It got WORSE!! THE ART BOXES I FORGOT To Cancel.

It got WORSE!! THE ART BOXES I FORGOT To Cancel.


(Chloe, VO): Which without a doubt, by the way, is my favorite art supply box to date. Whoa! Whoa, whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa! Whoa! Okay. She has opened a lot of art boxes. A LOT of art boxes. “Chloe Rose’s favorite art box to date.” Look at this! Look at the art boxes! I think I’m becoming an art subscription box unboxing channel. I’m sorry. And I didn’t mean it this way, it was just I keep forgetting to cancel the boxes. Even the ones I didn’t like, I just keep forgetting to cancel them and they keep arriving. Like, I’m sure I canceled this. So hello there, my name is Chloe Rose and I am slowly becoming an art subscription box unboxing channel. So I’m gonna open both of these today to see what’s inside. Now, if you watched my OTHER Crayola box unboxing video, you’ll know that I was not that impressed. That is literally the box! Is that really the box? That’s the box. Awwww, okay. So today I have two Crayola CIY boxes that I did not cancel. So I’ve just opened up the second box for this video and I wanted to just put this in there that I cannot believe what I’ve just opened. I’m in so much shock right now. Also, disclaimer, I do realize these boxes are made for kids. People on the other video didn’t seem to pick up on the fact that I was saying I knew it was for kids. But, the reason why I’m opening these and criticizing them is because parents pay a lot of money for these and they want their kids to get a good value of money. So inside this – ooh, okay! Okay. I’m actually more excited about this vid, this one already. Let’s see. So we’ve got some yarn, we have some string, we have some… oh these are probably pins. Okay. This is, this – yeah, I’m gonna hurt myself today. We have some of their washable watercolors, which I’ve actually never used. We have – ooh! Okay, we’ve got a bunch of lollipops in here, too. I mean, already I’m more impressed with this box than I was the last one so that’s the good thing. So we’ve got one of those earrings some women wear and you kind of look at it and think, “ooh, that would make quite a nice, uh… quite a nice necklace.” We’ve got a galaxy-like sheet thing. We have a – oh, okay you’re on the floor. We have a cork board which is quite neat. Oh, and we’ve got a string art template for beginners. Oh, you fell on the floor as well. It’s fall on the floor day today apparently. So we’ve got Expert Level. Um, I’m gonna be doing the expert level today because I like to make things difficult for myself. So inside our little goodie bag here, so I’ve got a $5 off $20 or more at Crayola.com so I can buy some crayons if I want. I also have a golden ticket to get a free bag of Zollipops. Is this a keyring? It looks like what you have in a car wash to clean your car. Oh! It probably goes on the, it probably goes on the hoop earring necklace thing. Okay, that makes sense. I’m not gonna lie, I’m actually quite excited about this box. I feel like this already is slightly better value than the one I had before which was $40. So even though I still don’t think this is worth $40, I still feel that you’re getting a better value of money for this box than I did in the other one. So apparently you also need a cookie sheet or wax paper, two to three bowls, warm water, tape, a cutting board and scissors. Crayola could have easily included some scissors with this. Tape as well, why couldn’t they include a small roll of tape? Two to three bowls? Again, they probably could have included some sort of bowlage. Okay. So the first thing we’re gonna do is the “wrapped string” art. I’m a bit confused why they’ve got a big cork board here and then a small one when they’ve only included one for me. Okay, so the first thing we’re gonna do is start with the wrapped string art, which I’m very excited for because I’ve seen this so many times, but I’ve never actually done it myself. So it says “you may choose a decorative paper as your background, place on the tile, and pin it down.” So I am gonna use – This, it’s – it’s too big. It’s too big! So they’ve also got templates online that you can download cause I was actually gonna say they’ve got a really cute heart here that they didn’t include, but I guess I could download it if I wanted to. I can’t help but feel this is quite dangerous for young children. But then again, I am pretty clumsy. Ow! Ow! *Grimaces in pain* Ow! I would like to reiterate to people that I am actually not a crafty person at all, like crafting in general is an art in itself but it’s an art that I am not very good at because I’ve never really done it and for – oh, these are glued together. These ones are soul mates. Oh, I’m using way too many pins! They’ve hardly used any pins on this one. So apparently you just gotta gently rip it. Okay, so we’ve got this, which kinda looks messy, but I hope that I’m able to fix it. “Start weaving in a back-and-forth technique. Let it flow. If you don’t like how it looks, unwind and do it again.” I’m just gonna, I guess, do the outline. *Music* No! Stop! STOP! I WILL do a craft well for once in my life. *Continues* Really? Really though? Why have you done this? How am I supposed to know which the eyes are? Obviously I’m quite a noob at this so I don’t really know what I’m doing but, I do kinda wish they’d put holes where the pins should go. I mean, he kind of looks a bit like a wolf. Right? I’m not necessarily saying the craft is bad because clearly, it works for some people. I am just completely incompetent at doing crafts. This next one, you just cover the hoop with the, the yarn. Let’s tie it. I just do not enjoy crafting. I just find it so much hassle. What is it actually doing? Somehow I’ve now got three different ropes. I really don’t know how spiders do it. I think I’m just being too adventurous. I think that’s my problem. Going to BURN IT WITH FIRE! It doesn’t look anything like a cobweb but that was what I was going for. *Music* You know what? It’s not half bad, for my first attempt at threading a web, it’s not too bad. Right? Does it look okay? Um, now we have to make a dangly thing for it. So I used to do this as a kid, but I’ve kind of forgotten how to do it. So I’m gonna cut this, one end. I’m just gonna tie it like that. Okay, so this is our little, um, cobweb thing that doesn’t really look much like a cobweb but it’s gonna do, I suppose. How do you get the paint tablets out? They’re not supposed to come out! “Dissolve one paint tablet.” But how do you get it out? *Loud banging* Okay, so – water! So we’re gonna stick this broken tablet in there. Right, are we ready? I mean, it looks pink. I wanted red but – I wanted it to have like, a Spider-Man type of look. Okay, blue worked! Okay, so here is our second craft. It is a Spider-Man spiderweb. Pink and blue. Oh, I’ve just realized that side’s completely stained, brilliant. Okay, let’s look at this side. I found it quite stressful but I think it would be something fun for kids, if they didn’t sort of try to make a cobweb like I did. But yeah, the whole putting the tablet into the water thing, stupid idea. Do I feel that was worth $40? I mean, I wouldn’t be overly disappointed, but I definitely don’t think it, again, that it’s worth the $40 mark, probably more like $30, I would be okay with but, you know, whatever. It was a good box, I’ll give it that. And in our second box we have – Ooh! We’ve got a little circle, wooden circle. We have TWO wooden circles! We’re gonna have some fun today, ladies and gentlemen! Another organza bag with – Oh that’s cute! Sorry, hang on, this is cute. This is cute. It’s like a little pipsqueak marker! Oh! This smells like – it smells like strawberries! I would far rather have something like that than the candy they’ve been giving. And okay, already this is SO much better! Um, I, I did say in the first box they made, they needed better paintbrushes than what they provided. These are more decent paintbrushes. Then we have a couple of paints, so we’ve got a blue and a yellow. Ooh, okay, we’ve got a little canvas pouch with a zip. So you’ve got a nice canvas bag with a pin, whatever you call this thing, enclosure, you know, that goes – like that. Smells like a canvas bag. Then we have some Okay. So the box is empty. I actually thought there was gonna be more but there’s not. So we have a template thing, which I’m guessing we’ll use to paint on the canvas bag and a bit of foam for something, I’m not sure what. So I absolutely love this idea, don’t get me wrong, but again, for a like, a 40 dollar price point, like, you could probably get one of these say, for 5 dollars. Okay, let’s just say $5 for this. This is a dollar at most, 6 dollars. 7 dollars for these two because these are really cheap paints. Um, 8, 9, 10… 11 dollars. Stencils like this you could probably get for a couple of dollars, 13 dollars. And then you’ve got like, the pipsqueak thing. Which smells good to be fair. But this, this is genuinely not worth any more than $15. I love Crayola, don’t get me wrong, I love Crayola products, I think they’re wonderful, but if you go into Target, they actually have craft kits there you can buy for about 15 dollars. Like, for example, the first box I ever did with like, the, the dough stuff and making the bowls, you can actually buy that exact kit in Target for like $15. And you can basically make everything they put into this box for about 15 to 20, 30 dollars in the kits they provide at places like Target and yet they’ve got a subscription box here with the same stuff inside for 40 dollars. Like, I personally love Crayola, I think they’re a wonderful brand. I think they’re absolutely fantastic. But whoever’s putting together these subscription boxes, I kind of just don’t really understand why they’re OK with putting this little amount of product in. I don’t want to complain too much because Crayola is a great brand, and it’s not the brand overall that’s doing this. It’s just the, the subscription box people. This is such a cute idea. I really love it. I really genuinely love the ideas that they’ve got here. So apparently once you’ve used this paint and it’s dried, you can stick it in the dryer for 30 minutes on high heat and that will help to set the paint onto the material which is good because this is like, washable paint. You have two wooden stamp bases like this, which you use with the stamp foam so basically, this is sticky here. And you make your own shapes, you cut out some, like, whatever you wanna do and you stick it on here and use it as a stamp. I’m gonna make a little, uh… TARDIS. Part palette shape. A doughnut! Let’s do a doughnut even though we’ve only got two colors. Okay, so there’s my art stamp. Looking good! Yeah, that’s more so for the second craft, so we’re gonna leave that for now. And the first craft basically shows how you can, um, basically cut out the stencils and then paint on whatever you want to paint on. Okay, so we are going to stick the cardboard into the tote bag like they mention. And actually, you know what else annoys me? On the picture, you can clearly see that the cardboard they’ve got is perfectly big enough for the tote bag, but this – this is way too small and they tell you to use the cardboard from the box. Look at the difference! Look at the difference! So they are also very very tight with the colors they give you, like, there’s not much you can do with yellow and blue. You can make blue, you can make yellow, and you can make green, and that’s literally it. *Trumpet music* Okay, that’s a bit of a messy little lemon but he will do. They didn’t even include like a, a little palette or anything. Which is kind of stupid because it wouldn’t have been pretty much anything for them to include a little palette. Like, basic things that you want in this craft kit, they don’t provide that they could have provided. I’m gonna try and get some variations in color actually, which I think might look quite cool. Okay. That looks quite cool! I actually like that. I’m happy with how that came out. *Music continues* So yeah, is it a cute idea? Absolutely! It’s really cute even though, kind of, the stencils are very thin so they kind of go smudgy and weird, but overall it’s a cute idea. You can have a lot of fun with it. I really do love the craft idea. I love how they’ve put the box together, but again, 40 DOLLARS! FORTY DOLLARS! And now we are going to move on to the little pouch. You are supposed to use like, the stencil to make your own. And I think what I’m gonna do is paint the stencil yellow. so let’s just sort of do that and then hope for the best. Ooh! Okay, that didn’t turn out that great but that’s okay, we can fix it. Make – literally look at the mess I’m making! What is a child like? I mean all jokes aside about the price, this is for sure my favorite box that I’ve… used. *Music* So it kinda looks weird, but I’m quite happy with it. In a weird, grungy-like way, it looks quite good. So that is… That’s literally it. So I would love to hear your opinion on what you thought of how these boxes arrived, what was inside, do you think it’s worth the money? Do you think that it’s not worth the money? Definitely let me know in the comments down below what your thoughts are, um, but yes, thank you so much for watching this video. I really hope that you enjoyed it. I have made a mess as per usual. These are the four crafts that we made today. I’m especially fond of my strange-looking mummy-looking fox and my Spider-Man-looking… thing. So that’s everything for today, thank you so much for watching this video I really hope that you enjoyed it. If there’s any crafting boxes or art boxes that I’ve not tried in the past, do let me know in the comments down below and I will definitely see what I can do. But yes. Thanks so much for watching this video, give it a like if you liked it, take care of yourselves and I will see in the next video. *End music*

She Builds Tiny Worlds — BiDiPi #51

She Builds Tiny Worlds — BiDiPi #51


Build It. Draw It. Play It. Vsauce! Kevin here with some of the coolest
creations from extraordinary people. This is BiDiPi. Build It. Choe U-Ram builds kinetic insect lamps. The
shiny biomorphic insects flutter and glow using motors and LEDs. And he considers his
moving sculptures to be living things – in which every piece has its place and after
it eventually breaks down – the pieces can be dismantled and reused as a type of rebirth.  Lori Nix makes post-apocalyptic dioramas.
She meticulously builds landscapes and architectural interiors and then photographs them without
any digital manipulation. And she mixes a wide variety of materials like foam board,
clay, paper, acrylic paint, plaster, wood, tiny figurines and organic materials like
real leaves punched through leaf-shaped holes. And she creates them in her small apartment
in New York City. Kendra Haste creates huge animals out of galvanized
wire. She goes on wild expeditions like tracking tigers in India or following wildebeest migrations
in Tanzania and then makes the sculptures based on individual animals she encounters.
The unique portraits are drawn on paper and then matched with wire and brought into the
third dimension.  Draw It Josiah Brooks makes animations, tutorials,
and speed paintings on his YouTube channel Draw With Jazza. The Australian will teach
you everything from painting in Photoshop to different animating techniques like how
to animate a transformation. He even has a series of videos just about the creative process
to provide advice and motivation for budding artists. Judith Braun creates wall murals by fingerpainting
with charcoal dust. She explores symmetrical designs as well as textured landscapes. Though
Braun typically painstakingly plans her pieces in advance she was recently diagnosed with
breast cancer which has influenced her to take a more improvisational approach to her
work. And she abides by three rules – Symmetry, Abstraction and Carbon medium. And now for the hyper-collage architecture
of Jim Kazanjian. made from up to fifty composited images. Mike Kravanis is a bento box fanatic and focuses
his food creations mostly on Disney-inspired food characters. His Instagram account OMGiri
showcases dozens of colored-rice creations ranging from Tigger and Professor Ratigan
to a few non-Disney creations like Princess Bubblegum and PuppyCat. Play It. Polynoid director Jan Bitzer used a setup
of laser and mirrors to animate Islands of Glass by Barcelona musician Rob Clouth. SamuraiGuitarist makes inventive guitar-based
videos. Here’s his version of Kentucky Jelly by Brad Paisley using a banjo, telecaster,
acoustic guitar, washboard and spoons, mandolin and acoustic bass.  Finally, the video for Raiders by French band
Soundcrawler draws from Star Wars, Dune and Mad Max.  Inspiration also comes from you. Vsauce Creative
Fan Showcase. First up is Eddef with Early Winter Morning. Let’s go! Jordan Clayton is a Canadian visual artist
that specializes in paintings that focus on the science and understanding of phenomena.
His most recent work explores fungal and bacterial growth. David Lechner creates wooden sculptures using
driftwood pulled out of a local river in Austria. The 17-year-old began a carpentry apprenticeship
and has since been using his newfound skills to create sculptures. Here’s the digital photography of Shaheer
Akbar. Naisu performs three original songs behind
the San Diego Convention Center. Wes was paralyzed from the neck down during
a motocross accident and uses a Headmouse Extreme to create designs for his clothing
brand 4ONE7.  Emiel Sleegers is a 3D environment artist
from the Netherlands – he hopes to get a full-time job in the gaming industry and recently recreated
part of the University environment from The Last Of Us. While over in Australia, Daniel Rutherford
designs and models mecha, weapons, characters and other sci-fi stuff with 3ds max.  Leo Freidrich has a series of daily improv
piano videos – here’s his take on M83, Rihanna and Imagine Dragons. Stefan Perse is an architect from Romania
who bends copper wire into different creations and he just recently completed this set of
copper insects.  And Bonny John drew a pokemon a day – often
using completely different styles – and you can find the complete set on his website. Submit your BiDiPis to [email protected] or
share them with everyone over on Twitter with hashtag #BiDiPi. And as always – thanks for
watching!

BROMA A SANDRA CIRES ART CON MI DIBUJO DE CUCARACHA REALISTA| HaroldArtist

BROMA A SANDRA CIRES ART CON MI DIBUJO DE CUCARACHA REALISTA| HaroldArtist


waiting for the moment when she moves the cards and gets a little surprise I think Sandra is going to fall into this one Welcome once a again to this channel and to a new video Today I have a video and is going to be amazing While ago I made a prank video to my mom with a realistic drawing by me. Do you remember? and I drew a broken egg If you haven’t seen it I’ll leave it in the corner and is a video you guys loved so much So due to reason that you like it, I thought we have to make a second part to this video and this time we are going to be very very bad. And the prank is going to be on Sandra Cires Art. Is going to be amazing If you know her, you’ll know she’s afraid of bugs specially to cockroaches. She cannot even here their name. She’s very afraid of them So I said “Harold lets draw a realistic cockroach” we’re going to sneak into Sandra’s house and hid it anywhere to see what happens Lets start you guys!! the first thing we have to do before drawing is finding a good picture where you can actually see every detail of the bug a disgusting one. But yes, we have to be friends with the cockroach for a bit until we’re done drawing. Lets look up a good photo *searching* cockroach as you can see here, all the details that the wings have all the hairs, the feet, I never thought I was going to say this, but this cockroach is spectacular I cannot believe I’m going to draw a cockroach Is gonna be worth it, because is going to be an awesome prank Everthing is ready so lets start with the sketch. The first one I did, the cockroach was little bit too big I would love to draw it bigger so it can be seen to make more details but it doesn’t going to be realistic for the prank I erased it and started to make a cockroach with a smaller size, a more credible one but still big I like the form, is really easy now the good part starts! the coloring part I just want to finish to make the prank with this drawing Lets start painting. For that we need to put a base color with markers. That’s what I’m going to do here I have the copy markers and I have to choose the ones that match with the real colors I made a swatch tested in the paper to be sure. So I chose this red color for that top part and this light brown for the fairest parts this part of the process doesn’t take to long you have to colored with the idea to cover all the drawing with a color that’s why is a base color. You know that I like making this because makes everything later way easier you only have to worry about details Here comes the difficult part the part where you do the details. For this part I would use pencil colors I’m going to use the Caran Ache if I want an amazing result and using a gel pen for making the highlights in the cockroach is very important because gives it a realistic air to it. Something that I did and now I know the difference is the texture that has the wings is a bit nasty to talk about details in the cockroach but guys we have to make this good the cockroach has intersecting lines I drew that and gave the drawing a realistic air that it was missing it looks like is there I think we’re going to make it Also I would draw all the hairs that the feet has on them that gross hairs but we have to make every detail of this beautiful cockroach So the drawing was very small and I had work with the pencil colors using a sharp point to have more precision where I was going to make a line or a shadow I late a few hours in this part because it has a lot of details. I think it looks very realistic but it was missing a detail to make this cockroach more real. And is the shadow When a light hits at it, it makes a shadow so I create that to make seem like the bug is on the paper. I create this using a pastel color and blending smoothly. After that I have to touch up the hairs and at the end, I think the result looks like a real one. If you look super closely you immediately notice is a drawing. But if you look from a far, jumm You can possibly fall for it and more if you’re scare of them I think Sandra is going to fall for it You’re going to see her with a HD camera and a zoom so you could see all the details but if you look it like this looks like a real one. Look at this thing all the highlights and shadows make a difference for me the drawing is really good. If I had to give it a negative point would be for the size of it Because is very big for a cockroach. Even tho exist cockroaches like this. But still I was going to say another design of cockroach but is a diffent type one Sandra hates them, so I’m sure when she sees it she’s going to get scared Lets take the camera to Sandra’s and see how are we going to do the prank I’m going to Sandra’s home and of course with my beautiful cockroach we have to put it a security belt We have arrived and casually Titi is picking the mail so I can talk to him about it Titi: is looking good Titi: she’s afraid of them He’s telling me that is a great option I’m taliking low because Sandra is upstairs putting it here near all the daily mail there it is We have to wait until she moves the mail to see the cockroach We’re hiding the camera We’re thinking something to make her go downstairs I don’t know, tell her that she have received a mail from youtube Come here and say Hi to the visit What are yo guys hiding there you have a mail from youtube you have a mail from youtube Sandra: From youtube? Sandra: Is it a prank? you put a dead cockroach there? I don’t know if is dead or alive I just don’t want to see it it disgusted me so much Sandra: I can’t believe is a drawing Sandra: They know what I’m scared of I now tonight I’m going to dream with that. Harold: Lets take some pictures She’s just going to lick it take out your foot! look a that! take out your foot! now has a mark we’re going to give away this drawing I want harold to let go this drawing the comment with more likes is the one you’re giving it away Like if you want me put it a corner of the room. Now i like the cockroach we have to name it comment down below a name for the cockroach Martina Cockroach the cockroach of this sizes bite the have like a i can’t even look at it one time a cockroach walk in my eye while I was sleeping, I thought was my hair and when I open my eye the hairs they have in the feet hurt my eyes Take it, I just don’t want it Well guys! this is everything for this video I hope you like it! and if you did give a huge thumbs up. Remember you haven’t seen my best and my worst drawing so subscribe if you aren’t and see you in the next one

Alexis Hunter – ‘We Knew We Were Making History’ | TateShots

Alexis Hunter – ‘We Knew We Were Making History’ | TateShots


I didn’t know whether my work was was good or not. That’s what I wanted to be: good And I’m very hard to explain what I mean
by good, because good to myself and good to other people, but not people I didn’t
respect. It was that I communicated in a very personal sort of way, but to be an
energetic way as well, and that it moved people somewhere. Alexis Hunter was an
artist, photographer and a feminist. She was born in New Zealand and she moved to
London in 1972. She trained as a painter in New Zealand and then shortly after
she arrived in London she turned to photography. She was incredibly feminist
but she wasn’t going to abide by any rules. Artists do have a role to talk
about things that other people don’t talk about and to break down taboos.
After seeing 600 years of paintings of women by men I decided to
do a little bit a reversal. She was looking at representation, what we then
later called ‘the male-gaze’ and role reversal, which became quite conventional
and a very important part of feminist art practice. For me, she was looking at
her man the way a man looks at a woman. You’re like, oh, actually it’s a bit
uncomfortable, you know, it’s a bit like objectifying. And it makes you
question your objectification. A lot of feminists at the time were making work
about the body in about their own body and the fact that she wasn’t doing that,
I find quite interesting and a sort of counter narrative to what we would see
as feminist art. ‘Since 2012 I’ve had Motor Neurone Disease and I’ve lost the power of speech.’ ‘Just because I can’t speak doesn’t mean I’m going to shut up!’ It was a very different world in which
she was actually making images. It’s very important to grasp what the 70s were
like. When I left University in 1970 I couldn’t hire a television or buy a
television, I couldn’t hire a car, or buy a car without a man’s signature. ‘From my childhood I noticed patriarchy. My father was not expected to do housework… my mother’s job was not paid as well.’ ‘There was sexual hypocrisy, violence against women, misogyny… I wanted to change things that I thought were wrong.’ She also worked as a freelancer in a
commercial film company. In doing that work she gained a really unique exposure
to a sort of visual language of advertising. One of the images that I
used consecutively quite a long time was hands, because in advertising hands are
quite often touching the object to give it a tactile reality. You realise that
it’s somebody who takes power, who takes control and nothing, the camera is a
very powerful tool for women to do that, just like they are stealing phallic
instruments into their own hands, and they play with it until they get the results
they want. She also had a terrific sense of fun and I’d say a terrific sense of
devilish humour. Feminists are often being accused of being humorless and I think a
lot of humor has been misread throughout the course of art history. When you look
now as a contemporary viewer at a lot of feminist works in the 70s, they are
absolutely hilarious. Even though I’m working in a commercial sphere, like
showing in commercial galleries, I quite often do work that frightens them. Well
they find it a bit disgusting. It’s a photo-narrative sequence of this really
beefcake kind of model, and there’s a hand, which is the artists hand, which is
rubbing black paint all over it. A woman complained that they were sexist, and I
thought, well, how can you have sexist images of men? And I don’t really
think you can, in the sense that if people have power then you can’t really
take it away. ‘I made ‘Masculinisation’ as a reply to critics of feminist art. It went travelling to Belfast City Gallery.’ ‘The gallery wardens refused to come to work until it was removed.’ ‘When I was rung up to defend the work, I sad it was meant to offend.’ She takes ownership of her own power
which is an incredible thing to do at that particular time. Feminism and visual
feminism, it’s so revolutionary. To not be a part of it now is so stupid, you know, because it’s so exciting. ‘I think now how radical the work was, as we were dealing wtih politics, new techniques.’ ‘Finding a way to talk to ordinary people, and to make art when there was no possibility of selling it.’ I think people who see being an artist in
London as very glamorous, I think that they ought to know that it’s actually
very hard work and you do have to keep up working, you can’t have a successful
show and then go to sleep for the next 30 years. ‘I thought about getting a proper job instead and having a home, a flat.’ ‘But you choose and choose and end up being an artist living in an old warehouse.’ ‘I was happy to do that.’ ‘And being part of the moment was very exciting! People do not realise that. ‘We knew we were making history.’ The visibility of the work now has made
her very influential. We live in a society today that is completely
saturated by images, and what I think Alexis does is to show us the way that
those images are patriarchal, they are capitalist, and she kind of turns them
back to us, she kind of laughs at us, she laughs with us, she scares us. It will
never disappear because it’s so good. It’s still extremely relevant and it was
only the beginning. ‘Works of art have a staying power above mere mortality.’ ‘That’s the power of art!’

“Devan Shimoyama: Cry, Baby” Artist Talk

“Devan Shimoyama: Cry, Baby” Artist Talk


♪ (music) ♪ Good evening, everyone! I’m Patrick Moore.
I’m the Director of The Warhol. I want to welcome you all
to The Andy Warhol Museum. Thank you, and welcome. (applause) I have a very brief list of remarks
and thanks to make, and then I’m going to turn it over
to the stars of the show here. But, first of all, what about the staff
of The Andy Warhol Museum? (cheers and applause) They show up
and make this happen every day, so we’re really grateful for them. And, also, the Portrait Society,
of The Andy Warhol Museum, who are your hosts this evening. Thank you, Portrait Society. (applause) But, primarily, actually my job
is to thank the donors who’ve made this possible this evening. And the donors
of this amazing exhibition are: the Quentin and Evelyn T. Cunningham Fund
at The Pittsburgh Foundation, thank you, Pittsburgh Foundation; (applause) The Fine Foundation,
and it’s very special, because Jessica is
the Milton Fine curator of art here; (applause) the Arts, Equity, & Education Fund;
Karen and Jim Johnson; (applause) the De Buck Gallery,
David De Buck is with us here; (applause) the really amazing Jim Spencer
and Michael Lin, (applause) they’ve done so much for this museum, and I would thank them
on many, many levels; Stacy and Samuel Freeman;
V. Joy Simmons M.D.; Mrs. Ellen and Mr. Jack Kessler; (applause) The Plastino Family Charitable Fund; Mr. Howard C. Eglit; and all the lenders of the exhibition.
Thank you very much. (applause) I do want to say that it is
an extraordinary pleasure, responsibility, and honor,
to be engaged with an artist who is going to have
an extraordinary career, and that is our friend Devan Shimoyama. (cheers and applause) And, finally, it is also a real pleasure
to have a colleague who is as thoughtful
as our colleague, Jessica Beck, so I’m going to turn it over to her. (cheers and applause) Hi, everyone. We’ve waited a long time for this moment. It’s been two years in the making, and so it’s just really wonderful
to have such a warm room. And I think one
of the really special things about this show, and working with Devan has been that Pittsburgh
has really embraced this project. And so to have The Pittsburgh Foundation
come in, really early, with some support, it allowed me to just
kind of shoot for the moon, and do everything that I needed to do
to celebrate Devan’s work, and to have a really special exhibition. And there are a lot of people here
at The Warhol museum– You know we’re a small team. We’re kind of like the scrappy alleycats to Carnegie Museum of Arts’ fancy feast. (laughter) I have to rely on the team here, so Keny Marshall, and Alissa Osial
from our exhibition staff just are kind of completely indispensable. Alissa is just an amazing
right-hand person to work with on an exhibition. She anticipates my needs, and she’s patient when I change
my mind (chuckles) which I tend to do. Charlene Bidula, from communications, helped make the live stream tonight
possible into the lobby so that many of the people here
could see our talk. She’s been helping
with the amazing press that we’ve had
for this exhibition already. Jessica Tkach and Stephanie Selya
from the development department helped coordinate this amazing evening
and all of your invitations. Abigail Franzen-Sheehan
helped me with this catalogue, that became a really important part
of the exhibition, and it’s up here on the screen. And one of the really important people
that made this catalogue so beautiful, is Shannon Jager, and I’m not sure
if she’s in the room tonight, but she’s hopefully
here at the exhibition. She just really understood the work, and created this exceptional,
beautiful catalogue which is here and on sale
in the gift store (chuckles). I really made a point to have
young writers be involved in this project, and Rickey Laurentiis is here tonight,
and he’s one of those voices. Alex Fialho and Emily Colucci
are not here, and couldn’t be here tonight,
but also equally important voices. And really, the staff
at The Andy Warhol Museum, I couldn’t have done
this show without them, and also the acceptance
to take this risk of working with Devan, an artist that, at the moment
that I went into his studio, wasn’t known to the degree that he is now. Patrick and senior management
were really open to taking that risk with me,
so I’m really grateful for all of that. Another person who was really instrumental
in all of the fundraising was Clark Crowley-Bunyard. He came in kind of like
a little guardian angel, and flew away, but was with me
at a really important moment to raise a lot of funds for this show. But the person that deserves
all of the thanks is Devan. It’s just been a really beautiful journey. (applause) It’s just been really exciting
to be part of your development. I like to start our story with this photo, because it was our first studio visit. It was kind of… It felt like a sort of magical,
quick moment, because I walked into the studio, that you can see
is pretty bare bones at the time. You didn’t have a working sink. You only had one canvas that was finished. But I just remember walking in and kind of immediately knowing
that I needed to do a show here at The Andy Warhol Museum
with this person. (chuckles) And I don’t usually do that
with studio visits. But you were talking a lot about your work
and what’s behind your work. And I remember at one point
I sort of stopped listening, and just was really excited about trying to come up
with a way to pitch the show back to senior management
here at the museum. But what’s happened,
kind of magically, to the wall– the one painting that was finished
is He Loves Me Not, which is now the cover of the catalogue, so it’s a nice,
special connection back there. But, Devan, I think we should start with– This moment, in September 2016, was before you had
the PULSE prize in Miami, before you had your show
with David De Buck, before The New York Times,
before The Studio Museum. But maybe you could talk about
what was happening in your work at this moment, and maybe what’s
been changing now. Yeah, sure. So, in here, the only painting that’s done
is the one that’s on the far right. When you even brought that up,
the idea of somehow getting that into The Warhol, I just kind of laughed.
I was like, “Okay, sure.” (laughter) You’re looking at one done painting. (laughter) And when really pursuing that,
moving forward, I just felt like our conversation
that we had, you really saw something in the work, a lot of the things
that I was thinking about, and really understood them
so effortlessly. Here I was exploring a lot of
what is on the outer walls upstairs in the exhibition, a lot of the earlier work using
self portraiture as a way for me to create this archetypal character, a shamanistic figure that kind of travels
from painting to painting or portal to portal, exposing these tiny moments
of magic alone. It’s a lot about learning to love oneself, learning to love
one’s own blackness, in a way, and really embracing that. You always see the figures alone. So they’re alone in nature. Sometimes they have the companion
of the snake that you see, or birds. And the teardrop motif here
was introduced pretty early on, and it’s in a lot of that work
that you were seeing at the beginning, which, for me, represented
a multitude of feelings in which tears can be accompanied by. So thinking of them as being
something kind of tragic, and dealing with trauma, and pain, but also something
that is quite cathartic. And something that I hadn’t seen
a lot of black men do when growing up– sort of desiring that, seeing black men
expose themselves in that way and show a little bit more
of that side of them. So it was me creating
this origin mythology. Yeah, these are the two paintings
that I saw on the wall, unfinished, and then here they are, finished, and they’re upstairs on one
of the early walls of the exhibition. And I think, for me,
when I first walked into the studio, the initial thought that I had in my mind was Warhol’s
Ladies and Gentlemen paintings. And that kind of was really
what was the core of our conversation, became the core of this exhibition for me, of really highlighting Warhol’s practice
through Devan’s practice, and Devan’s practice
through Warhol’s practice. Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen paintings
from 1974 and 1975 are a body of work that have often been shrouded in shadow. They were never shown in the U.S.
during his lifetime. The majority of those canvases
still are in private hands in Europe. So here we have, in the collection,
a really beautiful example of this body of work. Warhol was commissioned
by an Italian collector for 100 canvases, but he ended up making
something like 258 canvases in the end. He used 14 models, and took
something like 500 Polaroids. So it became this real moment for Warhol of a little bit of envy, maybe, a little bit of joy in his practice
and an unusual side to him, I think kind of bringing out
the thread line of drag in Warhol’s practice,
in Warhol’s experience. So that is what I saw
when I walked into that little space with one finished painting,
was this connection back to Warhol. So in the show I always wanted
to bring in the collection. So on the fourth floor you’ll see
Warhol’s Ladies and Gentlemen series with Warhol’s self-portrait wallpaper, and mixed in that is
one of Devan’s brand new paintings of Miss Toto, who is here this evening. But other connections between the work–
it wasn’t just color and palette, it was also about body language,
expression, identity, race, in the work. Ladies and Gentlemen is a body of work
primarily made up of queens of color. There’s only one individual
that’s still unidentified, and they’re just a really important
body of work for Warhol. And I think for you, Devan, this was also an exploration
into Warhol in this way, because when we had
that first conversation you were somewhat aware of Warhol’s
Ladies and Gentlemen paintings, but not fully, and so it was after I showed you
the connection back to the work that you had thought, “Oh, wow, this really does make sense
here at The Warhol.” Yeah, what I thought was interesting
was even thinking about these queens of color
and their imperfections, in a lot of the Polaroids which we were just
talking about earlier today, and seeing the veil of color
and the celebratory mark-making and the way in which a lot
of those imperfections are erased as something that
somewhat happens in my work, but when you get up close
you can actually see them. So the way in which I was working
kind of mirrors his practice in some way, in that I am rendering
from photographic imagery a portrait but allowing those flaws
to be totally embedded in that surface and then slightly obscuring them
with a veil of color. So I’d see the relationship
completely there, yeah. Yeah, and when you’re upstairs
on the fourth floor we have all of the Polaroids
that we have in the collection scanned so you can see those flaws come out. For instance, Wilhelmina,
the main queen in the series, has some missing teeth that she covers
with her tongue in the Polaroids but in the final painting you see
nothing but sort of feminine beauty and really iconic beauty– Warhol kind of elevating these queens
to the same standards of his other portraits of other beauties. But beauty and desire are another,
I think, important subtext to the exhibition and to the work, and we had talked at one point
about doing sort of different sun moments in the floorplan of the show. So you’ll see moonlight
on one side of the exhibition and then kind of a sun moment. And Butterfly Eater is one
of these kind of crimson sun moments on the other side of the show. Yeah, I had thought, initially,
a lot about the really colorful paintings that you’ll see on the sunlight side, where the skin color changes
from reds to yellows to browns to blues. What’s interesting to me is to also think
of the sort of multitude of what blackness even means. And I think that using a color story
to kind of tell that, and through magic and creation mythology, was really fun for me, and fascinating,
and a learning experience. I think about it even with Warhol’s
Ladies and Gentlemen– the way in which he’s using color to explore those quite interesting
layers of blackness. A lot of them,
if you look at their Polaroids, you’ll see a lot of them
are maybe Latinx, maybe don’t immediately register as black. So it was interesting to think of that, and also to think of blackness
as being quite American. And I do think that’s something
that’s significant in this work, is this sort of… In these mythological paintings, where the snake accompanies
the male figure in this, they become companions,
they care for each other. They’re both seeking their origins
through these different dimensions. So I’m thinking of the snake
as this creature that’s been uprooted from religions
that originated in the Fertile Crescent and then dropped down into Christianity,
and vilified through that in a similar way through which Westerners went into Africa and uprooted, through the diaspora,
black individuals into America and now have been vilified here. So there’s this sort of placelessness,
not quite feeling at home, and so they’re always seeking, together. One of the journeys for me,
as a curator, working with Devan, has been following the change in his work, kind of just constantly
having to step along with you and change the format of the show
to reflect the change in the work. So each time I did a studio visit,
a new body of work, a new idea had started to emerge that had me going back
to the drawing board with the floorplan. But everything, everything
really did come together for this, and what happened now,
with the exhibition and the floorplan, was this sort of inner warm glow
inside the center of the exhibition, a sort of heart to the exhibition of these Barbershop,
this really tender moment in the center. And so the Barbershop series
was something that had started in 2016… 2017, a year ago, with your first show in New York
at De Buck Gallery. Yeah, so here– Actually, it’s interesting
to look at these two paintings. The first painting, on the left,
is what I did after the Barbershop series, so there’s still clippers,
and there’s still the self-care routine. But actually, for me, the difference is that a lot of paintings
that you’ll see up there are fictional individuals,
that I’ve used a composite of a number of images of people
to create a kind of range of ages of boys and men getting their hair cut in a fictional sort of
drag-aestheticized barbershop. On the left you’ll see a portrait
of someone that I do actually know, one of the two individuals
who I’ve painted multiple times since, who I was in a conversation with
about things that we do in order to not have to go
to the barbershop– this place in which I can remember
and relate to other individuals who identify similarly with me, of it not being quite the safe space
of fraternal male bonding, which it sort of positions itself to be. And I just remember thinking
that was so significant, so I wanted to actually
represent those individuals specifically as who they are, with their own products,
in their own spaces, these kind of cramped bathroom spaces that you’ll see in, I believe,
it’s three… four paintings upstairs. So that’s where that imagery
is coming from. Also, a lot of these I made– I had seen Kerry James Marshall’s
retrospective like five times. I was just totally obsessed with it. But then I remember reading a lot about what people were taking
from a painting that had been made– such a significant painting of his that
I think is sort of revolutionary in a way of the barbershop
and then also the beauty shop. But people were looking at it in this way
as if it was made right now, and still indicative of what it is like
to be a black individual, as if this was his blanket statement
that this is what it’s like. And I felt like that wasn’t exactly
my experience in that space, being a queer individual, feeling the need
to sort of not speak aloud, to expose the way that I’m speaking, because receiving a haircut
is such an intimate experience between two males, generally speaking, that not wanting to sort of
out yourself in that space. Yeah, and I think–
We don’t have the slide here, but the Kerry James Marshall
painting from ’93, De Style is a really great example
of this community, fraternity, chatter, noise in that canvas
that you see, with cords and references
to Muhammad Ali and the female body, kind of talking about women,
maybe, in that space. But Devan’s are about kind of isolation,
and feeling, maybe perhaps, alone, and then covered in this feminine warmth. But the other reference
that we don’t have up here, I think, is the hands to the barber. In Kerry James’ painting
you can see the barber takes on almost this christening, blessing over the person
who’s having their hair cut, but in Devan’s paintings upstairs
you see the barber’s hands are actually Rihanna’s fingers–
so literally transforming that back to a pop reference
and a female reference. Often feminine warmth
is another sort of underbelly, I think, to the exhibition. But I think something
that was really important to keep at the core, too,
of the exhibition, Devan really balances both optimism
and joy in the practice, and beauty, with loss and pain,
as a subtext. So Cry, Baby itself,
the title of the show, kind of walks both of those lines as well. And so these totem pieces emerged in 2015, started in 2015, with Fire Island, Fire Island residency, and maybe you can talk
a little bit about that. Sure. So, my time on Fire Island
artist residency, I had to actually apply
with a proposed project that I would pursue
during my month of residence. The initial project was surrounding
this idea of going there, this being a space
that’s highly concentrated with queer male identifying individuals, I sought that out
as an opportunity to then connect with other black queer men
on that island and photograph them, having them sort of become the night sky, so these nighttime portraits,
covered in glitter. The problem was is I encountered
maybe like two other black people while I was there, (laughter)
and had never felt quite so invisible. And it was a really, really bizarre
cognitive space that I was in there, especially because during that time Sandra Bland had just
gotten murdered in prison, the Emanuel Church shooting happened, where those nine individuals
were murdered, and it seemed as if no one was doing
anything but partying and hanging out, and I was so in my head about that. So I did a lot of solo,
by myself walkabouts throughout the island, collecting materials
from performances that happened, from drag performance
through performance artists, talking with them
about a number of things that were happening outside of here. I also collected white rocks
by myself at low tide two times a day. And I wasn’t really sure
what I was going to do. And on the very last day
I did this photo project where I fully embodied
the shamanistic character that appears in my paintings. I took apart that portal
that I created here out of driftwood, and created these swings,
and dedicated them, along with a number of other objects,
while I was there, to some of those black lives
that had been lost in such tragic ways. So that swing is one
of the first iterations of the For Tamir series, for Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy who was shot on site
by police officers on a swing set. In the show here you’ll see
two different iterations of those where they’re actually more
like an actual swing from a swing set. They’re adorned within mind
thinking of a lot of ways in which I grew up, thinking of ways in which people
that I’m used to seeing deal with death and tragedy,
which was urban memorials– looking at how people use
so much DIY craft materials to make something–
to beautify a space, or beautify something to celebrate the joy of that individual. It’s always so ephemeral, so you’ll see– Many of you probably have seen a white bicycle
with flowers all over it, or… I saw a burned-down
apartment building that had, across the fence
where they were doing construction, teddy bears and cards
and things like that. And so thinking of how these communities, black communities, queer communities,
deal with pain and trauma through finding ways
to celebrate beauty and joy in life. So that’s where a lot of that work
is coming out of. And I think, too, I just wanted
to make sure in the exhibition that it just wasn’t painting, because you are a painter,
but you also– This work specifically
is about performance, and photography, and sculpture, so I wanted to make sure
that the exhibition really featured that and was about a survey– your first museum show
not just being painting, but a full encompassing
of the development of your work. Another really beautiful
subtext to this show is this queer utopia that you create, and a lot of the early mythical paintings
and the feminine myths that you encounter and sort of restage. The art historian in me loves
a good Daphne painting. So Daphne is this image
we usually see in Italian Renaissance as the female running from Apollo,
who’s chasing behind her. Bernini’s famous sculpture
is Apollo almost grabbing at her torso, and her fingers are up high
and they’re sprouting laurel branches because her father is turning her
into a laurel tree to protect her from Apollo’s advances. But in this painting
there is no father figure, and instead there are these eyes
of the women who raised you, and this notion of femininity
and feminine strength kind of comforting you,
perhaps in a moment of fear. And you really restaged this, too,
in this really romantic, mythical swamp marshland
in the background, and I think another important moment
in these earlier paintings is that the flesh tone
of your figure, your body, actually takes on the colors
of the background, of the landscape, almost like bringing the body
back into the land or back into the earth. So thinking about
sort of the science fiction in some of your interests, too. Yeah, so I’m completely…
I read so many fairytales from all different cultures,
science fiction, epic fantasy novels, all that kind of stuff, and it heavily influences
a lot of the work. In this painting I’m sort of
inverting that narrative but also removing the pursuer. I wasn’t so interested
in Apollo’s role in this. I was more so interested in the idea of a daughter seeking out
her father for assistance, the caretaker to then help her
take agency on her life and not allow that to happen to her. And also in this painting
you’ll notice that in the background there are other trees
with little eyes peering out, to sort of allude to the idea
that this has maybe happened before, but it’s a community of individuals
who now are together and at peace. And so, yeah, the eyes that you’ll see
throughout the exhibition that are collaged on are a mix of eyes
of my mother, of my aunt, of my grandmother, but also of just
a multitude of eyes of black women, female models and icons
and things like that throughout magazines that I find– just to keep it a little bit more open. But they are indicative similarly
to the Rihanna fingers that you’ll see. It’s really important to me
to emphasize the affinity between women and queer men,
and I think that that’s something that I’ve always thought about
in this work, is women being these people that keep queer men safe. Through school, through middle school,
that’s kind of where your friends are, and they’re always the girl that’s going
to beat up any guy for you, you know? It’s like this amazing bond. And if you look at any sort of female icon
that’s performing today, in music or in cinema, they’re all legends because of their queer community
that follows them. And I think that there’s something
really magical between them. I feel like I’m now part
of your posse of women… – Yeah! That’s right!
– supporting you. I just have to say that. (laughter) Flood was this painting that–
I walked into the studio in 2017. You had changed studios, and you had started Moon Twins,
and it wasn’t finished, and it was the yellow underpainting
in the exhibition. But Flood was done,
and for me this painting for a while was the central image of the exhibition, because I think
many of us were experiencing a little bit of horror after the election,
and trauma in many ways, so at that moment– and this is what’s so great
about your work, is that it really, truly reflects
conversation and dialogue happening at its time
that you’re making it. So, in one way that’s amazing,
and in another way, for the show, it was hard to keep up with that. But for a while I was thinking
about America in this moment and how we should have this conversation
here at The Warhol museum and how it would be important
to have in the show. But, ultimately, what started happening
with the planning of the show is making sure that the joy
and the beauty was more central to the story of the show. Yeah, this painting I made
in about a day and a half, right after the election. It’s the only one in the entire exhibition
that has the tears, this kind of gloominess in the background
but also in the foreground. It’s the one time where you see the snakes
actually totally in turmoil, completely. There’s angry-looking eyes
instead of them sort of more soft or curious or thoughtful. I think, yeah, for me that was
a really intense moment of just sort of disbelief
and almost betrayal, in a way, but also thinking of
what was next beyond that, so then going back
to the more positive way, the positive route. How do we then get through this,
and power through, moving forward. So just expel the energy, get it out,
and here’s the painting, and then move on to the next thing. I usually seek to– I use fiction
as a way to navigate through, speculative fiction, as a way
that looks to what’s actually happening and maybe presents an opportunity
to see it in a different light or to try to unpack the possibilities
of how to resolve certain issues. I think actually the next painting,
that became the center of the show, does it much more effectively, for me. You kind of see my whole trajectory
of how my emotional state or my mental state was going through and how I was actually trying to unpack
and figure out these things. How do I exist and navigate this world
without just totally every day feeling overwhelmed with the news or with all of these
insane things happening. And at this point, when I made
this painting just a few weeks ago, which is entitled Weed Picker, having recently become a homeowner, thinking of all the things
that I didn’t think about when I bought a house,
which was, “My lawn is terrible.” (laughter) But actually maintaining
and tending to one’s home in the same way in which
one tends to one’s body. And also thinking a lot
about black ownership and how important that is, so as to not be so easily
disposable or displaced. So in this, I also remember
just thinking so much of black spaces, black communities, and how there’s this sort of
contradiction of acceptance of someone like Kanye West. So in the background of that painting,
which denotes a gang territory, the dangling shoes–
those are a pair of Yeezys, which are a sneaker that are made
by Kanye West, but in China, but he wears a “Make America
Great Again” hat, made in China. And I think that he becomes
the spokesperson for all black people in this really complex way,
because so many black individuals– And I’ve had conversations
just this summer with other black people who are like, “Oh, Kanye’s crazy,
he’s crazy,” blah, blah, blah, “but did you hear his new album?” So they still want to call him
a musical genius. But it reinforces, it continues
to propel him into the public eye, and now allows him to become
this like joke puppet in the news. And so it’s this complex, dark,
looming, weird existence happening in it
and floating in the background, but in the foreground,
I’m wearing a t-shirt from– So it has the four names
of the four lead female characters from a sitcom from the ’90s
that I used to watch growing up, called Living Single, which is the TV show
that Friends stole their entire idea from. (laughter) Look it up. (laughter) And so it says Khadijah,
Regine, Max and Synclaire. So that’s just a show that sort of
presented this entire black cast. They have their own lives,
their own subset of issues and problems that they navigate through without this other identity
sort of forcing them to navigate anything. They’re not dealing
with anything but each other and their own problems,
and I felt that that was really beautiful to see a show in which
they could exist in their own space, and it was so lighthearted and joyous. So, again, there’s the joy
in the foreground and something kind of looming
in the background here. Yeah, and this painting…
I went into the studio three weeks ago, and saw this painting
and said goodbye to it, and thought, “We won’t have
this painting for the show,” because he was sending it
to Frieze London. And I just knew that this painting
needed to be in the exhibition. So I went through
a few mini deaths for myself, on like how to get this painting here, how to change the entire
central focus of the show. But Kavi Gupta’s Gallery, Rachel Gonzales, and Chanelle, and their registrar, Craig, were incredible when I emailed them
a week ago (laughs), on Monday, and asked, “Is there any way at all
that we could coordinate to have this painting come to Pittsburgh?” And Caitlin Gongas, our registrar,
when I went to her very quietly and timidly,
“I’m trying to get this painting…” said, “I’m up for a challenge, Jessica.” And so here it is. It arrived on the second floor
on Wednesday and we unpacked it and it was one of these hallelujah moments because it really, truly
is your emergence– in the painting and in the exhibition,
and as a painter. It’s a stunning canvas. It’s you, full-scale, in your own home, on your own land, about self care and self preservation
and beauty and joy and feminine community around you
and on you and on your body. So it just became this moment of the show that really sits
as the central focus point. And, in the distance now, the tears
that we always talked about, bringing the black tears that we always talked about
bringing into the show, sit in the background. So here there are no tears,
but there’s a hint of it in the distance. So, fully, truly, this becomes
kind of the crown jewel of the exhibition. And then another part of the planning
of this show was this opening. Through Devan’s Instagram
I discovered Miss Toto, who is a drag queen
that Devan was seeing in Miami, and telling me about your time in Miami, and then came back from Miami,
of a residency, doing paintings of Miss Toto. And so I saw her performance
of Harriet Tubman at a club on Instagram and knew that I needed
to bring her here somehow. So I brought her here in two ways. She’s here in the painting
on the fourth floor of the exhibition and has now become the true keystone
back to the Warhol connection. And Devan, maybe you can talk
about the drag, kind of the influence in Miami, and getting to know Miss Toto
and other drag queens in Miami. Yeah, I went to Miami this summer
for the Fountainhead Residency. So I went with the intention, knowing that I wanted
to reach out to local drag queens, not in South Beach,
just because it has a longer history. I really wanted to interact
with some queens that were doing something
a little more unconventional and exciting. And so I’d noticed that
she had been getting a lot of local press, and I was really curious. She’s a bodybuilder, a fitness trainer. And I got to talking to her,
I reached out to her, and said, “Look, I want to make
some fan art of you.” Unabashedly so.
I’m not shy of saying that. Because I think that what I wanted to do, was really uplift
a lot of what she was doing. She’s someone that’s down there
using performance and unconventional notions
of beauty and femininity to discuss those issues, but also to fundraise
for different LGBTQ youth to have affordable housing in Miami. So she’s doing a lot
of really beautiful work, and I think that she’s creating community. She’s bringing really young
queer people of color into her home, into her drag family,
and they’re performing together. Some of these kids are like 18 to 21. And she’s giving them a voice, a platform in which they can express themselves
and stay in Miami. And so this is the first time
maybe in the past five years that young queer Latinx people
or black individuals are actually staying in Miami
and building a community. So I thought that was so important
to kind of celebrate that while I was down there, and make use of my time
in that site, specifically. And so I made this painting of her, and I’ve made a number
of other works that feature her and some of her friends
that perform with her in Miami. I showed some of those at EXPO
with David De Buck’s gallery in the booth. And it’s just been really wonderful
hearing her backstory and some of the unconventional
things she does, like coordinating a celebrity death match
wrestling in drag. I mean, it’s incredible,
the stuff she’s doing. She’s putting an entire actual
wrestling rink in a space, throwing a party,
and having people perform. And so creating space
for queer individuals to come together and to commune
and to totally just be together without that external pressure
and without the confusion. I met so many individuals
that are black in a multitude of ways– Latinx individuals that refuse
to say that they’re black. I’ve met some people that are there, they’re not citizens
and they’re fearing for their lives, having to return
to certain countries as queer people. And so they get this little bit of joy
in some of these shows. I think, too, the other thing
that I really enjoyed about putting this show together with you is that when we had
that first studio visit, it was about your work
being really amazing and about you being
a really amazing person. And I think often in the art world
we kind of gravitate towards artists who are already represented
by a gallery or have a big career. And so it was really important
for me to just know that the work would sing
here at the museum and to take that risk with you, and just to help you develop
your work and your practice and showcase it here. Thank you so much. No, because it’s really significant
that I genuinely did think that that was a joke,
like you asking me that. (laughs) So really, just believing in my work and having everybody here, the team,
believe in my work so much and being able to watch me grow
through this entire process. That show really does show you
my entire professional career post grad school. It’s everything from the second
I got out up until now, and it just means so much to me,
so thank you. (applause) Another thing that’s meant a lot to me
with the development of this show was the catalogue, obviously, but also bringing the exhibition
into the community. So creating community partnerships. And one of those has been The Center
for African American Poetry and Poetics, and Rickey Laurentiis has planned
a really beautiful talk, series of talks, poets. He’s invited really amazing poets
to come on October 25th. That’ll be at Pitt’s campus, and he’s going to be moderating
a conversation about the black ecstatic, a term that he developed
really beautifully in his catalogue essay. And on Friday we’re bringing Kleaver Cruz,
another part of that partnership, to talk to Devan about masculinity
and the barbershop. There will be a dance party afterwards, and Brendan Hawkins is going
to start the performance, do a performance that night. Staycee Pearl with PearlArt Studio
is another partner for a program a major program of Rashaad Newsome, who will be here on December 12th. And then the final program
is The Artist Up Close, and it will be all
of the catalogue contributors and an opportunity for many of you
to ask final questions– it’s in March,
at the closing of the show– and to have Devan sign your catalogue and just to have a really closing
community event for the exhibition. But we do have time
for a couple questions. There’s so many friends in the room
and familiar faces, so don’t be shy. And if you do have a question,
you can raise your hand or shout it out. And if you would like it to be recorded,
I can pass you a microphone. Does anyone have any questions? (chuckles) (man) One thing I might have missed,
what was your introduction to his work? How did you know…? I went to an event at Carnegie Mellon– So, Devan, which I didn’t say
throughout all of this, teaches at Carnegie Mellon. And Carnegie Mellon and Charlie White
have been so amazing with helping with this exhibition
and supporting this exhibition and supporting Devan through all of this. The video that we put together
of Devan in his studio that shows upstairs on the second floor was produced with Carnegie Mellon’s help. So I went to a faculty event
in the gymnasium at the Ace Hotel, and Suzie Silver introduced me
to Devan Shimoyama. And I said, “Oh, I’ve heard
of your name in Pittsburgh.” We had two text messages
about setting up the studio visit, and as I had started saying
in the beginning, it literally– I often actually don’t like to see work
before I go into the studio, and so I don’t even think
I looked up your name on your website or Instagram, and went into that little space
and really instantly knew that we needed to do a show together. I know that seems, as you said, a joke, but it really did happen in that space. I saw those paintings. I thought immediately of Warhol’s
Ladies and Gentlemen practice. I just really understood the work. I understood the message
you were trying to get across, which I found to be really fearless. And that reminded me, also,
of early Warhol being fearless in New York. So that’s why at the front of the show
there’s a 1950s drawing called Crying Man, that Warhol made
as part of his Boy Book series. And this moment, for Warhol,
when he was very fearless with his sexuality and vulnerability, which, by 1961-62 you see
erased from the surface, but really ends up being an underbelly
to a lot of Warhol’s practice and is my entry point into Warhol– often around ideas
of vulnerability, and beauty, and pain. So for me, Cry, Baby was Warhol.
(chuckles) It was a way to see Warhol, and a way to celebrate Devan, and just to really situate your practice
in this long tradition and a long history. We probably have time
for one more question, if anyone else has any other questions. Yeah, Melissa. (Melissa) This is kind of a difficult one,
I should have asked it earlier, but I think I was wondering– this is to Jessica, and then in part
to Devan, to both of you– but Warhol’s relationship to race
is really complex and difficult. There’s a lot of racism in [inaudible] and throughout the tapes
that I’ve studied, actually, and other things, so I find– I’m wondering how the show
maybe thinks about that, and whether or not– Yeah, and that was also– That’s another major reason
why I wanted to do this show, because I wanted to make sure– There are many different ways
to read Warhol, and for me it’s not just
the story of whiteness. And I think
the Ladies and Gentlemen paintings are a moment when you see him shifting. And even the 258 paintings he made
might have been about joy. But they also might have been
about a way to deal with black skin on the palette,
on the canvas. So I think that, for Warhol– I think the whole point of this for me was really bringing out
the problematics, too, with the Ladies and Gentlemen series. They weren’t named,
those individuals, for a very long time. The body of work was always referred to
as the Ladies and Gentlemen. And since the last volume IV
of the catalogue raisonné, they’ve been named now. And so that was a real strategy
for me as a curator– to put their names on the labels and have their biographies upstairs, so we know, for instance,
Marsha P. Johnson is one of the queens, Wilhelmina Ross
was the star of the series. And so another story of their [inaudible] is the struggle– those individuals
did have a lot of struggle. Many of them died young. Some died from AIDS–
Wilhelmina died of AIDS. So I think bringing out these sides
of Warhol’s practice are really important to me, and I situate him in that with the self-portrait wallpaper
in that story. But I also think with Warhol,
there was a little bit of envy in him with that body of work,
and an envy for drag. And drag is a subtext
that starts in the ’50s with Warhol’s practice. He doesn’t embody drag
until his portraits with Christopher Makos in the ’80s. So that is the one of the other reasons
I’m doing this show, is to remind us all that Warhol
is a question about identity and can take on these challenges
of identity and race, and that it is in the practice. Yeah, and I guess, just to add on to that, I just actually had a pretty extensive
conversation with Antwaun Sargent, who’s writing a really great piece
right now for The New York Times where he’s actually reaching out
to a number of artists of color and discussing that exact thing. Looking forward to his retrospective
that’s coming up at the… Is that at the Whitney? Is that right? Yeah, so I’ve had that conversation, and it’s really interesting
to talk about the things that I simultaneously reject but also accept into my own practice in thinking of him and my relationship
to his work being in this space. I think it’s a complex thing. There’s issues there, with representation
and also with, like you said, the sort of namelessness– when someone was named
and when they were celebrated versus not. Yeah, I think that it’s–
I talked about it a lot, so I hope you look forward
to reading that. I think it really unpacks it
in an interesting way with a multitude of artists of color
talking about it. Yeah, and I guess I should just say that my grad dissertation
was on Glenn Ligon and Andy Warhol, so for me, Warhol’s always been
a reflection on identity and race actually and the challenges with that. I think Warhol had a lot of challenges
with his own identity and could kind of see– The practice, it comes out
in the practice in a way, for me. When I was at the Hirshhorn Museum,
Kara Walker, I suggested she come to speak about the Shadows. She gave one of the most beautiful talks
about Warhol, using The Invisible Man, the opening passage of Invisible Man. And so I think that’s been my challenge
that I set for myself as a curator, is to remind people that Warhol
isn’t just a story about glamour and Hollywood and fashion, and that it’s much deeper–
about a struggle of existence, actually. We’ll take this last question. Yeah? (man) Devan, since you’ve had to suppress
your identity as a young person, does that flow over into life, in an inability to identify yourself? You’re a Philadelphian. Some of us identify as athletes. Some of us identify
as, you know, from Philadelphia. But when you’re young,
and you have to suppress this, such an important part of your being, does it flow over as an adult
into questions of your real identity, not just in your sexuality, your… but does it flow over into, “Who am I?” Does that early trauma affect you
later on to try and identify yourself? Somewhat. There’s other things that affect me
more than the sexuality thing. There’s things like, I don’t know,
just the way my voice sounds sometimes. I grew up with people
saying I sound too “white.” I’m not from a certain type
of neighborhood or they assumed I had a ton of money just because of the way
that I speak, or something. So that, to me, is also
a reason why I shield, or not necessarily change
the way that I do speak. But I think that, in general,
everybody does somewhat of code switching, depending on where they are,
who they’re around, and situation to situation, and I think that it’s not always necessarily shielding parts
of my identity. It’s not always a response to trauma. But I think it’s just almost
just reactionary, it’s automatic. And so it doesn’t always
necessarily feel that dark every time. I think it’s all situational. So, not quite. Yeah. Well, one of the other great things
that happened, one of the wish fulfillments that I made, was bringing Miss Toto here from Miami. And she’s going to perform now,
in the lobby. So we’re all going to get up
and go and see her perform. – So, thank you, everyone.
– Thank you. (applause) ♪ (music) ♪

Five Tips for Teaching with Works of Art | MoMA Education

Five Tips for Teaching with Works of Art | MoMA Education


– Hi, I’m Lisa Mazzola,
and I’m an educator at the Museum of Modern Art. And we are here in MoMA’s galleries where I spend lots of time
with students and teachers talking about works of
art in our collection. I’m here to share with
you my five top tips for engaging students with works of art. One of the biggest challenges
the teachers tell me they have with their students, is getting them to slow down and really look at a work of art. The way that we focus students’ attention here at MoMA is by asking
open-ended questions. What I mean by open-ended questions are questions that don’t
require a yes or no answer. So what else do you notice,
the overall size right? So now you’re looking at this painting, the actual painting and it’s much larger. Yeah, what else do you notice? – That’s so flat. – [Lisa] Yeah, can you
tell me more about that? What does that mean, it’s so flat? These types of questions
get the students comfortable generating their own ideas
and making observations, and even interpretations
about what they see without needing any prior
knowledge about the work of art. So once you get a lively discussion going using open-ended questions, make sure to validate your students’
responses and keep them focused by restating their responses to the group. It’s really important to not give them all the information up front, but slowly start to layer the information in. This will leave room for the students’ interpretations and ideas
in the conversation. The original kind of seed of the idea was this depicting this community, this village, this place that he grew up. But it’s not exactly the
way that it was, right? So he added some of these sort
of unrealistic things to it. Not all students feel comfortable
talking in a large group. Some of them might feel uncomfortable sharing their thoughts or their ideas with their fellow students. To address the needs of those students, I like to develop activities that engage other learning styles,
like writing or drawing, or even incorporate physical exercises like taking on the pose or the gesture of a particular figure in an artwork. So someone asked the question about does it have to be real or
does it have to be imaginary? And it can be both, right? This is just about you
playing with line and shape. When you engage students
in other types of learning in addition to dialogue,
you’re now making room for responses you might not
get through conversation alone. If you can get your
students thinking about personal experiences that
relate to the work of art, that’s a connection you’re making. And the more connections you can make, the more engaged the students will be, and the more information they’re
ultimately going to learn. It’s this connection between
information and ideas that really activates the students, and oftentimes makes them want to explore works of art on their own. So you’ve asked questions, and you’ve layered in information,
and you’re engaged in different types of activities, and you’re making connections. So my last tip for you is reflection. It’s really important to take the time to reflect and synthesize what
the students have learned. There are a variety of ways to do this. You can simply ask them
an open-ended question about big ideas, or you
can ask them to consider what they learned about the work of art that they didn’t know before. You can also have them do some type of drawing or writing activity. Whatever you do, it’s really important to take the time to reflect
and synthesize their ideas. – [Voiceover] Amazed. – [Voiceover] I see a chair. – [Voiceover] It looks like traffic. (children murmuring) – [Voiceover] It looks
like a road with cars. – [Voiceover] It looks like
lights flashing on a screen. – [Voiceover] A road with cars
and those boxes are schools. – [Lisa] See how it’s
got quiet for a second, and when we got quiet, your
eyes really got in there and then all of a sudden these things, it looks like traffic, it looks like a maze,
I see all the colors. It looks like a board game, right? Incorporating these five
tips into your teaching will help you facilitate
deeper engagements with your students and works of art.

Elizabeth Gilbert: The Art of Being Yourself

Elizabeth Gilbert: The Art of Being Yourself


– Hey everybody, what’s up? It’s Chase. Welcome to another episode
of The Chase Jarvis Live Show here on CreativeLive. You all know this show. This is where I sit down with
the best humans in the world and I do everything I can
to unpack their brains with the goal of helping
you live your dreams whether that’s in career
and hobby or in life. My guest today you will
recognize her immediately when I say the first thing
out of my mouth which is, she wrote “Eat, Pray, Love”
a considerable time ago. Then, she was named one of the Most 100 Influential
People in the World by Time Magazine. We’re here today to talk about creativity, to talk about building and
living on a life that you love, and her new book called “City of Girls.” My guest is the inimitable,
Elizabeth Gilbert. Welcome to the show.
– Hi Chase. (upbeat music) (applause) – [Offcamera Audience
Member] They love you. – Hi. – That was a very dramatic introduction. – Ta-da! – It was like, (makes jazzy intro sounds) Let’s put on a show! Thank you for having me in. – Thank you so much,
congrats on your new book. – Thank you. – A novel. – A novel, yeah. Yeah, that’s my roots. – I know it, no. – Yeah, it’s funny ’cause
I think it’s very cute when people come up to me and they say, “I loved your first book so much.” And I’m like, “I don’t think you loved my “tiny, obscure collection
of literary short stories “that I published in 1995. (laughs) “I think you’re thinking
– You’re really thinking, like my third book.
– “about ‘Eat, Pray, Love.'” You’re thinking of (mumbles). But I did get my start in fiction and this is my fourth work of fiction. I love it, it’s so fun for me. It’s my home. – Did you feel like you went back to it or was it just always, and is it fair to say your
wrote a non-fiction book about creativity last time for just… Was that the deviation
and your roots and line? – I guess it’s just
like project to project. I don’t know, I just follow
the magnet in the sky that tells me what the
next thing to do is. And I don’t overthink it too
much about what the genre is. What is the story that I wanna tell? What is the best form in which to tell it? And this is a novel
about promiscuous girls, which is a story I’ve wanted
to tell for a long time. It’s set in New York City in the 1940’s in the theater world. But, it’s really a book about girls behaving really
recklessly with their sexuality and not being ruined by it, which is not an easy book to find in the annals of Western history. Because normally,
– Yeah. – the sensual girls are ruined.
– Did you write this as an antidote to all?
– I did. – Okay, interesting.
– Yeah. It’s like a palate cleanser
from “Anne Karenina.” (laughs) It’s like, “Guess what?” ‘Cause I feel like all those books are… I love all those books, “Anna Karenina” and all the Henry James books and Emma Bovary and Hedda Gabler. And there’s this whole history of books about ruined women, ending in disgrace because they dared to have sensual desire. And I’m like, “So unfair.” It’s like, one orgasm and then you’re under the wheels
of the train, you know? So I wanted to write a book celebrating how you can do very stupid and reckless sensual things and
actually survive yourself and turn into a really interesting, seasoned older woman, which is what this book’s about. – Can we make logical
extensions from that? Or is it just about sexuality? What’s your point here? Is it just the sexuality part? – It’s… How do you become yourself? That’s also what the book is about. – [Chase] Yeah.
– You know, it’s about a young girl moving to New York in 1940, when she’s 19. – [Chase] After failing out of college? – After dropping out of college. I moved to New York in 1986 when I was 19, not to drop out of college. But, I know the feeling of being young, hungry, yearning, craving. And wanting to know, where are my people? Where is my tribe and where am I gonna go to become this thing that I wanna be, and I don’t even know what it is yet? But I’m drawn, somehow, to this metropolis or that metropolis or this
answer or that answer. So, it’s a coming-of-age book as well. – There’s a line in there and I might get one or two words wrong, but it was remarkable to me. “You can only move to New York “as a young woman once.” – Yeah. You just get to move to New York for the first time in your life once in your life. (laughs) And, it’s a big deal.
– [Chase] Yeah. It’s a big, big deal. – So, what parts of the book are memoir-driven?
– [Elizabeth] Yeah. – And, is it just weaving
in and out of your life? Or, is it specifically fiction? – It’s fiction because it’s a novel but if you want to know who I am, read it. That’s what I would say
about all of my novels. Because there’s an adage and
I think it’s wise and true, that if you wanna write an honest memoir, write a novel. And the reason is, you’re not protecting yourself from anything. So you get to actually tell, if not the actual letter
of the lost story, the feeling. This book was about
what it felt like for me to be in my twenties. It doesn’t matter that it’s in the 1940’s and they’re both showgirls in the New York City theater world. It’s, I know what that
feels like to be that girl. And that’s something that I wanted to revisit and recreate. – Why that as the backdrop? Was that because it was a time where all of these things were more taboo? Or, why did you choose? And the theaters and the
theater world, Vivian. Actually, I probably
shouldn’t say too much about the book ’cause
you should go read it. But, she moves to New York and she gets rubbed up in the theater world because of her Aunt Peg. Is it theater and creativity because that connotes a specific something that you wanted about the character? Give me your thoughts. – You know, you’re on it. You got it. I mean, first of all, it’s
New York City in the 1940’s. And that to me, just feels like the most impossibly glamorous moment of my city’s history. I love the New York that I moved to, but there’s always a shadow of a New York that used to be there that I’ve always been fascinated with. So, New York during the war is a really moment for me, it’s also a really interesting moment for women in New York. Particularly, because they were working. The men were all gone. And so, all these social
mores that had existed that were were really limiting to women, were gone. When the men left, so did the mores. So there used to be rules like, a respectable girl cannot
walk down the street after a certain time of evening, if she’s not on the arm
of a respectable man. Well, there weren’t any then. So all of a sudden, these women were free. And they had jobs
working in the naval yard and they were earning good money. And there was just this moment of freedom and opening,
it closed after that. The ’50s came, the men came back. And the women
– [Chase] McCarthyism, yeah. – were sent back home, to wear big dresses and pearls and wait for their husbands to come home. But, there was this period during the war. And there’s a line in the
book where Vivian says, “One thing that I learned
with my girlfriends, “was that when women are
together with no men around, “a woman doesn’t have to be
this thing or that thing. “She can just be.” And I feel like New York
in the ’40s was a time when there were a lot of women who could just be. And that’s an aspirational
thing for me, too. What would it be like to be a woman who could just be? – Just be. – Just be. Not have to be a thing, just be. – And does that come out of, going back to the comment earlier about this being an antidote, is implicit in that… That in this book, you can just be. Is that also antidotal to the world that we’re in today? Where, we have to be, you know, you can list
a long list of things of what we’re supposed to be. And we’re supposed to
dress like and look like and wear and talk and walk? – How many free people do you know? Like, truly free? – [Chase] Very few. – Yeah, me neither. – And how many relaxed people do you know? – Also, very few. – How many relaxed women have you ever met in your entire life? – Handful. – Yeah. (laughs) Right? That’s what I’m into. What would it be? And this is the question that I’m living into my own life as well. I think the most revolutionary thing that a woman could be,
in this world or any, is relaxed. So, my book is largely
about a woman becoming that. I think, if you’re gonna meet one, ever, she’s likely to be older. Considerably older, where
it just gets to point where they’re like,
“Oh, fuck it.” (laughs) – (laughs) – “I just can’t anymore. “You know, like I used to, eh, I can’t.” You know, there’s a certain
age that a woman will get to. And I feel like I’m on the brink of it, but I’m not quite there yet. But my greatest aspiration,
aside from being… My really greatest aspiration, which is to be love in
every room that I’m in. My other aspiration is to be the most relaxed person
in every room that I’m in. – [Chase] Wow.
– And to actually show women what it might look
like to be at ease. (laughs) – Is that a response to an earlier and different time in your life? – Well, I’ve been a
really high-vibrationally anxious person my whole life. But I also see that everyone is. And this is also a moment
in history where I think anxiety is nearly universal. – It’s just peak.
– Peak. Everywhere in the world,
everywhere in the world. I mean, it’s a product of westernization. And it’s a product of, like
when I first went to Bali 15, 20 years ago, it wasn’t like that. I’m there now, Balinese
people are stressed now. I was like, “We have exported this. “It’s a fucking virus.” Stress is this virus that has somehow colonized the world and
it’s killing everybody. And there’s really, really good empirical reason for it. I mean, we are in the
approaching Armageddon. Welcome to the catastrophe of a dying planet.
– Yeah, my God. – And the dumpster fire that is politics. All of that is true. And if you walk around in this world as every in a woman’s body,
that’s all heightened. ‘Cause you’re always sort
of in a sense of danger. And yet, there’s some stubborn
part of me that’s like, “Yeah, but what if I just didn’t “drink your anxiety lemonade? “And what if I found my own
way to be in my own skin, “where I was okay always, no matter what? “Wouldn’t that be somethin’?” (laughs) – [Elizabeth] Wouldn’t that actually really be somethin’? – How’s that going? – It’s going better than
it’s ever gone in my life. – We’re meeting today for the first time. You greeted me with a huge hug, we’ve been friends for a long time. Is that part of the universe that you’re trying to lean into? – I mean, that’s kinda just
– Is that just natural? – what I’m…
– Me, too. – I’m like, basically
golden retriever. (laughs) – (laughs) I’ve been described as
that, so we’re the same. And we share the same birthday. We just figured that out.
– I know, we’re super
– Yes, it’s right. – That’s right.
– sensitive Cancerians. We just wish everyone would be in a pile together on the floor. So, that’s my nature.
– [Chase] (laughs) – Why is everyone not hugging all the time?
– [Chase] That’s right. – But, that’s my nature. But to feel comfortable and relaxed, it takes a lot of really radical, it’s an interesting pathway. It takes foundational,
unbelievable honesty. You have to kind of be telling
the truth all the time. Which is weird, because you
think that wouldn’t be relaxing. But what it does in the end, is it gives you a lot more time and space to not be doing the hustle. That’s a line I’m guided by, is that grace can take you places where hustling can’t. And at the center of grace, is just this integrity
of great truth-telling. This isn’t working for me, this thing, this situation, say no. But saying it just like, “It’s okay.” It’s like, “Yeah, you can
ask, but no.” (laughs) I spend most of my day saying no. That’s a large part of me, learning how to be relaxed. Just say, “Nope.” – When you’re talking truth, is that truth to yourself? Is that truth to other,
presumably it’s both, but to what degree did
this start to take shape? Is it what you realized, that you were a better self when you
started talking truth to yourself first? And then manifest itself outwardly? Or was it, you had to start being really honest with people about
external commitments and that gave you the
space and the freedom to get internal? – Well, you should definitely try to have a completely honest relationship with at least one person in your life. And probably best if
it’s yourself. (laughs) It’s a good place to start. I can’t speak anybody else’s truth. I was guided by this, really schooled in this,
intimately for years in my relationship with my partner Rayya, who died a year and a half ago. Before we were together as a couple, we were best friends and she had been a heroin addict and a speedball junkie on the Lower East Side, in Rikers Island and years living on the streets and prisons. She’d just had this really
horrific, brutal early life. And she ended up,
astonishingly, getting clean and staying clean for 19 years. And her path to that was,
of course, truth-telling, which is the cure for addiction. Not cure, but treatment. And she embodied it in
this really remarkable way. And she had an adage. And she was the person in the world I was always most relaxed around because she only every told the truth. She always knew where you were. We never had to guess. And everyone in the room was safe, ’cause Rayya was always telling the truth. Whatever bullshit else was going on, there was one center of very dense gravitational truth-telling
always happening. But the line that she lived by, and she passed it to me. And now, I live by it because I can’t not, is she used to say, “The truth has legs. “It’s the only thing that’s gonna be left “standing in the room
at the end of the day.” Everything else will blow up, everything else will disintegrate, everything else will dissolve into drama. The truth is where you’re going to end up, inevitably. So since it’s where we’re going to end up, why don’t we just start with it? – And then save time?
– And save the drama. Let’s just
– Now I get the time comment. Yeah.
– start with it. I’ve repeated that with
people so many times where I’m like, “Well, why
don’t we just begin with it?” Create a judgment-free
zone, start with it. And it saves your life, because it saves so much pain and agony and drama. If there’s pain to be
had, let’s just do it now. And that’s been transformative to me, and actually has made me
be a more relaxed person. I think when I was
younger, I used to think, “I can’t tell the truth
because the world isn’t safe. “It’s not a safe place for the truth “or for my truth.” And now, I’ve realized, you make the world a safe place for you
by telling truth in it. That’s how your world becomes safe, is through your own honesty. – When did you start that process? – Around the time I turned 30. Because, the first major
truth that I had to tell, the first truth that I
didn’t tell for a long time and didn’t know how to tell and thought that birds would drop dead out of the sky and rivers would run
backwards if I said it, was that I didn’t want
to be married anymore and I didn’t want to have a baby. And I had got married very young at 24 and had promised my
then-husband that when I was 30, I would settle down and
stop being a traveler and have a baby and buy a house. And instead, I lost my mind. (laughs) – [Chase] And 30 came and that wasn’t… – I lost my mind because I couldn’t, what ended up happening and what will end up happening when
you don’t tell the truth, is that your body will break down. My physical body actually broke. My mental health broke down and my physical health broke down. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t
eat, I lost 20 pounds. This is what not-truth does to you. I mean, you get to a
place where it’s like, “Die, or tell the truth.” And I finally did. And instead of making me
die, it brought me to life. And he survived it. And if I had fuckin’ said
it two years earlier, it would have been a much
greater gift to him as well. I cost him two years of his life while I couldn’t say those words. So, that was my biggest lesson in, you’re not doing anybody any favors by holding this in. If there’s something that
you know about yourself that if, an intimate
person in your life knew, they would change their whole life, they should know. You’re not doing them any favors by not telling them that. The sooner you tell them that, the sooner that they have
agency over their life again to figure out what
they need to do now. And that’s been a game-changer. – That’s a power pellet that I just got from you right there. (laughs) – [Elizabeth] (laughs) – I’m just like, “Uh-oh.” (laughs) – It’s intense.
– [Chase] Wow. – I think a lot of times,
we lie and dissemble and manipulate, especially
Cancerians like us because we’re people-pleasers. But when I actually
discovered what the real, what you should actually
call a people-pleaser, is a people-manipulator. And that’s what a people-pleaser does, is they manipulate people
for their own safety. – Ah-ha. – They’re not pleasing other people. They’re keeping themselves
perceived as safe. And you’re not doing the
other person any favors by doing that, they should
know who they’re talking to. And they should know
what’s actually going on. – What role does this play in creativity? “Big Magic,” your previous book, was a lot about fear. Opens talking about
how you were afraid of, I think you basically say you’re afraid of everything.
– [Elizabeth] Everything. – As a young person.
– Yeah, afraid of everything.
– And you had parents, was it your mom that eventually, I think you say, kicked you
in the butt or something? – She never indulged my fear
for a single minute. (laughs) – (laughs) – She was like, “How did I get this kid?” This terrified bundle of
nerves is what I was born into. Truth-telling and creativity, that’s an interesting question. I haven’t thought about that. I think I was always a creative person. It was often an escape for me. It was a place to go and run to and hide. I liked my imagined worlds
better than the real one. – In school, in playtime?
– In school, at home, I grew up on a farm. There was a lot of work to be done. I grew up with really
pragmatic, responsible people. There was a lot of intense
responsibility put on me from an early age. And so, escaping into a dream world was way preferable to
being here in this place. In this very cold farmhouse
with a lot of chores and a lot of jobs and a lot of expectation that you should be able to do everything already. So for me, I think my early
creativity was escape. But I think, as you’re saying, I’m just kind of spit balling as you’re
saying this, but I think, people ask me all the time why “Eat, Pray, Love” was so successful. And I always say, “I don’t know.” But it could be that
it’s the story of a woman learning how to tell the truth. It’s a story like that, is what happens in the first pages of “Eat, Pray, Love.” That, here’s this woman
sobbing on the bathroom floor for the 90th consecutive night
in the middle of the night, unable to say the words, “I don’t want to be married anymore.” Who, finally says those words. And that is the beginning
of my actual adult life. So I think maybe that
creative truth-telling can be liberating for a lot of people, not just for the person doing it. – And does it, for you,
did the truth-telling unlock a new world of possibilities, a new world of creativity? What do you feel like it unlocked? – It unlocked two years of
highly medicated depression. (laughs) – So you got that to look forward to, all this truth-telling, folks.
– The way is hard! The way is hard. Joseph Campbell says, “You have to give up “the life that you planned, “to have the one that’s waiting for you.” But when you give up the
life you have planned, and you don’t know what’s waiting for you, – That’s scary. – There’s an interim where there’s no ground under your feet. And, I also love that the great, great spiritual writer, Stephen
Mitchell, and translator, who’s translate the
Bhagavad Gita beautifully, and the Tao Te Ching and who’s
a Zen practitioner himself. And he says, “The way, the great way “involves this. “First, the rug gets
pulled out from under you. “And then the floor gets pulled out “from under the rug. “And then the ground gets pulled out “from under the floor. “And now, you’re getting somewhere.” “Now, you’re getting somewhere. “You’re getting somewhere
to the recognition “that there is no ground.” There is no ground. And that is the beginning, but it’s awful to feel that when you
thought you had security. And you thought you had something fixed and then there’s like
(makes surprised sound). You’re like a Warner Brothers cartoon character running over a cliff. And all a sudden… – (makes hurried, stepping sounds) – There’s that thing that happens!
– Yeah, Wiley Coyote? – Yeah, and your friend
and mine, Bernay and I have talked about how we live in a culture that bandies around this
very easy kind of ideas. “Jump in the net, we’ll catch you!” But, all of us know that we’ve jumped and broken 10 bones, you know?
– [Chase] Bounced, yeah. – Yeah.
– Hard. – Or, not even bounced.
– Or splatted, yeah. – Left an imprint in the cement, you know? And we all know that there are… I’m not sure we come to this
world because it’s safe, I’m not sure that it’s meant
to be particularly safe. So, I think we do a disservice when we try to inspire people by saying, “Yeah, just do it, man! “Just go for it!” As if there’s no
consequences, and no cost, and no difficulty in that. And so, I’m always really careful to say “Yeah,”
– [Chase] Jump in, it’s gonna suck. – “Jump,” and it sucked
for two years, you know? And then, I slowly,
slowly, excruciatingly, with a lot of help, found my way. And that’s how it works. – What’s the relationship between… I was struck by something you just said and it made me think of vulnerability. Because there’s the floor
there you’re gonna hit. Is truth-telling a path to vulnerability, which is a path to something else? Or, what’s the relationship between… Because, do you have to be vulnerable to tell the truth? – Yeah! I mean, especially if
you’re telling a truth that you are afraid is
going to hurt another person and you’re an empath. I mean, that’s the most devastating. Those are the most devastating truths I’ve ever had to tell. And I am an empath, so I’m sitting with you in the pain I just brought to you because of the truth
that I have to tell you. That is the Seventh Circle of Hell for me. – [Chase] (laughs) – And the only reason that I do it, is because life, in all of its grace, has been kind enough to teach
me through brutal lesson, that all the other ways
are worse. (laughs) This is the Seventh Circle of Hell, but all the other things that aren’t this are the Eight Circle of Hell. It’s the domain of oblivion in which no one is safe. And so, there’s a tremendous
faith that has to come in believing that the real is the right way, even if it doesn’t look
like it in this moment. And to stop arguing with reality, and to figure out how are we gonna now live in accordance with reality, you know? This is the reality. So now, what are we gonna do? Rather than, let’s pretend
this isn’t the reality. (laughs) Let me take whatever drugs I have to take to pretend that this isn’t the reality. You go do whatever you have to do to hide, to pretend that this isn’t the reality. And then, let’s just see where that leads. One thing I’ve discovered about myself is that’s a grace,
(sirens in background) and it’s horrible as it’s happening, my being, my actual being,
will not allow me to stay in a situation where I’m
out of my integrity anymore. I will break down,
(sirens blare louder) mentally, emotionally,
physically, and spiritually. And I will be back on that bathroom floor. (sirens fade)
And eventually, I’ll be beaten down to the point where
I have to start telling… And I’m like, “Fuck, do I have “to tell the truth again?” (laughs) – And now, you’re just like, “I’m short circling that, “I’m not gonna…”
– I thought I did this already, I mean, that’s the thing. You think you did it once and you’re done. But life, again, in all her grace, is like, “Now, I’m gonna give you “another chance.”
– Here’s a gift. – Here’s a gift. Now’s another chance for
you to be really brave and to know that the only way out, is through honesty, do it again. Do it again, do it again. And it’s getting easier, honestly. Because I trust it now, I trust it. – You mentioned, stepping into some of this truth-telling, at the age of 30, what role did Rayya play in… Is this another, you did
a couple of the cycles that we just described between 30 and 46? And, your experience with the partner that you loved dying from cancer? Do you feel like you finally learned the truth?
– You know what it is, is that… So, she’s the most important
person of my history. She was the great love of my life and also my great teacher
and my great friend. And the reason that I gravitated to her, and it took years for that to develop.
– These are friends for a long time?
– We were friends for a long time, we were
acquaintances for a long time. And then we became
friends, and then we became dear friends, and then
we became best friends, and then, for about four
or five years there, I didn’t even know what to call her. I just called her my person. Even though I was married, and very loyal and
faithful in my marriage, this was my person. My person, to me, meant, who do I call? Who’s my first phone
call in every emergency? Who’s my first phone
call when I need advice? Who’s my first phone call
when I wanna celebrate? Who knows everything about me? Who is the one person
in the world who I feel completely safe around? And, it was Rayya. And the panic, the existential
panic and terror and horror that I experienced at her diagnosis, knowing that that person… I mean, I can still feel in my body what it felt like for all those years, when Rayya would walk into a room. And my whole body would relax because I would be like, “Rayya’s here, it’s all gonna be okay. “She’s got it.” ‘Cause she was so tough and strong, also. And so loving. In every room that she ever walked into, the strongest person in the room. And so I just wanted to be around her so I could feel that safety. And what I realized, I got this panic the
first year of her illness. I had this urgent, craving
panic where I was like, “I have to download you. “I have to download you
because I don’t know “how to do life without you. “And, I need to learn quickly.” I thought I had time to
learn how to be like her, but I was like, “I gotta
get it all in me now!” Because no one else can…
– [Chase] That’s right. – Yeah!
– Help. – I basically became
an addict of wanting to shoot, smoke, inhale, eat, imbibe her. And what ended up happening, is that as she got sicker, and as her own terror and fear grew, and she couldn’t take care
of me anymore of that way, I had to become her to take care of her. And what I’ve realized, my beloved friend, Martha Beck, said after Rayya died, “What I’ve seen happen to
you two over the years, “is now, she’s braided into you. “And you have an essential
DNA strand of Rayya now.” And that is the download. But it didn’t come the way I thought it was gonna come. It didn’t come from her
teaching it to me, empirically. It came from me having to step up. That’s what I said at her
memorial service, too. ‘Cause she that role in
a lot of people’s lives. There were probably 10
people who would have said she was the most important
person in their life that they couldn’t live without. – [Chase] Wow. – And I said, “Well,
what’s now asked of us “is that we have to “step up and we all have to be that, now.” And I find that I can truly say that I am. – Yes. You’re, what’s looked from the outside, as just this amazing,
courageous, stepping into the sharing-of-the-process was so powerful from where I was sitting. Do you feel like that was
part of your assignment? Was that like this process
that you were talking about, weaving this strand of DNA through, for her last weeks and months? I don’t know. Is that part of your assignment? – Yeah. (laughs)
– [Chase] (laughs) I think it’s always been
part of my assignment. Okay, maybe I think
assignment is grandiose because I’m not sure. I don’t know how the universe works. I’m not sure I know what my assignment is. But I will say this. I will say that the distance in time and space between the moment when
I learned something that helps and saves me, and how much time I can allow before I desperately
wanna put it out there in case somebody that day needs it, that’s a very short time span for me. And I feel that I have to. And I don’t feel that I have to necessarily out of responsibility to them. Because again, I don’t
know if it’s useful. I just know that, it starts
to hurt me to not share it. It actually feels like pain. I remember my guru in India used to say, “Any talent that you
have that you do not use “becomes pain.” But I also think any wisdom
and insight that you have that you do not share, becomes pain. Why in the world would I not share it? I know so intimately
what it’s like to suffer. I know so intimately,
deeply in my bones and skin, what it’s like to not
know what to fucking do. If I’ve been given one
little glimmer of light, why in the world would I be like, “You want this?” (laughs) – I got somethin’ for ya, take it! – I’ve been so helped
by people who have been generous enough to learn in public. You know, I think learning in public is such a generous thing for people to do. Because, we look to it and we’re like, “Bernay learns in public, “Glennon learns in public, “Cheryl Strayed learned in public.” My friend, Rob Bell, Martha Beck, they’re all brave enough
to learn in front of us so that we can maybe get something. – There’s a strong creative thread in a lot of the people
that you just talked about. And I’m still trying to connect, maybe poorly, but to connect creativity to that. Is that a mechanism for teaching? Is your ability to write,
your ability to write not just a novel or a non-fiction book, but a Instagram post, is
that your public teaching? Is art your vehicle for teaching? Or, what role does
creativity play in that? – Yeah, I mean, I guess it is. I didn’t plan it to be. – [Chase] No problem,
you can take that away. – (laughs)
– [Chase] (laughs) – No, I didn’t plan it to be. I did it because I wanted to do it. And I still do it ’cause I wanna do it. And I still feel, I still truly do not
feel the slightest bit of responsibility to my
readers or my followers at all. And that’s why I’m so relaxed with them and why I love them. If I felt responsible to them, I think it would be really heavy on me and, weirdly, on them. But I feel like, I don’t feel responsibility to you guys. I love you. I love you. But, I don’t feel the
slightest bit of responsibility to you so that means I get to do whatever I want, creatively. And that you, my readers, get to decide whether you wanna come with me. Which is why 12 million
people came with me for “Eat, Pray, Love.” – [Chase] That’s bonkers.
– But when I wrote my novel, “The Signature
of All Things” about a 19th century botanical
virgin who studies moss, a couple hundred thousand
people came with me on that. But, it’s elective, you know what I mean? They don’t have to. And I don’t have to write,
“Eat, Pray, Love,” again. You know, everyone’s free. – [Chase] That was part of your TED Talk, right?
– Everyone’s free, yeah. – When you really realize
that the most popular piece of work that you’ve
written may be behind you. But, stepping into whatever’s next for you has to be authentically you, right? – It’s gotta be.
– You can’t chase that. – I can’t do that again. I don’t know how I did it the first time. But the teaching came kind
of after “Eat, Pray, Love,” where I felt like people… I think, if you’re called to be a teacher, you’ll know because people
will keep asking you stuff. That’s what happened! (laughs)
– That’s the most simple definition of a teacher, right? – People will gravitate and be like, “Hey, what do you think about this?” And at first, I was really I was like, “No, I’m just
a dumb girl went through, “I can’t!” (makes silly, unsure noises) But I feel like, after a certain time, if people keep asking you something, it’s really disingenuous
to keep being like, “I don’t know.” (makes
silly, unsure noises) Did you like that sound? – (laughs) Yeah, that was a good one! – [Elizabeth] I think it’s
– You captioned that, right? We gotta check.
– more respectful to actually take a swing at the question, you know? And say, “I’ll take a swing at it.” And if people ask me questions that are just beyond my pay grade,
– [Chase] (laughs) – I’ll send them elsewhere. If people ask me about, how to work in the corporate world. I’ll be like, “Go talk to Bernay, “I’ve never had a job.” (laughs) I was a bartender, I have no idea. If they ask me about
parenting, I’m like… “Glennon’s right over here.” So, I feel like we all
shuffle ourselves around to each other as well. Like, “This is probably a
better question for you.” – I wanna go back to that fear part that you opened “Big Magic” with. The connection between creativity and fear for you. Do you feel like that’s common? Why did you write “Big Magic?” – I wrote “Big Magic,” actually, because people kept asking me
questions about creativity. Especially, after I gave that TED Talk. And that is the one book that I could say that I honestly wrote, precisely as a self-help book. Because it’s the one
subject where I feel like, “I actually know about this.” I’m completely comfortable talking to you and giving you advice about creativity. I’ve been doing this my whole life. And I have a relationship with it that’s a lot less tormented than most of the relationships that I see people having with creativity. So, let me be an expert
here, you know? (laughs) Let me put on an expert
hat and actually say, “Yeah, I’m a middle-aged woman. “I’ve been doin’ this a long time. “Let me tell you some
stuff that I’ve learned.” But the fear piece is, I think, intensely sensitive people
tend to experience fear and everything at a heightened level. I experience everything,
I’ve experienced love, and passion and lust
and sorrow and despair. I drop something on my
foot and I experience it at a high level. It’s all an opera around me. (laughs) So the fear is just part of that. But, my saving grace in the whole world and in myself, is that
afraid as I am, and I am. I’m 1% more curious than I am afraid. Thank God when they doled
out all these traits to me, they gave me a dose of
curiosity that was just… All it has to be, is this
much bigger than fear. It doesn’t have to be a lot bigger, it just has to be enough bigger that it’s worth it to take the risk. ‘Cause you’re more interested
than you are scared. And that’s why, I think, that my working definition of creative living, not creativity in general,
not meaning you have to do watercolors or take a macrame class. If you wanna live what I
think of as a creative life, my definition of a
creative life, is any life where your decisions are routinely based more strongly on your
curiosity than your fear every single day, in all your realms of your life. And then, your life itself
will become a work of art. And, it doesn’t matter
what you make or produce or weave or influence, it’s just that you will create a life that
will be really interesting for you. Which is,
– Beautiful. – the person who you want to keep the most entertained.
– Yeah, right. That’s beautiful, beautiful.
– I would imagine. – You said that you were very comfortable giving advice on creativity?
– [Elizabeth] Yeah. – So, knowing who’s on
the other side of these… We’re in their ears right now, they’re watching this
video or listening to us. Without retracing all
the steps of “Big Magic,” ’cause that’s a 260-page book or whatever, what is the advice that
you have for people? ‘Cause there’s a lot of folks out there who are stuck or blocked. Or, they go from zero to one trying to figure it out from the beginning. Or, they identify as
creator and then they’re trying to go from one to 10. – Mercy, I think is the fundamental word that is coming to me as a
short answer to that question. If you want to have a healthy
engagement with creativity, if you want to have a healthy
engagement with yourself, if you wanna have a healthy
engagement with others, mercy has to be at the foundation. Mercy for self, mercy for others, mercy for the inevitable disappointment that you’re gonna feel
when you make something, and it’s not what you wanted it to be. My beloved friend, Ann
Patchett, the novelist, has this great way of describing this. She says her favorite part
of the creative process is when she’s in the dreaming state of it. And she gets to be alone
with the idea for the novel. And it follows her for years, and she’s thinking about it. And it’s growing in her head. And it’s with her when
she’s washing dishes. It’s with her when she’s
going through the car wash. It’s with her when she’s
at somebody’s wedding. She’s just constantly
got this lovely dream. And in her imagination, the
thing that she’s going to make, she describes it as a
tourmaline butterfly. Like a butterfly made out of gems, that it catches the light so beautifully, it’s so exquisite, it’s so perfect. This is gonna be the one, right? This is gonna be the
one, that when I make it, I’m gonna actually achieve that platonic ideal of the thing. And it’s gonna be so beautiful. And then, she says, the worst
part of the creative process, is day one of making it.
– [Chase] (laughs) – ‘Cause what you have to do is – So true.
– pluck the tourmaline butterfly out of the sky, put it on the desk, take a mallet, and smash it into a thousand
pieces and let it go, because it can never exist. And then you make the approximation of your
tourmaline butterfly, which is made out of used chewing gum and baseball cards and twigs and a tin can and a hinge. And you’re like, “Here’s
my butterfly I made!” It’s like – (laughs)
– (makes funny, silly noises) And you’re like, “I made
it by myself, look!” “I did it, I did it!” And I think the merciful artist, the merciful creator, the merciful human, is the one who can say, “You know, “no one’s ever made one
like that before.” (laughs) – Good job, self! – And maybe there’s a reason. But, the boring thing would be if we all made tourmaline butterflies. The interesting thing is, truly, no one’s ever made
one like that before. And the mercy and the
empathy towards yourself is what gets you… I always say, on day one,
everyone starts day one really excited about their project. Everyone on day two, looks
at what they made on day one and hates themself. The only people who get to day three are the people who have mercy. So beyond anything else. And that is going to be the same whether you are a master or a beginner. Everyone’s day three is that’s where the rubber meets the road. You’re gonna keep going and
keep disappointing yourself, or you’re gonna stop. And my suggestion is that you
keep disappointing yourself and be very, very gracious
toward yourself about it. (laughs) – Is that an aspect of bravery or is that curiosity or is it vulnerability?
– It’s compassion. – Self-compassion?
– It’s compassion. It’s compassion, yeah. I mean, it’s really the foundation of compassion which says, the imperfect is the perfect, you know? – [Chase] Say more of that. – Well, in a way it’s like
the end of the argument. It’s the end of the argument
against reality, you know? The reality is, you probably can’t make the thing in the way that you dream it. The end of the argument
against the pain of that is, “So what?” Make it anyway. I’m gonna hatch my weird
little steam-punk butterfly. (laughter) – That’s pretty good. Tin can, hinges, bubble gum,
baseball cars and duct tape. Did you have duct tape in there, maybe? – I don’t know why I
didn’t, but yours should! I think that putting yourself
in alignment with reality, rather than in a constant war against it, is actually what compassion is. And that’s also how you find compassion for the other,
for the people in your life. Instead of me needing you to constantly be an entirely different
human being than you are, I can put myself in
compassionate alignment with the reality of what you are. I can put myself in
compassionate alignment with the reality of what I am. I wanna be 10 different
things than what I am today. But, this is what we’re workin’ with. (laughs) You know? This is what we got! This is what we got. Flap, flap. Piece falls off. (makes silly sounds) This is what we got, you know? – How do you do what you do right now? You’re just like, truth zingers. Is it just repetition? Of the first time it’s hard, the second time it’s 10% less hard? The third time, it’s… Or 1% less hard? – I don’t know if anybody realizes what percentage of my life I spend taking care of my mental health. That’s my full-time job. And writing is a hobby
that I do on the side, every once in a while, I write a book. The rest of my life, an enormous percentage of my day is spent managing this neighborhood, warring neighborhood. (laughs) This dysfunctional family that I carry inside of my mind. And everything that I’ve learned that has any taste of wisdom and grace, is from the front lines of this, you know? And I mean it, today. That’s what I was doing
on the plane today, was managing my mental health today.
– [Chase] Wow, wow. – There are practices
that I do every single day in order to keep myself happy and loved and connected. And I do them. I have to save my life every single day. – [Chase] Wow.
– I have very few days off from
trying to save my life. – I have to ask.
– This is very immediate, what I’m talking about.
– Yes. I’m not talking about what you have to do. I’m talking about what I do. – On the way here, yeah. – Yeah. (laughs) – I have to ask, what are the things? And I understand that you’re
– No, I don’t mind talking about it.
– talking about a whole life. – Because, look, if it helps? – Yeah. Well, there’s a lot of people who will take your guidance.
– The most important relationship that I have in my life is a dialog that I launched 20 years ago between me and Love, capital L, Love. That I have continued
nearly everyday of my life, over the last 20 years. And it came in the
deepest depression where, I was in that deep, God-sized hole, of just wanting somebody to comfort me. Wanting somebody to save me. Wanting somebody to make me feel safe and make me feel like it was okay. And I have beautiful people in my life but no one, and I know this for a fact, because I have looked for it. No one can handle that in me. (laughs) Nobody. Because sometimes, people have to sleep. They have to get a sandwich and they have to go to work. And I’m like, “Wait! (laughs) “Where are you going?” Nobody. You have no idea how needy I am. And I do. And this was a period of
my life where I was alone. And so, what I did was, sit down in the middle of the night in my slough of despair, and take out a notebook. And this was this great
leap of imagination. What are the words that I’ve always wanted to hear somebody say? Can I say it to myself? And, I started writing those words to me. I am right here. I have got you. I will always have you. You are precious unto me. I don’t care if you stay depressed for the
entire rest of your life. I still love you. I don’t care if you never fix this. I don’t care if you never get better. I don’t care if never create another, I don’t care if you live
in a box under a bridge. I am yours, you are mine. I have got you. You are my boo. I was with you when you were born, I will be with you until after you die. I will never leave you. You are mine, belonging imprint. Belonging love. Love, ownership, forever. You can’t tire me out. You can’t tire me out, we can do this all night. You will get tired before I do. I love you so much. This is what I’ve always wanted to hear another human being say. And, it’s a little much to ask. (laughs) – Yeah, I’m like… – And so, I’ve learned to bring it. And when I figured out what that voice is, it’s love. It’s universal human love. And that is the most important relationship in my entire life. And I write a letter to myself from that every single day of my life. – Is that the number one vehicle, is writing yourself that Love letter, capital L, love? – Yeah. And lots of times, it’s
dialogue, you know? And the dialogue will go like, me be like, hysterical, I don’t know what to do. It’s all falling apart. I’ve failed again. I’ve lost again. I’m unlovable, I’m
untenable, I’m unmanageable. I’m back at zero. Help, help, help, help, help. And Love’s like, always
says exactly the same thing. Always begins with, “I’m right here. “I’m right here, I’m right here. “I’m right here, I’m with you. “I’m not going anywhere, I’ve got you.” And then, I will say, “What should I do?” And Love will say, “I don’t know, “that’s not my department. “I just love you.” And then, I will say, “Tell
me how this is going to end.” And Love will say, “I have no
access to that information, “but I will be with you
through it, whatever it is.” And then, I say, “If you
can’t tell me what to do, “and you can’t tell me
how this is gonna end, “what the fuck use are you?” And Love says, “I am company
for you in your darkest hours “and I always will be. “And that is my use,
that’s what I’m here for.” And then, I can begin to breathe. – [Chase] Wow.
– Begin to breathe. And I don’t know whether
that thing, that voice, is God talking to me, Rayya talking through me, angels on my shoulder, my heightened imagination that creates and it’s own trauma, the thing it needs. I don’t care, it works.
– Yeah, it works. You’re like, “It doesn’t matter, “I’ll take it.”
– It works. And I’ve learned that by
being able to hold myself that way, I can also be, not with anyone, but I can be in the
room with almost anyone at this point. ‘Cause I can just be like, “I don’t care “if you ever sort this out. “You’re a wreck, but I’m right here.” And they’re like, “What do I do?” I’m like, “I don’t know but
I’ll be with you. (laughs) “I’ll just be love in the room with you.” And if they’re like “It doesn’t help,”
– [Chase] So powerful. – I’m like, “Well, okay but I’m here. “I’ll just sit here.” The thing that I’ve learned about Love, capital L, Love, about
that, over the years, is that Love, real Love, doesn’t need anything in the room to
be different than it is. It doesn’t need anything
to be different than it is. It never says, “Here’s
what you have to go do now. “Here’s how you have to change. “Here’s how you have to grow.” Doesn’t need it, doesn’t need it. – Way, way more powerful. – Yeah, it’s like, “You
just keep doin’ this “and I’m just right here, I got you.” And that is how I have survived my life. – Is the manifestation always writing or are there any other tools that you use? – Writing is the thing, you know. I think it’s the most direct for me. It slows the mind down. Most of us, all of us,
have minds that move at just the speed of
light, literally, or more. No, I guess nothing’s faster than that. Thoughts move really,
really, really, really fast. So, writing slows it. So, I can bring my panic
to the page and say, “I have this very
deliberate question, help.” And then, Love will say,
“I got you, I’m right here. “It’s okay, it’s gonna be all right. “It’s gonna be all right even if it’s not. “Even if it’s not, it’s
gonna be all right.” – So you mentioned being on a plane, were you writing to yourself on a plane? – [Elizabeth] Yeah!
– Yeah? I mean, I’m not kidding when I say I do this every day. – No, I like these foundational practices. It’s a really common thread in greatness and creativity and
there’s a self-care that, I think it’s a complete myth. This sort of horrified
artists who’s trying to dive into that in a unhealthy way. That healthy way of trying to manage it that you’re talking about. It’s gonna create the work.
– I have no interest in being a tormented artist
or a tormented person. I often am one. But when I am, I will do anything I can to help myself get out
of it as fast as I can. Or, to reach to somebody who can help me. I will relentlessly… This is one of the things that Love says to me all the time,
is, “I will make sure “you get whatever you need. “Whatever care you need, we
will make sure you get it. “We will make sure you get it, “starting tomorrow.” (laughs) – I read a thing that you scrapped an entire novel. – (laughs)
– Is that true? – Well, it wasn’t a
novel, it was a memoir. But, I did, yeah. Yeah. But a lot of people have that.
– Was it lacking authenticity? Why would you do that? – It was the book that came
after “Eat, Pray, Love.” And it was just tortured because
it was so self-conscious. Because I was like, “I’m the author “of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ now.”
(makes uncomfortable sound) I just had no natural voice in it. And it was just strangled. Every sentence felt really strangled. And it wasn’t an easy thing. I wept and wept when I
realized that I was so off. And I also realized,
this is not worth even trying to save. And it was a very painful truth-telling moment
to my publishers to say, “Guess what I have for you? “Nothing.
– [Chase] Nothing. – “And you can’t see what I’ve done. “And I can’t tell you when
I’m gonna have something. “And I don’t know what, if ever.” And then, I spent the next year gardening. Without a plan. And just like faith, I’m just
gonna do something else, now. I’m just gonna plant things. I don’t know. And it wasn’t like, “I’m gonna do this “and then I’ll have a great idea.” It was like, “I’m just
gonna do this.” (laughs) Like, “This is fun. “Water, plant, watch it grow. “This is very funamental. “It’s a lot easier than writing a book.” – [Chase] Wow.
– Literally grounding. Getting your hands in the dirt, you know? And then, by the end of
that season of the garden, inspiration started to
come back and I found it. I didn’t know I would. – You have to believe it.
– Yeah, yeah. – How do you know the work to do when you don’t know what work to do? – Something else. (laughs) – [Chase] Yeah, just like, anything else? If it’s over there, you run the other way.
– Something else. And I would suggest doing
something with your hands. – [Chase] Yeah, I have that sense of building, too.
– We’re in our heads so much. And most of us, at this moment of history, we’re so disconnected from our bodies and from the world. And we really do think of our bodies as a broomstick that we carry a jar with our brain in it around on, you know? And so, I would say
anything that you can do to embody work. Whether it’s exercise or to make something. – [Chase] Physicality. – I love that story, there’s this author, Clive James, this British author. And I tell this story in “Big Magic.” He had an enormous failure where he literally bankrupted his family to produce a play, that ill-advisedly was a play that mocked every single literary person in London living at that time,
who were all his friends. So, he lost all his money
and he lost all his friends. And, it was terrible. – And he didn’t see this coming? – No,
– (laughs) – ’cause he was like that cool guy who, everything he touched turned to gold. And he thought it’d be really funny. – [Chase] (makes defeated sound) – And, it was actually just rancid. And he fell into a severe
depression for months, and couldn’t even get off the couch. And then one day, his little daughter came in and said, “Daddy,
I want a bicycle.” And they went and bought
a bicycle for her, but he didn’t have any money. So, he had to buy this junky bicycle. She was embarrassed to ride it around. And so, he said he’d fix it up for her. So, he fixed it up and he ended up getting all the rust off it and painting it midnight blue. And then he got this other
little, tiny paintbrush and he painted thousands
of tiny stars on it like it was Merlin’s cloak. And she rode off on it and the next day, another little girl in the neighborhood came up and said, “Can
you paint my bicycle “the same that you did
with your daughter’s?” Then, there was a line of kids asking him to paint their bicycles. And he did that for weeks. And then he was like, “You know what? “I figured out what I’m
supposed to do with my life. “I’m supposed to paint
bicycles with my life.” And, he just relaxed. And then the next day, he
had an idea for a novel. (laughs) So the answer is, go paint bicycles. Just do something else, walk away. Walk away from the
thing that’s not working and do something mindless and satisfying. – Can I confess something to you? – Yeah! – When we leave here, I’m also, I’m stuck, creatively, right now. I’m working on a couple
of things and stuck. I’m gonna go power wash my friend’s driveway.
– Hot! (laughs) – It’s the best!
– (claps hands) – It’s literally, it’s a medicine.
– Oh my god, that sounds great! – And you see progress.
– Yes! – And it’s hypnotic progress.
– [Elizabeth] Yeah. – It’s so embarrassing for me.
– I would suggest going around the neighborhood, and power washing everybody’s
driveways for a while. Why stop with your friend? Just do that for the summer. I guarantee you, something
great will come out of it. – (laughs) – Be that guy! – Oh, my God.
– Just be that guy. – That’s so embarrassing to confess, but it’s so true.
– It’ll drop you out of the drama and into the present. And that’s when the ideas start to kick in.
– I borrowed the pressure washer from my dad. I had to go get special gas before our conversation,
– [Elizabeth] (laughs) – so that I could go do this. – I’m so jealous. I’ve called friends at
times and been like, “Can I come and clean our your closets “or organize your kitchen? “I’m having trouble writing.” So, yeah, something else. Perfect, you got it. It’s all gonna be all right. – Awesome. Thank you very, very much
– You’re welcome. – for sitting down with us. Congrats on the new book. It’s so inspirational to read. It’s so timely. It’s such a powerful piece of work. – [Elizabeth] Thank you. – Thank you very much.
– Thanks for having me on the show! – I’m looking forward, I
haven’t finished the book. I wanted to sit with you first. – [Elizabeth] Okay, I’m glad
I didn’t spoil it for you. – Yeah, I was worried,
I didn’t wanna go there. So, for those folks at home, go check out “City Girls”. Thank you so much for
being a guest on this show. Really, really appreciate it. – You’re welcome, I loved it. – Awesome.
– All right. – See you again, probably,
hopefully, tomorrow. (dramatic techno music)

Sarah Briland | Artist-in-Residence at The Studio

Sarah Briland | Artist-in-Residence at The Studio


Well the Residency has been an amazing
time to just try new things I’ve been using the time to experiment and go down this list of things that I’ve been wanting to try for the last two or three
years but really haven’t had the time, the place, the space to concentrate on
that and having one month in The Studio just deeply focusing on my work without
those distractions has given me a chance to just try all of those things that
I’ve been wanting to do so that includes slumping glass. This “Sinking Island”
series that I’m starting using found pyroclastic material so these are rocks
from ancient volcanic lava flows. So I’ve collected all of this material and I’ve done a series in the past called “Model Islands” and I’ve always wanted to do these pieces again but actually sinking in the pedestals. So that’s been a technical challenge and I’ve had the time to kind of like figure that out while
I’ve been here. So those are the pieces that are in black sitting around me
where I’ve created castings of that pyroclastic material and then drop out
molds so that I can create these little forms that will be the top of pedestals
and then these… these rocks–the pyroclastic material that I was talking
about–are going to be made into sculptures that sink into the pedestal
itself. So, utilizing sculptures that are actually working within that
museological framework and finding ways to create the strangeness within the
pedestal: it’s sinking, is oozing, its changing, is something that I’ve been deeply interested in. I wanted to further that kind of
body of work and extend it to investigate the pedestal itself as a
site for something strange to be happening in the gallery and not just as
a presentation that we take for granted. Going further, not only do I want these
things sinking into the pedestal to investigate that idea of the pedestal
itself and sort of manipulate that, but also thinking about climate change and
all of the islands that are sinking into the ocean disappearing as our oceans
rise and getting a sense of that, you know, physical pull of something being weighted
down, and sinking, disappearing, and those waters rising up. So, that’s
where the idea for “Sinking Islands” came from, spinning off of that previous body
of work and this opportunity at the Residency gave me, you know, just a chance
to explore that sculpturally all the technical issues with glass and making
that happen with these strange weighted drop molds

Unconventional Ways to WIN with Rand Fishkin | Chase Jarvis LIVE

Unconventional Ways to WIN with Rand Fishkin | Chase Jarvis LIVE


– Hey everybody what’s
going on, it’s Chase. Welcome to another episode
of The Chase Jarvis Live Show here on Creative Live. You guys know this show, right? This is where I sit down with
the world’s top creators, entrepreneurs and thought leaders and I do everything I can
to unlock their brains with the goal of helping
you live your dreams and career and hobby and in life. My guest today is a serial entrepreneur, he’s founded a couple of companies, one of which I know you
all know called Moz. It revolutionized SEO back in the day. He’s also been 30 Under
30 for Business Week’s top entrepreneurs, and
he’s got two new things to talk with us about today, one, new company called SparkToro; and second, a new book that just dropped, my guest today is Rand
Fishkin in the house. (funky instrumental music) (audience cheering) – They love you! – Great to see you man. – This has literally been
more than a year in the making and we spent, like I spent a
good bit of time in Seattle, mostly San Francisco, but you’re here and we still have taken this
long, you’re a busy guy. – I guess yeah, I’m on the road a lot. – Yeah, and building companies
and writing books, of course. – Yeah, yeah and among other things, trying to be a good husband to my wife and trying to be a good
person to the world. – It’s a full time job these days, right? The world needs great people to step up. – Woof, woof, more than ever. – Well, I’m super happy
to have you on the show, and one of the things that
I was most interested in, in your new company, I mean
that you started something is a big deal in the entrepreneurial
community in Seattle, I know you’ve got a lot
of very popular backers, kudos to your new round, but I was interested in
the mission and the vision that you have for that company because the audience that we
have tuning into the show, by and large, they’re trying
to build their own audience whether it’s for a
company or as individuals, and it’s a huge part of building
a business today online. And my understanding is that’s
what SparkToro is all about, is helping people and companies
find where their tribe hangs out online.
– Yeah, that’s exactly right. So if you’re, let’s say you’re an artist, maybe you’re creating a new video game or a new table top game
or something like this, you might say, gosh, you know
one of the challenges I have is that there’s not a lot of
people searching for, okay, what’s the new game
coming out in this field? That just doesn’t get a ton of interest and attention passively or actively. People might be interested passively, they might say oh I would
love to find out about it, but in order for them
to find out about it, you have to be in the
places where they hang out. And discovering those audiences, if you are sort of a highly knowledgeable, well-networked member of that
community already, is a pain. I mean, I’m very unfamiliar
with the world of video games, but not that, I mean I love playing but I would have no idea. If you and I launched a new game tomorrow, I would have no idea
where to go promote that. I don’t know who we should be talking to or what podcast we should try to get on or what YouTube channel
we should try to be on– – We should do collab with, what to do– – Yeah, is GameSpot still popular? I don’t know, was when I was a teenager. So all those kinds of questions
are really tough to answer. And so SparkToro is trying to
build this massive database of here are all these publications
and sources and people that influence these given audiences. And if you wanna discover
who influences your audience, you can just search, right? You can say, okay, table top games or interior designers and you can get back a list of the places that are most paid attention
to by those groups. Or you could alternatively say, I can’t really describe my audience, but I know that they all
follow this person on Twitter. So give me that Twitter username, and I’ll tell you people
who follow this person also pay attention to this podcast. – It’s amazing to me that
this tool doesn’t exist. – How does it not exist?
– Totally, it’s crazy. – I’m totally with you. So when I watched people doing this, which is something you do
as an entrepreneur, right, you try and watch your customers
or potential customers, do the work that you’re
gonna help them with. And when I watched it,
(mumbles) go to Google, you know, open up an Excel spreadsheet and then copy, paste, copy, paste. – Here’s the number of phones, here’s other people that they
follow that I know, yeah. – Yeah, here’s how much traffic, you know, whatever, SimilarWeb
estimates their blog gets. Oh my God, you’re kidding me. Do you have to do this by hand? – Let the machines do it.
– Oh, yeah, of course. The only thing that
does anything like this is some of the PR databases out there, right, for journalists. And I had this like okay,
it’s not just journalists who influence the world anymore. What about the rest of this? So yes, that’s where SparkToro comes from. – So I wanna put a pin on SparkToro because I think that’s fascinating, it’s huge for the audience that is– – But it’s also a year away from existing. – Yeah, that’s fair, you
just raised your new round so we’ll talk a little bit about that, we’ll talk about raising the round and how you went a very alternative route. And I also wanna talk about
your new book, Lost and Founder. – Absolutely. – So the short version
there, give us the one liner and then we’re gonna go
back in time for a second. – One liner. So my opinion is that the startup culture centered around Silicon Valley’s universe biases
startups and entrepreneurs, even ones who aren’t part
of that startup world to make a lot of dumb mistakes and to do a lot of dumb things
that we shouldn’t be doing. And Lost and Founder is
here to try and dismantle some of those myths. – Awesome, it’s been a recurring theme for despite having you know,
Branson’s and Reed Hoffmann’s and Joe from Airbnb– – Oh sure, yeah, yeah, yeah. – Huge, huge companies and
a lot of venture folks, there is a resounding theme,
I think Cuban said it best, if you raise money, why
would you celebrate? That’s your first loss. – I mean, certainly–
– Cuban is his own man. – He is, he is.
(chuckles) For Lost and Founder, one of
the funny things that I did is I looked at the statistics, right? So United States government
keeps statistics, small business administration
on you know, companies of different varieties
and what their five-year survival rates are. So you can look at, for
example, restaurants, which supposedly are one
of the worst businesses you can possibly get into. I think their five-year survival rates are just under 50%, right? So you flip a coin, you’re
not gonna last five years. Consulting businesses are actually one of the longest lived. So people who do services, right, whether that’s photography or web design or SEO consulting or whatever it is, those businesses have,
I think it’s above 70%. So they’re doing, doing quite well on the five-year survival rate. Startups, tech startups like
the day that you raise money, either you know, convertible note, traditional convertible
note or a venture round, your five-year survival
rates drop below 30%. – Wow. – Like, they just don’t survive. I think it might be under
25, it’s just awful. – And that’s part of the mechanism that you’re trying to
disrupt with the book, right? Is that, that’s just not,
it’s not your best option. – Well, I think one of the problems is we all kind, I don’t know about you but one of the biggest
reasons that I raised venture capital for Moz, and then you know, went
out and tried to raise another big round and
failed for years and years and then finally got this
$18 million round done and all these things is because I thought that was what made you a
real entrepreneur, right? I thought that was what
was suggested to me by popular culture, by business culture and entrepreneurial culture, right? That’s what we celebrate, that
who’s on the cover of Inc. If you want you know, your
face on these magazines and books, if you wanna be
on you know, the hot podcast, if you want the people
that the press covers to talk about you, you got
to raise a lot of money from impressive people with you know, these brand name firms hands. Then once you go down that road and experience it for yourself, you’re like huh, you’re
like wait a minute, this is not, I get that I’m
sure that, that is what makes some people happy, but
I think that it’s not– – And some business.
– Successful, yeah. And some businesses
very successful, right? But it’s definitely
not right for everyone, and I think if we can
change the narrative, like as a culture, if we
can change the narrative to support other ideas
of what success means and what it can be and stop
glorifying this one path alone, I think that we can do two things. One, I think we can build a much healthier entrepreneurial environment
where lots and lots of different people try to
do lots of different things, which would be awesome. And second, I think we change
who gets to be successful. Like, do you know how
many black women founders have received venture capital
funding in the last 10 years? – It’s got to be less
than 5% of the total– – I think I saw that it was eight. – Eight, there you go. Eight! You can count them on your hands. That’s insane, I can’t count
the number of white guys who were funded yesterday. Right? I mean, that’s a bigger number. – Totally.
– And that’s also crazy and wrong and messed up, right? And so I think there’s work
to be done all around this. Lost and Founder is just
me throwing a pebble into the ocean, but hopefully you know, hopefully that pebble will
urge a lot of other people to throw their own rocks. – Well, that’s one of
the reasons that we have several mutual friends who have tried to connect
us over the last I’d say year or two, I think specifically because our aspirations are similar
personally and professionally. You know, Creative Live exists to help you know, be a champion
for creators everywhere and the creativity being, you know, what I consider to be the new literacy, and if we over index on the creator, my, what a more amazing
place the world can be. And I’m trying to also align with that, that there are so many paths. I think my personal example of, I started pursuing professional
soccer in medical school and all these other things and still found my way to this world, like that’s just a testament to like you can be anywhere and you
can make a 90-degree left turn and do the thing that you wanna do. So now I like to, we’ve
set the table a little bit but now I wanna go back and I
wanna go back in part because I wanna explore what your background was for getting to here, but also to sort of connote and share to
anyone who is listening that it doesn’t matter if
you’re at home in your underwear in Ohio right now listening to this, or you’re on a treadmill in Uzbekistan, that there are similar elements to all of our backstory. And we’ve all got plenty of skeletons and you know, we all have our own history, but I try and unpack every person who’s on the show and pack a
little bit of their background. So give me a little bit of yours. Start me wherever you wanna start me, but take me back.
– Sure. So I actually grew up in the Seattle area in unincorporated King County, way out in the in the Boonies. My parents had a house
behind which was just woods. So you know, when I was–
– Where specifically? – The Renton-Issaquah border.
– Oh yeah, sure, sure. – Up in the Squak mountain. – Yeah, my wife went to
Woodinville high school. – Oh okay, yup, so north of there, yeah. So you know, a lot of
my childhood was spent hiking around a forest all by myself and watching out for mountain
lions and watching frogs. You know, I was obsessed
with frogs when I was a kid. We had a big frog pond,
like a quarter mile hike into the woods and I
was obsessed with that. so I didn’t have a ton
of friends growing up because I was in the middle of nowhere and nobody wanted to drive
out to our house, right? (laughs)
– Birthday party! They’re like no, it’s like you
live 45 miles from anything. – Yeah, and I’ve taken
some of that with me. I can be extroverted for a few hours, but I need a lot of
self-care time, alone time to recuperate from that. And my mom, interestingly enough, so she started business in 1981. I think was called Outlines West and it was a you know, one woman marketing consultancy shop, right? Probably really similar to a lot of people who are members of
Creative Live today, right? So she would design logos and she would take pictures, she would go around to local businesses and help them get their yellow page ad and their business card
and their letterhead and all that kind of stuff, worked with all these print shops. And so I spent my you know, my childhood, after school everyday, I would go to her office and sort of you know, live
there watching her on Photoshop. That was like, and PageMaker
and Aldus PageMaker back in the day. And when I went to college, I got three years in, had
a big fight with my dad and he stopped paying for my tuition and so I paid for my own
tuition for a couple quarters, this was back when you could still like work a minimum wage job and
pay your way through college, which I feel terrible that the current generation, that’s impossible – Not possible.
– Yeah. Not at all. And I think my last quarter
of school, I dropped out. So two class away from graduating at the University of Washington, dropped out to work with
my mom building websites. Fast forward a couple of
years, as you might imagine, a 21-year old web designer is not the most fiscally responsible individual. And so we went pretty far into debt. By 2004, we had $150,000
of like credit card debt and equipment loan debt
and all this kind of stuff. And then we stopped being able
to make the minimum payments on the debt, which means by 2005, we were half a million dollars in debt. And the logical thing
to do, right, of course, is you declare bankruptcy. You’re like okay–
– It all goes away. – Start clean, right? There’s no more debtor’s prison, we don’t have to worry about that. But we had never told my
dad that we had any debt. So we’d been you know,
keeping this like huge, nasty, the business is not going well, in fact it was so bad that even though we had these debt payments, my mom would bring home some money to like make it look to my dad like we had a real business going. And I think I was making $800 a month. My girlfriend, Geraldine,
who’s now my wife, was paying my rent and
all my bills, right? And yeah, the only
thing I had going for me was this website I had
started called SEOmoz. And SEOmoz was something I started because when we stopped being able to pay our subcontractors,
including our SEOs, right, we had to do it all ourselves. And so I was like, okay, Rand, well, we promised this
client we would do SEO for their website so you
better learn it and do it. And the world of SEO back then, I’m sure you remember– – Sure.
– Super secretive, super weird and sketchy and you know, no one wanted to touch
it with a 10-foot pole. But powerful because you
know, Google was on the rise, Microsoft and Yahoo were still competing with them pretty heavily
and search was growing, and so ranking number one
for you know, whatever it is, Seattle photographer, could
just blow up your business. And so we had a lot of clients like that and I was learning SEO. I started this SEOmoz website hoping to make you know, a
lot of SEO advice open source. That started doing well
and attracting clients and ranking well, getting me invitations to speak at conferences, which
I could barely afford to do. I had to like stay with my
grandparents in New York (chuckles) to the city,
that kind of thing. But yeah, that ended up
turning the business around. And by 2007, we paid off that debt. – Wow, didn’t do bankruptcy. – Wait, we couldn’t. I mean, we couldn’t, so if we had, A, my dad
would have found out. I think my mom was scared
that he would divorce her. I think she was also scared that her mother, who passed
away a couple of years ago but was alive at the time, my parents owned her house
and in a bankruptcy situation, the bank might have taken her house. So just a lot of nasty
impossible to work around stuff. – But you emerged.
– We did, yeah. I mean, 2007 rolls around, I remember June of 2007, my mom and I are high
fiving in the backroom of the office in the university district because we paid off the last of our debt, which is just, just incredible. And that same year, we launched, so we had a bunch of tools that, I don’t know if you know
a guy named Matt Inman. He’s now The Oatmeal, like– – Oh of course, yeah, yeah! Duh! Yeah, I was like hmmm, I know him, and I think he’s… But he’s with Brandon Stanton,
the Humans in New York guy– (overlapping dialogue) I think when Brandon was out here he was trying to get together with Matt. But really respect and admire that, he’s really fascinating. – Yeah, he’s an interesting dude. So Matt was our, like,
developer for five years, right? So Matt and I would build these websites and he built a bunch these
little SEO tools for us to use so that we can automate a
lot of the functions of SEO that were very manual at the time. And Matt and I were friends too, he’d come over to our
apartment all the time and we’d mess around,
we’d play Counter-Strike after work and that kind of thing. But so he had built these tools and I was like okay, I want
to share them with everybody. And Matt’s like no man,
our servers couldn’t handle the traffic and like, we can’t do it. So I was like okay, what if
we put up a PayPal paywall and you have to like
PayPal us 39 bucks a month to get access to the tools? He’s like all right. So over the weekend, he did that. And in February of 2007, we launched these tools. And by August, July or August, the subscription revenue from the tools was doing more revenue than
our consulting business. And we went–
– Wait a minute. (laughs)
– Hang on a second, what is this, right? We didn’t know what
software as a service was. I got an email from Michelle Goldberg from Ignition Partners, and
I googled venture capital. (chuckles)
Right? What does that mean? – Who is this woman?
– Exactly, right. And what do they do, right? And so at the end of that
year, November of that year, we ended up raising a $1.1
million round with Ignition and also Curious Office, I don’t know if you know Kelly Smith. – Sure, of course. – So they ended up coinvesting in this company Moz,
and we started growing. You know, we kept building software, I became the CEO at that time. So I had a tough conversation with my mom that was fairly intense. That was like okay, they
want to invest in us but– – This is an actual businesses and there’s fiduciary responsibilities and investors and the SEC and these– – Yeah, and so my mom had obviously been president and CEO since 1981, right? And so here was this thing. I think she felt both you know, pride, like oh my son’s taking this over, but also kind of this frustration of gosh, I’m not in charge anymore. And if this were a novel,
that would be foreshadowing. (sings ominous tune)
(chuckles) So for the next seven
years, I was CEO of Moz and we grew from a few
hundred thousand dollars in software revenue to $30,000,000 and had sort of you know,
an exciting experience, built a company that I felt
really proud of and loved. Went from, I think there were six of us when we raised the round and gosh, when I stepped down as
CEO, maybe 120, 130, little more than that. Similar to this–
– Yeah, really similar to Creative Live, yeah. – To what Creative Live is today. Yeah, so in 2013 and going into 2014, I got a really nasty
episode with depression. You know, I was not really
familiar with what that’s like and certainly unprepared, I
think no one is prepared for it, but you know, I didn’t
have the knowledge or tools or resources to know what to
do or how to react to that. But I did know that I was messed up. And so 2014, I stepped down as CEO and promoted my long time
chief operating officer, Sarah Bird, to the CEO role with my investors’ permission of course. And then over the next few years, I think I did get better
on the mental health front and developed some strategies, worked with therapists and coaches and did all sorts of, tried
everything from acupuncture and massage to physical
therapy, all sorts of things and found some things that worked for me. I think the things that worked for me won’t necessarily work for everyone– – Yes, there’s a pattern there. – It can be different for everybody. But ended up having a lot
of conflict with the CEO you know, a few years into that, and I think that professional conflict lead into personal conflict and so at the beginning of this
year, left the company and started something new. – And wrote a book in the process. – And wrote a book.
– And that’s what we’re talking about here. So I wanna put a couple of
pins in there and go back. So we’re in the time
machine now, we went back. A, I think fascinating. B, thank you for sharing sort
of some of the hard parts, I’m gonna go into that for a second because I think there’s a… Historically, there has been a culture, in popular culture we don’t
talk about that stuff. – Especially men.
– Yeah. – You are not allowed to have you know, emotional health problems, right? That’s not a real thing that men, I mean obviously we have it, but we’re not allowed to talk about it or make it a real thing. – And I think disproportionately, I don’t know the math but
creators and entrepreneurs, it is more vocal in
that world than others, and so what we’re trying
to do in the show, one of the things is talk about that stuff whenever it comes up because
it is a recurring theme, and it just so happens
that you’re not alone and that’s one of the
messages that we wanna send. So you mentioned a handful of strategies. You tried a bunch of stuff
that’s after you’ve figured out that you were not doing well chemically. Any otherwise depressed. What were some of the things
that you felt like worked to help you uncork some of the challenge? – Sure, yeah. I think that one of the biggest
things certainly was sleep. And that’s a really hard
thing for me to recommend because it is so incredibly
hard to sleep when you have severe anxiety and depression and those kinds of things. But some drugs stuff
helped me on that front, and that was worthwhile
and I certainly urge folks who are comfortable with
that path to pursue that. And I also, working
with a therapist, right, found some sort of mental patterns that I could walk through
over and over again before I went to sleep that would help. Not surprisingly at all,
getting off of screens an actual 45 minutes an
hour before I went to sleep or before I tried to go
to sleep was a big deal and could help me a lot. And then I’m actually
someone for whom Zzzquil works really well, so I was thrilled when that product came out
because then I was like oh great, I don’t have
to buy NyQuil anymore. – What is Zzzquil, is it
NyQuil without the drug part– – Without the cold medicine, yeah exactly. So it’s just the part that
makes you sleepy about it. So those things all helped. Physical therapy was
actually big for me too. – Moving the body.
– Yeah, I got a Fitbit. I know this is not true for everyone, but for me this you know, I’m a little bit of an OCD kind of person and the Fitbit hitting the
you know, 10,000 steps, hitting the you know, 30
minutes of elevated heart rate, exercise, all that kind
of stuff really did help me quit a bit. – This is a theme that there are, that sleep has been
huge theme in the show, not just for entrepreneurs
and like go get ’em types but as a tool to relieve anxiety
and depression and stress. Sleep and exercise and eating well, – Yeah!
– Surprise, right? (overlapping dialogue)
Yeah, oh I’m totally sure. I can’t believe all the things that, but I think the thing that I dislike, and this goes back to
our earlier conversation about Silicon Valley sort of you know, tropes and biases, I
mean the glorification of the I don’t sleep, I work all the time, there’s nothing in my life except work, that’s literally not just terrible for us but it’s also proven to be
ineffective for you know, people getting good work done. It is not the case for 99% of us that the hour step we
work between you know, hour 45 in a week and
hour 80 in a work week do anything but negatively you know, detract from your business’s outcome. – Or the next week or the week after. – Yeah, so you get into a nightmare thing. I remember at one point during you know, I think
it was 2013 or 2014, some things were not going great with Moz, our growth rate had sort of
slowed from 100% year over year to 50, 55%, which is still great, I know, but it’s one of those like, I felt that very strongly, right? I was like this declining
growth rate is my fault and I need to step it up. And so I took away this thing called anti-work night where I had one night a week, right, where I didn’t do any work, right? I’d get off at 5 p.m. and that
was like it for the night. And I remember one of
my employees emailed me and was like yeah, that’s
probably a good idea given where we are, you need to step back. And that is probably
the dumbest thing I did. I should have made four anti-work nights. That almost definitely
would’ve been better for me and better for the business. – Fascinating how the narratives have sort of reared their
heads at different times and now we’re seeing a huge backlash. I mean, I was one of those people that, I never glorified it but I stated it and it seemed to me to be fact. But what it was is I had a lot of passion for what I was doing. And so when you’re working
on something that you love, then you’re happy to divert sleep because there’s not enough hours in the day for you to do all the exciting stuff. That’s they way that I looked at it. And then only recently,
probably in about 2016, I shifted gears at the suggestion of a lot of my peers that hey, try and get any
more than five hours sleep, it’s gonna be awesome. And it was, it was incredible. My health, because when
you’re invigorated by work and you’re only sleeping
four, five hours a night, it’s overtime that, that
actually tackles your, of course different people are different, but over a sustained period of time, like we’re capable of a lot as a human, but that erodes that
capability pretty quickly. So I had fallen into that trap as well. – And your decision
making, I mean you know, statistically speaking, right, like you go in and take just
general logic questionnaires and you know, try and sort out this social situation and
what you should do correctly– – It’s something along the
lines of being drunk, I think. – Yeah, right? You know, you think well
I’m working really hard and so I am a good CEO. And in fact, when you’re
getting less than eight, eight and a half hours of sleep, you are harming your business, (overlapping dialogue)
yeah, statistically speaking harming your business because
the primary job of a CEO is not get this specific
piece of work done, right? It’s not crank out this code or you know, edit this video or whatever it is. It is make good decisions. Be good to your people, hire correctly. Yeah, help upgrade your team. – I think it’s one of the things I wanna caution against, is it’s not like you don’t have to work
hard in order to succeed. Like, it’s what are you
doing all the other time, which is like if you’re
spending it in front of screens that are unhealthy, or if
you’re crushing, you know, entire seasons of Lost or
whatever that thing is, and I find that it’s
not about not sleeping, it’s about how can you set
up a framework for yourself where you’re able to get
enough sleep and eat good, and that’s why I track 10 behaviors every, that I try and do every day, one of them is to not do that
other stuff and to get sleep. And I feel like I’m working
harder now than ever before. – And how much did you
really need to know about season nine of Lost? – I’m not a TV person
so I need to know zero. – I don’t actually know if
there was a season nine– – Yeah, me neither, I know nothing, I don’t even know what you said, it just sounded like blah,
blah, blah to me, Lost. (laughs) But I think the point, that’s one of the reasons
I’m sort of trying to put an exclamation point on
this, is it’s not like we’re saying don’t work hard because it’s a requirement
in order to be successful that you put forth effort. But there’s smart effort, and there are the other
things that you cut out in your life, and sleep is
not one of those things, nor is this other list of like
taking good care of yourself. – Yeah, and I think
another thing I worry about tremendously is the, so after I wrote this book and it came out 45, 50 days ago, something like that, I’ve been getting all
these emails from people who read it, which is
you know, super rewarding and feels awesome, but the stories that people have about the, not just their own sacrifices and losses but the people in their lives, right? The–
– Spouses and family members. – Yeah, you know. My mom had cancer and I
thought the right thing to do was bury my head in my company, you know. My husband was telling me that
he needed more time for me and I invested that in my business instead and my marriage collapsed and you know, now what’s going on with my kids? – Yeah, huge, huge, deep real stuff. – Yeah, what is the point? Who are you doing this for, right? I mean–
– Let’s assume that people’s intentions
are in the right place, like you wanna build a business and I’m not trying to judge, let’s just assume that
people’s hearts and minds are in the right place
and focus on the thing that they want to do. How did you, and I
think one of the reasons I’m asking this question is to try and get how you decided that SEO was interesting or helping people describe
or find their tribe or help drive traffic or build audience, and especially now with SparkToro, like what’s the gist? Because I think it’s easy to tell people that when you find the thing that you’re supposed to be doing, oh it just feels awesome, it’s like everything’s,
the skids have been greased and away you go. But what you said in your sort
of your historical lookback was like it was necessity
for survival of our business. And I do find that. But presumably you liked
it because you did more. So how did you decide
that you liked something? – Yeah, I think that accidentally
stumbling into things by having a diverse group
of people in your life and doing lots of different things, you know, especially when you’re young or when you have the freedom to be able to potentially pursue an
entrepreneurial journey is an awesome way to do that, right? So I fell into SEO by necessity and then found that I loved aspects of it. I actually hated other aspects of it, but I knew that at the core
of that hate was passion. – Yeah.
– Right? Like, oh, I despise that
this is how this is done. Can I change that? Can I make that into
something else, right? So you know, one of the
things that was true in the early SEO world was
that lots of consultants, lots of people who were
experts in the field were very secretive about their knowledge because they believed it to
be their secret sauce, right? Like, I can’t tell you how or why I know that this
thing that we’re gonna do is gonna make your rankings go up because that’s how I
sell my services, right? And of course, anyone who
tries to do that to you in a consulting world, like
you should be pretty skeptical. But in SEO, that was really common. And I hated it. So whenever I found something that worked, I would blog about it. I would put it up on SEOmoz and I would make it public. And as a result, I made a lot of friends and a lot of enemies, right? And I think it was sort of
interesting to see how over time, of course like any maturing
industry, it changed, right? As Google became this
behemoth that dominates around the world, there were a lot, a lot more people who started blogging and writing more openly
about SEO and how it works. Google themselves became
more open about it. But I think that passion for
making things transparent is what gave me a career. – Yeah, it’s very similar
to mine with photography for what it’s worth. I think that’s one of the reasons that TA, our mutual friend, was
like you guys basically sort of pulled the wool
off for a lot of people in respective industries. And so I think what
I’d like to hear about, so you talked about finding passion and the passion is really
for making things transparent in a world that hadn’t seen transparency around SEO for example. I wanna shift the discussion a little bit and I might be taking a liberty
here so forgive me if I do, but the term SEO, not a sexy term. – So true.
– So true, not sexy term. – So true.
– But let’s refresh it, and I wanna connect a
thread from what SEO, I’m just gonna put my
own, I’m gonna scribe, conceptually it’s like
helping people find you on the Internet, which in a
growingly complex Internet and culture becoming more complex, that is more important
now than ever before. And if you go back to trace your roots in non-sexy SEO, we’re subbing in, helping people find you on the Internet to this new ark that you’re working on now is not only helping people
find you on the Internet but you finding other people. Because to me this is a core thing that this show should elevate, that our conversation should
help people understand what they need to know in
order to become successful, because people are,
they wanna create things and help people see their creations for whatever purpose,
whether it’s to make money or to unlock potential in
human beings around the world– – Or to share their art, yeah. – Yeah, or just share their
art and have an impact to help you know, people
get help or whatever. There’s a million, we’re just gonna assume they’re all virtuous. Tell me what you think these
people should be doing. And be specific, don’t be afraid to, don’t overqualify your answers. Tell us like if you’re
thinking I’m a creator and I’m starting a business or whatever, like how am I supposed to think? And your tool is not out
yet, the new company, like, (overlapping dialogue)
It’s today help me. – The biggest mistake that
I see people making is that, especially creatives and folks who sort of are solo business owners
or small business owners is they try and build their
platform on someone else’s land. Meaning, you know, you
go out there and you say oh well, Facebook is how
I get a lot of my traffic so my Facebook page is
where I’m gonna invest a bunch of my energy or effort. Or you know, I make
beautiful visual things, I’m gonna make Instagram
my primary channel. Or I’m a writer and you know,
Twitter is how I connect and I’m gonna make my Twitter
account my primary place. That is fundamentally a mistake and I don’t, I cannot
recommend highly enough that you register your own website, start putting your work, whatever it is on your own website, in
your own user experience, in your own design and package and using these other channels, leveraging these other channels,
whichever ones make sense, as ways to draw people back to your site and making the two things
that you try and capture be visits to your website,
hopefully people come back again and again and
giving them a reason to, and email addresses. Those two are vast, I would take, I literally would take 10 email addresses from potential customers
and customers of mine over a thousand more Twitter followers, a thousand more Instagram followers, which might sound crazy to some people but I guarantee that,
that is a better return on your investment for
your own ability to market and to reach people. Because an email address is
such a stronger connection. There’s so many more things
you can do through marketing, and many people might not know about them. So if you have an email address, you can use a tool like FullContact to plug that email address in and to get here are
all the social profiles and now I can get a
lot of demographic data and a lot of statistical data
about who my audience is. If you have an email address, you can now reach out to those people. Email open rates, even for
pretty bad email newsletters, are still between five and 15%. Facebook reach numbers
are between 0.3 and 0.7%. So which one are you gonna take? Instagram has the
highest, I think it’s 4%. You know, an average of 4% of the people who follow you on Instagram
will see any given– – Fee–
– Yeah, picture that you share or a story that you share. Oh god, 4%. And that’s going down, right? Because of course these businesses, they’re not trying, Instagram and Facebook are not there to promote you, they’re there to promote
Instagram and Facebook. So yeah, I would strongly
urge folks to do that. I think another really good
thing to think about is having a great answer to the question anytime you build something
or launch something, whether that is you know, your own website or work that you’re doing, a
blog post that you’ve written, a new project you’re putting up, a new tool you’ve created, is to ask the question who
will help me amplify this? And why? And if you have a great answer to that, a great answer to that is
here is a specific list of 20 people who are influential to the audience that I wanna reach, and I have a you know, I
have some connection to them or they care deeply about this issue, I know that they’ve, you know, amplified stuff in the past, they’ve seen this before at launch and they told me it was awesome and that they wanna help share it. Fantastic, that is the
answer that you want to that question. You have that? A lot of the things that you
do will be very successful compared to, I think,
unfortunately there’s sort of a marketing obsession with
I’m gonna put this out and I hope it goes viral. Oh man? – Said no one who ever built a business. (chuckles)
sustainably over time. – Yeah exactly, the problem
is that there’s a few outliers every month, every year
who do have something that goes viral, and
that’s what gets press and that’s what gets amplification and that’s what sort
of earns our attention, and then we think oh that
must be the way to do it. And that is not the way. You know, the way to build a great, a great sort of marketing machine is to have a flywheel. And a flywheel fundamentally, right, so it’s this you know, machine– – Yeah, I understand it,
but for the folks at home– – Machine, right, from
the industrial age, right? And it’s this giant wheel, it’s extremely heavy and
electricity would come into it and the flywheel would start turning and it would turn faster and faster. And once it gets going, it’s
going on inertia, right? So now you can generate
electricity from it. Okay, but in a marketing sense, the problem is turning that
flywheel initially, right? Getting your marketing going, whatever kind of marketing you’re doing, content marketing or
social media marketing, influencer marketing or
email or advertising, right? Whatever you might be doing, events. Getting that turning is insanely hard. I mean, you know this well, right? Creative Live, the first few revolutions, getting the first thousand
customers was so much harder than getting the next thousand
customers today, right? And that’s because of inertia. Now the Creative Live
marketing flywheel is turning, and so I think that recognizing that and then getting comfortable
with the idea that oh my gosh, I’m gonna have to put in a
tremendous amount of energy to turn that flywheel initially, to find the mechanisms
that’ll create growth for me as opposed to I’ll throw this out there and see if it works. Throw that out there and see if it works, toss this out there. That would be my big, big picture advice. And then we can certainly
get into other things like if you would like to
rank number one on Google, I can also talk about that. – Sure, I wanna touch on that, that is, I think that, that is a valuable pursuit. I wanna talk about it
generally one more time in a slightly different axis before we go into the specifics. So generally knowing that
the tools that we use to point people are owned by other folks. I don’t think you’re saying
don’t use those channels. – No, absolutely use them. But use them to bring people
to places that you own, your website, your email list. Don’t use them as the central hub, right? So whenever I go to a
restaurant and I see them like, oh, follow us on Facebook
and get a discount. Ah, ask for my email address
to get that discount. I will open that email you know, 10, a hundred times more
likely to open that email than I am to check your Facebook page or to ever see your Facebook
messages in my feed. – Yeah, even if I did decide
to follow your Facebook feed, right, I’m not gonna see those messages. Okay, so I think it’s, I’m gonna try and make
a counterpoint here. So what we see in pop culture is people who have substantial followings and they have attributed doing great work to build that following on a, say they’re a YouTuber, for example. – Sure, yeah.
– Which is a very real thing and it’s a way to have a job now in a way it wasn’t before. Is it that you’re suggesting that people don’t aspire to be a YouTuber because that is a 1/50th of 1% outcome? Or is it that you aspire people to, like what kind of business, maybe it’s a little bit too leading but I guess this is what, I want people to like, why do
you wanna build a business? Like, what does that business wanna be? What do you want to wake
up and do every day? And then there’s all these other channels. And if by accident, like
my influence socially, purely accidental, I wanted to build a great photography business
and I started sharing stories about it and I just turned around, oh my gosh, I have a million followers across all these channels. Accidental.
– Yup. – Helpful, but what about
I’m trying to decide if telling people I’ve had the idea that telling people to
chase social status online as the end in itself is
potentially catastrophic. I wanna know your point of view, throw rocks at what I’m
saying or validate it. – Yeah, so I think that it is, if your goal is to become
someone who is well known and well regarded and well followed, leveraging multiple networks
and building your base on, in a home that you own, right, which is a website and email is the wisest possible
way you can do that. And that does not mean, I’m
not saying that you shouldn’t consider your YouTube channel
and your YouTube subscribers as a great place to start
building that brand. What I think is insanity is relying exclusively on
that and saying oh my, I am not going to capture any attention outside of this one network. And if YouTube tomorrow
decides to ban your channel or decides that–
– Change anything. – Change their algorithm
for how you become visible, change their system for you know, what is allowed to be shown, if governments come in and
say basically you know what, YouTube, you are a monopoly in Europe and we need to break you up
and oh, suddenly you lost 50% of your subscribers. Well, my friend, guess what? If you had your own website and you were building most
of that following there, YouTube is just a channel
where you’re posting content and potentially getting
that amplification. But for your hardcore fans, right, the people who follow you the most, you own that relationship
rather than YouTube owns that relationship, you
have vastly more ability to control the level of influence and to keep that audience with you as you grow and as these networks change. I think about the people
who in the early 2000s had a million followers on Friendster. Oops! Right? Didn’t go so well. Or just a few years ago, you
had 50,000 followers on Vine. Shoot, they’re gone. – Gone.
– Right? And I think that it is not impossible to imagine that those kinds
of things will happen, whether that’s the result
of YouTube changing, the governments changing YouTube, people shifting their habits. That’s my suggestion. So I agree with you that you know, if you wanna build a business, chasing the dream of being a YouTube star or an Instagram celebrity is probably a poor way to do that. But also, even if you
wanna be those things, have a home base. – Yeah, and what I find bonkers is you have to ideally have something that you are passionate about. In YouTube land, it can be making films. And then it’s a great natural fit. But just seeking the ability to be known and therefore charge for your services of sharing your audience
is a really quick, it’s on the rise as far
as a desired outcome for most of the people that I hear, which I caution against. Like, you wanna be known for a thing. Like, I make cool films or I am a designer or I
am a fill in the blank because it allows you to have something for people to rally around other than just your pretty face. – I mean, I worry a lot, if you can’t say I am a– – Fill in the blank? – Yeah, I am a designer, I am an artist, you know, whatever it is, a
graphic designer, I am a– – Novelist, philosopher, yeah. – Yeah, exactly, those kinds of things; and I’m well known for that as opposed to I’m well known on this particular network which controls my destiny exclusively. – Wooh, and you don’t own that network, you’re not a shareholder there, you don’t get to vote at
the board meetings, right? You’re not lobbying, a lobbyist there. That’s dangerous my friend. – Yeah, all right. So now tell me how to get
on the front page of– (chuckles)
– Sure. (overlapping dialogue)
So Google and YouTube actually have a lot of similarities in terms of you know, how
the ranking systems work. There’s lots of differences, but Google in particular, so the organic results, are driven largely by just a few inputs. So it is how authoritative and
well known is your website, and that relies a lot on
who links to your website. So other people linking to your website from their own websites tends to enhance your importance in Google’s eyes. The more important that people are linking to you, the better, right? If you can get a link
from the New York Times or from you know, random
Chase’s shadysneakers.info, you should go for the
New York Times, right? That’s where you want that link. Another big piece of that is certainly using the words and phrases that people search for. So you know, if for example
you are a graphic designer and lots of people are
searching for you know, graphic design Seattle but you wanna be creative
and so you’ve chosen to describe yourself with
these other words and phrases, you’re like no, I’m a–
– Holistic (chuckles)– – Yeah, I’m a technical master of visual turned 2D. Oh no, like that’s what, you know, you wanna have your unique
brand, I totally get it, but no one searches in that way. One of my favorite examples was actually, this is years ago, but the New York Times, there were tons of people, do you remember this airplane
landed in the Hudson River right, they made a movie
about it, like captain, was it like Sully, Jay Sullenberger or something like that?
(overlapping dialogue) – Yeah.
– Played by Tom Hanks. – Yeah, played by Tom Hanks, right. So lands in the Hudson River and this was one of like
The New York Times’s wake up calls on SEO
because they wrote something to the effect of you know, a creative headline like plane lands in the river and you know, captain saves the crew,
that kind of thing. And of course the Washington Post wrote Hudson River plane crash averted, right? And what is everyone searching for, right? Hundreds of thousands,
millions of people that day are searching for Hudson River plane, Hudson River plane crash, right? And Washington Post
outranks the New York Times, The New York Times goes okay,
maybe we should think about using the words and phrases people are actually searching for. So that is certainly something to do, and that requires doing
some research, right? You have to research what keywords, what words and phrases are
people entering into Google. Google has a sort of
free tool through AdWords that you can look up. But even if you just
start typing in Google, then you see the drop down, right, and they show you which things
are coming up more popularly. That can help, they have related searches that they show at the bottom
of the search results. That can help. And there’s some tools,
Moz has some tools, so does some others. Another big important one,
solve the searcher’s problem. When someone enters a query, what they’re saying is I
have this problem right now and I want you to solve it for me. And that problem is often bigger than just the question they’re asking with the words they enter. And Google has gotten extremely good at recognizing when a website and when a particular web page solves that problem for people. And if you solve that problem
better than anyone else on the first page, that
is a true path to ranking that was, if we were
having this conversation five years ago, that
would not be the case. Google wasn’t that
sophisticated and advanced. So that’s a big powerful part of that. – Is the definition of solving a problem measured by bounce time, by engagement? What are some of the ways that, how does Google know that
you’ve done a good job? – It’s pretty sophisticated actually. So Google is tracking sort of ongoing long term user behavior. So let’s say for example
you and I are looking for the best sushi restaurant in Seattle. And so you know, we both, we and a thousand other
people go to Google and we search for best sushi restaurants and you know, we visit
the TripAdvisor page and the Yelp page and you
know, the Seattle Times page. And statistically speaking what happens is what Google sees is that many of us after visiting, you know let’s say the Yelp results, go back to Google and search again or click a different result. But the people who end up on
Eater’s website, they stay. They don’t come back to Google. If they do come back to Google, they search for different things. Over the course of the
next week, month, year, they don’t perform that search
or related searches again. Oh, wait a minute. – They found their home.
– They found their home. They found an answer,
they have been satisfied, they don’t need to ask
this question anymore and therefore, Eater must be a great place for people to get the solution. So even if it doesn’t have great links, even if it’s not using keywords perfectly, maybe we should put them up at the top. So it’s not necessarily bounce rate. Some queries are solved (finger snaps) very, very quickly. You know, if you wanna
search for you know, Seattle home price growth
2016 to 2018, right, a website should be able to say okay, the average home price increase was 45% over that period. Boom, answered, done. I got it in four seconds,
I’m out of there, my bounce rate is incredibly high but I’m not going back to
Google and searching it again. Right? And so they call this pogo sticking where you jump to a website and then bounce back to the search results and choose something else. And a low pogo sticking rate will give you a great chance
to rank well on Google. – Mmm, I’m taking some
notes here for our team. – Yeah, yeah, I mean this
is definitely a big one. – Picking your brain here for my own, no, I think that just conceptually there’s a lot of folks, obviously finding success on the Internet is an important part of being a creator, whether that’s at your own
website or blog or whatever. So I think the short answer if I’m gonna put words in your mouth is that there’s a
handful of these things– – Yeah, and there’s another half dozen that we could talk about but
we don’t have to get deep into. But yeah, you can. In fact I would urge folks who want to you know,
you could search Google for learn SEO, and if you
pick up just the basics from some of those free guides, you know there’s a good one on Moz, there’s a video class
that I did on Skillshare and Whiteboard Friday, stuff like that, just a tiny bit, an hour
or tow will take you from I don’t know anything about SEO, to okay, I know enough to you know, be a little dangerous, to at
least get started on this path. And that can be transformative. – Yeah, helpful. All right, so now again
we’re talking back and forth between past and present,
specific in general. Now I wanna go to something, which is the problem
you’re trying to solve now. Again, product’s not out yet, what are the things, a
handful of behaviors, not dissimilar to handful of
SEO things you need to know about where your people are. Where my people at, Rand? – Yeah, so this is actually
an incredibly hard problem to solve today. I mean, one of the reasons
that we wanted to build SparkToro is because as I
described to you the process that you know, sophisticated
marketers go through to solve this would be
like, I don’t wanna do that. (overlapping dialogue)
That sounds so hard. But if you wanna have a really good idea of where your audience
is actually hanging out, and this is truly important
because there’s kind of, I almost view it like
there’s these two ways to reach people. If people are already searching for the thing that you offer, right, there’s a bunch of demand,
people go to Google and they search for this thing, great. SEO is awesome for you. What if no one’s searching
for the thing that you make? What if you’re making
something totally new? An example. In fact, one of the ones
that inspires SparkToro was here in Seattle, a
couple of friends of mine who you might know, Joe Heitzeberg
and Ethan from Crowd Cow. – Yup, (mumbles) from Crowd Cow. – Okay, so Crowd Cow, you know, this idea is Ethan was like I wanna provide high quality,
sustainable, you know, Japanese-style graded
beef in the United States that anyone can order online. But of course Americans are not used to ordering beef on the Internet. Like we went and did, I did the queried research for them and I was like okay, yeah,
there’s about 50 people a month who are looking for buy stake online. Like, that is not gonna move
the needle on your business because people, when they want stake, they go to a grocery store, they don’t think of it as like a, it’s a commodity, right? It’s not thought of as
like a high end product. There’s no craft beef movement
like there is with beer or whiskey or–
(laughs) – We’re gonna rank highly for
the search term craft beef– – Craft beef.
– When we put this transcript on the Internet.
(chuckles) It’s craft beef. – Not a hyper competitive
thing until Crowd Cow, yeah. So basically they’re trying
to create this movement and they’re working with all
these farms, and it’s awesome. Like, I got to try some of the beef. It’s different! like, it’s truly different in the way that a great Scotch is way better
than Johnnie Walker, right? (laughs) It’s a massive, massive upgrade. And so we talked about
this and I said you know, I think that the only way you’re gonna grow this thing is by finding the influential people in like the foodie world, and not just people but publications and broadcasts and channels
and all these, events and all this kind of stuff
and getting Crowd Cow to be the thing that they’re
all talking about, right? If, you know, you go to a foodie event and people are up there on stage, if you go to a restaurant and they say we serve, you know, Crowd Cow beef, if you go on Instagram and
your favorite food journalist is posting about visiting
farms and ranches and getting great Crowd Cow beef, okay, that’s how you create this movement. But it’s not gonna happen through search. – It’s not gonna happen overnight. – Oh no, it’s a long process, absolutely. – This is another thing
that nobody wants to hear, that you have to like eat dirt for awhile, and everyone wants this sort of quick fix. – Chase, I don’t known
about Creative Live, but I was blogging every night on SEOmoz from 2003 To 2007, eight. So four or five years, or five years. Four nights a week, Monday
through Thursday night. Sorry, Sunday through Thursday nights before I ever broke 2,000 visits in a day. Takes a long, long time to build. Now granted now that I
know what I’m doing, right, it’s faster with SparkToro. – Of course.
– But building that flywheel takes an incredible amount of time. And so yeah, if you wanna get a great idea of where is my audience, you first have to know who they are. Who is the right audience for you? And I think that means figuring out people who are likely to have a high recidivism or retention rate, right? Recidivism meaning they come back to you, your website, your business a lot. Retention meaning they just stick with it if you have a subscription or you know, a product that’s multiple
use, that kind of thing, or service like that. And then what you ideally wanna do is you sort of wanna steal
their phone and their laptop. I mean this almost literally because, so you can survey your audience and you can say like okay,
who do you pay attention to? Who do you follow, what do you read, what do you listen to, you
know, what do you watch? And they’ll give you answers
that are biased, right, by whatever, their own recent experience or a bunch of other things. But if you could actually
like take their phone and be like okay, that’s
who you follow on Instagram, that’s the YouTube
channels you subscribe to, this is the subreddits
that you visit, you know, here’s all your bookmarks, that’s what you ideally wanna do. There are a few other manual
ways of getting at that. One, if you have a lot of money, you can buy it through
click stream services like Jumpshot and SimilarWeb. This is what a lot of
enterprise businesses will do. They’ll go buy a bunch
of click stream data and then like narrow it down to okay, people who visit these
two sites, you know, whatever it is–
– Yeah, let’s assume that the listeners–
– Yeah, are not gonna have access to that. You can, with SimilarWeb
they have a public version you can do like a trial with them, then it becomes I think
five or 600 bucks a month, but you can do a trial with them and go and see like okay,
people who visit you know, savoire.com also go to eater.com, also go to you know, here’s
these other foodie websites. So that might be a way
to dig in for a low cost. The other thing that you can do definitely is, and a lot of people do this, is they will go to Google and just start searching like mad, right? Search for you know, what
are the popular podcasts in this area, what are the
popular YouTube channels in this area, what are the
popular Instagram accounts and then they’ll try and
filter that by, yeah, followers and visitors and
all these kinds of things and build up a big giant database. That’s how a lot of professionals do it. – All right, very general
question, art or science? – Both, totally both, right? And SEO is the same way. Both of these, I think
marketing in general, that’s what attracted me to it, right? Because I–
– What’s the saying? 50% of your marketing dollars are wasted, you just don’t know which 50%. – Right, right. (laughs) yeah, yeah. And I think this is why for years I never spent any money on marketing. I was an organic-only kind of guy, right? I love that, I love
content, social and search, that sort of thing. But yeah, this is a practice where you’ll do a lot of trial and error, you’re gonna do a lot of muddling through. And building an audience is definitely, it’s in high demand
because it is challenging. – Yes, let’s talk about
now what kind of content can build audience? So what we are disproportionately is an audience of creators
and entrepreneurs. And the people who listen to the show watch the show whether it’s
video, audio, whatever, and making is in their blood. We think of ourselves and one another, and I think of the show as in service of a really cool part of the Internet, because you’ve familiar
with the Internet triangle, you know, the bottom 90%
there are laying back, there’s a 9% you know,
the top 9% from 90 to 99, they are participators. And then there’s 1% of the Internet that actually makes stuff. And so I like to think of this, folks who are watching, listening, everybody’s in that 1%. There’s a lot of engaged makers. And the challenge is like well, how do I know that my stuff
is different or better? Or how do I stand out in a crowd especially in a world where content, if we just think about photography, there’s trillions of
photographs uploaded every year. And so what kind of content,
remember the audience, we’re speaking to an audience of makers, what kinds of content? Or is there are a rhyme
or a reason or a pattern, or give us a framework for how to think about the content that we make. – Yeah, so the advice I always
give folks around, you know, I wanna start doing marketing, I wanna start creating things that will grow my audience. And what I say is let’s
imagine a Venn diagram with three circles and
you are trying to find the inner section of these three circles. Circle number one is a medium that you personally are passionate about, that you are interested in. And I say that not just because, you know, you’ll be able to sort
of do better at things that you are passionate
about or because you know, following your passion
is such common advice. I say it because I have never, I have never observed a creator, a maker, who’s like I know that
I should be on Twitter but I really hate Twitter. I’ve never seen them do well. It just doesn’t, you
know, like if that medium doesn’t resonate with you, if you are not excited
and interested in it– – I hate bench press but I’m gonna become really strong at bench
press, almost no one ever– – Yeah, I mean
(overlapping dialogue) Yeah, exactly, exactly. Like it’s just you need to find
that area of passion first. So find something that you
know you could get interested, even if you’re not super
excited about it today, do you feel like oh yeah, I
think Instagram or YouTube or– – You’re talking about media right now. – Yeah, medium.
– So it’s writing, photography, video–
– Absolutely, software, right? Like, I think I could write
really cool tools and software. I think I could do really interesting visual representations of data. I think I could do really cool
mixed media installation art. Whatever it is, right? Those kinds of things. And also the channels. I am excited about podcasting, I am excited about video creation and leveraging you know,
YouTube and potentially my own website, you
know, website for that. And I am excited about these other broadcast forms. Like I love live events, whatever it is. Okay, next one is area where you believe you can create something of unique value. So there are lots of people
creating photographs. What sets yours apart? What is the unique element? Why is it not just different
but valuable in its difference? Is it something that you
know, oh it has this great resonance with this audience or it appeals in a way that
other photographs do not. Or it’s perfect for X, and no one else is. I think that, that can be really exciting. It exposes, you know, maybe you’re doing journalistic photography
that exposes some issue that no one else is talking about or that needs attention and awareness, those kind of things. And the third one is an area where your audience
actually plays, right? So you know, going after, saying hey, I am in the chemical engineering space and I’m really passionate
about creative photography, and Instagram is one of the places where I wanna do a lot of my broadcasting and maybe a few other channels. Well, if chemical engineers
don’t hang out there and that’s your audience and
that’s you need to reach, got to cross that one off the list and find something else, right? So if you can get all
three of those aligned and you can find an intersection of those, that’s where I see magic happen. – Aha. So I will use an example,
a deconstructed example. I mentioned earlier my
friend, Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York. So would his three areas, I’m gonna try and describe them. One is he was passionate
about photography, left his job as a bond trader, moved to New York to try
and take 10,000 portraits because he was just passionate– – And particularly interested in specifically portrait photography. – Specifically portrait photography and specifically in New York. He wanted to catalog
and put them on a map. And then when he realized
his differentiator was, and this is like unique value, was that he had the ability to capture people’s stories auditorily,
he was listening to them talk while he was taking their photographs. And when he put, it’s pretty funny, he’s got a presentation on Creative Live where he talks about taking a picture and his first picture has like one like and it was his mom or something like that. And then when he started
combining a photograph with a little narrative
about, a little backstory about this person, that,
that all of a sudden, was like exponentially more interesting than just the photograph. So his sort of value proposition was he became the best in the world at taking a picture,
and he describes himself as a good photographer, not
as a great photographer. But what he’s great at is the combination of these two things. So that’s his unique value add. So what would his third be? Is it because people are on Facebook and people are looking
for human interest stories and for connection? – Yeah, I mean, and I
think that also he found, so I’m not massively
familiar with his work. I’m definitely familiar with
his social accounts, right, his social accounts
which did amazingly well. And also, at a time
when there was a rise in you can easily combine a photograph and a block of text together into a bunch of mediums
that have wide reach, right? So I think that helped. And then also turning that into you know, books and mixed media
and you know, interviews and other kinds of things. – Yeah, now he’s got shows,
he’s got television shows, he’s got a really
successful speaking deal. But it’s really about the art for him and all these other things have become– – Well, it’s ways for
the art to reach people. – For sure, I think that’s what I’m trying to distinguish there. So I wanna ask you at home
if you’re listening to this or watching it, like what is your series of overlapping Venn diagrams where you find the thing
that you’re passionate about, you find the thing that you are unique, how do you exploit that
and where ar those people? And the word exploit, I use that term in the sort of conceptual term, like what you wanna do
is if you have a thing, a skill that you have, like
how do you manifest that? I’m not trying to exploit any individuals, it’s really how do you maximize the value of a particular
skill or set of interests that you have. Okay, so to me we just traced a little bit sort of the math and the
technical about how you, not, I mean, you can get crazy– – We can go real deep–
– Yeah, super deep. And for that, like, if this has been tantalizing, tantalizing?
– Tantalizing. – Yeah, (chuckles). Then you’ve got so many amazing videos– – Oh yeah, sure.
– Where it’s you in front of a whiteboard, so
speaking since we’re talking about content now, this was– – Oh, this is a perfect example of that. – This is the perfect example, share your own personal example. – Yeah, so we, this again was sort of an accidental discovery but I started explaining to one
of my colleagues at work– – He’s a good explainer, as you can tell from this particular podcast. – I sort explained to one
of my colleagues at work, you know, here is how a 301 redirect is different than a 302 redirect. You don’t have to know much
about them but regardless, Google thinks about them differently, web browsers treat them
differently, et cetera. So I’m explaining this
and my colleague at work is like hang on, hang on, we
just got a new video camera, I’m gonna grab the camera, it was a cheap crappy
camera in 2007, you know, and film it and then
we’ll put it on the blog. Well, we put it on the blog, it did not perform well. In fact, statistically speaking, we did it again the next week and kept doing it to
try and get better at it because we were sort of interested in it and because frankly, it saved
me a night of blogging, right? I can spend 15 minutes
in front of a whiteboard explaining something to one
of my colleagues at work, and now when I go home at night, I don’t have to blog, oh this is great. So I went from you
know, five nights a week of blogging to four. And I think a year in, Whiteboard Friday, which is what we called this video, we always put it up late Thursday night for folks to get early Friday
morning in the UK and Europe, the video series did, you know, mediocre. Not nearly as well as
most of our blog content. Fast forward three years, we built a studio into our new offices when we got new offices, we vastly upgraded the camera, we sound proofed the studio, you know, not quite as fancy as this
but really, really good for, we figured out how to not get glare and reflection on the
white board, you know, all these kinds of basic things. And I got better at explaining things and being on camera and
all that sort of stuff. And so Whiteboard Friday
became this phenomenon where all these people in the
SEO and web marketing world would sit down together
for lunch on Fridays in their offices around the world and they’d watch Whiteboard
Friday for you know, 10 minutes and then they talked about whatever subject matter was in it. And by I think three years into it, it was performing as well as you know, the rest of our blog content. Five years in, it was consistently our best-performing content. So it had built up this following. And because of its serial nature, I think it resonated with folks. And of course, yeah, it
was also very unique. There were not a lot of places
(overlapping dialogue) yeah, not a lot of places to go and be like okay, how
can I, in 10 minutes, understand a concept in the SEO world? And I wanna do it via video because reading something in text, it doesn’t resonate
with me in the same way. And there are lots of, you know, visual learner who learn better that way. Obviously many of the
folks watching this, right? – And me.
– Yeah, yeah! Which is awesome, right? I had this same experience recently. I started, a friend of mine asked me to play Dungeons and Dragons which I had never played. I wanted to when I was a kid, but when I asked my friends at school, I was like shamed and
embarrassed so much so that I wanted to leave that school. Like, it was just terrible, right? Because when we were kids,
D&D was this awful thing. So for 25 years, I never played. And then my friend earlier this year was like, oh you should play. And I started googling
around to learn how to play. I found this guy’s YouTube
channel and it was extraordinary. I had this like oh, why am I watching, I’m just watching a
talking head on YouTube but I’m super into it. And it finally clicked with me, like oh, I think I’m getting
why Whiteboard Friday worked for other people, right? – Years ago.
– Yeah, years ago and continuing to this day. You know, I filmed a bunch
of them before I left Moz and so they continue to
put out some with me, and then they’re trying
to sort of back fill other hosts now. But yeah, that video series hit those three spots really nicely, right? It was something that
I was passionate about, I love explaining SEO to people and helping make this mysterious
world less mysterious. I was uniquely good at being on camera and filming in a single take and being able to draw
something on the whiteboard that made sense to people and resonated, and this was a unique format that people didn’t have before. And we had a distribution channel where people actually hung out. So by putting it, so we
did something very unique which I would actually recommend to anyone who’s a video creator. We put the videos first using Wistia, which is a self hosted platform, put it on Moz, on our blog, our website. After three months, we then
upload the video to YouTube. And this is because we
want everyone to know and to get into the habit
of come to our website to get the latest and greatest first, and then yeah, we also want
if people are searching on YouTube to be able to find it there. And many people did find Whiteboard Friday initially through YouTube. We wanna be in there, right,
in the recommendation engine and all those kinds of things, we can get that visibility, but it also meant in Google’s results, if you search for you
know, whatever it is, how to do a 301 redirect, the Whiteboard Friday video
that pops up number one is on moz.com, not on youtube.com– – Interesting, so you think
that’s still the case? – Yeah, mostly still the case. Sometimes YouTube will
outrank us, but pretty rarely. – Interesting. And what about as a philosophy? Like needing to go where the people are? You’re just saying that you developed, could you only get that sticky because you already had
a place where people were hanging out that was
probably more valuable than YouTube, and part two
is, is that still the case that you can ever outrank YouTube for your own video content? – So yes to both. So I strongly recommend,
especially for B2B, right, so if your business does
something in the, you know, services world or you’re
serving businesses, that kind of thing, putting
it on your own site. And you don’t have to do what
we did and wait three months. If you want to–
– Three days– – Yeah, you could wait
a day, a week, right, and put it up on YouTube and sort of have your YouTube channel and
at the end of every video, say if you wanna see the latest video, first go to my website.com
and subscribe there. We always put them up, whatever it is, a day, a few hours. And the people who are obsessed with you, they want that content earlier, they’re gonna come,
they’re gonna come to you, they’re gonna give you
their email address, you’re gonna be able to
cookie them on your site, you get analytics about them
that YouTube won’t provide, you can see exactly how
far they watch the video. Like, there’s all sorts of
cool stuff that you know, by using Wistia or similar service and hosting on your own
platform, it’s awesome. – You talked about obsessed people. I think you’re really making
stuff for that group, right? Is that a thing for you? – I think so. I mean, and obviously I’m someone, when I find something new that I like, I get very, very obsessed, right? So I got obsessed with
SEO for 17 years, right? And I got obsessed, yeah I
got obsessed with D&D, right, in the last like, three months
with my friend pretty fast. And I got obsessed with
this world of sort of finding the publications and people that influence your audience and– – Finding your tribe?
– Yeah, obsessed with solving that problem. I’m a little bit fashion obsessed. Like, I get into things. – So I think I’m gonna now, I’m gonna shoot some darts, we’re gonna play darts.
– Excellent! – So most compelling, your
personally most compelling idea that you believe is in the book. – Oh gosh. So there’s a story, there’s a story that I tell in the book about my wife, Geraldine,
who a few years ago, while I was CEO at Moz, she’d be having bad
headaches for a long time, she went into her doctor’s office, she got an MRI and it turned
out it was a brain tumor on her hypothalamus, which is like right in the middle of everything, very hard to access and they weren’t sure whether
it was cancerous or not. They were worried it was
something called glioma and you know, the survival
rates are awful for that. So for the next, you know, month, while we were sort of waiting
to figure out you know, going through all the medical stuff and figuring out what we were
gonna do and all of that, you know, my mental, just existence, was gone. I did not have the bandwidth to think about anything else. I mentioned I’m pretty obsessive, I have an extremely close, you know, probably codependent but you know, in a very romantic
loving way with my wife, who I’ve been with for forever since ’01. And this just shattered me, right? I had this like, I think
I wrote about this, like I had this belief in my head, I was like this is the price you pay. If you have a romance as good as ours, you don’t get to have it for long. Like, I see how the world is, I was sure she was, I was like convinced that this was gonna be the end and maybe a little
fatalistic on that front. And I went into Moz, into my company, there were maybe 60 of us at the time, and I called an all hands
meeting, just impromptu, like in our lobby, and I shared this. Like I told everyone, I
could barely get it out, I was like choking on my own tears and just you know,
falling apart, total mess. And that experience was incredible. It was so powerful, Chase. Like people were just like hugging me and just showing all
this love and dedication. And I mean, the team like
stepped up and fired up and inspired and I don’t know,
it’s a weird thing, right? Like especially when you’re told, hey, when you have that personal stuff, don’t bring that to the office. And you know, if you’re
a real man, you don’t cry and you definitely don’t do it in front of other people and– – And people that work for you. – Yeah, people that work for you, like they’ll lose respect for you, they’ll think that the
company’s in trouble because you can’t focus, all this stuff. None of that happened, right? Instead what happened was
people like stepped up and it was very cool because
over the last few years, Google and a number of universities have been doing a ton of research about what predicts whether a team performs incredibly well or not, right? What makes for an outstanding
team inside a company? And so Google had all
these theories, right? They’d go and test them
and try to validate them. Like, they’re made up
of the smartest people or the best programs, or like you know, if you where the strongest
contributor on this team, you’ll be the strong, you know, and we put all our strongest
contributors together, they’ll do this. Or maybe you know, it’s teams
that are led by you know, certain types of managers, whatever it is. The strongest predictor that they found was not any of those things. It was something called
psychological safety. You could get together
relatively poor performers who hadn’t gotten great grades, who like sort of got through
the Google interview process but relatively low, that are
somewhat new to the company. But if the social cohesion of that group, if everyone in the group
basically said you know, answered yes to questions like I feel comfortable sharing
personal details with my team, I know that I won’t be
judged for my failures or my mistakes; I believe
that I could share, you know, embarrassing things about
my work or my personal life with every other person on my team; I believe that this is a
safe place for me, that. Not, how good a programmer you were, not whether your code
had done really well, not if you got straight As in
school and went to Harvard. Nope! That, psychological safety,
was the strongest predictor of a team’s success. And I not only love, I mean
I sort of love that idea but I love how unconventional it is. I don’t think any of us
think about that when we, I know I hadn’t when I was
hiring and building teams and trying to coach
people and upgrade them. And yet I had this experience
too, right, where– – This is a theme that I
feel like I’m extracting in real time from our conversations, is this unconventional winning. And whether it’s with psychological safety or what everyone else is
telling you, you shouldn’t, that’s when you’re
doubling down on the thing. Like for example email, everyone’s like, no man, it’s
all about the thousand more Twitter followers or Instagram followers. You’re like, I’d rather
have 10 email addresses. This unconventional
wisdom to me is almost, You know I think about
zigging instead of zagging, I’ve used it doing gallery shows when I was trying to build an
online following, for example. And that’s a really powerful
story from the book. I feel like what I know about the book, which is not all that
much, it’s very rare for me to sit with an interview not
having consumed a book and– – I’ll make sure I get you one– – Yeah, yeah, but is this me ascribing on you how you’ve won or
how you’ve been successful? Or do you feel like this
is actually a strategy that what is the unconventional, and I mean if I think
about it, it’s a little bit of my buddy Tim Ferriss, you know Tim, just what are the things that are creating outstanding results when
you don’t expect them to and how do you– – I think there’s a little bit of that and you know, I sort of
go a step further which is can I reverse engineer
and truly understand why do these bits of common wisdom, or whether they’re true or not, right, whether they’re myths or
whether they’re authentically part of the story, why do they exist? In whose interests are they? Why do we believe the way
we do about these things? And I think by digging into that you can find out which ones are, oh this is best practice. This is a thing that lots of people do because it’s a smart thing to do, right? – Yeah, getting an hour of sleep. – We should all do that if we wanna get ahead. And then I think there’s
also when you dig into that you often find these
interesting, you know, nuggets of that’s not actually true. That’s only applicable
to these certain types of you know, businesses or organizations or worked for these folks
but it doesn’t necessarily work for everyone or it’s an outlier, or it’s a myth that’s propped up because it’s very useful
to this particular class of person or you know, (chuckles) organization or whatever. – Rule makers are by and
large making the rules so you play by them. – Yeah, I mean I think
Facebook knew exactly what they were doing when they said hey, build your brand
and business on Facebook and we will get you in
front of a huge audience. And for years that worked pretty well and you could reach regularly
10, 20, 30% of your audience and then they were like
okay, now we are dominant, now you get no reach at all, right? That’s a smart growth
tactic that serves them, and they knew exactly what
game they were playing. And you know, we sort of had the wool pulled over our eyes as a
result, and so that, yeah– – Any other unconventional
wisdom you can share? – Oh yeah, I mean– – Just some one offs,
we’re throwing darts here. – Sure, sure. So one of the other ones, one of the other ones that
I think I made a mistake on and a lot of people do
when they build a team is that we end up hiring, trying to hire people who are extremely good at their particular sort of job role or function and not necessarily
that they’re phenomenal sort of cultural and social
fits for the organization, you know, things like
do you share the same core values as our team? Do you believe the same
things about work like I think, I personally have
the belief that great work can be done from anywhere at any time and that requiring you know, oh, you should be in the
office eight hours a day at your desk because that’s the place where you’ll get the most work done, I don’t think that’s particularly true. Beliefs about who should we, who should we promote,
who should we fire, why? Those kinds of shared beliefs. That’s not something people
optimize for when they hire. I didn’t. I mean, obviously I don’t
know what I was doing, I was a kid when it started this thing. And then frustratingly we
also make the same mistake once someone gets on to our team. So it’s like okay, you’re on
a performance improvement plan and we might have to let you go because you didn’t get as much work or as high quality work
done as we need you to, as we expect you to. You, person, who did get that stuff done but is sort of causing
lots of strife and chaos and is generally perceived as
a butt hole by team members, we’re working with you
on your social skills and your cohesion skills, and we’ll invest a lot of energy into that so long as you perform. And what we should do is reverse those because it turns out it is vastly easier, what is Creative Live all about? Improving and upgrading the skills, the actual skills that
everyone has, right, around their particular
area of making and creating. That is the thing that
is totally possible. That is the thing that is pretty easy. Social cohesion and cultural fit and getting people to share
your values and ethics, you can work for a long time with people you will not get those results. And so unfortunately, what
teams do is they don’t hire and they don’t keep and train people who lack the sort of
fundamental core skills around their job and they keep and retain and try and work on the people who don’t have core value
things and are toxic. And if you could reverse those, you can get extraordinary results. And I’ve actually seen a
bunch of organizations, especially, I know a number
of like consulting shops and creative shops that
basically take people who have very few skills, they train them up because
they’re a great culture fit and as a result, they
get them for you know, a lower cost than a lot
of their competitors and they have more cohesion
and more psychological safety and you know, and a
team that’s more aligned and they get more done and
their margins are better. – Culture eats strategy
for breakfast, right? – It definitely eats tactical
execution for breakfast. – Yeah.
– Yeah. – So what about in your personal life? What’s the thing that you do that you find most other people don’t do or that people would be surprised to know? – Oh yeah. Gosh, I mean I am… Like, we talked a little bit about, I’m someone who… I think many people who observe me and sort of you know, feel like oh, Rand has achieved a lot of success and a lot of notoriety, whatever, with the companies he’s built
and all this other stuff, I think people would be surprised to learn how relatively indulgent I am with sort of personal me time on all sorts of fronts, right? So I regularly get eight
hours or more of sleep. I spend a good amount of time on just you know, my wife and I having folks, friends over
and doing social stuff and traveling and having fun and probably more than a
lot of people who, you know, work 40, 45 hours a week, right? We watch TV, I play some video games. I am not overly obsessive like, but I will say what I found
that’s odd for me, not odd, I think it’s actually true
for a lot of people but I had a hard time recognizing it so my least productive years were when I was working the most. Like the most numbers of hours, right? And I had plenty of those 60, 70-hour. I don’t think I ever had an 80-hour week but 60, 70-hour weeks. And I could get very little accomplished. And now, with sort of
a, I think like a lower amount of stress lifestyle when I have something I need to get done, I need to you know, create a great talk for Moz com this week and you know, about marketing launches, put together you know,
this hour-long PowerPoint, oh and we’re gonna launch
this piece of software, this free tool added and
all these kinds of things, I can crank those out (snaps) like that. Things that would take
me during my you know, 60-hour weeks, I’d be like oh man, I need like three, four
weeks to develop this thing; I can get them done in three or four days. I can just crank through it in you know, four or five hours a day and
get all of that work done. I am shockingly productive
when I have more personal time. – Do you meditate or do you
have any mindfulness practices? – Not formally, but I do have– – A lot of alone time–
– Yeah, the alone time thing and I worked with my therapist on sort of identifying just a
personal practice for myself that I do regularly, which is to– – Like a talk track or
something and you’re… – Yeah, like an internal monologue thing where I just go through the, what are the things that
I did today and this week? What are the things I’m sort
of excited about for tomorrow and the next week? What are things that I
was frustrated about, and can I let those frustrations go? Can I understand why I’m
frustrated about them? And then the next one, and this is like the help me fall asleep thing, is the what’s something
that has nothing to do with my professional life
that I’m sort of like interested in or thinking about? So I’ll think about a TV show
or a game or I don’t know, some friends I’m gonna see or
a trip we’re planning or D&D, whatever it is, right? And I’ll put that in my head, and that helps get me into
kind of a peaceful place. So that practice was really healthy. Has been healthy for me. – A, thank you; B, what’s the best way for people to pay attention
to you in your new work? – Oh, sure, sure. Yes, so you should follow me on Instagram. No.
(laughs) – No, no, you’re basically
you’re @randfishkin on most things, right? – @randfish on, yeah, on
Twitter on most things. Yeah certainly if folks,
if creators out there have questions about, you know, SEO stuff or web marketing stuff
and I can be helpful, I’m [email protected],
it’s my email address. – Spark with an S-P-A-R-K-T-O-R-O. – SparkToro, exactly, yup.
– Got it. – And yeah, our website you
can find that on there as well. And yeah, I’m most active
on Twitter, @randfish. I’m about 70% web marketing stuff and then 30% social issues. So if you’re comfortable
with that balance, great. – Sweet. Thank you so much for sitting
down and talking to us. – Are you kidding me,
Chase, this was awesome! – Long time in the making. And for those folks at home, pay attention to this guy right here. Check out the new book too. Congradulations on that.
– Yeah, thank you. – I’ll see you again
probably, hopefully tomorrow. – Bye.
(uplifting music)

Artist Dale Harding – ‘Environment is Part of Who You Are’ | Tate

Artist Dale Harding – ‘Environment is Part of Who You Are’ | Tate


My name is Dale Harding. I’m an artist
and I’m currently based in Brisbane Queensland in Australia This particular space is for playing
and mucking around I do a lot of play in here at night time.
When the city is doing their kind of social time and play time, often it’s a
really great space to come in and play in here So yeah Friday and Saturday
night in the studio is a delight Particularly if you can hear parties and
other things going on I go it’s a good place to be right here right now yeah Within our family my mum is very
skilled maker in many different media forms, embroidery and quilt making, and
textile work so I was present as a little kid doing embroidery and cross
stitch My father’s a non Aboriginal man and a man of agricultural background and
a real passion for trees as plants and timber as a media and this is of
great importance to who I am these days because the sensitivity and the care and
an awareness of environmental presence comes to me for my father as well as my mum So because of mum and dad, art and media were just around me My mother’s parents: my grandfather was a Bidjara man and my grandmother was a Ghungalu woman. I was witness to the
burden of the silence that was with my my grandmother and our broader community
in being refused recognition and being refused identification for who you are;
and certainly also for what your experience has been under the colonial
dispossession in central Queensland ‘Bright-Eyed Little Dormitory Girl’ is
the work that I made in direct response to or seeking to access the lived
experience that my grandmother had been describing to me of her girlhood being
under the total control of the Queensland Government of the time The work consists of five very small sacs, which were previously used for the
trade of millet seeds and that’s important because the Aboriginal labour
and Aboriginal lives were considered commodity If the work doesn’t relate to
your family and your community then what’s the point Two of my cousins have joined my art practice They’ve met the art practice as their
own cultural selves, as Aboriginal people with also a South Sea Island connection As untrained artists, they’re stepping into a space of contemporary art practice
with their own cultural framework, which enables them to make really
sophisticated and thrilling, and surprising decisions in the in the
processes of making art It excites me greatly for the contemporary art world to be able to have these spaces which is safe for cultural people to be themselves I’m really fortunate as a newer artist in this immediate
community to be able to bounce in and out of and share the space with the
senior artists who were here A number of years ago, I was asked the question:
why has there been so much innovation and movement in the
Brisbane art making particularly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
makers? And we in the conversation arrived that there’s still something to
push back against in the Brisbane psyche>There’s been a lot of inhumane activity
acted on the land and how artists are exploring that in their practices is
looking at the importance of country and what it means to both spiritually belong but also be physically away from country to I came to working on gallery
walls and making studies on the studio wall through an understanding that the
landscape was the gallery that my forebears, my ancestors knew and so
working directly onto the gallery walls was a deliberate acknowledgement and
continuation of making story painting stories onto the sandstone walls of the
space For how I look at my work and who I am, nature and the landscape are there
as kind of work languages and what we understand is that the art practice and
our cultural selves in central Queensland and where we are is
inseparable In my grandfather’s language there’s no word for love so to
access a paradigm around nature and the environment, if there’s no
necessity to describe love you just do it, you just are, you just be it Well then nature and landscape and environment are
just part of who you are and what you do