We had the good fortune of connecting with Robby Fischer and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Robby, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Starting any creative endeavor is signing up to be thrown into a world of risks. I’ve realized that I can’t really change that, so I should just accept it and approach it as something to give excitement to my life, rather than something to be afraid of. Ever since the start of our studio, we’ve had to be conscious that every decision we make has risks- and we’ve often found that trying to “play it safe” can often be more treacherous, stressful, and counterproductive than just jumping in and committing to the “riskier” option. As the owner of Dogtown Studio, I have come up with a few guidelines that have really helped me with assessing the risks I choose to take. -With financial risks, I often force myself to think, “What am I risking by NOT making this investment?” It’s easy to have a mindset that there’s risk involved in making big purchases, but if you don’t make the big purchase then you are not taking a risk… but I disagree with that. I force myself to think about the opportunity costs- i.e. the price I will pay if I choose not to invest in a piece of equipment that my business needs. This opportunity cost could come in the form of missed business opportunities, stagnation, or even stress and burnout. A lot of times, these things are harder to recover from than a purely financial loss. -I try not to live my life by anyone else’s risk-assessment standards. I’ve made a lot of investments in my business that would’ve made my parents bawk. There are times I could hear various friends’ voices in my head saying “you’re spending how much on that?” But they don’t know your business, you do. Look at the numbers. Decide what makes sense. And don’t let other people’s fear interfere with that process. -Usually the worst case scenario is not as bad as you think. Think about the absolute worst case scenario of a risk, and then think, “How likely is that to actually happen?” Then think about the best case scenario. A lot of times, a scary vision of the worst case scenario can make it seem more likely when it’s actually not the case.
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.
What I’ve had to learn in my life as an artist is that routine can be really, really beneficial. When I was younger, I thought you had to be a “starving artist”, or a “tortured artist”… now I realize that you just need to make art to be an artist, and that can be harder than it sounds. It really helps me to have a routine, and have dedicated time to focus on my craft. That time really adds up once you make a habit out of it!
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.
One of my first stops would be a closeby studio building called the Tanglefoot Gallery. It’s a place that’s just bursting with local artists of all stripes, and often they’ll have art shows there. I love places like that, where the vibe is so do-it-yourself; where local communities can form and take care of one-another’s needs. 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?
I would not be able to function in today’s media landscape without the insight from Cal Newport’s book “Deep Work”. It’s all about learning to shut off distractions, put your phone on airplane mode, and reclaim control over where you devote your attention!
Images taken from Dogtown Studio Session videos.