We had the good fortune of connecting with Tom Kirlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tom, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The creation of The Pancakes & Booze Art Show was originally just a random idea that spawned from my needing to pay the bills for my failing film/photo studio business.

Before getting into event production, I worked as a cameraman in the “Hollywood” film industry. After 10 years of dealing with big egos and putting in grueling hours for some else’s project, I decided to get out. My master plan at the time was to open a small studio warehouse space for film/video production and photo shoots. So I rented a ghetto warehouse space in Los Angeles, on the cheap, and started renting it out. After a few months in, the business was barely paying my bills and I was definitely not getting ahead.

A few of my friends in LA were artists and often told me that the warehouse space would be a great place for them to exhibit their artwork. I couldn’t exhibit their work full time because I knew the commissions from their sales wouldn’t generate more than what I was bringing in from the studio rentals. So I decided to organize a pop-up show. At that time, art shows were generally free, so I needed to brainstorm an idea that would justify my charging a cover for patrons to come in. I had to give them something other than art. I wanted to give them some sort of food item and the cheapest thing I could think of was pancakes. So I not only organized a group of about 25 local artists, but I provided a free all-u-can-eat pancake station, some live music, and body painting. The Pancakes & Booze Art Show was born!

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.
The Pancakes & Booze Art Show is one of the largest pop-up art movements to hit North America over the past decade. For over 10 years, we’ve been serving FREE PANCAKES and introducing you to some of the nation’s leading emerging artists.

What started as a small warehouse pop-up in the ghetto of LA has now expanded to over 30 cities in North America and Europe, with plans to expand to Asia and South America in 2022.

People always ask me, “How do you start an international brand”? The answer is, I didn’t go into it with the intension of doing 500+ times over the next 10 years, ha ha ha. The first few shows in LA were actually quite small. As we hit maybe the 3rd or 4th show I knew I had something special. The crowds were getting bigger and emails from the press were rolling in. I could no longer use my 1,500sq ft warehouse to accommodate the demand, so I started renting a larger venue. Over the course of one year, the show just kept building more and more traction.

Since I’ve always been an avid traveler, I wanted to see if I could fund a trip to Tennessee by holding an event. Nashville was the first city outside of LA where I held an event. It was another huge success! At that point, I knew I could do in anywhere in the country. I started looking for venues all over the US. For the next few years I worked 6-7 days a week, 12+ hour days. I ate, breathed, and slept Pancakes & Booze, ha ha ha. Over time I slowly expanded to over 30 cities and created an international brand.

Nothing comes easy but when it’s your own project you seem to find the time and energy.

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.
I grew up in Arizona and currently reside in Bangkok, Thailand. If you wants tips on where to go in Thailand I’m your man….but it’s been a while since I’ve spent much time in Phoenix.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The success of The Pancakes & Booze Art Show would be nothing without the support of the artists who participate in our event. Most of the artists we show are first time exhibitors. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there. We owe it to them!

Website: www.pancakesandbooze.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pancakesandbooze/

Image Credits
All photos are courtesy of The Pancakes & Booze Art Show.

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