We had the good fortune of connecting with Borbay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Borbay, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
After graduating with a BFA from Boston University, I worked as a graphic designer at a weekly newspaper; did reality TV; performed stand-up comedy; assisted in financing skyscrapers as a Legal/Development Associate; placed talent as a creative recruiter; and provided business direction for a front-end design and development ad agency. On July 2, 2009, I became Borbay, a full-time self-represented artist. It was time to harness what I learned as an employee to follow my dreams, and build something authentic.
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.
When I first went full-time, I painted on-location, primarily around Manhattan. This provided an opportunity to introduce my work to hundreds of folks a day (I’ve never been shy). From there, I began painting textual collage-painting portraits, creating three series: the ‘#KingsOfHipHop’; ‘Kick Ass Actors in Kick Ass Roles’; and, ‘The Antiheroes’. When I moved from NYC to Victor, Idaho — I became obsessed with neon. Today? Painting neon is a major focus, but I still create collage-painting-portraits and location work.
On June 4th, I hosted the grand opening of Borbay Studios & Gallery, which is 40 minutes outside of Jackson Hole, WY. It took me 14 years to get here, but I wouldn’t change a thing. When I left advertising behind, I went from six figures to $37,000 in year one art sales. That marked a brutal lifestyle shift, but I was ready, willing and patient.
Today, I’m able to work, provide for my family of five, and focus on long term projects. I’m creating a Guggenheim painting each year for 20-years… in August, I’ll paint #14 in the series. I’m also doing a painting of all 18 greens during The Masters Golf Tournament… I’m three years into this series.
As for Borbay the brand? Andy Warhol once said, ‘good business is the best art’ — I embrace this ethos in every way. Beyond the easel, I co-founded NFToftheART — we will be collaborating withCirca Casino and Resort in Las Vegas to make them the first casino on the blockchain. I’m also co-founding a shoe company, and co-creating a sitcom pilot.
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.
Golf has been an incredible introduction to not only collectors, but places. Two years ago, I painted my friend Bene’s portrait… his member guest partner, Tor, invited me to Scottsdale to find inspiration for a painting. In Old Town, my wife and I discovered a new favorite place to eat — The Mission — world class margaritas and steak dishes.
In Tor and Tricia’sScottsdale painting, we ended up highlighting some other incredible places to eat and play: Sofrita, Saddle Bronc Grill, We-Ko-Pa Casino and Golf Club.
We had a blast boating on Saguaro Lake… beautiful views… very peaceful.
We met the talented Phillip Payne at his Anticus Gallery, also in Old Town… a fabulous place to not only see art, but buy books, attend events, and meet people. My friend Dave introduced me to Cave Creek, Arizona — incredible town… big fan of The Roadhouse… and, of course, any golf course that will tolerate my 100 or so swings… they’re all beautiful.
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 wouldn’t be living the dream without Erin — my wife, partner and consigliere. She encouraged me to take the leap… I owe her everything. I’ve been the beneficiary of several incredible mentors in my life… notably, a collector named Robert. He’s been beyond generous with his knowledge, passion and vision — I do my best to pay it forward on a daily basis.