Lately a lot of my interactions with people inquiring about SDBUP have come through Twitter. And this interview is as a product of connections made by the influential social media site but I cannot take the credit for this one. A close friend of mine who is actually an entrepreneur herself linked me with the Twitter profile @FreeFlowCulture. After a couple follow backs, tweets, and emails I was able to sit down and conduct an interview with the owner of Free Flow Culture – Mr. Ryan Schaefer.
22, post undergrad, and abundant in creativity – Ryan Hunter Schaefer gave me 40 minutes of his time to pick his brain about his company and his latest projects. He was an extremely entertaining “interviewee” and I hope that you all will enjoy the interview – I sure did. Below is our complete conversation. Check it out!
Astu: “So let’s get started – who is the real Ryan Schaefer?”
Ryan: “Well – I was born in Texas moved to Wisconsin and eventually relocated to Massachusetts. My parents divorced when I was younger and a lot of my development as an artist can be attributed to that time period. Drawing was a way to escape from things and I embraced it. After graduating high school I attended St. Lawrence and let me just say that New York is a completely different environment from Mass and I struggled to adjust! I drew a lot to coop with my surroundings. Art at first was my therapy but it transformed into something I just loved to do. I literally had like 50+ notebooks filled to the brim with drawings and I can remember randomly busting out the notebooks when I would be drunk and people were impressed and kept pressing me to do something with it. That’s when I thought to myself, I can do something with my drawings.”
Astu: “The name? Free Flow where did it come from?”
Ryan: “Flow is how I draw. When I draw I only use permanent ink and it is a continuous motion. I just let my mind and hand run– if I mess up I keep going and turn it into something else – I do not have a problem jumping from concept to concept either. Just keep it moving! As far the actual name of Free Flow…honestly I didn’t want to put ‘free’ in the title but I wanted the URL so I added it haha.”
Ryan: “Besides how can you name your future?”
Astu: “Haha good point…now I’m looking at your website and I see that you make iPhone cases and they are all custom, right?”
Ryan: “Yeah – I originally started making cases with my own art work and I didn’t really take other peoples input – I just had the mindset if I wasn’t going to buy it myself I wouldn’t sell it. I was able to sell my first 20 and people were loving the cases. Now, I actually have a different approach I tell people to give me 6 words and I design a case, custom for each client. This way there is never a repeat – nowadays too many things are duplicated and I don’t want to be apart of that. My cases have transformed my art as well – I am also using Photoshop and illustrator to bring in digital media.”
Astu: “How long does it take to make a case?”
Ryan: “Well it depends. Just like writers get writers’ block sometimes it takes me awhile to come up with a concept I really like and other times it happens immediately.”
Ryan gave me so much to work with and I loved it! The above conversation was a just a glimpse of my interactions with the charismatic Mr. Schaefer. During our talk he schooled me on music, beats, art, and about the mindset of moving forward. I was struck by his emotion and passion for his work. The most profound part of the interview was his desire to not remain complacent – Ryan mentioned how people in his life are stuck and how that is the number one thing that he will never be and I believe him. Throughout the entire interview he repeated the phrase #keepitmoving – this phrase is the epitome of his art and his lifestyle. He also expressed the importance of taking something negative and turning it into something positive, being open to opportunities, and not being afraid of taking a risk. This entire experience was uplifting.
“Be PASSIONATE about what you spend your life doing.” – Ryan Schaefer
I only touched upon his art work and his iPhone creations but that is not all this young man can do – over time he has developed skills in web design, film creation, and photography – he hopes to be taken on by urban musicians to develop their visuals. Fun fact he loves hip hop and he really knows his stuff! He can really do it all and he would not be a bad person to have in your corner!
Check out his website : http://www.freeflowculture.com/
& follow him on Twitter @FreeFlowCulture
Astu Mengesha – Stay Down Blaze Up