Wet Stuff : The Art of Painting a Business

Guest Starring Joe Cardillo of ABQ Creates (2)

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Wet Stuff: The Art of Painting a Business
Episode 7
Guest-Starring Joe Cardillo of ABQ Creates, the Downtown Arts and Cultural District

visit ABQcreates.org 


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KD, “What are the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur in creative industries like film, music, and art?”

KD, “What are the biggest challenges to being an entrepreneur in creative industries like film, music, and art?”

Joe Cardillo, “Great question. The reality is there are two things that are happening simultaneously right now for a lot of creative industries one is there’s this global market, and now your film or your video creative work writing can now be viewed by almost anyone in the world and when we get to Mars they’ll be able to transport it there too, so that’s an opportunity course but it’s also a challenge because it’s become a very crowded marketplace it’s a lot noisier so i think that the reality is that people that weren’t in competition are now in competition and the second part that is really i think the biggest challenge is to work around that obviously but to recognize that the people who run those platforms that distribute all of that creative work they don’t get to operate by themselves over there in some glass prison they’re affecting our creative work because that’s how we’re distributing it and that’s not a small thing so if you’re a filmmaker or an artist or a musician or you make food or beer or indie games whatever it might be just having a really clear sense of who you want to reach and what kind of market you want to reach and then knowing like okay I’m testing this I have no idea if that works here’s what I know works already like having a nice sense of balance and that goes back to that experimentation piece having that mindset if you can do that then you can navigate those bigger picture challenges, but the truth is that that globalization and that connectivity also has created lots of devaluation of creative work and that’s tough, and people expect things for free that shouldn’t be for free.”

KD, “What can degree programs in the arts do to better equip graduates for the challenges in the real world to make end’s meet pursuing a creative endeavor?”

Joe Cardillo, “I think it there’s a larger question about what academics in education should really be doing, and I am obviously not qualified to answer that question but I’ll point at that and say that it certainly affects creative industries the real question is how does someone take a bunch of knowledge and apply it I think there are some isolated cases where theoretical research is important, and it doesn’t really need to be connected to applied research it doesn’t need to be connected to some specific real-world task and particularly in science for example we want that type of baseline research for people to explore things just because they’re fascinating and we don’t quite know what will happen next and that type of thing physics is a great example chemistry is another great example but we also need to make sure that people are prepared to work on something when they get out of a degree program and if they don’t have some experience you know if they’re an illustrator working on comics or web design or whatever their thing is we’re doing them a great disservice, and really a lot of times when you go into a degree program you have an idea what you want, and you find out you love some part of that and that’s what you should work on you should work on the thing you love as much as possible knowing that realistically it doesn’t always turn out the way you want, but you know most people that do great creative work tried a bunch of things and then found that thing that they were just really psyched on so helping people experiment and practice I mean I think higher education could do a better job of that.”

KD, “Okay are there any common trends that you’ve seen in creative groups that you work with as far as common questions that people often come with challenges that are common.”

Joe Cardillo, “Yeah one of the biggest ones is access to capital. You know you have this and creative industries in particular globally and also in Albuquerque certainly this is something that we’re thinking through and trying to figure out and you have certain people that are already working on it like creative startups is doing a really great job of this the University of New Mexico’s college of fine arts is very deliberately approaching this question of how to do we help people practice and get out there and get money to do experiments to see what works for them and those kinds of things but you know it’s i can’t tell you how strange it is to hear over and over from creative people of all kinds I can’t even get 5k or 10k to get something off the ground because I'm an artist or I'm a musician, and there’s not this collateral I can use to go through a traditional bank loan there’s a jump I need to make and the gap is too big for me so I think that particular problem more early stage support look if somebody isn’t ready for a 25k loan why isn’t there a lot of opportunity and availability for a 1k loan so they can practice pay that back in six months next six months 5k more. I’ve seen people do amazing things with creative work and that is just across the stack and just having more early stage capital available to them and appropriately sized I mean if you’re giving someone 5k dollars to experiment on something that’s a risk that’s a very low-risk and you shouldn’t make it overly burdensome for them to put it on an installment plan if they don’t pay it back after a year that’s a credit hit but doesn't make it insanely hard just to get a little bit of money to start a creative business I think that’s that’s a really big problem I hear that all the time that’s not my conjecture that’s something that comes up and that’s a solvable problem I think.”

KD, “Okay Do you think that’s a unique problem in Abq?”

Joe Cardillo, “I think it’s more difficult here but I think it exists everywhere, but I do think that the sources of capital that are available here they’re more restrictive right now at least and certain things are being opened up i mentioned creative start-ups and West does a pretty good job of getting people to funds and the loan fund which are a local downtown area organization they’ve started to dabble in that a little bit but I think they’re all still kind of starting to approach that it’s not a mature market to understand how to get that seed and they all know that’s a problem but how do we get that seed money in to get creatives this is a crazy idea that I would love to see happen I'm willing to be that if someone gave 50 local creative companies firms projects people in that early stage if you gave fifty of them 10k bucks I bet you ten of them would turn out to be really really good and they would triple that money in one year maybe two years or three years I would just be shocked if that didn’t happen I know the market pretty well so I have that advantage that would be an amazing experiment for someone to run I have some people in mind I”m not gonna say who but I would love to see that happen.”

KD, “How can artists reach an audience outside the art community?”

Joe Cardillo, “Yeah. Man, that’s a great question. I think that you know so other people have written about this and talked about this in much more depth than I’m going to or am qualified too, but a lot of it’s just about finding your tribe. Finding people that dig the stuff that you’re into and often times that’s way outside of what you think it is people are inspired by the craziest weirdest most arcane things so if you can find your tribe of people and you know social media obviously is a very easy way to do that these days it didn’t exist before but now you can find your tribe of people via a hashtag really quickly you can’t like follow a hashtag get 150 new followers and then be like buy my new thing but you can develop your style and your brand and your story, and you can invite people to experience your work or your space or whatever it is and you know of that 150 maybe 4 turn out to be your people who are like yeah man I’m gonna come in there and buy something that’s cool I love your space I’ll be back or I love your music or whatever it is, and some people don’t buy but they’re excited and they evangelize it a little bit but you develop your tribe by having a point of view and doing the work that you do and finding ways to share it that don’t feel weird, and that’s how you grow an audience these days it’s easier and harder than it used to be in some ways.”

KD, “For a lot of us creatives you mentioned the lone genius you know working coding in the basement or whatever.”

Joe Cardillo, “Yeah I love that example I laugh every time I think about that.”

KD, “Yeah but it is common for creatives to spend massive amounts of time working alone on whatever our creative endeavor is and because of that a lot of us have trouble conceptualizing what it means to network so How do you network and how does networking work?”

Joe Cardillo, “I also struggle with this problem as a creative person because I’ve been a musician and a writer for I guess it’s almost 15 years now in addition to having a day job that was always like some type of marketing brand code product management development type thing so I’ve always sort of struggled with that myself because I think you want to be authentic you want to be a real person and you want to relate to people and networking sometimes is intimidating and I’m gonna be really blunt I hate going into a room where people just want to know what value they can get out of me I hate that and I don’t ever want to walk in a room with an attitude like okay I’m here to find three people I can sell something to that’s terrible I think that’s a terrible attitude to have.”

KD, “Maybe a better way to think about it would be to assess a crowd of people and think is there anybody here I can do something for is there anybody here I can help is there anybody here who needs me in some way?”

Joe Cardillo, “Yeah oh I mean I love that that’s totally the right way to think about it and what you’re talking about and this goes back to what we were touching on is like what’s an opportunity right well how does a creative person look at opportunity is it’s value what is the valuation, so I value my time really carefully and I value other creatives’ time really carefully one of my mantras is no free work I don’t ask people to do work for free I won’t do it, and sometimes people offer and I’m like okay what’s the trade can we find some way to exchange some value, and even then I’m still a little hesitant because I like to have a clear value so as long as there’s some clear exchange of value that’s important. In a networking context for creative people I think it’s okay to walk out of a room and go you know there’s no value in this room for me most of the people here are not I’m not feeling it I’m not feeling this exchange of ideas and value I don’t feel like I can be of help to anyone and I don’t feel like I’m receiving any help in return but often you go in that room and you know there are 30 people in it and 28 of them don’t really do it for you creatively but the other two are like oh this person’s pretty interesting I want to know more about what they do and it’s really just like an introduction process to another human being or another business and what they’re up to I think just being open and flexible but also being honest and willing to just say you know this is not my room and I had a good time, and I hung out with the one person that I was like omg I feel a little awkward in this space it’s okay to do that.”

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