Listen to the Happy Progress Podcast where Sergey Gordienko shares how he left his job at a digital agency to move to Miami and become a full time artist. \
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I've been doing what I love unconsciously all my life. That was just part of my life without thinking about it and trying to follow this rule. It was just, I always know that this is the main thing in the world and the most important thing in the world. And just when I decide and feel that I want to share with people my artworks, my paintings, and came up, I need to share my vision, my concept with people. So it wasn't even a question for me, it was just first thing that I create the first piece. Which is right there on top, Do What You Love one.
If that what was the first piece that I made with this message. And since then, I decided I'm going to stick with this name, with this model, with this slogan, whatever is it. And I did it first for myself. Right? I did it, just a few pieces when I moved to new apartment. I was just, oh, I want to have my art for myself. But then I started seeing people resonate with this artwork, with this message. And they asked me to sell them or make them some artworks, you know? It eventually became the project. But for me it's like, some people has some quotes on the walls, right? Like "Life is beautiful." Like, "Make love, not war", all this stuff. So at this kind of things, they're just, when you're surrounded by them it helps you to remember and be aligned. And when you have a bad days, or when you confused, when you're not sure what to do with your life, this helps you to get the right direction, to go to the right direction, I believe, for me and for my friends, I guess. Yeah.
So tell us a little bit about your story of how you got here. I mean, we're in Miami, we're at a great studio. It's all yours, all of your artwork everywhere. Paints everywhere. Wonderful. I mean, really, you should be very proud of where you are. I would love to know how you got here.
For so long kind of part and long journey, it didn't have for one night or over one night, or a few weeks. No. It took me the whole life to get this place, to be where I am right now. There is no shortcuts, unfortunately. There is everybody had their own start, their own foundation. Like if you was born in a rich family, for example, it might be easier for you, or if you was born even in States. I wasn't born in the States, I came here nine years ago. Right? With zero language. So I have to face a lot of difficulty before I became an artist. Before I understood what I'm going to do with my life. So everybody, as I said, has different stories, and have their own path and journey.
My journey was... I've been lucky, I met my partner, the girl, three years ago. My soulmate. And she was an artist at that moment. And she inspires me that I'm going to be an artist. I knew what I'm going to... But she kind of just appears in my life all of a sudden. And she showed me that it's possible. Like, without saying anything, just being her. And I was look at her and say, okay, if she can, I can. You know?
She's like your mentor. And she showed you the path.
Right. It seemed, what I doing. I think people look at me and think, okay, if this guy could, I can do it too. So I think this is how it works, we inspire each other and we just became better version of ourselves. We're growing together-
Tell us where you came from.
Yeah. I was born in Vladivostok city, it's far East of Russia, close to Korea, Japan. And so it's Asian part of Russia, opposite of Moscow. Completely different side of Russia. And then when I was 25, I moved to Moscow and I was doing graphic design, and I was doing art direction and creative direction at that moment. Visual art painting, but not professionally, not as a business, not as a full-time thing. Mostly as a hobby. And then I moved, from Moscow I moved to San Diego, California, and lived there about four years. And then I moved to Miami for Art Basel, and I stayed here. Art Basel was the really reason for me to understand who I want to be and were I want to stay, and what I want to do. So it was a big inspiration for me as well.
Have you had your work shown in Art Basel?
Two times already in Wynwood.
Excellent. Tell us a little bit about this art studio.
It's just, I met a person who liked my art, and I know he has some abandoned properties in downtown. And I ask him before last Art Basel if he has some spare that I can rent before... Basically because I need to work on big pieces. And he gave me this amazing deal. And since then I'm here. And I'm looking right now to move, to open my own gallery in Fort Lauderdale, is going to be a big, big space, big event space. And big studio as well, and big gallery. So I'm going to leave this space as a store and slash gallery. But my studio, all my supplies and paint will move to Fort Lauderdale.
I'm sure there are a lot of people who are either working in full-time jobs, and they grew up as artists, and they have dreams of opening up their own gallery or even just showing. What advice would you give to a younger generation looking to get into your shoes?
There is a few ways how you can do it, right? You can save some money. Right? Then just doing sometimes and try it. You can collaborate with other artists and ask, I'm always helping my friends who want to showcase their artworks. Even during Art Basel, sometimes I put somebody else work next to mine, and give them a feeling of how is it to be an artist, and help them to sell their art. You can also, if you truly believe in yourself, you can just start doing it full-time. You can, like in my case, I did this was my decision. I felt, okay, I'm cut off all my income from other sources, like from digital art, from graphic design. I'm not taking anything else besides my painting. Commission work.
Yeah, beside that. So I have no other choices how to make it work and survive.
One are the important things that I've heard you say is making connections. How do the people around you really affect your work?
I started my spiritual path not that long, just few years ago. So before I already been an artist, I already did some shows, art galleries, and exhibitions. But when I started doing meditation, yoga, and all these activities, I met a lot of people who just willing and want to help you because we are at the same frequency. They beautiful human beings, and they open heart and open mind. Then some them has stores, restaurants. Some of them know somebody, some of them want to have something from you and they have money from their own businesses, so they're supporting the same people, community, I guess. So this is how it works, I guess. We just need beginning, you know?
We're still young. We're still like, we have so much things to do. And we're gone at the right direction. If you here, if I'm here, if they there, if we resonate, if we're at the same frequency, it means we're going the right direction. Sometimes we have to do things that... We need to pay our bills. Right? And not everybody can just fully dedicate their time, and take all the risk. They have responsibilities, families, kids, parents, all other things. But if they start thinking about it, if they already understand, okay, maybe my job is not my perfect job, not my dream job yet. But I know what I want to do with my life. It means you're on the right direction, you're on the right path. And eventually you're going to get there, somehow, somewhere, something happened.
The universe helps you. The people who surround you helps you. You will be there in the right time. And when you be there, you will remember me or somebody who helps you in the past. And you said, you, it was you who inspires me or who helped me, who give me good advice. Who just, I saw your paintings, whatever, and meet you somewhere. And now I'm finally doing what I love, or I'm happy with my life. And we going to be celebrating it.
What is keeping you busy financially? Just curious for anybody who's looking to start a art business full-time, if they want to jump into it.
After the COVID you need to adjust yourself. Depends on the time and the city, and the trends there right now. Before the COVID it was mostly events and galleries and exhibitions where I was showcasing my works. I was doing live paint. I was doing shows and performance and collaboration with different artists and fashion brands. Now everything is paused, so we're doing, like art is doing more things online. So we're focusing on eCommerce and lessIn-person.
Less in-person, right. And plus prints instead of original paintings, original artworks. Because people, again, trying to save some money sometimes. And I understand that, but everybody still want to sometimes has some nice, beautiful pieces there. Yeah. The jackets, for example, the wearable art, I was saying. This is one of the most-
Popular, I think. I guess, for people because it's not that expensive as a big canvases, plus you can wear it and you can be unique. You can be artist who has artistic cloak. And it's more affordable.
So people are bringing in their jackets or their shoes [crosstalk 00:00:11:55], skateboards, bags, and you are designing on top of them.
Yep. Over painted, customize and do some kind of art touch there with those. We all have this perception or feeling that the artist, to be an artist equal be poor, kind of. And struggling with money and everything. Which is, most of the time, probably true. But I believe that if you really want something, the whole universe will help you. Especially if you hard worker. If you just, not just laying down and wait when it's going to happen to you, and you became famous one time. No, you work and you try. And you're always improving. You're always finding a way how to sell, how to market, and how... Like, producing art never stop. Whatever you feel is not working, you just continue doing it. Doesn't matter what other people say. It doesn't matter. And eventually it's pay off.
Yeah, you're ambitious. And also you've put yourself in a position of success by going out and surrounding yourself with like-minded people who can raise your vibration and your energy. It fed more into that probably.
And through those connections, you're creating art. And that's the same thing that happens with music, or entrepreneurship, investing. We live our life on passion. What makes us happier or moving away from pain. Obviously you had enough pain that you wanted to become a full-time artist. That you didn't see any other reason to change.
What do you regret? Or, what have you changed?
No, I think everything is perfect. Even your fails, you learn from them. This is your experiences, unique thing. And you can regret about it. But you're still alive. You're still doing what you're doing, you know? And it did not kill you, it makes you stronger.
I love it. This podcast is all about making progress, daily things that you can do in your life. Whether you want to become a full-time artist, if you just want to improve your health, you want to make more money. You want to find more fulfillment in your work. Does progress equal happiness to you?
Sometimes, I would say. Because when I work, I definitely feel better. Especially when I see results. For me, I-
What's that feeling like?
Just, you create something. You spent this day for some reason, not for nothing. You can lay down all day and watch YouTube or procrastinate and did not do anything. And then in the end of the day you came to the studio or take your sketchbook, I don't know, iPad, work on something, create some cool idea or concept. Or, you accomplish something and it looks beautiful. Either it's like paint, artwork, or something that brings you closer to your goal. You know? Like from the business perspective, you viewing you. Like you did not lost this day. You really didn't waste this day. You did something. Especially with art, it's just amazing. You create something, you stay on it for hours. I did it. That's so cool. You feel proud [crosstalk 00:15:38]-
Absolutely. What does it feel like when you go into someone's home, that you've never met, and you see their art? Your art.
My art? Oh, you know what I saw recently, I was on Tinder. I was on the Tinder. I was just swiping left, left, left. No one really likes, I don't really likes a lot of... I very have a specific looking, like probably Russian looking. But no, no, no. This, I'm just saying-
No, I just was in the Tinder, right? And I found a girl who has my painting on her Tinder for the behind her. She is sitting on bed, and behind her, Do What You Love, my piece art. And I remember this piece of art I sold her three or two years ago. She was with her boyfriend. They came on the Tesla X, bought this painting on my birthday, two years ago. And now she's on the Tinder.
I like her immediately. But she never respond yet. It was funny, was seriously my artwork on Tinder. For me, most even important thing, not even you have my piece or not, but if you resonate with my artwork. Some people cannot afford my artwork right now, but they love it. They telling you how cool it. Ask me the price and say, "Oh, unfortunately I'm on a budget right now. I can't. But one day I'll..." And I said, "Yes, I'll be there for you. Please." Or I tell him, "Hey, how about a print? Maybe you want a small version, maybe you want just something." Because it's energy, it's not just a piece of art and the paint and canvas. It's energy. That just inspires.
And you just sharing your energy with other people, and they can share it with somebody else, their family, their friends. And we change the world. I didn't want to make it super mass production kind of thing. Like a printed unique, limited editions, this kind of original feeling that you own. However, if you like my artwork, I do all I can to make you have my art piece somehow, somewhere on t-shirt, on a [bilbo 00:18:04] hat, on the back, on their skateboard, on a car, on your wall, whatever. For me it's very important that you're as a [native 00:00:18:12]. It means 99% we are the same. We have the similar mindset. We going to the same direction. We already doing what we love, or we on our way to this goal, to the direction.
We're here with the, Do What You Love artist. You can check him out on Instagram. But where else can we find you online?
You can find me also on my website. Right? Like, dowhatyoulove.art.
Anything we should look forward to coming up from you?
I'm working on a few projects right now. I'm fini... Not finishing, but I'm on a project. I'm on the process of my Do What You Love book, art book. It's going to be a huge, big, table book with my artworks. I'm still working on design and some ideas, some back stage for this, and stories behind each piece-
B roll type of stuff.
Right. Plus there is going to be few events coming up, September 27. It's going to be in Wynwood. We're doing a collaboration with Nestle company. Then [crosstalk 00:19:28]-
That's amazing. You started at, essentially, a creative agency. And now you're 100% full-time artist. And now you're back basically working with brands doing the stuff that you love.
Brands come to me, like right now. And say, "Hey, we like your art, we like your energies, resonate with our brand mission. Can we do something?" And I'm said, "Yes, of course." I just recently did a collaboration with [inaudible 00:19:53] Sushi bar in Miami. I put my artworks on their lunchboxes. And I don't know if she saw it, but it's just beautiful, and people love it. And everybody now is sharing these boxes as a piece of art. Some people, some of my friends even buying this [slide 00:20:12] box to have my piece of art-
Collection piece. They're not thrown out. Some of them just got it off and put it on their wall, or whatever.
Any last words?
Do what you love, guys. This is the only one big and main message that I can give you. And just remind you again about your purpose here.
Also, I mean, there's so many people who've been through these situations. I mean, I'm using the podcast alone to find those people and ask those questions. So anybody could do it. If you're interested in something and you have a burning desire, and you want to get there, find the people who have already done it. Go out, ask them, and then model successful people. It's really not much more difficult than that. Because the connections that you're going to make are really going to last a long time.
Yeah. Thank you for your time.
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