You lie awake most nights thinking, wondering when you’re going to catch a break. No, you’re not even dreaming about that big break people used to talk about; you’re just seeking that little break that allows you to catch your breath and reset.
You probably grew up hearing of stories when musicians had nothing but the clothes on their back, when they took off with nothing but their guitar and travelled across the country, writing songs, hoping to become famous one day.
Most of them ended up settling in some town, nowhere near where they wanted to be. They would meet a boy or a girl, get married, have children then grandchildren, inevitably getting old. And many nights they would recount a certain day when by the roadside they sat next to Dylan, or maybe recall the week they didn’t sleep at all the first time they saw Page make his guitar roar using a violin bow.
That was a time when artists could still escape to strike gold or to strike out, when there was still a difference between here and there. You could make your life more complex by going after your dream (and hopefully you’d make it). Or you could stay at home and live a rather quiet, less complicated life.
In the 21st century, however, there are few places in the corners of the world where life isn’t complicated. Thanks to social media, everyone now is his or her own celebrity to manage. We have invented tools and appliances for multipurpose use. A phone that’s a map, a newspaper, a word processor, a fax machine, a telex, radio and stereo, a television, a computer, a calculator, and least of all, a phone.
Now technology and the economic culture behind it necessitates multipurpose people, “hybrid people, as Greg Ferreira calls it. Who isn’t a photographer when you have Instagram? Who isn’t a writer when you have blog apps? One might suppose it was only a matter of time when artists would have to also learn the art of doing business, all sorts of business. Hybrid artists.
One might say that Rock ‘N Shop was conceived on a backseat of a rock ‘n roll RV that’s headed to nowhere in particular. The Bushwick Hotel’s Gregory Ferreira and Rudy Temiz longed to spend a lot of their days hopping into one and travelling all over the world to play their music. There’s only one problem. To do that, they needed money. To get money, they needed a job.
“So what,” most people would ask. Everyone does it, right?
But for this particular duo, the kind of job everyone would voluntarily do conflicts with who they are. “When you’re trying to do what we’re trying to do,” explains Greg, “there’s a lot of working on the character that is you. I couldn’t do that working in a videostore…(that) day job is so unbohemian.”
Posed with this problem, what the two decided to do was to figure out a creative way to find something that would give them income while allowing “our eccentricities to flourish.”
The answer came in another art form: visual arts. Three years ago, they began to sell mixed media artwork–“mostly nostalgic, souvenir-like silhouettes of New York City using spray paint, silk screens, maps–on the streets of Brooklyn. Not only did it prove a good business idea, it also became another form of artistic expression and one that, enjoyably enough, is a good fit for their goals and, more importantly, their personalities.