We had the good fortune of connecting with Alex Palting and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Alex, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
I disagree with the saying, “Knowledge is Power.” I think that the currency of power is instead having lived experiences where you have applied that knowledge. I would suggest that Wisdom, not Knowledge, is Power.
I think one of the conventional beliefs that keeps artists from living those experiences of creating and sharing their work is thinking that they don’t yet “know” enough. Who am I to take a stand and make my mark? But I think today’s audiences are seeking connection with the art that they consume. And connection requires authenticity and vulnerability. At least in my experience, it’s only been possible to create vulnerably and authentically by showing up before you’re ready, without posturing like you have all the answers… like you have all the “knowledge.”
Finally, I think that reorienting the focus away from knowledge and towards the wisdom of experience is how we can democratize art, decolonize it, and see gatekeepers for what they are.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started my company, The Hustling Creative, when I was twenty three, two years after I graduated from the University of Delaware with a voice and music history degree, and a certificate in musical theatre from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. After leaving school, I discovered that the leap from student to professional actor was thrilling and rewarding, but also heartbreaking and confusing. Worst of all, much of that heartbreak and confusion is shared by most artists. Why are we taught the difference between major and minor scales, but not the emotional elasticity necessary to getting rejected for a living while also being vulnerable in auditions? Why are performers taught to project their voices, but not how to project confidence when you propose a new idea in the rehearsal room?
Uncovering question after question, both in community with my peers and by using my own career as a case study, finally pointed towards the one question that really mattered in starting a company— what would the world look like if artists were given the tools they need to make a meaningful life they love by and with other artists with the empathy of lived experience?
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My perfect day in Orange County would start with brunch at the Beachcomber at Crystal Cove, spending the day exploring caves at Thousand Steps Beach, and finish off at Gelato Paradiso in Laguna or margaritas and guac at Downtown Disney! In LA, we’d spend another day rockclimbing at Sender One LAX and then stuff our faces with Silverlake Ramen. We would also need to take another day to visit Bart’s Books in Ojai.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Hustling Creative’s sister organization, Arte Violenta, deserves so much recognition. Its founder, Jacqueline Holloway, uses stage combat, consent and intimacy choreography not only to create amazing art but to nurture amazing humans. I’m really proud of the consent-based artistic work we’ve been collaborating on with licensed therapist, social worker and fellow artist Gabrielle DiBenedetto.
I also have the most amazing clients! I’m so thankful to each of them for not only allowing me to accompany them on their journey but also to have received mentorship from them in return. Cori Dioquino and Catrece Tipton of Asian Pacifika Arts Collective, Darren Rogers of I Am Mentality, Tonee Lawson of The Be. Org, and the artists of Kulintronica are the creative leaders The Hustling Creative has partnered with this month alone. I’m so proud to be supporting each of their work.