We had the good fortune of connecting with Casey Garbers and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Casey, what’s your definition for success?
Since I could remember, I’ve had a pretty clear vision of what success means to me. I know people may disagree due to the influence that society holds over us and will most likely think I’m speaking from a young, and quite frankly, “dream state” point of view. But success seems quite simple to achieve in my eyes. Happiness equals success. Plain and simple. Whether you work all day, are a stay at home parent, or are navigating a new life for yourself, if you can sit down at the end of your day and find happiness within your decisions, you have found success. I think it’s very easy to claim that if you are successful, in the sense of money, power, and authority, you will be happy. We are all familiar with the phrase “Money can’t buy happiness”, and yet, we believe (especially as artists and designers) that we will not receive respect (justifying happiness) until we are presented to the rest of the world on a shiny platter, engraved SUCCESSFUL ARTIST. This very thought that if we don’t work for a hip, top-rated company and produce something extraordinary for people to praise us for means that we aren’t successful, is garbage. I promised myself at a young age that I would never work in an environment that I wasn’t enthusiastic about. I’ve had friends who worked under companies providing them with a title that sounded especially good at family gatherings, but when they would call me to vent, it was always about how miserable they felt at the end of each day. “But it looks really good on your resume” and “The money is just so good”, has never convinced me. If I’m not being fulfilled, I simply cannot bring myself to sign the dotted line. I once worked at a carwash and still to this day, many people’s first response is to let out a little giggle. I don’t blame them, but I know that there is a tie to that. They associate that work with being low. And if I took this low position, I must be struggling. And if I’m struggling and had to resort to taking the job, I must be unhappy. The truth is that I was strapped for cash and was going through college at the time. It was the first job I saw and they hired me on the spot. Hot dog! My manager also loaned me one month’s paycheck so that I wasn’t behind on rent. I had a flexible schedule, I could afford my bills and had plenty of time to focus on my craft. I was happy! I suppose being brought up in a creative household moulded my definition of success, but I hope the rest of the world can step away from the expectations of others and find it within themselves. After all, our lives are our own. Just because you checked off the box for someone else, doesn’t mean you’re doing the same for yourself.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have this very clear memory of when I was “graduating” from kindergarten to 1st grade. We all had to go on stage and declare what we wanted to be when we grew up. I shyly went up to the microphone and said, ‘ARTIST’. When I graduated from Otis College, this memory followed me up on stage and helped me accept that diploma. I’ve always been drawn to the idea of being a creative professionally and honestly, I’m still figuring it out. I began branding my work with the title ‘SomethingCuteForYou’ during college with the intention of providing something as simple as a smile. I identify most of my work with Illustration, Hand-lettering, and Embroidery, but I do like to dip my toes in just about everything. I think it’s important to keep myself stimulated with new tools in order to keep myself in motion as well as engaged. A year after college, I was given the opportunity to dive into a pool I knew nothing about; I began the creation and curation of a marketplace called MartBarLA. This was the largest learning experience/experiment I had ever put myself through and turned out to be completely worth it. I was so excited to create such a welcoming platform for local artists and small businesses to come together, collaborate, connect and share their craft with the community. As sweet as the situation was, the territory still came with a fair amount of trial and error. As a creator, as an artist, as a person, you have to be willing to fall flat on your face when entering a new arena; willing to work with no budget, understanding rejection, and working through vulnerability. It’s a tough game, but It’s achievable. Most things are. Most things, though, take a tremendous amount of time and effort and those looking to achieve, have to be aware of that. So I suppose, I’m still figuring out how to live off of my craft, but I’m having a hell of a time doing just that.
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?
Living in Inglewood, I feel pretty centralized, so we’re going to go a lot of different directions! 1. Head down to this burger joint in Venice called “The Window”. Hands DOWN the best burger & fries you’re gonna get. 2. Take a walk west to the Venice boardwalk and keep going until you hit the Santa Monica Pier. We will grab a little ice cream from the shop by the carousel and sit at the end of the pier watching fishermen, the occasional seal, and of course, the passers-by. 3. Museums are a must, The Hammer & The Broad 4. Jump on the Angel’s Landing trolly down to Grand Central Market for literally any food you can think of 5. Study and ride the historic carousel in Griffith Park As for nightlife… 1. My favorite spot is Clifton’s Republic. Multiple themed rooms, giant tree, 4 stories, absolutely gorgeous. 2. The Little Easy. Very French & fancy in the front, very New Orleans in the back. 3. Quick drink at Good Times at Davey Waynes where you literally walk through an old fridge to get in 4. Dinner at Hatchet Hall. Jalapeño cornbread that’s too good to be fair. 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?
My mother, for never telling me I couldn’t wear that. For encouraging abstract thought and emotion. For always seeing my interests as passions. My partner, Brian, for being my “yes” always and for pushing me to try everything. My marketplace, MartBarLA, and every single artist and business that participated and encouraged me to keep going. Their enthusiasm is always with me. My friends from grade school, high school, and college. They always backed my choices and made being weird really fun.
Other: Market Instagram: @martbar_la
Casey Garbers owns all the rights to the images