On Sundays I reflect.
I didn’t drink alcohol this week, nor for the last two weeks during which I was too busy to write my weekly blog. I thought about a beer one night, after a long week at the studio. It didn’t take long for me to talk myself out of it.
I’ve been working out most mornings, and I’m starting to feel the results. Body-Builder-Ben is well on his way to the top (regarding his own personal fitness). On the mornings that I don’t lift weights, I have been helping my friend Scott build his new home nearby. I spent a few mornings staining wood siding, and one morning unloading Brazillian hardwood siding from a semi truck (some of the pieces were 18 feet long!).
My smoothie game is as strong as ever, and Marta has come on board as the studio chef. She has been taking care of meal prep so that food is grab and go. She has also spent time block printing her second batch of DV T-Shirts, after her first batch sold before we could list them on the website. Marta has been dabbling on the torch as well, and she’s sorting through our glass trash from the last three years and arranging it by color for another project we’re working on.
I have been making as many cups as I can, on top of trying to keep up with the most sales we’ve ever seen. A lot of my time is spent making sure I have incoming inventory to replace the cups that are selling. I’m constantly communicating with dozens of artists to keep the store stocked, in addition to working with my new photographer Skinny (@skinny18), and my intern Bibi who helps with social media and graphic design. Things are growing fast!
When I can get on the torch and don’t have specific things I need to make, I’m working on the largest production order of my career for an upcoming collaboration with an artist I’ve long admired. This product line will be very limited in quantity at 100 pieces per edition, but they will also be affordable. Stay tuned for the release information in the coming weeks.
The most fun project I worked on recently was a pair of trophies for a Beer Pong Competition I attended in California yesterday for my dude @thelittleglassgallery birthday party. We had a little popup show for him and his close friends at his place, and the beer pong winners got to keep a pair of custom Composition Notebook cups I made specially for the event. My dude has done so much to support my vision and this brand (you can see some of his collection below...another blog post on that another time); it was a real honor being invited to his party. Living so far apart we rarely get to spend time together, but surprisingly this 24 hour trip to SoCal was longer than my typical 12 hour in and out stints, which was a nice change of pace.
In the rest of my free time, I have been educating myself on my position as a white man of privilege in a time when racism and police brutality are accepted norms. I watched the rally in Tulsa, in which the only true claim I heard was that the current administration has appointed almost 300 judges across the country. Aside from that was mostly fluff and personal anecdotes, to a far-from-full arena.
What we have not seen from our leadership is a firm stance against racism. We have seen some police reform, though not nearly enough in my opinion, as day after day I read about police brutality. A for-profit prison system is a major root of the problem. Lack of accountability amongst officers is another issue that is hard for me to understand. Why is it so complicated to arrest the officers who murdered Breonna Taylor in her own home while she was sleeping?
I have a long standing distrust for police and authority, and I think it’s rooted in fear. I was afraid that my freedom would be taken away for something like smoking a joint. I can’t even imagine the fear that black people feel every day. There have been multiple lynchings across the country deemed suicide in the last month. This is not the America I want to live in.
I’m listening to the voices of the black community online And in person every day. I’m still very slowly working my way through “How To Be An Anti-Racist” by Ibram X Kendi. I voted in my state’s primaries. I’m continuing my work to represent diversity through this brand. That last statement pertains to both the artists we carry and the models we feature.
I’m doing what I can, and it’s still not enough. There just aren’t enough hours in the day.
It’s strange to wear a mask in the airport, or the post office or the grocery. It’s weird not to hug people when I greet them at my studio. It’s different not to high five my friends.
So many things I did instinctually, I now second guess. I don’t want to touch anything. I want to stay healthy and avoid getting anyone else sick. I fear no matter what I say these days puts me at risk for being cancelled. I can’t trust the news. I can’t trust the politicians. It feels like nobody is being honest any more. Maybe they never were.
Since I don’t know what else to do, I am putting my whole self into this business as much as possible and using this vessel as a means to have an overall positive effect on those I encounter. I will continue to provide a platform for artists to support themselves. I will continue to support other local businesses and partners through collaborations, networking, and spending my dollars with independents instead of corporations. I will continue to reduce my carbon footprint and the negative impact that my existence is having on the environment. I will make sacrifices for the greater good. I will continue raising money for the ACLU. I will continue to provide a safe space for artists and makers needing a space to create or just a pit stop along the road.
Hopefully you’ll join me.
Enjoy your Sunday,
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