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How To Be An Artist

How To Be An Artist

By Brandon Dayton
A podcast about how to be an artist -- maybe.
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Step 19: Daniel Ingram -- Chasing the Shadow

How To Be An Artist

Step 25: Walkable Cities -- Jeff Speck
Jeff Speck is a city planner and walkability advocate who also happens to be the author and co-author of two of my favorite urban planning books of all time. In this episode we talk about Jeff's trajectory from Art History major to city planner, his convergence with the architecture firm DPZ and the subsequent creation of the legendary Suburban Nation. We also discuss the four elements of walkability, the relationship between aesthetics and function and the connection between urban design and civic engagement.  Assigned reading for this episode. There will be a quiz! Walkable City  Walkable City Rules Suburban Nation You can find additional resources on walkability and Jeff's other work at 
April 26, 2021
Step 24: Dustin Hansen -- Growing Your Own Food
Dustin Hansen is a writer, illustrator and creative director with decades of experience in video games and writing credits that span genres. He's the author of Game On!, a brief history of video games, the Microsaurs series and most recently The Video Game Ate My Homework for DC Comics. He also recently made the bold claim that he grew 70% of his food in the summer of 2020! In this episode we investigate this claim and talk about why chickens are magic, goats are great and how food independence makes for better art. We also talk about building art and food cultures that might some day replace the ones we currently have and why it's a good idea to think of art as a very long term project. Dustin on twitter: Jeffrey Howard's conversation with Ashley Colby on Damn the Absolute:
March 23, 2021
Step 23: Michael Bishop -- Reality Is Something That You Build
Michael Bishop is the human thrall of GWAR's Berserker Blöthar who also happens to hold a Ph.D. in Music Ethnography from the University of Virginia. As a teen, Michael was one of the early members of the Slave Pit, an art collective based out of Richmond, Virginia that gave birth to GWAR. In this episode he recounts his first-hand experience of participating in the formation of the Slave Pit and describes the values of self-sacrifice, DIY culture, and chaos that generated its magic. We also discuss how "pure" art can become elitist and the value of popular, mainstream art. We also talk about how to think about money in relationship to art.  Michael's Tedx talk: GWAR: The Slave Pit:
March 15, 2021
Step 22: Ken Keys -- Animation Nomad
Ken Keys is a master animator and art director with a legendary career than took him from Saturday Morning cartoons with Hanna-Barbera, 2D feature with Amblin Animation, and 3D credits on Shrek, Iron Giant and Lord of the Rings. In this episode we discuss Ken's journey across mediums and around the world and how he ended up making video games with me at EA Salt Lake. Ken shares the mindset of discovery and adventure that led him through his diverse journey.  Ken's website: Can You Catch One -- a crowdfunded short:  Wildlife Demo trailer:
March 12, 2021
Step 21: David Habben -- Discovering Your Artistic Path
David Habben is an illustrator and professor of Illustration at Brigham Young University. In this episode we discuss using values and intuition as a guide for your artistic path, as well as what it means to have faith in the path, escaping all the "shoulds" that can mislead you, and how finding your path is like playing an old out-of-tune guitar. We also talk about the importance of playfulness, breakthroughs, finding your voice and making the art you want to do. More about David:
March 1, 2021
Step 20: Dave Durocher -- A Community of Healing
Dave Durocher is the executive director of The Other Side Academy (TOSA), a therapeutic community based in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this discussion Dave shares his history of drug addiction and crime that led him to serve over 15 years in prison before being accepted into Delancey Street (the therapeutic community that TOSA is modeled after). We also got into details about the innovative approach TOSA takes to teaching morality, sustaining itself financially, and providing a realistic path out of drug abuse and crime. In particular we delve into the practice of "The Games" at TOSA as a tool of learning accountability, trust, vulnerability and a way to let off steam.  The Other Side Academy: David Brooks on the Nuclear Family: Delancey Street:
February 25, 2021
Step 19: Daniel Ingram -- Chasing the Shadow
Daniel Ingram is the author of Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha (MCTB), a team member of The Emergent Phenomenology Research Consortium, and proprietor of the Dharma Overground. In this episode we discuss the impact of MCTB on my own life and meditation practice, the evolving landscape of high level practice in culture and research, how A Wizard of Earthsea describes the development of meditation practice, the varying ways that meditation can effect creativity, and why Jack Vance is rad. More on Daniel can be found at:
February 18, 2021
Step 18: Christian Heidicker -- Scary Stories
Christian Heidicker is the Newbery Award winning author of Scary Stories for Young Foxes along with other titles such as Attack of the 50 Foot Wallflower and Cure for the Common Universe. He also happens to be one my art chums from Avrec Art House (Check out Step 16 for the story of Avrec Art House). In this episode we discuss our shared love of Jim Henson's Storyteller, the effects of the Newbery Award and Covid on a book launch, using formulas in writing without feeling formulaic, why we tell scary stories, theory and intuition, meditation and creativity, and the struggles and successes that come with making art. More information on Christian can be found at You can support How To Be An Artist at
February 2, 2021
Step 17: Tim Farrington -- The Wilderness of the Mind
Tim Farrington is the author of various works of poetry, fiction and non-fiction including the Monk Downstairs, Hell of Mercy, Lizzie's War and the Book of the Dead. Besides being a writing virtuoso, Tim is also a long time contemplative practitioner with a wealth of experience to share with meditation newbies like myself. In this episode we discuss Tim's non-fiction work Hell of Mercy, and its lessons for navigating the domains of depression, mania and the Dark Night of the Soul. We also talk about how making art is like carving stone, why morality is all that matters, the perils of promoting meditation, the place for art and spirituality in contemporary America and the spiritual roots of art. You can read more about Tim at Note: We discuss the Coen Brother's film A Serious Man, but we mislabel it as A Simple Man.
January 25, 2021
Step 16: Jacquelyn and Dallin Cerva -- A Place For Art
Jacquelyn and Dallin Cerva are film makers and the co-founders of Avrec Art House, a creative space for film makers and one of the art communities I had the privilege to be a part of. In this episode we get to hear the story of the founding of Avrec Art House, the challenges it faced, its acquisition by the Utah Film Center and its eventual closure. A fantastic post mortem for any artists looking to initiate a similar project. We also discuss Jackie and Dallin's musical projects, the challenges of independent film makers, breaking in vs. staying in, making art for the right reasons, and the importance of finding the right allies in your artistic endeavors.  You can check out Jackie and Dallin's musical project, No Shooting Friends, Joseph here: You can support How To Be An Artist at
January 22, 2021
Step 15: Dani Jones -- I Will Look You In the Eye
Dani Jones is a bestselling cartoonist, illustrator, writer and an internet omnipresence. Her web comic, Everything is Going to Be Okay is one of my favorite things, and I am continually envious of Dani's inventiveness, productivity and courage as an artist and a human being. In this episode we talk about narrowing your focus, faceless hordes, whether or not you should move out of house with a leaky roof, and Avatar TLAB and Legend of Korra. More about Dani Twitter: @danidraws
January 15, 2021
Step 14: Ethan Dayton -- O' Brother Where Art Thou, Part 4
The fourth of four discussions with my brothers. This one is with Ethan Dayton, a machinima artist, youtuber and the creator of Dr. Smite's Improv.  In this episode we discuss the story of Ethan's discovery of being on the autism spectrum, how he made sense of the world before that, the challenges he has faced navigating a neurotypical world and the work he is currently engaged in. You can find Ethan's work at:
December 17, 2020
Step 13: Derek Hunter -- What is Success?
I continue my discussions with the SLC Draw Night Pantheon with Derek Hunter. Derek Hunter is the prolific artist behind Pretty Violent from Image Comics and an animation designer with credits on Adventure Time, Bravest Warriors, Ducktales and the Netflix Original, Kid Cosmic. In this episode we discuss our shared hatred of commuting, whether or not it's okay to have kids, what drives us to make art, fitting in a comic title with a full time job, navigating the market needs of art, definitions of success, playing with kids and recharging as an artist. Derek on twitter: @derekdraws Derek's work:
December 10, 2020
Step 12: Adrian Dayton -- O' Brother Where Art Thou, Part 3
The third of four interviews with my brothers. This one with Adrian Dayton, founder and CEO of Clearview Social -- a social media force-multiplier for professional firms. Adrian is an entrepreneur and social media specialist, with a particular expertise in social media for law firms. In this episode we discuss creativity as an entrepreneur, institutional vs. real-world success, things that impress vs. things you love, the misconceptions about sales and preparing for opportunity.
November 27, 2020
Step 11: Sam Lotfi -- The Invisible Arts
Sam Lotfi is one of my favorite artists in the comic field today working on titles at DC, Marvel, IDW and Darkhorse, most recently including Last Stop on the Red Line with Paul Maybury. In this episode we talk a bit about his unique career path from his early experiences with acting to his time in the animation industry learning the world's toughest art form. We also discuss Sam's approach to storytelling, process, time and energy management and the invisible skills that are essential to growing as an artist. You can see more of Sam's work at
November 17, 2020
Step 10: Miles Bukiet -- Modern Monasticism
Miles Bukiet is a meditation teacher with tens of thousands of hours of experience in ancient and contemporary practice and the founder of Dharma Gates, a non-profit focused on deep mediation training for young adults. Miles has made a particular study of monastic traditions and the forms they might take and the role they might play in modernity. In this discussion, we discuss the importance of having high standards for meditation, what modern monasteries look like, and speculate on what an art focused monastery might look like. Miles's Capstone on Monasteries of the future: More about Miles:
November 3, 2020
Step 9: Jess Smart Smiley -- Finding Joy In Your Work
Jess Smart Smiley is a prolific cartoonist and illustrator with an infectious enthusiasm for the art of cartooning and storytelling. In this episode we discuss Jess’s health challenges, the importance of his work as a coping method, process, planning for the joy of work, faith and prayer, being in the moment, creating the work you want to do, and the shortest distance between two points. Support this podcast at
September 27, 2020
Step 8: Cameron Dayton -- O Brother Where Art Thou? Part 2
In this episode I continue my series of discussions with my brothers by chatting with Cameron Dayton, a writer, creative director and a transmedia specialist on some of the biggest games of the last two decades. His credits include early development work on Overwatch, creative director on Call of Duty WW II, and narrative director at BioWare. He’s also the creator and writer of Etherwalker, the first installment of the Silicon Covenant series. In this episode we talk about family and ambition, finding the ideal time to work, the director’s cut of Etherwalker, Rick and Morty and Space Invader Zim, writing clever characters, creating childhood spectacles and the grounding nature of home and tradition. Cameron on twitter: @CameronDayton Support this podcast at
September 21, 2020
Step 7: Lincoln Cannon -- Provoking a Communal Strenuosity
Lincoln Cannon is the Co-founder, former CEO and President of the Mormon Transhumanist Association, as well as the founder of Thrivous. We chat about the day-to-day implications of Transhumanism, misrecognized religion, superstition and dogma, pragmatism and how to change the world.   Sadly, there was no discussion of Deadpool.   To support How to Be an Artist go to
September 11, 2020
Step 6: Damian Dayton -- O Brother Where Art Thou? Part 1
Today I start the first in a series of interviews with my four brothers, all of whom have taken an unconventional path in life.   This chat is with my brother Damian who is a writer with Creatably (, which is kinda an advertising and video production agency but also other things.  We talk about his path towards medical school that took a sharp turn in another direction, among all the other favorite topics on H2BNA like depression, spirituality ect. We talk about our diverging paths of faith and the long term impacts of our jr. high history fair project.   You can support this podcast at
September 6, 2020
Step 5: Spencer Holt and D. Bradford Gambles -- The Merc with a Mouth
The second in a series chatting with members of Draw Night SLC. Besides being the respective brains behind Food Hates You ( and Dungeon Crawler ( Brady and Spencer (or is it Spencer and Brady?) are a creative team making all sorts of awesome stuff you haven't seen yet. We talk about the current state of Draw Night, how we all got tangled together in it, the frustrations of trying to find an agent in the comics biz, Deadpool, collaboration, growing through failure, Deadpool, makings zines, fan art and Deadpool. Brady also tells a fantastic joke about AIDS. You can find Spencer on twitter as @spenturion and Brady as @heartlesscorpo. Maybe you'll also find something cool by following @tokencitycomic too.
August 24, 2020
Step 4: Jason Young -- Should We Clone Neanderthals?
Jason Young is the co-creator and co-writer of Pretty Violent available from Image comics as well as a long time Draw Night chum.  In this chat we talk about how Covid-19 is effecting the essential artistic and communal function of coffee shops, the freedom that comes from a simple lifestyle, utilitarianism, betrayal syndrome, black swans, free speech and nuanced opinions, cloning neanderthals, preference falsification and why Jonathan Haidt's Righteous Mind is one of our favorite books.
August 13, 2020
Step 3: Kohl Glass -- The Invincible Summer
Kohl Glass is a director and screenwriter with an eclectic body of work including Der Ostwind (an official Sundance selection), Dragonfyre, You May Now Kill the Bride and The Babysitter Must Die. You can see Kohl's reel here: We discuss Kohl's journey of discovering the Invincible Summer and why demons are overrated.
August 3, 2020
Step 2: Dustin Hansen -- It Takes 3 Generations to Make an Artist
Dustin Hansen is the author/illustrator of My Video Game Ate My Homework available from DC comics. In this episode we discuss how generous DC is with promotional support, the art of finance, comp culture, the various manifestations of depression, the multi-generational project of creating an artist and Mark Eaton.
July 22, 2020
Step 1: Jerzy Drozd -- Giving Yourself Permission
The inaugural episode of How To Be An Artist, where podcasting veteran Jerzy Drozd helps to send H2BNA gently aloft. We talk about the main idea for the show, maturing as an artist, embracing your shadow, sin, motivations for making art, sacred spaces and Jerzy's favorite moment of Miracle on 45th street. Jerzy is a cartoonist, educator and comic arts advocate. He's also the host of multiple podcasts including Art and Story, Comics Are Great, Lean Into Art and others (too many to keep track!)
July 10, 2020