Category: Career

Dear Universe

Dear Universe,

I have been talking to you for quite awhile now. I have verbalized my thoughts, desires, needs and wants to you. I have been patient, waiting, doing what I can to stay positive. However lately I haveThe Universe had my doubts that you are listening. I know we are one, one and the same. I am in you and you are in me. My thoughts are your thoughts. Your energy is my energy. However it is not translating. What I need is not manifesting.

I am at a place where I am truly scared. I have worked very hard to get where I am at and I feel I am going to lose it all if something doesn’t happen today. It needed to happen yesterday. I need help! I need your help! I need things to fall into place. I need your energy!

Universe you are my only hope. You gave me this talent, you gave me a wonderful studio to work in. Why? If I am going to lose it all, then Why? I cannot accept that! Where is the give? I give and give and give. Where and when is it supposed to come back to me?

Universe you know it isn’t just about me. You know I do not have much. You know I do not ask for much. I just want to be able to take care of my daughters. I don’t want them to have to endure this struggle. I want them to be what they are intended to be. To be able to use their talents freely, without inhibitions. I need to be able to use my talents without inhibitions. I am not free! I have so much more to offer! What is the point of being talented if I have no means to exploit it? How can I help others if I have no means to do so? Milky Way GalaxyWhere is the confusion? What am I missing?

You have done so much for me. When I think positively it comes to me. It has so many times. Why is it so different when it comes to selling my art? I have worked so hard to this point. I have dished out thousands of dollars and lined other peoples pockets to get to this point. Where is my return? Why does this need to concern me? I shouldn’t need to worry about this at this point! Do I really need to go work at McDonald’s? Do I really need to give my energy to someone else, to those who do not care? To those who only want to further their agendas and fill their deep pockets? Who won’t give back? Do I really need to go work for someone else and be imprisoned to their ways and means for a few bucks? To deal with that just to scrape by? Is that what you have intended for me universe? Then why bother giving me talents and skills and the mind I have? I can’t do that. That doesn’t help me and it doesn’t help anybody else.

Universe hear me. Please listen. Please come to me and hear my voice. I cannot do this alone. I need your energy. I need your positivity. Let your Starry Nightpositive energy flow through me. I am at a difficult place universe. The tables have turned on me. I don’t want to lose it all. Please show me the way. I need things to fall into place now. I need things to happen now. I have been extremely patient. I have worked hard. I have been diligent. I have been humble. What more must I do? What am I doing wrong? What am I not seeing? What am I not understanding? Show me! Show me please!!!

Universe I accept your help. I know you hear me. I know you want me to succeed. You know I want to help others succeed. I feel your peace. I feel your energy flowing into me.

Thank you,

Paul W. Koester

Check’s In The Mail

Like all artists I enjoy selling art. Of course I like getting paid for what I do. It’s the world we live in. Everything costs money. So when I sell a piece I am happy for two reasons. I am getting paid for what I love to do and I am making someone happy. This means that I spoke to someone through my art, it doesn’t get any better than that!

Recently I received an email from a lady in Ohio. She discovered her husband looking at my website. There are worse things you can discover your husband looking at online. So again I took that as a compliment. She wanted to know what inspired me and asked questions about a particular image that I created. I kindly and thoughtfully took the time to respond to all of her questions. We had a bit of back and forth dialogue over the last couple weeks.

Bad Check

Show Me The Money

A couple days ago I received this nice check FedEx’d to my studio. Sweet!! Right? Ummm not so fast. Let’s backup this a little bit. By the second email I knew immediately that this was a scam. I have had people try to run check scams on me in the past so I knew what was happening. I play along because I want these people busted. I loathe these people!! So in a nutshell what they do is butter you up. Try to gain your trust, ask about you, act all interested. Then comes the crazy story. I want this for my husband for our 10 year anniversary, I want it to be a surprise. He takes care of all the finances so I am having my assistant write a cashier’s check. I am moving to the Philippines, so I am having a shipping company handle all my affairs. It goes on and on. Sounds really legit actually. So here’s the part where they screw you over. The fine art print I was selling had the price tag of  $500. So that means the check is written over for the amount of $800. When I go to cash the check, the “extra money” minus my costs goes to the shipping company. When the check bounces, I am out the $800. The con artist then pockets the $800. I knew from the second email that this was the game that was being played. I contacted the credit union and verified that this was a scam. The check is counterfeit.

Most of these scams originate over seas. They are getting better at it now. Using addresses within the US. Their English is better, i.e. writing and spelling. They are using common names. So as a warning be careful. If you sense something is wrong, then something is wrong. If it is too good to be true, be careful.

As an artist I work very hard to put a quality product out there that will sell. I do this full time. This is my sole source of income. So it pisses me off being a target to a scam. It pisses me off that artists as a whole are targeted. We are targeted not just by scams but also to offer up our services for free. This happens all the time. Not just from family and friends, large companies as well.

The film industry and agencies make up all sorts of excuses and promises, “We have no budget, but we would like to place your art in several scenes.” Ummm, no budget? How is that possible. Does that mean you have no money, or so much money that you decided not to budget it? I don’t know. I just saw this today in an art community. Don’t fall for it!!! Exposure, possible future work! It never comes, it is a scam!

The point is artists need to be paid. If you like it, or love it, then pay for it! We work very very hard for very very little. Our prices are already dirt cheap. Nothing I create was free for me to create. My supplies, my rent, utilities, etc., and my time all cost me a lot of money. So how can I simply give anyone my work for free? No artist can.

A Novel Idea – Part II

Werewolf

An Animated and automated werewolf sculpture I designed and fabricated.

(Continued from Part I) I started out in A Novel Idea Part I telling part of my story about where I came from. Now I will share with you where I am going.

My novel idea is unique. It should be scary. Few would do it, let alone consider it. For many, their next move is finding that next company to to work for. To me that is equally scary! I on the other hand have had it in my mind for several years to start my own business.  Actually I have been a part time small business owner for a couple years. I have been laid off before and I have run my own business in the past. I know what it like to be my own boss. It is very hard work, but it is also extremely rewarding. I know what I am capable of and I know my limitations.  So over the last several years I have been working hard to brand myself.  I think it has paid off. If you Google me, there I am, right on top of the searches. I have primarily branded myself as a photographer. However I am also a painter, illustrator, and sculptor, and etc. I do wear a lot of hats. I like being versatile. Though the world seems to have a hard time grasping a person with so many hats. Therefore for the moment I am Paul W. Koester the photographer. I do love photography. I always have since I was a young boy and I would expect that I always will. No matter what, it ties in with everything I do.  For me photography is ever evolving. It has taken me to new levels and has helped me conquer many of my fears. Through photography I have met some amazing people and have been part of some amazing events!

Koester Productions is my official business name, it encompasses all the various aspects of what I am capable of offering. Not just Paul W. Koester Photography, but also Paul W. Koester the engineer.  I have also tied Artist Perspective to my name and website. Some feel that I get buried in that name. I totally see their view and at times I feel that I should have done that differently. I guess I wanted something that spoke to me about me being an artist and my perspective on the world.

Caged

The setting sun under the Ocean Beach Pier.

Ultimately my end goal is to create for Hollywood or private entities. To provide them with one of a kind sculptures or props. Due to my background in sculpture, metal work, carpentry, welding, electronics, instrumentation, and programming. I get to combine all of those skill sets with my creations to make them not only one-of-a-kind but also animated and automated. To create and challenge my mind this way is the ultimate fun!!  I would do these things for free, this is my passion. However we live in a world where we must make money to survive and very little is free. My supplies are not free, it can be very expensive being a creative person, but I don’t dwell on that very much.

I feel pretty fortunate to be where I am right now. I know that might come across as sounding a little weird coming from a guy who was recently laid off. What I mean by that though is a lot of really good things have come my way in the last year or so. One very significant event occurred early in 2013. I was discovered by Rick Pantele via my facebook page who ran the Incredible Artist art gallery in Cathedral City, California. He was very interested in a few of my images. We ended up creating a huge 9′ x 4′ diptych of  All The Right Reasons (see photo on right) which is hanging predominantly in Pasadena, California at the Kaiser Permanente corporate office inside their main lunch/conference room. After that job was complete, we created a few more images for the gallery. I sold several pieces through the gallery and via online sales. Rick knows my situation well and as I write this we are working together on several very exciting business opportunities.

Kaiser

All The Right Reasons hanging in the Kaiser Permanente office in Pasadena, California.

Earlier this year I met Matthew Shuey on Google+ and was introduced to the new business he and Theresa Puerto were starting involving stock photography. I had been very interested in doing stock photography and was looking for an entry point. I enjoy dealing with start-up companies. I like being on the ground floor of a company and growing as the company grows.  Matthew and Theresa started Gen StockPhoto as a result of seeing a need in their web design business. They discovered that there is a huge deficit for quality stock images. Then they also took notice to the fact that many stock image agencies do not respect their contributors, primarily the photographers who work very hard and often spend a lot of money in order to create the image. Gen StockPhoto pays out a whopping unheard of 70% of the license fee, additionally they give 100% of the fee for commissioned assignments to the photographer. I am pleased and excited to be a part of this business, which I believe is going to be a very fun adventure! It is already growing quickly and is already home to many talented photographers.

There are many things that I am working on at this time. All of which will evolve and develop and become something very fun and cool. Many of you are looking out for me and sharing ideas and send me links or contacts. Keep them coming!! I am very grateful for all that you do and appreciate the fact you care and want me to succeed!!

As you create your very own personal novel idea. It starts with believing in yourself. You must believe when no one else will. Then just do, don’t look back, continue pushing forward, just create, express yourself, and do not be afraid!

A Novel Idea – Part I

Life is a novel that is written as we go. We add to the pages each and everyday. Over time, eventually, gradually, it becomes the story of us, who we are, what we’ve done, and what we are yet to do.  We are a piece of history, each of us contribute to the legacy. In a sense a new novel is redundant to say, being that the word novel actually means new. For me as of right now it is applicable being that I am now writing a new novel. I am entering into something that is quite new, a new beginning, a new start. Unlike adding a new chapter to an old book. I am starting a new book with a new title, a novel idea.

PLC Panel

An Instrumentation Panel that I designed and fabricated. In a sense, my art.

My last day at a company I worked at for over 10.5 years came on June 30, 2014. I walked in, was escorted by security, signed a paper, said a couple goodbyes, and that was about it. For me saying goodbye wasn’t the part that mattered to me. The events that occurred from the day I was hired up to my last day are what truly mattered. The people I met and the things I learned along the way are what are valuable to me. Many will be my friends for life, we were a family. We worked together, we set goals together, we struggled, we conquered, and we lost together. We shared our lives with each other. In the end, the company we worked hard to build was sold. All the things we did together to create a business that had meaning and purpose was taken from us and given to someone else who knew nothing about what we did to make it what it was. Sure they read the newspaper articles and had all the documentation, but they did not feel what we felt. At the end of the day, that is what matters. What do you feel? Is it purposeful, does it have meaning? Are you making a difference? Are you happy? The last couple of years the answer to each of those questions was a resounding no!

The Passage

The passageways of my former life.

In the last quarter of 2008 we went through a very large reduction in force. My good friend and boss Dan Cooper was also let go during this lay off. It was a very disappointing and difficult day for many of us. We were reminded how vulnerable we were and how quickly life can change. This became a pivotal moment in time.  After Dan left I had to work for people at the company who really did not know me, they did not know where I came from, they did not watch me grow the way Dan did. Dan and I started our relationship in 1990. We met during Navy Electronics school in Orlando, Florida. So we have a pretty solid history of working together that is very unique and personal. My new bosses did not even know me, at all. They did not know my capabilities. Likewise with my fellow co-workers, who found themselves in a similar situation. The people that hired us were gone. The slate was wiped clean. Our new bosses did not know us, they were forced to take us on, and to no real fault of their own did not have the same appreciation for us as those who hired us. Sure they asked us questions and walked around and looked at what we did, but they knew nothing about us. Our value diminished day-by-day. Within a couple years we learned quickly that we were being prepped for a take-over by a much larger international corporation. Morale was at a all time low and our day-to-day activities were few due to the many changes. Very few projects were taken on. My work in particular revolved around projects, expansion, and growth. As an Instrumentation & Controls Engineer for the company I got to do some really cool stuff! Much of what I did, few understood or cared to understand, they just knew I did it. They let me do what I needed to do as I saw fit as it applied to the needs of the company. Again it was largely in part due to my original boss knowing me and knowing my capabilities. He trusted me and that trust built confidence.  I took on responsibilities that were typically sent to outside vendors and contracted out. I saw a need and I saw that it could be done better. Whenever and wherever possible I applied my creativity to my job, in that environment it was my art. It kept my mind and my hands busy. When all of that began to change, it became very difficult to get up in the morning and go into work. It was torture being there.

Fortunately over the last year or so I was given certain liberties to work on my next career move. Being that my next career move was much different than other’s this meant spending considerable time on social media, networking and branding myself. So what exactly is my next career move? Here is where one book ends and my novel idea begins. (to be continued in Part II)

 

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