一支畫筆 走出一條自己的路|吉米好站

一支畫筆 走出一條自己的路

採訪整理 / Daniella 受訪者 / 吉米好站 Jimmy

如果你曾來過我的店「吉米好站」,當你還在疑惑這是工廠還是住宅時,沒錯我的店就在廠房外,他不在彰化市中心、不在熱鬧的商圈,但卻是我成長、工作大半輩子的地方。

生長在傳統家庭的我,讀書、畢業、退伍、在外工作後,很自然地在爸爸的安排下回到工廠工作,這是彰化小企業、小工廠運作的常態,因此長達12年的時間我都在爸爸鞋業公司,然而隨著年紀增長,眼界也開始與父親不同,雖然偶爾因理念不同有所口角,但一直擔任公司的總經理,直到2008年遇到金融海嘯,公司的訂單大幅度遞減,就在這樣的時機點,2010年也就退出父親的公司,自己獨立出來創業。

一支畫筆 劃出吉米好站

畫畫一直是自己的興趣,雖然在鞋業公司工作無法長時間畫畫,但手中對創作的熱情並沒有削減,2010年離開鞋業工作後,一頭栽入畫畫的世界,經過一番努力到處自我推薦,2012年第一次在彰化辦畫展,就這樣一路辦到2013年開了七次畫展;然而在這過程中自己也不斷思索,辦一場畫展從找場地、場地接洽、宣傳、顧展….等等,這期中許多的細節,對於剛開始要從事這行業的人,每一步都不容易。

在這期間自己經歷著找場地、辦畫展的辛苦、沒人看畫的辛酸,因此漸漸萌生是不是將自己的工作空間改成畫廊的形式,讓創作人有空間展覽、讓喜歡畫作的人能有欣賞的空間;然而單純看畫似乎不能滿足一般人的喜好,也就開始大量走訪各處畫廊、咖啡店、藝文空間…等,也就形成以藝文推廣為主的咖啡店。

從畫布到畫咖啡 人像咖啡也能開畫展

現在人看別人開店雖容易,然而隔行如隔山,2014年4月30日正式開幕前每天都琢磨著何時開幕,當時自己對咖啡只有略懂,對於拉花或是現在的人像咖啡基本上是零基礎;話說剛開始會接觸人像咖啡,是開店前有一回與朋友到台中喝咖啡,看著上桌的拿鐵畫著一隻龍貓,這看似用畫筆能做的事完全引起我的注意力,馬上開始在網路搜尋相關影片,嘗試在咖啡上作畫;開店初期不少自己的朋友捧場,就嘗試用牙籤勾勒朋友的長相,看過後的朋友都嘖嘖稱奇,就這樣開啟了人像咖啡的旅程。

初期的人像咖啡,只要選擇拿鐵都會一杯杯畫,然而隨著越畫越精細也就調整畫畫門檻,讓真心想擁有一杯人像咖啡的人才繪製,不然一把老骨頭有時一杯十幾分鐘,一天下來腰桿都挺不直了;不過也就是這樣一路堅持,2016年在店內辦屬於自己獨有的「人像咖啡畫展」,累積至今已達七千多杯。這樣的累積,對自己而言也期待能打開彰化新特色,傳統的觀念彰化就是肉圓、爌肉飯、大佛,然而隨著累積,許多客人是隨著人「人像咖啡」而來,彰化的新可能也就漸露署光,一間店即使沒有黃金位置,即使在彰化邊陲,但只要是做對的事,就會找到能量。

從畫廊到市集 創作者走上第一線

如果你問我,一開始有設想吉米好站有五年期規劃、十年規劃嗎?我想這答案很肯定是「沒有」,當初開店的初衷很簡單,咖啡加上藝文推廣就是全部了,然而2015年當時有一檔畫展是以「種子」創作為題材,展覽後創作者就這樣說:「不然我們辦個創作者市集」,讓創作者能到這裡擺攤更直接的面對民眾,民眾對於作品的喜好馬上能回饋給創作者,在當時已經辦百場展覽的我,都沒想過這種事,但也非常支持的說,好啊!! 你辦看看。

就這樣,第一次的吉米好站市集就在2015年八月,主辦人非常有號召力邀請了十幾位南來北往的種子創作者,當時也來了兩、三台遊覽車,對於第一次辦市集的我感到「原來在彰化邊陲-彰草路這一區是能辦市集」;興奮之餘接踵而來的是,人潮進入後留下的大量垃圾、廁所環境的衛生問題、停車亂象而導致街房鄰居惡言相向….等等,都是辦市集必要面對的問題。

要走的遠 就要有健康的商業模式

吉米好站市集從2015年8月至今已辦理11次,今年一月份的梯次更多達84攤,隨著辦理的經驗越來越多,市集的細節也漸漸調整,包含配置場控人員、交通管理、場地保險、環境布置…等等,為了讓市集有好的循環從一開始的免費擺攤,到現在收費之餘還讓顧客留下票選攤主,希望延續好的創作者、表演者。

當好的表演、創作被看見、被收藏,人們願意付出相對等值的支持,這樣的運作才會長久,而這也凸顯民眾對美好事物做為生活的日常,不會是偶爾的『捨得』、而是『常態』,例如:市集中有一攤是年輕人創業的襪子攤位,當好的設計元素加上材質的講究,逛市集的人接觸到這商品,對於設計圖案、材質與青年創業等加值認同,如此健康的循環,是身為東道主想為這城市做的事。

 

Creating my own path with my painting brush

First-time visitors to my store, Jim Studio, had probably all wondered whether it was a factory or residence. Indeed, my studio sits in front of a factory. It is not located in downtown Changhua, nor is it in a busy commercial zone. Nonetheless, it is where I grew up and have spent most of my life.

I was raised by a conventional family. After I finished my study, served the military and worked for a while elsewhere, I returned to work with my father. It was the normality for small enterprises and factories in Changhua so to speak. I worked in my father’s shoe company for twelve years. As I grew older, my perspectives started to differ from my father’s. Albeit occasional disagreements, I continued to work for the company as the general manager. It was until 2008 when the financial crisis affected the company’s business that I decided to resigned

Crafting Jim Studio with a painting brush

I’ve always enjoyed painting. Though I had little time to paint when I was working in the shoe company, my passion never faded. When I first left the shoe business in 2010, I immediately embraced painting. I exerted all effort to promote myself and finally got the opportunity to hold my first exhibition in Changhua in 2012. In 2013, seven more exhibitions followed, during which I was continuously exploring. It was never easy for me as I was all new to the field. Apparently, exhibition planning consists of all sorts of details in the search for a venue, booking a venue, promotion and presentation.

I struggled back then. Exhibition planning and execution was hard, and the turnout was not great. It got me wondering whether I should turn my personal studio into a gallery where creators can showcase their works, and those who are interested can come to appreciate. However, a gallery would only appeal to a very specific group of people, so I started visiting galleries, cafes, art and cultural spaces, and my art oriented cafe came into being.

Turing the painting brush from canvas to coffee, pioneering with portrait coffee

Managing a cafe seemed easy, but the truth is, a change of profession would require a whole lot of completely different knowledge. Jim Studio was opened on April 30, 2014. Before that, I was pondering on when to open every single day. I knew not much about coffee then, and was essentially new to latte art or the portrait coffee I do now. One day, my friend and I visited a cafe in Taichung. I was deeply intrigued by the latte with a Totoro figure. Accomplishable with a painting brush as it seemed to me, I immediately searched online for videos, and I tried drawing on coffee. As many of my friends came to support my newly opened cafe, I experimented by using a toothpick to illustrate their appearances, and the result turned out to be very astonishing. That was how I set out on this portrait coffee journey.

At first, I drew on every single latte. However, as I began investing in more details of the portraits, the average 10-minute or more time spent on each portrait latte became physically burdening to me. So, I raised the bar only to make sure I am drawing for those who really desire a unique cup of portrait latte. My perseverance with my portrait latte led me to hold the one-of-a-kind portrait coffee exhibition in which more than 7,000 portraits were showcased. To me, the accumulation is also an attempt to establish a new local feature in Changhua aside from the traditionally known meatballs, braised pork belly rice or the Great Buddha. As more tourists are coming for my portrait coffee, new possibilities for Changhua are starting to surface. A store located in the suburbs of Changhua can be operating in full swing as long as it is doing the right thing.

From managing a gallery to hosting a marketplace, the artist serving at the forefront

You ask if I have sketched out a five-year or ten-year plan for Jim Studio. My answer is a definite NO. The underlying belief that supported me to open a store back then was simple, coffee and the promotion of art and culture. In 2015, there was an exhibition themed “seeds”. In the wake of the exhibition, the exhibitor suggested, “What about we organize a creators’ marketplace?” The idea was to allow creators to engage in face-to-face interaction with the public. They can receive first-hand responses about their creations from the exchange. This brilliant idea never occurred to me as I had already carried out more than a hundred exhibitions then. Anyway, I was unconditionally supportive of the idea.

The very first Jim Studio Marketplace took place in August, 2015. The organizer made use of his influence to invite more than ten seed inspired creators from all over Taiwan. A couple of tour buses came to the marketplace as well. I was overwhelmed by the positive turnout that proved the idea feasible. Yet, the excitement was soon met with a number of problems including the massive amount of trash left behind by the crowd, messy toilets, furious neighbors unhappy about the disorganizing parking situation, etc.

Pursing a sustainable business model

Since August 2015, we have held eleven Jim Studio Marketplace events, and the scope of the event has gradually grew. The marketplace in January earlier this year accommodated eighty-four booths. As we are becoming more experienced, more adjustments are to be made to planning details like on-site staff allocation, traffic management, site insurance, event layout, etc. Also, in order to sustain the model, the marketplace started out as a free platform for creators now requires a vendor service fee. In addition, visitors to the marketplace are encouraged to vote on their favorite vendors. These are ways we manage to sustain good creators and performers.

Sustainability can only be achieved when good performances, creations are being seen and cherished by people who are willing to give the equivalent worth of support. Such exchange also suggests that people are learning to appreciate beauty in things on a day to-day basis. Instead of being considered as an occasional spending spree, it is actually becoming a norm. For instance, a young entrepreneur at the marketplace sells socks that feature great design and material. People who come to the marketplace would notice the product, recognize the value of the design, material and entrepreneurship, and create a sustainable cycle. As a host, this is what I would like to accomplish for the city.

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