The Independent Artist Podcast

Riding the Tide/ Rey Alfonso

September 05, 2022 Douglas Sigwarth/ Will Armstrong/ Rey Alfonso Season 2 Episode 17
The Independent Artist Podcast
Riding the Tide/ Rey Alfonso
Show Notes Transcript

Working Artists! You are not alone!!  Rey Alfonso tried to escape Cuba multiple times as a youth. At 17, he built a boat and set sail across the Atlantic, determined to make a better life for himself. In "Riding the Tide," Rey recounts his literal voyage and the metaphorical tide of finding his way as an immigrant in the US and, ultimately, a successful independent artist.  This is an amazing story of resilience you won't want to miss.

Visual artists Douglas Sigwarth and Will Armstrong, co-host and talk about topics affecting working artists. Each episode is a deep dive into a conversation with a guest who shares their unique experiences as professional independent artists.  This week's preamble topics include "the Cannonball Run," Corning Glass Museum, commissions, and hiring help for the "dum-dum" work.


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[Music] foreign


artist podcast sponsored by the National Association of Independent Artists also


sponsored by zapplication I'm will Armstrong and I'm a mixed media artist I'm Douglas sigworth glassblower join


our conversations with professional working artists all right rev up those engines everyone


it's Cannonball Run week here on the podcast oh my God this is the week it's


uh we're going all the way from Portland Oregon to St Louis Missouri the great


state of Missouri I I cannot believe folks are doing this I can't either that


is a that is one tough mudder right there trying to get through that one it's a gnarly drive it is not the


easiest one and it's not like the country is necessarily changing like that Bugs Bunny cartoon like you're


going from the West to the plains to the whatever it's it's just it's a lot of planes yeah it's like I don't know I


feel like the drive from Portland Oregon to St Louis Missouri is like you're just gonna drive through a lot of methy


little towns it's it's it's a tough guys did you what did you say methy nothing


yeah it's an adjective sure okay yeah have you stopped in Wyoming Douglas


yeah there's a reason that people like a map it's it's right out there in the western states from Nevada all the way


through Wyoming and Kansas and however you want to do it if you do that


southernly route like my dumbass did one year sure um man I did Sausalito so not you know


coming from Portland you you pretty much have to take the northernly route but from Sausalito


two or three hours out of the way and I thought it'd be kind of cool to pick up 66 and so I drove down through there I


saw Merle Haggard Highway in Bakersfield I thought it was going to be as you go and then I hit 66. there's a reason


people don't drive on it anymore I mean you got a couple of cool Motel signs but it's right next to the main highway so


it just kept dumping you back off of 66 and I'd wind back in I'm like no I want


to drive 66 and I got a cool couple of photos taken but that was about it by the time I got to Oklahoma I was wrecked


I was like I can't believe I've added three hours to my trip it was not worth it yeah yeah just to say that you


experienced that stretch of the road and Mark that on the you know bucket list and now I live on it yeah I take Route


66 to take my kid to school so oh you do yeah well that's crazy yeah yeah weird


how that happens we did one of those bucket list stops we made a trip out to New York this week last week actually


and we swung up to Niagara Falls we were on our way by there and a little


romantic sigworth getaway yep a whole two-hour stop it


it's the Romance Dead Douglas is that what I'm hearing it's not dead but the schedule was tight and we wanted to be


in Corning by the next day so the next day we we spent the day at the Corning class Museum which was actually a bigger


attraction for us than Niagara Falls cool get a little inspiration oh yeah I've so this Museum it Chronicles the


history of glass throughout all time but what is most interesting to me


personally is the last 40 Years of the studio glass movement the United States seeing some of the idols who I have been


following since I started glassblowing so that was neat and then the other thing that was super cool was they had a


section on industry and about how plate glass windows used to be made and how


the the glass floor would would spin a big bubble out to make like a three foot


rondelle and that's actually what my ancestors did when they came to the United States so I got a selfie in front of that as if


me and Ludwig were were arm and arm very cool yeah that's amazing did you ever


think about naming um naming Oliver Ludwig okay oh yes now look that was not


his name but if we were gonna have another child Ludwig was on the docket yes I've got a buddy who named their their


son look weak okay and um Turned out exactly the way you think a lewd would


it sounds like it was inspirational and definitely worth the worth the trip huh it was we couldn't stay for long though


because we had to get our asses out to Manhattan we were dropping off the next day a sculpture piece to a collector who


bought it earlier this year and uh we worked on some of the final details for


an installation she's thinking about ah very nice that sounds exciting yeah it sort of turned into a real nice trip and


we delivered the piece uh to her apartment in downtown Manhattan which


was quite an interesting experience I mean we're Road Warriors we're used to


driving around the country in our art fair Vans but try parking in downtown New York that's that's pretty much


freaking nightmare a lot of these by the time we get to our destination it doesn't matter what the city is


typically we're we're landing and there's a there's a parking lot that's already been reserved his arms you know


like okay we've got you come on come in maybe a yard sign that says this way please or whatever you know


you know nope nope no parking to be found out we we navigated that crazy


puzzle and then we headed over to New Jersey which is the location of one of


her businesses that is being built it's they gutted an old Dunkin Donuts and


this high-end store is going to go in in New Jersey so the cigarette glass is


possibly going to end up in an old Dunkin Donuts moving on up way to go yeah all right good well uh congrats


like it was a productive trip all the way around it was good it was good but I have to say at the end of all of that


this whole physical component has been a struggle and we just ended up having to


scrap the whole rest of the year I I can't do any of your shows no okay are you gonna try to bump your surgery up or


yeah well it's kind of like I am unable to produce now at the kind of rate I


used to be able to so these last few commissions that we had on the docket that we're trying to work on that's


probably all I can actually physically accomplish and so showing up to the shows for one I couldn't set it up


anymore so I really want to send out a thank you to Sarah and Kendra they've


they were really understanding of me canceling here last minute so you know it's it's kind of moving sometimes to


realize what a big community that we are a part of and yeah I think the people are generally pretty good to us out


there so it's nice to see that people are taking care of you and understanding uh you're not a complainer you know


you're out there working your butt off so well uh uh the boss of this operation uh Renee she said to me this week when


you know I'm just trying to make a piece that's all we're doing we're I'm trying


to be a partner I'm trying to like hold up my end and I look like you know like Full Metal Jacket when the bomb goes off


and everybody gets up and they're trying to walk through you know that's what I look like walking just through the


studio the reality set in it's like if you can't like walk 10 feet how are we going to set up our next Booth so is


honestly what it comes down to and somebody explained it to me recently really well they said it's kind of an


issue of Show Mall and I think a lot of us feel this way when we we get into a


show or have a certain schedule yes part of it is the loss of income part of it


is that fear of missing out the opportunity or whatever opportunity


could come but also just missing out being part of that event my favorite quote was not actually on the podcast


but it was from a good friend of the show Helen Gottlieb said uh she said


fomo it's more like Jomo it's a joy of missing out I don't want to do this [ __ ]


if I can avoid it I will so maybe a Dodge stable it's gonna watch it it's just gonna storm and rain okay I hope


not and I'm actually gonna bring my raincoat this time my wife made fun of me do you know how many raincoats I've bought at shows I mean that's just the


show just countless numbers of raincoats that's always the way yeah always the


way choosing and uh shorts which I never think like I don't wear shorts I don't


want anybody having to see these legs and it's it's just like I'll I'll put


the jeans on and then you know it'll be 97 degrees and I'm like you're like oh I think I'm gonna go buy a pair of shorts


again okay love you baby I pull a move like that and Susie's just


like my baby you've got drawers full of shorts that


only have been worn on one hour Hope Alabama shorts and those are the uh St


Louis shorts uh some good old Virginia Highlands Atlanta shorts so I'm actually


working for my next show actually doing production work uh doing pieces that I want to create for the first time in


what feels like months oh okay not feeling guilty about it because I don't have uh this gigantic heinous commission


hanging over my head like I have all goddamn summer did you get it finished yeah I finished well I put it in the box


and I shipped it off until they're like this isn't you know we don't like it


so what you okay so you're ready to send it to them and you're you are on pins


and needles so you know that they get it and love it and everything's good I don't know if it's pins and needles as


much as it's um pepto and matlocks it's more it's it's a different feeling you


know I just I hate that feeling it's like they talk about like a New York minute it's like a


whole generation I feel like can pass between sending a commission out because I I don't know about you guys but a lot


of my commissioned customers yeah they want a big unveiling moment as opposed


to photos and here's what it looks like I always kind of pitch on the unveiling moment the unveiling moment is a way


that I used to lie to my customers okay because I'll tell them that the piece is done yeah and it's not done and it's


just a way to kick start my own work and get myself back into the studio for long hours


it does provide a lot of anxiety but at the same time with this anxiety feels uh


self-induced well sure sure but it's like I'll lie to my people


your piece is done now most of my customers really prefer an unveiling


moment would you like uh to just be surprised and delighted when you open up the crate or do you want to see photos


ahead of time and if they say they want photos ahead of time I'm like great I'll be in my studio tomorrow afternoon and


I'll take some pictures no I mean I'm working on it it's not


like this it's not like it hasn't been started right to a certain point yeah but sometimes the point is is you know


not that far along I'll just go yeah yeah you want and then


they'll say no we just want to be wowed in a mace which is 99 because of the way I picture it and they'll say that and


they're like great here are my lies do you want the unveiling I just need some


time for the varnish cure that's a big one I mean like the varnish you know what the summer it's been so humid I


just so I can buy myself an extra couple of days uh


you are really telling all your secrets right now oh I do not yeah there's a


reason I do not tell my clients to to listen to them because they're all like hey said that


to me no I mean sometimes you have to buy yourself a couple of extra days and yeah those are those are some of my ways


well I I understand I mean the whole challenge is with with commissions and


most people I've heard people say you get a commission well double the cost that you charge for it because you're


going to be spending that much more time on it and we do a number of these


installations over the years and I've come to when I'm quoting it to really


get real about all of the energy that goes into these things it's not just


about producing like 25 pieces or whatever is going to be part of this collection that you're doing that's not


the whole thing there's there's there's design time there's the multiple amount


of pieces that don't work out as you're doing it you know what I mean we have to factor all that in so I mean all of you


yeah that's really small all of your start starting overtime or you're white but the canvas has got to be part of the process you know yeah


there's so much uh wider in contrast here it's like well I painted over it 25 times oh yeah


yeah so I don't want to talk about this commission anymore because it's already given me nightmares it's it's over and I


actually created a piece for myself and just for the booth this week so that's awesome huh is that the piece that you


sent me a photo of today I did pretty awesome man I'm excited about it I think I think you're


your intention behind it is spot on I think it's going to be Dynamite that's great thanks yeah I've got two kind of


distinct to me what feels like bodies of work and I feel like this one the


intention behind us is to bridge the gap between this body and take me to the next I don't know my booth to me I like


a full narrative in my booth I like to be able to tell stories from A to B and


this piece to the next piece and when I'm I'm out there pitching my work and it's part of my kind of sales technique


I guess never stop talking yeah exactly yeah so just just keep them in there


until they run away or buy something I don't know you know I


guess my biggest sales technique is is the open and likable until stories


people people get in there and yeah you know the right people and not just running my my yapper to anybody that


walks by no I I mean for me right along the same lines it's all about authenticity it's about being ourselves


and sometimes just being ourselves is like Ugh it's maybe it's so well good


unless you're a real [ __ ] but when you are yourself and the work and


who you are all matches up it only makes the piece more desirable so it's like


you know it's it my dad told me once when I started this episode folks we got


dad lessons we got my dad lesson coming up here he told me early on if if I was constantly trying to like lower the


price or set up a deal with somebody that I wasn't comfortable with or kind of go outside of the parameters of what


felt like a good decision when it comes to selling a piece he said you are then


setting up that relationship every single time they come back to your booth so he said always act in a way that you


feel good and they feel good about it so that you can continue to have that kind of relationship over the years so are


you telling us are you telling the podcast audience that you don't deal um I I wouldn't say that no but I would


say that I won't make a deal that makes me uncomfortable like I won't


do the fine I'll sell it to you for that kind of thing I don't you know what I mean that and I have a bad taste of my


mouth about it no I won't do that I I'll tell a story on my my good friend Chris Bruno he was talking to somebody at


Dogwood one time and they really lowballed it and he had a pretty high price tag on this piece and he really


wanted to sell it and he was like look I could sell it to you for that price


but you come into my booth next year and and we can't be friends we're not going to be friends


it's just I'm not going to remember you the piece is going to go away I'm Gonna Roll my eyes at you as you walk away


we're not friends I mean I get my money but you don't have anything with it he's


like now for this price I'm your buddy I'm your friend it's like


I'm gonna remember you next week I'll say hi to your kids I'll ask how about how things are going it all depends on


you do you want the Buddy price you want to be friends or do you want to you want a good deal and walk away and feel shitty about this art so how did that


how did that play out he ever wants everybody wants to be your buddy yeah but if you know Chris Bruno real well


then you might pay you know it might be a real bargain to take less and not be friends not my teeth that might be the


desirable Choice oh yeah I feel like man I gotta I got a deal and I don't have to be friends


I love you Chris so I thought it's kind of interesting how we've talked to some


artists yeah some artists you know are strictly they do the work they're the


the soul artists but then there's other artists who hire people they hire people to do things that aren't the creation of


the art yeah the dum-dum work yeah the dum-dum work and so I know that when I


said anyone calls it the Dum Dum the dumb dumb work I just accepted it as that's these assistants and we're like


yeah you're gonna go do the Dumb Dumber um daddy's gonna stay inside the studio and do the SMART guys all right anyway


go ahead well no I just was thinking about the different ways that that we craft our businesses out there and I


know when I started in on the the whole glassblowing business and was going to


the wholesale Market I honestly thought everybody who showed up at the wholesale Market is glassblowers they were like


like me and Renee it was like husband why a for one person with a with an assistant you know blowing in the pipe


when you say blow and that was how they ran it but no these are like these whole


Production Studios filled with other employees who are working and stuff like


that so it's this line gets kind of fuzzy between being this independent artist versus an independent artist with


like a a fleet of employees working for him yeah there's a fine line but I don't even know that it's that fine it's like


we you talk to to Carol's lazy and she has a really hard line on it any any


work that somebody does for you should be disclosed you know um I'm not going


to call myself a partnership because somebody builds my my panels that I paint on yeah


um that's that's like okay well that's that's a that's not a fine line nobody's building their own panels right you know


there probably are people that do that and more power to them stretch them on canvas and but the artwork aspect of it


you know what I say that Ben Frye been our good you know our good buddy Ben Frye head of the NAIA is uh he builds


his own panel so I'll shut up right now he's a dumb ass we're building panels and he has done you have work to make


right I mean but then you've got you know where does the line get drawn you know you've got somebody maybe driving


your stuff cross-country for a show or you've got yeah like Dolan said I mean yeah why not why not I mean if it if it


means that the person who created the work and is going to sell the work the artist


can arrive fresh and be ready for business that isn't


impacting the creative aspect of the creation of the work it's only impacting it positively if you


can afford it I mean I can't afford it I can't afford to pay somebody to drive my stuff across the country yet but that's


the goal you know yeah like when I went to the Rosen show and it was all of these Production Studios filled with


glass blowers that glassblower who is named on the the whole body of work they


go to shows and their five employees are back in the shop making their work for


them only five or a million I don't know you yeah I mean that's the Chihuly model


yeah I mean even that's an interesting topic but I don't know that uh we could we could even do anything but scratched


the surface of it I mean it's it's like world and I mean none of us are Warhol but uh he didn't pull his own prints and


um all right maybe he did the first one but a lot of times he didn't he he made


the money and set the shop up you know when's the when's the last time your boy Chihuly


blew one not since his his eye got poked out in that car accident I mean that was


his last day of you know but he has described yeah he has described himself


as Michelangelo I mean the eagle on that for example but


but I mean is is the being the artist fully just the creative aspect of it and


however it gets executed it gets executed I mean what makes the artist what makes the professional artist what


makes the independent artist what makes us any of that well um I I you know what I think I love


about this community is that we are all kind of counting on the fact that we're


getting our hands dirty and making her own worse I mean that's like we're that's the understanding right yeah


that's the understanding out there is that that you and I are are you know look at my hands we're on Zoom I'm I've


got I've got ink in my porter that's not coming out in the next six weeks it's it's just uh but that's the


understanding we're all out there we're cutting our own fingers and putting together our our own artwork making it


all happen I don't care whether you put your craft Hut up um in the morning or some other guy does


I mean maybe we need to start as a community helping each other talk about


segwaying into a different completely different topic that could take more than one podcast but we're an aging


Community you know I mean if there was a system set in place where you could just


fly in and sit down and sell your own work you probably would have taken advantage of it this next couple of


weeks instead of cancer right so yeah but anyway I mean I think the thing that


comes to me is what makes our business model at these shows and the work that


we're making out there on the road so desirable I feel is and and why I am so connected


to this podcast is the story and the experience behind the work the fact that we like


take rail fonso for example who you talk to this week he's like the definition of resilience


the man it's like I'm not going to give away his story but he talks all about how he got to the United States from


Cuba and it's not an easy Journey no it's fascinating and it's it makes


what we do seem easy so that's what I love about about his talk and the whole time listening to it and I I would


encourage the listeners to think about this his whole story that he tells


really does set the stage for him being as professional independent artist I mean it just it


makes so much sense as to how he would have the faith and


the trust and put in the you know what I mean the Hard Knocks yeah and it was a


really great talk will and I just well you know what it's funny you say it's a great talk it's a really great listening


that it is a really great listen and here my goal about this show and a little you know drop the third wall and


say whatever I just want I want to be able to talk to people that are in our


industry and let them explain who they are and let the folks get to know them a


little bit better and sometimes that takes more work than others and sometimes you have to coax people out


sure and sometimes like with this talk with Ray you need to learn to shut up and just let him do his thing yeah and so I did a


lot of shutting up this week uh not that you'd notice here in the Preamble but


I did a lot of shutting up and it felt good I haven't done an interview in a couple of weeks and I appreciate you


picking up a slack there on that end it's been a crazy couple of months but talking to Ray uh I love the guy and I


love his relationship with Patricia and I love his work and it's just


I don't know I wanted a chance to kind of dig down deep and get the fragments of these stories that I've heard over


the years sure and get the fleshed out version of it yeah and it didn't


honestly take that much work to get it right the man is uh it was almost like


turning on an audiobook and listening to his story and I let's just let's turn him on let's just get right into the


show shall we shall here is Ray Alfonso from Greenville South Carolina


Kanga from Greenville South Carolina and


exactly he'll get to it this episode of The Independent artist


podcast is brought to you by zap the digital application service where artists and art festivals connect well


I've been getting notices from shows this week that I need to jump on and pay for my booth but I'm not at home at my


desk so I really enjoy that I'm able just to flip open my phone flip open


your phone do you have a flip phone Doug it does zap work on your flip phone because that's impressive but I turn on


my phone I log into zap and I'm able to buy my booth right there on the spot and


I can make sure I get that double Booth or that corner Booth I'm looking for and I don't get stuck somewhere I don't want


to be quit talking about double booths because if those shits are sold out by the time I come to get to them I'm gonna


be mad well I sure do appreciate that with zap


we're able to keep up on our business with the shows on the road using our mobile device you know Douglas we have a


couple of call to entries this week and one of them that came down the pike is one that I've been wanting to hit for a


long time time this one's kind of exciting have you ever heard of the garage sale art fair I have heard of it


because I absolutely adore Bonnie blanford and she is an art show artist


and show director her and Michael Kiefer they created this show artists who run


art shows that's the way it should be it really is absolutely and it's uh it's


not your typical art fair it's like you're supposed to bring things they have it sold and put them maybe let's


say a more attractive price on them it's I mean it really is the garage sale art


fair it's stuff that you've had in your garage and it's bring out your weird stuff and it might be the stuff that


you're not making anymore it might not fit in your current body of work it's just a little more loose it's stuff that


you just want to get rid of you want to move on yeah mark them down move them out clean out the booth give yourself a


big old Booth enema and uh let yourself sell some of that work that's been hanging around all right the application


deadline is October 1st so it's coming up real quick quick so make sure you jump on that and the show happens


February 25th and that's in Kalamazoo Michigan I'm going to apply the other


call to entry we have on the docket this week is from a show that you and I know really well the Coconut Grove Arts


Festival in my mind it was always the kickoff for my art show season so it's it's always a big major down there in


Florida it is it's one of those to fit into the tour of shows and you know there's a lot of new changes that have


happened at the Grove since they came back from kofit I could not think more highly of the director we've talked


about Camille Marchese in the past she used to be a major part of the Winter Park Arts Festival which also has an


amazing reputation they're doing things like shrinking the number of booths down


to a smaller number so that you're getting a bigger piece of the pie that's huge that is just huge and it's they're


also giving artists more room around their boobs and really putting a lot of money into the show itself as far as


getting the community out to come back to Coconut Grove putting out a budget of three hundred thousand on marketing so


they are getting the word out in South Florida that Coconut Grove is a premier event again focused on Art I heard great


things coming out of the show last year and we're looking forward to more great things coming up well the deadline for this application is coming up really


quick it is September 15th so don't wait hop on today folks it's Panic apply


right now and just have yourself a beverage or two and get on zap after midnight like I do


Ray Alfonso welcome to the podcast thanks for joining me sir thank you um looking forward to our conversation I am


too I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes I got up early this morning and was uh backing up a little Cuban history


of myself so I could make sure that I was a little bit prepared where do you get the history from though I mean as


well that's true I mean let's let's get down into it I mean you were you were born in uh where were you born


[Music] next to Havana they call it a city by


the bay so I was born really close to the ocean right and I grew up there and I came to America when I was 17. I don't


want to date you or anything but at the same time as far as the history goes it's really interesting when were you born I was born in 1974 okay and I was


born with a revolution and my mother actually was born the year of the Revolution so it was my mother yeah so


we were all raised by Communists propaganda your mother was born and said


what like 55 no no my mother was born in 59 59 1959 was the year of the


Revolution gotcha yeah me really young yeah she did have you young and you're you're born a little coastal town there


in Cuba and it's a Communist dictatorship I mean tell me a little bit about that about growing up under that


house it was it was a good childhood Until you realize that there is no


future when you see your your uncles and your father and you're struggling when


they're in their 20s 30s and 40s and some of my family were doctors and lawyers and and they


they struggle they struggle to to survive really and and the only the only way you could get


ahead in Cuba is if you're part of the Communist party I mean like you have to be part of the Communist party but if


you climb up the ranks you can do better but most of my family actually none of my family want to do that even my father


was a he was in the revolution my father was a military man and he got this


solution within a year a year and a half of the Revolution because that's when Castro turned Communists so a


historically Cubans have been hard-working and not communist you know a capitalist people I mean yeah we like


to work hard and get ahead and and this is why a lot of the Cubans come here they come


to Miami they they go all over the world but so how old were you when you came to America so I was 17 but I tried to leave


Cuba probably 12 times 13 times my mother died when I was 12 and I went to


live with my father out in the country I didn't like that at all yeah and so I just really together when they no no my


father my actually my father left matanzas where I grew up when I was


probably two or three so he went back to the country to the province where he was born and raised and he left the military


and became a farmer so my father today is a farmer yeah so he's still back in Cuba yeah yeah peace


and cute love but anyway so so I decided to leave the island but there's no real way to leave you can migrate out of Cuba


because you're born with I mean you can't even get a passport anyway so I started trying to leave when I was


probably 13 14 with older cousins and we failed many times to build boats and


rafts and inner tubes we we tried everything and I was put into in jail a


few times but I was a minor so they let me go they treated me like a juvenile delinquent not like a real criminal you know right and also they knew I wasn't


going to be able to make it um but anyway so you're leaving uh you're building these rafts as far as like


where are you trying to to get across are you trying to get to Key West are you trying to get all the way to Miami


uh we're trying really people I I didn't know then that Key West was much closer


so we always talk about Miami but really a high percentage of the rafters people


that leave you and actually they don't make it because there's an embargo so there's American ships out there all the


time kind of patrolling making sure that that Merchant ships don't go in and out of Cuba and if they do they have to


write down their ship number that's how the Embark actually works okay so if you if you enter a Cuban Port you cannot


enter an American port for 180 days so there's actual a physical embargo


there's naval ships out there is it American ships trying to stop you from coming in or are there also no no no


we're not leaving no well the Coast Guard the Cuban Coast Guard kind of guards the coast and we got picked up a


few times before by the Cuban Coast Guard they just bring it to shore they kind of like book you and then you


should let you go except if you're if you've done it too many times and then they've been in jail for a few years but


the longest I was in jail was like a month you know and they just let me go and this was like kind of a boy too


right yeah yeah in Kiwa you grow up really quick I mean for you to to survive you have to grow up very very


quick I mean right I left my my mother's house my grandmother's house really when


I was 12 on my own on a train so I went to the country where my father you know we don't we didn't have telephones my


father certainly this is the same type of telephone now so I just showed up at his house just like hey my mom died so I


have to live here now yeah and it's it's a long trip too it's probably 15 18 hours a day you know turn of the century


train wow it puts you in training for doing these


art shows get out of the road uh driving very similar yeah


you're a boy you're 12 years old you you go to your father's what's he farming he farmed just stuff you can eat fruits


vegetables and he had some cows but he got rid of him because in Cuba you can


get into a lot of trouble if you kill a cow if it dies you're not allowed to eat red meat or you're not allowed to kill


cows or to sell cows so he got out of there but mostly he just vegetables fruits you know that kind of stuff when


you're trying to get over to the United States and you're you're just you're with cousins you have kind of a group of friends that are that are all kind of


banded together that yeah yeah when when we actually made it I would build it I


had tried a few times so I knew what we had to build I was kind of like the the leader build because I've done it so


many times and two of my cousins were novice they'd never built a boat and in between trials I had to go to school I


would walk from school to my house down on the river and I will watch this boat Builders and people that you know


Fishermans you know they sit there and tell stories on the daytime their fish usually at night for some reason and


they do their Nets and they tell stories so I keep asking them questions I was super young and there's usually no young people around the river and I would just


hang out with them listen to those stories and they they kind of know what I was I was like so if your compass


breaks what do you do out there in the middle of the ocean and they kept saying they will tell me all the stuff but they


knew that I was I was fishing for information so I kind of after trying a few times and getting lost in the ocean


and all the stuff it's like you know tell me about I mean uh slow down on that tell me about a failed attempt you


know I want to hear oh we we so a few times we were probably five six seven


miles which and we always left from their Coast or the bay the mouth of the Bay


like we actually didn't go to the closest distance to Miami or to Key West we actually left from farther down the


island because there's less Coast car and people the Coast Guard doesn't imagine you're gonna go from a farther


point they always guard the closest point and how they do it they actually cross they have ships going across so you time


them you have to time them after a while I realized it's like we were not prepared to this it's like at the time


and when they cross then you go across because it's also physical too it's like their actual ships guard in the coast


they're keeping people in Cuba I mean it's kind of like kind of like they're like prison guards really because most


of the population wants to leave I mean Cubans go to the Arctic like they migrate to the Arctic yeah to


not being Cuba that's incredible yeah yeah yeah so anyway so so the time that


we made it so I couldn't I was 17 I just turned 17 and I couldn't get caught


anymore because I was gonna go to prison probably for a very long time and when you build a boat in Cuba or when you


build something and you get caught by the Coast Guard the police switching to us the same thing Coast Guard put all of


it is one it's the military all the stuff that you got to build a boat or the raft or whatever they they give you


time on that because all of that stuff was stolen or traded or because we don't have Home Depots in Cuba so where do you


get this oh this guy gave it to me and where did he get it and all of it stolen from the state because everything belongs to the state so when so that


time that that we built a boat that that succeeded we actually built it like an actual boat the rest of them were more


like rafts so this one we actually built around the river like I I got a steel skeleton I I know


how to welding Cube I worked in my my sister's father's body shop so I built


this rib cage for the boat and we built a whole boat kind of like you build a real boat so


we will work on it at night and then fill it up with blocks and sink it in the daytime because we build it on that


on a bank of a river it took us four or five months I mean trading or stealing


or finding out you know the parts like you can't get screws in Cuba so you have to like figure out where to get screws


or nails or yeah anyway so so we were taking them off of other things just kind of robbing other things exactly


exactly like yeah stop signs are really really good well there's none left but they have really


good bolts yeah that's amazing yeah something in America you're appreciate but yeah it stops yeah


really nice bolts wow I'll keep that in mind


a nice long bolt yeah sometimes okay perfect so you're sinking this thing in


the river and I mean how long does that take to build this boat up it took us a few months because sometimes we couldn't


pull it out we actually had to jump down there and take all the blocks out and then sometimes it floated sometime and


we had to Tire because we didn't want the current and this is a very slow River and this is kind of like a little


a finger in the river where they grew rice but we couldn't have anybody see it


because in Cuba first you know half of the population is watching the other half yeah so anybody that saw that boat


and also when we're finishing the the boat we need a paint and they only paint my cousin worked on a in a warehouse or


state Warehouse that store paints and the you know stuff to paint like the tankers the oil tankers maintenance


stuff right and the only thing he could find was this bucket of oil-based Rust-Oleum have you seen the Soviet


ships with that red stripe like that red super thick strange paint that looks


like it looks like it's melted down lead with a little bit of red ink yeah you know what I'm talking about it's like


that so we painted up our boat that color and that which which was terrible


that's all we could get we couldn't get any other thing so I'm just just to seal it to steal it I that was yeah for


everything I mean we we didn't have anything else so we cocked it with this little like I don't know how you guys


call this in English but you put it between the boards you hammer it in and then you put this putty on it and it


swells right anyway so yeah that's how is this a sailboat or a bow throw boat


or or what kind of shipment it was a sailboat I designed it as a sell boat this was gonna be the the time that I


was gonna make it because I couldn't I was going to go to prison probably if I got caught so there was you know so I


told my cousin this has to make it we either die or we're gonna make it to America and they were a little freaked out but


they had never tried so we prepare everything we're ready to go so I went to one of my cousin's house


which it was where my grandma lived before up and we you can see the whole city you can see the bay beautiful Bay


and my customers had this binoculars which is kind of rare if I stole them somewhere but binoculars we will watch


the boats and I was watching this little boat going out of the the river like


this tiny little boats like wow that see that's how we're gonna look like this boat and there were like three guys


growing and we were looking like that those looks a lot like our boat and I kept getting closer and closer he was


her freaking boat no yeah so so one of my guys who was in your


boat was it loose or I mean somebody's in your photo three guys growing in this boat so my cousin I got on our bikes I


mean we were not ready because we had to get permissions we hadn't finished the sale we actually we finished all the


woodwork and all the ropes but we couldn't get fabric you know we don't have canvas sure so anyways we're trying


to figure that out so we got our bikes and rolled down this giant Hill and we went to this this place where we were


gonna meet to to leave and my cousin I got there it took us probably 45 minutes to get there and my Elder cousin and if


there he was a bodybuilder he's bodybuilding friend and his cousin and other cousin


we're actually taking the boat without means they're gonna steal you guys are


pissed we were so pissed but we were a little terrified of my mean cousin because it's like I bet he's huge he's


huge and he's anyway so he was a bastard but by the way so we had to do all of


that that night so we went and got the water and we had canned food like Soviet Russian food that's what we had and jugs


of water and we left that night without a sale we started rowing in the bay


going out of the bay and I heard crying it's like there's somebody crying there was a woman and a baby in that valve


devote hiding so my cousin had a connection in Miami and this was his wife and his baby so in


our build without us knowing there was a baby yeah anyway so it was terrible so


we we started rolling and we went out out of the bay kept her with you right oh no there was no going back once you


leave you can't go back because the timing of the grifos are called so there are two ships that go across the bay


they cross each other to watch for for Raptors and for people trying to leave because our our base like it's a


fortress-based like Havana Bay there's two fortresses one on either side from


the Spanish they they're like castles yeah there are bases like military bases and


they just they crisscross the bay make sure nobody leaves or you know I don't know Americans coming whatever you know


we've been waiting for the Americans to invade for 62 years you know preparing for it yeah military prepares the people


for it it's like fun of course and if they come it will be great finally once you get past that certain


um kind of checkpoint do you feel start to feel a little bit more at ease or now you're headed towards the water we were


heading towards open water but and I had a compass that's one of the reasons why I was the leader of the thing because


I'd done it before and I had to accomplish that I traded long story but but I accomplished I know where North


was you know and if he got dark Compass if not but it started raining pouring rain and we couldn't see anything when


we were out like and there was this giant swell so it was like climbing mountains on this rowboat it was the


same for four people three were growing all the time so but we had an extra


person and the woman and a child anyway so it was now designed for this and there was no sale so they didn't you


know they didn't find a fabric so they just they're tough guys they're bodybuilders you know yeah so they


thought that was just muscle through it you can't muscle through it it's not possible you know yeah so anyway so we


were out there for four nights and five days yeah five nights and four days on the ocean and I


mean it was it was it was incredible it was like and we didn't know after like the second day we didn't have that much


water we didn't have that much anything but you started losing track of time and


where you are which direction and we probably were going in circles because the currents around Cuba are terrifying


the the Strait of Florida Cuba makes like a an obstacle for the currents to go in the Gulf of Mexico so they called


they called that whole area the the toilet bowl current because it goes in down the the Atlantic and it turns right


in South Florida right past the coral reef right past us gets really deep and then the currents just go around the


gulf and come out so it's like this current that goes around Cuba there's terrify and it spits everything out into


the middle of the Atlantic but it was like you're rowing against that yeah well we're not not really you can't run


against us we're being dragged by the current to the middle of the Atlantic oh my God we were not we're not doing a


good job so where does this spit you out I mean


where do you I mean how would you start making we were out there and I had my compass we kept going the point of my


boat was going north but where it's being dragged sideways we're going to England basically England is going to be


our destination so it's getting direct so we actually got we got picked up by the American Coast Guard 100 miles west


of the Bahamas which is pretty far from Florida yeah it's kind of strange but we


got picked up by by American Coast Guard based in South Carolina and I live here now it's so strange I never heard of


something that's amazing yeah yeah yeah and so they pick you up and what happens at that point what do they what do they


do with it this is this is the year this is before Clinton made that law with


foot dry foot it's a strange law hey this is 1992. so that law was passed in


1994 which the children history thing so so many many people are leaving Cuba


like me and raps and getting killed and getting you know drowning and stuff so Castro stood up there it's like okay


whoever wants to leave can leave so 200 000 people start building boats and leaving like that day okay we're leaving


yeah this is 1994. so there were so many people dying out in the ocean and and


there were so many immigrants coming from Cuba in 94 that if Clinton passed a


lot wet foot dry foot so if you if you touch land or if you're in American soil you get to stay but if you're in the


middle of the ocean they actually turned you around oh my God they send you back which means


you're gonna die yeah because you can't make it back there's no making it back so they pretty much kill them really


it's a death sentence he was he was so I this is why the Cubans in Miami are you know the way they are you know what I


mean they they hate government and especially the Democrats because they're the ones who they just point at this guy


Clinton made the law he killed all those Cubans yeah that's that's incredible the


very first the history of like I mean our privilege of just not having to know that and be like oh that's it's just a


it's a it's a law I think it's it's going fine so you guys are picked up at 90 what you said 90 92 so we said yeah


it was July 11 1992. and they turned you guys around is that right nope this is


before the law before okay gotcha so yeah actually when I got the there was


sand American coast guards would go out to find Cuban Raptors and there's this snack company this group of Cuban


volunteers that have airplanes that you know Tito Puentes Gloria Stefan would buy airplanes like famous


would give money to buy these airplanes and give it to pilots and it's a volunteer force of Cubans that lead Key


West and Miami on planes looking for Rafters so we got picked up by the American Coast Guard because of this so


a plane to us and called a coast guard and then the Coast Guard comes and picks you up that's how it works wow and then


they took you back to Miami they took us back to Key West so we were processing Key West Key West how does that process


go once you're you're on on soil and you're so before that law in 1994 Cubans


were welcome okay you know you only risk your life if you really have to leave that country you know and a lot of


political dissidents come this way because there's no other way to leave Cuba when you when you hear oh I left


key on a plane you got to be very suspicious of that person because you don't get a passport and leave there's


no American Airlines you don't go and buy a ticket and leave you know right


you get left by boat or left from the border or you're like you know State


represent who work for the Swiss Embassy I don't know I know how people live on on a


plane no but you guys get to Key West you have a group of you know you're kind of your cousins when you hit Key West do


you kind of scatter do you stick together no no no they separated us I mean they you know also this way the way


that we came he was sent a lot of spies to America okay the military drops him like in the ocean the Cuban military and


they're going to Raft and and a lot of spies come this way anyway so you get processed but you get like interrogated


I mean we were there probably four or five days too in Key West I was at minor so I had this one with me the whole time


translating it was great I was you know I was 17. I just turned 17. so we've got process there and my cousin and I


wouldn't have any family in America at all yeah no support system at all nobody to send us to you know so when they


process like they look make sure you don't have strange tattoos and and my cousins probably had it much worse


because they were one of them escaped the military my the one who tried to feel the boat Escape he was AWOL too oh


wow he was very and he had a strange tattoos and he was like super buff and dark and like military looking guy yeah


but anyway so he stayed a little longer but eventually they let us all go and we went to Miami and Catholic Charities put


us up in a hotel and and then friends so actually the woman and the child that we brought her husband the father of the


kid came and gave us a ride through 8th Street kayocho we call a guy ocean Cuba why Miami tuna but anyway so give us a


tour it was just eye-opening but it's like this is not as pretty as I thought


you know I I thought Miami was more like California yes you know the movies right


and and we went to a store and they were kind of they were kind of mean it's like this is very strange


and it was like very odd very odd so I didn't like the way it looked at all at


all yeah and I told my cousin you know I'm not gonna stay here and they're like what do you mean you got to stay here this is where this is like where the


Cubans are yeah and my other customer's like oh I don't like it either Fonseca which he's here he's here and we're like


brothers one of my cousins was good the other ones was bad so


he lives in Naples now hey and it was like you know we want to go somewhere else so we went to Catholic Charities


and see if they wanted to help us get somewhere else because we didn't have any family in Miami well you have family in Miami they just give you to their


their family like literally you haven't they just let you go you go to your family and we get a parole we get a piece of paper that


makes it so we can work you can do stuff with this strange looking paper with no picture it has no picture of you or


anything when humans come here with that piece of paper Exiles that that makes it


so you're like a political Exile you're here one one year one day that you get residency your residence because of a


law after the Cuban Missile Crisis it's called the the Cuban adjustment act the


bottom of the store is like you get nuclear missiles you get to be legal


it's an inside joke yeah yes anyway so yeah so you're 17 and


you're you're there and where do you I mean where do you want to go I want it I I had no idea never so we don't have


maps of America and Cuba we don't have American stuff we don't have an American TV we don't know yeah we have anything and I knew that this place was really


big so I said can I see a map and they show me this beautiful map and so like


you know we we've been sending Cubans to Vegas because there's a lot of work you know hotels and this is like yeah but


that's like that looks like the middle of the desert there's no ocean there like yeah but there's work it's like


yeah yeah I like to work with let's see so then I looked at it it's like how about on this side I want to be as far


as I could from Miami I guess how about this size like Oh California it's like yes like the movies and exactly and and


is there an island like I wanted to go back to an island that was because I'm an island person I love living the night


yeah like yeah America it seems so big and they're like yes Hawaii and they like told me it's right here it's like man that's really far so my idea was


within minutes I already had the plan go to San Francisco work a little bit and get on a boat one of those boats that uh


sailboats or whatever that you you can work on the boat and get to the place you know without paying yeah or a


container ship whatever you know sure whatever you can and go to Hawaii they gave us a bus ticket to San


Francisco and it took so damn long them all my ideas went out of the window because it


took us I don't know how many days it took from from and imagine coming from Cuba oh man this place must have felt


you know so yeah yeah from Miami to San Francisco was a long ride so it's just


taking a whole it must have taken you a week it took a while I mean the bus we changed buses like twice I think but the


bus kept going it's like it doesn't stop like us like we got to sleep yeah that's true that's true they change drivers or


something yeah but I think it was like three days so at least three days I don't remember it was 30 years ago


that's a long long time for a for a kid you know it was cool I loved it I loved it but I thought it was so when we were


like in Texas Oklahoma whatever we were it's like we must be very close I wonder we can walk from here or you know do


something else but did spots they're driving so sweet they were like no and the drive was Puerto Rican usually they


spoke Spanish it was you know when you do that route against San Francisco to Miami you speak Spanish you just have to


right sure so you get to San Francisco and you your plans are out the window and you're


adapting and so I get to San Francisco where do you roll next so the bus doors open in tenderloin they stepped out and


we had a little piece of paper with an address 305 80th Street it was like this building where where Catholic Charities


had helped other Cubans settle it's a really rough neighborhood in in San Francisco it's still kind of is okay but


anyway so we got there and my roommates were like eight or nine or ten Jehovah


Witness so I'm like us adult roommates so that's that's where we started yeah they try to they try to bring you along


yeah but they were Cuban Yahoo witness it's a whole different okay thank you but they go to prison for being your


witness so they're really nice you know what I mean they actually try to to confer you anything and they were older


guys and I was probably the age of all of their kids you know they were super sweet really smart and they have been


all of them have been in prison in Cuba for many many years yeah it's not our proselytizing Jehovah's they're not that


kind they're they yeah no yeah so you kind of got into a good group there and


you're you're in San Francisco and uh I just I like hearing your stories I mean where are you working you work as a


welder no no no hey I went to English school for a while in very close to intended line like City


College but everybody spoke Russian or Spanish and there was no English to be learned there so I asked my teachers how


can I transfer some work because I'm not gonna learn English here because in Cuba you don't speak in it's illegal actually too oh is it illegal yeah it's illegal


when I grew up in Cuba now I guess some people speak English but it was illegal you can't even say okay in Cuba it's the only place that you can say okay you say




hey but anyway so I went to school for a while and then I transferred to Chinatown which everybody spoke Mandarin


Cantonese whatever whatever and English you know I learn English there in Chinatown San Francisco


I'm walking into town yeah walking back and forth I I saw a sign that said For


Hire it was a Chinese restaurant and I walked down there the guy looked at me Mexican no speak Mandarin no Chinese no


good higher because they didn't want anybody and it was a dishwashing job so I had that job


for a little bit it was it was great and then I got I get to hang out with the Chinese people of San Francisco it's very cool and that's how you start to


learn English through the Chinese yeah because you had to speak English not I I wasn't going to learn Mandarin or


Cantonese you know no way I tried for a while it's really hard but but anyway so I just I can meet in


people that way and I walked everywhere so I met more and more people so then I


moved out of there I got a job because I could fix things and you know I grew up in Cuba and so this Puerto Rican lady


got me a job at this house called Guerrero house which is a a house for


youth at risk I could stay there for free if I could fix all the stuff it was this giant mentioned where youth at risk


and like X drug addicts like a halfway house I guess okay but yeah and and I


would I'd stay there then let me live there I lived there for like a year and I will fix the toilet fix the roof fix


whatever whatever and through that I met through that place I met this guy that


owned a place called Ground Zero Ground Zero so it was a similar to this place


for these kids to live but again Utah risk from 18 to 21 that he is set up a


place for him to like learn how to weld fixed bicycles so screening I


eventually opened like a like a used clothing store so Jake gave me a job there teaching this youth arrest the


funny part is like most of them were older than me on my age yeah you know that was like a half but I was but you


knew more than they did I was their age and then we built this climbing wall for them to the idea was that if they were


hanging out at Ground Zero she was this beautiful two huge warehouses in the Mission District Jacob was a a wealthy


doctor he was a youth at risk himself and then he he got out of it and he went to med school became a doctor and then


decided to start exactly exactly very cool so the idea was that if the kids were there the youth was they were not


out there getting drugs and doing stuff so it was kind of like a hangout yeah that cool place like their favorite part


but he hired me to help him build like a a dark room because he needed somebody young and he wanted me to to build it


with kids that were there there was actually photography


developing to take photographs you know like a dark room sure of course so just building stuff and also they the kids


would trust me because I was their age and I was a an immigrant and you know what I mean somehow they I had a good


report with people I actually wouldn't talk to a lot of older people well you hadn't exactly had an easy


background either I mean it's yeah they trusted me and they've got the drugs in the streets but it's you know yeah


you've gone through your own struggles at that point so that makes sense anyway so so there you know we bought like a


few things for welding and stuff and it was cool it was very very cool and some of them actually love welding so much


that they actually got out and like started like really welding like trying to get a job welding she was very cool


that is great so we will leave the the roll-up door opens but people walk in but we had to have it open because sort


of welding and noise and dust and stuff so I built this amazing gate out of


railroad spikes and donated junk chunks of bicycles so again that you can have it closed it was beautiful but the air


will go through you know what I mean and it was very large so this woman saw it and she's like oh yeah she worked for


for an artist so it's like I gotta go to school I gotta do this I don't know if I can do this like no it'll pay you a lot


more than you're getting paid but like anyway so I met the sculptor that's how I got into art because in queue at the


end yeah that gate was the very first thing that I've ever made actually I have that


and a for some reason I made a crucifix I'm not religious because I get you know


oh it's around you all the time too I mean it's it's that kind of thing not in Cuba no no


yeah we're not Catholic and Q either we're Communists remember yeah that's right yeah the Catholics went to Miami a


long time ago yeah there's some but but anyway so I just I guess that's something that I could make with the


stuff that I had there so I made I still have it in my studio and anyway so I met Court where kesky you really like me and


and I started grinding and Welding for him mostly grinding at the beginning and then it's like oh for you to be able to


work for me you need to get certified as a welders like I don't know I don't have work here I have to learn English


because you know I need to communicate with you so you pay me more uh you know of course yeah anyway so so it's like


you know I'll pay for you to go to school to learn how to weld for reals like you don't like my welds it's like you know


but I need a piece of paper because he was a sculptor in the public art projects yeah anyway so he helped me do


that and then I went to a San Francisco shipyard to to learn how to that's the only place you can get certification San


Francisco okay you're down to the shipyard I mean is that is that part of uh that kind of puts you through a


training program as a mentorship it's like a it's a union


I think it was called a local one Iron Workers Union you do it through that program and they're just trying to


produce Sheet Metal Workers Fabricators ship Builders so but I got there and I


really loved it because in Cuba I welded on cars you know I could make a 57 Cherry into 59 Impala no problem


that we we did that we until we were actually build cars almost from scratch


like you give me three cars that don't run and we will make you one yeah make you one yeah one that runs it might have


a a Buick with a lava is Soviet card a lot of engine in it with transmission


from a tractor Soviet tractor too you know but it will run it would be great yeah and they would look it would look


okay too that's amazing that's the kind of welding that I did in Cuba you know right but but there I learned how to


really well and I loved it and I liked the people and they treat me really nice and and I met a lot of like hard working


like you were called rednecks you know like when they were working the ships that are not covered right next they


call them something else uh I forgot what it was not wrong kind of like Roughnecks or something else it's like a


ship Builders but anyway so so I loved it I loved us like oh I don't have to


watch this Shadow because you know in San Francisco when you're young my age you work in restaurants or you work in a


service industry it's like I don't I I didn't do well in that restaurant I think I was only there for like two or three weeks it was terrible yeah I


didn't like to be inside like that I mean no so I I was like okay I gotta go the blue color red I want to be but I


built it yeah I want to feel like there's either there's two kinds of people you know you've got your construction people and you got your


your service industry kind of that's that's yeah yeah those are those are the two paths really I know it's good yeah


but I'm so so uh through cork so I would be grinding outside I would weld all his sculptures be grinding outside we


actually did on the sidewalk I met this two guys which is like there they were my real mentors the Joyce Brothers


so Joe's brothers were these two guys that were down the street from Cork Studio this is a studio inside the


market when there was a lot of artists in southern Market the San Francisco Market that's where all the artists were in the 90s until


the computer people came so Shipley Street was where the canal industrial the welders and the sculptures were


there so these Fabricators the Joyce Brothers were like literally like maybe a block


will have a blocked on Shipley Street and they would see me grinding there all day long and they were like they kept


looking at me I was like where's the sky so then they have overalls like this like true right next these guys are like and the ones that came up because they


walked to this convenience store and buy two sandwiches every day the same thing it was very strange like and they were


always together Joyce Brothers Metal Works so they talks like do you need a job it's like no I


have a job and I have another job it's like no no like you know like do you want to be a fabricator it's like oh I'm


getting my welded certification blah blah blah but I'm just working for Cork and they used to build sculpture they


actually did some stuff for him still a fabricate like very elaborate stuff


yeah and I was like maybe I can talk to Cork and America can work for you guys like one day a week


anyway so that's kind of that part there it kind of turned my life around because this guy did like the most amazing metal


work you will ever see well the prawns that look like like you know in the shows you see stuff is cast and it's


yeah think about that but fabricated like beautiful beautiful and they used to build sculptures for I mean dozens if


not hundreds of artists from the bay area in California like so I went to work for them and there's where I really


learned how to weld how to fabricate beautifully I learned how to take well like I really got into it so I started


welding like making my own bicycle frames and like I loved it and then I started making my sculptures out of


stainless steel blah blah blah blah blah I mean you're kind of developing your aesthetic there too right exactly and


and also looking at all this work quarks work was amazing he was mostly aluminum and glass aluminum glass and light


because his artwork was light it's like illuminated beautiful pieces but the


Joyce was made art for everybody I mean incredible I mean I mean people that I don't know famous people and I was


welding this stuff couple of times like man this is very cool and that's really how between Cork and them is how it got


introduced into it because in Cuba it's like for you to be an artist you have you're the son of the general the other


guy because the art school in Cuba is a way out like an artist in Cuba can make I don't know I don't know if you know


anything about keyboard artists Cuban artists very popular it's always been and it's sponsored by the state so they


give you a solo show and they realize that you can make a lot of money so they put the power of the country behind you


and they give you a show in the Google Map you know what I mean and they train to have incredible art schools to train


you like they always I I was never exposed to Harding Cube at all no not at


all I mean I can imagine that not where you you grew up really it didn't really seem like a way out probably no no I


mean even being a doctor a lawyer in Cuba or it's not a way out a way out is to leave


yeah yeah or become like a actually baseball


players can live either oh you know when baseball players come to them anywhere in the world they have like five guards


for each baseball player to guard him not guard him for their life Garden so they won't stay so they will stay yeah


they'll stay in whatever so like the valet the national is a good example I'm printing on the side so you understand


how bad it is a the ballet the National Ballet of Spain Madrid National Ballet


is actually the Cuba the National Ballet of Cuba the whole ballet stay in Madrid all of them including the handlers you


know the handlers they stay tuned that's incredible


they say too now they're managers yeah that's amazing yeah I mean it's it's


it's a kind of a desperate way to to grow up a drive right and and as long as


you don't know I think the key with you is like if you don't have ambition you do well just stay within your means and


you stay or if you have family in Miami I mean all of you is really supported by us here because everything you have to


buy from here and send it there I mean it's it's it's very sad but anyways you have this population super ambitious


people made to be communist it's like we if you look at our history we've never been this way it's like we're very


delicious people you get any one of those Cubans from Cuba and put them anywhere in Manhattan and they will do well


I mean I'm talking about really well absolutely because they're we're not we're not made to be Communists we're


just not no need to be controlled told what to do I mean I guess that's how you


found uh found your way here I always say like there's there's no way that I could ever work for anyone again after


having done what we do for a living no me neither I mean that could I mean I can't see I mean I worked for people


before Oh and at the choice for us where I started making sculptures and the Joyce Brothers would give me the key of


the shop after work and the weekends I would build the sculptures and I will practice my welding my dick welding


because I want it to get better and better and better so so anyway so people show up at the shop to pick up their stuff I was


like who made that I said oh I made this like you know you can sell this it's like who's gonna give me money for the stupid thing anyways after a while I had


dozens of these things there were objects you know very strange shops and a lot of it had to do with whatever the


hell I found like drops and and I make them fit together they're very cool I sold all of them and then


I think the turning point was the Joyce Bros got a job and throughout


all of this I was into climbing I love climbing after building well you had to like figure out the routes and stuff so


I went to Climbing Gym to see how they did it I like heights I've always liked Heights so there was a job that the


Jewish brother got through the big Union to replace the Golden Gate Bridge's cable you know like the the support


cable yeah support cables so so they're like do you want to help on this I was like yeah oh my God so this company came


and took the whole but I mean we didn't take it down there's people that do that oh okay so you're not you're not doing


the install or the no no no no okay that they have a company that goes all over the world that does this our job was to


like cut it up and get rid of it you know it wasn't like replacing the company I was picturing you up there on


the bridge like uh I was up there a lot because there were chunks that they didn't bring down so anyways so what


made my mind changed like [ __ ] I could make things and sound so the Joker gave me a job of cutting up this thing into


chunks and put in a dumpster okay so I started cutting them with this giant


abrasive salt you tape it and you cut it so it doesn't unravel right under like five six seven inches long and I start


making chunks of it I was like huh I went to a welding shop and I welded the whole top of one with stainless steel


yeah and well about I polished it I was like I should make a really nice color weight yeah you put it in your desk and


it's from the Golden Gate Bridge so I made 500 of those and I could have sold 5 000 of those so everybody wanted these


things like [ __ ] this is really cool it's like buying a little piece of the bridge it's buying a piece of your favorite Stadium or something it's like


I wish I wish I had made thousands of them but yeah it was just a fun it was hard to weld though because they they


unravel so anyway so it made but it changes it made my mind it's like huh I


could make things and sell them yeah so anyway so so that's how you found your way I mean that's how you get your


mindset probably like any of our stories really you know you get your it's like a a ball rolling down a hill once you


start in yeah no I I got a great break cork was having a show and Southern


Street at a gallery it's like oh you should bring one of your things they call them things one of your objects to to the show and see what people say so I


went to a show brother stuff people didn't like it at all people didn't like it at all I mean


they didn't buy his shirt either so and I was walking I was walking down Sutter Street and there was a street festival


like ours Yeah in our show and and then I saw this guy with bronze pieces and I


sat there with him and I introduced myself I'm an artist too I make things for other artists but you know I make


this and that and the guy was super super nice that was a slow show it's one


of those shows that you know we all started on those shows kind of thing of course and and I was like do you sell


things here it's like oh yeah I've sold two I was like Wow and how much are they you know I have a heavy accent now but I


was you know young and like I was super nice and he was so nice to me he was like oh yeah she was like can I come and help you on Sunday it's like why it's


like I want to see this whole thing anyway so that I helped him by somebody had sold five pieces to me that was


magical because my boss cork would sell two sculptures per year they were big and expensive but like I was like wow so


that kind of made my mind kind of open like oh I can make things at the shop and figure out how to sell them myself


without the gallery because this Gallery thing to me was a little bit like yeah anyway so it kind of opened my mind it's


like this is this is cool yeah that's amazing did you uh did he kind of just


help you out that weekend a little bit or did you kind of stay in contact with him I'd be a thing contact with him at all there was no cell phone I know I


think I kept this car for years yeah Jim was his name yeah and that's that kind of got you uh


of rolling as far as the next phase it just yeah yeah it sparked something in


my mind like and he didn't have a tent either he was like you know one of those opens but they were tents and I I did


walk around and looked at stuff like so this is and he felt very free like you know America when I think about America


you make whatever and you sell it you know that's it there's no middleman so you know what I mean like if you're good


you do well if you're not you're probably start to death exactly and then you're I mean you you mentioned the gallery thing like um not really wanting


to give your your cut to them either you know it's just it's not I would have mine but they didn't sell anything


right you know like but anyway so little by little so I started like doing my own


fabrication on sculptures I would sell to people that we knew and stuff like that but then I got I I started climbing


more and stuff like that started traveling around and I wanted more space and and then I got that that ish that


all of us get Cubans get that very early I went to buy my own house because I've been renting for you know probably three


or four years five years yeah so I wanted to buy a house and build a studio and you bought in San Francisco was that


right you got no no no I could I mean my house where I lived so for four four million dollars oh my God and you know


we had a bunch of roommates but yeah it was it was it was when I lived in San Francisco between my house and my studio


I paid nine thousand dollars a month right wow that's incredible and even then too I mean this is dude you're in


your 20s at this time right yeah I was making really good money I was fabricating for a lot of people and you


know but but but my whole crossover thing happened I was building so I met


this court had a very good friend it was a glass floor in Seattle and and he's like oh I'm building a new studio so


maybe you can and he loved or everything everything he touched had to be handmade and beautiful yeah so he hired he wanted


he he hired me eventually see he kept calling him come and build my studio in Seattle's like oh I got so much work


here dude you know blah blah blah so I'll go visit and see what it is so he bought this beautiful old gas station in


Capitol Hill oh wow so he wanted me to build his furnaces I'm going to build a furnace in my life it's a fabricator but


yeah his furnaces his glory holes or his hand tools his doors he wanted me to to


build him a crane system that he could take his Crucible out by himself no hell


at all so I built him a little break system so you can take the top off put it down and I build him a claw to get


the thing down there all by himself I was building this thing for him for like a month so going back and forth to my


shop in San Francisco in my 1971 pickup truck from Seattle to San Francisco every other week that's incredible and


and in that transition our building where my shop was sold and we had to move out like you know so


literally I had to like drive down to San Francisco one last time and bring all my stuff in this tiny pickup truck


so I went to Seattle and the idea was I was kind of finish this thing and have enough money so I could buy a house back


in San Francisco yeah in the meantime I needed another shop because I couldn't do everything I shop so I was looking


for a storage for all of my stuff and be able to weld and stuff so I was wondering my neighborhood in Georgetown


and I saw this metal building probably like 5 000 square foot metal building and it was kind of terrible looking


right next to a true value of hardware and and I I noticed this guy smoking cigarettes outside I was like do you


know who whose building's like oh this old guy is just full of salt I was like what yeah yeah then he bought


the salt you know it's no once like in the 80s whenever it was and there was no sauce so he thought salt was gonna be


worth the letter but so this old guy filled up this building with salt all the way up to the ceiling oh my God you open the wrong


door there was salt bags of salt


yeah yeah and they're all like melted together it was like it was a mountain of salt inside that building it was all


the bags were broken and Seattle and probably had it yeah the building had a few leaks so of course got wet but


anyway so I walked around and on the street this is an alley on the street it


was it's called Ellis Street there were two cool little houses and one of them was kind of falling down sideways like


those uh shotgun houses right from 1900. so Georgetown a little bit of it's where


Seattle was built from Georgetown is much older than Seattle yeah so a lot of the male people that built the city


lived in Georgetown yeah very much hey but anyway so I I


went around and in the yard there was piles of garbage everywhere there was a sign so I jumped a little fence I picked


up the sign and there was a number it's like he said for sale on it so I called I know because I need a storage what I


want to do is rent a building so I can pull this all down put all my machines there and rent it till I you know so I


could finish because at the at the my full-time job was the building a glass shop but I wanted to be able to do


something on the side and now I just had a bunch of junk that I didn't want to leave at my work site because it's not my building so I had a lot of sculptures


I had a lot of machinery and [ __ ] like that so anyway so I called this number and this is this realtor is like oh no


no it's for sale it's not for rent it's like oh I just want to rent the building behind blah blah you know I would pay


whatever like you know I I tried to sell that years ago I'm not really representing the old guy I'll give you


his number so this realtor gave me the old guy's number yeah and this guy came that same day he's like I don't know if


I can rent this thing the smoke he was this tall tall skinny smoking cigarette like he had a a a cigarette he was


smoking cigarette he had another one in his hand you know that type right I like the other one yeah yeah you have to


light it yeah anyway so he's like and that's when I he opened the rule up though he wasn't even locked he opened the roll up doors like yeah this is my


lifetime investment or something like this like I was like I want to rent it blah blah blah he's like no I ain't gonna rent


this to you son I'll sell it to you I was like I can buy this is like no I'll sell you the


building with those two houses you know one of them has to be torn down the only one there's a Puerto Rican rent in it I


was like no no I don't have money to buy a house right now and I'm not from here I live in San Francisco and I told him


the whole story it's like ah it's like I can't go to a bank right now I don't have like a real job blah blah blah you


know what you don't even need a real job if you give me a deposit I'll carry that


contract this is all in the same afternoon oh my god when I saw a sign I called you could feel it like four


blocks away right well you said he's probably had nobody looking at that place oh no that's that sign was like


maybe 10 years old yes I got somebody yeah he's got you he's not letting you


go yeah but anyway so he he had a bunch of older houses like that rented in the neighborhood like like really slum lore


houses like barely hanging on no Foundation you know but anyway so you know I came from San Francisco I didn't


know anybody pretty much that knew anybody on the house sure no one my age or no one that I hang out around they


don't own houses their parents rent it yeah in San Francisco so so I couldn't even you know I wanted to buy a house


but I needed to have a giant pile of money go back and you know figure out in San Francisco or or around back then we


were looking also on Days Bay you know like okay yeah totally today you know Oakland but anyways and a lot of our


artist friends moved to Oakland because they couldn't it was done San Francisco is done but anyway yeah oh yeah not


sterile but anyway so this old guy was like you know if you give me a little more money I'll carry the country will


be cheaper than if I rented you this building you give me 20 down then I'll


carry the contract for you it's like okay how much is like of what yeah yeah 150.


I was like so I'll give you 150 000 and you carry that contract for me and I had like a hundred thousand dollars in the


bank or more yeah because you know I made I was used to paying nine thousand dollars rent you know so and I was gonna call this lawyer to do all the stuff


like I'll get the my lawyer to do the stuff like you don't need a lawyer like yeah we're gonna use this lawyer


say you know but anyway so and he's like boy you're not understanding it's like yeah okay again I'll give you 150 000


and then you'll carry their countries like Boy the whole property is 150 000


because you know I come from San Francisco right 100 you know a toilet yeah that's that's no that's


nothing 150 000 is not even yeah you gotta come up with a half a million to put down right and we did all the


paperwork right outside of the roll of double assault literally right there with this lawyer and it was like he


carried the contract I started thinking the salta and the salt I gave it to a True Value Hardware


they actually wanted it it's like why did I just put it on a yeah the water it's like and then that same year within like


months I think I bought that in December in January it was the worst snow that


Seattle had had in years oh my God so they used all that stuff in the driveway and they gave me some of it back too


no they give it to me because I gave it to them yeah are we making with your friends I would borrow their forklift to


move up my welding tables these people were so unbelievable and it was incredible they were really incredible


neighbors that's awesome yeah that neighborhood was so great for me and also I learned how to work in a house


because this house one of them have been condemned for 50 years to them no power no water yeah so I started working these


houses taking all their Vines he had Vines all over I mean it was just it was like 20 40 Years of people throwing


garbage in the yard insane but yeah it was pretty simple I learned how to roof I learned how to do


plumbing I didn't know in San Francisco people don't know how to do any of this stuff because they don't want anything yeah there's barely a Home Depot in San


Francisco you know they don't yeah so you just I mean you you learn by necessity and you you kind of yeah and


Home Depot was like by actually Home Depot was probably a mile away on right next to where the original Starbucks is


oh wow they opened the Starbucks is here and Home Depot's next door very close to this house so I would go and it's a


24-hour Home Depot so I would go after work you know and work in my houses to like one in the morning like [ __ ] I need


some more two by four I would drive to Home Depot at one or two in the morning I love 24 hour Home Depot I love it that's perfect especially especially for


you and what you come from you know I mean no more stealing bolts out of stops you can go you can go buy stuff and it's


you can buy as many as you want it's like come on yeah I mean what's that that neighborhood too is I mean talk


about getting in kind of the ground floor of something so when I move there oh Georgetown is incredible so I only


lived there two years when I moved there there was me that owned I bought this house and then Marvin this lawyer and


his wife bought this other house the rest were rentals like pretty run down rentals yeah and little by little every


single house when I left there was no more rentals everybody people bought every single house on Alice Avenue it's


a pretty cool neighborhood but anyway so that was my start like that was my first start my first house is yeah


yeah I you know I've talked to you I love I love your story and and uh it's so much more interesting to hear kind of


your story than just um the the typical talk about art shows sometimes it gets boring I'd rather just talk about uh


yeah history and I love listening to people's stories yeah on the shows but I want to get into a a different one you


know dig a little bit deeper it's it's uh fascinating to talk to you it's fascinating to hear you talk and thank


you brother where where you come from and where you're going I'd love to like we've gotten Patricia's story and you


met her when did you meet Patricia I mean I kind of know from her Patricia exactly uh two years after I moved to


Seattle almost two years after Seattle I finished this two houses and then my


project ended of course to building a glass shop so I was like [ __ ] I got a house the thing about fabricating and


making sculptures and stuff for other people is that you have to have a lot of connections and in San Francisco I had all of that but in Seattle I did not


have all of that no so I had to like hit the ground running and I was like [ __ ] I gotta make stuff and I had some


sculptures so I made more and it's like how do I sell this so there was a Garden Show in Seattle like people love their


Gardens in Seattle so I was part of the garden chili because I made outdoor sculptures so I sold like two or three


pieces I was like Wow and I started digging more and then actually to my garden show this women came and like oh


we run a show called called best of the Northwest so it's like what's that like you


yeah all right so anyway so so I went to their show they were super nice I sold quite a bit and then I was like I could


do this for a living so I bought a nice pickup truck because before I had like you know that's 10 71 71 yeah like the


tiny little Toyotas you know the little blue I love that truck yeah the clutch was out no clutch really so you come I


work I went back and forth to San Francisco from Seattle like every other week so anyway so I I've learned how to


I've learned how to shift without a clutch I've been through that yeah yeah when you're parked you have to park


downhill or uphill I mean it's just not big deal you push a little bit yeah but but anyways so so I just really


liked it I liked to like go there you set up the stain and they bring the people and you sell to them it's like if


you kill yourself you're not you know anyway so I love that and I love how how honest all of it was and how Anonymous I


didn't matter if you were famous or not I love that part about it you don't have you don't have to be somebody's kid or


you know equalizer right so yeah I loved it so at that show I made another


Sculptor his name is Dan klenner and he he makes he still does huge sculptures he has a


Sculpture Park in on the foot of Mount Rainier and his Sculpture Park is called the spirit of


iron okay unbelievable was the most beautiful he makes the most beautiful sculpture I've ever seen fabricated from


objects but you could swear that that 40 50-foot giraffe was born that way and she's made out of horses


with a with a singer a sewing machine for a heart in there you like you could


swear this thing was born this way it's incredible it's he listening but he I went to see him and he's like hey I have


this show you want to come and see the shows it was a Bellevue show but he didn't do the one inside he didn't do


the the Bellevue one the machine when he did that one outside was it's called the rest of the best


because the ability show Museum they used to say that they're like the best so this group of artists got together


and rented a parking lot of the Pier One Import and did their own show across the street called the rest of the best I


love that name so and then I was like you know I'm not gonna do the show anymore so you should take my space for next


year like [ __ ] beautiful great you know so but before that I had another show at the Seattle Space Needle so another one


of those indoors shows it's on the bottom of the Space Needle in the convention center yeah so I was there


and there was a lot of Crafters that was in the circuit now clothing and it was me with my my sculpture for very heavy I


had to have a mini forklift about 3 800 pounds 300 pounds yeah they were pretty big and back then I was making mostly


creatures like dinosaurs like Velociraptors like queer creatures and


fish and crazy stuff you know so anyway so a lot of work to get this thing down


this ramp all the way and this marble floor it was just yes you're not smarter at that point oh yeah


and they're like 400 vendors so 400 artists in there and it was like


maybe 15 people per day camp it was terrible so this this gay man came to me


and I was like oh I blah blah blah I read your keyboards like oh yeah I am Cuban like Oh I thought he was flirting with me I was like no I'm from San


Francisco so I know what he's not really flirting with me he's selling me something okay and he made this this


puppets very beautiful pop yes anyway so it's like you know I have a friend that is


also Cuban it's like boy or girl like girl and she's blah blah blah blah you


know she's coming tomorrow I was like sure I mean great so I was you know next


day came there was no one there this show was one of the worst show I've ever had there was no one there and there's


this beautiful woman with a with another man with a giant cowboy hats like wow and I was really into Betty Page my


redneck friends got me Benny page all like the clean up stuff so my shop was full of Betty Pages pictures I went


through my rockabilly face I know what you're talking about uh yeah anyway so she had this this girl had this sharp


like cut way back bang so it's like oh my God it's very Page by size and she


came up to my to my booth I started talking to her blah blah blah blah blah and and she read I had a little bit of a


bio and she signed my book she put her name on my book it was great well we talked a little bit


and I was like wow very cool yeah and she left I was like oh very beautiful my


hours and hours and hours and hours went by I was like no one there Matthew can buy with her I was like oh this is my


friend I was like oh uh ray met her like oh your keyboard is like yeah we started talking blah blah


blah and yeah I was really into her she wasn't to me that much to explain it


right I was super skinny and like burnt hands like Wireless shape head


yeah like yeah like I look like a juvenile liquid stuff you know and


that's where we met but I went to my book like a few days later I was like [ __ ] you didn't give a phone number or


anything I had nothing so it's like how am I gonna find this


beautiful girl that could find a cowboy hat guy gotta find him again I know I was like


So eventually she called me she called me you called me like a month later Mimi so I should get much later like you she


liked me it took a long time all right away you know she can't call you


immediately I think her friend Matthew had a lot to do with that he like he pushed her push and she used to work in


this Gallery in Pioneer Square so she said oh there's this keyboard artist very famous Cuban artist having a show


so if you want you and your girlfriend want you can come and and we can go see this Cuban artist and I was like sure I


might I don't have a girlfriend anymore but sure I'll come so I showed up I have a giant F-350 Duallys Giant Truck Yeah


no more no more 71 Toyota no I know I had a big truck and I parked diesel too


because I had a trailer so it was nowhere to park so I just in Seattle you just leave it everywhere because it's just nowhere Pioneer scores so tight so


I left this giant truck and I had a Mastiff Neapolitan so we'll leave the


windows rolled down nobody would get near it but anyway so so I went to pick her up at her thing and and we managed


she's like oh let's go have a drink before the show I was like oh great she took me to her favorite little bar near her gallery


and it's like what do you want it's like oh I don't drink and she's like what no I don't I don't drink alcohol


huh yeah what am I gonna do with this yeah right and I didn't eat either I


didn't drink coffee no fun at all so that's where we met and and then we were


actually with each other all the time and she lived in a house with a friend and six months later I told hey you want


to move in I mean you're here every night you know what are you gonna be paying so anyways she moved in with me


in my studio I mean I lived in it I built a cool Loft in the studio yeah and we lived there for we lived there like


six months I think but anyway so I looked at property to buy and eventually I bought a property in Whidbey Island


the San Juan Islands so I rented all three houses up the two houses and the shop with that thing okay and I bought


land down up in Whitby perfect yeah and you've made some good choices that's incredible I mean and I mean not just


the property but uh the lady and the the lady yeah that's that's those yeah and we get married yeah we got married up in


the island wow hey I I wanted the first time I met you I was at some show I


think maybe Northern Virginia I can't remember exactly where it was but I thought I was hot [ __ ] and just


trying to figure it out my ex and I had this body of work and we were you know we had all the stuff at this this


business idea you know where it's like okay here's this little stuff here's this medium and here's the big stuff and


I've said this on the podcast I quoted you before on this before but I'm like I met I met you and uh again I think I'm


hot [ __ ] I walk over and I'm like look you're asking me about my business and I said well this is like my this is my


bread butter this is what I said and you you go that'll sell bread and butter I only


sell ham I walked over to your booth and


you were doing paintings at the time and these giant paintings and you know with great big price tags on them I'm like


I want to sell ham you know if you go in my booth now uh you'll see


you'll see it's only filled so thank you


anytime anytime I love that no ham is a big deal in Cuba


yeah ham is like ham is good food you know it's not just rice and beans you have hands exactly so yeah I'm only


selling ham that's beautiful that's beautiful man this is uh this has been a great talk I appreciate it we could have


gone a couple of different directions but I'm glad we took this one and and uh no thank you brother thank you I'm


getting used to the ear things now so I'm like oh yeah I'm ready to go that's right we all have the squishy by the time you take them off hey you got a new


body of work coming up um I I saw I do a little teaser of that I mean it's definitely fits in with your


other other stuff but so recently recently I've been having this not dreams like Memories so when I was


little in Cuba we used to have kite fights yeah you guys don't have


that remember so all of our house so my city is is built on the inside of a mountain overlooking the bay you know


it's like a stadium right you think about your house like Stadium sitting kind of around on a boat yeah and


they're so all the roofs are concrete you know cement all the house of cement so we actually were flight kites from


the roofs and the people behind you so so and we're all aiming to the to the Bay so we have this this kite fights


they're actually not like competition because you actually cut each other's kites off oh okay and it's like a war yeah so and you make your own kite with


your your family name or your gang name or whatever yeah so we my cousins and I and


my neighbors my media Neighbors which are kind of like my little crew we make our Kites and fly them and have wars


against kids from another neighborhood so you can fly the kite from your neighborhood to the next neighborhood over yeah that's how far and you learn


how so I don't know why I wanted to make paintings that felt that way and and I


struggle with my with my lines because I mean I work directly on Baltic Birch so


and it didn't give me that yeah right so I so I was I was throwing


away all of this pain in my house I was throwing away all this drop cloth like the tarps I was like hmm that looks like


the stuff that we will make kites off if it was paper so and I was gonna throw us like I'm not gonna throw away so I cut


him up and I started bending them and they looked like kind of like rough guys so I grabbed them took him to the studio


and put them on top of panels and Drew holes through them and rivet them to the panels and I started painting on them it's like


and somehow it just they become like kites like that's the failure if you get a bunch of yeah yeah so I'm yeah anyway


so I'm having a lot of fun with that I'm I don't even know if it's gonna sell I don't care it's coming from your work you know it


will there yeah I they have incredible texture I mean they have so many layers


and I I love it I can't wait to see it I can't wait to see it yeah well brother thank you so much


um thank you brother man this is uh this is a this is a really good talk and I'm I'm really excited to share it with


folks so man thank you brother thank you edit them well because I'm a renter my


wife don't rent their rent I make it old Cuban guy you know that's what I mean that's what I needed yeah I haven't done


an interview in a few weeks and it's been uh I was like man I just I need to talk to everybody I'm just going to get him you know just push him push him down


the hill let him roll thank you it doesn't take much I had a


lot of coffee I worked out I had a lot of coffee so I'm like I'm ready but it's like then you want to like have a


this shot of whiskey or something like no no I'm ready to go she's like this is gonna be a crazy one perfect that's what


I needed all right give my love Patricia we'll talk to you soon all right thank you brother thank you appreciate it all right bye-bye


well Douglas we're on the way out of that talk uh did you learn a couple things about right oh my God you know


ironically his experience of trying to escape Cuba mirrors my attempt at


leaving the state of Iowa so many years ago no I'm just kidding you know National Guard is on the Mississippi


who's more desperate to leave liberal Iowans or foreign


I can't even believe as a 17 year old guy that he hops in a boat and sets Sail


on the ocean several boats build several several boats several rafts several attempts and it's like sets Sail on the


ocean he's when he told the part about it the current was taking him to England I'm like how how terrifying not even


knowing how you're gonna get to where you're going I mean and you don't have to that's such obviously yeah we have


the privilege of not having to think about the we don't have to think about laws set in place or or proclamations


set in place by different politicians that affect different people's lives so it does definitely makes the scales fall


away from the eyes and and see another person's side of the story or see a


another person's Journey again with the privilege I mean I feel like a lot of our stories that we hear from from our


peers out there it's all about like opening our eyes to just a different experience and his


experience seemed I mean he's such a like a a gregarious happy-go-lucky kind of guy


but escaping no [ __ ] guy I don't know if he's happy-go-lucky he's definitely a no [ __ ] it's like what


you see is what you get okay yeah but you know I mean he's he's just it's all right there and I I do love that about


him and Patricia too right you know it's just like there's no they're the


opposite of the CH of the chucklehead sure you know there's there's not there's not a lot of laughing if


nothing's funny right they're just no yeah I did not mean that but I just meant in his stories it's like to talk


about these stories in in such a a way that are are upbeat and and then this


happened and this happened like wait a minute I mean you had to say a couple times uh slow down here I want to hear more about this part of it dig a Little


Deeper hang on let me hear a little more on that I have never built a boat so let's let's


talk about that and now that I know that he knows how to build glass blowing equipment man I'm gonna he's incredible


right calling him up I need some help right now I felt like I needed a tag team out there I knew you were nerding


out on the glass blowing furnaces and things I was like oh my God Douglas is dying right now he wants to ask I'm sure


there are 100 questions he wanted to ask him on that well I'm doing it all myself so it


at that really uh the point was I want to hire somebody to come do it for me but I raised God is I was joking I'm not


going to hire Ray to come fix my glass blowing studio in fact I can't afford it I can't afford it I can't afford it I


just dropped 5 000 on all new castings for our furnace so when we shut down


here during my surgery I'll have a complete furnace rebuild to look forward to that is going to be intense awesome


yeah awesome awesome because I will be happy that we're not losing heat out of


this thing but not awesome the physical challenge it's going to be to put it all


together but that's a story for another time hire someone I'm trying that's the


plan but you know you can't just like open a book and uh well I used to make the joke look through the Yellow Pages


no one has yellow pages anymore well I I can't Google glass blowing repair person


nobody shows up to do that stuff so okay okay well the word is out you just announced it to the entire Community if


you are a glass building whatever glass Builder all right with health I don't know what you do yeah right all right


let's uh let's leave it on that note folks and we'll see you in a couple of


weeks we have some exciting things planned for you I've got some talks I don't want to jinx just yet but uh some


more talks coming down the pike sounds good thanks again for tuning in good luck on your Cannonball run out there


don't try to outrun the cops but if you do uh I don't know I I can't give you


any advice all right call the lawyer again


all right take care everyone [Music] this podcast is brought to you by the


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thank you foreign