If you ever wanted to become a full time artist, this may an interesting article to read.
I am in the beginning of my 3rd year as a full time artist, and it's been more than a full time commitment. I'll give the story how it all happened- including my first art sale, my first style, the ups and the downs, and key motivators along the way.
It started in the fall of 2013, I was trying to come up with extra money on the side during my last semester of college that was coming up. I thought to myself "I can do simple art on wood that people would buy for $30 or $40, how hard could that be?" So I would go to my grandparents house in Columbia, SC to work on these pieces to try to sell. They had all the paint and art supplies already because they both painted a little bit. I came up with a style that was mixed between several inspirations including Tripp Art and Rep Your Water.
Below are the first pieces of art that I ever sold. I was selling them on Etsy, to friends, and posting on truck blogs (haha). Making $40 a month off my art was enough excitement for me to keep it up and to keep producing artwork. I still have several old pieces on wood that's signed "JAYBO" that never sold.
After I had been doing this kind of art for about 3 months, I had a dilemma with my minor and graduating college on time. I had received an email saying that I couldn't minor in Business (even though I had 9 business classes under my belt- more than how many I had for my major in Religious Studies). I looked into minoring in so many things like physics, finance, astronomy, geology... but I would have to spend an extra semester for a semester and I was ready to graduate. So that only minor that I could fit into one semester was Studio Art. The catch was that each class was 4 hrs long... some days would be 12 hrs long with classes. It was great though. I started developing a style in my drawing class. Which, by the way, was an advanced drawing class... I thought I was good at drawing... until our teacher made us draw a picture in 45 minutes and then have the whole class critique it. The talent was unbelievable... seriously mind blowing. I was literally in the bottom 10% in the class skill wise.
However, I drew 3 to 4 hours a day. The teacher was great and I was learning key things about the basics of shading, shape, color, ink wash, marker detail. I was slowly developing a style during this drawing class. Then it all came together when we had to do an iconic series... so naturally I wanted to draw flies (since I had just gotten into fly fishing and was falling in love with it). That was the first time I ever thought I had something neat. The flies that I drew weren't perfect, but they were very neat. Neat enough to grab your attention. All the classmates were crowded around my fly drawings and I was so confused why, but it made me look closer at the style I had.
I also was posting these drawings from my class to Instagram and was getting a lot of attention. A clothing company was buying the designs from my class and also was commissioning me 30 designs. It was amazing, and was the first time that I ever considered that I could do art for a career, but I didn't take that leap till a bit later.
When I graduated in May of 2014, I was doing commissions for t-shirt companies and for people to have in their homes. However, I took a job out of college to do Loan Origination (basically a mortgage broker). I was horrible at it. I was really nice and was great on the phone, but I really could of cared less about spending all my time trying to market and sell loans. Plus, I was spending more time on the phone about t-shirt designs and projects than about mortgages.
I didn't plan on quitting, I thought I was doing the adult thing that was driven into me since I was a kid- get a job after college. However, it wasn't doing anything for me. I started questioning so many things... like is this really all there is? Do a job that you don't care about that takes you away from the things you actually want to be doing? (I was also just getting into listening to the Grateful dead a lot during this time- haha) But I was thinking a lot about what the difference was between a billionaire fishing everyday and a poor man fishing everyday. Besides the obvious, I didn't see much difference. So I decided to take the plunge and do art full time in the late fall of 2014.
By this time, I was being commissioned regularly. Charging about $40 up to $125 for a large piece. However, I didn't have near enough work to legitimately be full time, but I was dedicated to it and when I didnt have work I would draw anyways and design. Plus I got to go fishing more, even though I was barely covering my bills- not including food.
For all of 2015, I struggled big time during my first year as a full time artist. I was sleeping on couches, never had any money to go out to dinner with friends, or to really do anything. So I just drew and created.
The next big moment in my career came in December of 2015. I was looking to go back to working full time to make ends meet. I got an interview to help on the sales floor of a tshirt business. Not the sales floor for screen printing which was the big part of their business, but literally just the 3% of revenue part where they sold already printed shirts on the showroom and I would do the cash register.
The owner of the place had looked me up before the interview on google, and asked me if I could bring in a drawing of a dog. (I had never drawn a dog before, and had no idea why he wanted me to do a drawing for an interview to run the cash register). However, I did it- the drawing came out great. Then at the interview he tore me apart- he was telling me that my art was at a low high school level at best. He told me that he thought I was trying to get into the company as a designer or a commissioned artist that they pay royalties too, and said they weren't interested.
That random berating filled me with something that made me take my art to the next level for 2016. I posted that dog drawing I did for the interview on social media and had over $1,000 in invoices in dog portraits that same week. I also was commissioned 52 large drawings for an office that same week. MAN! Thank God I didn't go full time working a cash register!!
With all this extra expected money, I was confident to finally move to James Island in Charleston SC... as a full time fish artist. I went from couch surfing, barely paying bills, to living in Charleston, SC... which cheap rent is $1,800 for a small house and average dinner bills are $25. Somehow, someway I was paying all my bills and the commissions kept coming in. I was somehow booked 4 months in advanced for commissioned artwork in most of 2016. I also had started selling fish decals in December of 2015- and those were a big hit.
It's funny, but sad to say that I never finished those 52 commissioned pieces for that office. The safety net that gave me confidence to move to Charleston, never got finished. I had so many commissions that kept coming in, I never really got to the 52 pieces that I was using as a safety net for when the commissions ran out. I finished 6 of the 52, and can honestly not explain how or why I never finished them. I am probably going to send an email to the guy today apologizing about that.
Anyways, in late 2016 my Instagram reaches 11,000 followers, and I launched some tshirts that are a big hit. My t shirt and decal sales have really helped me move forward as an artist. It is great supplemental income that opens up more doors to expand.
In 2017, I am on track to double revenue from 2016. I am blown away that Jaybo Art has developed into a slow but steady growing company. I have plans to keep doubling and developing the business. I definitely want to keep doing commissions, that's my passion- especially draw your catch pieces.
I'm happy, and excited that I didnt stick to an office job and decided to grow in my own adventure. I don't have to check in with a boss, or ask for days off. I have the opportunities to say yes to any random fishing adventure. I'm by no means successful monetarily yet, but I feel successful to grow from nothing to a legit income making business that lets me live free.
I don't mean to brag at all with going into detail about my journey so far, because in the grand scheme I know that what I've accomplished so far is just a grain of sand compared to other successful artists. And I know that it could dry up at any time (part of owning your own business).
But I wanted to say all of it to show that if you actually want to work for yourself. If it's art or some other passion. Please stick with it and commit to it. I have put in 3 years of drawing every single day, even if there's no paycheck and have grown my Instagram to over 13,000 followers (which I know isn't that much in the grand scheme, but has allowed me to do what I love). We are lucky to be in the age of online and social media... It's way easier to make an impact and to grow certain types of companies now. Especially getting your art work out there in front of people.
I hope this has helped someone out, or inspired someone. Just stick it out and put in the time if you actually want to be an artist or whatever your passion is.
Just wanted to share that I have two linocut block prints that are available on the website now under art prints. These are highly collectible and are a limited edition of 12 per linocut.
Linocuts are considered to be a type of "original printing" because the block that has been cut is the masterpiece, and the artist manual prints each print by hand. Here are the available pieces below.
I just wanted to update you all on the new design tshirts now on www.jayboart.com. (View all the designs at the bottom of this post.) One day I was thinking that all I wanted was a simple design on a really comfortable shirt that I can wear anywhere, anytime. That's what's behind the new shirts on the websites.
- Unique designs by me (Jay Talbot)
- No logo or company name on the front or back of the shirts
- I don't think you should be a billboard for my company. I just want you to enjoy the designs and the comfort of my shirts.
- All shirts are "heathered" colors, meaning 10% of the fabric is polyester and a slightly different color giving the shirt a twist of color and extra comfort.
- The rest of the fabric (90%) is ringspun cotton which is softer and lighter.
- Multiple colors for each shirt. (dark grey, dark blue, red, and some have a green option)
Hope you enjoy the new products!
Jay Talbot (Owner/ Artist)
After a long break from the angler series, I am happy to introduce one of my good fishing buddies, Bill who goes by Bam.
He was a random dude from Michigan on my Instagram that was messaging me about fishy stuff, then we ended up fishing together when he moved to South Carolina. Then I learned that he's just a great guy that would do anything in the world for his friends and family. We've had a ton of fun fishing the mountains for trout, Columbia, SC for stripers and small mouth, and Charleston for redfish. We're always scheming our next fishing trip and there's no boundaries to where we would be willing to fish, so this dude is awesome and one of my better buddies for sure. Hope you enjoy his questionnaire.
Who are you? William Butler Hall III of Argentine Twp, MI currently blessed to call the Upstate of South Carolina my home.
What do you do? Vice President of a trucking and logistics company out of Flint, MI...YES...I drank the water...YES the people of Flint got screwed...YES I carry.
How do you do what you do? Listen hard and carry a big stick
What do you think you’ll be doing in 5 years? Gentleman farmer and part time fishing guide.
Preferred type of fishing... big flies, shallow water and big cast
Who are you? Son of the King, husband, father, business leader and always on time for fishing
Biggest fish caught? 30 plus king salmon
Best part of your day? When my wife wakes me up and tells me she missed while she slept
Worst part of your day? Leaving my dog behind
Bourbon, beer, or wine? Bourbon
Rage out on the town or quietly sip drinks at home? Backyard bombfire at home with drinks
Mountains or beach? Beach
Your dream fish to catch? GT while wet wading...has to be freaky good
Favorite restaurant? Roast at the Book Cadillac Hotel Detroit
Your biggest pet peeve about another fisherman? Fishing for others praise, lame
Last song that you listened to? The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
Favorite band of all time? Dispatch
Other hobbies? Watching fishing
What is something no one knows about you? Attended college to play football and obtain a fine arts degree.
Best memory fishing? Watching my brother pick apart his new home waters of Colorado. Jelous and impressed.
Worst memory fishing? Laying on my face along the Chattooga River waiting for the mountain rescue while Kevin Poole sat over me for hours. Only after two days of slow fishing and back country camping.
Funniest fishing story you have? A 30 minute bent to cork battle with we thought was a tiger musky, boats surrounded us and had a great laugh when we boated a tail hooked common carp.
#1 person you’d like to meet? Jose. Reason I fish man. Guy was the salt.
Cheers! Next time we'll meet a dude who says fishing and hunting kept him out of trouble (for real though).
This is a busy time of year for sure! And I am grateful for it. I have several projects going on right now and I'll try to fill you in on them.
1.) Four dog portraits and three logos are going to be completed over the next couple of weeks because of deadlines.
2.) After those are completed, I will be working on a unique series of Grateful Dead scenes for an office in upstate South Carolina.
3.) In the meantime, I am teaming up with New York artist Tripp Derrick to do murals in Charleston, SC. Tripp is originally from South Carolina and moved to NY and ended up making it big as an artist. We have kept in contact over the last couple of years, so I was thrilled when he gave me a call to team up in my new city.
4.) In the meantime during that meantime, I will be spending my nights designing for a new brand coming out, in which I see as a huge opportunity. I will be working with some really great people.
5.) On top of everything else, I am continuing to complete other commissions that I am about 6 months behind on (sorry about that). Also, I will be designing for Jaybo Art and continuing to grow the retail side of it.
These opportunities mentioned above will actually allow me to have a vacation in June or July. After that vacation, my prices will be going up on custom pieces. And also, I will not be doing anymore logos (I just don't enjoy doing them that much). My goal is to not be so spread out with commissions. If I could do 1 commission per week, I would be very happy.
Afterall, I do what I do to connect with the fly fishing world and so that I can fly fish as much as possible. I really appreciate all the support, and I am always blown away by who approaches me to design and draw things. Always honored when it comes to that.
The second angler in the series to answer a questionnaire is Harry Tomlinson. He and I went to high school together and he pretty much got me into fly fishing for redfish. Here's some quick questions for my bud.
Who are you? Harry
What do you do? Student of the medicine
How do you do what you do? One step at a time
What do you think you’ll be doing in 5 years? Saving lives
Preferred type of fishing? Sight
Biggest fish caught? Not big enough
Best part of your day? Folgers in my cup
Worst part of your day? Waiting for the folgers
Bourbon, beer, or wine? Each has its place
Rage out on the town or quietly sip drinks at home? Ha. Ha...
Mountains or beach? Both
Your dream fish to catch? Anything jako catches
Favorite restaurant? Rachael's kitchen
Your thoughts on fake people? Not worth thinking about
Your biggest pet peeve about another fisherman? Other fishermen
Last song that you listened to? Get down on it
Favorite band of all time? Too many. But Joe cocker
Other hobbies? Learning stuff
What is something no one knows about you? My middle name is Flinzuünheiffen
Best memory fishing? So many incredible ones but I hope the best hasn't happened yet
Worst memory fishing? Breaking stuff
Funniest fishing story you have? Is about taking random people fishing
#1 person you’d like to meet? Albert Hofmann and Rick Strassman
Tell us anything you absolutely want as a closing statement: do excellence
Next week we will feature a fisherman from Flint, Michigan who is a "suit."
Jaybo Art wants to do something a little different. This is a blog series on the person behind the fish. So many times we get too focused on the fish, but the reality is that people are more important. This series will high light several fishermen: some people you may know and some you've never heard of before. That's cool though... get to know some people through this interesting questionnaire as we start with @dj_dan_decibel in this series.
Who are you? My name is Dan Decibel well at least that's my stripper name my real name is Daniel Diez. I was born in Cuba and have been living in Miami, since I was 7 years old. Ive been fishing all my life thanks to my dad used to fish for a living and currently lives in Cuba. I love to make Fly Fishing films and love to document my time on the water for those people who aren't as fortunate to get out and fish as much as they would like. I am also a South Florida DJ for over 10 years and have gotten lucky to travel the world doing so.
What do you do? I am a Filmaker, I Edit, Produce and DJ.
How do you do what you do?
What will you be doing in 5 years? Hopefully in 5 years I will be lucky enough to have a family and kids that share the same passion for fishing as much as I do.
Preferred type of fishing? My favorite method of fishing is Fly Fishing.
Biggest fish caught? 20 inch Puffer Fish.
Best part of your day? Best part of my day is when I hear my alarm clock go off before a fishing trip.
Worst part of your day? The worst part of my day is coming to an end of every fishing trip.
Bourbon, beer, or wine? Bourbon
Rage out on the town or quietly sip drinks at home? Sip drinks with friends at home.
Mountains or beach? Mountains
Your dream fish to catch? My dream fish to catch is a Tailing Mutton Snapper on fly on a flat.
Favorite restaurant? Taco Bell
Your thoughts on fake people? Not thoughts about them they dont matter.
Your biggest pet peeve about another fisherman? On social media, people who constantly post the same pics over and over again of the same fish to make it seem like they are catching fish. Ive seen people post 10 different pictures of the same fish.
Last song that you listened to? Baha Men- Who let the dogs out.
Favorite band of all time? The Jonas Brothers
Other hobbies? I built the Effiel Tower with my bare hands.
What is something no one knows about you? No one knows I actually created the first Pizza ever!! (Youre welcomed everyone)
Best memory fishing? My best fishing memory was when I got to take my mom fishing in a nearby lake and she ended up catching a huge Peacock Bass. Its definitely been burned into my memory for years to come.
Worst memory fishing? The worst fishing memory Ive had so far was reef fishing in the middle of the night with my little brother and my friends 3 other younger brothers. A summer storm formed out of nowhere and lightning came down as if it was the end of the world. I was scared for my life not because of what would happen to me but what could potentially happen to the kids on the boat. The storm was forming near land in the Florida Keys and we had to pick up anchor and jet out of our current location. We had lightning strikes hitting as close as 50 feet. I took the helm and had to head offshore a few miles in order to get away. That was definitely the worst memory fishing.
Funniest fishing story you have?
#1 person you’d like to meet? I would love to meet my idol "Will Ferrell". Since I can remember he has been an Idol of mine. I even have a bobble head of his in front of dashboard in my truck.
Tell us anything you absolutely want as a closing statement: I feel like this is that quote that goes under your picture for your school yearbook, well here goes nothing, "Hey I just met you, and this is crazy, here's my number, so call me maybe."
Cheers! Next week we will ask a Charleston, SC native the same questions... his middle name may surprise you.
So as many of you may know, I still have a 3-4 month wait on most commissions. I'm very excited and happy about everyone wanting me to draw and paint things for them. I'm always honored and grateful for them, it's how I am able to keep doing what I love to do and I thank y'all for it.
I have 2 main projects that I am trying to focus on now. One is a 16"x20" water color painting of an iconic photo that was taken by Bennie Brawley of the Ravenel Bridge. The other large project is an initial 12 piece set of 12"x12" drawings for an office, that has in mind to do 40 more pieces after that set.
On top of that there are about 20 or 25 other commissions on top of that that range from dog portraits to logos to boat graphics to secret projects. And even further on top that I am trying to design things for cool products to have on the website. For example: the newest rasta bearskiff:
As far as this next week coming up. My goal is to finish that 16"x20" water color painting and finish 6 of those 12"x12" office drawings, and also start on rough drafts for design projects. It will be a very busy week next week with plenty of coffee and beach walks in between drawings.
Thanks again for keeping up and for all the support, God bless.
From time to time I write about my fly fishing trips on here. So here we go again.
A couple weeks ago I was able to take a trip to Beaufort to meet up with Capt. Owen for a morning fishing trip. I don't think we realized how good it was going to be leading up to that morning, but it was just one of those days where the sun was shining and the water was pure glass... the whole time too. Not only was the sunrise freaking incredible, it was just beautiful the whole day too.
Out of 13 or 14 redfish trips in the last 2 years, I feel like I was plagued with 2 years of bad luck. Every time (it seemed like) the weather would be cloudy, 25 mph winds, and spooky fish. And even if the sun was shining, then the fish were just extra spooky or not eating at all. Anyways, I digress.
Before this trip, I had only caught 3 redfish on the fly in my life and never at low tide! In the past I was the guy who threw the fly in the worst possible place at the worst possible time and would spook the whole stinking school. Not saying I didn't do that this trip, but for some reason the fish were a lot more forgiving.
So we ease on a couple schools, and we worked hard to get the first one on fly. Capt. Owen was an awesome guide through it too. He was chill and encouraging, which was good because I was frustrated at missing fish and throwing it at the wrong spots.
Then we get to another school of reds, and he says he's going to get the next fish I catch on slow mo video... so the pressure was on (lol). Sure enough, it happened and he got it on film-- in slow mo! It was awesome. Too bad I trout set the crap out of it- on the video. (for those who don't know, you're suppose to strip set redfish because their mouths are more underneath their face, and you'll have a lot more hook ups strip setting). But either way, it was caught and it was on film.
Then we go to the last school of the day, I manage to get a perfect feed and eat. So Capt. Owen told me to get up on the platform and pole him to the fish for a minute. Which was awesome because I've never poled a boat before but have always wanted to. So as he was coaching me on how to pole and where to go and what to do up there, he hooks a redfish on his first cast. It was awesome to see something like that from the platform for the first time.
Over all it was an incredible day of fishing. I might sound like a kid when talking about all of this, and may sound inexperienced compared to alot of my readers. But I'm a big believer in never too late to start, and I think feeling like a kid while catching fish on the fly is one of the most important aspects to fly fishing. It's sorta like having a few hours where you have no other worries or concerns, other than where are the fish. It's a good feeling.
If you'd like to experience fly fishing in Beaufort, South Carolina, Capt. Owen's Info is below.
Jaybo Art has some new decals, and working to design more since several have sold out. Here is the newest decal:
Also, it is no secret anymore that I am doing more dog portraits lately. Here a couple recent ones.
As far as commissions and how busy I am... I have more commissions left to do now than I did a month ago. I don't do them in order to be honest. But right now, depending on what you have commissioned it's a minimum of 3 week wait, and could be as long as 4 months. I will communicate with you though!
Thanks for all the support again, very happy to be living my dream.