We recently connected with Joe Palma and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, thanks for joining us today. We’d love to hear about a project that you’ve worked on that’s meant a lot to you.
The most meaningful project that I have worked on was my my train worksheet.
In the fall of 2019 I took a leap of faith as a new graduate to transfer to the Enrollment Team at Colorado Christian University. Little did I know how the next year (and the whole world for that matter) would change me for the better. While I was training and still in office, I needed a call checklist in order to get my call total up as an over-the-phone salesman. My manager at the time lost his template and said he’d get back to me. Rather than wait, I eagerly made my own the only way I know how to. I drew a train in Procreate on my iPad Pro and duplicated it 50+ times so that I can “tag” a train with every phone call made. Why you might ask? As a teenager, Graffiti was my first invitation into the amazing world of art and was tantamount as I formed my own identity as a creator.
After an art career and a corporate career, I found myself still creating graffiti styled pieces on anything I wrote on. I soon discovered how much more of it had to with culture than I previously realized. I learned that Graffiti was the first major art movement founded by teenagers who were mostly from Black and Latin decent. I had also come to discover that this fit directly in my own family for multiple generations as my own father had done graffiti art as well as my maternal uncle. Here I was in a conservative environment, feeling that I could not share who I was culturally through fear of being misunderstood. I was genuinely concerned that I’d be condemned for liking graffiti as I am explicitly an urban Mexican-American creative youth. I put this hurdle to bed when I took the step to live out loud. I posted my train templates on my cubical wall as a means to be accountable not only as a new training salesman but also as representative of my cultural background in America.
For someone to look at my work and be reminded of the inner city streets is both a blessing and a curse.
In one perspective you can see the problems that emerge in regards to vandalism but note that it is imperative for me to reflect upon my coming of age in a positive light as a complete and healthy person. In a moments notice, a pen and a paper could transport me back to being 11 years old learning graffiti from my older brother and cousins as a right of passage. Just like a neighborhood gang of boys from any era, graffiti is indeed as American as it gets. For me, legal ramifications kept me from doing more graffiti after the age of 18 but I continued to seek understanding as I grew. Why did I yearn for anything that was in this style at this point in life? Why did I rejoice so deeply when I reflected on this urban comradery?
It wasn’t until I was making these trains daily at the age of 28 when I really understood the essential benefit of maintaining and reinforcing one’s culture without fear or shame. It dawned on me that the accountability factor of having my trains posted up on a wall was graffiti in itself. Remembering that that the urban adolescent stakes their claim in society by proclaiming who they are at the peak of their expression. Therefore, confirming a deeper and lasting basic human right to exist authentically. In light of this, I reached a point where I was full of inspiration after holding it in for most of my adult life. Oh, the freedom to fully display who I was in a corporate business culture without fear! My daily work was up for all to see regardless. The extreme originality required of hip-hop culture shaped how I choose to express myself again but this time as a grown man.
I discovered that I have always maintained a passionate individuality through my own artistic style. Self actualization eliminated the impulse to blend in or take the easy road. Even as a working professional.This healing got me through COVID!
Maybe my trains weren’t for everyone and maybe it wasn’t taken as seriously as I wished but, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt this was me at my finest application. The trains have me “living the dream” by going full circle as a hip-hop kid at heart no longer feeling an ounce of regret for just being who I am.
The kid from the Chicano part of town who inherited an inspired identity through hip-hop can make a positive difference in this world regardless of anyone’s closed perspective.
Joe, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
The main ingredient to connecting creatively is confidence.
Once upon a time, boastful passion was all that I had. I get it: Sometimes in life that’s all you can grasp for. But, after many heartaches and detours, I’ve come to find purpose in it all.
The toughest of times have produced a visionary. Always daydreaming from the time I was a kid. I’ve imagined not just how things could be better but, I’ve learned over my life span to deliberately seek the truth of what actually matters despite the never ending complexities of the human experience.
Wishful thinking is usually brash in nature as it tends to be a quick take on yearning. As I have sought to understand why I was made with creativity oozing out of my heart and soul, I know that it has been and always will be covered by Dignity.
One does not simply make their own reality but they live it. Only gaining peace and striding forward with humble yet heartfelt intentionality. If I had the opportunity to tell my younger self anything, I would simply state that you should press on because what you are hoping for is not only possible but, is actually already happening. And if you take a moment to find Gratefulness in your day to day,You will uncover opportunities to help others out of their own funk on the way.
My daydreams never were just hopeful ideas. Life was given to me when I discovered that I am and will always be an encourager through sharing my vulnerabilities. My greatest yearning is to see this epiphany realized in others struggling to cope and I am now at a point where I can do this confidently as the encourager and the creative are no longer separate but are finally one.
My name is Joe Palma and I am Chief Creative Officer of ánimo aesthetics ltd. I have always been inspired by graffiti and I live to empower/ encourage any and everyone. Animo is Spanish to encourage and my deepest desire is to leave all who interact with my brand to have encouragement and walk a little higher as themselves. I have cut hundreds of stencils, I’ve snapped thousands of photos, and my pencil has traveled many miles though my lifetime. I focus on making clothing at this point but I also provide creative services such as an illustration, photography and design.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
After cutting nearly 500 stencils in my earlier art career from 17-19 in 2011, my hands were shot. I had damaged my joints and was left unable to draw or cut anymore stencils at such a high level. I had to reevaluate my creativity and reign it back as much as possible. Work went from full time gallery work, art vending, and commissions to working a full time corporate job. The creative bug in me was still eager to do more as I entered my twenties. From 2012-2015 I boiled down my output to producing a highly detailed illustrated piece every Christmas from for close family only and learning graphic design from 2012-2015.
This was extremely humbling as it was fresh off of my art career just gaining steam but entailed some of the most stable years of my life. I eventually settled into a financial aid office as a means to complete my communications degree.
In 2016 I finally took my dads advice to persue photography. He had been trying to get me to pick up a camera for years but I had always rebelled telling him I’d rather make everything from the ground up as a visual artist. Taking up photography was one of the most healthiest things I could have gone after! It slowed me down and allowed me to stop and smell the roses. Getting my pride down allowed me to let myself off the mat, thinking that I controled everything when in fact there was so much beyond myself. The true value I discovered in all things was something I needed from the start of it.
As my hands healed and I discovered the accessibility of digital art with an iPad, I felt ready more than ever to go after creativity for a higher calling and impact. I have never been a stranger to passion but with a humble approach though this setback, I now see endless possibilities as a creative. How can I encourage anyone if I have not been through my deepest struggles myself? It is one thing surviving but now I am truly thriving confident in what I want to do and grateful for the lessons learned along the way.
Is there something you think non-creatives will struggle to understand about your journey as a creative?
My hope for non-creatives is to see how every strategy and detour for the creative is full of their signature touch. That there is creativity in more than the conventional stereo types. To seek creatives no matter what they’re given position in life as you truly have the ability to encourage them in more areas than one by acknowledging their gifts. Creativity is more than a trade, it is for most a reason for holding on. A means to an end to get through by not just getting by. Creatives are everywhere and they need to know that they matter.
- Website: https://animoaesthetics.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/_animo1/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/animoaesthetics
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-palma-239752203
- Youtube: https://youtube.com/user/JOEPALMAUNO