The road I’ve been on has been a bumpy one over the last 5 years. At times it seems surreal. I often get asked where I went to school for design, or what design background I have? And I don’t have one. I went to ASU for business and dropped out. School is not for me. I prefer to self-educate, and when something interests me, I jump into the deep end. And I am losing track of where I was going, so back to seeming surreal. Who would of thought that a hobby would turn into a career? And this career would turn into a luxury brand? Don’t think I’ve ever heard of a company that grew organically (without a big investment), could turn into a luxury brand in 3 or 4 years. But that was never the intention, it just happened.
Yesterday we were reading the NY Times, sitting down drinking our coffee in NYC. The article was titled “Wait, you need to suffer more”. And it was about becoming a great musician and whether suffering was necessary. Music is my real gift, not designing furniture. I can sort of “see” sound. And ending my “suffering” and finding peace has been my life’s goal for some time. So the article was fascinating. I discussed it with Sim, and she put it into perspective. Great art requires the ability to feel deeply, the essence of something. Some are born with it, like Sim. And others learn that, or suffer and conquer the feeling. By allowing yourself to feel and fully experience your pain, you grow and become more conscious.
Sim has had a really rough life compared to mine. And she continues to struggle with her past. I used to try to fix that for her, but I am learning to accept it. She is who she is, just perfect. As am I. And my struggle, with Sim helping me get through it, has made me evolve into a more feeling person. And I am very comfortable with who I am.
And I realized, that through my struggles, and with Sim’s help, I’ve become an “artist”. I’ve been called that by clients ever since I started selling. But I never believed it. I considered myself an entrepreneur. I found a niche, and turned it into a career. It was more mechanical at first. Finding interesting elements and combining them. Now it’s more pouring my heart and soul into something, and feeling the Essence of the design. It’s more felt in the heart, than in the mind. You can write volumes about an art piece, but words will never convey the feeling. They can’t.
So how does a kid, who is only 10, play the blues and move people? Either they can perfectly mimic, or they feel the music on a deeper level than most. It’s doubtful they’ve gone the suffering route and fully comprehend the meaning of it all. I believe some people are born more connected to themselves. Women, for instance, are more feeling creatures. Men are more logical. And we tend to drive each other crazy. But together, we tend to balance each other out.
When I think of an artist, things like “starving/struggling artist” and “crazy” come to mind. An artist is going to be more connected to their emotions, maybe more expressive. They may not vocalize it. It may come out through their work. If they do vocalize it, they often get looked down upon. It’s not normal to express your deepest feelings. The American greeting is “how are you doing?” And we reply “great” or “OK”. It’s never “shitty” or “sad” or “I’m thinking of jumping off a cliff tomorrow”. And when you make eye contact with this greeter, you automatically make a fake smile. Then it goes away once they pass. The artist feels, that is why they are an artist. And all great civilizations were founded upon these people. Yes the scientists did this and that, but the artists made the area desirable. Why? I think it’s because they expressed themselves in some fashion. And we all want to express ourselves and be heard. It’s at the core of our being. But we don’t, we put on our fake smile, and say “Great! How are you?” Even though you feel terrible or sad. I know over the last 5 years, I’ve felt more than I’ve ever felt, good and bad. We’re talking bottomless pit bad. I was a step away from going insane a few times. That’s because “feeling” is scary as hell! Especially when you hadn’t done it since you were a child. Watch a kid get hurt, cry, then get over it. They were allowed to experience it. Then parents tend to say things like “it’s ok” or “stop your crying”, instead of allowing the child to feel. Then eventually, the crying never happens again.
I know, that when I haven’t cried or teared up in the last month or two, I’m not connected to myself. Imagine a dry spell of 20 years?! Now I am not talking about spilling red sauce on my sweater and crying. More like having a deep conversation with my wife and tearing up over the love that is felt. THAT is what art “is”, it evokes an emotion.
I used to play the guitar a lot. I remember when that died. I was dating this girl and was miserable and in love at the same time. The urge to play and express myself just died. Part of me died. It wasn’t by any means her fault. I jumped into a crazy relationship, was at a job I deplored, working for somebody I didn’t respect and disrespected me. And so my emotions dried up. And it wasn’t until I met Sim, that they came back. Sim is walking and talking art. She is the Mother of Vintage Industrial. Without her, we’d be missing the love and nurture component of the business. She manages to lift our spirits, keep us connected to each other, and guide us on an amazing path. Many of you don’t know much about her. But she’ll be coming to the forefront soon with her new fashion line. If you think our designs are good, wait until you see what she has in store!
Thank you for listening to my story, feels great to get it out!