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Break Through
Break Through: Terrance Vann





Break Through is a podcast series about making. Making discoveries, making a difference in the community and making the world a better place. It’s the stories of startups and inventors who are developing products that have social value by solving real world problems. It’s about artisans and entrepreneurs who have broken through the mold to live their best lives.


In this episode we spoke with Terrance Vann; a multi-discipline artist, designer, and street-muralist in Wilmington, DE who has been highly recognized and received an individual artist fellowship from the state in 2017. His work has been shown across the region including the Delaware College of Art & Design. Terrance dove right in to tell us about his journey, what inspires his art, and how Blockbuster Video helped put him on his path.

Ron Bauman Terrance, thank you for joining us here today at NextFab South Philly. How are you?

Terrance: Blessed. It’s awesome to be here. I’m feeling some extreme creative vibes going on right now, so it’s awesome.

Ron Bauman Good, that is the desired effect of being here.

Terrance: Yeah, yeah, yeah, big time, big time. You’ve got robotic things happening, very cool.

Ron Bauman Well Terrance, why don’t you tell us who you are and a little bit about yourself.

Terrance: My name is Terrence, Terrence Vann, Terrance Ism. I go by different monikers, I guess you could say. I’m an artist. I’m from Wilmington, Delaware. I’m a painter, muralist, overall creative entity, I guess you could say. I just like to inspire people and just to stay in a creative place when I make my art, just to get it out there.

Ron Bauman Where do you find inspiration?

Terrance: Where don’t I find inspiration? Honestly, I’ve had bowls of cereal and got an idea from eating a bowl of cereal. I’m not even making that up. Putting my clothes on, I’ve been inspired by how my jeans wrinkle when I pull them up. One of my dreadlocks will fall down and be curled a certain way and it’ll make me think of an object in a painting.

Terrance: It could literally be anything at this point.

Ron Bauman How does that translate into your art?

Terrance: Vibrations, vibrations. It’s like finding a way to communicate that inspiration to someone who didn’t see what you saw. It usually boils down to a feeling more so than a literal image. Well for me and my art, so it’s like how do I get someone to feel how I felt when I was creating this?

Terrance: Not only that, but to see something through, whether it’s a symbol or a color even to tell a story, how do I do that? That’s what I’m constantly thinking about.

Ron Bauman Where did you find your passion for art? At what age? How did this develop for you?

Terrance: With Dragon Ball Z, oddly enough. Yeah, yeah, with Dragon Ball Z.

Ron Bauman All right.

Terrance: When I was in fourth grade, Dragon Ball Z was like the biggest show ever. All my cousins were actually fairly decent artists at the time. They were in like middle school and high school. I was in fourth grade just trying to do what they were doing with the little characters. My parents put me into the music side. Art was just always my thing. From there it just took on many different lives since then, from graffiti to all different types of things, yeah.

Ron Bauman You grew up in Wilmington, correct?

Terrance: I grew up in Wilmington. I traveled a lot as a kid, just back and forth. My family, like my mom and dad weren’t together, so I was always up here, in lower Delaware, Philly, all over the place.

Ron Bauman Right, do you think that had an effect on your art?

Terrance: For sure, for sure. I think it had an effect on me, because I had to constantly be thinking, because I’m in new environments all the time. You have friends here and then you have friends there and friends here. It’s not always the same.

Ron Bauman Right.

Terrance: It made me a creative person, and I come from a creative family. My cousins and my granddad is an artist. I think it was a thing that was meant to happen.

Ron Bauman Yeah, it’s in your genes?

Terrance: Definitely in the genes, yeah, yeah, for sure.

Ron Bauman What kind of art does your grandfather do?

Terrance: He’s strictly a portrait artist.

Ron Bauman Okay.

Terrance: He used to really make these like hyper-realistic portraits out of pencil.

Ron Bauman Painting? Oh, pencil.

Terrance: Pencil and charcoal.

Ron Bauman Okay, old school.

Terrance: Old school, yeah, definitely old school. It was funny, because when I started getting into it, I draw weird trippy stuff. I would be like, “Hey granddad, hey, check this out.” He’s just like, “What is that?” In the beginning they discouraged me. I won’t lie, because he was so technical and so clean and the generation gap of course. I don’t think he saw how the ideas translated that I was working on at the time. I mean, it didn’t discourage me, it just made me think, “Okay, well that’s not what I want to do.” You know what I mean? We don’t have a lot of art conversations. I think now he’s just like, “Whoa, I like those colors you used there.” “Those shapes, that’s really interesting.” I think his mind is opened since then.

Ron Bauman Now you ended up going to art school, you went to Delaware College of Art and Design?

Terrance: Well, I didn’t really fully attend there. I actually went to School of Visual Arts in New York, but then I dropped out. I was all over the place for a little bit, but I didn’t graduate from there. I actually ended up graduating from the Art Institute of Philadelphia doing web design.

Ron Bauman Oh, okay.

Terrance: I quit art completely. I was like, “Man, I just need to make some money, forget all this.” Web design …

Ron Bauman Was that a natural transition for you?

Terrance: No, no, you want to know what happened? I don’t think I’ve ever really told this story.

Ron Bauman Exclusive content, I love it.

Terrance: It is, it is so I applied, I dropped out and stopped. I had gotten a full ride to go to U Arts. I had a full ride to go to DCAD and a few other schools. I really wanted to go to SVA, because at the time, I think it was the number two school art school. I went up there and I got the full brunt of yuppie New York vibe. It wasn’t necessarily anything wrong, but it just discouraged me from what I thought art was in the art industry. A lot of kids had tons of money and they had ends that I didn’t have. I’m like, “Man, I’ve got 10 bucks and I’m in New York. This is tough, man.”

Ron Bauman Expensive city too.

Terrance: Yeah, the school was $75,000 a year. It was just like, “Oh, I can’t do this, man, this isn’t for me. Not for four years.” I was like, you know what? I’m going to apply to Temple for Tyler, because I had some friends that went there and I didn’t get in.

Ron Bauman Okay.

Terrance: At the time, I was 19, it really hurt my ego man. I thought it would be like I’m in, no problem. They saw I was in a school, they had my portfolio and I didn’t get in.

Ron Bauman Did you find out why?

Terrance: Terrible descriptions.

Ron Bauman Really?

Terrance: Really, at the time I had very limited ideas on how to express myself through writing. Trying to translate what my art meant, it just didn’t click. I could see them seeing it and being like, “This kid’s not ready. He may have the natural talent,” but I don’t think it really fit for that program.

Terrance: Long story short, I was depressed man. I dropped out, the school that I knew I was getting into had rejected me and I had no other plan. There was literally no other plan. I moved back home with my mom from New York, and I was just bummed for six, seven months. Just was like, “Man, forget art.” You know what I mean?

Terrance: I’m not even doing this, because I saw what happened in New York. I just got rejected on the school that I really in my heart of hearts wanted to go to. I started working at Blockbuster, oddly enough. I mean, who knows what that is …

Ron Bauman You’re not old enough to work at Blockbuster, come on.

Terrance: The last year it was around.

Ron Bauman Were you at the last Blockbuster?

Terrance: No, but probably one of the last 10, no joke, one of the last 10. I started working at Blockbuster, because I had a friend that worked there and I could get a bunch of video games for free. I was like, “All right, cool.” Oddly enough, she had met somebody up here in Philly that was like, “Do you know anybody that does art or that …”

Terrance: He was a recruiter for Art Institute of Philly.

Ron Bauman Okay.

Terrance: They have a conversation. She calls me up and says, “Hey, I told this guy all about you. Would you want to do an interview with him for school?” I was like, “Man, whatever man.” I’m like, “Is this guy just trying to poach me just because he has a quota to fill or blah, blah, blah?”

Terrance: I was just like, “Nah, man.” Then I just looked at the website, I was like, “You know what? I don’t got shit that’s going on. I’m working at Blockbuster. It’s not like it’s some high end job here.

Ron Bauman The clock’s ticking, right?

Terrance: Yeah, yeah, it’s not a lot of career advancement. Then they shut the store down.

Ron Bauman Right.

Terrance: I’m like, all right, the store got shut down. I got the guy’s email, emailed him. He shows me the stats. I said, “What can get me a job?” He said, “Web design is a 98% job placement rate.” Signed up right there, and there was no portfolio needed, so I was like, “Hey …”

Ron Bauman Blockbuster was that final shove that you needed to get back to art school?

Terrance: Yeah, it was, it was.

Ron Bauman Never would have saw that coming.

Terrance: Yeah, so Blockbuster, once it shut down, I was like, “Man, I might as well try this.” Once I started, I forced myself to fall in love with it.

Ron Bauman What period of time is this? What year was this that you ended up at Art Institute?

Terrance: Late 2010 into 2011.

Ron Bauman Okay. Still a lot of web design activity, and the front of it, obviously websites were around at that point, but still very much at the height of people needing web design.

Terrance: Oh, it was like the boom. The mobile app boom.

Ron Bauman Right, exactly.

Terrance: It was a good field to get in and I was doing graffiti at the time, so I was living like two lives. I had my little graffiti game that I ran with, and then I was going to school. During that time it was a wild time, it was a wild time.

Ron Bauman Were you back living in Philly now at this point?

Terrance: No, so I was living in Wilmington at first and then I ended up moving back to Philly probably when I had one year left in my tenure there.

Ron Bauman How long did you go there for?

Terrance: Three years. It was really nutty, because I was waking up at 6:00, walking to the train station, which was 10 blocks from my house. Catching the train from Wilmington for my 8:00 AM class, and had three classes all four hours long, and then catch the last train to come back into Wilmington and then go paint outside in the streets for about four or five hours after that.

Terrance: I had a job at a restaurant, and so I was just running wild at that time. I think a lot of it was because of the art not really materializing like how I wanted to.

As the conversation progressed, Terrance described how he started his career in web design for corporate America, and the role it played in his art.

Terrance: After I graduated, I got a job the next day. I literally got a job.

Ron Bauman They weren’t kidding about that 98%!

Terrance: They were not kidding, like it was almost too soon, because I was like, “Damn -”

Ron Bauman Give me some down time, right?

Terrance: Yeah, like I’m trying to –

Ron Bauman Decompress.

Terrance: At the same time, the job was offering me $16 an hour, which I was like, “Hey man,” I was working in a restaurant for tips. I was like, “I need health care, all these different benefits that they have, hey, I’m in there.” I was working for Yellow Book actually, the phone book company.

Ron Bauman You go from Blockbuster to the Yellow Pages.

Terrance: Yellow Pages, it was the same thing when I got there, they went through a whole company rebrand and changed it to Hibu, which was weird.

Ron Bauman Yeah, I remember that.

Terrance: Yeah, yeah, so they changed to Hibu.

Ron Bauman The online directory type of thing?

Terrance: Exactly, so I was in the web department doing that.

Ron Bauman Okay.

Terrance: It was just a factory man. I mean, we’re talking –

Ron Bauman Not artistic at all.

Terrance: No, no, just fields of cubicles.

Ron Bauman Just cranking out –

Terrance: Yeah, cranking out subpar material, just because. Not even for any artistry. I was working there and at first it was cool, I could buy some new clothes, I got a car. I was just getting used to even being able to support myself.

Ron Bauman Existing, right.

Terrance: Right, and then about a year in really just corporate America really hit me. I was like, “Whoa, this is big, there’s something going on here that’s representative of something I don’t want to be a part of and not in that capacity.” Do you know what I mean?

Terrance: I started to be a defector, like I stopped going to meetings. I was one of the best designers there, so no one would really bother me, because I could take all the extreme clients. I was really good at customer service, so I was the only guy that could really take the extreme clients and do it right there on the phone.

Ron Bauman Right.

Terrance: They would pretty much let me do whatever I wanted. I stopped going to meetings and it all started because someone told me to take my hat off. There’s people walking around the office with hats on. I’m like, “Why do I have to take my hat off man?”

Terrance: They’re like, “It’s a department to department thing. I’m like, “We’re on the same floor.”

Ron Bauman Right?

Terrance: I’m literally sitting next …

Ron Bauman Why isn’t just a company thing?

Terrance: Right, I’m sitting next to the IT guy, I’m sitting next to DNS and they have hats and they’re chilling and it was all casual anyway. I’m like, “Why are you asking me to take my hat off?”

Ron Bauman You weren’t client facing, right? You’re probably all over –

Terrance: No, no, no client facing at all, so I was just like, “I see what’s going, you guys are trying to control me, man, that’s what’s really going on.” I started doodling and that’s when I started growing my hair. My locks are literally my journey into art like how long they are, because that’s exactly when I started growing my hair as a protest for them telling me to take my hat off. It started to get wild man.

Ron Bauman That’s awesome.

Terrance: During that process, when I started to grow my hair out, I started to then care less. Now I’m in there doodling. I was borrowing everyone’s highlighters. I had this huge highlighter repository in my joint. I would do these little doodles, I’ll show them to you after.

Ron Bauman Yeah.

Terrance: During my 15 minute break, and then it started being 30 minutes. Then I’m doing hour long, full blown drawing illustrations in the office. People are walking by like, “Hey man, can you draw something for me?” I’m like, “Yeah, sure man.” I’ll draw something for their little desk.

Ron Bauman Right.

Terrance: A few months later I looked down into my drawer, I have a stack like this, hundreds, hundreds of sketches, hundreds of sketches. People were like, “What are you going to do with them? What’s the goal?

Ron Bauman What can you do with them?

Terrance: What can I do? Then it hit me, it hit me literally like a gift. They had industrial scanners.

Ron Bauman At the Yellow Pages.

Terrance: At Yellow Pages. The great thing was –

Ron Bauman Top of the line printer equipment, everything, right? Technology, right?

Terrance: All of it, so I had all the apps I needed and I made a book out of them. I literally made a book all on company time. Literally the entire thing was on company time and I called it killing time. Yeah, that’s what got me started. I made this book, and during that process I started to get back into painting, which I hadn’t done for years.

Terrance: I was terrible at it, and it was really starting to … I was like, “Man, I’ve got to get better at this. I have all these drawings, but it doesn’t feel impactful enough. A painting will take it so much further.” I started just staying up all hours of the night. I’m used to the graffiti hours, so it wasn’t really a problem.

Terrance: I’d get home from work. I was painting 5 to 10 hours after I get home from work.

Ron Bauman Wow.

Terrance: At a certain point –

Ron Bauman Getting obsessive with it.

Terrance: It was just getting crazy, and I knew I no longer really wanted to work at that job. I was putting literally all of my spirit and energy was going into this. Then I would just post little things on Instagram about just what was happening to me just overall with the art and everything.

Ron Bauman What year is this by the way?

Terrance: This was 2014.

Ron Bauman Okay, so Instagram is really starting to hit and get popular?

Terrance: Exactly, exactly. The drawings that I was doing each day, since I would get to work at 7:00 AM, I would check Twitter and get all the news before anyone’s awake. I would do the drawings. It was like magic to people, because by 11:00 AM the news that they’re just hearing about already had a topical drawing about it.

Ron Bauman You were drawing inspiration from current events and news and things you were seeing on Twitter, and then making art from that and putting it on Instagram.

Terrance: Exactly, and some of them were going viral, because it was like no one was up.

Ron Bauman So timely and topical.

Terrance: Exactly, and this was before Instagram was super artist heavy. It wasn’t really a lot of that topical –

Ron Bauman You were cutting through all that static.

Terrance: Exactly, exactly, so it got to a point where then people were just like, “Hey man, what are you doing? Where are you going with this?” And I was like, “You know what? I want to have an art show.” I didn’t know what it really meant to have an art show.

Terrance: Things just started to fall together at a point where it was just beyond synchronicity. It was just actual purpose. Then I recognized it, and that’s when everything changed. I recognized it, not like, “Oh, this is happening. Oh, that’s a coincidence.”

Terrance: Like, no, this is happening because you’re literally supposed to be doing this. You’re not supposed to be doing anything else, especially at this time. Once I recognized that, I was like, oh, no fear. I don’t care about my eight bosses that I have.

Terrance: I’m scanning hundreds of drawings in front of them, like literally in the executive quarters area. I’m scanning these drawings and people are just walking by like this is normal. I was like this is the what I’m supposed to be doing. Then I get a call from a buddy of mine who’s like, “Hey I have a girlfriend who’s opening up a tea shop/gallery. She just opened it up and she wants to have -”

Terrance: I went and looked at the space and I was like … It just like popped into my mind, like literally a just another gift. I saw the whole layout. I knew exactly what I had to do.

Ron Bauman You visualized it, you knew exactly what you wanted to do?

Terrance: I knew exactly, because literally the art series that I was working on, she had painted her walls all these crazy colors. I had no clue. I walked in and saw this and met her and everything, and then she didn’t really see my art though.

Terrance: We just had a conversation, and this is when I knew. The next time I brought the entire collection and was showing her and she cried, she teared up, because she knew what was about to happen. In February I had the show, it was called Life Through Color and 200 people show up.

Ron Bauman Wow.

Terrance: I make like $1,000 my first show. I sold out all my prints and it was just like complete confirmation. I had no other experience on curation or anything like that.

Ron Bauman That’s amazing.

Terrance: I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m out of here man.” Probably seven months later, so I had the show in February, so that year, and I was still working at Hibu, that year from February to November, I either had or participated in about 10 art shows.

Ron Bauman Okay.

Terrance: Once people saw it, it just started to exponentially grow. By November I quit –

Ron Bauman Each one more successful than the last?

Terrance: I wouldn’t say that, but it was like the first one was so big that it was just adding to momentum though. They saw this first one, and they were like, “All right, well how did this … ” Everyone was asking me how I did it and I’m like, “I don’t know man, like I really don’t know.”

Ron Bauman It started with doodles.

Terrance: Yeah, seriously, because a lot of seasoned artists weren’t … It was almost like a coup happening. No one had anticipated it, it came out of nowhere. It changed the whole city, like once once they saw, because I didn’t take any of the avenues to get there that everyone else took.

Ron Bauman This is happening in the creative district down in Wilmington along Market Street?

Terrance: Absolutely, absolutely, and I was one of the first artists that they reached out to, to really start to facilitate some community relationships. It was so surreal to me, because I’m like, I don’t even know how I got here. Do you know what I mean?

Terrance: I’m still working and it came to November and I get this email. It’s from my friend who’s been poaching the Philadelphia Mural Arts listserv and just forwarded them to me. She’s like, “The Sixers need somebody to come up with these mural programs.”

Terrance: I’m like at my desk, at my job and this is when I knew I was going to quit. I was just like at my desk, if I call this man …

Ron Bauman This is it, right?

Terrance: I had no mural experience at the time. Yeah, exactly. I had no mural experience at the time. I had no programming experience at the time.

Ron Bauman Are you a Sixers fan?

Terrance: Oh yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Ron Bauman Right, so you’re excited, right? This is exciting for you, right?

Terrance: As soon as I saw the Sixers, I was just like, “Okay, if I can somehow weasel my way into being this experienced artist that they’re looking for, I’m in, it’s over at this job.” I knew it, so literally I get on the phone, go into the break room and I call the guy.

Terrance: I’m like, “Hey, I saw your email, I’m an artist here based in the Philadelphia area, blah, blah, blah.” He was just like, “Well, send me some stuff.” I’m just panicking, like, all right, “Let me get some stuff together and I’ll send it to you tomorrow.”

Terrance: Sent it to him. I didn’t hear back until the end of the week. I was just like at my desk, just like please, please. The guy was like, “Oh, it looks great. We’ll give you a call next couple of days and we’ll start setting up how to get you the supplies, blah, blah, blah.”

Terrance: I was just like boom, do you what I mean? The following week, I was just looking around and –

Ron Bauman On cloud nine?

Terrance: Yeah, I knew it was over. I told my manager, I was cool with my manager and I told him, I was just like, “I’m done here. I’m not doing two weeks, I’m not doing any of the formal exit stuff, I’m just done Friday.” She was just taken back, but she was like, “You know what? Everyone knew it was coming.”

Ron Bauman Right.

Terrance: Do you know what I mean? My coworkers came to my first show and they were just like, “Who the hell is this guy?” Do you know what I mean? Then I quit my job and simultaneously while quitting my job, it was all on faith, but I moved into a new apartment.

Terrance: All my bills doubled and I quit my job, do you know what I mean? I’m trying to tell my girl, I’m just like, “Trust me please. I know this sounds crazy, but it’ll work out.”

Ron Bauman Yeah, just believe in yourself.

Terrance: I was just believing like pure, because the events that got me there were so out of my control that I was just like, “This is going to happen, we don’t have to worry,” do you know what I mean? The next month in December, someone who bought some art from me calls me and is like, “Hey, I have two extra tickets to Art Basel in Miami if you want to go.”

Terrance: It was insane, so right after I got done the Sixers thing, we go down to Miami for Art Basel, which is the central art experience in the country really. This is two months after I quit my job. I go down there, first I walked into a hotel that was having an art show.

Terrance: All the art shows are mostly free. I walk in there and Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys are standing right there. Do you know what I mean? I walk into another show and literally bump into Kehinde Wiley, literally bump into him. He turns around, I’m like, “Whoa.”

Terrance: It was just another confirmation, you can take this to the highest level, do you know what I mean? Then I started 2016 off, no job, the most inspired I ever been in my entire life and my rent was paid for two months. I didn’t have to stress on it.

Ron Bauman Right.

Terrance: I just went to town, I painted a whole art show in two weeks, just locked in, just literally locked myself in the studio and was painting for 12 hours a day just off of pure inspiration.

Ron Bauman That’s awesome.

Next Terrance describes his impressions of Nextfab, his first project region’s top makerspace, and being an “artrepreneur”.

Terrance: For years I was just trying to get so good at painting that I wasn’t really thinking about how I could create, not only with other mediums, but in a 3D space. Recently that’s been something I’ve really been trying to focus on, because I’ve got to a place with painting that’s beyond what I thought I could get to.

Terrance: It’s a bizarre, like weird. It’s like I thought it would take me like 10, 15, 20 years to get to the point where I’m able to paint some of the things I can do now. It’s just like, okay, I have to do something else.

Ron Bauman You need another outlet.

Terrance: Right, I need another outlet or this is going to start feeling like a task.

Ron Bauman You just get tired of it after a while. It’s like a musician who keeps playing the same type of music all the time. You can only play the blues for so long before you move onto jazz or country or whatever.

Terrance: Yeah, just expanding what you believe you’re capable of. When I’m in here and I’m seeing 3D printers and I’m seeing laser cut wood being made into these beautiful designs and all these tools, this has been outside of my reach for so long, because I couldn’t afford a 3D printer to … Do you know what I mean?

Terrance: Some of these things just haven’t really been in my consciousness. Walking through here is like walking through Willy Wonka, a chocolate factory type thing for artists, so it’s trippy.

Ron Bauman Awesome, well, I probably know the answer to this, but do you consider yourself an artist or an entrepreneur?

Terrance: Artrepreneur.

Ron Bauman Artrepreneur?

Terrance: Artrepreneur, yeah. Yeah, I’m going to blend them, because artrepreneur is an artist on conveying ideas, developing an idea. An entrepreneur can come up with a new way to develop toilet paper and be a billionaire. Do you know what I mean? Had nothing to do with creative spark, but then artists are, it’s going to sound weird, but artists are almost like a different species of like …

Terrance: It’s almost like some X Men type stuff. Do you know what I mean? A lot of artists, since they’re so in their own minds, a lot of the time they don’t really know how to monetize what they’re doing and how to develop it. I talk to a lot of artists, and the thing that’s missing is they never got encouraged to do that.

Terrance: What’s been reinforced in their mind is that artists are going to be starving. Artists aren’t going to be able to –

Ron Bauman I was going to say, and you’ve really bucked that stigma. You’ve slapped it right in the face.
Terrance: Well, there’s ups and downs. Do you know what I mean? I’ve made a lot of money and then bills, parking tickets, court fees, things can add up, do you know what I mean?

Ron Bauman Those who make a lot, you tend to spend a lot too.

Terrance: Yeah, well and it takes a lot to maintain. Making my own prints, developing my own banners.

Ron Bauman It’s not all profit.

Terrance: No, no, no, definitely not. I mean shoot, you can make $10,000 and you’ve got to spend $9,500 on the next project or something. It’s like, “Damn -”

Ron Bauman It forces you to look at it in more of a business sense, as opposed to truly holistically an art form?

Terrance: Absolutely, and I knew I didn’t want it to be just a hobby, so I had to change my thinking. I think because of the first show being so monetarily successful, it supercharged that, because I didn’t have to go through five years of it not working out and not being able to make the money.

Terrance: I saw that it could make money immediately. A lot of artists just didn’t know how to do it. It was because I was working at a place that I learned how to scan my own images, I could scan my paintings and make my own prints. Some artists didn’t know how to do that.

Terrance: I had entrepreneur friends, so I signed up with PayPal and got the card reader for the first show.

Ron Bauman Sure.

Terrance: I had things in place in my mind that were bigger than just creating as an artist. It’s a mix of things.

As our guest always do, Terrance concludes with some advice for aspiring artists.

Terrance: Number one, belief that you can do it, and believe that there’s something larger to you that will help you do it when you’re locked into it.

Terrance: The universe really is paying attention to your intention. If you’re like, “Hey, I want to be an artist,” that’s one level, there will be no response. Then if you’re like, “Hey, I want to be an artist,” and then you start doing it, then it’s a little opportunity comes your way.

Terrance: All right, you could get one opportunity and I’ve seen some people get opportunities and their ego explodes, do you know what I mean? Then that actually prevents them from being able to manifest further things. Believe, stay humble, stay aware of yourself as you grow, and stay aware of the market you’re in, your surroundings.

Terrance: Just stay aware period and have fun with it. Have fun with it somewhere. Even if you’re painting about tough subject matter or have fun painting it, like the actual physical part of painting it, or have fun marketing it. Somewhere along the line, have a lot of fun with it, so that you stay almost in the mind space of a kid.

Ron Bauman Right. It keeps you genuine. Keeps it authentic.

Terrance: Absolutely, absolutely. The last thing I would say is work hard, period. That’s actually the number one for real. I mean, some people are blessed where things just happen, but there’s a lot of internal work that could have happened that people don’t see, do you know what I mean?

Terrance: For me, I do so much mental work before I even get to the canvas. It’s almost harder than physical work.

Ron Bauman Are you ready to have some fun with this Philly weekly box?

Terrance: Yes, yes.

Ron Bauman Let’s give our audience a little a clue into what we’re doing. Terrance here for his first project at NextFab is going to work on a collaboration with Philadelphia Weekly, who is refurbishing their old newspaper boxes. They’ve got a bunch of new ones in. We’re going to take the old ones.

Ron Bauman We’re going to decorate them. We’re going to find some other artists. Terrance is going to be the inaugural artist decorate the PW box here in the paint room at NextFab South Philly. You ready?
Terrance: I’m ready.

Ron Bauman Awesome. Well thank you very much for speaking with us today, Terrance. We really appreciate you taking the time traveling up here. Your story is truly inspiring, and we can’t wait to see around the shop.

Terrance: Yeah, appreciate it, man. Thank you.

Ron Bauman All right, man, you got it.

Terrance: No doubt, no doubt.


Thank you for listening to this episode of Break Through. I’m your host, Ron Bauman, serial entrepreneur, founder of Milk Street Marketing, and NextFab member. To learn more about how NextFab can make your ideas come to life, visit and be sure to follow #nextfabmade on social to see what our members are making.