What is the one thing you can't automate? by Evan La Ruffa

In an increasingly interconnected economy, everyone is the maker and the consumer at the same time. The entire world has opened up to competition, and if someone on the other side of the world can do it better and cheaper, you had better watch out. Whether American manufacturing or any other sector from a bygone era, it makes zero sense to hold on for dear life.

The worthwhile pivot is to be creative. But how could making art actually be more economically viable? 

Well, I'd say this... what is the one thing you can't automate?


Either make something unique or watch your market value tank. Make something creative or watch a machine take over. Make something creative, even if it's a service, an experience or a digital offering. The better bet is to flex our creative muscles and add to our artistic toolbelt.

The only thing that will survive automation is creativity. We might as well dive in.

Adult novice by Evan La Ruffa

Being an adult novice is a space a lot of us rarely can sit in without some discomfort. For some reason, the older we get, the more we tend to shutter in the face of attempting to acquire new experiences or skills. Why the hell is that?

Perhaps it's about our inner insecure child shuttering in the face of uncertainty, or our creative intuition getting clobbered by criticism we received from some awful, cynical adult.

As I taught my string art workshop at Camp GLP this past weekend, I remembered that creating space for adults to be novices is an important piece of expanding our comfort zones and reclaiming our ability to learn new things, be creative, and not give a fuck about the result.

This is a reminder to actively seek out the experience of being a novice. It's also a reminder to be more focused on the experience than the result.

Jump right in.

The Greatest by Evan La Ruffa

Why put rudders on ourselves? Why talk ourselves down? Why short our options? Why undercut our goals? There are plenty of obstacles in life as it is, the last thing we need to do is get in our own way. That's probably why I love creative expression that in a sober, victorious, heartbreaking, and emancipative way, affirms our struggles & hope while uncompromisingly showing us that every moment we're alive is a chance to get it right.

This song and the video created for it recently provided me with one of those moments when art stops us in our tracks.

Between the lyrics, the unassailable pop format, a beautiful melody, a great island beat, the incredible choreography, the best makeup, and some of the coolest art direction I've seen in a while, I found this both non-cheesy and massively creative.

Props to Sia.

'Don't give up, I won't give up Don't give up, no no no Don't give up, I won't give up Don't give up, no no no

I'm free to be the greatest, I'm alive I'm free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest The greatest, the greatest alive The greatest, the greatest alive'

The gateway drug by Evan La Ruffa

Christoph Niemann said, "The gateway drug isn't making art, it's experiencing art."  When I heard this quote in the first episode of Abstract: The Art of Design on Netflix, it certainly made sense to me.

Being swept up by art is about those transcendent creative moments that blow our minds. A phrase worded perfectly, a mind bending guitar solo, a painting that amazes us, an artist that intrigues us... these are all gateway drugs.

Easy enough, then. It's on us to increasingly put ourselves in a position to be moved by art.

It's on us to find more gateway drugs.

Artrepreneurs by Evan La Ruffa

Artrepreneurs (art-truh-pruh-noors)  People who match creative output with hustle and resourcefulness, allowing their art to create opportunities and earn income. By expanding their abilities in a way that positions business acumen as a full equal to the act of making art, these artists become their own bosses.

I'm not there yet... but I think a lot of us wish we could be. Some of us need a little chaos.

But can we harness it?

After my first session with Talib of, I think we can. So how exactly can we nurture our tendency to follow creative energy while implementing support strategies to stay focused?

If you have that answer, you better not hold out on me!

Art versus Supply & Demand by Evan La Ruffa

Art isn't amazing because every piece is 1 of 1. Sure, every original artwork is a product that births its very own market, but cost is not what makes art worthy or worthwhile. Don't get me wrong, I'm all about artists monetizing and making careers of their creative expression, but art is valuable because of the experience it provides the artist & the viewer, not because of monetary transactions.

The market is certainly an important avenue for validating solutions, but supply & demand applied to art brings more to mind than mere pricing.

It's the emotional power of making & communicating that makes art powerful. It's creative supply that fulfills an undetected demand laying latent until we're activated.

It's nice to be reminded that the purpose of something can be the experience itself.


Side 21, Track 103 by Evan La Ruffa

A body of work is a timeline that amasses ideas turned into reality. It's composed of many points on a line. Thinking about it as a mosaic works too. In either case, we have a lot coming together to create the whole.

The thing about Side 21, Track 103 is that it's just another point on the line. It has a great guitar riff, thoughtful lyrics, and Questlove's iconic piccolo snare, but the weight we give it is about us, how it lands, and what we hear.

The Roots released 102 songs first. What they created throughout those tracks made 103 what it came to be.

When it comes to ourselves, we should forgive the songs we're critical of, celebrate the hit singles, and think about how the next track we make can most benefit from who we've been.

Biggie Stardust by Evan La Ruffa

I love when ideas, people, or art bounce out of their category and co-mingle with something just as timeless & beautiful from a completely different category. When I was walking around at the Renegade Craft Fair a few weeks ago, I saw Biggie Stardust and had to have it. (Is that freakin' awesome or what?!)

Both comforted by a palette that would put these two geniuses together and impressed by the illustration itself, I've been thinking more about the energy of curating differences as opposed to similarities. The subject or style might not be the same but perhaps there's a philosophy, approach, or vibe that aligns seemingly odd pairs.

Maybe we should be looking for similarities beneath the surface.

Maybe you'll help me find them.

I'll live forever now by Evan La Ruffa


  1. Click this link and press play in the Youtube video that appears.
  2. Then, come back to this page and read the first paragraph of lyrics while listening to the song.

'Miss Nina Simone, Jimmy Jones Missy Elliot musically were my relatives Never forget my Andre Papi mi casa es su casa Baby I made an entrée Maybe I make your moms plate Maybe we not gon' sleep tonight In the night you and I laugh about how you Gemini Already fried the chicken But leftovers was my inner thigh Nah I'm lying, I'm just playing You can read this book with me I'm trying to re-imagine abracadabra for poverty Like poof I made it disappear Proof I'm made of happiness Everything is everything But I still haven't paid my rent Ugly is ugly So molly makes me joyful now When I get down, I'm already up Molly the water, I keep the drink in the cup My druggy is druggy we just some kids out of luck Ooooh they ain't tryna' see me shine my shine A bullet on my time, my time Fuck it, I'll live forever now'

As a society, what experiences do we inherently validate? Even more importantly, what experiences do we inherently invalidate?

Should we be judging the experience or the context that produced it?

Thirsty for music? by Evan La Ruffa

One of my projects is writing editorial pieces for Mode Media, and I love it because I can write about anything I want. As a dude of many persuasions, it's an awesome way for me to not only comment on, but explore my areas of interest even more in-depth. My most recent piece is entitled 8 Albums Released in 2016 You Need to Stream Now.

If you're thirsty for new music, go get yourself some.

And in the inimitable words of the A Tribe Called Quest guide whose voice is featured at the beginning & end of various tracks on Midnight Marauders, 'keep bouncing.'

Youth by Evan La Ruffa

You know what I'm talking about, I'm sure you do... Those times when a word or idea seems to circle back to you frequently, almost as if it's taunting you, reminding you of its priority in the world.

There are a few thing to say here:

  1. I think those words or ideas circle back around to us because we're focusing on them, not because they or it exists in greater proportion than anything else. Once you notice something, it becomes so obvious that you can't miss it.
  2. That doesn't mean it isn't important. It is, to you.

"Youth" is the most recent example of this phenomena for me. The word came up with respect to my personality, then again with respect to my soon-to-be-daddyness, then through a song (cool kids, don't be afraid of a great pop song), and finally through this film (which might be one of my favorite films ever).

The point is, it's an indication of awareness.

So I wonder...

What's been circling back to you lately? And probably more importantly, why?

A potential we all have by Evan La Ruffa


I like taking photos. Spotting a great shot ahead of time is another way to remind myself to be perceptive, and I'm excited that some fun images have come out of that awareness.

I also like the idea of being in a certain place or point in time, and having the eyes to help us all see it. It's a potential we all have.

I place way more value in getting out there so I can be in those places and points in time than I do the technology, which is why most of the photos I've taken over the past few years have been with an iPhone 5.

That said, I'm excited to share my favorite shots from the past few years and have made affordable open editions available for purchase via Society 6. It's a great platform where artists can sell art prints and other products, and I look forward to trying it out.

If you like contrast, art, nature, texture, & travel, you might like my photos.

Vietnabike, Wires, To The East, and I See You, Buenos Aires are a few of my favorites.

Here's to the process of creating & enjoying it enough to get better.

(I hope one of these photos brings you joy.)

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