How much of a role does collaboration play in your process, not just in making the work but now in evolving the work to the next stage?
I’m a horrible collaborator. It’s something I’m trying to work on. I’ve always wanted to keep everything in and if I’m going to show anybody it’s going to be the packaged product, but this is such a big endeavor that I do have to share it in bits and pieces and get feedback. Being in a household with another creative is helpful because I can show what I shot that day, what I’m doing to the photos, and see if they feel it, if they don’t. Outside of that I kind of want the public at large to just consume what I’ve done. I don’t know if that’s because in my past life in design I thrived as a person of one—in product management and product marketing you have to be alone on an island, you have to make a lot of decisions, and that’s what I’ve known. It’s very weird to be moving into an artist space and trying to be more of a collaborator, but this is never going to be a bigger book, it’s never going to be a series, it’s never going to be a documentary if I don’t learn to collaborate with other people.
Do you make work for yourself or for other people?
I’ve always made work for other people and now I’m making work for myself. That’s a fundamental shift in the way your brain works. I feel so accountable to my consulting job, I treat that like it’s forty hours a week and paying me my full living wage when in reality they’re paying not a whole lot of my living wage and in all honesty don’t need the attention that I give them. And I give them that attention because it’s Somebody that I Work For, and it puts me back into that mindset that I had before I quit my day job. I think that’s my biggest hindrance to getting my work out and doing things for myself and having my own business. When you have the confidence to call yourself a professional artist, you have the confidence to say no to things that aren’t right for you. That’s what I’m learning, how to say no to things that aren’t right for me.
What did you learn about yourself in the process of doing Art of Freelance—good, bad, ugly?
That I’m a little bit more lazy than I would like to admit. That collaboration is necessary when you’re trying to be an artist or creative. And that I didn’t make a bad decision. I think that’s what I was looking for the most out of Art of Freelance. I kind of jumped out a window and while I’m still waiting for the parachute to open, I’m not at the ground yet. The day I got out of my job I thought that would be a faster descent. I think it’s given me a little confidence in myself, a little believing in myself, a little pride. If I can have something at the end of ten weeks, maybe ten weeks from now I can have a publisher, and maybe ten weeks from that I can have a deal and maybe ten weeks from that I can have… I’m very positive that something will come out of me going with the flow.
How did finishing this project change your career path or your view of it?
It definitely gave me more confidence that it could be a career path. It was as simple as going to a website and uploading photos and having the book arrive in the mail. It’s not like they’re printing thousands of these; I have two copies. But it made me believe there will be a full version of this, there will be a large book sitting at Urban Outfitters and Barnes and Noble and every indie shop and every dispensary in the world. There will be this book that is telling people’s stories and is trying to change an opinion about somebody, and that’s going to be my congratulations to myself. In the end if this can change one person’s opinion about the community of cannabis consumers, then I’ll feel accomplished.
What advice would your 80 year-old self give you now?
Give a fuck about less things. A lot less things. Do the things that scare you. From this point forward I have to live the life I want to live, not for somebody else. My eighty year-old self would say, ‘Why didn’t you do it ten years ago?’