We had the good fortune of connecting with Clayton Gutmann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Clayton, how do you think about risk?
To me, taking a risk is putting something on the line for a greater outcome to occur. It could be time, money, relationships, etc., but regardless of what’s being risked, achieving that greater outcome is on your shoulders. Risk taking is different that putting all your money on black – it’s dependent on how hard you’re willing to work to turn that leap of faith into a success. The bigger risks often bring the bigger wins, but even if that risk doesn’t pay off, you’ve learned something to make that next win even greater. As long as you have control over the leap of faith in front of you, count on yourself, and jump.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve taught myself a lot over the past few years. When I was in high school, I remember getting my first laptop, and I really wanted to get into graphic design, but had no idea where to start. There was this illustrator I followed on Instagram (@jordandebney), and I would watch these Photoshop time lapses he would post of his work. I was super envious of his style. So I just emailed him. He was really cool, and would reply to all these questions I had, telling me what tools to get, what videos to watch, everything. Eventually I left him alone, went to college, and got better at the graphic design. That lead to making myself posters for my dorm room, to making designs for others, to translating that to paint. I was literally painting flat on a table in my friends backyard for almost a year, just learning what worked what didn’t. It was definitely not easy, but even when it was hard, it’s what I loved doing, so I had no problem putting in that work. If I’m excited enough to turn an idea in my head into something tangible, as long I’ve got a playlist running, I could focus on that project for 10+ hours. I’ve seen some really exciting success over the past few years, and some really frustrating failure as well. I think that success all comes from staying curious, passionate, and constantly working. Look up to your role models, and do what they did. Figure out who you are, and add individuality into how you tell that story. Ask people questions, it can only help. I’ve gotten a lot better at what I do primarily from just being consistent. Painting things I’m into allows me to sit at a canvas for hours on end, because I can’t wait to see that final product. I make sure I’m always working on something, that can get me to that next step, and with that, I know it’s only up from here.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of all the very different parts of the city, there’s something about Venice I’ve always loved. There’s so many different types of people, something interesting to look at wherever you turn your head, I’ve never had a bad day on Venice Beach. It’s very easy going, and very unique. I love to get in the water and surf with friends whenever I can, whether it be in Manhattan Beach, Venice, or Malibu. On the weekend I might take them on a hike up near Malibu or or around Runyon, and even drive out to Pasadena for the Rose Bowl Flea Market if the timings right – I try to get out there early every month. As far as food goes, my friends and I are always on the hunt for a great sandwich. Uncle Paulie’s on Beverly is definitely a favorite, and Del Rey Deli in PDR never disappoints either.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My grandpa lived off the right side of the brain, and was a creative in every sense of the word. I watched the man build a sailboat in his garage from nothing. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when I was young, and when it became difficult for him to use a pencil or get detail with a paint brush, he learned to paint like Bob Ross, using big gestures instead of smaller strokes. He adapted the way he painted so that he could continue to be creative. Because of my grandpa’s attitude towards creativity, I’ve been encouraged from an early age to view everything as an opportunity to be creative. Nowadays when I’m working on a project I try to add as much individuality and perspective as I can, but if he’s taught me anything it’s that the only thing that really matters is that you’re making cool shit.
Other: TikTok: @claytongutmann