We had the good fortune of connecting with Bootsy Holler and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bootsy, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve been running my own business or freelancing since I was in college. I just couldn’t imagine trying to climb the corporate ladder. I knew I was an artist at heart, and working in an office would killed my spirit. I was always thinking about how I could be an entrepreneur, make my own hours, and do what I loved. I really never took any other route. My thought process was hustle and make it happen. I was young, had energy, and worked all the time freelancing to build my name, while running another small business that paid the bills.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
When I first started freelancing as a photographer I was able to set myself apart from others because I could produce, style and shoot. I soon realized that what really made people want to work with me again was my personality and energy. I was often asked to do sensitive jobs for magazines and papers. My goal has always been to empower my client so they can feel safe as I direct them for a portrait. Creating jobs for myself as a working freelance artist took about 5 years. I was creating and running my business before all the social media platforms took over, so being able to change with the times has kept me in the game. Nothing has come easily for me, I worked hard to build myself up from nothing. The biggest lesson I have learned over the years is understanding that I’m selling myself as a person and there is only one me. I’m about to have a show in March at The Lodge with a series called Without Words: grounded in nature. This body of work is about the relationship between nature and human. It’s a reminder that we are a piece of the whole earth. We are an animal, we are all of the same species, and we are small. These are complex times we are living in and by embracing the trees, water, animals, sky and earth we can find a way to make the world whole again. Without empathy for the living planet and it’s creatures we will slowly keep destroying our existence. During a time of disconnect when I was unable to speak about my feelings I found the truth becoming visible while I created my emotions through subconscious visions. These visions came during a time when I was outside myself feeling sad, isolated and disconnected but through nature I found my way back to my whole self again.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Los Angeles is a great place to shop and has so many hidden little gems. I would start out by walking West 3rd Street between La Cienega Blvd and Crescent Heights Blvd and stop for lunch at Son of a Gun. I would move towards Vermont and Hillhurst in Los Feliz to walk the shops. Have a facial at Being In LA, shop at Spitfire and have breakfast and espresso at All Time. Then go around the corner on Sunset blvd to do lunch at Kismet after checking out Wacko. If you don’t want to shop you could do a hike straight up Fern Dell or Vermont, and check out the Observatory. Moving a bit more east you can run around Sunset junction walk the shops and have an early dinner at Pine & Crane before the lines. Other interesting attractions to check out are Barnsdall Art Park and tour the Hollyhock house plus 360 views. I love to look at art at the Marciano Art Foundation on Wilshire will have amazing shows, and the Jeffrey Deitch gallery on N. Orange and The Lodge on N. Western Ave. 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?
I have to give credit to my sister who has always supported me. She has giving me money when I was broke, and never told me to go get a normal job. Along with my sister is my friend and business mentor Gwen Weinberg, he owns Three by Three, Seattle. I worked for Gwen as a production manager and lead book binder when she owned Page 29 books her first company. She showed me that a young woman could own and run a small design business. I traded work for space in her studio when I started my first real company Tryke Works. When I moved to Los Angeles I was told I had to meet Aline Smithson. I did meet her, and have been working and taking classes with her ever since. She became my first mentor in photography and helped me to step up my artistic game.
all photos Bootsy Holler