“I paint to know I’m alive and to know that I’m here.” -Kelly “Risk” Graval                                       (Photo: Shoji Nozawa) 

This is an “aha” moment.  

2008 was hands down, one of the darkest years of my life.  Our band had abruptly split after 8 years, and it was depressing for me transitioning into working a full-time 9-5 job as a two-way radio salesman.  Tearing my ACL and meniscus in my right knee that year didn’t help much either.    

Later, my band manager hit me up and presented an opportunity to invest in an Americana style clothing line that was backed by a couple of All-Star MLB players.  The founder of the company took his former clothing line (Third Rail) to $20M.  So my two friends and I invested. 

The result?  We lost $103K fast.  I later found out other investing members lost way more.  There were physical threats, legal threats, just an ugly time for all of us. 

The clothing line never made it to launch.

I personally blew all of my money, depleted my Roth IRA account, and ended up owing a lot of money to creditors, my mom, and a couple of friends (now ex-friends).

I would take the next few years paying back every penny to each party that I owed; it was definitely an arduous journey but looking back, I’m so grateful it happened, because for one, I truly learned that when there’s a will, there’s a way. 

I was 28 when this all went down and I had maybe $4K in my name.  It seemed impossible to buy in at a $100K investment at the time, but we raised the money in just one month.  With unparalleled drive and tenacity, I know that anything is possible.

Secondly,  I first-hand experienced what money can do to people.  They turn.  I no longer have a relationship with my former manager and he became a ghost and went into hiding.  Further, I lost a really good friend in the process as well and it was sobering to see true colors unraveling before my eyes. 

But this process also solidified some key relationships that I hold very valuable until this very day.  One of those guys, is the founder of the clothing line that I invested in back in 2008. 

He’s my podcast guest today, and he’s been a class act since day 1.

As traumatic as it was going through that painful venture, I always had an inkling that I’d get to work with him again in the future.  And though it’s been 9 long years, it’s a pretty sweet reality.

Now, this is no ordinary man.  He happens to be one of the most legendary graffiti artist this generation has ever seen.

With a career spanning over 35 years, he’s traveled around the world, showcasing his artwork at the Art Basel in Miami, the famous MOCA Museum in LA, to painting in churches in Italy.  

He’s starred in a recent documentary called Saving Banksy, and have collaborated with prolific icons such as Michael Jackson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith, and Kid Rock, just to name a small few.  

In today’s episode, Kelly Graval aka “RISK,” talks about not listening to anybody and simply, keep on keepin’ on!

Here are the top 5 quotes from Kelly’s podcast interview:

  1. “My paintings are a chronological symbol of time.”
  2. “I paint to know I’m alive and to know that I’m here.”
  3. “Good Year’s slogan is, “a company that will never know completion.”  I never want to know completion, I just want to keep going.” 
  4. “I start a certain way and I go a different direction.  I call it organized chaos.  I have an agenda, but I go from A to D, to E, to F, to get to B.  That is my greatest strength as an artist, to adapt.”
  5. “If you stick to the journey of doing what you love, it’ll all work out.”

Additional Resources:

Kelly “RISK” Graval’s website

Kelly’s Instagram | Twitter

Watch Saving Banksy

Cary’s Instagram account

Buy Cary’s “Own Your Self” Book

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