We had the good fortune of connecting with Dillon Artzer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dillon, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Retail destroyed me. It was sheer madness dedicating any of my time to furthering someone else’s business plans, especially when I didn’t agree with their “philosophy”. Ipso facto, I knew early on that I needed to spend my life doing what I loved, how I loved doing it. But that too was scary as hell. Where to even start? My education prepared me for my craft, but nothing in the curriculum of my alma mater prepared me for the “business” part of owning a business. For that, I had to turn to books, websites, tax professionals, and bothering other small business owners. Finally after far too many years STILL working for someone else, I jumped. Still disgustingly unprepared for the world of entrepreneurship, but I couldn’t wait any longer. I took a risk. And i’ve never been happier about that leap.
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.
Put Simply, when people ask, “I’m a Photographer”. But is it ever truly that simple? I’ve done so many things, been so many places, and had so many experiences. And THAT is my art. All those things I’ve seen have influenced the way I see the world, and thusly the way I choose to capture it. That’s the beauty of photography, it’s a majestically individual practice. Every photographer sees the world differently, through the kaleidoscope lense of their experiences. My time spent working in Alaska taught me to minimize. My time as a carpenter taught me tangible skills to build out my own studio. All of these moments create an individualized experience I can deliver to my clients.
The easy way is the wrong way. Sure it’s nice to have things fall into place neatly, but “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” The struggle is the worthier part. Finding ways to succeed in spite of the universe throwing obstacles in your way is part of the fun.
My brand is focused on customer experiences. I strive to not only deliver the highest quality work possible, but an interaction that can’t be replicated. I invest personally into my clients lives, and stories, and wants, and dreams. Driving our work to a personal place that can’t be replicated.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Day 1 – Travel Day, decompress and catch up with a BBQ at the house. beers and tequila cocktails.
Day 2 – Breakfast at Aroma Cafe in Studio City,
Day 3, 4 & 5 – Roadtrip out to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks to hang with the big trees, and chipmunks, and hiking. A beautiful backdrop for photoshoots.
Day 6 – Back to LA for dinner at El Compadre and catch a late drive in movie. Hopefully something like the Goonies, or Princess Bride is playing so we can enjoy the environment as much as the classic movie we’ve seen a hundred times.
Day 7 – Breakfast and Coffee at Coffee Commissary or Alfred, and a drive down the PCH before a drop off at the Airport.
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?
Two things really gave/showed me the confidence to do this. The Creative/Photographer/Podcaster Chase Jarvis, and a book called “Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative”” by Austin Kleon
Chase Jarvis is a photographer, yes, but I genuinely don’t believe he calls himself one. He’s the champion of Creativity. Launching CreativeLive, a community I frequent still, in the vein of Masterclass. His podcast “Chase Jarvis Live” put me front and center with some of the world’s most interesting people. And through his indirect tutelage I learned a great many things about creativity, photography, and more importantly: Loving what you do.
“Steal Like an Artist” imparts such knowledge as “Thing 5: Side Projects and Hobbies are Important”, “Thing 7: Geography is no longer your master”, and most importantly for my personal beginning “Thing 2: Dont wait to know who you are to get started” — Austin Kleon is an incredibly succinct author, using illustrations and brevity to leave space to let his readers dream a little while injesting his work. Both Austin, and this book remain frequent reminders of how to do this thing called life.