🎨 Michael Parenteau. How to raise a family while pursuing your passion.June 26
Creativity can lead to some pretty unexpected places. Throughout his life, Michael learned to achieve the impossible and now he is teaching his daughter how to do the same.
Welcome to the ride that show. How often do you hear that being an artist is just not a really good passing life? Artists don't make any money. You won't be able to support yourself. You should go do something responsible. Today, my guest is Michael Parent, who's an artist, a product designer, a developer and the creative who's raised a wonderful teenage daughter while making art. Michael and I will talk about creativity, passion for learning how an art education is actually the best education you can get.
His family was hit or miss. Some of them were very encouraging and then there were other people who were not.
my My family was sort of like hit or miss in terms of whether or not they were like some of the family was really encouraging about me becoming an artist.
And then there were other people that were not that my grandmother,
was like always telling me that I should not go to school for business Or,
I should be a doctor like my grandfather Or,
I look at all my all my Children.
She was she had eight kids and,
they were all like business doctors,
You know you should go into finance. Make me that's That's where the money is, right? You know, go to college, get a degree and do that. Um, and at the same time, I would be like, Well, Grandma, I think I want to go to art school, and she'd be like, you know, good art school, you know,
But she would send me paints every year for Christmas. So on one hand, she was like, totally sending me, like, all the juice that I needed to like, you know, especially get my fix and at the same time telling me that, you know, I shouldn't be doing that because, you know, I'm not gonna make any money. And I could be, you know, the family mantra. You know,
roof rule, you know, Is it food on the table shirt on your back, a roof over your head? That's it's like the constant, you know? You know, that's those were that was the advice that was That was what I was supposed to, you know, being successful growing up, Thio her was if you could provide those things, that was That's the idea. Forget about whether or not you know, you've worked your kid's minds or anything. Expect that along the way. You know,
it's like a CZ, long as you have those financials covered, you know that. That's you know, that's that's that. But, you know, I asked her. I asked her years later. You know why? I was like, why did you keep sending me art supplies if you didn't want me to, you know, grow up and become an artist. And she said, you know,
um because it made you happy. And I liked you being happy. And so it was like, you know, that that was a certain kind of encouragement in a certain kind of discouragement. At the same time, my mother, on the other hand, was always like, Don't ever listen to her, you know, don't listen to your grandmother. She's crazy. And my mother, you know, uh,
was very supportive of me going to art school, you know, she was the oldest of all the kids, all of the eight Children and you know, Yeah. I mean, like, you know why I went to a fine arts high school and going to college. Everything. That was the path that I was on. My most successful family member in terms of the financial. You know, like, you know, he was a builder, and he made the most money out out of most of my family,
you know, at the time. And he wanted, you know, I actually I considered at a certain point when my daughter, after my daughter was born, I was, you know, kind of concerned about whether or not I would be able to make a living as an artist. And I came to him and asked him if I should go to a school for architecture because, you know, I like drawing. And I've got a bit of a math brain and was sort of always interested in architecture and design. Um, but, you know,
my background was all in fine arts and and when I came to my uncle who was a builder and I thought that that was an easy sec weigh in, I was looking to, you know, hey, I need to make money and he said you need to make money, but, you know, the money will come if you're passionate about what you do. And that that was I mean, he literally said, I think you'd make a wonderful architect But I don't think that that's what you want to do. And, you know, if that's not what you really, really are passionate about what you want to do. Um,
you know, like, I just I think you'll make more money if you're really invested in whatever it is you're doing. And, you know, like the money will come if you just keep doing what you really love doing. Um, you know, of course, it's easier for him to say something like that when he's like sitting on a fat bankroll. And, you know, I'm a starving artist trying to figure out how to take care of my kid. You know? I mean, like,
but, uh, that, you know, you know, along the way. You know, I was very encouraged. You know, My first guidance counselor was the person that bought my first painting. I had a guidance counselor in high school, and he purchased my first painting. It was it was crazy to to me to think that I could sit in a classroom and and paint something, and then all of a sudden, somebody connected with that something, and that connection led to an energy exchange,
you know, he was working to make money and he gave me money for for this thing that I was just kind of happened to be doing and like, you know, of course, down the road, I would come and visit him in his office and and they're the painting was on the wall and, you know, he kind of like we'd be talking, and then he just kind of kicked back and look up at the painting and then he'd say, It's a prequel painting. Yeah, you know, it's like it was a students are, you know, and he purchased it. And to me,
it meant the world to me because, like, yeah, like, you know, You know, I'm sure I didn't spend the money on anything super meaningful at the time, But but but But I can distinctly remember Oh, wow. Here's this thing that people have told me you'll never make any money doing, And I immediately I actually made some money doing it already, And I was like, 15 years old, So, like there was like there was a thing that went off in my head that you know, it it played into I think all of the positive encouragement and like,
reinforcement that that some of the people in my family and my surroundings, that they were very supportive of me taking on this risky endeavor, you know? Ah, and you know, ultimately, I think that it was probably one of the greatest things that's ever happened to me in terms of like, my upbringing, you know, was was being taking on that challenge and being given the support along the way. It's like I enjoy doing something, and somebody in my family said, Hey, enjoys doing this So let's let's nurture that right On the other hand again there's that there's that challenge, which is Hey, you know what?
You're gonna, you know, like you're gonna come into the real world and and you're probably not gonna make any money. And it's kind of like, Well, jeez, you know, like, that's not very encouraging. But then somebody like, buy something from you and you're like, Yeah, are they? How do they know I'm not gonna make any money and, like, right?
Like like you know. But then you got other people who have made lots of money doing something that they were told that probably wouldn't make any money, and they're like, you know, kind of like doing all right. And they're giving me that encouragement. Say, go for it. You know, like, take that risk and, you know, yeah, I think I think that I was like, that was, like,
probably, like, one of the greatest things for me. Like, it taught me so much about everything else that that I do. You know, I honestly, like I think about my daughter and like, becoming a dad. I think that that was like, you know, like there were There were all these things that people like Like when they think about their kid, they think, you know, like, what do they want?
What do you want for your child? You know, like, you know, like, how How are you doing versus, you know, being parented parenting versus being parented, you know, like what? What's that? What's that like? You know, what's the different differential between between those those two paths? You know, obviously,
oftentimes, as your apparent, maybe have that experience of Oh, I can kind of see what my parents might have been thinking or doing at some time, because because of the certain pressures and, you know, like behavioral things And, like, things like, I'm reliving my childhood through my kiddo. You know, um but I think I think that, like, you know, like I think something that most parents have in common is there's this, you know,
you want something for your child. You want you want something. Like what? You know, whether it's something greater you want. I don't know what it is you know to me. You know, I want to be able to. I wanted to be able to support my daughter and encourage her and know her well enough. I wanted to know my daughter well enough. Two, like know when set. Like she found something that she loves, like school and education. You know, everybody wants their kid to have a pen and education are toe learn things,
you know, But But that's not that. Like like what do you want to get out of school? Is it is it? Do you want to learn how to read the signs so that you can operate a cash register? Or do you want to be inspired like, really, like, be thrilled learning, you know, like to me, like My greatest hope for her is that she goes through life inspired, you know, like motivated to do something, you know, with her time because it's limited. I think that's probably that that's that's the foundation of what I feel like it is to be a parent. You know, that's my experience of being a parent. Great thing.
I love everything about this because I very much agree with us,
and my goal is not to sell to you,
agree or disagree with people.
But at the same time,
I can't help it.
When I listen to some people say things that I don't agree with.
I might not,
but this is all in everything that I agree with.
And in fact,
just yesterday I went to this glass,
just kind of performed.
My wife signed me,
positive parenting and a lot of it.
It's about how well,
actually there's nothing to fix about.
You check out. You know, everything you need to fix. It is about you, the parent, your kids. But you're going there, and a lot of parents like oh, well, I have to tell my child how to do things, and I'm sitting there is kind of depressed cause I'm like, No, you need to tell you, child how to get, you know, excited about things you want them to do.
And that's about the last thing you need to tell them to do. And then they have to discover everything on their own, right? But it's really hard because it's actually, I mean, maybe you're just like a very laid back parent, but it's really hard to step back and say, like, I'm just gonna chill ax, and I'm gonna let my kid do whatever I I think I want her to do. But I'm gonna let her take the direction that I'm going to give her and then run, and if she's gonna just run straight into the wall, that's fine. You know, she hit herself and bounce back and try again. But it's really hard is apparent to, like, actually do that.
it is hard.
I don't really like,
How is thinking?
I was just listening to what you're saying and tryingto identify with weather,
and I'm actually a chill dad,
but I you know,
like I think that there are moments when I can get pretty uptight and like,
attached to some position,
some idea of,
just like what she should be doing,
Like I was telling you earlier,
it's really challenging. It's become more challenging as my daughter's became becoming a teenager. You know, it's just a wild time, you know, like she's becoming a woman. You know, there's this and, like, you know, different emotions starting to happen different. You know, behavior is starting to happen. It's harder to communicate these days about certain things, certain choices that are being made or you know, the way that time is spent.
All of that stuff is it's different today than it used to be, like, say, when she was, you know, seven or eight or nine or 10 even, you know, like, uh, man, even 11 or 12. I mean, this is like you. It's like, kind of new, like we're going.
We're kind of it's almost like becoming a parent all over again, and it's and I'm a different parent now than I waas when she was a baby or a toddler. And so it's it's, I think, that it's good advice to try to remember that like, Hey, you know, who am I working on right now? Am I working on myself as a parent or am I or am I working on my kid like it like it's not really I can't I can't work on my kid, my kids, She's she's doing She's doing her thing, you know, and learning how to do everything in learning what her thing is. And like I said before, I want to like, I want to get into like I want.
I want to know her well enough to where I can understand when she's found something that is her thing, Uh, versus just something that might just be a fat or, you know, whatever. But yeah, that's I think that's that's that's it's challenging at this age. It's really challenging at this age.
I'm curious. Uh, do you think or I mean, I just saw her, you know? But do you think she's an introvert than extra? She
I felt like,
like in this case here we have,
She spends a lot of time in her room,
she's like she spends a lot of time reading kind of hanging out doing her thing.
but like when it comes to like,
crowds, things like that. No problem. She's like a total social butterfly. You saw, she comes, she comes. She knew you'd never met her before. She comes in playing Galena, and she's just like, you know all about it, you know? Didn't even introduce herself, Really. She was just like she just came in and was just like, you know,
like, doing this thing. You know, uh, you know what happens to be something that she's really into. So she's just, like, occupied and like, it doesn't like the world around her is like not you know, it. It doesn't alter her. Yeah, I'm
she's at home,
so she's probably feeling very comfortable and everything,
but she was totally open about just playing ukulele with us and not really minding the fact that you should never think it's not something I would have ever done is a kid on?
I just realized that I'm probably very introverted,
but then I started thinking about people that I like to hang out with,
like you and the other folks,
and they are actually most range introverts because I think in terms for what I've understood,
introverts feed off their own energy.
Right in a quiet room is the best place to recharge.
While extroverts really want to go in second with the energy from the crowd on,
I think thinking Thio,
even the folks we just worked with,
like you and Sam and Lexie,
for example, I think, like all of us individually like to hang out and talk one on one, or maybe like one on three, right? But I don't I don't know about you, but, like I didn't get an impression that any of us really love crowds.
I did crowds,
but I But it's but like it's Yeah,
I don't I don't necessarily find myself thriving on a crowd.
But I like,
like I go to festivals and I used to do a lot of,
like traveling and,
different festivals and on by festivals.
grateful dead shows and like,
so I'd be out in a crowd.
But it's interesting,
though, because that kind of crowd was lots of little pockets of meaningful interactions. It wasn't like I'm in this crowd, you know, like like I'm in a city like a like a cities, cities cool. There's a lot of people in the city, but they do You feel like I think I think I'm more comfortable in the country, you
know, it's also like you don't need to go there and give a talk and feel like everybody's listening to you or, you know, be engaged in. Like all of these conversations, I feel like the crowd you're speaking of is most like a coffee shop. You know, people say, Well, how can you like a quiet room and a noisy coffee shop and like because and noisy coffee shop is the quietest place there is because there's there's so much going on that there's nothing going on its back? And so I was just fine. I just find it really peculiar, right, because it feels like your daughter was, like, so active, so hyper and like excited about this ukulele. Well, in many ways, you're like still a very just like San person,
I don't know,
like like so like maybe at school,
she might have a different sort of,
I know like I like it for many years.
We go out to dinner and,
like we had to work with her to,
speak to the,
the person taking the order,
because the person taking the order that they're doing, they're trying to perform a job right, like and they were looking at you When they talk to you, you know, like if they're doing a good job, you know, there's there's some level of engagement, an acknowledgement that you're a human being and that were like in the same space, you know, And there's that, like that. Like there's a moment where you're having a connection, even though even if the connection is, I'm like, you're hungry, paying for dinner and you know,
like you're like standing at the table doing a job like there is like that, Like we're also just kind of like animals hanging out in the space and way either acknowledge each other or we don't. And I think that she had some sense of shyness and would like she would always give me or her mother her order. So the person would be really ready to take her order and should be looking at her and say, What about you, sweetie? You know something like that, and And my daughter would never like, you know, like acknowledge the, you know, the person taking our order. It was It was always, you know, she'd look over it, you know,
Mama Army. And that was that was the way that that that worked way actually worked with her toe. Like like, Hey, you know, like, you know something about being able to project your voice and like in a two to a stranger, you know, And that's the other thing. That's the other thing, right? It's like you don't talk to strangers. You get Do you hear this like this'll Kind of like, you know, that's that's like something that you know, At least I grew up being told Don't talk to strangers,
right? And of course, you know, like, you know, I don't know, like I did enough traveling over the years and you don't like and my parents moved around a lot when I was a kid. Like there was always strangers, like like so, like, how do you like? At some point, you're like, OK, don't talk to strangers. But yet,
like, what would it like? You know, like I don't know, like, you know, and G's in some ways, you know, some some of our family members are more strangers than the people that I've met on the road, you know? So I don't know, you know, like that za weird thing that I like it there is a mental mental sort of like thing there, you know? But yeah, we would go to,
we would go to dinner And there was obviously, like, some form of, ah disconnect between her and the person that was taking the order. And, you know, over time, you know, like, just like just working with her toe, like, make that connection until, like, you know, like, you know,
like, just respect. You know, it's like a respect thing even, you know, just to, like, acknowledge that this other person is here and, you know, like, look them in the eyes, give them, you know, tell them what it is that that that you want what you need so that they can do their job and everything can be you know, hunky Dorey.
Well, the ties back into it was before, because what you're really doing is your guiding her. You're not making her do it, But you're helping her do it on her own in sort of a very narrow band of options.
It's an interesting,
like a specific example,
I guess even,
like I mean there there are other things that,
we don't have to.
We don't have to worry about that stuff,
like it's it's weird.
There are things like you're looking at the picture there of my daughter and I standing on the top of Mount ST Helens.
my daughter came to me right before she turned 10 and said,
I want to climb a mountain with you And I was like, Okay, I mean, I don't want to say like, in a way, you know, like, and you know, she was just like, yeah, what do you think for my 10th birthday, we could do Mount ST Helen's, right? And thinking, uh, yeah,
you know, like, what do you say? Like like I didn't want to say no. I don't want to say No, you can't go climb a mountain. You're too young or even like, you know? I mean, geez, I don't want to say I couldn't go climb a mountain. I was like, I kind of just, like, thought about it was like, Let's let's let's see what that would take.
How does one go about climbing a mountain? You know, Sure enough, we're you know, now we're on an adventure we're looking at, you know, Mount ST Helen's books and guidebooks and things about the mountain, and and we're looking at, like people's trail logs and finding out like what people's experiences were like, you know, going on upon the climb, learning about the terrain, figuring out what kind of gear we need finger out with. Tight with weapon is June 20th a good time? Thio, you know,
climb the mountain. We learned you need passes and permits and, you know, you know, like there's only so many people get them per day and its satellite like it turned into this whole leg. You know, like you know, we're now we're learning together and on at the end of the day, you know, we picked me and we go and Andi went the first. We went the first time we went. Didn't work out, you know, totally like whitewash. I couldn't see past the Ridgeline sideways Blown, right?
I mean, it rained the whole time. It was practically like hailing up at the top. It was crazy s So we turned around, we left, but we had hiked up. I mean, that was we getting up to the ridge line up was it was a good That was a good climb, just didn't of itself. It was nowhere near what the actual rest of the mountain was like. But But getting there that first time that we went gave me enough of of experience with her to where I was like, you know, I think she could do this like this kid's got this kid's got spunk. You know, I'm like she could do this. She's 10.
She's carrying a backpack that's almost her size, you know? But, you know, like I think I think this could work and where I was really bummed that we had to, like, turn around and go so literally the next week we went well, you know, I was like, so jazzed way should try that again. You know, you know, I'm doing a search for people who may be bail on their permits and can't go and whatnot. You know, I get I get more permits and we go and, um,
it was much harder than I mean, It was like considerably harder, like getting to the rich line. I realize now that was like, that was literally a cakewalk, theat actual bouldering, getting further and further up the field of like the Ashfield. It's almost like climbing up a beach at the last that very last Bush. It's the shortest little stint of the entire mountain, but it's like either mountains already kicked your butt, and you're really you're really, really tired. You're getting up in elevation and your feet just can't make any solid ground. So every step you take is like, you know, goes backwards six inches,
you know, so like, you know, you just you know, you're looking looking down and you're taking taking so many steps and you look up and you're like, I haven't moved. I'm still here, you know, it's psychologically kind of like messes with you. Andi way we're going up and, you know, along the way we ran into people. Hey, we're getting close and people look at us to be like, Oh, no,
you know And, you know, keep going And, you know, look, you look up and say You see another person coming Isay, we getting close and then you know, it's this one, this one, a couple of guys they look at us like Like I have no idea we didn't make it to the top And you guys should probably turn around because, you know, it's there's just no way. There's just no way you're getting up. You're going getting up there in time to get back down in time and, you know, etcetera,
etcetera. We're kind of like That's not very encouraging. Way kept going. We kept going and, you know, we get to a certain point, and this this one couple comes up there like
they're like, Oh my goodness,
like they seem like this You,
my daughter Sophia.
She's 10 and they're just like,
amazed that she is where she is.
But just like blown away.
they had just summited.
So they were like,
high as a kite,
like their whole,
their whole mental attitude was like they're on their way down.
They did it.
They saw the view,
they made it to the top.
And it was beautiful. Where we were we were away. We were way, way high up there. But yeah, like sure enough, you know, they told us. They said, You know, you are getting pretty close now and you know not gonna sugarcoat it. It's gonna get a lot harder, but it's so worth it, right? And so my kids like taking this in because we're tired. We got our butts kicked.
Anyways, we're getting further and further, and she's making up songs to keep her mind occupied, to go telling stories and talking about all sorts of different things, you know? And it's really quiet up there. Once you get really, really high up, it gets really, really quiet. And I looked looked down at her At one point I realized, man, hey, this is it. Like she's looking fully miserable. This is awful.
Now I'm like, what kind of a parent am I that I took my kid all the way up here on this mountain, right? Like I'm like now I'm like, maybe this wasn't such a great idea. Maybe Maybe maybe this is too much. You know, I looked at her and I said, Kill if this one If you want this to be to be the top, we can we can We can let this be the top and she breaks down, starts crying about how she wanted me to make it to the top. And she told me that she said I should just go without her. And I was like, Well, there's no way you think it is Mount up here, you know,
like you know, it's okay, We're good, you know? Yeah, We're a team. It's it's It's all good, you know? And like, you know, you've done, You've done great. This is amazing, you know? So one hand, I'm like,
telling her like it's okay to quit, you know, like we can go back. This is this is actually pretty impressive experience, you know, But there was something in her that was like, but I wanted to make it to the top so bad, and I really want you to make it to the top. You know, it was like, you know, I looked up and I saw there were two people standing on the top of the mountain and they were waving at us. And my daughter was, like, you know, looking up at them.
And I was like, Kiddo, that's the top. That's it right there. And she was like, That's it right there where those people are waving at us. Thank. Yep, that's that. That's the top. And sure enough, we were, like, think we could think we could take some, like maybe you could just do the little little steps, Little tiny steps,
you know, See me. I will just just keep little steps. I had, like, some pocket a Swedish fish was handing her sugar candy, you know, kind of like, you know, you should check the brain into, you know, it's like it's gonna be okay, you know, like, you know, And,
uh, sure enough, you know, that was it. That was the top. We made it. We made it to the top, and and it was like but she like it was her choice. It was her idea. I never would have got on that trip if it weren't for her. You know, uh, but it was like, you know, like I didn't want to say no, but I also like,
wanted to be responsible. Once we got in, I really was kind of like a man. I was feeling bad, like maybe maybe I had done something very responsible. At the end of the day, we made it to the top and back down over 10 hours of hiking, and she, at age 10 summited Mount ST Helens and like, she'll have that with her for the rest of her life. Man, it's like a It's really cool, you know? It's like a It's inspiring to me. Like that was like, that was that was a major major deal.
Now where that energy went now that she's 13 I have no idea, you know, like sometimes, like, really like it's like what she really wants to do is, like, hang out in her room. And, like YouTube videos, like all day long, you know, but like but still like it's like, but I always have that sort of in the back pocket. I get to remind her like, Hey, wait a second,
you know, this is difficult. Like I've seen difficult. I've seen you like do difficult, you know like you, you're stronger than you think. You are kind of thing, you know? But yeah,
it's a beautiful story.
And I think you touched through it a couple of really in foreign points,
How she started by exploring with you,
like learning all about something totally in the process and so many people don't even know how to do it.
And that in itself is hugely valuable for life and for being able to do anything.
Because a lot of people and like you mentioned with your grandma's advice full into your Wall Street,
gonna count guy whatever right or a girl,
and then they don't really know how to do anything but that thing.
And this teaches you that No,
you can't really do anything literally anything.
Just going to figure it out,
especially in 2017.
There's so many materials you can learn anything and fairly quickly Thio as long as you're interested in.
And that's another thing,
Like maybe she's watching YouTube videos today because there's actually not a lot of inspiring stuff like actually to do with with her time mom, saying Jones was this crazy thing. Nobody else 10 was doing around her. So it was actually inspiring, actually fun and maybe doing math homework because just kind of lame. Everyone everyone's doing like, How hard is that? Why should I spend my time doing homework? We're learning history and all those things and like, lastly, that perseverance and, like really, the desire to finish what you started again like That's amazing, right? And all that seems to becoming not from you telling anybody to do something
It's It's natural.
It's like a natural inclination.
It's like the ukulele like that's That's her new Mount ST Helen's.
Right now it's like she's,
one day you could you heard from outside.
We're sitting in here and,
you hear this like sweet little strumming of this like,
this toy pinky kind of kind of string sound and like and like and it's like,
kind of off outside the office,
and I'm like sitting there here one day,
and I had another person singing the catch You in my office and I was like,
I was like,
cool, you know, like likes playing Cem ukulele, music kind of spoon. And of course, he was over there thinking Ah, cool. You know, Michael's playing some ukulele music on this computer over there, and then all of a sudden, you know, like it starts to get louder and louder, and I realized it's coming from outside. And here comes my Kido, like walking up to the house, the office space she's playing.
And, you know, I'm like, I didn't know kid play. Uh, I didn't know that she had any interest in that. Like,
Where did this come from? Well, it turns out
one of her teachers at school,
like has a collection of them.
And he was always outside,
like outside playing lately when the kids were like,
coming up the Boston et cetera.
And she joined a club during lunch.
She goes every single day,
and she's learning how to play from this guy at lunchtime,
and she's been doing this for,
like the last couple months.
it was like now she's like borrowing them and taking them home with her over the weekends and,
like, you know, like she's into it. You know what it's like. OK, well, that's cool, you know, like she. But I think you're right. I think there's like there's some some sense of boredom that, like like, sets in. We're like, literally I've heard that. I heard the words I'm bored,
you know, which is like I it blows my mind. I I I'm not aboard person like there's like there's just too much to do, man. If anything, I'll go on. Go on, go until I'm completely burnt 10. Then I don't want to do anything. I just want to like like I beat in my brain into submission.
And by adult,
I simply mean a guy with a job paying the responsibilities.
You have a lot of things to do that I simply things to do,
like paying bills of things to do.
But they're boring and they shouldn't exist.
they get in school like there's things,
things to do,
other things that signed to you and your unnecessary but things to do that.
like all of those pressures kind of go away because,
you know the worst.
Like if you quit your job tomorrow,
that's not gonna work out so well for your mortgage,
but if she just decided not to do homework for a month. Yeah, maybe she'll fail out of school. But what's the big deal like, to be honest, right? Because the pressure Theo, because the pressure to stay in school, it's simply society telling you what, we should finish school. But really, if you think about it like there's very little value in some ways you did art school, right? But two weeks or something
in my last two years of high school were it was like four and 1/2 hours a day,
five days a week,
all studio time.
And it was like,
I had do an internship.
I had to write a thesis.
I had to,
put together a portfolio.
participate in critiques and,
like giving and receiving feedback.
You know, being able to explain the work, Like like what it is that you're doing while you're doing it. You know, like a lot of spent a lot of time like out in the in the community to like figuring out, like like meeting other artists that are making a living making art, which was also really interesting exposure from that same sort of perspective where I was coming from But they also give you the same pitch he was sent That sze interesting There is this there is this like you know, like alumni from that from that school would come in and tell us Hey, most of you are probably never going to make a living doing this. Most of you probably by the time you're my age won't even be doing this anymore like that's just like just like to say that people just say that and people have been told that and and so they're like repeating this story in their head over and over again, you know, and like but like, that's like that. Like at the same time, you go out into the world and you look at a gallery. Those paintings don't look super inexpensive Sculptures air somebody somebody made them.
Somebody put them in there. Somebody's running a business. It's tze there's there is some other aspect to it that's it's possible, you know? Yeah, Yeah, I went to art school and it was It was like, really like, really art school. Uh I tell you, man, I don't know that my daughter would ever like like, I'm not sure that that's her thing, you know, like, but I sure wish that that,
you know, I hope that she can have some opportunity or experience like that. Like, not like my experience, but that connection of like, man, it was like one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
But, you know, I don't even know if you're recognized right now, but part of why she's able to do this is because you're enabling it for maybe not prohibiting it. Right? But it's surely okay household to pick up a ukulele.
So maybe she gets it from you.
Get in here.
like maybe maybe I'm providing some of that.
I don't know.
I wasn't actually thinking about that.
That is actually really,
really interesting because,
one of the coolest things about going to the school was the fact that all they did was like,
you create the space.
All they do is create the space and,
like, do exactly what we're talking about, which is, like, you know, communicate with you like What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Can you explain your work. You know, like, let's talk about it. I'm gonna tell you what I like and what I don't like about it, and it's gonna be very frank and very clear. And it's and it's hard. It's hard to talk about things that are abstracts like art and, like,
like beauty, or like what people like. Sometimes you look at something and they feel something, and they don't know why they feel what they feel. And they don't know how to say, You know, little and say like how they feel, why they feel it, etcetera. It's complex, but like that's kind of like life and humanity in general, like being able to have a conversation with another human being. Yeah, like we do that with her like No doubt that's that's that's that happens here. It was really something special to be able to walk into a room and there be rolls of canvas for days. Unlimited buckets of Jess.
Oh, to prime this with all the tools you need to make the frames t build your canvas and stretch your canvas all the oil paint you can ever imagine a printmaking studio arc Megan, take welders and a steel yard, right? I'm talking about all of these, like, you know, like materials and tools and the space, like they created this space. And then they were just respectful humans, you know, helping guide and raise, like, you know, newer, younger humans.
And, you know, I didn't like, for me. That was, like, totally appropriate. I don't know that, like, anybody would have gone into that art space and had the same experience or would have known what to do or had been motivated to do anything with that stuff my daughter might have been. She might be. She's pretty creative, but that might not be her thing. The ukulele might be her thing. And so, like,
you know, I want to know, like, a second. Is that her thing? You know, how can she have that experience with Elena, Is it? You know, are there lots of different kinds of ukulele is after you She needed like this, You know which ones that she she likes, and she doesn't like, which one's she should try. It said, you know what I mean. Like like there's this whole leg.
Yeah, Yeah, right. Yeah. Um, e I guess what I mean what? I want to go back to what I was thinking when I was saying like I hoped that she could have an experience like that. It's like, Yeah, she's she's having she's had she's having the life experience for sure.
One thing you also mentioned in passing is sort of compassion and ability to explore. And I think that's what makes you such a great designer, because, yeah, we should probably mention that now you're actually like a digital designer. Think Florida's, But it's you're making money, right, and you're living off that. It's wonderful, but it's actually not. You didn't go to school to learn how to make computer sketches, right? That you just. But your mind thinks about how to understand people on how to ask the right questions and all of that, like the tools hex somebody else can do of the design, like the actual computer work right? It's the ability to process that information and asked the right question and come up with the right model is what's so important than that? Probably came to you via all these other
I think the art foundation was like it was hands down,
like you hear a lot about like,
abstractions like they don't like in the engineering world.
people are always talking about,
even just like,
it's like way work together and made a design system.
there's this idea of,
like taking these little abstractions little pieces that you could like, assemble and put them together in all sorts of different ways. It's an alphabet, our language, like he's the same thing, like your colors in the lines and shapes and constraints of materials. And all of those things are like, you know, can be directly mapped like conceptually two. You know, any, any other, any other problem, really like and trying to solve problems. Yeah, totally working,
working where I think I think. I think hanging out and working in going to school for fine arts gave me all the things that I needed in order to be able to, like, just collaborate with other people, communicate with other people and, you know, come up with a way of working a way of learning, you know?
So do you think it's important for kids because you started are fairly early, right? I'm not a kid, but like a young adult, do you think it's important for a growing adults to really know what they want to d'oh? Or is it okay to kind of have a vague idea and then go explore? And maybe what's the best way for them to do that?
I don't know.
sometimes when I started painting,
I have an idea of what it is that I want to paint.
sometimes when I start that painting with that thing that I have in mind,
that I want to paint it doesn't end up the way that I imagined.
And that can be frustrating.
Or it can change and turn out better.
We're worse all sorts of different possibilities,
in terms of like starting with a vision and like,
where is it?
Where does it take you?
Or I could start a painting and not know what it is that I want to paint.
But I'm just painting just experimenting. You take a brush, you dip it in some color. Maybe you don't even look at the color. You just dip your brush in a color and you know, you look away from the campus and then you close your eyes and you think, Mmm, I'm gonna make I'm gonna make a mark. Now, I have no idea what it's gonna look like, but I'm gonna make the mark and you make the mark, and then you look at it. You know, you had no idea what it was your like. You know, you had an idea that you were going to make a painting.
That's about as far as you is. You went, You you didn't know what color was that you chose in Jesus. He could have painted on the wall for all you know, like right. Like it's like anything could have happened, you know? But they like. But like the moment that you open your eyes when you look at it, you kind of like a like an open world. Like it's just like the decision was made. You kind of live with you and you can move on from there. And the question is, can you when you when you look at what that mark is? Can you Can you live with it? Does it?
Does it take you in another direction can you do? Can you see something about it that could lead to some future place? You know, I think that both paths are totally okay. So, like, at my advice to anybody who's like, you know, moving in that in that space is like, it's okay to be where you are. It's okay to want to be somewhere else. Like I think that that, like that's the dialogue that goes on and at least in my world, in my head, when I'm working, it's It's,
you know, it's constantly like, uh, I'm constantly asking myself, You know, Is this where I want to be? Uh, you know, how am I doing here? You know, and then it's like a little bit of a hide and go seek game with myself because, you know, and then there's moments where I'm not thinking at all. I'm just I'm just like, you know, the paint is like happening,
you know, like this thing is happening. I'm watching this thing. I'm like it's almost like I'm sitting somewhere else, observing this body, like with this this idea and like painting colors and this thing is happening, and the painting is just kind of like happening. And it's weird because, like, it's almost like out of body, kind of like experience at times, you know, like, I don't know. It's like that, huh?
I don't think that that's a goal. It's just this weird, eerie kind of feeling of being in some no minds end state or whatever. They just kind of like, you know, like a you know, just just awareness. Like watching something happen. I think that, yeah, I think I think that, like, you know, you know, whether you know, or you don't know,
Um, how do you know or don't know? Yeah, yeah, yeah. How do you know Like, whether you know or don't know I mean, that's like it's like it's kind of like, yeah, painting. It's just paint. Just make make I e se make something and you know, chae it out. If you like it, try it again.
You know, for personal life, thing is great because it creates such a multidimensional, um, attitude to life, right? It's not that like, Yeah, you have to go and get a job to put a shirt on one's back, and it makes all sorts of interesting pasts and reasons and ways to get there, and it feels like it feels very empowering. And, uh like creates a purpose. That's not a singular purpose. You can like, find a purpose, it at every node. You know that you like a decision that you take. You confined the purpose for the next thing or many of them. Yeah, it's not boring.
It's not boring.
It's it's it's Sometimes it's challenging.
Sometimes it's frustrating.
Sometimes it's thrilling.
Sometimes it's blissful,
So it's like it is absolutely multidimensional,
a wild card.
like you like you can try to control it and you know,
good luck with that.
like you know, and some people are actually, that's their That's their craft. It's more like a craft, and they're like they're honing their ability to control their, you know. But some people that what they're doing is they're honing their relationship to the material or they're honing their relationship with the subject matter like right like that, or they're getting more comfortable with the constraints. There's different ways of kind of like I think, breaking it down and looking at like what it is to make something and, you know, like like what? Like there's this one part that is the craft or the physics, the science. And then there's this other piece that's kind of magic and, like,
unknown and accident, you know, And like that back there is that there is There is a balance between the two of them. So, you know, like, yeah, I think that I was probably that was one of my greatest experiences Growing up, I think, actually was like when I went off to go to art school. And as an artist like this is probably one of the one of them was a pivotal moment in, like my working as an artist, where I think I spent most of my youth while I enjoyed making art. I worked really hard at it and was never satisfied and always judging where I was at in comparing my work to others. And then I had a moment where I just I got really upset because what was in my mind was not coming out on the, you know,
like like I had this idea of what I wanted and I could never you know, paint my mind's eye and and that frustrated me so like Like it was just so incredibly. It's frustrating that I mean, I got angry one day and I just, like, totally flipped the canvas off the easel kind of moment and, like, went for a walk and I came back after that walk, I clean up my mess, came back to clean up my messes, went, got some perspective, Wasn't, you know, making art like just, you know,
kind of cooling down. I come back a little more relaxed, pick up my canvas, and I put it back up on the easel and something had happened to it. When it like when it, like, hit that like hit something, you know, smeared this thing on the on the canvas And, um, it was cooler than anything that I was trying to do, you know? It was like it was like I was honest with the canvas that moment. That moment I told that canvas exactly what I felt and what I thought. I was pissed and I get and I gave it to it, you know,
and I walked away and I came back and a couple things right one, something organic and spontaneous occurred and to my perspective, had changed, and I was like looking at it differently. And that was like, that was that was a moment. That was like a moment where I was like, Oh, like E. I don't need to know what I'm doing. I don't need to control what I'm doing. I don't need to be a certain way. I don't need to paint my mind's eye. My, the mind's eye is not the painter. It's It's a perceive.
Er, it's a perception for me like I can. I can try things and see how it goes. And over time you'll learn things. And I can, you know, stash that stuff away as process. Learned something cool, you know, moving on. And you try that again. You do that again. Do that again, And you're like, Man, I've been doing this for a little while,
you know, And it starts to get like, you know, I don't know, not necessarily stagnant but like, but there's like there's a certain monotony to it and and you realize, you know, like that you need to break it. It's time to break it. It's time to it's time to go in like toss the campus again. Of course, you could go and spend that time like tossing canvases. And and now all of a sudden, that's your new process right here. And it's like everything. But like,
yeah, you know, there's think of it like, How do you like what's the new way to break it? You know, like, because because, you know, I don't know. And that's like the you know, I wanna learn, like I want to find that out. Like looking for that, that next break. You know, like, yeah,
I love this because I think that's also gives a lot of people and ideas to what goes on inside the mind of a creative person and probably sounds ridiculous Thio to some people. But it's very inspiring. Yeah, yeah, I think you know, we touched on a lot of things of what it's like to be a creative person. How you kind of channel that energy into a very creative child. I'm curious. You know, if you're Thio well, thinking back 13 years back, what is it like to be just briefly a starving artist with the kid And what would you tell other folks in the same in the same shoes.
I look back.
I distinctly remember a couple of stories.
There's there's one,
situation where I had a really close friend of mine who was also an artist,
and we went to art school together.
And he said something to me that that,
um something something to the effective Don't don't stop making art,
like you're you know you're not gonna have is much time,
So don't don't stop making art.
And in the way that it was said to me was like this,
like fear this fear of like Like it's like by having a kid meant that you didn't have the time that you have in order to do what you've been doing as often and as much to what end, you know, And that's scary. That's scary. I mean, one that there's there's, there's the fear of what am I gonna be able to pay the bills, you know? You know? Yeah, I'm gonna make enough money and we're gonna starve. Oh, are we, you know, like because, you know,
for me, where I was at was like it was always this weird, counterintuitive thing like I was making. I was literally making a living as a painter at the time when my daughter was born and and like, you know, like, because And I say that because it's like, No, it wasn't the only job that I did. It wasn't the only thing that I did. I you know, I got a part time give, get a coffee shop or whatever. You know, make a little scratch, but none of that ever made enough to actually like you can't.
It's like I couldn't live on that. I couldn't live on that one part time job or some other job, right? So, like, it was like, I was always coming up short for rent, and it was like, Oh, you know, Hey, I'm, uh It's getting close to the getting close to the first of the month. I'm $50 shy. I better go and spend 100 $50 on art supplies. That was my way.
It was like like I'm gonna go gamble on something that I feel like I know is it's gonna work, you know, I just did that with my house. You know like this is like, This is what I do, you know, Like it's like I get close and I'm like, Ah, you know, I don't know. You know better, better going like dig in. And that's because that's like I come that's coming from me like I know, like I believe that, you know, And you basically,
you know, I was scared that that that might not exist anymore. But then there's another person who was actually neighbors to a very successful like businessman artist, Like a like a super creative person painter. There's a on art gallery here in Portland. Things the Laura Russo Gallery. I think his name was Michael Russo on dhe money. Yeah, he made a very well living, apparently, at least from what I understand. But yeah, this this guy, Lou Jones, he was He was, uh he was a He was the neighbor and he said,
you know, is he asked. He asked, he asked Michael. Mercy says size. It wouldn't. What's this secret man? How'd you How'd you do this? Yeah. How did you become a successful artist? You know, because everybody's out there telling you you can't do that. You can't make a living as an artist and Michael Russo's Yeah, you want a secret is have yourself some kids. So, like,
you know, that could be taken in a couple different ways, like, you know, like, looking back for me, having a kid was absolutely the most motivational, like fire under my ass kind of moment. You don't mean that, like, definite that the rear asked earlier What motivates someone to do something like, what gets you out of bed, you know, like, yeah, that was that was definitely something.
And then the other business What I believed in myself and making art. So, you know, But, you know, yeah, there was definitely attention. They're definitely, like, you know, like, if there was ever a moment that the voices on the outside, we're gonna come in and, you know, kind of like, rearrange some of my thinking in terms of whether or not I could actually make it.
That was probably one of those moments. And, uh, you know, um, it was it was good to have some encouraging people around. I think during that during that time.
So keep making.
Yeah, You just gotta keep making her,
you know, listening to this. I also really realized that probably what enables you to eventually turn art into money, unlike maybe other artists, right is the fact it is the fact that you're still making it on by doing it. It builds confidence. It's not just believe that, well, you'll keep doing it and something good will happen. It's like, No, you know, I love this thing. I'm good at this thing and it will happen because it's like you're good at this thing, but you're only good at it because you're still doing it. So it's a very self fulfilling prophecy in a way, right? But as long as you don't stop doing it, you still may not succeed. But at least it maximizes your odds of not
definitely maximizes your odds of not losing,
you know the other.
The other thing is those you could you could be making it and and also not be inclined to share it.
that's that's another.
That's another aspect of like,
like you were asking before.
Like an introvert extrovert like I don't like,
I think that I'm I'm somewhere in between and introvert extrovert like I definitely an introvert from the perspective of like,
I need the time and space in order to get work done and to be like,
I need to be with myself in order to get the work that I want to get done,
done. But I also when I'm done with that like, there's a there's only so much of a conversation that I'm gonna loop over and over and over again in my head for myself before I eventually have to say, I need to like, I need another voice. I'm gonna take this work that I'm doing and I need to go and get another voice. You know? Um,
so get outside the house once in a while is also really good advice. Yes, definitely, definitely. Well, that's been pretty pretty fantastic for me, To be honest, I love chatting with you any time. Yeah, yeah, hopefully, you know, they're gonna be parents, and I hope also actually gives, like, artists for maybe are not going out with such a welcoming household to also are things would get inspired, and we'll keep doing it, you know, even if its lead a man on a live link it Anything but Yeah. So
you know the art thing?
like I think that,
the other thing is,
like something I want to say something because it's like there are people out there that say things like,
I'm not creative and I can't even draw a stick figure.
Like those air still there,
like six statements like the 11 is like it is just a Z a.
A conviction that I'm not creative to say that and that Well,
then there's the other bit,
which is like is an expression that says something to the effect of Will stick.
Figures aren't good.
First of all,
second of all stick figures are, you know, some form of creative and and then also they can't do them and it starts there, I think. And then the stick figure could be anything the stick figure could be, you know, talking to a stranger, the stick figure could be cooking food, like cooking, you know, cooking a meal, you know, stick figure could be gardening. It could be anything. It's like enter like the stick figure is This is like the variable in algebra like enter creative thing here. And the reality is they're saying that they can't draw a stick figure,
and they know that they can. Everybody can draw a stick, figure anybody can plant a plant and learn howto water it and figure out. You know what I mean? Like whether you're inclined, Whether you think that way, whether you are motivated or you're inspired, those things may not be, but you can like. You can learn to draw. You can learn to paint. Um, you know, you don't have to want to draw, and you don't have to learn to paint, you know,
it could be like it's the creativity is like this'll force that, like, is happening inside of people, you know? And I met lots of people that are logical people that are also, like, super super creative that I would I would consider artists, but they might not pate, you know me. Yeah. So, yeah, I
love food. Yeah. So And with that Okay, folks have any questions? Yeah, We'll do another one.
Thanks for coming down to Portland. Talking man, This'll is great.
We'll do it again. Yeah. To hear more episodes of the road dead show please visit our website rad dad, show dot com and subscribe. Or find us on your favorite podcasting up, such as iTunes or tune in and subscribe there. Thank you and see you soon.