We had the good fortune of connecting with Jesse Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jesse, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
Passion, Organization, and Balance.
These are 3 of the key elements that have lead me to maintain a consistent level of growth of my brand and just life in general.
Passion: This is the most important element. It’s the glue that holds everything else together, especially during the lows. Without a strong passion for what I do, it would have been really hard to get through the first several months of no sales and lots invested, but I believed in myself and my vision, and thus far it has paid off!
Organization: You will go nuts if you’re not organized! My personal recommendation would be to download Microsoft’s “One Note” – a free software that works like a spiral notebook. It’s helped me to easily organize my ideas, tasks, and anything else business-related.
Balance: Key to any success is giving yourself some time to relax and enjoy non work-related activities and hobbies that allow for a refresh of your brain. This is something I’m still working at myself, as I do get sucked into my work very easily and forget to do even the most basic things, like eat far too often.
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’ve been creating artwork for about 3.5 years now, with the first 2 being mostly just a hobby. However, over the last year and a half I’ve been able to evolve tremendously with everything closing down, and my other jobs being non existent. With no work, no activities, and being in Portland Oregon where it was probably raining, there was zero FOMO about being anywhere else but home. This ability to have undivided attention and laser focus on finding a way to turn an idea into a career.
An opportunity like this was something I knew would likely never happen again, so I gave it my absolute everything, working 60+ hour weeks, ever week. I split that time up between learning and improving the way I make my artwork in photoshop and other creative tools, and building a website and social media presence. I found a style of artwork that I love, and that others were interested in enough to want to put it on their walls. I found that my style is especially appealing to entrepreneurial types, looking for something to inspire them, and this has mostly been the path that I’ve been going down as I start to develop some themes/stories/and collections within my artwork.
Most proud of/excited about: NFT/Makers
A recent venture the last few months has ben diving into the NFT crypto art world – doing my best to understand it, and then also bring my artwork in the form of NFT’s to the table in a way that’s exciting for collectors. I have mostly been holding out on creating them as I waited /worked towards being invited to a more exclusive platform that fit my artwork best. Just yesterday that invite finally came, and I’ll soon be launching my collection on Makers Place!
The NFT world has also inspired me to get into animation and 3D designing! I’ve managed to take some of the pieces I created and bring them to life, telling a story a little more clear than just an image could tell. Example: https://www.instagram.com/p/CON7eOXBHRG/
How did I get to where I am/was it easy?:
I’ve always been an entrepreneur, hoping to be able to own and run my own business that earned enough to do all the fun things in life I’ve dream of doing and seeing, as well as just being able to be my own boss/set my own hours. I’ve had a lot of ideas before The Dope Art was ever created, and even though some of them were decent, they just didn’t stand out and eventually failed before debut most of the time.
I’ve found that starting your own business is incredibly exciting, but there’s a good chance you won’t sleep much, your friends might forget you exist because you’re so busy, and there’s a real chance you may work a full 60 hour week and lose money.
Those things have become the norm, and while I will admit they’ve been a real challenge (one that most artists are probably familiar with) they’ve been the biggest motivation to do and be the best I can to just move the needle a little further each day. It’s a lot to juggle, handling all social medias, constant website updates, customer orders, and all the while still be trying to add as much new artwork as I can. I’ve managed to be successful by breaking up my day/week so that I’m not spending all of my time/energy focused on any one task for too long, I’m able to keep myself from burning out.
What lessons have I learned:
Never back down from a challenge! The most difficult and time consuming artworks I’ve created have been for clients customs. I generally end up spending 5x more time on them than I would my own because I don’t have as much freedom, and often I’m faced with doing things I don’t know how to do. It’s those challenges that force me to learn, and get better, and hey getting paid to learn is pretty cool! Whatever level you’re at with art, this is something you should be doing as soon as you’re able to – it really has no downsides and you’ll grow much more quickly!
What do I want the world to know about me or my brand story:
The Dope Art’s main goal is to challenge people to think outside of the box by offering inspiring surrealism wall art that will serve as the perfect conversation piece for guests, while setting the tone for any room, particularly work spaces.
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?
While I complain about the rain in Oregon a lot, the summer is incredible here. You’ve got the ocean, the mountain, and tons of lakes, river, and hikes to explore. I’ve lived here my whole life, and barely scratched the surface of what there is to do around here, but I have certainly found some amazing places that I would immediately want to take a friend who hadn’t experienced them before.
The gorge is filled with some of the most beautiful hikes you could imagine, and among those is my personal favorite – “Angel’s Rest” – The peak of the hike is a wide-open area that overlooks the entire gorge. It’s the closest thing to feeling like you’re on top of the world around here, and it’s also one hell of a good workout to get up to! 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?
There is one creator/instructor that comes to mind who has really made a difference in my career as a digital artist.
Even though I’ve never personally talked to them, I’ve watched countless hours of their tutorials.
Daniel Scott’s (of skillshare.com) instructional videos for digital creation applications are second to none. He makes everything easy to understand and provides all of the tools necessary to go from an absolute newbie to a professional with several of Adobe’s most popular apps.
His shiny bald head, cheery attitude, and quirky New Zealander accent also compliment his courses quite well! Ha
All taken by me