We had the good fortune of connecting with Jimmy Horn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jimmy, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
In the shortest sentence possible, I was tired of being exploited. Ready for the more long winded answer? I worked in the Ad world in NYC for some time, and it destroyed any and all creativity I had outside of the work place. not that the creativity the agencies allowed was all that creative. I was lucky enough to find a new avenue of creativity through motorcycles, which kept my mind distracted and on a different track when i was out of the office. Eventually though, the office crap caught up. That was after all, the actual problem. The big moment was when an invoicing sheet was, maybe accidentally, left on a printer and found. It made the rounds to the lower and mid-level creatives, basically what it said was the office is making our full day rate for every hour we work for every employee. On top of that our timesheet software would not let us submit a workweek with less than 40 hours billed, often times we blew way over 40hours a week anyway. I guess that salary life, however the company profited greatly off of us working longer hours. looking back all the long nights and weekend work makes sense, we were the product, not the end result – which is why the creative was always crap. But its all good we had plenty of pizza parties and even a beer fridge. **teenage level EYE ROLL**
I said ‘F**** this’, bought an old van packed up everything and we moved out west. I still do design, illustration, logo, and ad work. But now it’s for small and local businesses or initiatives that I agree with as well as DicE Magazine. I believe this capitalist system we have created breeds that kind of exploitive mentality, and I want no part in it. I do understand that we are currently living is a society that exists and is build around this structure, and that its not going to change over night, but what I can do is remove my self from it as much as possible, and still do decent work for people and things that deserve it for a fair price.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Oh man, what sets me apart. Everything, and nothing at all. I feel like a creative free spirit, if it interests me I will dabble. Sometimes that dabbling leads to getting absolutely lost in the work. Last year I feel down a printmaking rabbit hole and came out the other side being accepted in to the Los Angeles Printmaking Society, and have a few shows and events lined up from that work. The big one being the Santa Fe Indian Art Market in August. I believe we all have a bit of curiosity within us, and as we try new things and grow it fades, but there will always be new things to try and learn. Once we stop exploring, and that curiosity stops we die as a person, if there is nothing new coming in – there is nothing new coming out. Always listening to that curious voice in my head has gotten me here. That curious voice can become expensive and in this world that can be tough or impossible, so some creative problem solving has to comes in to play. For example, my recent printmaking excursion has lead me to lino block carving and then intaglio etching. both expensive hobbies, Intaglio very much so. But I have found a way to use scrap plastics that I get from a local shops scrap bin. I don’t use an expensive press to print I hand print them in my kitchen. So now my expenses for this exercise is just paper and ink.
Was it Easy? No. I am definitely my own worst enemy here. It’s a double sided sword. The same things that leads me to new things also distracts me from others. Im an introvert, so the choice of exploring a new topic or going out to the bar or something is an easy one for me. Im gonna stay here and learn some new shit! I have not yet figured out how to be a more social person which would greatly benefit me if I could. From that I have learned that sometimes the only gift you need, is the gift of gab. I never got that one, but I got a lot of other ones.
Your story only ends when you let it. Don’t stop fighting for what you want, deserve, and whats right. also, fighting is not always fun, a lot of times it requires courage, and strength that you many not know you have or how long it will hold. Its holds as long as you hold.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I ain’t showing anyone the best time ever. (except my wife) But it would be a memorable one for sure.
What we did would depend on who came out. Do they ride motorcycles, do they partake in psychedelics, what sand do they prefer desert or beach, sports fan, foodie? LA is an experience no mater the direction you head in. I’d for sure wig the whole thing, and thats why it wouldn’t be the ‘best time ever’, But we sure would have a good time.
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?
That would have to be my Wife, Marcine Franckowiak. She is one of the few female wall dogs, is the top of her field in the country and works with just about all of the big mural companies. She doesn’t have the strong beliefs I have about the system, she cares about defeating the challenge of the big wall, and it shows in her work. She is an absolute inspiration in the face of all of it she comes out on top. Before her there were no women working for any of the large mural companies, some nonsense to do with women cant do this job. That is not the case, weak willed people cant do her job, which includes A LOT of men. She was one of the painters who painted over Hotel Cecil, HA remember all that uproar when that building got coated out. So funny to think that building now has a giant fried chicken sando on the side of it now. Together we have a small design mural business ( www.magicmedia.la ) we like to keep it local and work with smaller businesses. Most of the exploitation I have seen is when a business or person gets too big, I understand as you grow so does the overhead especially when it involves crossing state lines and extended stays, but watching the owners buy lambos or Venice beach property while some of the staff has to have a second job to make ends meet is just disgusting. This is why we keep it small, local, and priced fairly.
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a book that changed my outlook on the world, we actually have 3 copies of it. Turns out Marcie had a copy of that book long before we met as well. Its not about Motorcycle Maintenance, I recommend you read it.
As for a community that helped me get here, it would have to be Machina Cycles garage in Brooklyn. Not sure if they are still around or not anymore, but when I was there the community motorcycle garage breed community, learning, and long lasting friendship. I have a few really good homies out in LA who I met at that garage long ago.
Also the boot! Can forget the boot on all of our necks that inspires me each day to fight, there is an excellent song by Mischief Brew titled ‘Thanks, Bastards’ that really encapsulates this feeling. This is the intro to that song.
“Thank you Mr. Officer Grey for all the things you
Said to me, for all the good that you have ever done
Without you, what would I be
You’re the gas upon my flames
My love and rage are rolled up into one
For every time your gun goes off, a new rebel is born
So when there’s 41 bullets, there’s 41 thousand thorns in your side
We’ll take a ride down to Precinct 29
And we’ll sing and dance and break the code of silence”