Today we’d like to introduce you to JR Salas.
JR, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I been drawing since I was eight. I got started by a coloring book. We grew up poor, so my mom didn’t have money to buy the ninja turtle toys I wanted… so instead she bought me a ninja turtle coloring book. And I colored it all, once I was done I still wanted to continue coloring so what I did was traced each page and recolored it, that’s how it all began. My art has always been something I’ve done it’s my escape and my therapy.
I started taking it serious in 2012 when I decided to I had no excuse not to be pursuing my passion so I challenged my self to draw 30 days straight full drawings and so I did, I posted them on Instagram and created a following. I would tag companies and challenged them to send me any product and I would draw with it for 30 days. So it got a buzz and they did, companies like Copic Marker, Sakura of America, Koh I Noor and Strathmore started sending me colored pencils, pastels, charcoal and markers. Again I had no experience with any of it except pencils but it was my way of exploring my limits, my 30 day challenges were back to back that I was drawing daily for half a year. I have created a business out of my passion, I draw things that have inspired me throughout my life let it be a scene of a movie, music video or a photograph. I draw things in my own perspective and I do it on different platforms like Facebook Live, Twitch and on Instagram live and I do this to showcase how much time it takes to draw something and also to open dialogue with other artist and fans of art. Once my drawings are complete I film the process of me printing the shirts which I do on my own so customers and fans can see the full journey of their shirt being made from the design process onto the final product which is, wearable art.
I have been doing this since 2015 and have had conversations with people all around the world, from tips and tricks to advise on starting a passion based business. Now I have opened up my platform to other artist looking to expand their art into merchandise. We collaborate on a design and only release 20 limited shirts. My goal is to create a community of dope artist from all around the world and give them a platform to share their art in a different way.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely isn’t a smooth ride and I believe it’s because I didn’t have a mentor to show me how to start a business or even to guide me the right direction. I remember spending seven months on only studying. Learned marketing, social media algorithms, SEO analytics, AdWords and Adsense, screen printing, sublimation, sewing, photography and business. I read over 15 books and spend way too much time on YouTube trying to figure it all out. But the amazing thing is now with all this knowledge I am able to run everything on my own and not only that I can be the mentor I didn’t have to others which are in my situation I was in years ago.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a transparent normal guy, only difference is I work hard as hell. I want to stand for the possibility and show people that anyone can make their dream a reality if they really zone in study and work hard towards it. I never been the kind of guy that only shows the successes, I am more proud of the failures because others and myself can learn from them. I always believe failures aren’t the opposite of success, they are a necessity to success. That’s what sets me apart I show you every part of the journey… I’m not doing this to look cool I’m here to create and teach. What I am proud of is that I somehow figured out what to do with my art coming from no knowledge beside I know how to draw into building a business surrounding a passion I had since I was a kid.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My mom, this Beautiful strong lady has believed in me and pushed me to become better than I was the day before. Taught me how to overcome rejection and how to be confident enough with taking a chance against all odds.
We came from nothing, literally homeless into putting me in a position that I am able to take a shot on making my dream come true. I owe it all to her and her sacrifices to get me here.
- Website: www.onlymy2cents.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org