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Meet Francisco Costa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Francisco Costa.

Francisco, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m as European as they come, yet deeply fascinated with America.

My story begins on the shores of Portugal during the Winter Solstice of 1987. Born to an eighteen years old mother, who would later become an abstract painter, and a third-generation architect father, I’m the eldest brother of three boys, all accidentally born eight years apart, and all coincidentally gay. I was raised in a home facing the ocean filled with art and books, and a white round dinner table where my parents and their friends would often stay up late discussing the history of art with uncanny seriousness while Joao Gilberto crooned in the background.

At the age of four, I vigorously grabbed a Matisse painting at a museum and got my dad in trouble. At seven, I convinced my mum to set up a meeting with an author friend so I could talk to him about publishing my book. At 18, I dropped out of arts school while studying to become a painter. At 19, I enrolled myself in fashion school and got my ass handed to me every day by incredibly strict teachers. At 21, I got my first job designing a spacesuit for storms. At 22, I got into startups and was lucky to be mentored by a generous and strict uncle to become a better communicator. At 23, I moved to Berlin to work at a film start-up called MoviePilot that later brought me to Los Angeles to head design and communication for the company by 27. At 28, I started making art. At 32, I’m a Portuguese art school drop-out turned Creative Director in Los Angeles with a major obsession for the art of drawing.

This isn’t to say my story wasn’t also punctuated with struggles and shortcomings. I stuttered through most of my youth, had a troublesome relationship with my father, and lived through many moments where I simply had no idea what I wanted to do while being overwhelmingly curious about everything.

But present in all my experiences, good and bad, was an internal voice continuously reminding me to ditch the doubt, push through the resistance and just *keep going*. To this day, that is at the heart of my story. Good, bad, weird, amazing moments come and go, rarely as bad as they seem in my head. The whole thing is a wild ride and best I can do is to keep going. Finally, I suspect that this sentiment is the core of my fascination with America. The pragmatism, the clarity, and the unwavering optimism.

Great, 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?
Believing in myself, being honest in my work, and having the discipline to stay clear in my trajectory. These don’t go away, but as I get older, I get better at feeling my pains and letting them go.

Please tell us more about your art.
By day, I help people communicate ideas.

Imagine the pitch deck an entrepreneur works on when her idea is in its early inception. She maybe has a couple of mockups, a prototype, some ideas of product-market fit, building blocks she’ll use to create the story that will propel her to make her company; I help people create that story. Every founder, entrepreneur, or major leader figure I‘ve worked with discovers that what I do is articulate their idea back at them, and turn it into a visually compelling story. In short, I make stories and pitch decks for fundraising, product, sales, and brand.

By night, I make art.

I draw to document my mind and my world with thick black ink on large sheets of paper. I read once that, “we come into the world with certain images in our deep structure that aren’t just arbitrary, they are archetypal patterns that tend to point towards the direction of one’s place in the world.” — likely a Jungian statement. Drawing is my way to connect with this deeper mystery.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Cold showers and keep going™

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