Sept. 20, 2019

038 Brent Estabrook: How I Achieved Overnight Success as an Artist In the Face of Debt, Doubt, And Struggle?

038 Brent Estabrook: How I Achieved Overnight Success as an Artist In the Face of Debt, Doubt, And Struggle?

I’ve met many people who’ve chosen the safer path rather than the path less traveled. Brent Estabrook abandoned his dental profession the day after graduation. In this episode, Brent told his story of achieving overnight success as a painter in...

I’ve met many people who’ve chosen the safer path rather than the path less traveled. Brent Estabrook abandoned his dental profession the day after graduation. In this episode, Brent told his story of achieving overnight success as a painter in the face of serious debt, doubt, and struggle. He hopes that this story will inspire others to pursue what excites them in life… to follow their childhood dreams to do what undeniably makes them as happy as possible. Brent also shared the key champions, the bold moves he made in the early days, and the advice to help other aspirational artists succeed in the digital age.

We talked about:

  • How to thrive as an artist in spite of the fearful moments
  • His 3 morning rituals to gain more confidence, more creativity
  • How ayahuasca ceremony was a huge catalyst for his success
  • How he made the jump from dental school grad with $400k debt to a full-time 6-figure artist
  • The teaching Nobu gave him
  • His advice to starting artists
  • 3 categories of artists
  • The bold moves he made in the early days


  • "If these people are doing it, why not me"
  • "Once you find what you love to do, you can overcome any interferences"
  • "Find out what you love doing, that passion will drive you"
  • "Confidence will differentiate you as a top artist"
  • "The more you do it the better you get; the better you get the more you enjoy doing"



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CK LIN 0:53
I'm really excited to be talking to Brent Estabrook. Brent is a new friend and he is a visual artist bringing a new way of looking at physical reality and the fantastical. one of the things I'm really drawn to me to Brent is his openness, his willingness to do the radical self-inquiry, as a way to grow himself, grow his art, creative endeavor, and also grow his impact into the world. I want people to listen to his story in a way to really inspire you to pursue your creative pursuits. Because oftentimes, we hear people who really want to pursue art as their path, but something stands in a way that stops them from really pursue that in doesn't matter how successful they are in business, how successful they are elsewhere and ally, something stopping them. So I'm really interested to hear what Brent has to say the path that he took, in order for him to really share his art to bring more love more beauty into the world. So welcome to the show. Brent.

Thank you very much. Glad to be here. Well, we're in my studio, but I'm definitely glad to be in my studio. Yes.

CK LIN 2:25
So why don't we start off by this radical self-inquiry? Before we started recording, we started to discuss what will it be like if we actually have this mechanism in our school system for students to start inquiring about who they are internally in our school system. So why do you think that's important, especially as from the artist point of view?

Well, I mean, I could go into quite a bit of a rabbit hole with this, but you know, I spent most of my life just kind of droning through life, right? Like just following the, you know, you do this you go to school and then when you go to graduate school and then you get a job. Like I was just I was on that path, I was never thinking about the potential I could bring to the world. And really, that kind of went down to like, a confidence issue was like, Yeah, like, I'm me, like, I'm nobody, I can't, I can't, I can't bring positivity, you know, I can't make massive changes in the world. And it was in graduate school. So I guess my quick story: I was always an artist growing up. I went to undergrad at UVA with the intention of going into dental school again, and just kind of like on that normal path, right. And I started painting in undergrad and fell in love with it. eventually got into dental school realized that was not my passion I kind of went to dentistry for because I was going to be a rich dentist like I was going to be a successful rich dentist and I found that path in life was not going to be fulfilling. art was always my passion. And so towards the end of dental school is when I probably started my kind of like mindfulness like I started thinking about, like how do I improve myself mentally to just better myself and hopefully, eventually better the world. Graduated dental school said screw it, I'm going to be an artist. And I've been doing it ever since.

CK LIN 4:42
And pause that for a moment because you kind of skip a few key stages. Because a lot of people would say, I want to pick a safe path being a dentist or accountant or whatever it may be. Because as more predictable. But it require from my point of view, courage to actually say no, I'm not going to go down that path, I'm going to pick a dis, this new path is this less predictable path of being an artist because one may say, one may say that, hey, let me actually do both. Let me go through dentistry so that I have some predictable income. And that I can actually carve out some mental space without the security concern so that I can actually pursued my love My passion, which is art, right? So walk me through a little bit in that critical moments when you say Screw it. I'm not gonna do dentistry. I'm going to actually pursue our full time.

I could tell you that was a pure passion move. I did go into dentistry initially because I knew it was a safe, comfortable career. Like Yeah, good income I was always good at school. So it's like all I gotta do is go to school for four more years, I'll graduate and I'll have a great income and I'll have a great life. And I loved painting so much. I mean, I painted every free moment I had in dental school, like I would do almost do the bare minimum to study and then I was grabbed my paintbrush. So this path all started almost purely around passion. Like it was scary when I graduated and I kind of fully gave up on dentistry. But man, my passion just drove me and that kind of fueled the beginning of it. And as that progress is when I kind of put like, I guess I started to you know, it's like How do I I'm on this different path in life. I'm not following like the normal rule book. I need to optimize like myself, in order to, one make this successful, and to make this really successful that I could actually have an impact, like, and I'll be honest, my first motivation and an art was like, I want to be in the history books, like I want to be in the big museums. And don't get me wrong, I still do. But I guess fast forwarding a little bit. Now I see. I could potentially make a huge difference in the world through art, which is crazy. Like, I would have never imagined that. And so probably for the past, like three years like it's mindfulness has been it. I've realized I had a lot of, I call them hindrances.

CK LIN 8:00
I call them the interferences.

Yeah, that's, that's a better one. I mean, I never really thought I was good enough. Never thought I deserved kind of, you know where I'm at in life now and, and I just I realized these were all interferences that were holding me back from my greater potential. And, you know, I started listening to a lot of podcasts, reading a lot of books, and I just, you know, the people who were changing the world were all very much into, you know, better their minds. And that was, that was probably the big catalyst for like, Well, you know, you know, Richard Branson, these guys are doing it, like, why not me? Like there's gotta be something to it. So that started. Really like my mind. That was like the

CK LIN 8:59
So meditation you decided to pursue art, then you decided to listen to the advice of these people who you respect are changing the world as you said, Yes. emulate their practices. Yes.

Like it was kind of like now I look at it's like no duh, like these people, like, these people know something. Like why not? Why not try it, especially if I like I don't need any other tool. All I gotta do is sit in a chair and do it. At least you know, start the process. And yeah, that's kind of where it all started. I know you have some other questions. I probably will run.

CK LIN 9:38
This is great. So So you started. You started emulating their practices. But what about that courage that the courage piece because I talked to a lot of people who are super successful 789 figure earners right there very successful but yet they're scared of going back to the art, music and poetry and then share it publicly. So I would say, even though one of the phrase I say is how you do one thing is how you do everything but the same time, there's a chasm inside of them. They don't tell anyone else but me. There had the secret desire to pick up music, painting, poetry, again. so, speak a little bit about the courage require you to say, I'm going to pursue this because this is so important for me.

And be very honest, it was I loved it so much that I couldn't think of doing anything else. in a weird way, I kind of I mean, don't get me wrong. There was especially right after dental school. There was some very fearful moments. Financially very scary. 400 grand. It's insanely expensive, right? And I mean, I like my now business partner. But I grew up with a good friend James Wright. him and I started this together. And I went and lived with him and his his wife in a 600 square foot apartment slept on an air mattress for a year and their entry hall is like an open studio apartment like I was sleeping right next to them. And just every morning I'd flip up my air mattress. I had my easel behind it and I just started painting. And to be honest, I, I think I looked for I actively looked for a dental job for about a week. After a week when I got the San Francisco that's where I was staying. And then after that honestly, I never thought about it. Never I even thought about it. It was I was so drawn to art. I see God. You surrender to it. Oh, man, I, it's all I thought about. I would just wake up every morning and I just kept painting. And again, there was there were fearful moments. But looking back on it, I don't even think about those, necessarily, necessarily those times. I just, I knew I was. I knew I was fairly talented in art at the time

CK LIN 12:30
You had confidence in yourself.

I guess I did like to a point. It's always something like confidence is always something I battled. But as kind of when I go back to sit like my passion out outweighed it. Like I just loved it so much that I couldn't fathom doing anything else and I just kept doing it.

Oh, man. And it's why I tell people it's I don't know if it's the greatest advice for everybody in the world but I tell people like find out what you love doing. And that passion will drive you towards doing it'll drive you towards success. Like the the famous saying, you know, find or do what you love you never work a day in your life I heard that probably a million times growing up and it went in one ear and out the other and then you know, just like oh, it's a cool saying. But man, is it true? I'm sure with with you as well like, once you find what you love to do, like that passion is just driven me forward.

And once that all got geared up, then I started realizing I had these kinds of interferences that I needed to address. And luckily with art, I, you know, I kind of have a lot of time to be to myself and so in that aspect I, I'm pretty lucky because yeah, I spend a lot of the time by myself and I can spend a lot of time thinking. But now I'm trying to be much more routine about like every morning, waking up and doing a meditation practice that is kind of addressing some of these interferences. You know, being more thankful, love confidence.

And man, I know I'm, I'm fast forwarding really far, but it's like a week ago, I was meditating, and I just felt different. And this was after. Like, I've been struggling with meditation back like having a constant routine. And I am now seeing the incredibly powerful benefits to it

CK LIN 14:51
What changed?

Well, I'm sure we'll get into this eventually but ceremony. That was a Huge catalyst for me. Like I've been telling everybody that will listen to me how, how powerful that experience was. And you know, some people roll their eyes at me. But I think if you were to ask them some of my friends like they've, they've seen a difference in me. And kind of after that ceremony, I mean, I just felt like I was on fire in a good way. Good fire.

CK LIN 15:34
Yes you told me creativity fire.

Oh, man, dude, everything. Like, dude, I was running on all cylinders. And I feel like I still am. This was when was this two months ago now. You know, I've been very active after the after the ceremony. I have a very good journal routine in the morning, very good meditation routine and I see this I can feel this stuff working, which is crazy. I'm totally one I'm, I was one of those people all my, all my life that I just I thought like, you know, I got dealt, dealt a hand and then was like that this is I'm going to be like I'll just be normal person going through an American life just all live and then I'll die.

And I was kind of this goes to the constant confidence thing like I never thought I could amount to anything. And now I see the potential in myself. And even like before the ceremony I had I've had a ton of success in art. I've, if I was to be honest, I probably had more success than most most people. Yeah, but I never looked at it. I did Kind of like almost push myself away from it like as this like it's almost like I got lucky a few times and now I'm kind of redirecting that nice I see all this all the work and passion I put into it and now I'm like bracing that that fills us on this yeah I'll try to do it all the time but a fucking awesome. man have I had a shift in mindset since the ceremony

CK LIN 17:42
What kind of shift for the people that are listening. We're talking about a topic, you know, describe the before and then describe the after so they can in their mind.

So I started I really started my art career. Four years ago or so, graduated dental school 2014 first year 2014 2015 was probably a very scary time financially very scary. But again, my passion just kind of kept me going. And then 2015 2016 started having a lot more success. You know, 2016 2017 even more 2017 2018 just had I've had a ton of success. I have a incredible studio I just way more success than I ever thought

but I was never really I never I never looked at it like I deserved it or, or I earned it. I was never thankful for it. I used to hide my signature and my paintings because I was like trying to detach myself from it because I didn't. I didn't feel I didn't feel like I've like earned it in a weird way and I lost my train of thought.

CK LIN 19:26
While you collected your thoughts I wanted, I want to underline this point, because a lot of entrepreneurs that I work with, when they come to me, secretly because they're responsible for a company so they had to put up a front a mask. Yeah. And it's equally what they would tell me is some very, very similar in flavor. It feel like an imposter. Yeah, all Yes, success could be taken away. As soon as people found out who they really are. Found out that they don't really deserve to be there. So they couldn't really be 100% themselves, they couldn't be fully self-expressed. So is that similar to what you described?

totally? Is it called "imposter syndrome"? Yeah. Very much so like, I had all this success was like, Man once people figure out like, I'm just me, like then it's like, they're gonna be like what? Like I don't like that art anymore. And it was like What a ridiculous thought it's such a stupid thought. And I definitely had that and again, that probably goes to the confidence thing. And I did this ceremony, and I mean, a lot of it was I never stopped and realize where I made where I've gotten to in life.

And it was kind of like I was losing. I didn't have like, joy when I came. I still enjoyed painting, but there was a lot of time where I just I didn't realize how good I had it. Like I paint seven days a week, I do exactly what I want to do every single day. But I wasn't like stopping and appreciating it.

And after that ceremony like I mean, if you look at my journals just now it's filled with like, god damn I can it go in and paint today? Like, how awesome is that? And that has oh my gosh, it's it's made me like now I like to embrace it. I like to like I love going and meeting with collectors. And you know, like, sharing my work with them. And, and, you know, I have a ton of people who, again, I don't want to sound boastful, but I've like people who love my work. But I never felt like I deserve that. That love for it. And but now I embrace it. Like it's like I totally, totally embrace it. And man, it is a powerful feeling

one of the biggest things that happened to me during the ceremony. The second night was like a ton of bricks, I got this aha moment of just be thankful. And it sounds it's so easy to you know, it's all it is. It's mindset, right?

CK LIN 22:26
You make it sound so simple. I know.

It just might like just be happy. And I don't know if if I would have before that ceremony I it hit me so hard. I mean, just, I can remember it so vividly. Like, I remember I felt like my head was like radiating this like beam of energy. And I was sitting there I had like I had my you know, fist kind of thinking man, you know, everybody knows where the third eyes that if they're listening to this probably and I just remember like pounding in this thought like I was physically like, like fist on my head. Like I was like pounding in a nail into my head. Just be thankful. And again, hard to describe hard to put into words. But man, it hit me like a ton of bricks completely shifted my mindset from that night. Till now like and it has stuck with me and man that has vastly improved everything. everything since that ceremony has been. I mean, like I said, firing on all cylinders.

Oh, there are so many aspects I could talk about just

CK LIN 23:46
name a few.

Okay, so I guess I'll have to quickly talk about another one was I want to improve relationships in my life, love relationships, friends, family, everything. And I could maybe later I'll talk about it more, but that also improved.

Or during the during the ceremony I had this probably the most intense man I felt what love is, I felt what like unconditional love was. And I felt how beautiful it was to really embrace all the relationships I've had in my life with my friends family, girlfriend.

And that and the gratefulness has just like synergistically has just compounded. Like man, I went out to dinner two nights ago with three of my best friends and it was fan-fucking-tastic. Just...

CK LIN 25:02
thank you for being open and vulnerable.

Did you want to hear that whole story of it? So one of my big new collectors is Nobu,

CK LIN 25:28
You are doing great. It's gonna be

so much to talk about. where to begin? I'll come full circle here. Eventually, I'm gonna probably go off in the weeds a little bit. But yeah, recently Nobu started to collect my artwork. And now, as you know, I've hung out with him a lot. I talked with him a lot. And you know, he's, he's somebody that has reached the level in life were very successful. But also very, very giving.

And, you know, I used to feel like, kind of that imposter thing, like, you know, he's gonna, he's gonna figure me out like, I'm just, um, you know, when you first started collecting my work, like, I felt like a nobody from small town Washington. Like and now I've, I've, you know, I've sat and spoke with them. And we've talked about just doing what you love passion. And he's been incredibly, incredibly giving.

He shares my work with everybody, which is, you know, he, he knows all he knows everybody. And Nobu tells almost everybody about my artwork. Like he's like, I can't tell you how. how grateful I am for that, because he's like, he's just, he's helping me. He's helped me reach the top.

And I was talking to him. I was talking to him about this some wagu from Japan, it's called olive wagu, I guess. only like 2000 cows and some catwalk Island or something they so all the way who comes from this island in Japan, that's only 2000 cows and they it's a very, very rare wagyou, like super rare. So he kind of made the comment. He's like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna find some, and I'm going to bring some back and I'm going to give some to you. Wow. And again, I was still kind of in that like, like, I like, I'm Brent like, I don't deserve that.

Yeah, yeah. And, like three days ago. He hits me up. And he's like, I found some of that. All of y gu come into my coming to Matsuhisa. That's his his first restaurant here. He's like, and I'm going to give you some. And I was just like, boom, like blown away. So I guess two nights ago, I went in to Matsuhisa with three of my best friends. And NoBu served and cooked us all of whack. Like he went back in the kitchen and made this and came out and served and served us and it was all it was such an incredible experience. It was just hanging out with my best friends enjoying some of the most insane wagu I've ever had in my life. Wow. Oh, it was incredible. I don't know where I was going with that story. But man, it was. Dude. I felt like I was on drugs. Like I was I was so just thankful for everything. It was overwhelming. Yeah, I totally forgot where we're going with that story. But

CK LIN 30:28
well, let me interject a little bit. Because Ashley brought me some new questions. As you're describing this, you've been really, really blessed. I'm so moved by your gratitude for these people who have helped you who are helping you. And also your cultivation, to emanate love to everyone that you touch. Right. So these two things really fuel you fear your creativity in all aspects of your life. I want to make sure that this is tactical for the people who are listening. Yeah, hello, this is the story main. Some ways, you know, a lot of the creative entrepreneurs, they want to be at your level. Right? They want to be successful. They want to be hanging out with Nobu. And they get the chance to Yeah. How would you well, knowing why you know now, because you actually been to a journey from worrying about finances being $400,000 in debt and dental, dental school debt to where you are right now hanging out with Nobu. It's a it's a journey, right? Oh, yeah. So knowing what you know, now, what tactical advice would you give them to say, Hey, you, too, can do this? What are some of the little principles that you learn from Nobu, or the people that you hang around with that you too can also pursue this career in this profession, in art? in art, specifically, or in life, but since you're coming from the space of being a creative entrepreneur, what advice would you give them? Knowing what you know now? having gone through that journey, and you were still in the beginning of your journey to your students? Yeah, right. 34 so

I'll go back to let my passion fuel all this like till now. Okay, one,

CK LIN 32:21
let you have passion and fuel this. Oh, yeah. Like and then surrender to it? And I'm hearing you. Yes. And what else?

I mean, just on that passion thing like, cat, people. I use Shaun White as an example, like giving Shaun White got into snowboarding because he thought he's like, Oh, I'm gonna make a ton of like, I'm gonna make somebody come real successful snowboarding, like he did it because he loved it. Right? They became Uber successful.

I'll go back to the, the ceremony. I would if if it was up to me, I'd say everybody should do it at least once. It just it like clears out all the cobwebs.

I obviously, be very confident in what you do, right? Because a lack of confidence is only going to hold you back from in, especially in the creative world, like being out there. trying new things. Like, you know, art is one of those kinds of, there's no, probably in any creative industry. There's no guidebook, you can be like, Oh, you go to school here. And then you do this. And you do this and do thi

you have to, the more like, especially in the creative world, the more different you are, the better it is. And it's kind of scary to, you know, attempt different things in the art world. But if you embrace it, really, if you embrace being different in the art world, like, that's how you get success in it, right? Like you fully go in on what you do. And you're so confident in what you do, no matter what you do, man, that confidence and passion will radiate into your work, it can be, you know, you could paint a giant square, just red. But if you're doing it for a passionate and confident, like passionate reason, people will eventually see that. It's just like, man, it really is "follow your heart". You can have success in the art world, but you could paint Marilyn Monroe and put a bunch of Gucci signs or paint people's dogs, like and you could get financial success. But man, the moment you start really creating, like through your heart. That's, I swear people gravitate towards that. And people can see that in you and

CK LIN 34:56
certain gravity with a confidence exudes into your expressed art.

It's one of those like magical things that, you know, science can't. science can explain it. It's just one of those like magical things of art that really, if you put your if you put your heart and passion into it, I can almost guarantee you'll be successful. No, I can't see a path that it doesn't happen.

CK LIN 35:25
So let me ask you this. And then I'm going to feed my meter in a moment. Okay. You've been really blessed. You had mentioned to me off record, that you had a counselor who believed in you, you. James believed in you good friend, you have now Nobu believed in you. These are pivotal relationships, really, when you didn't believe in yourself at that, at that time? How were you able to attract people who believe in you so much that they're willing to champion you, even when you didn't believe in yourself back then?

James has been a massive part of it. Thank God, I found James goes to any artists out there, if you're not good at business, find somebody who's good at business because art, whether you like it or not, is, you know, part of its business, right half of this business.

So, thank God, James, truly, truly believed in me. And he, a lot of I mean, a lot of my success now is from him. But a lot of my early success was definitely contributed to him because he believed in me so much. He kind of he, he filled my lack of confidence. Like he was so confident in what I did, then it helped propel me. So I got very, very lucky in that situation, you know, if I could go back and tell younger me. Like, if I'd had confidence like I could have fulfilled a lot of that role. But I mean, James does way more than just give me confidence. But and I've talked with a lot of artists that a lot of artists kind of like the kind of like the you know, stay in their studio not be seen and just make their paintings, right.

CK LIN 37:31
They believe that the work should speak for itself.

Yeah. And I, from people I have talked to like a lot of people. You could tell almost when they price like their artwork, like they'll just put a stupid low price on it. They don't feel like they deserve it. And the more confidence you have in what you do, it almost goes without saying like, the more successful you're going to be like, you exude confidence. Man, that that elevates you massively. I wish there was an easy trick to you know, gaining confidence but I think this mindfulness is meditation ceremony being a massive one is an incredible catalyst to gaining more insight to this state of mind.

Again, back to like ceremony like so many things like the just be thankful like sounds so yeah, okay, just be thankful sounds so stupid easy. For some reason, my my brain didn't compute that thought before until after that ceremony like it hit me like a ton of bricks. Yeah. Man, it just washed over me.

CK LIN 38:49
It's one of those things that people know a lot about on this intellectual level.

know a lot about being thankful.

CK LIN 38:57
Yes, these tablet truism you may, you know, here at when you're in when you're out kind of a thing. You're like, yeah, yeah, I know it, but they only know it on the intellectual level. But when you actually experience when you actually experience this on the embodiment level, yeah, actually, that's really embody it, then you're going to really deepen that experience of gratitude of love of these, believe in yourself of self-worthiness, these type of things, that it's not an intellectual understanding, because I for myself, know, it intellectually even preach it. Others intellectually for many, many years, until I actually had my first ceremony, going through this embodied experience, like, Oh, now I know what it means to be a leader. Now I know what it means to be a loving partner not know what it means to be a loving brother, son, you know, these beautiful human experiences that I just didn't have access to?

Man, you hit it, you hit on the head. That's what it was like, intellectually, I knew what all these concepts were. heard it a million times, I've never felt it. I never felt what unconditional love was. And after that ceremony, man, did I feel it? Oh, I'd love to tell that story.

CK LIN 40:26
It's one of those things that it's ineffable. It, you can't transmit it to another person. Yeah.Ineffable means you can't describe it.

Oh, okay, I'm going to use that word.

CK LIN 40:38
Because I can describe it because it's like, you know, one, one example that I give to people is you can describe it, you can paint a picture for it, about what it's like to ride a bicycle. But until you get on a bicycle, you don't know what it's like to ride a bicycle. And another thing about that, too, is you may think you know how to ride a bicycle. But until you ride a bicycle without falling off, you don't know how to ride a bicycle in similarly, I mean, she's segue to another thing that is people walk out of ceremony feeling like, all right, I got this. I know how to love, how to be generous, how to be compassionate. But until you are tested in a situation that are stressful, and to meet someone who may not be so lovable, until you actually face some situation where you don't feel so compassionate. And, and you can continue to be compassionate and loving. And that highest version of you that you know, yourself to be, you don't know how to ride a bicycle yet, you know, still fall off.

Yeah. So one of the things I heard Terry Crews said, on the Tim Ferriss show, he said that life is a confidence game. The more confident you are, everything else just becomes easier, the more easy you can create things, the more gravity you have to attract investors, customers, collaborators. So for someone who has been on the path of cultivating confidence, from not having it to now having it to now amplifying it, right. What tactical thing would you give the listener to as a way to cultivate their inner confidence? Because it's one of those things that you hear people talk about? Yeah, have more confidence. Yeah, but how do you do that? Yeah, it's not it's not something that, you know, it's easy to say, but you can just go on and do it. So what tactical things that you've done to really help you cultivate inner confidence inner believing of oneself worthiness and all these things?

One very, I guess, tangible one is, i started journaling. Every morning, a lot of lot of it what I'm thankful for. But as you're writing these are as I'm writing these things I see, like, all these, like, basically positive wins I'm having every day.

CK LIN 43:16
Right, you're tracking your wins.

Yeah. Okay. Because like what I'm thankful for, you can almost there like my my wins as well. Right? Like, gotcha. And, yeah, you could sit there and like, read it in front of you. And you see all these, you know, things that you're improving on, or all these, like great things that are happening. And it could be one man that may be one of those, what's that word inevitable. Like, I've been doing it a lot through meditation. And I guess, if you want to get into that I've all kind of imagine I'll get into a deep state of meditation, I'll do the the four. Second end for a second. yeah, box breathing. I'll do that to kind of clear my mind, then I'll go to I'll tell myself, Oh, this is another one let's talk about is

the just be when the healer would say like, late at night, he said, you know, everybody take a moment just to be. And so I'll kind of like just be very present, I'll not be thinking about anything, I'll actually be like, filling my my body, like scanning my arms. And then that kind of gets me to a deep state of meditation where I don't have, you know, any stressful thoughts or anxiety, thoughts, you know, coming in, and then I'll kind of imagine myself at a time in my life when I was very confident, like Uber confident and then kind of manifest myself into that. I don't know how helpful that will, will be. Because it's,

CK LIN 44:57
but it helped you. Yes, it's definitely helped. Okay, is journaling. Imagine yourself recalling the time where you're super confident? Yeah, as a way to anchor yourself? Oh, yeah. So what else?

Now, a lot of it is just really stepping back. It kind of goes to the being thankful thing. Like I step back, and I look at what I've achieved, like, holy shit, like, Man, look, I did this, I did this. I sold this painting. I like this person buying this paint, like, Oh my gosh, like, Why am I lacking confidence in all this? Like? I guess I've had a lot of just through selling work. I've had a lot of like, areas, I could look back and see all these like validating things? Um, yeah, to be honest, I've kind of I look back at successes I've had, and I use it. I've used that to kind of reroute my thinking.

CK LIN 46:06
In case, you are doubting yourself, you can actually look back on everything else you've done. Yeah. So that's actually the benchmark. Yes, what you have achieved, or you accomplish, no matter what the circumstances are right now, today. So and but one of those things that's very cerebral process. And what I realized is this. Meditation, journaling, these are state changes, these are tools for state changes, yes, box breathing, all these are great. And from my personal exploration, also client work, what I realized that state changes don't necessarily stay permanent. So it's through our own cultivation and practice, that I they allow us to really exercise that muscle, I'm interchangeably changing the analogy here, but exercise the muscle of self-confidence and self-belief, self-worthiness Yes, to continue to stay in that zone. Even when stressful situation comes. Yes. Right. So that's the way I kind of think about so it's so important for us to cultivate this doing peacetime. So when stress situation comes, you can actually handle it.

Yeah. I guess. Yeah. The way I kind of came about it was, again, I don't say it ceremony was like, the biggest catalyst to it all. And now I've been like the journaling has been do it every morning, no matter what meditation every morning no matter what. And I've always been in the health exercise diet and all that. And it just, it makes so much sense that, like, why not work the brain muscle? You know, why not try to better the thoughts like re you know, reroute the the unconscious, habitual, you know, if there's a habitual thought that I have that is not serving me. Like, why not reroute that to make it a more positive thought?

CK LIN 48:23
So let me ask you this. So recalling back to your early days, Even though you are cultivating your art, the mechanics of painting you are painting every day. But the results haven't yet shown up yet. During that time. Recalling that period, do you have any advice for people who are cultivating, cultivating their physicality, the emotionality, their spirituality, the mentality? And yet the results that they desire hasn't shown up yet? How would you advise them in that bridge period?

is probably why? Well, I don't know if this is going to answer your question. But it's why doing what you love, I think is so important. Because, again, that was what kind of fueled me even when I wasn't having when I wasn't selling anything. Like, I just kept doing it. Because I loved it. I mean, I was like, I was I was hustling to like, I was emailing everybody, like I was okay,

CK LIN 49:28
great. Oh, yeah. Okay, good. That's tactical. Oh, man, I will email everyone. So what else can I do? Like,

I'd cold call people I, Estee Lauder, I found a phone number in like an article. And I called him up and was like, Hey, you know, instead of doing photographs for your makeup, how would I do a painting and then you guys put it in your magazine, you know, so be a painting of your, of your product. And instead of spending, you know, 10,000 on a photo shoot, like, I'll just paint the makeup and really, you know, nice kind of impressionistic way, and you guys put that in. And that was like some of the early wins. You know, the first couple wins.

CK LIN 50:07
But the thing is, you didn't you didn't just play small. You call it directly through

us. Yeah, yeah. Which was very uncomfortable. Right. Okay, good. So so so pick up the phone call your ideal clients, collectors, people who appreciate art, anything else? If you really want to go into like, what I would tell an artist, yeah. Oh, man, that's

CK LIN 50:30
concretize it so that it's not theoretical.

Like, if you're an artist out there any of this works for any creative type. And I believe, like, it is the best time to be an artist or creative because you have man Instagram, like 75% of my business still comes in from Instagram.

CK LIN 50:53
To tactically what would you advise them to do?

I would Instagram. So what I like how I started one first started, one, I did a lot of hustling, cold calls, email and call me an email. And then I started making paintings. And I'd reach out to big influencers, and basically like, Hey, I'll give you this badass painting. And all I ask in return is that you posted on your Instagram and tag me and man that that was a great way to like skyrocket. Okay, my career. That's kind of how I started building up my followers. And then, I mean, yeah, one of the guys that went out to dinner with one of my big collectors, he saw me because this influencer posted on his Instagram, like, as an artist, don't be afraid to give away a few pieces for free, like, realize the value you can get like, even though you're giving away for free, you're not getting money, like the value you're going to get in return for that could be massive. Right? Like

CK LIN 51:56
you did a calculator giveaway? Oh, yeah. It was in just one, you know, without, without thought?

No, no, I was very strategic about who I picked. And, you know, art, it's for a small painting, it's, it may be 50 bucks in material. But think of what that $50 and your time is valuable. But think of what that can give you in return if you get that in the right hands. And now you got 10 people asking for the next painting, right? Like arts.

And if you really want to go into this art thing. People love their dogs, like you want to you want to instantly attract some big influencer and have them post your work find a huge influencer that loves their dog paint their dog send it to them in the most badass package with a handwritten note that says My name is sewn. So I'm trying to build up my art career. I would love it like I would love it. If you posted this on your Instagram, all I asked can return is you tagged my name. And that person with 20 million followers posts it like you're going to have 20 people asking to paint your dog and they'll probably pay good money for it.

CK LIN 53:11
You don't need to do that anymore. Because I was thinking like the rock loves his dog.

The Rock. any artists out there that can paint dogs, dude, find a picture of the rocks dog and paint it again, send them I was like this, I got this idea from Marc Ecko or Yeah, I think it was Martin Ecko. Yeah, he sent a bunch of hats or apparel to Mike, Spike Lee Emily. But he put it in the most obnoxious, like crazy crate that if it was presented in front of anybody, that person would be so compelled to open it and see what was in it. Swag bomb, I think I called it. And I did that. And it works. You know, it may work. You know, nine, nine out of 10 times, maybe a person won't respond to your through dm or whatever. But that one person that does and that is willing to do that, like, Man, that's a snowball effect. And then you're now especially in the art world, now you have a relationship with this person. And like any artists out there confident or not realize, I've kind of come to realize that people who aren't in the art world kind of see what you do is pretty magical. Like it's a mystery to them. Like you're this, like get you can create that, like, yeah, they don't have an art mind. Like you're this kind of like little magical being that can create this really beautiful artwork. And, like, totally embrace that.

CK LIN 54:51
It's pretty magical. The stuff that you showed me here. Thank you. Yeah, I mean, it's pretty. I mean, for those of you who are listening, definitely check out Brent stuff, because there's a I mean, I'm looking at a 2d picture that looks and feels like and velvet.

That's my specialty.

CK LIN 55:11
pretty. It's it's really, really incredible.

Oh, okay. Again, if we're focusing on artists, I can almost categorize artists in the three different groups. This is very, very generalized. 1_There's artists who are great at self promotion and then kind of they're good at like almost turning themselves into a celebrity, turning them into a brand. 2)There's artists who are incredible painters, but they're just okay, well, then, well, look at this, I don't want to artists who are painters, like they just enjoy the process of painting. It's very much what I am. Like, if I could probably have it my way, I just sit in here and just paint all day and not post Instagram just like, I paint because I love it. Yeah. And there's tons of artists out there like that, right. 3)And then the third group is artists who are great painters, but they're also great self-promoters, some like celebrities, basically, that's like the Picasso's. You could become Uber success, if you're good at just branding yourself. You know, no matter, the artwork you create, you could sell it because you're, it becomes Cool, right.

And I guess the artists I want to speak to are the ones who are phenomenal painters, and there's tons of them out there on Instagram. Those the people that are in their studios and love painting, and really, like find passion in it. Like, you have to this is going to sound stupid to some people, but like those paint, I just, I know those painters, I had the same mindset, like you have to, like get your work out there be confident, like show it like, because once people realize how good you are, and now you start to kind of become a brand. And I don't want to use the Word brand. But what's a better word for it and so well known to really stand behind your artwork, be very proud of it, and you start to become that's when you start to get in like good painter and celebrities only word like okay, it goes no,

CK LIN 57:42
but you actually mentioned, I think this is a good point to underline here is you yourself believe in the work that you do.

Oh, yeah.

CK LIN 57:52
Because that's a big tipping point. Right? Would you say that? I'm guessing I'm projecting and correct me if I'm wrong. At some point, you're like, I don't know this is worth it. But at some point you tip, my stuff is good. was there a point?

I knew I was, I was good. And as a painter is kind of making some I don't know how, I don't know if this is true throughout the whole art world. But as a as a technically good painter, you can kind of reach a level and so our work for X amount, right? There's almost like a ceiling. You have to now become us. What's the X amount? Bad or no

CK LIN 58:46
six figures. Five figure is ballpark.

ballpark in the five figures. So I figure okay, but to get to like, if you want to sell paintings for like a million dollars, you have to you have to be the person behind you have to now be just as important as art, right? Like you have to be basically the celebrity who paints the incredible paintings, like incredible paintings and kind of in the social media world. Yeah, they'll reach there's like almost like a cap you can get to like you could doesn't matter how good you are. Now you have to like and this is kind of the area like I'm moving into I used to hide behind my paintings, because I just, I knew I could make awesome paintings, but me personally. Like it was like that imposter syndrome thing, like I didn't like I thought if I attached myself to it, it would become less valuable, right. But now I'm realizing how much more valuable it is that I like, I'm the man behind this painting.

And yeah, so it's like at the beginning, if it wasn't for James, I'd still be sitting in my room. Locked away painting because that's all I wanted to do. Yeah. But now I'm just finding so much joy and going out and hanging out with Nobu and sit down his restaurant. Yeah. pictures with them. That's great, man. Yeah, it's like, this is the new mindset I've been in like, I'm I'm now very proud of what I do.

CK LIN 1:00:24
I mean, it's beautiful. I am not a artisan or even aficionado when it when it comes to art. But I'm looking at yourself like, man, good. Good stuff. Thank you. It was amazing.

And now like, I used to be somebody who'd shy away from compliments, but, man, I fucking love it. Yeah. That's great. Absolutely love it.

CK LIN 1:00:46
Yeah. Receive. Okay, so So we talked about the mechanics of the journey of becoming an artist, stepping into from wanting to do it to be an amateur about it to now turning pro to now turning, turning yourself into a brand. I think we touch upon these type of things. We talked about self-mastery, how you cultivate confidence in your own journey in doing that. Do you think that skill is translatable? I'm sure you probably have other artists, friends who may be musicians who may be singers who may be authors who are in this creative world, but they don't necessarily paint per se, you feel that these type of skills, these type of tactics are translatable to what they do as well.

Yes. Definitely, like, an easy example I can think of is, say anybody who's creatively good at, like video editing, or, like, if I think this is a question you're asking, but if, or a singer, I would go find a huge YouTube channel and offer to do free music forum just like Hey, give me a plug on your next video. And you know, or give me a shout out or video editing.

here's here's one. There is a this one guy who I'm a huge Joe Rogan fan. And he he takes some Joe Rogan's, like a snippet of one of his podcast, and he'll animate it. And I can guarantee he just, he just started doing this and sending it to them. And now you know, then Joe Rogan will repost it. And I'm sure this guy's making a killing now doing what he loves sitting on the computer, doing these really creative, funny little videos. And started off, you know, I can almost guarantee it for free, just by doing it and send it to him. And now I'm sure this guy's crushing it.

CK LIN 1:02:57
What do you love about Joe Rogan? By the way?

I love just the scope of people he has on. I tend not to listen to the ones where he has like comedians or UFC fighters. Actually, one of the biggest shifts in my life was from one of his podcasts.

CK LIN 1:03:14
Tell us about it.

So his business partner, Aubrey Marcus, there was this was my third year dental school. And I listened to this podcast and Aubrey Marcus is you know who he is? Right? Yeah, he's he's done a lot of done a lot of ceremonies. He's, you know, big into psychedelics. Big into bettering himself. And he told this is like a three hour story of believe he went to Peru and he did a ceremony. And man hearing him talk about it. I was like, man, I like, I want that experience. Like, you could just, you know, you know, you could, you could tell when somebody's genuine, right, like when they're speaking in a genuine fashion. And I listened to it, and I like felt what he was talking about. And I've never really listened to somebody where I was so compelled, just by listening to like, feel like I could feel I can remember I cried during it. and after that, I kind of I mean, I'm a huge believer in psychedelics, no, this is not like, you know, get fucked up and go to a party and doing and this is doing them with an intention to better yourself. And that kind of started my journey down that path. And then that was, that was psilocybin. And then after that, that like, completely unlocked. Like, I was like, Oh, my God, like, there's, it's there's so many different ways. It's how was it described. It's just like, looking at the world in a little different light. And you realize that there's, there's a lot of unknowns to us now. And it kind of like invigorated my curiosity to discover more about my, my, how I saw the world and mentally

CK LIN 1:05:19
what kind of people do you think is suitable for using psychedelics as a way to better themselves? it's not for everyone.

I don't know if I could categorize it. Like, I almost all my friends like I, I tried to get him to do it. But I think I'm, I just know him. I know, they're, you know, they're at the mental state where they could handle it. They chose to do it. Right. And I think there's a lot of betterment that a lot of them won't get out of it. I don't know, if I could like, tell you these people should do and these people shouldn't I mean, just did right

CK LIN 1:06:10
for the people that can actually handle it.

Yeah, it is. I don't know how to quantify that.

CK LIN 1:06:14
Yeah, it is. In my mind, the way I quantify it is warrior spirit. Who have a strong enough mind who's stable enough? Yeah. That this one the stabilize their mentality? Yeah.

Right. You get schizophrenia or a history of it. Like, maybe,

CK LIN 1:06:32
right? From right, like bipolar, schizophrenia, type of people. Where you're not mentally stable. Yeah, I would say don't don't mess with it. Yeah, the way I articulate is, this is a dojo for your mind. And if you're not physically fit, you know, don't enter a dojo. Yes. Until you have the container that's safe enough for you to enter proper guidance, then it's more suitable. Yes, right.

Oh, definitely. I would highly, highly, highly encourage everybody to, like start a meditation practice, like and just know, at the beginning is probably going to be difficult, you're probably gonna be feeling like you're doing jack shit. Like, you're just like, wasn't like sit there quietly. But I think that was a great that kind of opened me up to be to be open to the idea. And I mean, because a lot of psychedelics are. I mean, all psychedelics are, they can get really weird, right? Like, it's, that's the whole point. Yeah.

CK LIN 1:07:44
Get yourself out of your reality for a moment.

Yes. In like to be okay with that. And I would say if I had, like, if I could put a percentage of the population I think should be doing it. I

I feel like there. I feel like a good chunk of the population should be open to this. God, we live in a utopia, we get Donald Trump and who's the guy who's the North Korea guy, Kim Jong Hoon? Man, have them do a little ceremony? Like I we live in a very different world very

CK LIN 1:08:21
No, but that's an interesting point that you're making, right? Because a lot of people in the psychedelic community feels like that's the answer. And here's where my opinion differs. Because I believe that psychedelics is a is a good amplifier. It's similar to wealth, okay, similar to influence similar to power. It doesn't enhance who you are, it just amplifies who you are.

That's a great way to put it. I'd never thought that's a great way to put it.

CK LIN 1:08:48
Right? Because you are good, generous, compassionate person, giving you more power, more wealth. You're going to use your wealth and influence towards who you already are. Yes. Similarly, with psychedelics, even though, yes, you may be shown more like, quote, unquote, right in the spiritual sense. But if you who you are as an kind of an asshole, you're going to come out trying to now impose your point of view on the people, you should do this? Because I say maybe, all right, you're right. You know, but that's my point of view. Right? And it's probably an answer somewhere in the middle. I mean,

yeah, yeah, I'm thinking of all the friends that I recommended this to. And I guess it's the majority of friends I hang out with, they're all really good people. And I know it, just make them the better version of of them, or just help amplify them.

Oh, man, life changing. Beautiful, truly, truly life-changing? In all the great ways

CK LIN 1:09:54
beautiful Is there anywhere, anything else that you wanted to address, or anything else that you feel would be for the people who are listening still, that, you know, some gems, some wisdom, some tactical things that you receive? That you really want to share with them? Let me actually ask a better question. For any creative entrepreneurs, listening, knowing what you know, now, having the success that you have now, having gone through the difficulties that you have, is it any, what's one thing that you ask them to take action on?

I mean, a lot of people who are doing I don't know how to describe like, nine to five jobs, right? Like, they're doing a job, and it's a job. But they always tell me, like, I used to play the piano, or Yeah, I used to draw, but I haven't done it in a while. I guess I'm making the assumption that they enjoyed doing that. But I tell them, like, you have to pick it back up. Like, you don't have to make a business out of it. You don't have to make a life out of it. But this is, this is a beautiful joy that you're kind of like depriving yourself of like, if you play the piano, and you enjoy doing it, take some time, at least once a week and sit down and play the piano like this is you could do this the rest of your life. And you could and you're only going to get better the more like creativity, you may get blessed with a better eye or coordination or whatever it be. But it is a lot of it's a it's a practice and the more you do it, the better you get at it. And then the better you get at it, the more you enjoy it. Like it says all it's all just good positivity. Compounding. Yes. So if you have any, any creative endeavor you do, or just something you enjoy doing, and, and you're not doing it, and you're not doing it for no good reason. Like, come on, wake up, start doing it like this is something you enjoy. Like, let it be a part of your life.

CK LIN 1:12:09
Yours actually, one thing I want to add to that to think of it as cross-training, that's bringing back to the athletic capability wise, if you're an NFL player, chances are do a little bit Yoga is actually going to not only enhance your mobility, but a will also enhance your performance in playing football. In this example, if your entrepreneur if you go on and paint in write poetry or sing or record recording videos, whatever it is creative endeavor that you have, ultimately, that's going to rejuvenate your creativity and enhance your professional because most entrepreneurs that I meet a very cerebral, they were very much the Yang energy, they just want to have that intention. If if it doesn't touch my business, I won't touch it. Yes, yeah. All right. So they're very, very single-minded, and I'm been there, I totally understand that. And know that when you do this cross-training, whether it's music, or writing, or video, or teaching or whatever it may be, it's going to only rejuvenate that creativity, and that will bring it back to the professional you want to be the main focus on Yes, yeah, that's my point of view on that.

Yes. To elaborate on that, I, the, the more I get into art is, like I said, there's a business aspect to it, too, is very entrepreneurial. And I see such a relationship between, you know, being creative and art and being creative in business. Like it's, you work your creative muscle, like now you have all these different creative routes, you can like it, you know, that will influence your business or you might, you know, find a better way to unveil a new product, but the really creative artistic way and, and we all know, that's just more, you know, it's more appealing or, like it, oh, man only, I would think only strengthens in. And then one other thing I'm thought of that kind of, I think is some fairly good practical advice is yoga was a, was a has been a great way that because a lot of my friends are a lot of like, a lot of my friends are athletes and I think yoga was a great way to not only get into, you know, physically bettering myself, but also mentally bettering myself helping myself get into that state of mind of like, just being present being in my body, which is which then, as you know, like, the more present you are, you know, you can you read, reach like a state of deeper consciousness, right. And I thought yoga was a great, easy transition from going to know mindfulness to, like, now you're exercising, but you're kind of, you know, you're getting into mindful states too. So it's like a nice bridge for maybe anybody who's doesn't want to like to sit down in a chair, close your eyes and meditate, like, two birds with one stone.

CK LIN 1:15:26
Yeah, think of it as a moving meditation. So one thing we actually didn't talk about specifically, is the importance of peer groups. Because we mentioned many times in this story, in your own narrative in your hero's journey, that you had someone who believed in you, right, and that you're now surrounding yourself with friends who give you an experience of love, yes, help you really amplify that even more. Yes. So how does cultivating the right peer group actually make a difference in your creative process?

Man, I, this is one of those ineffable things that the right word. I don't know if I could quite explain it. But, you know, I now just I just try to be around people I love and that that make makes me happy. And people who are also like crushing in life, like, those are the people I want to surround myself with. And you know, all that energy just just plays off everybody.

I think it's highly sounds bad, but I like any, if I, I've had, they're still friends, but there's, there's been like, probably more negative influences in my life. And I've sounds a little selfish, but I've kind of moved away from them. Because I don't really want that in my life. And now I just I really identify with the people who are on the same trajectory as me.

And I mean, it's just, this could be one of the things that go in one ear and out the other, but it really is like, show me your friends and I'll show you your future. Like, start identifying with the people you want. That they're on, you know, the same path you are, that can elevate you, in all aspects relation, you know, friends relationships, like my, my hope is to be my best person, the day I die. And I know that will only happen if I surround my self with other people who are on that same path.

CK LIN 1:18:02
Yeah, beautiful place to leave it. Yes, brand. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. The lessons that you learned along the way, and the tactical advice that you have for creative entrepreneurs.

You're very welcome. It was my pleasure.

CK LIN 1:18:18
For those of you listening to go out try out Brent's advice and tell us what you receive as a result. Have a beautiful day. Take care.