Today we’d like to introduce you to Josiah Jones.
Hi Josiah, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I feel like my friends think of me as the art-obsessed marketing guy that shit-posts ironically when he has time. They aren’t far off.
My interests and passions have evolved over the years and I’m happy to have created a lifestyle where I wake up in the morning excited for what I get to do. I’m in a constant pursuit of doing what I love, better, every day. That consists of helping artists, communities, and businesses realize the power of their creativity and unique experiences. To sum it up, I’m a multi-disciplinary creative director specializing in art focused social-impact activations.
Someone recently asked me what my big dream is. I want neighborhoods, like the small lower-class one I grew up in, to be able to create as much buy-in and fandom within their communities so they can have the resources, support and education to be self-sufficient, healthy and engaged. I believe if we can use art the same way we use mass-messaging for consumerism, we can build social equity in underserved, underprivileged communities.
I spent my college years studying marketing and advertising in Florida, and spent a short time in Chicago after that. I’ve worked in brand marketing for 10 years, 4 of which were with Red Bull early on. I moved to LA 5 years ago for a head of marketing role at a cannabis start-up in Hollywood.
That endeavor introduced me to the intersection of marketing and philanthropy – we created a platform that streamlined and automated the process of expunging non-violent cannabis-related criminal records to help people affected by unjust cannabis laws. At the same time, I was pursuing photography and creative production professionally.
I wanted to work on more 360-degree creative campaigns; I’ve always been passionate about the art space and love seeing the way artists use their platforms to give back to their communities. That drew me to creating Valence Projects 3 years ago. The goal was to take “big-brand” creative strategies and apply that to artists by empowering their platform in a way that creates local positive impact.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Integrating brand marketing tactics into the fine and street art space is not simple. You’re asking individuals who have formed their authenticity and personalities into a physical form to recognize common themes in their body of work and think about how their audience can and will digest it…without negatively influencing their creative approach and process.
In addition, this approach isn’t linear. It involves talent management, marketing, branding, design, creative direction, accounting, partnerships, production, etc., etc. on and on as every entrepreneur knows.
At times it felt like the biggest hurdle was answering the question, “So what do you do?”.
Right now, it is a little bit of everything, but I’m proud of the support we’ve found from the communities we work with and brands that want to create actual impact. We’re carving our lane out in rapidly shifting market.
As you know, we’re big fans of Valence Projects. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
Valence Projects is an art agency, gallery, and creative studio focused on producing positive impact initiatives.
If you need creative direction, production, artwork or artists, give us a call.
What’s most exciting is working with driven and passionate artists and seeing their most elaborate ideas come true. Through much trial and error, I found my creativity and strengths in providing vision and tact to creative individuals and collectives.
We’ve also just opened a pop-up gallery in the arts district intended to be a creative hub and platform to host conversations from different perspectives – opposed to discourse and assumption.
We’re modeling similar to an athletic agency. We recognize the abilities of our artists, and we want to make sure they get what they deserve.
What I’m most excited about is creating a platform for artists to share their perspectives.
On the marketing side, we’re developing a podcast interviewing executive-level marketing professionals that highlights the intersection of culture and marketing. We’ll explore how their background and perspective informs their boardroom decisions and breakdown the information for aspiring marketers, partners, and collaborators. Essentially, we want to highlight the artistry involved in high-level marketing roles and make the information digestible and actionable for marketers and creators looking to better equip their marketing skills.
Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
What Great Brands Do. Anything Ryan Holiday writes.
You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes a must.
The Practice by Seth Godin I recommend to everyone.
Awareness Games. Daily.