit hole that like 10 years later now it's like a fungus is growing over my entire life was really bad at that anymore or that wasn't there was actually better than I thought it would be I'm going to keep trying to do you train did you study to just suffer like a couple months which is kind of just like a supportive Open Mic but yeah if you know the only way to get good is to go to open mics and it's a really like sort of brutal Endeavor for a few years of being in basements with really likes early and crazy and yeah there's a couple like talented people be like that person will go somewhere and then there's for every like one of those is like 6 other people they like oh that's a homeless person who wants to make
00:18:03and you just kind of navigate that obstacle course for a few years but yeah I don't know I think there's something about I guess to compare it to other creative stuff that I've done before being in a in a band or like I think, is the most certain of collaborative art form there is as far as like the performer in the audience are kind of making it together and there's something so when it's bad it's really like awful and humbling and so you know what kind of painful but when it's good it's just really like sort of transcendent kind of beautiful thing and I think especially in this day and age when were out so tied to our phones and screens and stuff to do when there's a room full of people kind of connecting on a on a wavelength were there a little bit about hive mind or some sort of organic Community is for him that it feels so you know special and to meet someone have like a a sacred thing that comedians got to do so and that's probably why it's definitely addictive LOL so it's one of those things where
00:19:01yeah you take a couple nights off even you like I said I miss this with I'm losing it and you need a new fix so it's the song Go instead of feeling a leaky bucket almost in the way album how is it your first full-length stand-up comedy album you
00:19:19we can listen to that on iTunes iTunes Spotify albums you can hear it. The people that people want to check out your work come see a show where can I find you around New York City my calendar every Tuesday night I have a show or except for this Tuesday I mean the show is still happening I'm just not there in midtown east at a place called Irish exit so that's like a cool sitter free show in the back of the bar setting but it's really good comedians if you want to come check that out I perform regular Comedy Cellar in other places around town and my website is gusev loseit.com and you can follow me on Twitter at Matt Ruby and I got a newsletter you can subscribe to and Matt Ruby comedy.com is this enough if I feel like that's enough for plugs
00:20:30look you've likely heard of MailChimp and there's a good reason why more than 15 million people use MailChimp to connect with their customers Market their products and brother e-commerce business is everyday put your something you might not know you can run Facebook ad campaigns right from MailChimp use the same simple design tools they give you for email to create great looking at you can Target ads of your audience or people similar to them which is a great way to reach new customers track sales customers and subscribers all-in-one unified dashboard for both advertising an email if you're looking to up your email game or try your hand at a Facebook ad campaign MailChimp has the tools you need to grow your company in a way that feels right for you we want to thank them for supporting the great discontent podcast MailChimp send better email somewhere stuff
00:21:15I second-guessed is a multidisciplinary artist from Venezuela who runs her own studio in Brooklyn New York she focuses on books lettering a typeface design and experimental handwriting in 2015 she was named a new visual artist 15 under 30 by print magazine and she's a type at Cooper and produce annual alumni alumni she teaches speaks at conferences draws beans makes goodies and runs yes equal a database of women in the creative Fields please welcome Isabel orbi nathania
00:21:55hi so excited to have you here I saw you speak at the AIG a national conference this year and you spoke in the craft Symposium and you took us to the process of how to design book covers and showed a lot of your work which is beautiful or not going to show it tonight because audio and people at home can't see it and they'll be really sad but you're studying so I'm so excited to learn more about your personal path so I want to start at the beginning tell me a little bit about growing up in Venezuela and how your childhood influenced your ideas about creativity
00:22:31well I had a pretty nice childhood my parents are both architect so I was very much and I creative since I was like they were putting me in like fighting classes and like poetry classes and pottery classes on all the stuff on my dad was my dad is also a painter so he was like come let's make this and he will put me and send me down to like paint like I'm on go and I would like try to imitate it and I was like this is really good now I really want to find that I don't know where it is I really remember that moment that I finished it and I was like this is good razor for encouraging that's amazing I'm so self-confident so we can just because I feel like such a loser
00:23:31can you grew up surrounded by artists musicians designers and you actually consider becoming an architect yourself so what changed your mind why are why would you not become an architect I think it was a little of rebellion on my part I don't know do I want to do the same thing that my parents do not really and my mom was really focused on me going to Universe like college real college and design in Venezuela it's not really a career it's not like the Ministry of Education doesn't recognize it as a career not a BFA even though it's for years it's more informal so there are like go to university and I was like okay I'll do like all right cuz I don't want to hear I can text her cuz you already do that and I'm like saying that every day so I kind of wanted to find my own path so I did Theory and critics of the Arts for like a year and a half
00:24:31and then I started sending the sign
00:24:34so you did study design in Venezuela and then you later studied at Cooper Union some go through that time line like what what was that experience like for you and how did your education at both of those institutions prepare you for work after graduation or not but I was a tiny house so it was like really strange situation like I was really informal and it was very good at teaching you how to think but it wasn't great about your portfolio or like how to sell yourself so basically when I decided I wanted to move to New York in 2008 it was a pretty big change and I didn't really know where to start exactly so and that sense it was some really easy as a transition like I came here with no plan and I was like okay I'm going to freelance I guess and I was also like teaching swimming lessons that's like what was paying my bills
00:25:34actually cuz I went through like in my high school I was assuming Dan I did other sports and the sign was like I wanted to focus on it but it wasn't my main thing so it was kind of trying to figure out Connections in like obviously we all know how important this and like when you move here
00:25:58you know from another country ending with English is not your first language it's not easy to find that so it's kind of interesting to like start meeting people getting more acquainted was like technical terms because I learned another language basically and then eventually I decided to the Cooper type program but that was like a couple years after I moved here okay but it wasn't right straight away so you were working doing freelance design trying to build your portfolio and giving swimming lessons because he had to pay the bills cuz I love that part of the story it's so great yeah it was awesome actually at the time and then I was like kids are awesome I know it sounds pretty cool
00:26:49I moved here and I started freelancing I found an internship at a museum of natural history which was really cool but I was on paid so I was kind of like okay I need to still work there was some stuff and then after I found a job at a design studio that's called Sandy Partners which is actually the following Studio from it came from chefman guy guy smarter than I just read that and he passed away today I saw him
00:27:27anyway I worked there for 2 years and then while I was there I was like you know what this is not working I'm doing design I really love Prince
00:27:39I want to go to the bar Union cuz I have this awesome program and I applied I got in and I was like I'm out I got it I got it so I guess I'll tell me a little bit about did your Focus Shift after Cooper when you were out you were still doing freelance yeah yeah it's just sad because I mean I got the confidence that I didn't have on doing my own drawing at like they had a really nice setup where you met a lot of calligrapher sign painters lettering art is so I started like learning from them and also getting you no more excited about driving by hand which was something that I had tried in Minnesota never not really you know another sign Studio setting it might not be the thing that you're doing that kind of brought me back to him you know my thing with my dad
00:28:39drawing with Hammond just like really get confident there so when that happened I felt like I actually love lettering like I was pretty into typography but this got me more in a pass I think and I gave me the confidence to start doing it more and more and after that I got a job as a book cover designer which was like more exploration on that because it's all type you know like there's so much typographic content that you can play with
00:29:13yeah that's that's awesome I love how you brought that back to the van Gogh artwork designs because you share so you've designed cars for how many books now I lost count. It's definitely over 50 less than a hundred okay thank you okay so many signs get killed that it might be over in like a couple hundred share in your talk at aiga and then also on your Instagram you share covers that have been killed and you even have a hashtag for those those covers that killed cover are cope killed cover archive so sad but I love that you share the rejected covers because they're so beautiful and I would anyone not choose that it's right but I'm at an art director so we're good for you
00:30:13CSS despite this cover is not being chosen the work is really great but we know what have you learned through the process of letting go of some of the work that you do I mean obviously you're putting your heart and your soul into your work and then it's not chosen like what does that feel like in and how do you make it to work knowing that it might never go out into the world okay so there's two parts of this because I'm part is that you are really sad you know like you made this thing that you think it's great and you're like this is so exciting I'm connecting with it I think they also would love it and then the author never gets to see it that's heartbreaking but at the same time it also allows you in a way to like experiment with so many different styles so I think that's great because the reason I'm not like an illustrator or maybe you want to paint her is because I don't want to have a particular style so that I feel like it gives me the freedom to like try different things that I'm interested in but
00:31:13not necessarily married to that I'm at the same time when you see everything together you find like something that connects all the work but it's not necessarily you know style that people come you know what to some of this Traders for so it's pretty experiments all about to the positive side I think I like when I like that the doesn't get chosen in that doesn't hasn't gone out in the world so it's also my way of dealing with it I'd rather is Ruthie it design covers her best selling authors like David your cover for dinner guests use all our names was included in the New York Times list for best covers of 2014. It felt pretty great that's awesome yeah it is a great because I have to go home and Google it
00:32:14I made for me it's really exciting and it's also like when you go into a book cover and you see you know your stuff like you know this person who works here the sided to put it on the front of the store it's like it feels really great and it's
00:32:30you know an exciting exciting moment doesn't really get old for me I don't know I'm pretty like proud about doing the work because I'm like super I will go all the way like I really want to put everything I have into each cover so when I see the people appreciate it's just like oh thanks
00:32:51this is awesome and what are the types of work are you focusing on right now because you run your own Studio here in New York well I'm doing a lot of lettering I'm starting to the Morrisons on me and my students were here today has been fun and that's part of the great thing about like having my own time to like play with that but I'm also doing more and more type type phase design because it's really it's fun and also gives you a different type type type of project like you're not the signing for yourself or someone was going to see if final thing but you're designing actually something that other people will use so it's a pretty different connection with that and I'm like really into that but yeah
00:33:51graphic design in books I've been doing more and more interiors and like the full book so that's been fun but I'm always open to new projects that's awesome and what do your parents think are they okay that you don't become an architect just got on your books by desiigner yeah my mom was pretty heartbroken I think she is like how are you doing this to me I think they're really happy there also like all of their friends are graphic designers so I think they are pretty pretty happy about what I'm doing
00:34:35I'm sure they're happy that you're happy are you ready for some company going to bring up another guest that our third and final guest of the evening our third and final guest is an illustrator and Los Angeles native currently based in Brooklyn New York she's a graduate of Art Center College of design in Pasadena her clients including York Times pentagram New Yorker coach good magazine independent and many many more that I shall not list she received the ATC Young Guns award and her work has been recognized by American illustration and communication Arts please welcome pink Zoo
00:35:19welcome thanks I've actually interviewed you before. In 2014 I interviewed her in person we were into a little cafe in East Village inside outside and it was very nice out and we had a wine and cheese and wine and cheese on stage right now we're missing some things from the stage because that was a couple years ago and I haven't seen you since then maybe I'm passing an event that we would also make me feel so good so I do want to get some contacts for your pass so I want to go back a little bit like rewind going to start at work I like to start which is childhood so tell me about your childhood growing up in California and on your expense of a little bit different
00:36:13from Isabel guess I got to say about it in California and it was a very comfortable Suburban life meteorologist as a study that in China and then so deciding to rebell against them was pretty easy because I had no interest in the sciences and I felt like it just took many years of convincing them that start with something that I could do for a living rather than something that was just you know graffiti tizing people's notebook text or writing cool names in bubble letters and I think that it was
00:36:57it felt like convincing them like they needed some kind of proof that I was also dedicated to this craft although you know 16 year old me was still had no idea what I was talking about but I was very good at explaining like you know like this New Yorker cover someone did that that's alright someone drew this that could be used to prove to them that like art with something that you can make a living from and I think that maybe they were just exhausted from arguing with them all the time but eventually like getting a dart Center I also was like I'm not a point and universities I'm only appoint art school so I gave them like three options and you know one of them was at the VA but it was just really expensive to live in New York and arts center was really close to where I was living so I ended up living at home when I was in college driving your college and staying there as much as I
00:37:57had to get away from them and just you know yeah but I think it wasn't until much later in my time in college that I really figured out what it was rationed even was I was like so which is not simply drawing it is also application and Concepts and skills and contacts and all these other things and I think by the time I finally actually left school it was like oh this is not the pitch that I sold my parents it was something that was like I had to convince myself and another way so and so you also have a van Gogh story what's my Vendo story I don't know you told me this boat
00:38:45so use your parents were meeting a meteorologist and they were into science but your father appreciated the Arts or so you told me that's true
00:38:56I mean titans my dad was the one who brought me to a lot of museums when I was a kid and I think he always had a really good like appreciation for the Arts where he never really explained it to me I think you just brought me along to the Museum's he's like like we're going to go to this one and this one I was just you know just along for the ride and we did end up going to the van Gogh leg retrospective that was at the LACMA I don't know how long ago this was at this point but I was like this tall was like 3 feet off the ground and I just remember thinking when I was in there like everyone was super tall because they're adults and I was a child and all the paintings are hung to the height of adults and I can see anything pretty much but I think I don't know I think I've just felt like you know the gallery world was such a I didn't know if I wanted to be a painter or what but it just felt like you know people were interest
00:39:56standings and it was something that you know there's a reason why people were here and it seems really interesting to me at the time but you know I still don't really remember like what exactly I guess like why it's stuck out to me as a memory but I think just the idea that my dad likes still wanted to bring me even though I was like too young to really understand what was going on I really appreciate the fact that he did that cuz I think it's still like push me to explore further
00:40:26yeah info for money or seeking a minute ago sounded like you knew from a young age that you're interested in the R2 doesn't know what format would take in your life I think that was because they care about them enough I was like man history of a very dismissive attitude and I think I just really wanted to kind of undercurrent of that was that I just wanted to find something that I could identify where there that I could be recognized them so I was like oh histories I can't remember these dates in like I'm not good at writing because you know there's it just seemed like with all those things there was always going to be someone else I would like very good at it and I just was like what the competition I just don't think I stand a chance in that and not sandwich and something made me feel a little bit discouraged or like low confidence and I felt like drawing was just one of those things I think a lot of people's parents were like don't do that
00:41:29it's like I found the thing that I was like I will weasel my way into this and I will make it work for me
00:41:36the aha moment you heard it here right yeah I want to eat his ass cuz it's along the same lines quotes and then you said when I enter video in 2014 he said I didn't like the idea of doing something I didn't enjoy our feel passionate about what I had all these feelings for something else my parents wanted me to consider other occupations I have a back-up plan but I wanted to follow my instincts and see if that would lead to something good so that's exactly what you did you applied only to art schools went to Art Center and then you spend a little bit of time in London before coming to New York City so tell me a little bit about your time in London and then what brought you to New York graduated from art center and it was an opportunity that I had to live there for Fears and I wasn't there for work it was mainly I was freelancing and I was with someone who is who had a job there and I found it very difficult because I had pretty much decided in the same kind of brash
00:42:36National that I had when I was like going from high school to college and all through college and to whatever my future was that I was like oh I'm just going to do this thing and I have no friends I have no family I like don't know anything about the culture I don't know how to count money or across the street I am you know I was pretty much realize that I didn't know anything and I feel like that was an extremely intimidating aspect of moving to a new country I'm sure you can of dollars just fine I think there was some aspect of that that made me feel very reclusive and luckily illustration is also like something you can do in isolation the internet was like here and I was just like crying over here doing this and I was like I'm so I think in order to like like reach out and try and find people who would recognize my existence I used Instagram much to just like first it was
00:43:36my parents were like what are you doing are you alive and I'm a guess take a photo on Instagram of just like some stupid that I did I was liking of 5 followers was like my parents and like one friend and two strangers and then eventually it was just like but it was like a nice reason to like get up in the morning and I still draw stuff so I was like okay so I have this audience in quotations and I know I have a reason to do stuff so it's so they just became a platform and I think that was also when Instagram was starting to become a thing that people were using to you know promote themselves or to show what they did or what they ate that was very popular and I think I slowly like kind of bond touch with the community of illustrators in London and eventually I think in the last year-and-a-half I managed to find a studio space and was able to like split a desk with another illustrator and I think that
00:44:36open Netgear small door but it was like a very difficult time to like kind of get started again cuz these were people who had a friends they went to school with and they were all they all grew up in the UK and I felt very much like they didn't skip a beat when I was like you know I'm still figuring out which snake which side of the street to look on to cross so I like those three years felt like 30 like it was really difficult but at the same time I feel like it was also the only way that I can learn where I am like if I'm like too comfortable in California was very comfortable and I didn't feel like I would learn very much they're so being in this land of mysteries was actually quite necessary for me and I think after the time that I was there I realize that most of my clients were coming from the US and specifically from New York because I do a lot of editorial work so it was like you know
00:45:36u.s. dollars converted into pounds and then it being obliterated because there's like nothing left after that so I was like why I have no money to begin with so now I'm even more and there's no money I would like to learn how to count as simple as I was like I have to move home so I moved back to the US and because I've always wanted to live in New York cuz you know this is the spice of the shed so I was like you know he made that move kind of like also diving in without realizing what I was getting myself into I was like I don't know if I can pay my rent or something more optimistic about the fact that I'd already like going through this Urban experience of torture and London and I was like well at least I know that my sense of space will be as like limited as it was there so I'll be fine you know I'll figure out how to pay rent and whatever so that's how I ended up in New York and here I am still
00:46:33we're glad you're here it's about is that does that resonate with you at all the experience of being somewhere the so different and having to acclimate and just be like what am I what's happening yeah I definitely like all the stuff that you're saying like everyone was here and they know how to do things like I feel like that when I moved here it was like everyone had their amazing portfolios and I was like I haven't printed out like I was just thinking and making great ideas and now it's like all in jpeg like figure all that stuff out in like how you connect with you know the communities like you were saying like I don't know when you feel like a door opens that kind of for me I feel like it was
00:47:22Cooper type cuz I was like Elsa where I wanted to go kind of on at the same time Random House I worked there for 3 years so that was like wow you're not like that expose my work to a lot of people on like it is what allows me to be freelance now I think cuz because their work is everywhere and it actually has my name on it people can like reach out to me directly so it's like how you connect I don't know
00:47:52I remember listening for what community is social and in need of other people you are a definitely feel like having the environment with others just to show them your work and has just someone to talk to you about what you're going through that can understand is really has been very important so I can't imagine ever going back to working on my Blake dinner table slash work table / weeping Zone you know to be so rude terrible the same studio in Greenpoint right but you're not are you in the same space now has a factory for free moment and now I'm in 67 West which is like a block-and-a-half from ping but this is the first time we've seen each other in months okay okay
00:48:52so you are both free dancing but you're in studio spaces where you're around other people and talk to me about what's the most rewarding thing about running your own Studio as a freelancer you're going to your going to let me go first okay I think for me the most rewarding part is having control over my own time like when you're full time there's a lot of time especially in publishing there's a lot of times where you're like oh I got some time to chill and I was lucky enough to have a boss that would allow me to do all like freelance work in there but I feel like now I can do so much more with that time because you know I can actually I don't know going to try and then come back and work for a month straight or something you know like it's really nice to have that possibility I think
00:49:48yeah I think that having a place to go to to work has been really great and also yeah being in charge of your own time which also means that you are the only person to blame if I think it takes a lot of responsibility and self-discipline to manage it but I think the rewards are a lot of freedom and you know flexibility and time for a long time I was always taking work with me even when I was traveling because I pay into just like packed all my things and my suitcase and took it with me wherever but nowadays I think the last trip I went on I was just like I will not be taking anything with me I just see how high my anxiety got sand it was a bit but I think it was really important also experience separation from your work in the same way we're like having to her choosing to have a studio remotely from where I live in the asleep and all that it's the distance is required for me to also feel like I have a bit of balance so
00:50:46it's been good and what do you think is what has been the most challenging for you or is it something that you wish you would have known before you started to freelance
00:50:57that's a good question
00:51:00I don't know I think it's all a learning curve you know but for me what's been like most important this year I think it's like the power of reaching out there's a little bit I feel like there's a little bit of like like people try to separate themselves from that and try to have people look for them like oh I want this client to reach out to me to work together so I'm going to do all this work to get there for me this year has been a lot like actually you know I want to work with Lenny letter let's write them and I like kind of like rubbing a lot in like reach out as much as I could and then I worked with them you know and sometimes you think those things are not possible because you don't know someone or you don't want to call email a person but then you realize you know people are actually busy and maybe they don't see your work even though like they could potentially like it so that has been a really positive I think lesson for me
00:52:00I think that I would have like to know or at least understand if I could have was the value of also personal time and things that are not related to the work that I'm doing I think because I've never worked in an office or in the studio like a company like all my time and my work has been under like with my discretion and I'm choosing to do things and because for a long time I was like if I say no it seems ungrateful and it like I essentially like ignored my personal life and I think although I've heard things like work-life balance I think it's still like an ideal it would be but I think it's important to like do things that are not related to the craft that you're doing just for perspective you know whether it's like reading a book or like you are going outside or just like it doesn't have to be a whole new hobby or anything I just I just think that removing yourself so that you have something that you miss and that you can appreciate it.
00:53:00work is important to mention earlier but something about you know always staying interested in your work requires you to also like leave it alone for a bit
00:53:12yeah I like that idea of distance giving space allowing yourself a chance to miss it so can you request you mentioned earlier that you work with traditional media if you work my hand you're not on the computer all day making art you actually said that you find computers a little bit scary terrifying I don't know if that's still you're on there though I'm not I'm not I mean this may also needs an update and cheeks so world but I do love the I mean I guess I'm trying to not eliminate the possibility of working with certain tools just because they're digital I would like it to be kind of like an extension of what I'm already doing or something that'll kind of streamline my process so I do paint with gouache on paper and you know there's never going to be any product
00:54:12technology-wise that's going to have replace like the randomness of like paint on paper so there's something about that that will always have like my heart and my passion but I think that it completely ignoring the idea that like I need a computer to like set my files to an art director or you know just to communicate with people as I think very ignorant so like it's not I would just would not want it to be my main tool like my main crutch or it's something that kind of overrides what I really enjoy doing just for the sake of like ease or accessibility or something like that so yeah in front of her old fashioned
00:54:59it's about how much of your process
00:55:03how much of your process is by hand versus digital what does that look like for you a lot just cuz I don't want to wish you the computer so much but I also I found a Sim taking the trash and it works and is it really big so now I use it a lot close to my house in Grapevine yeah I was like what
00:55:33yeah I'm a little bit of a hoarder table legs
00:55:39so it was like I'm always looking at your did not get my son taking the garbage I hate usd's for that so in doing work by hand how do you feel about this idea of embracing the imperfections right because I'm not going to be perfect so yeah I love that part I think you know when other people look at the finished product so they probably think like I don't know what they think actually going to do there like fucking assume but anyway so I think that a lot of it is just trying to see what you can get away with it or just embracing the fact that there are things that you can control and I feel like that's General like mindset of how you know we exist in this world you know there's things that are out of your hands
00:56:39dinner you can either try and fight that or you can figure out how to embrace it and incorporate it into something that you're trying to say so that's where my mistakes are in my work I feel like I don't know I really like to my hand because it allows me to discover new things like you were saying earlier like I know how to use the pen but I want to try to use it in a different way to see what comes out and that's why I say like I do experimental handwriting because I'm like oh I want to try this brush and way that I shouldn't be using it and see what comes out from Bob and I don't think I feel that comfortable with the cintiq in that sense like I can do stuff that I'm like used to like I can replicate stuff that I've already created but to do know stuff I feel more comfortable with pen and paper pencil
00:57:35old school so I want to share with you guys and I have a question why was this weekend I finish reading a book by Rebecca solnit called The Faraway nearby it's very good if anyone wants to put on the reading list I would highly recommend it and she says creation is always in the dark because you can only do the work of making by not quite knowing what you're doing by walking into the darkness not staying in the light ideas emerge from edges and shadows to arrive in the light and then that's where they may be seen by others that's not where they are born
00:58:10I'm sorry love that idea that crazy happens in the dark and that we don't none of us ever really know what we're doing we're following your intuition where I mean it's not a secret anymore who said I'm past shows of the thing that we talked about a lot because I interview people who are in various stages of their careers and when I'm talking to people who I view is further along and drywall complish they will also say in a lot of times I'm following my intuition I don't know exactly what's going to work out and I just tried anyway and that's very comforting to me but this idea to follow your intuition exploring and discovering and seeing where it goes so I don't have his curious about your thoughts on that and then like where do you when you're creating do you feel like you know what you're doing and are you a little bit in the dark do you do you get stuck do you draw inspiration from other sources like what how does that feel for you
00:59:09take a look at Isabella so I think she's always refers nominating you to answer first I'm always in the dark I think always until I finish something and I'm like oh I think this works but I like that feeling because it's what actually gets me to a point that I'm doing different stuff and I feel like if I I find know what I was doing everyday I wouldn't be doing it cuz I've Ybor I've got a really bored so I need to do this to keep myself interested and that's why I feel like I rather take the road that it's like let's go that way I don't know it's more exciting and them in the long run but I do look at stuff I tried to look at more art actual design cuz I think
01:00:00it's hard to not like
01:00:04keep that designed in your head so I tried to if I'm going to look at something I'll look at art that could be giving me like a tone I feeling or something more abstract then then I look you know I don't feel like I know what I'm doing or even if I have a direction or something that I want it's rarely ever the thing that I got some of that is because of the medium or like my mental stay or you know who's asking for it or just you know any number of reasons that would change the outcome but I think being open to whatever the outcome maybe is just as important as like you know setting for thin like getting there anyone who says that they like know exactly what they're doing a wire you have to give the impression that you know what you're doing is part of it
01:01:03but that doesn't mean that you know he knows I would like to know that someone who's flying a plane knows what they're doing but I feel like you know there's just you have to be also ready for a lot of unknowns or like you know maybe that just means having a back-up plan or knowing what to do in a state of emergency baby this is more about flying a plane out but I think it's important to be open to possibility and I think that's a way of accepting whatever Direction you end up because otherwise maybe you'll end up really miserable because you constantly disappointed or you know maybe not encouraged anymore to do what it is that you do
01:01:41yeah it's really good I think also sometimes if we can hang out in that space of not knowing and be okay with it and just go through the process and see what the outcome is sometimes were pleasantly surprised like how many people have created really compelling work and they said oh it was a mistake like I didn't something happened along the way in the process and then I took a turn and it became this when in my mind I wanted it to be this other thing I think that's that's really great so what advice or insights would you maybe share with someone who is in that place of you know they're discouraged because they're like I feel like I should know what I'm doing either in my path or on a particular project
01:02:23I mean for me personally I Journal a lot I think finding a different way of expressing yourself off and helps and especially just writing it's not because I'm trying to write a book it's just to get my thoughts out on paper so I can look back on it later and just get a sense of what I was feeling at the time and I often like dumping out all those thoughts and feelings doesn't really make a lot of sense and then when I go back and read it was like oh you know like maybe I can translate it a little bit or try and understand what it was that I was really wanted to say I think it's natural to feel discouraged or stagnant ask why I like what is it about this moment that feels like pheasant is it because you want this feeling because it makes you feel like you're struggling or is it because you know you're truly lost and maybe you just need a break from this and
01:03:23you know I think that being a creative is highly demanding you're literally being asked to make things out of nothing on a like on such a constant basis that it seems extremely like demanding and Denise and sometimes and you know just that you're never going to hit the like Bullseye every time and I think that's totally fine and just a idea that you're moving and you know trying and you know like I don't know like shifting perspectives I think small changes are still important and I think that's valuable so you know have a good cry it's totally fine I love crying it's the best thing it's all part of my process it's okay
01:04:15we will later I think what you said it's amazing it's totally true and the other thing that I think for me at least it's helpful is to take it a little like not as serious like I used to have sketches like sketchbooks I mean the worst ever I hate sketchbooks it makes me feel so nervous I can feel like I need something that is like oh I'll throw this in the trash if it needs to go in the trash because it's terrible so I use loose sheets of paper if I'm stuck I just start with loose sheets of paper and then I feel like so much less pressure. Really helps me but that's when I'm working by hand sew
01:05:09can I add one more thing. Of course I think it's also important to remember to be kind to yourself that's something else I forgot a lot really hard on myself when I'm unhappy or you know whether it's a result or something or just because I can't get started I think you know it's probably said that like you would never say these things to anyone that you actually care about and not you know like saying to yourself is just so cruel sometimes and I don't think that's helpful so just be nice to yourself a really great thank you for sharing so I will ask question this is our last show of the year and the new year is quickly approaching don't everyone panic but it is December and so I guess I'll kind of reflect on what have you been doing the past 11 10 11 months in start to think about what lies ahead for next year so 1 Word Do you want to
01:06:09encapsulate your year next year I'll give you a minute to think like to answer first one word or phrase or one word that you that you want to do something for the house that okay okay so not a sound
01:06:39it has to be Audible
01:06:43for the for the listeners or listen to the podcast to be something they can hear
01:06:49yeah well I think next year it's a great future word for next year being kind to yourself and like lowering your I thought you meant my guttural Cryer
01:07:03no no but yeah just like you know it's it's it's a job even though we love it and we put everything in there it's also like you know repair bills are sticking a little more easy if we can
01:07:27well okay so when I do yoga which is not frequently but when they say to like do your intention or like the thing in the beginning where you're like I was going to go for yourself this kind of sounds like that to me often times I think of the Bon Me sandwiches I'm going to eat afterwards but other times I'm not super hungry I think of I think patients like I often times don't have it I think that I would like to have more of it and I would like to remind myself of it even when it comes to putting that's good so kindness and patience and I think that it's been a hell of a year and I think I think if we had more kindness and patience to what are cells and if we extended that more to others it would it would really make a difference from any of us
01:08:18now I have the warm fuzzies and we're all going to Cry of Fear
01:08:23those are the questions I have for you ladies ping is about thank you so much for joining us tonight
01:08:40this episode was produced by the great discontent and lean Benjamin Welch the great discontent features in-depth conversations with today's artists makers and takers you can learn more at the greatest content.com of course you can subscribe to the show on iTunes or wherever you find your podcasts that if you enjoyed this episode please consider giving us a rating in iTunes it really does help spread the word thanks so much.

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