What important is community for you? How do you strengthen your relationships?
When I came [to Denver], I didn’t really know anybody. I’d moved here right after Crush [Walls mural festival in Denver] had ended for 2017 but I knew I wanted to do it in 2018. And they were opening the store RiNo Made in November of 2017 so I reached out to the creative director. They needed some help part-time and I have a background in management, so I just naturally started to manage things and ended up being the manager there.
With all of the artists who have been coming through there, all the people and the connections I make are super beneficial since I’m trying to be in that community. And through that community I met Robin [Munro], he runs Crush, and he’s been a huge resource for a lot of great connections and really great artists.
The art community is super supportive. That’s something that I’ve never really experienced before — being able to talk to everybody, people wanting to help you. I think just being part of the RiNo Art District was a huge success for me in really putting myself in that position.
With some artists I knew, I just sent an email and said, Hey, let’s get brunch. And that turned into, How do we do stuff together? So it was just continuing the conversation with people.
I think a lot of people really focus on going to all these people’s shows, but that’s kind of like going to people’s weddings, I think. They don’t see you, they can’t talk to you, they’re super busy. It’s not an intentional conversation that you have at those things. It’s just, Oh, that guy came to my show.
So usually when I want to have conversations with artists, I want to sit down and be like, What are you working on? What am I working on? Where are you showing? Where am I showing? What works for you? What doesn’t work? And that’s so much more valuable than being like, Dude, nice work.
It’s good to go to shows, I’m not saying don’t do that. But I’ve had so much more luck with that initial crew because we just try to support each other, we’ll do events together and it’s easier to set up and we’ll sit and talk for the whole day, you know? Like at Comic Con, I had Amanda who was like, Hey, I need somebody to hang out with, do you want to just throw your stuff up in a corner on my booth?
There’s a lot to be said about just being generous with your time. If I see artists coming up, I’m like, Hey, I’ll consult with you for free, I’ll buy you lunch and you can ask me anything. Because they might be more talented than me, they might be more successful than me, they might bring me up later.
Something that’s really cool about the Anchorage art community is that basically we all follow each other online. And then there are these events where we get to actually meet each other.
So there is the online presence where we’re interacting in an online scope, but then there’s the face-to-face interaction as well, which I really appreciate.
I think it all comes back to — on both sides, the commercial and the fine art — having a good community around you who are willing to share experiences and advice. I’ve always found with Denver and Colorado in general that everybody is very willing to help each other out.
Jon: I would say the business mirrors a lot of the creative collaboration we have in our community where we lean on our network when we need to.
When Lindsey is doing the books she’s able to reach out to someone and be like, I have this problem, can I sit down with you, have lunch and talk about it? And they say, Yes, here’s how to organize this and here is how we do it. I think it’s always just continuing to grow a network and going after resources who are friendly.
Jon: I always use a metaphor of an Olympic athlete. They never really stand on the podium and get the gold medal on their own, they’re more a representation of a larger team effort.
Working with large groups to try to achieve and push things further is a fundamental aspect of our business. Artists who come in this door looking to get prints reproduced have no idea that we are in the business of enabling and teaching them how to function as professional artists. Because we want them out selling their prints, we teach them how to merchandise them, how to market them, where to take them and sell them. We set them up with gallery owners we work with who we think their art is a good fit with so everybody in the community continues to grow. We’re really trying to water the whole garden and grow together.
Lindz: It’s really important to Jon and me to connect people and resources with one another.
Jon: You get out what you put in, but always trying to put in more because energy goes around in a circle. You put it in and it comes back to you.
I spent so many years worried about myself . . . constantly worrying about my image and what I’m doing when really we can’t do anything without the people around us. No matter how talented you are, no matter how much money you have, you’re only as good as your army or your troops and your family and the people you surround yourself with. So once you realize that, then you know that you’ve got to be working with the right people because you can’t do anything by yourself.
I have so many talented friends that now I get to work with because they’ve been doing all the same stuff as me. And now we’re at a point where we’re going to work and learn together. I think that’s what it’s really all about.
I feel like if your heart is in it and you have good intentions and you’re helping not just yourself but the community, you’ll be pretty successful.
I’ll go to shows, premieres, and there’s a dozen people there I’ve known from whatever and we just reminisce, talk. I think that’s important — being a part of the community, being visual, being accessible that way.
But it’s still natural. I mean, I want to go to these things, I want to see the art, I want to talk to friends and vice-versa. But I will also go, Oh, I haven’t talked to someone in two months, I’ve got to give them a call. And I’ll call and catch up. I’m a big proponent of following those thoughts that you have of wanting to stay in touch or stay close.