How to Sell Your Art With Tuesday Bassen, Little Friends of Printmaking, & World Famous Original

Our four guests on this episode are Tuesday Bassen, Ben Goetting of World Famous original, and Melissa and James Buchanan, a.k.a. Little Friends of Printmaking. We sat down at Friend Mart, a boutique shop run by Tuesday and Ben, located in Los Angeles, CA. We get to know these awesome artists and dive into how to sell your art! Advice on getting started, cautionary tales of the business world, and learn how the pros do it.
Interview by Cesar Contreras



Cesar: Am going to start by asking this silly question. The question is pencil or pixel?

James: I think pencil.

Tuesday: That seems controversial for you guys.

James: The thing is I feel like a pencil because…

[Melissa laughs]

James: We do so much…

Melissa: On the straight and narrow…

James: I do because…

Melissa: I identify as a pencil… [Laughs]

James: I know, it’s California, we can do whatever we want because we do so much hand-made work like that’s the focus of our whole business. But the reality is that, almost everything I do is on the computer when am not covered in ink. Without the computer we can’t do what we do.

Melissa: If you look at it from the fact of we are print makers, then definitely pixel because we are pretty decent with our programs. But I think that in the realm of design and illustration probably.

Cesar: Do you guys sketch a lot of your work?

James: No.

Cesar: Initially?

Melissa: We hate sketching.

Cesar: Okay.

James: That’s like our shared hatred.

Tuesday: Really? Like you guys don’t?

Tuesday: You just dive right into it?

Melissa: Yeah. We talk about it and then we do some quick little ugly things that we wouldn’t wanna show anybody.

Cesar: How do you make these things?

Melissa: With a pencil.

Cesar: On a paper?

Melissa: Yeah.

James: So like I mean…

Cesar: Just a quick idea?

Melissa: So is sketching. But we hate it. The whole time are like “Oh man, this is terrible.” [Laughs]

James: Well, I mean we are lucky that we do so much work at poster size because the great thing about a poster is that your sketch should be super small; so that all the detail in your sketch reads. If you can’t get everything across in a sketch the size a little bit bigger than a postage stamp then you’re already down the wrong track. So we can just do a little squiggle and be like “There it is!” and then we take a picture or scan whenever then we are off to the races.

Illustration by Little Friends of Printmaking

Melissa: Yeah, I mean we were the students in college that if our sketch book was due we’d be like “Oh! No. What projects did we make this year?” and then like “Let’s back track to what sketches would have been if we had done any sketches for that project”.

James: A mental exercise like, “If I sketch…”

Tuesday: I totally did that too. I’m like, “Fuck! Backtrack. Go get some false inspiration.”

Melissa: Yeah, exactly [Laughs]. False inspiration, the Little Friends of Printmaking

Tuesday: Definitely pencil. I still do so much of my work analog. I color it digitally but I sketch it out and then ink by hand, scan, and color it digitally. I feel like I can’t do what I do. Maybe somebody else could if they were really handy with a Wacom but I can’t do what I do without pencil or the analog.

Cesar: Right on. Ben?

Ben: Rayon thread? I don’t know. The final product of most of the stuff that I would do is hand-made, which is on a vintage embroidery machine. I would say it is 60% digital but it all depends. It’s way too hard to figure out. But I would say prefer pencil.

Cesar: All really good answers guys.

You guys are all prolific artists. Worked with really great clients, large and small, over the years and you’re really active in the design and illustration community, which we’ll talk about more in just a moment; but can you tell us more about what you do?

Just a side note here: We are in Friend Mart which is a brick and mortar shop in lovely Chinatown, Los Angeles, California, which is run by Tuesday Bassen and Ben. Can you explain and tell us where we are, what this is and what you do here?

Tuesday: Sure. Friend Mart is a boutique that Ben and I own and it originated as a pop-up series we did with Melissa and James. We just wanted a name that we can put to the pop-up series that we were at the time (2015) throwing at least two pop-ups a month. Sometimes more. Around the holidays it was around three a week. We just needed a name other than “pop-up”. So we decided to call it “Friend Mart” because we were inviting all our friends to exhibit. After doing a bunch of pop-ups in Los Angeles and Texas with Melissa and James, Ben and I started looking for retail spaces casually because we were tired of asking people’s permission to use their spaces or having to charge artists if we were renting spaces. I actually found this shop when I was with Melissa and James; we had gone to Pok Pok. At the time we came back here, there was maybe one occupant on the bottom floor, maybe two, otherwise it was completely vacant.

Clothing available at Friend Mart

We all agreed that it felt magical and awesome. For the longest time we couldn’t find who the landlord was. Eventually… our studio is just down the street in China Town. We were talking to our landlord there and asking about any bigger spaces he might have and he was like, “Well, I don’t but my uncles do.” I was like, “Who are your uncles?” Just because the space is so magical, interesting, and it’s hidden. I like that it feels like you’ve stumbled upon something special.

We moved into Friend Mart in August and we put on a lot of pop-ups together. Ben does the custom hand stitched embroidery. We carry all artist-made brands. So it’s kind of an extension of the pop-up series that we were all doing together permanently in this space.

Cesar: Beautiful. Ben do you have anything to add to that?

Ben: Not at this time.

Cesar: Thank you for your time Ben. It’s been great talking to you. (laughing)

Cesar: Can you tell us more about what you do?

Tuesday: Yeah. I am an illustrator and designer. I started out doing more editorial illustration but that’s not what my strong suit is. I don’t think it’s the best use of my skills. I started doing more products probably in 2013 and I was making ceramics. My mom is a pottery shop owner. So I was making a lot of ceramics at the time eventually in 2014 got a big order from Urban Outfitters for my ceramics and that was hell. It was a lot of work. I had the flu but you still had to stay on schedule. I was hand sculpting all of these pots with no idea at the time.

Melissa: I had no idea at the time that you were hand sculpting those pots. I don’t know what I thought but I was like “There is no way!”

Tuesday: A sane person might have made a mold…maybe

Melissa: It’s so equal parts insane and impressive.

Tuesday: My grandma came over to help me put noses on the whole planters because I was just like…

Melissa: Of course she did because that’s like adorable.

Illustration by Tuesday Bassen

Tuesday: I was working on it in Nebraska, where am originally from. In between moving from New York to LA. I stayed there for two months to hang out with my family because I haven’t seen them for a while and also save money from not having to pay for rent because I was super broke. I worked on those planters said never again, then I decided to start making more mass produce items like patches and pins. An then moving to Los Angeles, I think something that’s really special about the city is there’s a lot of American manufacturing here still, which is unusual so I started making women’s clothing based on the drawings that I was making for myself. The were all getting translated to physical clothes because they were the clothes that I wanted to wear and now we’re making them.

Cesar: So you mention being in New York?

Tuesday: Yes.

Cesar: What led you to New York and what was the transition between New York and Los Angeles and what was the reason why?

Tuesday: I went to school in Minneapolis. When I graduated I had gotten a small job of a corporate target window display and it was like $1,000 .I thought that was the most money I’ve seen in my life.

Melissa: Obviously enough to move.

Tuesday: Huge amount of money. I’ve never seen that money, “I’m rich.” I moved to New York, I made that work for three months ($1,000). I shared an air mattress with my friend Charlotte. I ate a lot of macaroni and I decided that I was going to try to stay and make it work and I absolutely didn’t want to get another job. I didn’t get a part time job, which I probably should’ve but I really moved to New York was because I just wanted to pursue any opportunities I could have and my friend Charlotte was going for an internship. I was like fuck it why not? I graduated from college. “I’m gonna do this right now or I’m never gonna do it, so I’m going!” I lived in New York for about three and a half years.

I visited Los Angeles to go to a Danish punk festival.

Melissa: We have everything here! [laughs]

Tuesday: We have everything! I feel like that’s such a nerdy thing to admit.

Melissa: How does that sound nerdy? It’s honestly too niche to be nerdy

Tuesday: Seriously the minute that I stepped off the plan, I was like, “This is where I wanted to live!” I had no idea. I think I was young and haven’t considered anywhere else other than New York because I had done a pre-college program in New York.

Cesar: What was it, the weather?

Tuesday: Just fucking everything. I love Los Angeles so much. I think it’s the way that people interact with each other, the weather, how beautiful it is but I also like how grimy it is. I like that there’s so many hidden little enclaves. You can really carve your own life out here. I think it’s harder in New York because there’s so many preexisting institutions but in LA everybody’s doing their own thing. There’s so much opportunity that people could seize to put on their own shows, get a space. There’s infinite amounts of space in Los Angeles.

If you get priced out of a neighborhood, which obviously sucks, there’s always another space. I just thought that was really special and cool. I like seeing how many different kinds of people had their own little hobbit hole.

Cesar: Little world…

Tuesday: Exactly! I also liked that there’s industry here. I had never been to a place before where I felt at home and I came to Los Angeles and was like, “Well, this is it. This is where I was meant to be all along. Too bad I didn’t figure this out sooner.” I just ended my lease and stayed with my parents for two months to save up some money then I moved out here.

Cesar: What about the little friends?

James: We went to school together in Madison, Wisconsin.

Melissa: At the University of Wisconsin for print-making.

James: We met in undergrad. We met very early.

Melissa: Yeah, like sophomores. We started working together almost immediately based on the fact that we had a similar style. It was like either we were gonna fight or we were gonna become friends. We became friends and collaborators when it might’ve been called cheating, I guess? It was just so helpful to us because we were print makers to have another set of eyes and another set of hands because it is so hands on and procedure-oriented. Physical and exhausting. We started working together when we were sophomores.

James: I think I was 18 and you (Melissa) were 19.

Melissa: Yeah, just babies.

James: Now we’re super old and we’re still working together.

Cesar: It’s a sign of something going right…

Melissa: Nah, it’s pretty terrible [laughs]

Cesar: So you met in university and then continued working together?

James: Sure. We started as “Little Friends” while in school.

Melissa: It was like a collaborative organization that we developed so that undergrad students could show in graduate gallery spaces. We figured out that…

James: We’re always on the make, we’re terrible people. You couldn’t show unless you were old, but if you were an organization you could show. We were like, well let’s just start a fucking organization.

Tuesday: Is that terrible or awesome though?

James: I think that’s awesome…

Melissa: Wait. Is it terrible or awesome to not show or is it terrible or awesome that we’re schemers?

Tuesday: That you’re schemers. I think that’s great because you’re not asking for permission. You’re just scammers. [laughs]

James: We started an organization that turned into a collective and eventually like with all collectives, everybody dropped out because they’re the star. Then it just ended up being me and Melissa and we kept the name Little Friends of Printmaking. It was a thing where we thought it was a goof. We thought it was funny.

Melissa: We’re studying art but we have a logo and we have business cards and…

James: We’re a fake business, hahaha!

Tuesday: Surprise, that’s how you become a real business!

Melissa: We have taxes, oh no. This isn’t funny anymore…

[Laughter]

Posters by Little Friends of Printmaking

We started full-on what Little Friends is now in 2003 when we were still in school. Like Tuesday said, we never really asked anybody’s permission because honestly, who was there to ask? We were in Wisconsin and we were in our own little world. There weren’t people around us that were doing what we were doing so there was nobody to look to for advice necessarily. Although in Madison, we had Aesthetic Apparatus to look up to. We couldn’t really emulate it because our styles are super different.

Tuesday: That’s really funny that you say that because I went to school in Minneapolis. Obviously Aesthetic Apparatus moved to Minneapolis post-Madison and my favorite teacher in school was Kelly English who is Dan’s wife. She was maybe my least favorite at the time because she pushed me so hard but in the end… we have a great relationship and I still keep in touch with her and I really admire her and how tough she was we me because she made me cry so much and now…

Melissa: Crying is very important in school [Laughs]

Tuesday: She pushed me to be a better artist, you know?

Cesar: Tuesday, when did you realize she’s on to something? Was it way after you finished school?

Tuesday: No, I think while I was in school she broke down my ego super hard but then once I actually started taking her advice and realized that I wasn’t the hottest shit in the world I was like, “Oh, wait. That was really beneficial for me and and my becoming a much better artist.” While I was in school I think I told her, “At the time I was really frustrated being in class with you but I’m really grateful for my experience with you.”

Melissa: It’s tough. The program that we studied, the printmaking program, I think it is still considered the best in the nation.

Cesar: They still have it?

Melissa: Yeah, rankings changed, that’s all I mean. It was the first printmaking program to recognize printmaking as an art medium vs. a commercial medium. They kind of always have that in their back pocket. They have an amazing printmaking program.

James: I think it’s always in their mind and they hate commercial art…

Tuesday: Did you struggle with that because you’re riding that line?

Melissa: It was really hard. Similar to how you were trying to talk about Kelly made you cry, but that was actually good, critiques were just a war zone for us. We were constantly fighting for what we felt like what was important to make. Fist acceptable, yeah, and then…that sort of adversity hones your point of view.

James: It forces you to justify yourself and what you’re trying to do…

Tuesday: I wonder if that’s why I’m such a bitch now.

Melissa: Oh, so many reasons…[Laughs]

Tuesday: It’s about the thick outer crust.

Melissa: I think another thing that we have in common with Tuesday is people look at us and they’re like, “They’re tough.”  We know what we’re about…

Tuesday: Do you think people think we’re tough?

Melissa: People think you’re tough.

Tuesday: Really? Am I scary?

Cesar: You’re a little bit scary, Tuesday.

Tuesday: What?!

Cesar: I have to admit…

Tuesday: Is that true? I love that! I grew up being the human embodiment of mayonnaise. It’s exciting. [Laughs]

Melissa: We’re tough for midwesterners, right?

Cesar: I didn’t mean that in a bad way, by the way.

Tuesday: No, I loved it. We were watching Thelma and Louise last night and I was like I could not fucking stand Geena Davis’ character and I was like I would’ve left this girl for dead already. I don’t fucking care. Ben blurted out…

Ben: The whole time I been watching this movie I’ve just been thinking about how mad Tuesday would be at this girl.

[Laughter]

Cesar: When did you guys meet?

Ben: In person, we all met on the same day after Unique LA.

Melissa: Tuesday was…

Ben: I met you guys (Little Friends) through Dave Kloc but I had known them online.

Melissa: We’ve known Ben online for a really long time.

James: Before we’ve been making posters.

Ben: 2006 at least.

Melissa: We were all part of this site called gigposters.com, all active in the forums. We knew each other for a long time so it was just funny that we all sort of fell in together.

James: Sure, and we knew Tuesday from things like Flickr. We’re moving forward in the archeology of…

Ben: Tuesday was a big fan of the Little Friends in college.

Tuesday: High school!

Ben: High school…

Melissa: Yes, thank you for reminding me. [Laughing]

Tuesday: We met in person at the first Friend Mart pop-up!

Melissa: How soon was that after you moved here?

Tuesday: After we talked about this last time I was looking at the dates it was. It was like right away when I moved here. It was like February and I got here in January, 2015.

Melissa: It’s crazy. That’s typical to Tuesday. She’s here for, what, a day? And she’s like, “Let’s put together this pop-up at Urban Outfitters Space 15 Twenty.

Custom embroidery by Ben Goetting of World Famous Original

James: This seems to be going well, so now you’re my boyfriend and you’re my best friend. Now we’re gonna get a dog. Let’s start looking for houses now. I just don’t have a lot of time here.

[Laughter]

Melissa: She had the pop-up. Obviously we had internet-talked to each other and internet-known each other but the first time we met in person basically the same time we showed up at the pop-up. I was like, “Oh hey, that’s you.” [Laughs]

Tuesday: Melissa, James and I started becoming good friends because Ben does a weekly spaghetti nights with a lot of our other friends and we were not actively invited. We would be invited sometimes. Melissa James and I were like, “Well, we’re gonna have our own pasta boys night.” But it’s not pasta boys.

Melissa: The little dumpling gang.

Ben: There’s only so many guest spots and there’s six people inviting people. You can’t…

Tuesday: Your exclusion ended up being good because now I see Melissa and James all the time. Every Sunday night and more.

Melissa: Plus more.

Cesar: Ben, tell us about yourself…

Ben: My origin story. Professionally, I started doing graphic design doing zines in high school. I could not play any instruments and all I wanted to do was make the shirts and fliers anyways. I got a job at a record label called Liberation when I was 18 and out of necessity started doing layout because I taught myself how to use Quark and Photoshop 3 or something like that.

I never went to school. I went to community college and all my teachers there were just like, “Well you already basically have a portfolio so just start working.” I moved to New York, I worked for tattoo magazines for two years doing layout design in 2000, I moved back here (LA) in 2002 then I was just doing freelance design till 2005 then I was the art director for Vagrant Records for nine years then BMG for another year and during that time I met Tuesday and I started doing World Famous Original which is my brand where I make things. It needed to happen. It was just sort of laziness. I got to work from home and I was pushed into it but it was something that needed to happen.

Cesar: So you were already working from home.

Ben: I was already working from home and running World Famous Original on the side and doing chain stitching. I was so overwhelmed. I was working too much. Now it’s been a year since I quit my job…

Tuesday: Melissa had a side job…

Melissa: Well, it was a full time job.

Tuesday: Aside from your printmaking work.

Cesar: That was here in LA?

Melissa: Yeah. When we decided that we were gonna move to California for real, we had been wanted to move to California for years and years.

Cesar: When was this?

Melissa: When we decided to move? It was about four years ago. Right around the time when we were calling moving companies, one of my friends from college mentioned that there was a job opportunity. The program still exists. It’s something that’s close to my heart.

James: Social justice.

Melissa: Social justice is very important to me. It’s interesting because setting up Little Friends of Printmaking and running it on the business side, I did know a lot about setting up systems and implementing procedures and policies so what I did with Little Friends did actually help me. It happened that Ben and I left our jobs at the same time.

James: Well I think Tuesday just complained louder and louder until both of you quit your jobs.

Ben: She said, “You should do this, you should do this, you should do this…”

James: They both quit at the same time.

Melissa: Yeah, we had a little going away job party. That marks almost a full year that we’ve both been full time again freelance doing our own thing. I think it’s gon pretty well, considering we’re all going to Tokyo for a pop-up at Isetan in Shinjuku so basically we’re failing every day. [Laughing]

James: I always think about this with Ben’s thing. It seems so easy. I totally understood his point of view. Why leave this job? It’s cool. I don’t have to go anywhere, they pay me good money – not great money but good money. I can just hang out in my pajamas and be a designer. Then it’s just a head trip to be like, “Wait, if I commit myself fully I’m going to make way more money than if I have one foot in and one foot out?” That definitely happened to us when Melissa left. I was like, “Wait, you mean we could make way more money than we were making? Oh shit!”

Cesar: That’s a good segue to my next question. I’m glad that all four of you are here together because this gives us an opportunity to have a panel about selling your art. It’s one of those things that, I believe, artists want to do. They want to sell their art, don’t know where to start, don’t what to do, don’t know who to ask.

Let’s talk about getting started. What advice would you give to someone who wants to start selling their art and what advice to you have for artists who are already in it? Do you have any cautionary tales? Anything that you would suggest to do before you start. If you’re already going through this, things that you would advise to look out for?

Tuesday: I want to hear Ben’s take on this ’cause he’s so green.

James: Like environmental?

Ben: I have high anxiety about pretty much everything. For me, I don’t know what I would’ve done if I didn’t have the model of Tuesday and these guys. Like, “Hey what do you use for shipping?” To have someone to ask questions is great, especially because, the filp side when people message me those questions, I’m like, “Ugh. Figure it out! Google it.” The thing that is tough is learning about paying sales taxes and how much income you have to set aside and how to market yourself. There’s so many things you’re gonna come across that it’s kind of hard to sum up in one. I feel like two years into doing this as a business for myself I still every day like, “Ooh, I should’ve been doing that this whole time?”

Cesar: You mentioned taxes…

Ben: Get an accountant that you could ask advice at any time. In Los Angeles they have a business assessment and once they see that you’re running a business and you don’t tell them what you’re making they say, “Oh, we assume you made a million dollars so you owe us $4,000,” and I was like, “I don’t have $4,000!” Then I wrote back and they just said you have to send in your gross receipts and then we’ll tell you how much you owe. I did that and they’re like, “OK, you owe like $9.” That makes a lot more sense. That I’m prepared to pay.

Without having an accountant to ask those questions to, I would be pretty much having panic attacks all the time.

Melissa: I think especially because we come from such a DIY work ethic type thing – we used to make our own screens. Our silk screens. We would make everything on our own because we’re like, “No, it’s better this way.” I think when you learn in your business that you do need to reach out for help, you do need professional advice.

James: Or you can turn to the vendor sometimes too and be like, hey maybe you shouldn’t make that screen. Maybe you should just buy a screen, stupid.

Melissa: Or I have very specific questions, I need an accountant for help.

Tuesday: I feel like my always unsexy answer is what Ben was talking about which is learn about your local taxes. I was just having this conversation with somebody else who kind of felt like they should be making stuff to sell but didn’ t necessarily want to. Don’t do it if you don’t want to. I feel like my urge to sell comes partially from hating authority and just being like, “Don’t tell me what to do! I’ll do it myself.” If you have a job you love doing animation if you’re lucky or whatever else, you don’t have to do products.

Melissa: Yeah, there’s no point in jumping on that train if it doesn’t feel genuine to you because other people who aren’t part of it, customers and stuff, they’re gonna be able to smell that it’s not genuine.

Ben: Definitely. One thing I’ve run across is, I started making things, I started chain stitching because I wanted things for myself. I started making pins and patches at the beginning of that new pin and patch craze just because I’m like that’s really funny, I really want to make this thing for myself. I feel like there’s way too many people out there that are saying, “Look at all these people making money from pins and patches. I’m gonna make a Stranger Things pin and put it out.” That drives me crazy. If you don’t have something that you feel like you would make whether or not you’re making money, that’s just… don’t do it.

James: It has the stink of being a fake. When something is true, you feel the excitement and when something’s coming from a place of, “Well I think this is what I’m supposed to be doing,” you can smell it a mile off.

Ben: My advice would be ask all of your questions to Google first. Second, ask people you know. Third, ask artists that you like but…

James: Don’t be freaked out if they don’t get back to you.

Ben: Don’t be mad if they’re not coming back to you with a plan on how to run your art business because they’re busy running their own business.

James: If you reach out to someone and they give you the Hollywood brushoff, be happy you got the Hollywood brushoff. because they could also not respond to you ever. “Oh, that sounds exciting, you’ll have to give me an update later.” That’s awesome.

Melissa: It’s tough. I want to be able to respond to everybody’s inquiry about how I do any old thing but I wish I had the time. I don’t always have the time. It doesn’t totally bother me. We’d do artist residencies and after the residency people ask us, “Hey where do you get this supply from, that supply from?” I’m cool with answering those questions. If somebody just cold calls me out of the blue and they’re like, “Hi I don’t know you and I don’t especially like your work but can you tell me all the vendors you use?”

Tuesday: Another note on that is it’s so much more exciting if you’re finding your own sources because you could be doing something unique that nobody else is doing. Maybe someone else has found this specific sock vendor that maybe is Japanese so they have smaller needles and you can get more detail. It’s so much more exciting if you create your own path, especially if you’re an entrepreneur and the whole point is to create your own path to begin with. If you’re taking the same path as everyone else it’s not effective anyway. For example, we carry this artist in the shop called Hello Happy Plants. She makes these insane cast cement planters then paints them by hand.

I honestly never seen anything like hers. They all look like sculpted garbage. It’s really awesome. She’s not doing the same things that other people are doing and that’s what makes it so unique. She’s definitely taken her own route. I feel like that’s so much more interesting.

Melissa: Yeah, through research on products that we want to make, we get ideas for other products we want to make. I do have to say that we are a little, I don’t know if the word is spoiled, but we’ve all got each other. We have our group in LA that we could talk to and bounce ideas off. I don’t know if everybody has that luxory. I guess move to LA.

Tuesday: No, don’t move to LA.

[Laughter]

James: Don’t be freaked out about all this talk about taxes. Don’t be afraid to run a pirate organization until you feel like it’s for real.

Ben: Until they catch you.

James: Yeah, until they catch you.

Ben: I didn’t know about it until the third quarter I was actually making a good amount of money doing it. I kind of went, “Okay, so maybe I should make this name official and maybe I should find out what I owe.” That’s when they were like you have to pay three quarters worth of sales tax and I went, “Alright.”

James: I’m not talking about being a tax cheat necessarily…

Melissa: Uh-oh!

Tuesday: Uh-oh!

[Laughter]

Ben: It was just because I didn’t know.

James: No, I’m not saying that you were doing it…

Cesar: It’s just assuming that you don’t have a clue…

James: A lot of people are afraid of making artwork at home because they’re like, “I’m a renter and I’m young.” Don’t worry about it.

Melissa: If you’re a worrier, Ben and I can literally attest to this…

Ben: I literally made a patch of a gang called The Worriers.

Melissa: Exactly. If you’re a worrier, I come from that group, you can get ahead of yourself and get in your own head and shut yourself down about making things because you’re like, “There’s so many steps, and I gotta do this, and have to do it all legit…”

James: Maybe just make it first and see if anybody wants it. I feel like people get way too ahead of themselves. Make the things you wanna make and then present them to people. Don’t be afraid to treat your business idea as a hobby for a second.

Melissa: Yeah, people would come up to us. They’re so young and they’re like, “You’re a screen printer. I want to start my own screen printing thing. I’m gonna apply for a business loan and I’m…”

James: …and I have all these permits…

Melissa: If that’s the way you want to do it, I’m super impressed by that. That’s crazy amazing but at the same time…

James: …I bought $20,000 worth of equipment, it’s like, uhh…

Melissa: Coming from our background, we didn’t have our own space…

Cesar: You guys were making your own screens.

Melissa: We were working out of shared spaces for years after graduating. We didn’t develop our own space until years and years after graduating college. I feel that sometimes it’s better to not rush into those things because you can figure out your own path.

Tuesday: I agree. It makes me so nervous when people borrow money for their businesses. I understand other business that aren’t like ours which can develop out of like a closet. I feel like it’s yet another person who can tell you no and to stop.

For me at least what my ultimate goal is to like not give people that kind of power. I hate being told no, especially when it’s like, it’s my fucking business, man. Butt out. So I just don’t, I try to make sure that I’m making enough money and like budget out properly so that I don’t ever ask, ever have to ask for help which I know was impractical for some people. But I think it’s something to think about just making do with what you have in the beginning.

James: Absolutely.

Tuesday: And like reinvesting in your business because …

James: That’s the kind of thing that I mean by a pirate organization.

Tuesday: Yeah.

James: I’m not saying like go out and break the laws. I’m just saying treat it like a hobby at first and the crazy thing about treating it like a hobby is it sounds so condescending. But the reality is no one is paying as much attention to your dreams and your business ideas as you are. Like if we took three months off of doing Little Friends, but we were just shipping out orders, nobody would know that. Like no one is paying attention.

Tuesday: I feel like they would know.

James: Well maybe …

Melissa: I don’t know.

James: I don’t know.

Tuesday: I’m like, I’m consistently reevaluating and I’m like, they can tell that I haven’t been doing this, people can sense that I’m like not as invested.

James: Well okay. But like say you were just starting out, like no one is like, “Oh my God, when’s the next da, da, da poster coming out?”

Melissa: Yeah tick tock man.

James: He put out that patch a month ago. When’s the next patch? No one is thinking that hard about it. You’re thinking about it, they’re not thinking about it, take it easy, relax.

Melissa: Well it’s good that you’re thinking about it. It’s good that you’re pushing yourself, but you don’t have to …

James: You don’t have to kill yourself.

Melissa: Yeah.

Cesar: Ask questions, do your homework.

James: Ask questions.

Cesar: Well as Ben said, Google it.

Ben: Google it.

James: There’s three steps of asking questions.

Cesar: And don’t be afraid to run something without getting all the, I don’t know, all the paperwork in place and all the legal stuff.

James: Yeah take it easy.

Ben: But keep it a hobby for a second and then learn things.

Cesar: Test things out.

Ben: Yeah.

Cesar: Let’s talk about, and let me know if this is a sensitive subject or not, about the whole Zara thing.

Tuesday: Oh yeah.

Cesar: Sorry.

Tuesday: No it’s fine.

Cesar: It is raining outside; I think it’s appropriate to talk about that.

Tuesday: Appropriately gloomy.

Melissa: Yeah.

Cesar: Just so we don’t talk about it ad nauseam. I mean it’s obviously available out there online. If you don’t know what we’re talking about for your listeners, just Google Tuesday Bassen, Zara and you will find a plethora of articles and interviews and whatnot. It is about corporations taking the work of smaller independent artists without their permission, and not compensating them for that. What can artists do to protect themselves from this happening in the future if there’s anything that they could do?

Tuesday: Yeah. So, I mean just to quickly recap with Zara, what happened was over the course of a year, last year I started seeing basically all of my work, my entire catalog come out in their stores without my permission as patches, as pins, as graphics on clothing, blah, blah, blah. I sent them a letter through my lawyer at the time and their response was like, well …

James: You’re a big loser.

Tuesday: “You’re a big loser. You’re tiny.” At the time I had 90,000 followers. “Like you have 90,000 followers and we have 90 billion customers. So who the fuck is even going to know this is yours?”

Melissa: 90,000 followers.

Cesar: I know.

Melissa: That is so many followers.

Cesar: It is.

Melissa: For an independent artist, that’s crazy.

Cesar: Just to get some context here, Tuesday, you have like 10 listeners. I mean …

Melissa: And like 5 of them are right here.

Cesar: Yeah. It’s like half the listenership is here.

Tuesday: It wasn’t even that they said we didn’t do it, it was that what are you going to do? No one’s going to notice. And you’re like a tiny baby and we are like the world’s largest fashion company.

Melissa: You should just shut up because no one would care.

Tuesday: Yeah. Their owner is literally the richest man in the world.

James: So side eye.

Tuesday: Yeah.

Melissa: Oh so much side eye.

Tuesday: So essentially I could understand. Other artists have obviously gotten that letter from other companies. And I can understand how crushing that is because it’s like, yeah I am one person and they are this huge organization. What are we going to do? And I just was mad. I was furious. And like if you know me, I’m just like can’t let anything go ever. So I …

Cesar: There’s scary Tuesday coming out.

Tuesday: I tweeted their response letter to me. And I was like, “I just want you to know that even though sometimes it’s fulfilling to be an independent artist, it also sucks because companies like Zara steal your shit. And then they …

James: Insult you on the way out.

Tuesday: Insult you on the way out. I just wanted to share it. I needed to get it out there because it is ridiculous and I think it’s awful to assume that somebody is just going to have to suffer in silence. And it got an insane amount of response and it’s when we were at Comic Con. I was like hiding under the table answering emails from press and stuff.

Melissa: And people were like screaming like, “Zara!”

Cesar: Point at Tuesday and say Zara.

Tuesday: No we’d be like walking down the hall …

Tuesday: No, no, I’m Tuesday, Zara is …

Melissa: People were just like screaming. I mean because like …

Cesar: All four of you were there.

Melissa: Yeah we were all there and like we couldn’t, obviously we were running boobs. We couldn’t really like pay that much attention or at least, James and I couldn’t pay that much attention to the news.

Tuesday: It was crazy.

Melissa: We’d check it at the end of the night and it would be like, the Guardian? The Guardian is covering this story? Like this is bonkers.

Ben: I mean literally worldwide, yeah.

Tuesday: Yeah it was everywhere.

Melissa: It was insane.

Tuesday: And so it was just like to see it sort of happen in real time …

Cesar: Like a slow-motion car crash? Be like uh-oh, Zara’s in trouble.

Melissa: Yeah exactly. This is a big deal and people are paying attention. It was so satisfying.

Tuesday: And it’s like unfortunately I wish that like the law were as glamourous as social media.

Melissa: Yeah exactly.

Tuesday: But it’s like a long process that is ongoing. And honestly I think people should know that it is the obvious goal of large companies to drain you of your resources so that you can’t pursue it any further. But luckily I have a really awesome lawyer and we are continuing to pursue it. But it sucks because there’s also like I have copyrights and trademarks on all this stuff. So legally I am protected.

Melissa: Yeah I mean you did what you could do.

Tuesday: Yeah.

Melissa: Like you did everything you could do.

Tuesday: Beforehand way, yeah. Even still host Zara, there’s like supermarkets in the UK that have Mixed Emotions club t-shirts that are straight up my artwork.

Cesar: No way.

Melissa: Yeah.

Tuesday: Yes.

Melissa: Yeah.

Tuesday: Forever 21 has a Mixed Emotions gang jacket right now and it’s like do I have to fucking sue everybody?
Melissa: Yeah.

Tuesday: This is ridiculous and it’s such a waste of my time, especially after I’ve already gone through all the effort, money, time to protect myself. That being said, I’ve had a lot of young artists come up to me to talk to me about it feeling like they shouldn’t share their work.

Cesar: So they’re feeling powerless at this point.

Tuesday: Powerless.

Melissa: Yeah. I mean and that’s a, I think that’s a normal response. I mean you ask like what can you do to protect yourself and it’s like well short of like making a drawing and burying it in the backyard, there’s kind of like nothing you can really do. Like if you want to share your work you’re opening yourself up to things like this. But you have to share your work.

Tuesday: Yeah, otherwise you’re just creating in a vacuum.

Melissa: Yeah.

Tuesday: And someone’s probably going to see it anyway.

Melissa: Exactly.

Tuesday: Even if you were like making the most DIY-zine and like if you wanted to share your work with other like-minded people …

Melissa: Well you’re still going to make it [crosstalk 00:47:23].

Cesar: You’re even more vulnerable if you keep your artwork a secret.

Tuesday: Yeah.

Cesar: Because people who wouldn’t steal from you …

Melissa: Yeah, I mean the reason why Tuesday knows about a lot of the copycats is because people know her work and they reach out to her and they say do you know that this person or this company is stealing from you?

Tuesday: Stealing this, yeah.

Melissa: Do you know that this company is stealing from you? Which is like emotionally training.

Tuesday: Yeah it’s both a blessing and a curse. Like I love that people are looking out for me and that’s like a huge positive thing. And I love that people feel compelled to share that with me. But it’s also like, I’ll wake up in the morning and look at my phone and just be like, it’s depressing, you know? It’s just like constantly feeling like you’re putting out fires just to protect something that’s yours to begin with.

Melissa: Well and I think it’s tough too. Because it’s like something that doesn’t factor in all the time when people think about situations like this, is how personal your own work is to you and how violating it feels when somebody just steals it. To have to put up with that over and over. It’s another thing that corporations are hoping. They’re hoping that you just get so emotionally and financially drained that you’ll go away.

Cesar: Just give up?

Melissa: Yeah. I mean we had a small-scale version of what happened to Tuesday. Like very small time in comparison. We caused a fuss because it was, it wasn’t so much like we want to shame you, but we were like sort of outraged at like what it happened.

Cesar: Of course, of course.

Melissa: We tried to be I guess good little, little Westerner.

Tuesday: Little Friends.

Melissa: Good little friends and we were like, “Well, if we’re polite about this, maybe then they’ll work with us or something like that. And the fact that we sort of let it die on the Internet they used as leverage to say well nobody really cares about this anymore.

James: It seems to be dying down. So I don’t think …

Melissa: It seems to be dying down so do we really even owe you any money? Or do we really owe you?

James: They hate it when it’s like complain, complain, complain. Well get over it.

Melissa: God I mean like you should be happy that people like your work.

James: Enough to steal it.

Melissa: That’s honestly the worst.

Tuesday: I think for a long time I was really, I was actually scared to share what was happening with me and Zara, because I was worried about that …

James: That clash?

Tuesday: Yeah like with people.

James: Yeah I was watching Tuesday for months before it went public get new notifications, like hey did you see that Zara has the strawberry pin? Did you see that Zara has this? And even though they were exact copies of her artwork, it’s one of those things that sometimes you can say, “Hey look I have the strawberry pin, and they put out the same strawberry pin. And people are just like, “Get over yourselves. It’s a strawberry.”

Melissa: It’s a strawberry. Come on.

James: “You didn’t invent a strawberry.”

Ben: He got the same thing.

James: It wasn’t until it was a clear cut case of look how many things they’ve stolen that she has finally put it out there.

Melissa: Well and it’s so frustrating because like obviously of course, yes.

Tuesday: Well and that strawberry is copy written. So the federal government thinks it’s distinct enough.

Melissa: Exactly.

Tuesday: So your opinion is invalid ultimately. It’s like well legally this is my strawberry.

Melissa: Yes.

Tuesday: I own the rights to this strawberry.

Melissa: Absolutely and it’s one of those things too where it’s just like, when you draw something you know, you remember making those lines. And so it’s so frustrating to have somebody tell you that this thing you put out …

Ben: Well anybody could’ve done this.

Melissa: Yeah, anybody could’ve done it.

James: Well then why didn’t you?

Melissa: If I would’ve drawn that, it would’ve looked literally exactly the same. Would it have? Really? Like down to the very last detail?

Cesar: Yeah.

Melissa: I have a hard time believing that.

Cesar: It’s not limited to Tuesday and to you guys either. I mean we’re talking many artists.

Melissa: No this happens, absolutely. Well I mean Zara alone, many artists. But like this happens so often. It’s so frustrating. And I mean it is just kind of like …

James: It’s a cultural thing in graphic design too. Because if you ever worked at an ad agency, they’ll put up a mood board. And things go up on a mood board, I’m sure with the best of intentions, then the client sees it and they’re like, exactly that. And they don’t understand. And then somebody who isn’t cool or nice, doesn’t go get the artist to, they just take the thing.

Melissa: Yeah.

James: And I’m sure, I don’t know if that’s what happened with us, or if that’s what happened with Tuesday. I can’t say for certain, but …

Cesar: What steps can artists take if they do find their artwork?

Melissa: Well like Tuesday said …

James: You make a stink. You have to make a stink.

Melissa: She copyrighted and she trademarked, it’s not …

Tuesday: I think you still should.

Melissa: Yeah. A copyright is not that expensive.

Tuesday: It’s like $30 dollars to file.

Melissa: So you can definitely do that and then just stick up for yourself. Like believe in your work and stick up for yourself.

Tuesday: Right.

Cesar: Even without a copyright …

Tuesday: If you’re not sticking up for yourself …

Melissa: Who’s going to?

Tuesday: On the same token though, I have to think about this like if you feel like something is similar and another artist made it, instead of just putting it up online, you should …

James: And screaming at them?

Tuesday: You should … actively reach out.

Melissa: We’re talking about …

James: Consider the source.

Melissa: We’re talking about corporations. Like if this is like artist and artist, I mean like a friendly conversation can probably suffice at least at first.

Tuesday: Well I think even with corporations, you can reach out and be like, “Hey I noticed this. What are you going to do to remedy this?” Give people an opportunity because sometimes corporations will be like, “Oh my God I’m so sorry. I had no idea.” And then that might open the door to …

Melissa: Working with them or something like that.

Tuesday: Working with them, yeah. Always the best course of action is to reach out and if they’re hostile like Zara was where they were like, “What are you going to do about it?” Then yeah.

Melissa: Then it’s like this is what I’m going to do about it.

Cesar: Yeah.

Tuesday: I think it’s always better to try to communicate first.

Melissa: Yeah.

Cesar: On a positive note, what is it that you like best about selling your art?

Tuesday: Honestly my favorite part is interacting with customers that feel like it fills a void for me. So like with clothing for example, I’m so excited about the upcoming clothes that we’re making and I really just want to not be making clothes for the sake of making clothes, but make clothes that make people feel powerful, but not in like a stereotypical way.

Melissa: Her clothes are size inclusive. It’s so important to me because I remember for so long, I’d try to find clothes that would fit me, that were cool and it was really hard. So the fact that she is thinking about that and it’s important to her, I think it’s helped a lot of other people who run small clothing lines to also say, “Hey maybe this is important for us as well.”

Tuesday: Yeah I think that’s awesome. I really hope, obviously I can always get better at this, try to be even more inclusive with more sizes. Right now we carry sizes 2 through 22, and some of our tops fit larger. But I really hope that larger companies do pay attention to that and actively make it a part of their mission to include a wider variety of sizes. Because yeah I think it’s ridiculous that people are getting left out.

Ben: My very thing is definitely somewhat, yeah somewhat relating. Like all, we’ll be a pop-up and I’ll be standing behind my wall of pins and patches. And people come by and their faces light up, and they’re like, “Oh my God, that’s so you” or “That’s so me.” Or laugh at something. And I’ll be like, “Which one is it? Which one do you like?” Which one of my things that I thought I wanted is also resonated with someone else is always just the coolest thing.

James: Oh and I like making something that I want to see in the world. But then I know that no one gives a shit about this. And then like the coolest person you’ve ever conceived, the person you couldn’t even conceive of in your mind walks in and picks it up and is like, “I’ll take one of these, please.” And you don’t sell any to anyone else. But like you just made like Prince’s day or whatever. Like I don’t know.

Melissa: Amazing.

Cesar: So cool. We’re going to keep it a little bit fun now. What are you guys currently listening to? So maybe one artist or band that you’re into right now. Ben?

Ben: One of my best friends, Jonah who runs a music podcast, he’s always up on everything new. And I feel like starting to work at a record label 11 years ago, you’d think that that’s going to be like, “Oh I’m going to know all the new music and I love music.” It absolutely killed my love for music and I no longer wanted to go to shows, I didn’t want to listen to new records.

So I’m constantly stuck in, “Yeah I still listen to Screeching Weasel all the time. But there’s still a few bands. Yeah, Mike Kroll, I listen to. He’s a friend of ours. But when you meet one of those people that’s like, “Oh yeah I met a band.” And you’re like, “Oh fuck.” And then he gives you his record and you’re like, “What? This is amazing.”

Melissa: Yeah.

Ben: And I love it.

Cesar: I loved the first impression.

Ben: Yeah. Mike Kroll and there’s a Scottish band called Paws that I really like, that I’ve been coming back to. And the new Desaparecidos record is really good. It’s got some good anti-Trump, anti-establishment music on it.

Cesar: I like it. Nice.

Tuesday: I always get embarrassed by this question. Because I met my OG employee Allie because I did artwork for her band, Peach Kelli Pop who are one of my favorite records. They’re on Burger. Our favorite artists are on Burger. And I was like so geeked to be able to do this art for her and I met her, and she was cool and very nice.

And then I had posted on, we had recently become Facebook friends because I did artwork for her. And I posted that I needed some part-time help with my online store and she responded. And it just like blossomed into a really perfect situation. Someone that I really respected and admired, music doesn’t really pay, and she needed extra money. And I had that to give and I had the flexibility. And she’s one of my favorite artists and now she has worked for me for over a year. And then she brought on Allie Kohler who also happen to be one of my favorite musicians. She was in Vivian Girls and Best Coast and has a really awesome band called Upset with Patty Schemel from Hole.

So it’s funny because Spotify put together “your top 2016 tracks.” And like of course Peach Kelli Pop and Upset are both on those. So it’s awesome to be able to work with both of them in a different capacity and be able to be in awe of them, but also have this much different relationship with them. And I feel like I’m still, still my faves.

Ben: I forgot about Jacuzzi Boys. I love the Jacuzzi Boys and their singer-songwriter Gabe Alcala is an amazing artist. He did the pin for my company and he does amazing zines.

Melissa: Which one did he do? Did he do the …?

Ben: He did the skull coming out of the vagina.

Melissa: Oh yeah that one’s so good.

Ben: It’s called Peek-a-Boo.

Melissa: We started our music posters back in the day because we were so obsessive, both James and I were so obsessive about music. I worked at a record store. It was like one of those things where I would come into the record store and be like, “Am I old enough yet to work at the record store?” And they’d be like, “No, you’re 13. You cannot work at this record store. You have to come back later.” I started working at a record store as early as I could. I think it was like one of those things where they’re like, “Well I guess …”

James: “Make your mom sign a letter.”

Melissa: Yeah like my mom had to sign a letter and they were like, “We can only pay you like $2 an hour.” And I was like, “That’s cool.” I don’t even think it was legal.

Tuesday: How old were you?

Melissa: I think I was like 15 or something like that.

Tuesday: Yeah I also started working at a record store when I was 15.

Melissa: Yeah. The way that we approach music now is so different.

James: Oh it’s been the same for about 10 years. Like we both grew up with punk rock and then eventually I just became, I felt like I heard everything. And then I was like …

Melissa: Which is obviously not true.

James: Which is obviously not true. But like …

Ben: Just feels like it.

James: But you definitely you get exhaustive and then you’re like, “Well shit, I guess now I listen to Japanese Prague rock.” And then you’re like, “Well actually no, now I listen to Italian disco from 1980 to 1984.”

Melissa: Yeah.

Tuesday: I love writing in Melissa and James’ car and playing the game like who’s putting this on, Melissa or James? It’s usually James.

Cesar: Well you guys have a pretty huge record collection.

Melissa: It’s, yeah it’s big. It’s like obnoxious.

James: It’s out of control.

Melissa: But like I mean now we’re just like, I mean we still collect records.

James: We cut down a lot.

Melissa: We don’t collect CDs anymore. Like my thing is 7 inches. I still collect a lot of 7 inches. But like our biggest collection is our MP3 collection. Like we’re such magpies, like it used to be so much easier. You used to be able to be like this record label, I love everything from this record label. You know what I mean? And now it’s just like whatever weird little piece of pop [inaudible 01:00:17] that you can find.

James: I feel like, oh this is mastered weird. Okay wow, so we’re obsessed with it because there’s a problem with the mastering. And then like, so we have gone totally off the deep end. Contemporary music, I barely listen to any of it. But then after we talked earlier and then we were riding around in the car, and I was like, “Well I mean I guess I listen to Kurt Vile and [inaudible 01:00:35] Siegel and stuff.

Melissa: Yeah exactly, all them. I mean like and obviously like LA is just full of so many amazing …

Ben: And Mike, Mike Kroll.

Melissa: Yeah well I mean like …

Ben: Mike Kroll, by the way. Mike Kroll.

Melissa: I feel like Mike Kroll can’t be an interjection. First of all I’m going to finish my thought and say Los Angeles is full of so many, like Burger Records and stuff like that. But then we get to our friend Mike Kroll and Mike Kroll, how many times can we say Mike Kroll?

Ben: Mike Kroll.

Melissa: Mike Kroll.

Tuesday: I want to make him listen to this.

Melissa: Oh he’s going to squirm. But like I mean the thing about it is, is like …

James: Mike Kroll.

Tuesday: Mike, Mike.

Melissa: It’s so cool, obviously we’re all friends and we’ve got the people here like Tuesday and Ben and us, we all have sort of similar sensibilities and we ran into similar things when we were kids. And that’s kind of the same for our friend, Mike and me. It’s so cool to be able to be friends with somebody who loves the same kind of music that you do, and then has created music that …

Tuesday: New music.

Melissa: … is like the exact new music you want to listen to. And it’s just so great to be, I mean I don’t know what else to say other than Mike is …

James: Also amazing graphic design. Actually I changed my mind. Fuck Mike Kroll. He’s too cool. Let’s bring him down a notch.

Melissa: No but I mean like honestly, everybody should be listening to Mike. And he is an amazing designer. Like if you’re interested in record design, take a look at Mike’s records.

Tuesday: It’s kind of, it’s kind of unfair how talented he is.

Melissa: Yeah I mean and the thing about it is, is I feel like we’re all pretty obsessive and detail oriented, but he takes it to another level. It’s crazy. But like, Mike Kroll.

Cesar: We’re about to wrap it up, but if there’s one piece of guidance that you’d like to give, what would it be? And we can start with anyone. I’m not going to pick on Ben.

Ben: I already said something like this earlier, but when you’re doing the things you like to do and trying to make that into a living, it feels good and other people feed off your excitement. And then when you’re doing the things that you don’t want to do but you think you should be doing, you’re probably wrong. Do the thing you want to do, and it’ll feel good whether it’s a success or a failure, and people will get really stoked on your stuff.

Melissa: I would say one thing that I wish we had been better at, so this may be as good advice, and I think a lot of people are very good about doing this now is document your work.

James: And the process too.

Melissa: And the process. We talk about that art tour. We had a photographer with us who’s a great photographer actually. He does stuff for the [inaudible 01:03:19].

James: For the New York Times and the Global Mail and stuff.

Melissa: Yeah, but so he was like our tour photographer. And so we have great photos of that. But there’s so many projects that we have tiny little shitty jpegs of and it’s like …

James: Or cell phone photo from the age of terrible cell phones.

Melissa: Exactly. So like document your work because you may want …

James: It’s a mirage. The process goes away.

Melissa: Yeah.

James: So you’re doing this amazing event at someplace. If you don’t take a bunch of pictures, it never happened.

Melissa: Yeah, I mean, and it’s a cool story but, cool story bro.

James: Cool story bro.

Melissa: You know what I mean? It’s nice to have a photo along with it so you can tell other people about it.

Ben: Well to expand on those, do you want to do what feels right but also push yourself past your comfort level? Or date someone that pushes you past your comfort level?

Melissa: Date Tuesday.

Ben: Document …

James: Are you feel like you’re not doing what you want to do?

Ben: No, no, it’s definitely what I want to do. But I sat doing what was easy for too long.

James: Maybe that’s the thing. Do what you want to do but actually do it.

Melissa: Yeah I mean, yeah I feel you. Because it is easy to just like you had a really good set-up. Like you were at home.

Ben: Yeah this is like, when I was in high school I said I wanted to do record covers. I literally had a job doing record covers. But I didn’t realize that it wasn’t really what I wanted to do until Tuesday was like, “No do more. Do more, do this.” And then yeah, document your work or have someone else document what’s going on and post it on their Instagram all the time.

Melissa: It’s true. I mean I’m not saying you have to do it. But it’s just important to have.

Ben: No I realized as you were saying that I was like, “I’m so glad Tuesday takes pictures of all of our events and constantly posts everything.” Because we go through our Facebook yearly like, “This happened a year ago.” Like I wouldn’t have known that I had quit my job a year ago if Tuesday hadn’t posted a picture of me that said, “This is the face of the guy that just quit his job.” And it popped up as this happened one year ago.

Cesar: Awesome.

James: To build off what you were talking about, the events that we do, make your own scene. Don’t wait for somebody else to tell you.

Ben: Yeah I guess that kind of comes naturally to all of us with the punk rock background. But I think that’s not as obvious to some people as just like, “Where do I get, how do I get an art show? Or how do I get a gig poster?”

James: How do I do a pop-up? I’m like, “I don’t know, just show up.

Ben: Just do it. Make a flyer, put it on Instagram, and show up when you say you’re going to do it.

Melissa: Like a lot of our first art shows were like, there were vacant storefronts in Madison when we were going to college and we were like, there’s a number on that storefront. Let’s call that number and get an art show in there because that would be cool, right? I mean and what’s the worst that’s going to happen? Is they say no? Or they don’t get back to you? Like big deal. You know what I mean? Who cares? Call somebody else.

What Ben said is so important because it’s true. A lot of the things that we’re working on this year, they give me a little bit of heart palpitations. Like when I’m starting to plan them out or whatever, but it’s like that … Obviously you don’t want to jump into something not knowing anything. But if you’re not a little freaked out, you’re probably being too complacent.

Tuesday: Yeah, I think don’t ask for permission and then also if you’re going to pursue something, truly pursue it and be as tenacious as possible. Because otherwise you’re just wet noodling it and like what’s the point in never having pursued in the first place.

Melissa: Wet noodle.

James: Wet noodling it?

Tuesday: No but I think it’s true because, I don’t know. Maybe it’s my own neurotic personality, but as soon as I finish one thing, I’m like, “Cool what’s next?” Otherwise I’m going to die and my dream will have never been realized.

James: Yeah starve to death.

Tuesday: Yeah.

Melissa: Watching you work has been so helpful to me. Because it’s like I definitely would feel, I would fall into the rut of like I’d finish a big project and then you fall into that inevitable despair of like, “Oh no it’s done, and what now or next?” And it’s like just figure it out. Something next. It doesn’t even matter if it’s like a big thing or a small thing.

Tuesday: Right, take action.

Melissa: Do something next because you don’t want to just be like a …

Tuesday: Rest on your laurels.

Melissa: … a little sad-faced baby.

James: It also helps not to feel like a freak to know there are other people who are just like, they want to do their own thing.

Tuesday: A bunch of freaks.

Cesar: Definitely. On that note thank you guys, James, Melissa, Tuesday, Ben. I appreciate the time and thanks for being on the show.

Tuesday: Yeah thank you so much.

Melissa: Yeah thank you.


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