Cully Pratt – Artist

On Youtube w/ CC: Transcription at the bottom of this page.


In this episode I chat with Cully Pratt! A Sheriff by day and an artist on, well other days! He owns Cully’s Artistic Creations and he’s created a unique niche in the art industry with his “dump trays”. Listen while we talk about the inspiration is takes to just go for it!


Airing: Jan. 29, 2018

To connect with Cully (and find AWESOME Valentine’s gifts for your loved ones), you can find him here:




Samantha – Welcome to 28 and Searching. I’m your host Samantha and today I have Cully Pratt with me. Thanks Cully for coming on my show.


Cully- Not a problem thanks for having me.


Samantha – Yeah so tell us a little bit about yourself, you know where you currently residing, how old are you, how long you’ve been in your industry, that sort of thing.


Cully- Okay well little bit about myself. I am 41 years young. I currently reside in Northern California about 40 miles north of San Francisco Bay Area and I currently work in law enforcement for the last 15 years. Did military prior to that about 9 years, but the last 20/22 years I’ve been doing freelance art work. And I’ve made kind of a full time part time gig about it.


Samantha – Wow okay. And so tell me a little bit about what you do. How did the two jobs kind of come together for you?


Cully- Well it’s kind of a unique mix. I joined the Army about 24 years ago because I wanted to go to art school. So I figured that would be kind of a means to an end to go to art school. So I started like in the infantry which is kind of crazy. It was supposed to be 2 years, turn into about 9 years and then never ended up making it to art school. And directly from military went into law enforcement, which is also very different than art work. But the whole time I was doing a murals and portraits and for businesses and residences and started doing like a lot of painting and drawing and freelance art work. And just over the years I just kind of picked it up and it kind of turned to wood work, antique restoration, and now what I do is I primarily do; wood trays. They’re called pocket dump tray. You ever hear of them?


Samantha – I have heard of them yes. Like almost like a valet right.


Cully- Exactly. so what we did is I started this thing because I have a lot of friends who work within the law enforcement and military and they’re guys and they have a lot of toys and they have a lot of junk and they have a lot of things in their pocket. And they all have wives or girlfriends and people who get really tired of them leaving their stuff around the house. So I start creating these dump trays and I wasn’t the only one but a lot of people start really kind of liking the idea. Ladies would be like “You know we really like that because my husband or boyfriend dumps the stuff everywhere”, and you can personalize them. So you know I came up with this kind of slogan and it’s stuck with for a while it’s like “What do you give the guy that has everything? A place to put it.” So we start building these customized trays and everybody’s got a different unique story and it becomes kind of that gift that you give to people who are hard to shop for.


Samantha – Yeah absolutely I mean that’s a brilliant slogan. If people are kind of listen to this and they’re kind of curious about what you’re doing, where can they find you on the web?


Cully- Well I primarily—like I have a website, it’s I go under, so  But primarily I fall under my last name of Pratt, Cully Pratt, c-u-l-l-y-p-r-a-t-t on Instagram. I have a pretty decent size following for a little side business and just a lot of really great people network with a lot of local artists and other people who are really good in different fields. So we kind of trade people who follow and we follow each other and just kind of a lot of referrals you know based on that way.


Samantha – Yah absolutely that’s awesome. And so I have to ask this question and mainly because I come from a military family. So you don’t often hear people say “I’m going into the military for art school”. I’m just trying to connect the dots of how that process wound up in the workings of your life.


Cully- It’s actually really great question because yeah I was definitely there’s not a lot of artists that join the military let alone the infantry, but I was in the infantry. And I was kind of did pretty well in it but I did feel a little out of place, but I figured I would just be a couple years and a couple years turned into a couple more years. And I started a family and had a couple kids and it just kind of put it on the back burner for a while. But I continued to keep doing it, so I find myself doing a lot of art work for like you know military installation, their Christmas cards and lot of their freelance artwork. I would draw their emblems and logos for the battalions of brigades and it just became kind of known as a little local artist you know.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- But you know I’ve always been really really passionate about it. I like my job but I don’t live for my job, but I am definitely very passionate about artwork.


Samantha – Okay.


Cully- It’s trying to a hobby into a pretty decent part time gig.


Samantha – Yeah and how did you kind of—-How did you do that? How did you get into the position you’re in were you know this is this is part of your livelihood?


Cully- Well it’s a great question, I think a lot of it is just kind of a trial and error. You know I always had a passion for it and I kind of noticed that a lot of the stuff I did and there’s a lot of people out there that are way better I’ll be the first to say it. You know just incredibly gifted artist or painters or muralist or sculptors or anything I just had a passion for it. But I started doing it for people cause they seem like they were really interested in getting personalized gifts and just kind of a sense of accomplishment, sort of felt good. I started almost doing anything for anyone if they’d be willing to pay me, even if they couldn’t pay me I would do it. And then I just kind of worked into a position where I kind of found out what I felt my value was worth by the hour I suppose.


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- And I realized a lot of people were okay with paying that and I would rather do art work than get called in to work overtime. So that’s kind of what drove me you know.


Samantha – And so you talked about wanting to go to art school. Do you think that having a degree or the earth specified training in this industry is a benefit or is it something that the drawback or is it neither?


Cully- You know that’s a really good question and I kind of feel that it would be a different answer for different people. For me I think it could have opened doors for me that I wouldn’t have met people like in law enforcement or in within the industry that I currently work. But so I don’t know if it would have really been beneficial. I notice that a lot of people who are artistic are already artistic prior to going to art school, it’s not like they go—-or like you go to music school most of the time you’re already pretty good at music. I always had kind of a natural talent when it came to drawing. I’d say I’m probably a better drawer than I am a painter or a sculptor or wood woodworker. But I think it gives you an opportunity to really network with really interesting people you know when you when you put surround yourself with likeminded individuals. so I think it would have been a benefit that way, but I think no matter what I kind of found that it’s sort of some I’m passionate about and I find myself drawn back to it.


Samantha – Well and when you’re talking about meeting people is it almost—So when I talk to other artists or people who are doing different things. I had talked to this woman whose doing a coletivo where she’s basically doing an art collective, and she said that the market super saturated. And so I think that if you’re looking at you, you’re going into a market where maybe it’s not. I mean when you talk about police officers or military, they’re seen as maybe not somebody that would go to like an art show. So you kind of have this market that hasn’t necessarily been tapped for what you’re trying to do.



Cully- You know what I kind of I agree with you. And I went—I ended up going to college in between this time which I kind of put off for a long time, it wasn’t art school. I went to University of Phoenix and I end up getting a bachelor’s degree in business management supervision. And I always had this wild idea to turn what I do, like Cully’s Artistic Creations into kind of a way that blue collar people can enjoy art in a way that it’s kind of funny. You know like I had it murals on my wall when I was a young kid and my mom and dad would let me just draw. Which sounds kind of weird but they would—we would draw like Marvel character and like Spider-Man hanging from the ceiling and different things like that. and it’s all trial and error, you know sometimes they look pretty good, sometimes the kind of janky but you can always paint over it and kind of go. So I started doing that and people picked it up. And I just thought there was kind of a niche market, because you see high end art, which I’ve never bought a piece of high end art. I’ve never really been to an art gallery and I’ll tell you right now I don’t know the first thing about real rules of painting. So I’ve taught paint classes. Have you ever seen the sip and paint wine classes?


Samantha – I have. Yes I have seen those.


Cully- so I started doing that last year, my girlfriend and I started hosting those around here and once again we’d host of her primarily like law enforcement or military families or local people in the community. And it was really great, because you know you bring in, you buy some tickets, and you know it’s a B Y O B, you can bring your own wine, sit and teach people how to paint. There’s people who never even picked up a paint brush and we would go through and I kind of like paint. And I had kind of a little Bob Ross theme going on you know.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- Sit and sip and paint. We had a lot of fun doing it you know and did that for a while and then I kind of moved on to antique restoration and redoing furniture. And then I got kind of passionate about repurchasing old that people would throw away and turning it into something kind of neat you know.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- And that’s just kind of been what I’ve been doing you know, but I do think it is kind of a niche market. You know you got to kind of figure out what works so.


Samantha – So when you talk about having a bachelor’s degree in business, when you’re starting your own company do you think that’s beneficial? Like if somebody wanted to go out and they’re like “Yeah I’m an artist but I want to start my own you know my own thing. Like I want to build furniture or I want to you know just sell my Art on Etsy”. Do you think having that training in business helps with creating that?


Cully- Well I’m going to sound really bad here and I’m not saying anything negative about my school but no, I really don’t. I think that sometimes people, too many too often will go to school to get this formulated degree to start some company or business with the idea or aspirations of being a C.E.O. of a major company with zero experience—with no experience. So I kind of like tell my kids or my colleagues, I’m like “I just recommend if it’s something you want to do, don’t make excuses on why you can’t do it. Just really think about what it takes to start from Step A and ultimately where you want to be at step Z. And just kind of give yourself some daily goals and kind of work on it, start doing it. I’d say kind of create your portfolio is in my opinion way more experience than sitting in a classroom talking about how to do it”.


Samantha – Okay that’s fair enough. and so what type of—-What do you think would be a good entry point for someone to find out if they wanted to do art as a business?


Cully- As a business well I think you would have to be—For myself there’s a reason I work in law enforcement and do a Monday through Friday or Monday through Thursday type gig. It provides me an opportunity to have a lot of time off. I have an income coming in, so I’m not solely reliant on just doing art you know. if I was just quit law enforcement then I would have to look into retirement, I’d have to look into benefits, and I’ve had have to look into probably quadrupling the amount of our work I do throughout the course of the year over and over and over and over again. So I think you have to be kind of realistic and set some attainable goals. But really just do it and I think so many people are so afraid of trying anything new that they don’t ever try it. And when you look at most people who are pretty successful in whatever it is they decide on doing, they took that big step, you know took a shot and just tried something.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- And most of those people do really well. Like how long have you been doing a podcast?


Samantha – My podcast has only been on since November.


Cully- Awesome so the thing is there’s no but there’s so many people who have these aspirations and dreams, and they think “Hey you know what”, and I’ve listened to a lot of your podcast you know. And I think you do really well and I think it’s obviously something you’re very good at and you make people feel real comfortable, but there’s talking about it and then there’s doing it. And I think the whole process of you contacting me, reaching out, the finalizing it, everything was just so clear cut and dry you know t’s crossed i’s dotted. It was just really comfortable. It’s like a really comfortable environment and I think that’s what you need you know just the ability to go out and do it instead of talking about it.


Samantha – Yeah I mean I’ll tell you I had this idea for probably a year before I did anything with it and then all of the fat and I was like I’m doing this and I gave myself a month to get it prepared and put together. And I started in October and I booked—you know I have a full time job as well and then I go to school full time and then I do this podcast. And so I just booked as much free time as I could to do it. And I mean I’d agree with you, if somebody wants, you know somebody is passionate about something they can try to make it a business in their spare time to see you know. There’s no there’s no harm in giving it a shot.


Cully- Well I tell you what I think that’s a very good point. I know early on when I was younger there was a time I thought myself really frustrated about the military, you know believe it or not. And I had question myself you know “Hey did I make the right decision? Is this what I really want to do?” I had two young kids. And there was a big part of me that was like “I should have done something else that I’m really passionate about” you know.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- I was good in the Army, but I was like this just isn’t me. But instead of accepting the fact that I couldn’t do it full time, because in my mind I had this—I had big dreams, like big goals. I was like “I want to paint huge murals all around the world. I’d like to be known and have my own thing you know like the whaling walls in Hawaii”. You ever seen those?


Samantha – No I haven’t. I’ll have to google that.


Cully- He’s awesome, yeah a guy name Eric Willland, he paints some of the hugest incredible buildings, and like Orca’s on the side of a like a fifty story building, you know things like that. Just like all around the country all around the world and just a different thing, he had his own needs artwork. And I was like “I want to just be known for something. I would like to be kind of a common household name”.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- And it wasn’t that I was dreamed of being famous, but I kind of had an idea that I could really be something bigger than a sergeant in the Army. You know not that that’s not a good thing, but I just felt different. But I was so afraid of starting little that I just really put it off and didn’t start it all. So I noticed that when I started it and I wrote down a goal as silly as sounds, basically like saying “Okay this is what I’d like to do. I would like to do 4 projects a month”.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- You know which is just a little bit extra basically something else to work on. It’s like create my own little hobby for a month. That’s 48 a year if I can stay up on that and that would be this much either money or that’s how many I would get done. and I start realizing that when I put it down on paper and talk to people about it and actually just kind of try to pitch my stuff, I realize that it was kind of difficult because I’m not no longer looking at 4. I’m thinking about 4 every month. So I really put a lot of focus on referrals.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- And I know a lot of small businesses do that, but I can’t say enough about referrals. I’ll tell you 99.99% of everything I do is based off of referrals. So people will always ask me “Well what website do you go to or what Instagram page you go to?” A lot of what I do is through Instagram. And if I do something for you you’ll say “Hey you know what I kind of like this” and you’ll share it with your friends. And out of the 60 people who reply, I almost guarantee one person will be like “Oh that’s kind of cool. Could I get one of those for Joe, but can he make it a blah blah?”


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- And that’s how I do it. So you just do really good for each person individually and before you know it’s kind of word of mouth will help. So I feel like that’s going pretty well for me.


Samantha – Yeah I mean I think referrals are— I think like that’s a good notion to have for almost any small business period. Because even right podcast 90% of my stuff referrals, 10% cold emails that I guess randomly flowed out there to the world. But it’s really awkward to ask people if they love their job. So I have to hope that somebody will tell somebody else about you know interviewing with me because it’s hard to find that. And I’d imagine you know it’s the same thing. like is that I had a woman who’s doing in our collective and she said that you know she gives her art to her friends because then her friends put it somewhere other people can see and then other people are like “Who did that?” and then they want it and then they tell their friends and it just kind of expand from there.


Cully- Yeah I can’t say enough about the referrals and I can’t say enough about surrounding yourself with people with similar interests. You know like it’s like positivity creates positivity, you know like action almost kind of cause’s reaction. So it’s like if you ever find yourself sort of in a rut, you know really kind of take a look at the people who are hanging around with. And if they’re kind of do want a whole lot of nothing and not really positively motivating you’re or you’re one of those people that don’t seem to motivate your friends. You know maybe just kind of check it out because I work with couple people in my life. Christy Cule who would be another incredible person for you to talk to. She’s amazing, her and her husband Gary they started a—basically a furniture flipping business about 3/4 years ago out of their garage.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- And they’ve turned it into a known all around the United States. They have a huge inventory out here in Fairfield and she has her own paint line and she just does all these beautiful antiques that she goes around to estate sales and picks it up with her husband. And—but she’s really made the incredible success story about it just you know going for your goals and she’s great. I think she’d be an incredible person. Another guy I work with a Roy Stockton he does leather work, like I’m talking high high beautiful quality leatherwork.


Samantha – I think I saw him on Instagram. Is he the High brass Leather?


Cully- Yeah he’s my buddy man and I’ll tell you, but I say I start feeling like when I was working by myself I was getting kind of almost burnt out.


Samantha –  Yeah.


Cully- Because I’d work a full time job and then on my days off I was working–hopefully the I.R.S. isn’t listening, but you know like I was working. Like I’d go in the office, in a shop and I’d work from 7am or 8am to about 5 every day and just you know covered in sawdust. And its fun but you kind of lose your motivation or your passion for it if you start feeling like it’s a sweat factory you know what I mean. so working with people to kind of keep you entertained and you can kind of you know do projects together are really awesome. So I can’t say enough about surrounding yourself with people who have similar interests you know it’s kind of nice.


Samantha – Yeah and so if we take that point and we move it and we go to what kind of personality traits are going to be the type that can succeed in an art business? Because it sounds like—cause I always assume that you know introverts would be because art’s very lonely. You know it’s usually not as collaborative unless you know you move in that direction, but you’re saying that it can be super collaborative.


Cully- Oh I think it can be incredibly collaborative. Yeah I think it kind of takes all things and I think that it’s actually really interesting question you asked because I’ve had people reach out to me like say through Instagram, right. And there are some places that are—I get it, a thousand times bigger than me and I get it, major corporations or professional artist. and I’m not saying I’m there yet, but I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me who are incredibly talented, like incredibly talented that just don’t have much of a following.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- Maybe they don’t have much personality that goes in with their work or they’re just kind of they don’t know what to do with it once they have it. And those are some of those people that kind of fall into that realm of starving artist. You know I mean?


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- Where they’re incredibly talented but you don’t know what to do with it. But you take somebody like Roy or Christie and you surround yourself with people who are interested in that kind of stuff. and so what I tell people is “The more you can get your our work seen by more and more and more and more and more people, the more people will talk about it”. So you can do that if you’re introverted or extroverted and sometimes it benefits to kind of partner up with somebody who might have a great mouthpiece but no artistic quality whatsoever.


Samantha – So what I kind of hear is I know that networking is a big deal in any small business. I mean most the time networking in general is pretty big deal, but you’re saying that basically if you’re an artist and you struggle maybe with selling yourself, if you surround yourself with other artists who like what you do, it may ease that burden ?


Cully- Yeah I think definitely. I think you can collaborate and there’s some people—you know how like how marriages are kind of yin and yang right? There’s like the husband and wife or the couple kind of balances in itself out, because one person is a little this the other person is a little that.


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- Well in same in small companies you know what I mean?  If you’re the full package and you can run everything by yourself 100%, you know you can get 100% of the proceeds. However you can be lacking in certain qualities like I’ll tell you, I’d be the first to say analytically I’m not very good. You know I’m a mess, you know I’m a mess.  So I was running my business off of like scratch pads and notebooks and you know I’d like make a list and to be scribbled and you know crossed out. And it was just a big nightmare you know. So I reached out to somebody who I know who is a family friend and she’s incredibly analytically smart, like just great number cruncher. And I have to share a portion of the proceeds that I get from some of these things I do but the amount of time and effort and stress I would have had to put into balancing all that…


Samantha –  Yeah


Cully- She does it just at such ease and grace. Like she answers a lot of emails. She answers a lot of replies. She does a lot of stuff on a website. She does a lot of things that I guess I could learn to do but I never slow down because I’m too busy covered in sawdust.


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- So it totally is worth it in exchange you know.


Samantha – Yeah and the funny thing is I mean this is slightly off topic, but in my personal life I actually exercise that the same rule. I hate cleaning, like I hate dishes, I hate all of it. Like I’m there you go getter, like I want to do businesses with all my spare time so I spare time. So I’ll hire somebody because it’s more important to me to spend that money to have somebody else do it than for me waste my money—you know my time making money for me to do it.


Cully- Exactly. You want to know what exactly, exactly. And I’m not one of those people that I think money buys happiness right. People say “You know money doesn’t buy happiness”. I understand but you know it’s really hard to not smile when you’re on a jet ski you know. That kind of thing. It’s like I don’t have a jet ski right however there’s like—-I don’t have a lot of money but I also know that being able to do what I want to do and be able to make a little bit extra money doing it, and its therapeutic, it’s relaxing and I share laugh with people that I enjoy in kind of a partnership. It definitely takes a stress away when you have a hobby that in turn can pay you. So I found myself working a lot on my days off for overtime.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- And I’m like I don’t exactly love my job, let alone do I want to give up all of my days off doing a job that I don’t exactly love. I’m good at it and I’m comfortable at it, but I really like it for the reasons that it allows me the opportunity to do what I really want when I’m off.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- So I told people and without getting too much into money, I told people you have to figure out what your time is worth. so like you said about cleaning, if you don’t like cleaning and it takes you a full day off to clean, then is it worth the amount of money that you would pay you know to just have it done so you don’t have to deal with it. And to me I think it is worth it. You know what I mean?


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- I think there’s certain things that are you know hey some people get off on it and they love it.


Samantha – Well and honestly, when I’ve talked to a lot of people and you know and I’ve talk to a lot of people who love their job and a common theme isn’t necessarily how much money people make. So some people it is about like they do want money that is what makes them happy so they do jobs that make them that money. And other people love what they do and they make the money to have a life that they love. So its very money is very fluid. It’s very relative.


Cully-  Right there’s a thing and I’m sure you’ve you sound very smart, but there’s a three minute in ten second segment on YouTube and it’s by a really incredible speaker. And I forget his name and I’ll come up with it, I just want to say the wrong name because I’m being recoded.


Samantha – You’ll have to email me it when you come up with it.


Cully- Right and I will and it’s called If Money Were No Object. Have you ever heard of that?


Samantha – I don’t think I have.


Cully- Okay so it’s based—-the premises “What would you do if money was no object?”


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- And whatever you say, we’ve been basically bred to say “Well if money were no object I would be a painter. I would ride horses. Or I would work with animals or I would do whatever it is you say if money was no object”. But what they’ve seen in people is the next thing people say is well obviously you can’t do that because there’s no money in that. You know you can’t do that so what they’ll do is they’ll in turn spend all their time and their effort trying to get a job to make enough money to not do what they want to do. and I think that the main difference between people who start small businesses or ventures or believe in themselves as they take that first step and they say “You know what I’m not going to worry about making money. I’m just going to start doing it”. And if you do it good and you do it well and you basically put enough effort into it then eventually you’ll master your craft. And once you master your craft there’s a price on everything because basically people will pay you know what I mean.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- If you do your podcast long enough and hard enough and enough people listen and enough people are inspired then before you know it advertisements come and people are all about it. And then it’s like the Howard Stern thing. You know he just did Howard Stern and before you know it is like you become huge. so I think that people get all skewed and they’re so worried about making the money instead of just really putting enough time and effort into really doing something different and mastering it to where people will sit back and be like “Holy cow that’s pretty cool”.


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- So you put a different spin on it you know.


Samantha – Yeah absolutely. And so if we’re talking about you know being in the business of art, because being —and I say the business of art because it’s very different than somebody who just wants to do you know do art without creating a business. Because you have to deal with like you said you pay somebody to do your books kind of thing you know. So that all comes of having a business. So what is the personality trait that you think will—-is like the one thing that if somebody has they should just steer clear of being in the art business? Just stay with you know sketching in their spare time and find something else they love.


Cully- Let’s see here. If they have something, I would say being realistic is something that you’ve got to be. you have to look at art as a way—I think people get into it with an idea that it’s a means to an end and it can be but you have to also be realistic it’s kind of like being an actor. You know if you act enough and you apply enough and you put it out there enough than you hey you could be world renowned and you could be the man. But until then you got to be able and willing to do something to kind of keep your head afloat you know.


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- But I think that people don’t want to balance it. So I think you’ve got to be kind of realistic. That that’s a big one for me. And I guess a little bit patient but you also got to be a little bit hungry. You got to really be able to put yourself out there and create something that’s a little bit different than everyone else is doing, because everyone knows that we live in an Internet generation.



Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- So if you want to buy a pocket dump tray and you want to pocket them trade for the least amount of money in the world, it probably won’t be handmade, it probably won’t be hand painted, it probably won’t be hand stained steels whatever. It’ll be mass produced you know I mean.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- So yeah I think you’ve got to really kind of believe in what it is you’re doing and figure out a way to market it to people that are interested. and I think that that’s something I’m figuring out and I’ve been lucky enough to get some pretty good plugs from people and shout outs from people who maybe have more people than I than I have. But it kind of points me in the right direction and its one thing to get those shout outs and plugs but it’s another thing to do something with them. And I can say I haven’t had to turn anybody down you know in the last couple years that I’ve been doing it. And I’ve really had to plug away so it’s a lot of work. But you know it’s kind of believe in your craft and work hard to make it unique you. Know I think that’s the big thing.


Samantha – And so what’s a piece of you that’s kind of struggled with you know turning your art into a business? What’s something that you had to either change yourself or you had to change what you’re doing to kind of become successful in what you do?


Cully- Man you’ve got good questions, you’re really good at this.


Samantha – Thank you.


Cully- I already forgot your question no no you said it was something I had to. So it was something I had to change, I feel like I’m harping on it, but for me it was I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I wanted to be the owner of a corporation that basically would—-I hope this doesn’t sound bad but almost like an art pimp. Like you know I love the idea of employing young artists that work under the umbrella of my name to create incredible works of art for people who didn’t think they could afford art. You know from wall murals or designing kids’ rooms, to the like saying “Hey I have a child and she has a Little Mermaid bedspread. Well let’s turn the whole room into an underwater scene” you know. Or let’s turn game rooms into like real legit game rooms or let’s take X. Box, Play Station, PS 4 games and create a whole scene or scenery on all four walls and ceiling. Like just really just beefing it up you know like really. And then I thought about doing homes for like Street of Dreams type, homes like custom homes where I could go in with real estate agents and they would say “Would you like to customize your daughter’s bedroom or your boy’s bedroom or your game room?”


Samantha –  Yeah.


Cully- And have it wrapped into the package of the house. So I had all these huge major aspirations for this major company that I wanted to run with basically no money in the bank or no experience. so instead of starting little, which I drug my feet, there was years there was years that I didn’t paint or draw or sculpt or do any woodworking because I was kind of in a rut. I was like ugh. I can’t do what I want to do so I won’t do anything.


Samantha –  Yeah. Yeah.


Cully- So I think I think just like you making a list putting it down and starting a little action kind of caused a chain reaction of just keeping me going. And I can say I’ve done it every day for the past few years and I feel really good that I actually started something and saw it through and pretty happy you know.


Samantha – Yeah absolutely and so what are some of the drawbacks of your career choice about starting this business?


Cully- I think some of the drawbacks are if you ask you shall receive. You’re as busy as you want to be and sometimes I want to be really busy and sometimes I sit back and I go “What am I doing? This is ridiculous you know”. I work a full time job plus and I work in a pretty cool line of work you know. And it’s afforded me the opportunity to do a lot of cool stuff but when I’m off it’s really nice to be off. I’d say some of the drawbacks I have to balance my time and be realistic and be able to say “You know I want to help everybody who’s interested in buying something for me. I think it be pretty awesome”. But on the same hand I need to be able say “Hey you know I need a couple days off”.


Samantha – Sure and so this one’s always one that people have a little bit of a tough time with.


Cully- Bring it bring it.


Samantha – What has been the worst day of your career so far?


Cully- Wow. Worst day of my career doing the art business. That is a tough question. It’s been really positive and that’s not what you wanted to hear. I’d say the worst day of doing my career as an art business. You know what you’re not going to please everybody all the time.


Samantha –  Yeah.


Cully- There’s times where you’re doing this because you’re passionate about it and I’d say a good majority of people you work for are going to be happy. They’re paying you because they’re not very artistically qualified and they’re just happy to get anything from you. but  I’m not really huge on rejection you know if somebody—if I do something, I put my heart and soul into and somebody doesn’t like it. I’m like “Oh this sucks”. so I remember doing an a mural for somebody that I was young and I bit off more than I can chew and I didn’t feel comfortable doing it and about halfway through I realized I’m painting on this beautiful home. And I caused all this damage and they’re just kind of looking at me like “Oh man this isn’t like what I intended it to be”. And I felt kind of nervous you know that’s one day that I remember I just didn’t click. Like when I was there I was like man I’ll give you whatever money you gave me to let me leave. But I’ve already—-But that’s just one of those things like realizing that you know you could be a waiter or a bartender and no matter how great you are you’re going to get that client that just as mad. And they’re going to take it out and they’re just not happy with it. So realizing as an artist that I can be selective and I have been selective.


Samantha – You should probably.


Cully- On how people act and treat and kind of trust your gut a little bit. if you feel like somebody’s sort of a pain in the ass from the get go then maybe it’s just better to kind of say—-tell them you’re too busy and surround yourself with positive people. Because most of the time when they’re a pain in the ass you’re not going to get a referral from them anyway. They’re going to be unhappy with the product they order and so you know just kind of be realistic you have you have to do enough butt kissing on your real job.


Samantha – Yeah. And so then if we lets change it and say “What has been the best day of your art career so far?”


Cully- The other 99.99% of it. I’m being really serious in that I genuinely love completing a project. Like I really really enjoy getting challenged with something, starting with nothing, at the end of the day ending with something to having somebody be like “Oh my gosh! That’s exactly what I wanted or that’s man”, my even exceeded what they wanted. You know like starting with nothing ending with something that such a completion at the end of the day, it’s just awesome. And you know I’ve always kind of really really like that. I mean I just I like that sense of accomplishment. I like the sense of kind of pride when you get done creating something that somebody wanted and they’re not just paying you but they’re asking you to create something for them that is a special gift that you can’t just go down to Target or Wal-Mart and buy you know. And it feels pretty good so and I really enjoyed it.


Samantha – What are some of the other benefits besides, I mean obviously that. What would be some of the other ones?


Cully- Oh well with like my business I’m big on—- I like the idea of repurposing things. I think there’s a lot of quality that goes into like antiques. Like when you look at how things were built in the 1800’s and early 1900’s it’s just you can’t go to Ikea and buy it or purchase it you know. and it’s weathered the storm for the last hundred years and it’s just sitting there and kind of like—- I don’t know anything about cars but you look at a an old car and it’s kind of a piece of art. But being able to kind of go and give it a new purpose, new life, put it in a home and has a back story. I like that kind of stuff. There’s a lot of frivolous throwing away of things that can be repurpose or re-salvaged.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- My partner and I we do that a lot. We work in the county and I’m a deputy out here and you just see people take down old barns or thousands of feet or hundreds of feet of fence you know, that’s weathered and aged over the years and they think it’s just trash, and they’ll throw it away. however if you cut that the two ends off of each side you have this beautiful board and then I know that sounds corny, but you have this beautiful board that has like years and years and years of like stories on it you know. And all you have to do is kind of clean it up give us love and personalize it and turn into a gift and it’ll stay in somebody’s home for another 20 years you know or more.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- I like that you know. I like being able to do that and I like being able to kind of take my kids out and let them know hey there’s ways of make—-you know doing different stuff. You don’t have to just go in the military. You don’t have to go in law enforcement. You know public service there’s a lot of different things you can do to be creative and you know kind of line your pockets while you’re doing it.


Samantha – Sure and do you think that having do—- Do you think that you will move toward this becoming full time? Do you think it’s a viable full time option?


Cully- 100% yes.


Samantha – Okay.


Cully- I think I’m spinning my wheels doing this job. No no I’m joking. I’m 41 years old and I’ve been thinking for a long time about it becoming this major thing, but I also understand it’s not going to become this major thing until I’m ready for it to be a major thing. But I’m also okay with the fact that it’s pretty cool the way it is. You know what I mean?


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- It’s kind of kind of finding that balance. I like the amount of time I spend doing art. I think that if I did it much more, then it would maybe become on a full time job and it wouldn’t be as is rewarding and fun. So there are some times that I think of that and then there are some times I really like the idea that taking a few baby steps and being patient is going to put me into a really good position to when I want to pop smoke and drop my retirement paperwork even if it’s early.


Samantha – Sure.


Cully- I can kind of do what I want when I want how I want where I want and it is not restricted to where I live in the country or what size house I live in or anything like that. It’s just and it’s not restricted to my age.


Samantha – Yeah that’s true.


Cully- So I can do well into my late years of life, you know I’ll probably live to be about 180.


Samantha – So you have a while to go.


Cully- I got another 139 years of this so.


Samantha – And so do you currently have any expansion plans for it Cully’s Artistic Designs right?


Cully- No Cully’s Artistic Creations.


Samantha – Creations, oh so close.


Cully- Yeah I really got it I really got to come up with another name. I’m just going to call it Chris Pratt’s Brother, I think people like that.


Samantha – That’s hilarious.


Cully- So yeah Chris Pratt’s Brother Artwork, I think will go over a little bit better.


Samantha – That’s so funny. So do you have expansion plans for it?


Cully- I’d be lying if I said yes. I’d like to sound professional and say yes.


Samantha – But you’re kind of going with the flow right now.


Cully- I’m totally going with the flow. A big part of me wants to really be able to keep up and really come up with some great ideas. I think this this next year my buddy Roy and I we have some really big ideas for like guy gifts, girl gifts, specialized gifts, things that you basically create or bring to a house that are like ‘wow’ pieces of artwork. I think we want to do a lot of stuff for the military and we have like a line of like products that we would like to kind of really push to spouses of military people.


Samantha –  Okay yeah.


Cully- You know the stay at home moms, stay at home dads, type things like this. Start building things with like a lot of military—I’m not saying conservative values but maybe more like a faith, family, freedom type stuff. To where you’re like “Oh wow that’s kind of cool”, you know.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- There’s a lot of a lot of different niches so I think together we’re going to kind of going to put our heads on and start really creating different ideas to where people are like “Whoa! I need one of those” and they can really put their finger on why they need one, but they just think they do.


Samantha – So you’re expansion plans are—–You do have them. You’re basically looking at a market and you’re wanting to expand more inside that market.


Cully- Sure. Absolutely, absolutely. I think that it’s just kind of creating bigger, better, badder, nicer qualities of work and being able to expand my reach. I’d really like my reach to double, if not quadruple by the end of the year, because I think that is totally feasible. I think social media is a goldmine for artists, that if you’re not using it you need to. And there’s things that I need to step up and do better you know. So if anyone is listening if you do awesome websites or you do you know even like—–I might even be interested in somebody doing my marketing. You know what I mean. I mean it’s all relative and all it’s all balance so that is I think the problem that a lot of artists have. They are incredible artists, but they don’t know how to do a website, they don’t know how to market their self, they don’t know how to talk to people and they would just rather sit in a coffee shop drawing pretty pictures never let anybody look at it.


Samantha – Yeah. Yeah.


Cully- So I think you need to surround yourself with enough people to kind of complete that circle and in the end it’ll work.


Samantha – Absolutely and so you said you’ve been doing art like pretty you know since you were a kid. What kind of made you fall in love with art?


Cully- Oh wow great question. My dad. My dad was a really blue color, hardworking, really gruff type. Like you know big boy and a really large man kind of a lumberjack type guy.


Samantha – Okay.


Cully- But he was a general contractor and worked really really hard, but all of the work he did was really really really beautiful. Like he did really custom stuff and if he did something he always kind of preached “If you’re going to do something do it right”.


Samantha – Yeah. Absolutely.


Cully- Do it one time. and he was really artistic, he would never sit down and draw or paint or anything he was too grumpy, but he would sit down and I was kind of had a knack for drawing and things can came pretty easy to me when it came to drawing. And I remember he was always really really critical. Like really like—-but not critical in a mean way, but like in a really honest way.


Samantha – Sure. Yeah.


Cully- I always had kind of a desire like a lot of kids to really be their cool with Dad or whatever. I draw something and you know a lot of parents are like “Oh that’s so wonderful” and he’d be realistic. He’d be like “Oh Okay do you want my honest opinion?” and I’d be like “Ah shoot not really”. What he’d be like I remember him being like “Look at your arm. Do you think arms look like that?”, and I would have drawn it like a little spaghetti man or something you know. And he’d be like “Look at your shoulder, it’s got a shoulder and then it goes to a bicep and behind is tricep and then you have a joint. And below that joint you have a forearm and then you have this and your palms”. And he would tell me things like “It’s not within proportion, your hands that you drew are way too big for that person or the head is way too small”. And he kind of let me know by based—-he’d say “Don’t draw it the way you think it should look. Draw it the way it look”. And I would be like “Wow cool”. Or he’d be like “Erase this t or this is too much”. And I used to draw people like Heman, you know that everybody had way too much muscles and the girls were tiny waste, huge breasts.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- Exactly but he basically showed me like proportion and the things, you know how proportion in a human head is like eight bodies high and the hands are as long as the forearm and just little things like that. That’s probably things I would learn in art school, but he was just real honest with me. And I remember he was super critical initially and then he would get to the point where he was kind of a fan. He’d be like “Now this is good. Now this looks good”. And I found myself really pushing and I draw dragons and he’s like “Now that looks good, that’s your thing. You’re really good at dragons”. Then I’m drawing dragons you know.


Samantha – You’re taking the complement.


Cully- Right but he pushed me to do things that most dads wouldn’t let you do. Like I was really into Marvel. You know my—-honestly me and my brother are into Marvel, but he like I said, he let us draw on our walls. He’s like “Why not? If it looks bad you can just draw over it or you know paint over it.” And so we would draw like these—-it’s almost like 8×10 foot canvas and I would draw like scenes and—-but he really pushed me to do it and kind of gave me the confidence to do it, but was really critical while doing it in a weird way. So I guess I kind of answered the question maybe.


Samantha – Yeah absolutely so we’ve kind of gone over what it means to own an art business to kind of do sell your art. So I just have a few more questions for you.


Cully- Okay.


Samantha – What did you want to be when you were a kid?


Cully- Oh when I was a kid?


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- Wow. All I knew was I didn’t want to be a cop or in the Army.


Samantha – You didn’t avoid either of those.


Cully- No I wanted to create stuff. I wanted to build things. I thought it would been kind of cool to get into like building custom decks ,but I always had an idea I’d be a cartoonist. Like I thought I thought I would end up being an artist of some sort, like a professional artist like drawing. I like the idea of starting with nothing and ending with something, but I was I was kind of dead set on creating something. And I thought it would be very artistic whatever I ended up doing.


Samantha – So you’ve come full circle.


Cully- Yeah I kind of came full circle I guess.



Samantha – Perfect. And so what is the best piece of business advice you’ve received?


Cully- The best piece of business advice I’ve received is and there is that 3 minute 10 second video really inspired me and I totally forget his first name, but I’ll send it to you in it’s incredible.


Samantha – And I’ll put it up on my website.


Cully- That was inspiring and as soon as I get off the phone with you I’ll remember his name. And then have you ever watched the program The Secret?


Samantha –  I haven’t.


Cully- You have to. I’m passing that on to you. If you if I can pass anything on to you as an entrepreneur, as your listeners and whatever. Sit down give out 45 minutes of your life and really listen to that thing. It’s incredible. it’s very very very inspiring and they talk about everybody kind of wants to know the secret of life and nobody really does, however when you look at the top 1% of the world in any industry or any field there’s something a little bit different about each and every one of them. And they kind of do a study on what makes people click and quirk. And really what it comes down to is kind of believing in yourself and starting routes and following it and understanding that you have to believe it to be true or it’s not going to be true. It’s really really great.


Samantha –  Yeah that sounds right up my alley.


Cully- You have to watch it I’m telling you you’ll love it.


Samantha – I will.


Cully- After you watch it I’d love to have a conversation with you about it again because it’s—it really is great.


Samantha – Yeah.


Cully- My friend Christie told me about the secret and I watched it and I’m not kidding I think it genuinely really affected and kind of changed my perspective on things.


Samantha – Yeah I’ll have to put a link up too. And so what is one thing you would tell somebody who’s struggling trying to find what they love to do? What’s one piece of advice you would give them?


Cully- I would say if you have to think really really hard about what you’re passionate about you’re not passionate about it.


Samantha – Yeah absolutely. All right well thank you for spending this conversation with me Cully. It was great having you on.


Cully- It was really nice and thank you very much for your time I appreciate it.


Samantha – If you like this episode or you’re looking to change your career go to or become a patron to get an exclusive content sent directly to you. See you next week.

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