We had the good fortune of connecting with WIJ and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi WIJ, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
When I first started creating art I don’t think I truly understood what it meant to turn something into a business. The only thing I really knew back then was that regular 9-5 was not my style. All while working at small jobs I started really getting interested in the lifestyle of being an artist and not having to report somewhere boring each day to receive a paycheck. The combination of these events lit the fire in my mind and soul to really put in the time and effort to master my abilities as an artist. As I kept pushing myself, my skills grew and so did my client list. This allowed me to fully quit my other jobs and start my own LLC as an artist in 2017 at the age of 20. Don’t get me wrong, starting your business is just the beginning, keeping it alive and growing is a whole different beast. What’s crazy is, I have learned so much since then and I still don’t fully understand this dynamic and intense world we live in… do we ever truly stop learning? I went into this business knowing I knew nothing, but willing to learn and be taught. All I wanted to do was make art. It wasn’t to make money, it was to fulfill my passion. My point is, If your truly passionate about something put in that time and follow where it leads you. Passion & dedication is the rocket fuel for success!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My art is me, by that I mean its always evolving! It’s a representation of my experiences, interests and state of being while i’m creating it. I also really like to use an array of mediums, I feel it allows for more discovery of complex concepts and combinations that were not previously in my arsenal. Im a big fan of keeping an open mind with everything, when you are too set in stone about any given process or idea it leaves no room for growth or accessing a possible higher/refined version of that process or idea. When the paint spills don’t get upset and rush to clean it, watch it move, watch it drip. Creating art has allowed me to really get in touch with my thought process as well as my consciousness. Art has taught me how to be patient and not rush things, this might be my favorite thing I have learned. Truly being patient and not having the urge to rush things brings a new level of relaxation and clarity to life experiences as well as art. Patience is meditation.
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.
Phoenix has everything!! All depends on what your in the mood for… one of my go-to spots is SoSoBa, a delicious little ramen spot, Yama sushi & squid ink are great sushi spots, Cheba Hut has the best subs, The Counter and The Habit are my fav burger spots, Joyride Tacos is incredible and if your need authentic Mexican food La Piñata is the place to go. Phoenix is very diverse with food and there is always something to satisfy your hunger! Nature wise.. Phoenix is full of hikes and desert vibes. Squaw Peak is a nice hike and has awesome 360 views of the valley, Superstition mountains are full of hikes and trails and definitely has some superstitious vibes. However, My personal favorite spots to explore in AZ are far from the city, I like getting lost in the desert and soaking in the psychedelic energy the nature here has to offer. Walking amongst the hundred year old Saguaros and encounters with the wildlife is 100% exciting and inspiring. A midnight trip out of the city to the desert on a clear night to see the stars, milky way, and meteor showers is a must! A drive up to Sedona or Flagstaff is the perfect escape if your in need of some cooler weather. Sedona has a healing and welcoming energy to it, you feel an extra connection to the earth around there. Flagstaff is full of beauty and fresh air. A fun/creepy hike is the underground lava tubes about 30 mins West of flagstaff.
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 are so many creative and inspiring people I have come in contact with over the years that have gave me advice or helped my success that this section would be a few pages long, I want to give a huge shoutout to my good friend & mentor Jack Walker, who has been inspiring and growing with me me since day 1. Jack is an entrepreneur himself and has the ability to create success wherever he applies his mind. A true hustler and maker of wealth, he has shown me first hand what it takes to operate a successful business and the secrets to keeping the $$$ flowing in. Since the beginning of our friendship he has stayed true to believing in himself, always keeping an open mind and allowing the universe to lead the way. Another major influence on my success so far is my good friend and also a mentor, Matthew Moore. Our friendship began at one of my first art shows in Chicago. He had this idea of creating an online platform called Artist Replete to sell art and to represent very unique emerging, as well as, established artists. Both new to our passions we saw the potential in each other and we started to build our brands, and now i’m proud to say he is responsible for my biggest and most successful Art show to date. Today Artist Replete is a full blown online Gallery representing some of the most talented artists in the game. Matthew also curates incredible art shows, bringing a refreshing and elegant vibe to the art world. Watching Artist Replete start out as an idea and blossom into a successful business is absolutely something that continues to inspire me.