DON'T TRY... BE
Last June, I was parked at Locust Projects in Miami and stoked to talk to Diego Orlandini of Aimful Media. We were gonna talk about his latest book series - the Wynwood Coloring Book and the Ultimate Street Art Coloring Book series, bringing together artists from the block all the way to Banksy.
When I called him for a pre-interview, he asked “What’s this really all about?”
I told him, “I want to show artists that they don’t have to give up authenticity to be an entrepreneur.”
I could hear him light up on the phone, “Yes!” he exclaimed, “I would love to talk about that!”
So I drove down to Miami which has the best murals in the world right, most of them in the Wynwood neighborhood. You must have heard of Wynwood Walls. It’s a mecca for muralists. Wynwood gets a new coat of paint on nearly every surface, as street artists from around the world come here to do commissions, compete for prizes, or just throw up pieces to get noticed. I was here for Art Basel 2017 and it was madness. So packed full of people that I couldn’t get cell service because every street was a mob of selfies being uploaded.
In this podcast we take a look at Wynwood and what’s different because of the murals. People are here snapping selfies, property values are going up, but how do you value and make a living when your work is publicly accessible? Who pays for that?
And how do you monetize public art? How do you do that without trading your soul? Diego’s answer is that you must be authentic.
“TRYING to be authentic I believe is wrong. Don’t try, BE.”
His point is that whatever follows from being yourself is always authentic, no soul trading necessary.
Maybe you’re thinking… “Diego how is your work authentic? The Street Art Coloring Book is based on other people’s work.”
But look at what Diego’s done. He literally contacted hundreds of artists, then he outlined every one of the artworks digitally, think about how long that takes, then compiled and designed a book, which is a work of art in its own right, and then he crowdfunded that.
Diego had a lot to say about authenticity and "knowing thyself". Specifically don't try to be an artist that you're not, just be yourself. He talks a lot about his philosophy to collaborating on the first street art coloring book.
What's the value of being an authentic artist?
- Lucas Spivey, June 15, 2018
(5:00) Diego talks about the “Dunning Kruger effect”, a psychological trait found in “people who suck” but remain overly confident He says this can be a problem when we give too much weight to our own opinions rather than from others. He says the remedy is to “accept your skillset” and “know what you’re capable of”.
DO YOU KNOW YOUR LIMITS?
Diego made his book series happen by personally contacting hundreds of artists, saying “I don’t have a magic strategy, I just talked to them one on one.” (12:00)
You have to be trusting to build a business. Perhaps your past taught you that artists get screwed or that artists shouldn’t trust. Letting go of this identity that artists will always get screwed is required to build a business. Relationships require you to be personal, to be vulnerable, to show the sweat, and to tell people your personal mission. “Once they realized the mission and the quality, they came on board… They’ve seen the leg work and they’ve seen me hustle.” (15:00)
WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID TO SHOW? WHY?