How a Restaurant Manager Started a Progressive Art Collective in Seattle

How a Restaurant Manager Started a Progressive Art Collective in Seattle


– And their like who the (beep) are you? And I’m like, “I run the joint.” So. It’s mostly just me being like, “I think this might work.” Life as you knew it is not anymore. – I (beep) up. – Bam! – Like this is not gonna work out. – Here’s an idea, I have no
idea how it’s gonna happen, let’s set a date. (pumped up electronic music) – Everybody, welcome to the show. As always, this is a show about failure, it’s about screwing up. It’s about taking big risks, whether or not you’re
a serial entrepreneur, you work in the tech industry or you work in a manufacturing
plant or you just wait tables and you decide to do something big. To take a risk, to follow your
heart, make something happen. Tonight, we’re gonna be talking to a woman I’ve know for a very long time. She runs an artists community co-op space, here in Seattle. I cannot wait to talk to her. But before we do that, as always, we’ve got a special drink lined up from our resident bar
tender wizard alchemist, Mr. Jack Sanders. Jack, what do we have tonight? – I’ve got a cocktail
called the Rite and Ritual, It’s a vegetal,
herbaceous, smokey, citrus, with a little bit of sage. It’s got a Mexican rum base with a few characters just to
build that flavor profile out. Then I add 1.5 of our
Mexican rum Charanda Blanco, Bergamot liqueur from Italy
and a bitter Aperitivo from Colorado called Breckenridge Bitters. And I use a little bit of Kalamansi Juice, it’s Filipino Citrus. And last but not least, I use a blend of palo santo, cinnamon and a little bit of sage
to smoke the drink itself. (jazzy music) (machine whirring) And that is the Rite and Ritual cocktail. (pumped up electronic music) – Hey everybody, welcome to the show. Tonight’s guest is Carolyn
Hitt she runs an art studio, its called Blue Cone
Studios in Capitol Hill. All right so, in the
video, tell me about that, what was going on? Well that’s tea. So every Tuesday, we do an open studio from six to nine. – [Shawn] Okay. – We open the recording booth, where they can come and sign
up and record their raps or poems or whatever. – [Shawn] Yeah. – I’ve got an engineer in there and it’s first come first serve. And then I put out a bunch
of tables like you saw and the supplies and
there’s usually snacks and everybody kinda come and kicks it. – [Shawn] Just like anybody in
the community just comes up? – [Carolyn] Anybody that hears about it. – [Shawn] Yeah? – [Carolyn] Yeah I mean, I post
it and people always ask me about like, you should blast it out more. And I’m like, “Nah cause we
don’t really have that much room and I’m not really trying to
have everybody up in there.” – Yeah, yeah, yeah. – You know what I mean, it’s
like something that I throw. You know? And people show up by
word of mouth mostly. Like, I post it on my Facebook
but you know, algorithms. – Yeah.
– You know. – So are you like- are you like
this matriarch of the event. Like people show up, you come out like wearing robes and scarves. – Oh my god. Oh my god, I absolutely do not do that. (Shawn laughing) – Like wha– how do you imagine this goes? How do you imagine this going? – ‘Cause you put it together
and like you come out and there’s people like in
the recording booth like, “Is that her?” and they kind of point over
and, no that’s not what happens. – Well, no it- there are no robes. – [Shawn] Well ’cause you
started this on your own right? – [Carolyn] Yeah I mean I started this, I started doing this right
after we got the studio. So I’ve had the studio about three years. – [Shawn] Yeah. – And we’ve been doing tea every Tuesday for the last two and a, – [Shawn] Okay, okay. – Two years. So people know me and
I also make sure that if people bring friends up
that they make sure to know me. – [Shawn] Okay. – [Carolyn] Mostly so that
they don’t get caught off guard when I’m telling them @#$! to do. – [Shawn] Yeah, yeah, yeah yeah. – Ya know, like don’t do that. And their like, “Who the (beep) are you?” and I’m like “I run the joint.” So let’s save that embarrassment and then just introduce
your friends to me. ‘Cause I’m always there, it’s
really rare that I’m not there you know and it’s also a time
when I have other community that are looking to link with
me about projects or shows or things. That’s the time I give
them to come and find me. Which is hilarious because I
never have the attention span to address anything that
they wanna talk about. (laughing) – [Carolyn] They’ll show up and be like, “You said come talk about this.” I’m like, “Yeah, I’m not gonna.” – [Shawn] I’m done. – This isn’t the right time for that. This isn’t the right
time to talk about that. (pumped up electronic music) – [Shawn] So why did you start this? – Blue Cone got thrust upon me. In the sense that, I was
working at the restaurant and I was running the art walk there. – Okay. – So, Mark Mueller is one of
the artists in the studio. Currently. He’s one of my regulars
at the restaurant, okay. And I was doing the art walks at the time, this is like four or five years ago that he and I first knew
each other at the restaurant. And I didn’t know a lot of artists then. So I would just put my
art up for every art walk. (Shawn laughing) I was just like @#$! it,
eventually somebody’s gonna ask me. Like, I don’t know
where these artists are, I tried to get the tattoo artist like, “Hey, you guy wanna do shows and things?” People are lame. – [Shawn] I love that there’s
the art walk, you work there and you’re like, “You know
what, I need some art.” “It’s just gonna be mine.” – [Carolyn] I had nobody else to do. (Shawn laughing) And it’s like I can always make art. Like I’m not without–
I can entertain myself. I can make art.
– [Shawn] Yeah. – For every art walk, for years. – So how long have you
been doing art then? ‘Cause this is visual art
you’re doing painting, you’re doing shirts,
you’re doing ceramics. – [Carolyn] Paintings,
sculptures, ceramics and also a lot of production, like video. – [Shawn] Video production type of stuff . – [Both] Yeah, yeah, yeah. – [Shawn] How long have
you been doing that? – Well, I probably really went full in like, right around 2011. Like I had been making handbags and I had been down in East Lake and I’d been sort of
like restaurant world. Like feeling like I needed to break out and I was in this long relationship. – [Shawn] 2011? – [Carolyn] 2011. And there was a point that year where I kinda got zapped. You know and it was like, “Oh (beep) and everything
you’re doing is (beep).” (Shawn laughing) You know, like we need
to make big changes now. Like, this dude’s never gonna change, this is never gonna change, these people are never gonna change. The only way is for you to
(beep) change and beat it. So I left him, I moved up to Captiol Hill, and to my own little place by myself for the first time in a really long time. And I was like (beep), I’m gonna make art. And I was already at the
restaurant at the time with the art walks. And I was like, I left
him the cats I was like, “No, no, cats get all over paintings, “I’m not dealing with that. You have them” Like really, I was like
(beep) it, I’m done! And then I was just like,
“Now we’re gonna do this.” – So selfishly I wanna know, in like taking the leap sort of thing, what’s like the, the nerve? – [Carolyn] No, it’s like
a really strong sense. – [Shawn] Like how dare you? – [Carolyn] Its a really
strong sense of like, “This is not my life.” – [Shawn] Okay. – And I don’t want to
live a life that’s not- like (beep) this. This isn’t what it is,
I don’t know what it is but this isn’t it. (pumped up electronic music) – [Shawn] If I wanna take a leap, let’s say a corporate gig everything else, I just want to write full time or I want to start performing
full time and doing it again. What advise would you give me? – You can’t do this on your own. Like, you can but it will suck. – [Shawn] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. – That’s the thing like, it’ll suck, none of this is meant
to be done by yourself. Like, you need a team. – Yeah. – Where I’m at now, is that
I’m a little bit further along. You know, ’cause you go through teams and you realize, “Ah, your
commitment is different than mine oh we have different
understandings of the mission.” And so it’s really a matter of like, the last three years have
just been figuring out what is the mission? And who’s on this ride? – [Shawn] Right, right. – [Carolyn] Because you know, it’s me and I got a lot to offer
and I know we can do @#$!. But I need a commitment
from people that isn’t like, “Oh I’m volunteering so
sometimes I’ll show up.” I’m like, “No, we have an agreement.” It’s a lot just me and
some volun- you know, people would help here and there but it was mostly just me being like, “I think this might work.” (Shawn laughing) – [Carolyn] “Let’s try this.” You know? (pumped up electronic music) – [Shawn] When you started
putting stuff together were there moments when you’re like, “No, no, no, no, I (beep)’d up.” “This is not gonna work out.” – Oh I mean, I’m pretty
sure that’s the whole way. – [Both] Like the whole time. – Well I don’t know. – [Shawn] Did you have like this week and you’re thinking like (gasp) or even at that point
like something happens and you’re like “I don’t
think I’m gonna recover from this.” – I bounce. You know what I mean? I bounce back pretty well.
– Right. – You wanna know how I do it? I’m like, “Here’s an idea, I have no
idea how it’s gonna happen.” “Let’s set a date.” – [Shawn] That’s great though. – [Carolyn] Let’s set a date,
tell everybody you’re doing it sign a contract and then figure it out. (pumped up electronic music) – [Shawn] Basically like a real picture. Like an honest, sell the negative picture
on what it would take to start and do your own thing. Like what would you say to them? What advice would you give them? What would you tell them to do? – That’s tough, it depends on how deep a person is into the programming, really. Because I was- it was
clear to me very young that I was not gonna be playing this the way others expected it. Like I knew it, my folks knew it. They gave up on telling me what to do. (laughing) I was like, “No, this
isn’t how it’s gonna be.” Like, “I’m gonna go do this, I’m special.” – [Shawn] Yeah. – And they were like, “Huh.” And I was like, “Whatever.” You know, I’ll die and prove
to you I am or I’m not. Whatever, this is how it’s happening. My dad wanted me to be an engineer and I had the brains for
that but zero attention or interest in that. – This is advice right
– You have to know – [Shawn] It’s cooked in right? – I’ve seen people try to break out of the
programming unprepared. And they go crazy. Do you know what I mean? – [Carolyn] It was
instilled in me very early, I knew it so it wasn’t as ingrained as it is to
get married, have your kids, do this (beep). Like get your college degree,
get a house, get a car, all this (beep). And I’m like, “I’m gonna
literally do none of that.” Ever. And I tried, there were a
few times where I was like, “Is this how you do it?” Like, “This is super boring.” You know what I mean,
like, “Is this life?” “This is lame.” Tried it a couple times
to see what it was about but most people don’t- I for
most people it’s too deep. I think the programming is too deep. But if you wanna break out like, slow. – [Shawn] Right. – I honestly wouldn’t suggest, like some people just quit their job and go into it. Something will drive them I
can’t tell them how to do that, something will make them do it, like I couldn’t make anybody do that. Like the (beep) stars will be like, bam! – [Shawn] You’re done. – Life, as you knew it, is not anymore. Go do this. – All right. – Here you go, last one. Are we doing chin chin?
– I don’t know All right, listen. – Okay
– I’m so happy you’re here. – I’m really happy to see you. – Yeah and thank you for being here. Okay chin chin, is that what we’re doing? – Whatever. Thank you Chad wherever you are. – Thank you Chad. – No you gotta take it down.
You ready? Thanks for being on the show. It’s not really a shooting- – [Both] Let’s go. – Did you really? – I’m a boss. What are you? – Not a boss. (laughing) – Hey everybody, this episode
it brought to you by GoDaddy. If you have taken the leap and you think you can inspire
other people with you story, we’d love to hear from you. And hey, hope to see you on the show. (pumped up electronic music)

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