Elevate Your Brand

Elevate Your Brand with TrustyScribe of ReBIRTH ETERNAL

May 13, 2022 Laurel Mintz / TrustyScribe Season 3 Episode 31
Elevate Your Brand
Elevate Your Brand with TrustyScribe of ReBIRTH ETERNAL
Show Notes Transcript

TrustyScribe is a multidisciplinary street artist, photographer, writer and filmmaker inspired by the human spirit. As a mental health advocate, Trusty sparks conversations about wellbeing to lift the stigma on mental health. His work has been photographed thousands of times all over the world and been seen by millions, and in 2021, The Today Show produced a profile on Trusty for Carson Daly’s mental health series Mind Matters. Trusty, who found mental health advocacy through his street art, continues this conversation with ReBIRTH ETERNAL, his new solo exhibition intended to capture the tranquil moments just before sudden change.

Laurel Mintz, founder and CEO of award-winning marketing agency Elevate My Brand, explores some of the most exciting new and growing brands in Los Angeles and the US at large. Each week, the Elevate Your Brand podcast features an entrepreneurial special guest to discuss the past, present and future of their brand.

You're listening to the Elevate Your Brand podcast, where we talk to some of the smartest entrepreneurs and fastest growing brands in the market, today. I'm your host, Laurel Mintz, a reformed corporate MAA attorney who founded award winning LA based marketing agency Elevate My Brand. We've elevated some of the world's biggest brands from Facebook, Paw Patrol and Verizon to innovative startups you haven't even heard of yet. Are you ready to elevate your brand? Keep listening.

Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another episode of Elevate Your Brand. I, of course, I'm your host, Laurel Mintz, and I am so freaking excited to be joined today by my friend and super talented artist Trusty or TrustyScribe. Trusty, thank you for joining us today. 

Thank you so much. I'm a massive fan of yours as well. 

Oh, I love that. Well, I think we should tell our audience how we met, which was basically me totally stalking you on social media, which is what I do with most artists. But for a number of years, yes, for years. And then you moved down to LA and you were like, hey, I'm in your backyard. And I was like, you need to come over for drinks. And you actually didn't think I was a stalker and came in hanging out, which was so cool? 

Well, so, I've been living in LA for back in LA for over a decade, but I was living over in West Hollywood. I moved into your area, but I am originally from San Francisco. 

Yes. And the rest is history, as they say. But we're not here to talk about me. We're going to talk about you and your fabulous exhibit that just came out, your first solo show, right? 

Yeah. Really excited about it. It came out, I mean, exactly as I envisioned it. 

That's so cool. Well take us back in time first and tell us how you got started being an artist. I know you started as a photographer and then eventually got into street art, but take us back through the history of Trusty. 

Yeah. I've been a photographer pretty much most of my life. I picked up the camera at a young age. My father had an old Olympus Om, one that I started shooting on back in the day and then obviously transitioned into digital. And I have had a love for street art and graffiti for a few decades. And so I started just on my own, documenting it as sort of an urban preservationist. Whenever I would travel, wherever I would go, I would go Hunt Street art and graffiti in different cities around the world. And the more I did it, I started meeting up with artists and changed my attention from the art itself to the process and documenting street artists in process. So I would go out in the middle of the night with people doing sort of illegal stuff, and I would go spend days or weeks or months with other artists on large mural installations like big Commission work and hanging off the sides of buildings several stories up. And then in 2017, I was in a relationship, and it went really sour and turned into an abusive relationship. And I started slipping into a depression. And I've, throughout my life, sort of ridden the waves of depression, but this was a really bad one. And I didn't at the time understand really what was happening. And after the fact realized I was being gasoline and being lied to and manipulated. But in the midst of that, I had already started thinking like, oh, if I was to start painting, what would that be? And in the midst of that depression, I was looking for something to really take my attention away from the depression and focus me. And I found two things I found reading was really good for me. And also I decided to start painting. And so I found through that I'm a stencil artist as a street artist, and cutting stencils takes 100% of my focus. I can't listen to a podcast. I can't focus on anything else. When I'm cutting a stencil, everything is just white noise around me. So it really helped me. And the first one said, Please excuse my depression. It has a mind of its own that came organically from what I was going through. 

The best start always does. 

It meditative and really, it's just so natural and authentic. 


And just healing for myself. I was doing it for me. I mean, it's easy to look back with full clarity and say, well, yes, it was art therapy and that's what you were doing. Yeah, that's what I was doing. But it wasn't totally intentional in that sense. And so I started painting these life size work bubbles out on the street for me to heal me. But obviously, the way I created it, not having a character, just having these bubbles out, was for people to be able to stand with them and interact with them and sort of complete the piece of art by standing. 

It's very experiential, actually, now that I'm thinking about it. Very experiential. Absolutely.

The name TrustyScribe comes from I've been a writer most of my life as well, and I'm a big sort of proponent of integrity and honesty. And so it means honest writer. 

I love it. 

And I had to separate myself from the photographer side because I was still going out and shooting other people, so I didn't want there to be any sort of confusion of the two. And for the first two years, I hid my identity. 

Right. Well, because street art and now it's a bit more mainstream, but still very illegal. Are you allowed to name drop some of the incredible artists that you covered who I was shooting? 

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was shooting everyone from Shepherd Fairy to Retina to Ville to Teacher, some of the most prolific street artists of our time right now. Yeah. And honestly, my technique that I've used that I learned to start out with is referred to sort of in our circles here in La as the teacher technique. And it's the way we use this self adhesive mesh and paper to create these stencils where you can the mesh grabs all the paper so you can have sort of floaters instead of bridges that hold. So if you think of the letter O, the center there in a standard stencil, you need to have bridges that connect the center or else it's just a big open circle where the mesh lets you cut the whole thing out. So you have that perfect circle in the middle. I didn't even think about it. The technique behind it. And I think people are like, oh, I could do stuff like that. Right. And then when you think about really the depth of the technique and the thoughtfulness behind it, not to mention the location, the wording that you choose, it is such a thoughtful process that nobody can replicate. That's the truth of it. Right. And it's really funny because I remember the first time I tried to make one teacher had a video online, and I had known him. But at that point, I wasn't sort of in a position to ask questions, I think, or I didn't think I could. And so I watched one of his videos and I tried what you do is really quickly you take a print of an image or word, and you lightly spray some adhesive onto a cutting board, and then you glue the piece of paper down so it doesn't move. And then you cut it out, and then you put the mesh over and pull the whole thing up. And what I did the first time, I was actually trying to do an image of Robin Williams, which is actually a really incredibly difficult piece to do because of the detail. And I just glued the entire thing down. That didn't fucking work. Oh, my God. It was an absolute disaster. And I was like, I don't know. I don't know what the hell I'm doing. But it's interesting when people sort of look at what I do. These word bubbles, whether it's excuse my depression or love, is the only language I speak fluently, which I think of as sort of my duality. Those two pieces are sort of the two sides of me and my work. And I think there's a perception and. Rightly. So that what I do is simple. Obviously, the stencil and the expression of it is simple. But where the real work comes is putting a handful of words together that are so meaningful that they transcend the art form, they transcend a culture, and they connect and resonate with people because anybody can write just anything on a wall. 

Yeah, I texted you one the other day. You're like, yeah, keep workshop on that lady. I'm like, okay, yeah. 

People do that a lot. I'll say something or someone will say something and they'll go, oh, that should be a word bubble. And they'll go, yeah, why don't you workshop that one? 


And I've had people ask me to do things and they're like, can you put this in a word bubble? And I'm like, no, because the majority of that when it comes to the word bubbles, that's where my artistry is in that dance of the way words work together. I love how words play off one another. And there's usually like a double meaning to things. I sort of kindly say, oh, no, but if you want that, you should get a sign painter to do that.


There's people that do that. I'm not that person. That's not my vibe. I always find that the less words you use, the more challenging it is to put them together in an effective way. And again, that is really your true art. 


And I have been a professional writer. I've worked in the entertainment industry, written screenplays, and I've also worked in advertising. Growing up, I loved commercials. I would shush my family during commercials because I want to hear them. And always whenever a commercial was written poorly, I'd say, oh, gosh, if they only just said this and that. And so I've worked in advertising. I've been a senior copywriter for major brands. Makes sense. I understand brand nuance.

 Yeah, absolutely. We're going to take a really quick break. We'll be right back. Today's episode is brought to you by Mexi Craft Tequila Seltzer. It is a top shelf tequila seltzer made with craft tequila from Jalisco, Mexico, real juice and sparkling water. Each can contains a shot and a half of premium Blanco tequila, which you all know is my favorite and no more than 3 grams of sugar. For those of you watching that, you can get it in Whole Foods in Southern California or order it online at www.mexiseltzer.com, follow them on IG @mexiseltzer and use podcast20 for 20% off your first order. Thanks for sticking with us. And if you're just tuning in, I am chatting with TrustyScribe who is a friend and an artist and just launched his first solo show, which is really exciting. But before we get to the solo show, which I do want to talk about, I want to know what the first night, what that first moment was, what that felt like, was it the most exhilarating moment? Were you terrified? Like, where was it? Walk us through that story. 

Oh, the first night I went out painting. Yeah. So I had a friend who owns a restaurant a couple of blocks from my house, and I went and hit his restaurant. I didn't tell him, and I went and painted a couple of pieces on the back in the back alley. He's just a lovely human being and he appreciates I showed up the next day and sort of ribbed him about it. But then I also went out with another artist who sort of ran lookout and went and painted on Melrose. And I think I painted three or four pieces that night. And it just so happened that it was World Suicide Awareness Day. It just sort of coincided. And so what's interesting is through creating this, I only told three people when I first got started what I was going to do and started an Instagram account. And people just organically started finding me like friends and family didn't even know that I was doing this. And even a couple of years into it, I was at an art show and an artist that I'm friends with whose work I love was talking to me and quoted me back at myself and didn't know that I was TrustyScribe. And I was like, that's me. And he's like, what are you talking about? I said, I'm TrustyScribe. And he's like, no, I'm talking about the street artist. I was like, yeah, that's me. And I was like, look at what I'm wearing. Look at the photo of him, because I would take photos in front of my work but keep my head ducked. So the brim of my hat was covered in my face. And it was so great seeing the revelation wash over him. He was so excited. 

That's so funny. That's so funny. Well, speaking of mental health, this is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is perfect timing for your first solo show. You have gotten a lot of great visibility. Can you tell a little about the press that you've been on for this very issue? Because I think that's the most relevant conversation today. 

Yeah, absolutely. And thanks for bringing that up. My mental health advocacy organically came from painting these things because the response was immediate, the messages that I got from people about their mental health journeys. And so it grew and grew to a point that someone did a piece on me, and it ended up in the hands of the Today show. And they reached out. And Carson Daly is a big mental health advocate and speaks about what his journey has been. And I really sort of work to lift the stigma because the more we talk about it, the more people can come out of the shadows. And so last year, the Today show did a profile on me about it. And it just the messages that I got back were beautiful and heartbreaking. One of the most poignant pieces I have says, I don't want to kill myself. I just don't want to be here anymore. And where that comes from was me reaching out for help and not being able to get an appointment. And when you're in a really bad way, it triggers a suicide protocol where they ask you, Are you feeling suicidal? Do you have a means waiting a plan? And my genuine response was, I don't want to kill myself. I just don't want to be here anymore. And when they said they could see me in six to eight weeks, my question to them was, do you think I'm still going to be here? Oh, my God. And so that piece was shown on the Today's show, and I would say majority of the messages I got and I got hundreds of beautiful and heartbreaking messages from people. Most of them said something to the effect of when I heard you say that, it was as though somebody put into words what I've been feeling my entire life. And the heartbreaking part about that for me is all of those people are just a small group of people coming forward to say that there are so many people suffering in silence and there's nothing to be ashamed of. We're all going through something. Obviously, human experience is not an easy one, and we don't have to pretend that it is. And that's why the show that I've put together really embraces and celebrates our fragility. And it's okay to be fragile and not be perfect and not have to be strong. I've never bought into that. Be a man, man up. Men are strong. That's just not for me. Right. Toxic masculinity and toxic positivity, which is just that toxic. Right. Like, I probably cry easily. I do, too. I cry at commercial. I'm a big fancy. Yeah. I cry at all sorts of things. Well, I think as an artist, your emotions are so surfaced. And then as an artist with mental health, top of mind, obviously, that allows you to be more open and aware of those things in the world that are joyful and sad and all of the mix of emotions, I think artists kind of innately have that gift. Yeah. And the journey to identifying as an artist has been an interesting one, because I've been a photographer, I've been a writer, a street artist, an actor, producer, director, all these different things. But identifying as artists had for a long time been a challenge for me because I think we have a perception, speaking of stigmas, of what an artist is. And I even had other artists tell me I wasn't an artist because they came from a particular school of artistry. And it wasn't until the past few years that I realized it's all the same core. It's all the same source. And no matter what tools or mediums I'm using, it's all the same thing. It's a language. It's a conversation with the world through art. And so when I was thinking about putting this show together that I've been working on, it was, does this fit? And the answer is yes, it doesn't matter. I can paint a word bubble or I can take a pretty photo. It's all from the same source, which is me. And so a couple of years ago, I started shooting underwater portraits with this idea of capturing a return to the womb, something beautiful and tranquil. Even as an adult, sometimes we need to go to that quiet, tranquil place and rejuvenate our energies before we potentially start a new trajectory in our life, because I believe that at any moment of any given day, we can change the direction of our life. And sometimes we need to retreat and protect ourselves and gain that energy back before we take it out into the world. And so this series that I've been shooting for the past two and a half years are presented in large format of these portraits of people floating in sort of a timeless spaceless, either bright, overexposed space or in a dark sort of deep space. But the common response has been that it gives people a sense of peace and tranquility. And that's exactly what I was trying to create. Well, and it's very much still aligned to me visually. 

It's very different than your prior work or your current work. I mean, it's not like you're not doing that other work anymore, but it is still very much aligned in terms of connectivity with your audience. Right. It's just a different medium and format. Can you share a little bit about the exhibit and what it looks like in terms of how big is a big format and some of the nuance, or are you keeping this little secret for people to show up and see themselves? 

No, not at all. I would love for people to come and see it because I presented it in a way that it needs to be seen in person, that it's almost confrontational in the best way. You said that there are different forms of street art and the photography, but I just think of them as a different language, a different way to communicate. And so the images are there's 15 images presented six foot by four foot on silk that is hung loose. And it looks stunning, especially when a little breeze catches them. They ripple and flutter like water. And then also on metal, also six foot by four foot. And in the sort of white areas, it's transparent and you see the steel in them, and they are just funny. I sort of separate myself from the art, and I can see the beauty of it. When I unveiled them for the first time for myself. When I unwrap the metals, it actually brought me to tears back to I cried back. You're crying, right. But they're really just they're stunning. And people asking me, which is your favorite? And they're all my favorite. That's why they're in the show. 

Right. And so many questions. We need to take another really quick break. We'll be right back. We'll get back into it. If you're listening to this podcast, it's probably very likely that you've worked with a marketing agency that hasn't really worked out. That's why Elevate My Brand has developed our roadmap to marketing process. We use an extremely data driven approach to show you exactly what your competitors are doing in the omnichannel space so that we can develop a strategy and tactical approach to success in your marketing. Call us today and let's get mapping. Okay. I'm chatting with my friend, TrustyScribe, about his new solo exhibit. It's called Rebirth Eternal. Did I get it right? 

That's right. 

And it's these huge, large format so pieces that hang on metal and on silk, that feels like a huge juxtaposition in terms of material. Why that choice? 

Yeah, it is. Again, I wanted the silks to have that fluid air. Get that? Yeah, totally. Metals are a contrast beautifully, a beautiful contrast to the lightness of the images. And it also is sort of a nod to the industrial nature of street art. So layered. I wouldn't even thought of that. Yeah. I love reclaimed things. I love painting on metal and woods. And I just thought it would be a really nice juxtaposition to the silks. And I love them both equally. They each sort of present in different and unique ways. Well, it's like a parent who can't love one of their children more than the other. Right. Right. Exactly like that. 

So share with our audience where the exhibit is and where they can find you all that good stuff. 

The show is at the BeeFree studio in La Jolla, California, down outside of San Diego, and it runs through the end of May. So this coming Sunday, the 15th, I'm doing an artist talk at the studio. And then on the 19th, I'm actually doing a mental health art talk with a representative from I believe it's Vista Vista Mental Health, which is a mental health organization down in the San Diego area. 

Amazing. Well, I'm sure that our audience is all over the country, but we have a lot in California. So hopefully, if you're listening and you're in the La Jolla area, make sure you go check out the show. It's from what I've heard, Unfrickin believable. And then we're going to try and get up to do a show or two in La as well, because I think that we need to see it here. This is where your home is. I feel like we need to find you a Gallery here. 

Absolutely. I would love that. 

If you're listening in any Gallery owners, make sure you reach out, because this work is I mean, if it doesn't sell out, hopefully it will. Yeah. This is just the beginning, I'm sure. And then share with our audience your IG handles your website, all that good stuff. So they can see kind of your whole body of work. 

Yeah. So my Instagram is @trustyscribe. And my website is Artist XO, so that's an artist love artistxo.com. And then if you want to see more about the show, you can go to the BeFree website, which is befreestudio.net. They have information about the show. And if there's something you want, please reach out to them.

Lovely, lovely. Well, in the last few minutes, we have left. I always like to ask them personal questions. These are what we call our quick fire. So just answer top of mind. What is the one thing you could not live without during the pandemic? And you can't say your work. 


How often do you practice and what type? 

Well, it was interesting. I was doing yoga every day, twice a day, from the very first day of lockdown until I got covet about four or five months later. Wow. Good for you. Are you always a practitioner or this is something you just picked up and go, I got to do something to keep my mental sanity. Yeah, I had done it sort of on and off in my life, but not regularly like that. And it was magical. And a big thank you to Joe at Urban 78 because they offered free online yoga through the pandemic, and it really saved a lot of people. 

Wow. I love it paying it forward, as you always want to do. And just for anyone listening in, I just have to say I've met a lot of artists or friends with some of them. You are truly one of the most kind, generous, unique, and authentic human beings that I've ever met. And I'm so lucky that you are in our lives.

 See, you're going to make me cry over here. 

All right, back to questions. Back to questions. Okay. What is your go to vice of choice? 

I'm a big foodie. I love to Cook. I love to eat, and I love to share that with people. 

Got it. Cocktail or wine or beer. What is your go to? 

Gin and Tonic. Old home, specifically old Tom gin and tonic. 

We're friends. If you could wave a magic wand and have your art do or be anywhere, do anything in the world, what would that look like? 

I want to paint “Love is the only language I speak fluently” in every country, on massive pieces on the sides of buildings, in the language of each country. 

I love that speaking it into the universe. So shall it be. And the last question is, what is your favorite word and why? And this could be something that popped into your head just for today's conversation or something that's had real meaning to you over time. 

When I worked as an intern at Fine Line Features movie production company, I had to label things. And I remember I had to put purple labels on something. And I remember that day, purple label. And it became a thing that I realized was one of the most fun things to say. It just has a great mouth feel. purple label. Say it. purple label. 

I mean, I love purple. So you got that one. It can never go wrong with purple as far as I'm concerned. And the final question I know I've said that before, but this is my real final question is what would you say to anyone who's out there contemplating getting into the world of artistry and really just becoming that version of themselves. But maybe a little bit hesitant or scared, you know, what would you say to young budding artists? 

I never encourage anybody to go into art. It isn't the easiest career, but do it as a hobby. If you find that you have to do it, that it is your calling. Believe in yourself, what you think about it and what conversation you want to have with the world through your art is your choice and just do it. I think in any walk of life there will be naysayers or doubters. The people that believe in what you do or love. What you do are the people that are meant to be on this journey with you. Well, that's a perfect little wrap up, isn't it? It's almost as if you were a writer or something. An artist I don't even know. Thank you so much or something. 

Thank you so much for spending some time with us today, Trusty. I really you're just such a gem to for me and for the world that you service. Thank you so much for the art that you bring us. Thank you and thank you to everyone who tuned in. Stay tuned for more to Elevate Your Brand, coming up next.