You are kind of a Hair Nerd from Hell (which we love)… How did you get so angry?
I wake up with my alarm clock set to Slayer at 5am every morning, eat 5 bowls of Wheaties (Dry, no milk or water) then headbutt the sidewalk for 20 minutes to get the blood flowing.
I actually don’t think I’m angry as much as I just say what I feel. I can see how some would get that impression. I think somewhere along the line because we are in the “Beauty” industry, people decided the word “Beauty” was synonymous with “Happy”. That if you have anything negative to say or aren’t smiling 24/7 like a Stepford wife then you are somehow “Unprofessional”
I look at the writings of Bukowski, Hemingway, Selby, Kerouac, or listen to Born Against, Elliott Smith, Refused, and think it’s absolutely beautiful, but you can’t tell me that it necessarily came from a happy place. My inspiration doesn’t come from one of those little E-card quotes everyone likes to post on Faceboook.
One of the reasons it’s really hard for me to put out content as a regular basis as I would like, is that I really need to feel fired up to get it out there. In order to write a blog or make a video I really need to be feeling it deep down inside, otherwise it just looks plastic. False. Devoid of any soul.
I see a lot of things wrong with the industry right now, I feel that if you’re not a little pissed off at the state of things, you are either benefiting from the wrongs, or don’t care enough. I rather be called “Unprofessional” or “Angry” and try to do something about it, rather than just fall in line, another happy smiling little soldier. I know I am not the only one. There’s actually a nice little movement growing out there of people who are also fed up with the system and want things to change.
The internet has opened the world up to stylists.. what is your thought on this?
The internet has become the great equalizer in our industry. It used to be if you wanted to show your work off you either had to get picked up by one of the big companies or hope that one of the trade magazines noticed your work and decided to publish it.
Many stylists have the “Pick Me” syndrome. They think to produce content and get people to see it you need a big budget and a whole team of people to produce media. I don’t know if this is a by-product of the age of Reality TV we live in or just laziness. But I feel a lot of stylists think that someday, someone out there is going to notice how awesome you are and magically ask you to do a video or photo shoot. Probably won’t happen.
With the technology we have nowadays you don’t have to wait for anyone to “Pick You”. You don’t need anyone to give you permission to create content. You can post something out on the web, and if it has merit, you have a HUGE potential audience. There’s no secrets anymore. I taught myself how to edit video. If I got stuck I was able to look on Youtube and find out how to do it. Same goes for photography, photoshop and web design. There is a tremendous amount of resources out there and you can learn anything you want, AND IT”S ALL FREE!!
I recommend hairstylists start using the internet to it’s full potential and start putting out content. Cancel cable tv and start doing work. I don’t even think I’m that creative of a person, but I, 1. Use the creativity I have and 2. I look for influence outside of the hair industry and try to create something different. Everything I put out is totally D.I.Y. You just have to get off your ass and do something!
Let’s talk about the new site you have developed.. What is the driving force behind it?
I had read an article about how facebook had begun to throttle the amount of people would see a post when you put one out. It got me thinking how dangerous it is to rely on a 3rd party source for all your content. Of all the things I put out, it was scattered all around the internet. Blogs on one site, video on another photos on yet another. It was getting really hard to keep track of everything. I decided to just bite the bullet and build a website myself just to have everything in one place.
While I was figuring out how to make the graphics and get everything to work, I realized that I wanted it to be more than just an Ego “LOOK AT ME!!” site, I really wanted to be a resource to other people out there who want to put out their own content. I placed production notes on the videos I made so other people could learn from the way that I shot the videos. So they could see that most of these things were made for under $200 bucks. I will totally help anyone out there that needs advice on editing or how to begin putting things out.
Like I had said earlier, there is a growing movement out there of people who are sick of the theatrics and a lot of the crap by companies who think they know what hairstylists want to see. Instead of just bitching about it in a blog (Which I do quite enough of) I’d really like it to become a place to showcase some of the independent thinkers in the hair world. A place that we can start to begin the process of making a positive change so that people aren’t getting shampoo shoved down their throat every time they want to learn a new haircut. I think big product companies have WAY too much influence over stylists out there.
Hey, I use Tide Detergent, but, you don’t see me running around only wearing orange and telling people I bleed blue. Shampoo is a simple detergent, not a lifestyle. We need to get back to the days when the ART hairstylists created was what was important, not the tools they use. When the haircut mattered, not what the person cutting it was wearing. There are few places us independents can congregate and speak our mind. I’m finding more and more people out there, and feel that if united, we can do something really amazing.
You are offering education, now. What is your focus and what does that experience look like for the attendee?
My focus is on hair-cutting. I don’t really enjoy applying color, and am a bit clumsy when it comes to up-do’s so I stick to cutting
My style of cutting revolves around a hybrid system of strong geometric wet cuts and free form dry-cutting. When I’m teaching a class I try to get people to see exactly WHY they are doing what they do in a haircut. I want them to understand that every haircut has options and should be modified for the clients specific hair and head shape, rather than just saying “Welp there ya go, there’s your bob, now go throw it on every one you can!”
Early in my career I learned that the worst thing you can do is to try and prove to everyone how good you are, your priority as an educator should be to try and be to get everyone to realize how good THEY can be. So don’t expect any “Showboating” and back flips. Expect to learn good habits that will hopefully last you a lifetime, and learn to think about what you are doing in a cut rather than just calling it in every time.
What would you say to “critics” who accuse you of being a fraud because you worked for “the man” ?
People say that?!? Who?!? Got a home address?!?!
I dunno, people can say whatever they want. I think we really have to redefine what “Success” means in this industry. I used to believe that it meant getting paid a lot of money to be up on stage in front of a lot of people.Of course I wanted to be successful so that meant working for “The Man” I really wasn’t aware of any other way.
Only until recently have I really come to terms with my values, and have discovered what true success means to me. I live a pretty spartan lifestyle. I’m pretty happy if I have clients in my chair all day. Seeing the results of a video I put out and not worrying what a marketing person thinks about it, feels like success to me now. Having the freedom to say what I want now feels like success. Working a long day and cuddling with my dog Charlie under a roof that I managed to pay rent on for that month feels pretty successful to me.
It’s kinda like that scene in the matrix, you don’t really know what reality is until you take the right pill. I feel like any thing I accomplish now will mean sooo much more now because I created it myself rather having to play the politics game to get to where I want to be. I’m just another working class hairstylist who also happens to put out videos.
You are a Hairbrained.me All-Star.. How did you find hb and how has it changed the way you see the industry?
I found out about it because I was friends with Gerard on Myspace! I was like member #12 or something like that when I joined. There’s over 18,000 members there now. HB was a caused a complete shift in my thinking. It was the first time you could see images that weren’t being fed to you by the trade magazines. I remember seeing seeing the first videos Randy and Gerard were putting out just using these little flip cameras. It was really cool back then because everyone really knew each other and we used to talk SOOOO much shit! I feel like now everyone’s a little more tame because some people don’t realize that it’s the internet and tend to be a little more sensitive now.
But anyways, it was the first time that I had seen a large group of hairdressers online that actually had GOOD taste, and knew exactly what they were talking about. To this day you can go there and aren’t inundated with “Here’s How To Get Kim Kardashians Brunette Curls From Jerk Face Celebrity Stylist!!”
It was the first time in my career that I realized that I could have a voice. That there were other hairdressers out there like me that REALLY loved doing hair. Who’s lives revolved around the art of doing it. It has given me so many amazing opportunities that I would have never realized were possible before the site came along. If it wasn’t for HB I don’t know if I would still be doing hair right now. I would have probably tried to go back to playing Hold’em for a living. It has had that much of an influence on every aspect of the hairdresser I am today.
Videos. We loved Weapon of Choice and it is no secret we are obsessed with CrossCheck.tv . How did you get into filming?
So I am a huge video game nerd. I’ll stay up till 3 in the morning some nights watching Korean Pro players. There’s a huge community of people out there that stream there games. I thought to myself “Why is nobody doing this with hair?” It was an idea I would just entertain doing every once in a while but I never really acted on it until I had a life changing experience.
The biggest destructive force in my life is boredom. When I’m bored and not using any creative talent I have, things get really dumb in my life. Like really REALLY stupid. I
I awoke one morning in a padded cell. I couldn’t remember what had happened the night before but by the size of the headache and some bruises it most likely involved a lot of alcohol. The details aren’t important. As I was laying there on the floor I realized that if I didn’t start doing something creative with what little talent I had I was probably going to wind up dead. This isn’t some story of redemption or some sappy road to recovery bullshit. It was merely a kick in the pants that I didn’t want to die without leaving something behind. So there on the floor of the cell, Weapon of Choice was born.
I’m not the best talker in the world, I hate the sound of my voice. I feel like I have some kind of speech impediment. I say uhh and ummm and ya’ know way too much. But people still tuned in to watch me cut hair 3 times a week and I love those people with all my heart. They were the ones who kept me going. THEY were the reason I was always out hunting models. That show would not have been possible if it were not for my girlfriend Katie and she was the one calling out all the questions and making sure my stupid elbow wasn’t in the way.
After 50 episodes I felt the show had run it’s course. I didn’t want it to get stale and I didn’t want to be teaching the same old stuff over and over. I owed the viewers more than that. That’s when I started doing the “Short Attention Span” thing. I wanted to get away from the “Guy in a studio cutting hair” thing so I just decided to learn how to edit and start putting little movies together. That has really become my passion now. I just want to make things that I would want to watch.
You and Damien have never actually met in person, right? How did you and your internet boyfriend hook up and start CrossCheck?
HAHA! Damien was a viewer from “Weapon of Choice”. He wrote a cool little review about me on his blog: guy in hair school. It was pretty funny because he described me as someone he would never want to talk to in real life or something like that.
Yeah we were both drunk Skyping one night and we both thought we were hilarious. We thought “Hey we should get other people on and make a show from this!” and that’s how it started.
I really don’t deserve any credit for the thing. He figured out all the graphics, did all the technological aspects, built the website, books all the guests. I just show up every 2 weeks and smoke cigarettes and shoot the shit with whoever happens to be on. Damien is one of the smartest people I have ever met. He makes the whole thing happen, I’m just a guy who asks a couple questions and rants a bit.
Who are your very favorite stalkers in the whole world?
You guys! DUH!
** We actually paid him to say that…
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