Coffee shops, conversation, and putting yourself out there.

Graphic designer Wessel at Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee


Damn, I thought coming back to Los Angeles would mean sunny skies and warm weather.

After almost two weeks chilling (and I mean literally) in Wisconsin I was really looking forward to enjoying something different. Instead, pouring rain and sweater weather. I can’t really complain though, we needed it with the drought, and, I’m back in one of the most creative and active cities in the world with money just oozing out of the pores.

But, to what I wanted to get to today...

Coffee shops, conversation, and putting yourself out there.

You need to stick what you do in peoples faces. I mean, as a creative. Humility is great once you’ve got your whole business engine moving, once people know you, once you’ve found your place. Until then, however, everywhere you go and with everything you do you need to be flaunting it, inviting conversation, doing whatever it takes to get eyes on you and your art.


Los Angeles artist Wessel at Rochambo Cafe in MilwaukeeRochambo Coffee

I love coffee. I really do. And, I hate bad coffee but I’m willing to tolerate it if I have to. I want to give a shout out to my good friends at Weird Wave Coffee in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles, because, hands down they’ve been the best coffee on a regular basis that I’ve ever had. And, I’ve had a lot. It’s not just that they’ve been voted one of the Top 5 coffee shops in California, they really do love their coffee and what they do.

My trip back to Wisconsin was filled with coffee shops

None as good as Weird Wave’s unfortunately. Anodyne, Colectivo, Rochambo, Fuel, and a couple of repeats because I liked the locations. Any free minute between friends or family I was out there, drinking whatever they had to serve with caffeine in it making sure me and my art was as visible as possible.

Los Angeles graphic designer Wessel at Collectivo Cafe in Milwaukee

The first time I set out my stuff it was nerve-wracking as hell. Funny enough, it was right where I’m writing this blog today, the Grand Market in Los Angeles. I’d done similar things in the past, like hitchhiking around Japan. Art out, thumb out, the desired result is all the same. For someone to stop, engage, and get you to where you want to go. It’s scary, it really is.

But, with time it gets easier. Trust me, it does. It just becomes a normal habit wherever you go. And it needs to become as simple as that. If you want to be a successful artist, and I mean commercially, to get your graphic designs out there, you always need to be in coffee shops (or other community spaces), creating conversation, putting yourself out there. The quiet usually whither and die in the commercial space, which sucks. I’ve seen so many amazing people out there so much better than me in that situation because they don’t splash it in peoples faces.

Graphic artist Wessel at Anodyne Coffee Roaster in Milwaukee

I get it. I really do.

The judgement, the fear of offending, the fear of imposition, of standing out, of being THAT person in the room. But, it’s the only way, and it does get to be fun. And, the people that you meet along the way, usually pretty cool. In the week I was home I had a dozen great conversations with complete strangers and almost ended up on a radio show (was going to be on an airplane when the show was on so...) Each of those moments an opportunity which would have been missed had I not been trying to put myself out there.

This is not a blog post about patting myself on the back. It’s for the creatives who come through here wishing they could, it’s for anyone who’s wishing they could. Wishing they could, well, anything. You can flip coffee shops and art for anything you’d like, and just focus on the putting yourself out there.

Doodles by Wessel at Collective Coffee Roaster in Milwaukee

No one in the world can read your mind, tell what your desires are, or what you can do until you show them.

My creative path has been a long one and that’s one of the most important lessons I’ve learned. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. If you don’t show, no one will know. You gotta be out there at those coffee shops, having those conversations, putting yourself out there.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this little visual journey through the coffee shops of Milwaukee. Yes, all the pics are centered around my work...but, that’s the point ;)


Graphic artist back in Los Angeles at Grand Market Central


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