Today we’d like to introduce you to Ben Pryce.
Ben, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up just outside of New York City with a very creative mother, and business man for a father. I spent a lot of time swinging back and forth between the two starkly contrasted spaces and mindsets. After graduating high school and working a few vocations for a few years, I decided I would go back to school and get a degree in Marketing, so I could satisfy both my creative and business sides. It felt like the perfect balance.
I actually finished my degree remotely in the middle of a one-way cross-country drive to what I now call home, San Diego. Once I got here, I had no real idea what I was going to do. All of my Manhattan advertising agency contacts were useless to me out here, and I had no real experience to put on my resume. The first few months were rough because I was trying to figure out what type of career I would have, while simultaneously figuring out how to pay for my next meal.
Then it hit me like a hailstorm of epiphanies. Over the course of a few months I had a number of revelations and flash backs to things that had brought me true joy and fulfillment as a kid. I had loved learning photography + videography in school, always felt at home alone in nature as opposed to crowds in the city, and had wanted nothing more than a sweet camper van to hang out and travel in. Luckily for me, #VanLife was starting to become a thing, and thanks to the internet I had endless resources for getting back into photo + video, not to mention I couldn’t have picked a better part of the country to be in for all of this.
The next 3 years were all about becoming the best at using my camera, learning everything about social media marketing that the internet had to offer, and traveling up and down the California and Mexican coast lines honing my skills. Other than learning to surf, becoming a freelance content creator and social media marketer was the hardest thing I have ever put myself, but it has been the most fulfilling journey and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
My visual art is my photography and videography. Some of what you see on social media is for fun, some of it is commercial or commissioned work. I’ve been asked how I chose to shoot what I do, and the funny thing is that I didn’t really “chose” it. My subjects and style are all the result of me just doing whatever I wanted. I wanted to hang out by the beach, surf, hang out with friends, and explore the quieter but exciting parts of the west coast of North America. I pulled inspiration from other content creators, tried and experimented with every style and technique I could until it started just coming out of my naturally. When I started getting consistent comments and compliments on my work, I knew that I had found “my voice”.
The other side of my art, is what 95% of people don’t know that I actually do, and that’s the marketing side of social media. In addition to my visual art, is the art of social media strategy and copy writing. No longer does posting a pretty photo on social media get you likes, follows, or more importantly money! The real art of it is in the strategy, community building with a focus and purpose, and then being able to monetize it. On top of my personal Instagram, I run two lifestyle Instagram accounts, and manage social media accounts for 3 other companies, as well as teach other companies, artists, and influencers the true art of successfully using different types of social media to market themselves or their product. We can’t deny the fact that the professional landscape for artists and creatives has changed drastically since Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and the rest of popular social media. The problem that most people have is breaking through the noise and being noticed. In some ways it’s easier than before, but in many it’s harder. We all have access to the internet and capability of posting anything from anywhere, but that doesn’t mean it will be received by any one, let alone the right audience or get your paid. That’s where I come in.
The reason I do all of this is because my dream since a kid was to be self-employed and just to be able to play around in nature. I could have gone into corporate marketing and become a drone, pushing paper, punching a clock, but that wouldn’t have been true to myself. I couldn’t dedicate my life to serving someone else’s dream. I had to serve my own or there just wasn’t a purpose. I travel to take photos and make videos every day to protect my freedom. The harder I work at being a better videographer, or teaching more people how to make money on social media, the more freedom I have to live my life my way. To me there is no fight worth fighting for more. I want to inspire more people to take the reigns of their own life and follow their dreams of becoming their own boss. It’s the most rewarding journey to be able to say you built your life from scratch all on your own.
The big take away that I want people to get from my visual art and my social media coaching is that with the democratization of media and information (via the internet) anything you want is at your fingertips. I graduated from two schools with two degrees, and nothing that I use today to make money was taught to me at school other than my business vocabulary. Literally every skill I have was self-taught from YouTube, blogs, Instructorless, free e-books, and webinars. My degree cost a little over $100,000k, but educating myself on the internet to actually learn how to make money cost only a small fraction of that. In short: All of the resources to become self-employed on social media are out there for those who are determined to succeed.
How can artists connect with other artists?
Facebook groups and local meetups are the best! I chose the artists life because I like being alone, but still need social interactions just like the rest of us. With Instagram and Facebook, I have access to over 2 billion friends at my fingertips, and finding local meetups for other photographers/videographers/Instagrammers is a breeze. We all work similar hours, so finding a happy hour or lunch with your fellow comrades is easier than ever. Now we even have Facebook Live and video chats. Connecting with other likeminded people through social media is the best cure for the lonely artist.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
The majority of my photography and videography can be seen on my Instagram @ben__pryce and website www.blackwavedigital.com. The best way to support me is to follow me on Instagram and join in the conversation! I love learning about other people, what travels they’ve been on, and what inspires them. I love getting questions about social media and helping other people take the leap towards self-employment. The biggest compliment that I can ever get is people referring their friends, family, or business colleagues to me to help them with social media or to shoot photo or video for their company.
- Website: www.blackwavedigital.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: instagram.com/ben__pryce