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Sticker Graffiti Artist El Toro Stuck On Philly

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Graffiti Artist El Toro is a popular name in Philly. If you’re traveling in the city of Philadelphia, you might notice the large amount of street art around every corner, particularly stickers. Since the early 2000’s, Philly graffiti artist Frost215 has been creating El Toro and posting him everywhere. He is arguably one of the first to pioneer stickering in the City of Brotherly Love along with Bob Will Reign. His presence has been solidified and now creates more than just stickers, including his very own pin that launched earlier this year.

The mastermind behind El Toro tells us about how graffiti has evolved and a few surprises coming up very soon.

Graffiti Artist El Toro

 

How did it all begin?


I went to Art Institute of Philadelphia in 2001 for graphic design. I was already toying around with graffiti in high school, but coming from a small town in North Jersey I wasn’t exposed to the talent and dedication Philly writers had. I was excited to see so much creativity and style oozing from the walls. For 2 years I worked on my craft, studied Philly writers, admired artists from Europe and drew almost every day. I knew I couldn’t compete with these established writers in Philly. I knew I had to come up with something unique of my own. In 2003, I read
Shepard Fairey’s manifesto about Phenomology and loved everything it stood for. I remember I was in class, I was doodling like usual, that’s where I ended up drawing the very first EL TORO head. As soon as I drew him, I thought of the name and I was hooked, I wanted to draw more of him.

Describe your creative process.

Draw, draw and draw some more. Walt Stanchfield said

“We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.”

What inspires you?

Everything inspires me. From a phrase I heard walking down the street, the music I listen to, podcasts, cartoons, comics, and pop culture. I try to take a lil piece of everything and then combine it to make it my own.

Graffiti Artist El Toro


What are your goals?

My goal is to continue to make art for a living with EL TORO like my heroes: Jeremy Fish, Bigfoot, Flying Fortress and D Face. They have all made iconic characters that helped them be successful artists and now they just create beautiful works of art for other people to enjoy. I would like to create with that freedom and not deal with any financial responsibilities hanging over me.

How has the street art scene changed since you first started?

The street art scene has grown beyond what I could’ve ever imagined. With the internet and content being so accessible to the masses, the information on how to do things and how to achieve them has become so much easier. I think I bridge the gap of old and new school. When I was starting out, you really had to dig for street art pics, especially sticker art, in different Graffiti Forum pages around the web.  There wasn’t much social media back then. I think my first page was a fotolog.com. It was mostly international users, so I got exposed to artists in Europe, Australia and South America in my early years. I wanted to see that same culture, passion and art work in the streets of Philadelphia.

What are some obstacles that you’ve come across?

There was this one time where a rogue police officer tried to bait me to engage with him online and off. I knew right away to get a lawyer and make sure my civil rights were not being broken while he was taunting me and seizing my works. My lawyer did a great job in protecting me and it quickly got dropped. I even sold some work to my lawyer and his colleagues.  Plus, ended up in the front page of Arts & Entertainment section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. I think I still got a stockpile of those somewhere in my mom’s basement.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I mentioned several above. Those guys are pros and doing their thing. My other favorite artists are my fellow crew members who constantly inspire, motivate and when needed tell the truth about your work. You can check them on Instagram: Bob Will Reign, UnderWaterPirates, slobnoxious, deelove, Downtimer, Revilo.33, etorious33, phillyticky, werms two, Old Broads, Question Josh

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future?

I’d love to collaborate with Nickelodean, Cartoon Network or Adult Swim. I’ve always wanted to see an EL TORO cartoon!

Graffiti Artist El Toro

What are some of your favorite materials to use?

My favorite piece of tool right now is my red pencil. It’s a Prismacolor Col-Erase 20045 Carmine Red. I sketch and doodle so much with these I buy them by the dozens.

What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is you have to me be self motivated. No one else is going to pick up that pencil, write that email, pursue that client or send that file. I don’t have a team working for me, it’s all me. If I don’t like where I’m at it’s simply because I didn’t push hard enough to where I want to be.

What motivates you to continue creating art after so many years?

Creating art to me is like an itch I NEED to scratch. If I haven’t drawn or doodle in a while I become a very grumpy person. I also like hearing the reactions of younger artists and how I motivate them to create and pursue art in their own fashion. That responsibility of teaching the younger generation has been instilled in me when I started with street art. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded with several writers that took time to explain what caps I should be using, what type of sticker I need and just explaining history of the craft. I like to repay that back and will answer anything a young artist may need help with.

Why did you move from Philly to LA?

Philly will be forever be my chosen home, but me and my wife had to leave it to get better work and experience for our careers. We miss Philly a ton and try to go back whenever we can. It has this gravitational pull on us.

Graffiti Artist El Toro

What are some of your proudest achievements?

One of my proudest achievements was celebrating my 10 years doing EL TORO at Ps & Qs. Before opening the art show, I held a small talk to showcase 10 years worth of work in front of about 90 – 100 people. Seeing the sea of faces looking at me and following my story was very touching for me. Especially seeing my mom, wife, in-laws and friends in the crowd. I remember taking a moment, breathing slowly and really taking it in.

I hear you recently launched an El Toro pin. Are there any other products in the works?

I got something awesome lined up for Black Friday this year that’s gonna be black and gold. Can’t say anything more than that for now.

How has your life changed because of your art?

I took an interest in art since I was around 7 and it has been dictating my life ever since. Art is like my north star, I knew if I kept following it, I couldn’t go the wrong way. It helped me get into college, establish a good paying career, and it even played a part in meeting my wife.

What is something you would like to tell your fans?

  1. Keep creating art that you enjoy. If it makes you smile or laugh, keep pursuing that.
  2. Be Excellent to Each Other and Party On Dudes!

 

Graffiti Artist El Toro

Jie writes about influencers and startups in various industries. She is a designer turned techie, and when she is not writing, you can find her in her workshop working on her next big project.

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Salesforce Predicts Shoppers Moving To Mobile Shopping

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Analytics have confirmed the presence of shoppers to be on their own mobile smartphones. Jeff Barnett, CEO of Salesforce Commerce Cloud, shares his team’s vision on what’s to come for commerce in 2017. Shoppers are spotted to be taking their shopping online, strictly on mobile devices. Reports of a rate of 47% of orders from smartphones on U.S. sites grew in a span of a year alone, with costs of $2.08 worth of average spending on across U.S. E-commerce sites. In total, 4% of total traffic growth are summit to U.S. digital commerce sites. The data is looking at an uprise on mobile shopping, but in a downgrade on traditional brick and mortar retail. 

Discussion on stores making the ultimate decision on either changing their platform or to simply die off are being requested by retailers demanding flexibility in stores. The statics for mobile shopping means a decrease in retail profits. Customers have their attention on their mobile devices, neglecting traditional shopping. This forces retailers to upgrade and expand their business to newer areas.

Traditional brick and mortar retailers should shift themselves to mobile in order for their business to stay afloat. Selling online will keep the business staying competitive and consumer needs met. A majority of customers are already online, all retailers need to do is meet with them there. Distribution is made to be an easier process, with the supply being from one location. Already predicting the end of ATMs, shoppers are beginning to ditch cash with cards. With cards, customers are able to get more purchases to be conducted with extreme convenience. This is a win for both parties.

About 15% of U.S. malls will be disposed or will be converted into non-rental spaces within the next 10 years. Within 15 to 20 years, Howard Davidowitz, a retail consultant expects a near estimate of half of America’s shopping malls to fail. More and more retailers are moving their business online to secure their awareness.

“Three trends are upon us, AI, mobile, and chat, put them together, add water and shake, and what do you get, a long abated killer app for mobile commerce”. Rama Ramakrishnan, the Chief Data Scientist says. 2017 will be the year when AI chatbots for commas will soar and shift into mainstream across all stages of the shopping experience. “This time next year, we’ll look back and wonder how we ever shopped without them”.

With the promise in accelerated delivery, the mobile shopping experience is only improving. Prediction that our own voices will be the next user interface for shopping in 2017. Through services like Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Siri, consumers can do more than web searches, but can also purchase products and services online as well. Customer centricity is becoming everyone’s main task on the use of mobile shopping. Without predicting what consumers want, through online history and searches customers can get exactly what they want in their own time of need.

The new shopping method seems to be in favor of the consumers, with new features created to cater shoppers. The evolution of shopping has changed drastically due to technology advancements, their efficiency has allowed many opportunities to open. Although the benefits are in reach for most, traditional retailers much adapt well in order to catch up with the competition. Once the adjustment is complete, finding customers and companies will be much easier.

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Getting Recognition Builds Productivity

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Getting recognition is one of the top motivators and drivers among employees in the workplace. According to studies, 78% of employees work harder if they are better recognized. More recognition for a job well done translates to better productivity and happy employees. This sounds very simple, but is actually a bit more complicated to implement. This is because employees today don’t want just compensation as a form of getting recognition. They also want a close-knit office culture, volunteer opportunities, praises, rewards and genuine recognition for their efforts. Here’s how to do it:

Reward the Right Things

Rewarding employees for every achievement is counterproductive. Instead of singing their praises for everything they do well, reward the right things such as:

  • Actions that align with the company’s strategies and goals. Recognize behavior that aligns with the company’s overall mission. If you don’t have a mission statement, now is the time to define it.
  • Big wins and small wins should also be celebrated. Big projects usually have higher risks and setbacks. To keep your team from being frustrated, celebrate the small ones as well.
  • Being a team player is essential to the survival of your organization. As such this behavior is important because employees who work well together do not let their egos into the organization. Employees like this know how to put the team in front of their own personal interests.

Understand Why It Matters

According to a study by BambooHR, 82% of employees feel that they do not get recognition for their work and are considering leaving the company. Recognition seems like a small thing and not understanding why it is needed could hurt an organization’s profitability. Think about it, a few simple words of encouragement or gratitude can save your company thousands of dollars in recruitment and training new talent. Recognition helps revenue. When an employee gets the recognition they deserve they are happy and happy employees are more productive. Companies who recognize their employees have 2.5 times more revenue compared to companies that do not reward their employees. This means that high engagement translates to a third higher profitability.

Culture of Recognition

Create a culture of recognition within your organization. For example, you can ring a bell and call everybody’s attention whenever somebody does a good job. This way everybody knows whenever the bell is rung that something amazing has happened. This action also recognizes the achievement of an employee. Soon your office will associate bell rings for getting recognition and will aspire to have the bell rung in their honor.

Tailor Fit Your Recognition

Teams within organizations can have their own culture. For example, this team loves bowling or comic books. Aside from the usual phrases and accolades typically bestowed on them, go a bit further by tailoring recognition for their internal culture like going on a celebratory bowling game after a job well done or treating them to a couple of comic books. These small actions do not only show recognition but it shows that you respect the individuality of your members as a team.

Link Recognition with Performance

The key is to promote good behavior through recognition. In the long run, the goal is to achieve better attitude and improved performance. Therefore managers should know how to tie recognition, company objectives and individual performance. Connecting behavior with specific behavior helps to drive better performance. For example, your goal as a company is to implement zero accidents in the workplace. Be sure to reward employees for avoiding accidents or coming up with a new system to improve safety. To truly drive behavior and reinforce performance, recognition from superiors should be more than just a few nice words. Superiors, management, team leaders and even the CEO should connect saying thank you (gratitude) with behavior (the purpose). Influencing behavior can boost performance and productivity while boosting morale.

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How To Connect With Employees As A CEO

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Thirty years ago, a CEO’s focus was on customers and profit. Nowadays we know that CEOs have a bigger impact. A good CEO knows that a company is more than just their customers and profits. A good connection with employees is also important to keep productivity and motivation up. CEOs need to connect with employees on a regular basis not only to inspire but also to know what is going on at the company’s most basic level. Here are ways a CEO can connect with his employees.

Social Media

Many CEOs use social media to reach out to their clients and customers in an effort to humanize their company. Why not use the same social media to connect with employees too? Sending a congratulatory tweet to a team or following an employee on Facebook can be very flattering to employees.

To some of them, the boss is on the top floor only accessible to a select few VIPs. Being called to the CEOs office is very rare except maybe if they did something wrong. Social media brings everybody closer together because they are used by all kinds of people. Connect with employees on social media to make yourself more reachable, friendly and more human.

Take Mark Zuckerberg for example. Facebook’s CEO is very accessible to all people on his social media. He shares pictures of his kids and daily activities of their family life. This makes Mr. Zuckerberg seem more relatable, not only to employees but to many people as well.

Family Day

Family day is not only a great way for families to get together on company time (and expense), it is also a good time for the boss to connect with employees. Being called by your boss by your first name can be very gratifying for employees because the CEO remembers you. This simple act of remembering first names can be very inspiring and motivating to employees.

Employees also like to see their boss in casual clothing. To them it makes them look friendly and approachable. You can be surprised how many more employees approach their CEOs when they are seen wearing casual clothing. The friendly setting of family day is also a good way for CEOs and their employees to bond and get to know each other outside the workplace.

One-on-One

Having a one-on-one with the CEO can be very intimidating. What does he want with you anyway?

This is not necessarily true. A good way to get to know employees and make them feel important is to schedule a short one on one. It does not necessarily have to be about work. It can be about getting to know each other or catching up. This has to do with people wanting to feel that they are important. A CEO’s day is full of meeting with important people and spending time with ordinary employees will make them feel special. It is an easy motivational tool that does not cost anything but time

Open Door Policy

An open door policy makes CEOs more accessible to ordinary employees. They understand that a CEO’s time is important but an open door policy also makes them feel welcome. This is one of the reasons why many CEOs prefer to have meetings in a conference room rather than their private offices. This is to ensure that ordinary employees can walk in and talk to them if needed.

The door does not have to be literally open. Just make sure they understand that they can drop in anytime or arrange for an appointment to talk with you.

Share Meetings With Employees

Employees like to know what’s going on in the company. It makes them feel involved and valuable. One of the best ways to make them feel that their contribution is important is to record your meetings and share it with them. Sharing is a good idea because it’s a communication vehicle, it shows employees how decisions are made and it encourages precise thinking, communication that reduces politicking.

Leadership style differs from one CEO to the next. CEOs wear different hats all the time. The key is to remember that employees are the lifeblood of a company and finding ways to keep them motivated is one of the duties of a good CEO.

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