We are having a conversation between Mark Baratto and Billy Kearins
INTRO ~ Welcome to the Backyards of Key West Podcast with your host Mark Baratto.
MARK: Welcome to the Backyards of Key West and we are at Coast Projects, a couple blocks from Duval and I walk in and of course, the place is awesome, the clothing is awesome. It’s very surfer, very California, very… I don’t know, cool rustic vibe but then I walk when I come to meet Billy and I come outside and there’s a pool and Banyan trees and it’s like a whole thing going on out here. Tell me about this spot, how did you pick this spot?
BILLY: We started out about seven years ago and when we first started it was more of a work space and artist collective. We found a spot, out on Stock Island on Front Street and it was an old fishing shack. We were over there until this January and we had a bunch of artists out there sharing the space and we used to do concerts and events. Retail was sort of a smaller facet of what we were doing at the time. A couple of years ago, I guess about 2 ½ years ago, I wanted to push the retail a little bit more and come out with more designs, t-shirt designs, hats, sweatshirts and things like that. I was keeping my eye open for a space in Old Town, probably specifically in the Bahama Village just because I like that area, I like this area the best.
MARK: Yeah, me too. It’s really nice.
BILLY: I drove by on my bike and saw this old building and I actually knew the owner and I had looked at the space years before, but it was never the right time and at this time, it was sort of the right time. There was a For Rent sign and there’s two retail spaces here and one of the spaces was open, so I got in touch with the owner and she said yeah! If you’re interested, I’ll give you first dibs.
MARK: And here you are.
BILLY: Yeah, I think that was January or February of 2017. So, it’s been 2 ½ years.
MARK: Tell me about the business that you are currently in now? I know it’s retail but who designs the clothes, who makes them, what are you looking to get from doing this type of business?
BILLY: So, like I said at the beginning it was not a brand or retail or anything. But over the years it sort of evolved into that slowly and made one t-shirt and people started wearing it around town, a lot of musicians and stuff and the next thing you know, people are asking if we are gonna come out with new designs and so over the years, we came out with a few designs and then once we moved into this space, I had to have more than 2-3 designs so it forced me to come out with, and I do primarily and most of the t-shirt design and product design I do myself. I have a couple of guys that I work and collaborate with and one of them is a guy named Chris Diggins who does some street art and stencil work and things like that and he’s done a number of designs over the years. Some are limited edition type of stuff and things like that. But for the most part, I do most of the designs and usually there’s some sort of story behind the design. It could be something relevant as far as timing wise, it could be something a photo that I took that sort of translated to a t-shirt on some level, some of it is concert based t-shirt design, so we still… and when we were on Stock Island we used to actually host our own concerts and now we do more concert promotions. So sometimes the designs are based on an artist coming to town to play music and we do a limited run of those shirts and things like that, but as far as who designs them, for the most part it’s me. I do the t-shirt design, printing, screen printing and we do it all right here on the porch. I do some photography and there’s a couple of artists that kinda cycle through and do other things.
MARK: And how did you get into this? How long have you been in Key West and where did all this come from? Are you a musician? Tell me about that.
BILLY: I moved to Key West about 17 years ago, like in 2002, I came down after college and didn’t really know what I wanted to do and at the time, I was thinking I’d be down here for 6 months or a year.
MARK: Doing what when you first came to town?
BILLY: Well, I started working on a boat. I grew up with that, but I wasn’t really into boating, but I grew up on the beach and things like that. I like to be on the water and around the water so at the time, I got a job with the Fury, and that sounds pretty common – start.
MARK: Right, it’s a right of passage here.
BILLY: At the time they only had two boats and it was a totally different thing. I worked there for a year and sorta hustled and I knew that if I was going to stay down here longer then I didn’t want to be scrubbing decks, I’d rather be driving the boat so at the time I worked quickly and got a license and got my masters license and started driving the boats within a year or two. Then I did that for a couple of years and started building boats because I was getting a little tired of going back and forth to the reef.
MARK: During all this time when you’re working on Fury and thinking I’m going to get my captains’ license are you finding yourself doing other things on the side, like being a photographer? Drawing?
BILLY: Yeah, at the time I actually always had a little studio space. The first space I had was right across the street from Blue Heaven and it’s now an antiques space, but it used to be a spot called the Lemonade Stand Art Studio.
MARK: I remember that, yeah.
BILLY: And, off the side of it was this little overhang and I think it’s enclosed now, but at the time it was open air and I used to build skateboards. Like longboards, pretty basic shapes and things like that, and I combined that with my boat building techniques, so I was doing some different stuff than most longboards like doing fiber-glassing, using epoxy, and stuff like that. Eventually I got a space out on Stock Island and again, this is like prior to being in Denmark, this is like 2004 or 2005 through 2007. I had a space out, like right where the Perry Hotel is now, it used to be Andy Griffiths Marina and it was a little garage right on the water and I’d open up the garage and the boats were right there and the fishing, the shrimp boats and dive boats and all that stuff, and I had a space out there for a number of years. That was kind of where I….
MARK: You were shaping boards there and also working on boats at that time?
BILLY: Yeah and building boats.
MARK: You always had a kinda love for it, it was your art at the time? Woodwork and stuff like that? That’s cool.
BILLY: And so, I guess my main thing is that I always liked to have a little place to run to, to sort of get my creative fill. It is always difficult to do it at a home; I think because it’s hard to define.
MARK: Yeah, of course. I’m the same way, I work for myself doing marketing and stuff like that and I haven’t had an office because I’ve always worked out of coffee shops and stuff like that. But I’ve never worked in my house, ever. If it’s raining out and I can’t get out, then I’ll work there for a short period of time, but I have to have separation between the two, it’s the only way it works for me. And I need chaos. That’s why I like going inside the coffee shop, like I can’t work in a quiet… and if someone said “Here’s your job, there’s your office, we’ll see you in five hours.” I’d go stir crazy; I need chaos.
BILLY: Correct. Same with me. So anyways, then I lived in Denmark for five years and also had a space similar and kinda like a studio where I could shape boards or whatever, tinker with stuff. My time over there I learned a lot about, and the Danish people are great with design and branding and you know, making things look just so. I learned a lot from my time over there and combining sort of this creativity that I’ve always needed so that was inspiring over there. When I came back, I sort of combined those two things which was this rustic seaside creativity and craftsmanship combined with this world-famous branding and design. My branding and design is not world famous at all, but it at least it showed me that I feel like they do it better than anyone.
MARK: You saw what it could be.
BILLY: Yeah, they do it better than anyone.
MARK: I’m sure being in Europe for that period of time, always getting out of the U.S. and traveling within the U.S. first, but then getting out of the U.S. and seeing how other people live and stuff, it’s a massive mind shake or mind shift, for sure.
MARK: From an artist’s perspective, you were absorbing and learning different things from the culture there and when you come back here and you’re doing your thing in Stock Island and doing the shirts and design like that, what do you see your biggest goal to be? Did you say, “okay we want to have a shop, we want to do massive events, we want to have big concerts?”
BILLY: I really just like to get my hands dirty and make stuff and my train of thought is usually all over the place. But the t-shirts for me, I guess maybe have the most potential on some level because they scale well.
MARK: But it doesn’t seem like from the way you said it that you were like, “Okay, this is my money business.” It just seems like…
BILLY: Yeah, no, everything happened….
MARK: You did one and then people loved it and then you just…
BILLY: So, I guess what I’m saying is over time I sort of had to change my mindset which was, because when you’re doing one-off art and one-off construction pieces and installations, because we’ll do that as well, we will do a lot of work for other companies. Building things, designing, it’s like you do all this work and maybe the money is okay and it helps to pay the bills and stuff like that, but at when the projects done you kinda have to start over. It doesn’t scale. But the t-shirts, it’s like, at some point in time they could be placed all over, you know the country or the world.
MARK: And was that the first time coming here? Or you came before that?
BILLY: Well, my parents had a house. I was 21-years old living in my parents’ house and teaching scuba diving, it was awesome.
MARK: You have a nice way to reach more people with the art that you create by doing that, rather than like, helping build a float or something here or a stage for a production or something like that.
BILLY: The shirts can go anywhere, that’s a good point. You could make a million of a single design and whereas a lot of these installations and construction pieces and commercial art that we are doing is like – one and done.
MARK: But I also like the artistic twist you can put on it, like hey we are doing a limited run of 100. And that’s it and then you design something else.
BILLY: And that’s another corner that I’m trying to turn, how can I keep the t-shirts interesting because at the end of the day it’s like, they help to pay the bills but it’s not like, it’s the most inspiring thing to sit and print 300 t-shirts.
MARK: Right. But the designing yes, the printing if you ever got to a certain size you can let somebody else do that, right? If need be.
BILLY: Yeah and that’s another thing that I go back and forth with because the brand really is based on this locally made and hand-made thing, but I know that if I did want to scale it at some point in time that that’s probably not possible.
MARK: You could keep it local. That’s the beauty of it, you know? You don’t have to, and it doesn’t have to be okay you’ve got 24 hours – you have to eat, sleep, you have kids to take care of so that knocks a lot more hours off of that whole thing – there’s nothing wrong with bringing in other people and giving other business to other locals. Then share that mindset instead of you sitting in here doing thousands of prints and going, okay now what?
BILLY: Yeah and there are companies in town that do a good job of printing on a scale and so, that’s something that I’ve thought about and even mentioned to one or two people in town.
MARK: I remember, and this is way back many years ago, I had a friend who was an artist, he’s a painter and he had a lot of other painter friends and he had this idea which you are more than welcome to take, I am not in that business, but it was working with other local artists that would have an original painting that they did, and taking it and however way you translate that to a t-shirt, doing a limited run of 100 of those, and then on the website you are now having 50 different artists with their original work where you can buy the painting if you want if it’s not sold, or buy the prints if they have them, and then buy the shirts as well. I thought that was a cool concept, too.
BILLY: And it’s funny that you should say that because we are sort of, and I am sort of toying with that idea right now.
MARK: From a marketing standpoint it’s great because they are marketing themselves and in turn, marketing you.
BILLY: Right, yeah right.
MARK: Because it’s limited, you do profit sharing with them and helps get them exposure for their original pieces and stuff like that. So, I like it, do it.
MARK: Tell me, what does the brand stand for? I know you just mentioned it a little bit.
BILLY: Basically, it ties everything that I enjoy into one space and time.
MARK: For me, it makes me think of the ocean because I’m from New England originally so obviously, the ocean and sailing, but also and not coasting through life in the negative sense of it, but in the positive sense. Do the things that matter but let things go as they are supposed to go too, don’t force things. When I was younger, when I was in my 20’s and I was also, I was like there’s a boulder, I’m going to break through this thing no matter what. And then now I’m in my 40’s and I’m like, well I’ve tried pushing it once or twice and then I go, well maybe there’s like a cave that goes through it, right? Instead of trying to bulldoze everything.
BILLY: The Coast is meant to be not in a lazy thing, it’s more supposed to be, and I describe it as a moving along without too much effort but that doesn’t mean that you’re not trying, it just means that you are moving along at a pace that is comfortable.
MARK: You could be on the boat working your ass off but letting the river take you down the river. And to me, that’s what it seems like that as we get busier and there’s so many more options, it’s wise I think, and this is a good lesson for people listening, I think it’s wise to keep one ear open to – and I’m not going to say what the universe says or anything like that – but just listen to what’s around you. Maybe it’s family, maybe it’s loved ones, maybe it’s what’s going on in your business, maybe it’s what your customers are saying, stay true to yourself but listen to that and have help from your surroundings that put you into that mood. Just like when you went to Copenhagen, it’s like the same for me, and I know a lot of other people that, a shift and change in location sparks something inside you. If you are sitting in the same place for ten years, then in my opinion and what I’ve seen that worked with others is get out, totally change your perspective on something and when you come back you’ll have a new outlook on something you’ve been doing.
BILLY: No, I agree with that. Sometimes it’s tricky to be down here because I feel, of course there’s a lot of inspiration with nature and all that sort of stuff but it is nice to get away for a while.
MARK: Yeah and it’s small town – big town. You can get caught up in the small town, I can easily get caught up in, well maybe one more beer tonight and I’m trying not to get into that route! But this is one of the reasons why we were talking earlier about I wanted to do this podcast because I wanted to talk to people who are young, but also young at heart in changing the dynamic of what Key West is – not changing it – but just letting people know that we have stuff going on down here. You have a project that you’re working on that you are passionate about that is artistic but also a business, and it’s cool. It’s not like we are in some shanty place, your store is awesome and beautiful, your clothes are beautiful, so it’s like it could be done, but it can’t be done if you just want to dream it and that’s it. There’s work to be done. And that’s the thing that I’m trying to get across when I’m doing things like this and a lot of the stories that I hear from people is you have a decade or two, or five years of all of the struggle to get to where you’re at and then it starts paying dividends. It’s like going to the gym. Nobody goes and expects to be really buff in one week, it takes time and there’s a lot of pain involved and then there’s more of it and then you keep going.
BILLY: For me it’s like a roller coaster where you go through periods when you’re inspired and then you go through periods when you get kinda caught in a routine. Early on I think we were doing a lot of new and innovative stuff for the first five years, especially before we got this space. We sort of pioneered ticketed concerts in town and there’s live music all over the place and there’s certainly big shows that would happen a couple of times a year. But we used the space out there which wasn’t set up as a music venue but I always liked music and I always thought that we could have better performers come down here. Again, we pioneered that space and now we still do it on a small scale just because I like it, but I think it has helped and proved in town that there was a demand for music. Now there’s a number of people that are doing it probably better than we could have done it. We were doing it differently, it was definitely this backyard kind of strange vibe, the musicians that would come down thought it was really strange and weird and then they’d end up loving it. But what it did basically was to show that it could be done down here. Now it’s being done on a larger level and I think everybody in town is happy about that.
MARK: Tell me about that part of your business, and I know it’s smaller, but how does it work? What do you do?
BILLY: Like I said, it started out and we had space, it wasn’t necessarily a venue space in the formal sense of the word, but we had a backyard and we built a stage.
MARK: You built it, and they came!
BILLY: Yeah it was that sort of thing, almost. There’s this certain type of music that I like and ….
MARK: What’s that?
BILLY: It’s like a Folk Americana, singer songwriter type stuff. So concerts like that are not like a huge production involved with it and a lot of times it’s just one guy up there with an acoustic guitar plugged in and you know, so the guys that I listen to aren’t necessarily like huge on the radio, but they are big enough name to where when we mentioned it, people got excited about bought tickets and we would sell out shows in 24 hours.
MARK: You were like, “hey I want to bring down people that I like, that music, and I want to bring them down here and people get to listen to them.” And you get to show other people, like I get it, if there’s not a venue for them to go all over the place, you’re providing a spot for them.
BILLY: And with that, then you end up having these guys who are, you know fairly well known especially in that…
MARK: In that genre?
BILLY: Yeah and also with people that are probably my target market at Coast. They came down and then they become sort of ambassadors of the brand you know, and we’ve become friends with them and they like to mention us and wear the stuff and everything like that.
MARK: Would it be a venue that would say, hey listen, can you help us bring a musician down? Like that part of your business, how would that work?
BILLY: How does that work now?
BILLY: Now the way it works is that I sort of have a handful of loyal kinda acts or performers that just want to come down on an annual basis and when they do, they just send me an email and say can you put an offer in? A lot of it is even just like, some of it goes through, the way it usually works is I’ve become friends with the guys so…
MARK: You’re like the manager of the thing down here?
BILLY: We’ll get in touch with one another if we want to do something and then the agent comes in and sort of mediates the whole thing.
MARK: Got it. Yeah because I don’t know that world at all.
BILLY: Now most of what we are doing is bringing down some of the guys that I’ve got to be friends with.
MARK: And which are now ambassadors now too, with the brand.
BILLY: They come down once a year usually.
MARK: Right, so you get to hang out with your friends and listen to some awesome music and collaborate and keep whatever that is that you have going, keep it going, which is cool, very cool. Tell me about where you would love to see the brand go to? Do you want it to grow enough, that obviously it is sustaining a decent living and then you can do things that you need to do within the business to grow it? Or, are you looking to have a chain? Tell me… I don’t think a chain, I’m looking at you and I’m thinking not a chain.
BILLY: My goal is to get, not a chain, but get Coast stores in other relevant communities like you know, Key West is on the coast, it has this sort of funky artistic heritage to it and if there’s other spots like that all along the coast, so really what I want to do is find those spots. Which I already have in the back of my mind and create new Coast spots in these sort of end of the road artistic enclave type places. That being said, I don’t want and let’s say I go into one of those places and it’s up in New England or the Northeast, the goal isn’t to bring Key West there. The goal is to take their local sort of history and their local aesthetic and that sort of stuff and make the Coast brand a part of their whatever.
MARK: Being ingrained in the community, and you the artist being inspired by that community you’re in and designing around that.
BILLY: A lot of brands like, you know I think Key West is a great place to start a brand because everybody knows it, but at the same time, it’s like well it’s not just about Key West, it’s more than just Key West. For me to go into another place and go, “Well it’s a Key West brand, no, now it’s a brand based in this place.”
MARK: It seems like the theme would be coast, water, ocean and stuff like that, which you can go into those places and adjust based on that.
MARK: It sounds like, and this would be cool and just what I’m thinking, if also you did one in Newport, Rhode Island and you had a store there and it was like you could put a show like the annual Coast Music Festival or whatever you’d want to call it but in Newport. Then one here, and one in all those different locations, it would be really cool and also bringing in all those ambassadors together.
BILLY: Yeah, you’re on the right track there. We are working on a festival, actually we’ve done it for the last couple of years on varying scales and I think maybe that’s what I ultimately want to do is just one festival a year where I can focus all my attention and effort on one weekend where we have a festival rather than sporadically throughout the year.
MARK: It sounds a lot harder to do that, but if you had one and then you had, like let’s say six locations, you could do local marketing in those locations for the main festival that then everybody could go to. Speaking of that, what are you doing for marketing to get the brand out there besides the ambassadors?
BILLY: Aside from social media, really nothing.
MARK: Social is all you really need nowadays.
BILLY: Yeah and I’m like…
MARK: Instagram and posting on there and…
BILLY: Kind of, and I do that with varying degrees of success. I’m not very social as far as like going through and commenting and liking on stuff and I think a lot of times that’s where you get your following from, or that’s what I assume. But we kind of have an organic approach to it.
MARK: I’ll give you some tips off, when we are off, it’s no problem. Because you have such great stuff, I think there’s ways, like you’re right with the commenting and everything like that, think about it if you had a house party and you invited all these people and then they are like, where is he? And you went upstairs and went to bed. You may not have as many people come to the party next time, but in the same token you don’t want to force doing things that you don’t like. If someone’s like you gotta do a video blog, but you don’t like being on camera then you’re going to try it and that’s gonna just die. You have to find out which one of these things you like. Instagram seems like it would be great for you because it is visual and you can post something. You seem like a deep person where the words will matter on what you write there, you may need to get somebody to do that for you. Like here’s the words, here’s the picture, make it happen so that you can focus on the things you love to do. We’ll talk after.
BILLY: Okay, sounds good.
MARK: I love the vision, I love where you’re going with it and hopefully, I didn’t spill any beans, we didn’t talk about this beforehand. I didn’t feel you kicking me under the table so, you know, we’ll keep this a secret until you’re ready to “out” the next location. Tell me about some local favorite places here. What’s your favorite event to go to?
BILLY: I have always like Goombay. The first house I lived at was 818 Thomas Street which is ½ block from Blue Heaven so that was and Bahama Village at that point in time was a different place. There was nothing really on Petronia. So Goombay was really the only time people came to Bahama Village, unless you were going to Blue Heaven which was still there. I’ve always had a soft spot for Goombay and then how it leads into Fantasy Fest. I have mixed feelings, it’s fun for sure, there’s a couple of events in that that I like, I like the Locals Parade and Zombie Bike Ride. More recently, I’ve actually met a few of the guys that ended up playing shows at Coast at the Songwriters Festival. I like that, it’s sort of a little bit more country than I’m down with?
MARK: But you get to be, I heard you get to be more intimate with the musicians because they don’t just play and leave, they’ll come and stay and listen to other music.
BILLY: The way it works out every year just coincidentally every year, it’s like the first or second week in May, that’s when we have G-Love come down and you know, a big musician, so he comes down that weekend and then just though the grapevine people like managers or agents will get in touch with me and say “so and so is in town, they kinda want to see your place and want to link up with G or whatever, can you put them on the list.” And I say yes and that’s how I met people like Langhorne Slim, Rayland Baxter, and a couple other guys.
MARK: What about your favorite place to go eat, that’s like a local place?
BILLY: Blue Heaven is my favorite. And it’s like right down the street, so.
MARK: And for dinner, too? Because it gets so packed for breakfast that I don’t know and I haven’t even been there for dinner.
BILLY: Definitely for dinner because…
MARK: And it’s chill? More chill?
BILLY: Yeah and they have good background music and it’s like a place where you can just, even if you’re waiting for your table it’s not like you’re sitting outside with a buzzer type thing, you can play ping pong. So definitely for dinner and I’m not a huge breakfast guy, but I do go to Glazed Donuts all the time.
MARK: Oh yeah, they have good coffee, too. What about a place for live music?
BILLY: The Parrot.
MARK: Yeah, I gotta get them on here because it’s like the Parrot is, and I like the fact that they put out a line-up so early in advance. That I like that I see for the whole month who’s playing, what’s playing? I love jazz and blues so like on Sunday, my wife and I will just go there sometimes and chill on the outskirts and just relax and listen to some great music.
BILLY: We are kinda located right in between those, so a block from Blue Heaven and two blocks from Green Parrot so it’s nice, but sometimes it’s difficult to not get sucked into either one of those, but those are my two favorite spots. We have done some collaborations with the Green Parrot, like t-shirt design but also with this festival that we are trying to work on together. Even Blue Heaven, the first year we did the festival we actually had some of the shows over at Blue Heaven.
MARK: Cool. Are you here all the time in the store?
BILLY: This time of year, I probably will be just because it’s pretty slow and my employees are kind of like, traveling or doing whatever. So, it’s a good time for me to get caught up on the computer.
MARK: I saw you looked like you were doing some design work.
BILLY: I’m happy to be here and I won’t get as interrupted as much. A lot of time if I’m here and it’s busy then it’s really hard to sit on the computer.
MARK: And where will you go to do any artistic work on the computer if you’re not here?
BILLY: I will just do it later at night when the shop is closed.
MARK: Alright, so you’ll do it here later at night. Cool, so if you see the light on don’t come a knockin’ because they are closed.
BILLY: A lot of times I’ll just leave the door open, like we are usually open 10-5. But if I’m here and as you go on in the day it gets slower and slower at the shop because you know, so I’ll just leave the door open and you’ll get every once in a while you’ll get someone come through and they’ll be like, “Oh this is great you know it was closed last time I went by.” But if down a rabbit hole then I’ll close the door and turn the music up.
MARK: Alright, so you come in and say hi and if you do walk by and the lights on and the doors open, definitely come in and say hello. Where else can people find you? I mean the websites, social media and I’m going to put it all in the show notes, but why don’t you let them know, too.
BILLY: Website is: www.Coastprojects.com
And all the handles are Coast Projects, where else, I don’t know.
MARK: Which one do you communicate the most on, Instagram?
BILLY: Yeah, Instagram. Facebook well …and I never had, well I guess I sorta had to have a personal account on Facebook just to open the business account, but I don’t think I have and I don’t even think that I have one friend on it. So, it’s just there because it had to be there. I used to post on both, but…
MARK: Now you’re just on Instagram when you’re on it.
BILLY: It just seems simpler. It’s not as much like drama.
MARK: It sems like your core audience, too.
BILLY: Yeah, I use Instagram like if I’m making an announcement or if for instance, we are going to do a concert. We’ll probably do an event page, or if we are doing some type of sale, but it’s less and not like, I probably use it once a month maybe.
MARK: As we are wrapping up, tell me one thing that you’d like to leave the audience with. It could be a favorite coffee, new music you’re listening to, it could be a tip of the day, anything. I’m going to do something different that we’ve never done, we are going to do two things; (1) give me a musician that we should be listening to that most people probably aren’t and that they can hopefully find somewhere online.
BILLY: Geez, sometimes I like to keep them to myself.
MARK: Then give someone that’s not at the top.
BILLY: I think everybody should be listening to Rayland Baxter who has come down and played here a couple of times. And you should follow him on social media, too because he’s hilarious. He’s got an interesting sound and a funny social media presence, a super good guy and his music stretches from folk to pop. I think he’s a good one. He shot a video down here and actually some of the radio stations play him quite a bit. I’ve heard a number of people say they heard Rayland a couple of times on the radio just in the course of a day.
MARK: Definitely check him out. Follow him on social and Instagram.
BILLY: Rayland is here, is his…
MARK: Sounds funny. And then now that you’ve had a couple of seconds to think while you were doing that.
BILLY: Okay, so part of what I’m doing while it’s slow here is trying to like reignite some creative embers. Not even necessarily having to do with anything that we’ve done in the past, so we just finished, and I made a last-minute entry into the 72-hour film challenge which is at the Tropic and they will be doing the premiere on September 17th. We did that and so.
MARK: Nice, so what’s the name of the movie?
BILLY: It’s called Keysy Rider and it’s basically, well the original ending to Easy Rider was that they bought a boat and sailed to Key West and a lot of people don’t know that. Well, they never used that ending they went quite a bit darker and so we took that original ending and created a short sequel to it. That’s happening on the 17th and then the other thing that I’m doing right now is trying to do some artistic stuff that I’ve been wanting to do for years and never got around to.
MARK: Different than?
BILLY: I’m doing some painting. This is just going to sound weird, but some of our, well sometimes some of our screens that I screen-print with will rip and then they become useless but there’s this wooden frame that has all this paint on it and looks really cool. Then my favorite breakfast place is Glazed Donuts and they have these burlap sacks what the beans come in, so basically, I’m stretching the sacks over these old screen-printing stretchers and creating canvases made of all reused materials.
MARK: But you can sniff that coffee smell.
BILLY: So, I’m trying to create some type of painting series based on that and I’m also doing some spray paint and stencil on paper.
BILLY: And the themes will be coastal for the most part.
MARK: They will be in what you love doing.
BILLY: Yeah, it’s just that I’ve never done it before.
MARK: It sounds like the tip of the day is: do things that you may have been putting off on the side artistically – now. Challenge yourself, go out there, who cares? You can always paint burlap sacks for the garbage and no one will know. But you’ll know. But my tip of the day would be: the ugliest look in the mirror is that of regret, so don’t have it. You might as well do it because who cares? You never want to do things to impress people that you hate anyway, so do things for yourself.
BILLY: That’s a good way to look at it.
MARK: Listen, it was great talking to you. I’m looking forward to talking again maybe about some other projects you’re doing and checking out the store when we are done.
BILLY: Okay, I appreciate it.
MARK: You go it, thanks a lot.
BILLY: Thank you.