Posted on March 6, 2023
Today’s episode will be all about finding your passion, taking the next step, and becoming world-renowned in your chosen field. Featuring world-renowned artist Dillon Forte, a master of the art of sacred geometry who continues to research and explore that passion through travel and art. In this episode, Dillon shares his journey of becoming a renowned artist and how he found his passion early on in life. He speaks about his travels around the world, seeking inspiration from different cultures, and how those experiences have influenced his work. Dillon also emphasizes the importance of pursuing one’s passions, taking the next single step, and never giving up on your dreams. He inspires listeners to find their own passions and to stay committed to their goals despite any obstacles or setbacks.
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Becoming World Renowned w/ Dillon Forte
In this episode, our guest is Dillon Forte, a world-renowned artist. He is recognized primarily for his contemporary style of sacred geometry in tattooing. His projects also include fine art, photography, painting, fashion and tech design. He has been featured in various magazines, books, editorials and art exhibitions worldwide. He is a world traveler and a California native. He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in his craft. He is in Wimberley, Texas. Welcome to the show, Dillon.
How is it going? Thank you. I appreciate it.
I’m so excited to talk with you. Someone had mentioned you before. I saw your article in Trevasa. I started checking out your work. I’m like, “This guy is amazing. I got to talk to him.” I’m excited that you are here.
Coming out here is great. I love Wimberley. I have been here for a few years. It was intentional picking this spot. A lot of people are curious as to why. It is great. I have a kid. My choice is the most idealistic small town in the country to raise a child. At this point, career-wise, it is not dependent on where. It is a tactical location. It is directly in the middle of the country. This is a place where it is easy, 45 minutes to an international airport, halfway across the country in every direction.
That was the main impetus of why I chose here, other than more fun reasons, which I found out later. It is the same latitude of Wimberley as the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is a fun one. The longitude is the same as the pyramid of Teotihuacan, which is the largest pyramid in North America. What I do are a sacred geometry style and artistic pursuit. To me, that is fun and interesting. It is two powerful lay lines that align.
I have heard that before and several people find that incredibly powerful. The other thing that I find powerful in this particular place is all the converging and surrounding natural springs and water.
That is why they build with some of those structures. It is hard to say. There are no natural disasters. It has been naturally disaster-feeling. There are no large natural disasters found along those places, which is why the pyramids are still standing in those locations. They are tactically located globally, along with all the energy. Remember Lisa’s special little spot. I stumbled into it by accident. My old assistant at the time was like, “You will like Hill Country.” She was at the shop shooting photos. She was like, “I think you will like Wimberley.”
We are trying to figure out where to go. Sedona and Florida were on the list. My wife likes it warm. She is from London but we are thinking of warm weather throughout the country. It is Arizona, Texas and Florida. We are like, “Which of these three should we move?” We went to all of them. I like Sedona and Texas, more Miami school but it is a city. I wanted to get out of the city. Wimberley is great. I don’t think there is any perfect little spot. That was the impetus of the Tattoo Ranch.
Tell us about your journey before the Tattoo Ranch. You have been an artist since you can remember.
It has been since I was a child. I started drawing and painting as kids do. One of the earliest artistic stories is about drawing little Jeeps as kids do. My grandma at the time would send them to all the car companies, which was cute. I did invent the side airbag at five but that is true. I started drawing it at that age and trying to hone that craft.
I went on to an offshoot of skateboarding and spent my whole adolescent skateboarding. I broke my ankles and was sitting there. It is a business decision. It is bad. There is no passive. It is not a good business model. Skateboarding is dependent on other people and injuries. I was eighteen. I got a tattoo apprenticeship. This was in Berkeley, California, in 2000. I have worked for the past several years every day until now. It seems like an absolute blur at that period. I started, got an apprenticeship and not much changed.
There are two questions about flowing from that story. One, how do your other artistic outlets play into all of this?
What is being built is an absolute culmination of all of those things. Some sculptures create a little walkway through the property. It is an art retreat. It is a culmination of all things. Whether we are doing landscaped trails, building labyrinths, crop circle-esque designs and land, it is doing all of it from interior design to architecture. I’m working on an architecture project out in the desert. There is a lot to keep busy. This project is taking all of the above.
What made you decide to have a retreat? It is different and out in the country.
I’m inside 12 hours a day, sometimes 16 hours a day. I don’t even like being inside. I’m a nature-based person. I love being outside. I want to go on hikes. The traveling I do is various far-out, deep nature places and mountains like Everest. I want to be not inside but the nature of tattooing is your inside. I want to at least be out of the city. I honestly think at this point, from being such an expert on cities growing up there, I feel like it is the least sustainable concept. It is not a great idea. I should stop them from being that big. It is everything tangent.
I enjoy being in nature. The property is going to be a lot more enjoyable as an experience for someone getting tattooed or in general. Someone can fly in, which they are doing already. Instead of having to book a hotel somewhere else and Uber to the appointment and walk in, get tattooed and leave. It is a little more integrated and holistic. People will be able to stay there and land the day before. It reduces the whole nervous system to get into a nice little state and the next day, they get tattooed all day. I tattoo people for 2 to 3 days, sometimes 8 to 9 hours a day. It is a lot more traumatic and intense if you walk in to get a tiny little one.
It’s the experience of being able to come in, get a tattoo like a sleeve over the course of a couple of days and be integrated into the whole aspect of it. We have regenerative farms. We have twenty chickens and we are doing beehives. We are going to get a couple of longhorns. It is enough to be manageable. I have some help. I wanted to be a single source of sustainability homestead.
My original plan was to do this thing in Hawaii a couple of years ago. I was like, “I will do a retreat center in Hawaii,” which is a typical concept, at least you would think but it is much more. I started to realize that the entire concept here initially was homesteads and ranches. That whole concept was the classic American dream, like in the 1800s. It was much more closely aligned with what people are calling a retreat. It is a classic ranch where you are generating food and shelter. It is sustainable.
Having a sustainable source of water, food and crop. You are setting it up in a way that it is regenerative for generations, which is way closer in alignment with what I’m trying to do than some of these different styles of retreats but I don’t see a difference between them. That is what it is. I wanted to create a space that is fully and fiscally sustainable.
On that topic, especially on the topic we are talking about, one of the most interesting innovative ideas we are working on that has not been implemented yet but are working on is the concept of having an anaerobic digester. It takes cow feces and converts them into methane, captures the methane and produces power with it. I’m mining Bitcoin off of that methane. You have poop to power to bitcoin to money. That is alchemy at the finest, futuristic and insane level.
That is one of the concepts we are trying to work on there. It will be sustainable regarding food, shelter, water, finance and energy. That is the hardest one. Power is the most challenging to have sovereignty. That is one of the biggest issues on the earth that we are faced with. It is sovereignty regarding power. Even go try to have solar and have it be not connected to the grid. They were like, “You can have it grid-tied.” You are like, “You get credits but the whole point is to have it be sovereign power generation.” That is the purpose and one of the biggest gates kept scenarios in general.
Are you tied to the grid?
Yes, both of them are grid-tied. We have no power source. I have put in place a whole-house backup generator. It takes six months supposedly to show up. That will only help during power outages. We are in the process of doing solar and batteries at the ranch. I don’t live there. I live on the opposite side of Wimberley. I’m doing both of these simultaneously. We are weatherizing the house, setting the house up to be this way, setting up the ranch to be this way, working on all this stuff and having the farm. They are separate. It makes it a little more challenging. The ranch has enough property that it would be safe to put a house. I like that it can be separate and we can build it separately.
If you want to move, you can stay close.
Having other people involved. My clients are going to come to stay there. Having boundaries and separation of space is nice. If I can, it is nice to have it.
Are your wife and son involved in the retreat?
She is helping. She has been sourcing all the furniture, which is cool. She is doing a little furniture business where she finds antiques. We have been repurposing them. We are redoing them and bringing them up to functional and aesthetic modern. That has been a cool side project. She has been involved with it.
Has she enjoyed the Wimberly experience as much as you have?
She is a lot more involved in the community forum and being around and with the school. I work six days a week. I’m a workaholic. I’m not as good at community outreach. I’m focused on moving it forward slightly. She has been good about that, which is cool and great. She loves it out here. Central Texas was more Jade’s idea. She is from London. It makes sense if you understand English. They see America divided into three places. You have Hollywood and they were like, “It is warm.” The whole rest of it is Texas to them.
It is LA, New York and Texas.
They are like, “New York is London but American London and old Newark.” The whole West Coast is Hollywood to them and the whole rest is Texas, which is accurate. I don’t know why Texas hasn’t kept growing. We should get an island.
Do you know that every year Texas still votes on whether or not to continue to succeed?
I’m a huge fan. It is a great idea.
You feel like every state should do that. Do we still want to play this game?
The challenge is it would probably create too easily divide and conquer mechanisms. That is what a lot of people who are wanting that to happen because it would be easier to dissect and break it apart. That would happen to Europe. The totality of the state should not divide because most of them are weak. Whereas Texas is strong enough to be its own, at least like sovereign in another way, which they have. People are like, “It wouldn’t work. It is a bad idea tactically.” I enjoy the idea of it being its own nation.
The concept of being able to ask questions is such an American thing. Texas is the only state in the nation that is allowed to fly its flag at the same height as the American flag.
You should put it a little higher
I bet some people do like it.
The state capital is a little bit taller than the US Capitol. I love Texas, honestly. I’m going nowhere and I double down. I bought a house when I moved here. Within the year, we bought a ranch in Wimberley. I’m going nowhere. I’m double down. I’m all in. It is the ethos of it. The idea of Texas is such a fantastic one. It seems like the original concept of people moving away from the rest of the country because it started to become too much like England in a lot of ways that I resonate with.
There is a spirit of Texas that is fantastic. I grew up in the Bay Area. There has a Bay attitude about it. I grew up predominantly in Oakland. Everyone loves the Bay for some bizarre reason. Not even the bizarre reason. That entire area of the country is crazy to me. I love Texas. It is great. The concept is fantastic. It wouldn’t only succeed but it would expand. I’m like, “I don’t know why everyone is thinking small.”
Which state would you take first?
A lot of them would be into it. A lot of them would join if it were a nation or the Republic of Texas. You could have little states like Louisiana would probably be. I guarantee you would be down. Oklahoma probably wouldn’t be into it.
Maybe Arizona or New Mexico.
Arizona would be into it. I don’t know about New Mexico but they are in the middle. You could go the approach and go straight from Gulf to San Diego. That would be my suggestion. They would be into it all the way across, minus New Mexico but you would go around. Put a great Texas corridor right through New Mexico.
It is a little tail going through.
Whatever everyone is into, more people will be into it.Whatever everyone is into, more people will be into it. Click To Tweet
It is an interesting concept. There are many different phone calls and emails. Are we doing this? Where is this retreat? Let’s do this. Let’s go back to your art. What do you think makes you passionate about art and putting your permanent art on people’s bodies?
My entire mission statement is regarding sacred geometry. The connotation of sacred is derived from the fact that they used specific mathematical relationships when building sacred architecture, mosques, temples, churches and cathedrals. All of these buildings and pyramids were built using specific mathematical relationships. They all represented the math behind nature. That is the fingerprint of however you want to see it but there is the math behind all aspects of nature. It is repeatable and the opposite of chaos. It is extremely ordered.
That is the most fascinating concept period that exists because what we have is relationships of order in all aspects of biological life. The organic material that exists has a fundamental mathematical structure behind it, meaning it is all ordered, factually. There is order through chaos. I continue to repeat that artistically because it is easier to say it artistically. It is more interesting to say it artistically and there is room for different artists’ interpretations.
The basis is that there are mathematical relationships in nature that are extremely fascinating to lots of people and me. It should be fascinating to everyone. That is the closest thing to an answer to any of the existential questions we have. It is like who, why, where, what, when and how. These questions have plagued humanity since the dawn of time.
The fact that there are mathematical relationships that exist within nature leans towards there being some organizing structure, whether self-simulating or creationist. It is close to those two things. I don’t have a personal preference. I don’t want to get involved in people’s cosmologies, ideologies or theology in general other than there is mathematical evidence for the latter.
It is interesting to me to the point that it is more religious in a classical sense. It is more of a spiritual or pursuit of information or knowledge that I’m passionate about. Regarding aligning your vision, passion and entrepreneurial mind, I align all of them. That is why we are having this conversation. I have aligned my passions.
That is how I achieved any level of success because I’m direct in the way I feel about all these things. I don’t deviate from the path or question. It is not like, “What does my art mean? Why am I doing art?” I don’t do that. To me, this is the most interesting concept that exists. I would like to elaborate on that and continue to pursue the information and knowledge more from a journalist than anything. I’m trying to document information and for me, truth is the most important and interesting topic.
One of my favorite quotes is, “There is no religion higher than truth.” That doesn’t undermine any of them. The pursuit of truth is the most important. Without that, it is a grand illusion, simulation or however you want to think about it but that is it. Whatever you feel is true, look into it and continue to explore whether or not that still stays resonant with you the more you scrutinize it.The pursuit of truth is the most important thing. Without it, everything is just a grand illusion or simulation. Click To Tweet
Scrutinize and look at all the different directions and options, not just self-proving. Where do you go to learn, study and find more inspiration?
I buy a lot of books. I have been buying more books than reading books. There is a Japanese term for it, which I don’t remember but where you stack books on your shelf. My mom was an author. I spent my entire life reading. One book usually has a quotation or reference from other books. You start diving into it and you were like, “Where did this person get their information?” They were like, “They got it from this source material.” You were like, “I will buy that source material.” I try to get first-edition books. That hasn’t been altered or revised. I try to keep turning back. I buy the oldest books I can find of whatever source material it is and try to see if there are any parallels in there. I keep going down the rabbit hole with that.
For your tattooing, do people come to you with specific ideas? Do they say, “This is what I want to portray?” How does that process, on average, look for you?
It is a little bit different from time to time but it is what you laid out. They will be like, “I’m picking up what you are putting down. I like these aspects of your work.” A lot of the questions from me to them lie in where. “First, where do you want?” “I want my sleeve or a chess piece.” The where will dictate some of the shapes to like, “We will do something more round. We will do a repeating pattern that is more reclined.” That will guide us in terms of a directional basis. Mostly it is a collaboration. I have always said, “Tattooing is a team sport.” It sounds cheesy but it is true. It involves two people. It is a small team sport but it is a team, regardless. It is a collaboration.
It is usually, “I like these pieces you have done. I want something similar.” That is the same for all tattooing for the most part. Whether it is a tiger or an anchor, it’s like, “I like this anchor you did. That is why I want you to do one.” Usually, in the era of the internet with tattooing, it’s like, “I saw these tattoos I like.” Whether it is on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter or whatever they are looking at. It is mostly like, “I have seen something
on the internet and I like it. I would like you to do something similar to that.” That is 99% of tattooing.
Do people come to you and say, “I want it to meet this. What do you have in mind for a shape or color?”
I try to pull out the why a little bit more from people because they are into what is happening. They want something that fuels that way. They don’t necessarily know how to articulate that. They will ask like, “I want something that represents balance.” It can be a challenge to pull a symbol of balance. Do you want a yin-yang symbol? There are a lot of ones you can do. No one wants any symbol. I like Sri Yantra for that because it represents balance. You have 5 triangles pointed downward that represent Shakti energy and 4 triangles pointed upward, which represent Shiva energy, which is the masculine and feminine energy balanced. That is a great symbol of balance. That is my favorite symbol. It is an easy pick. There are thousands of symbols. Not that I have an encyclopedia of them in my brain.
I try to feel it out and I see it in my mind. I will look at how you want your knee done. It’s like, “What shape would be cool there?” I was like, “Circle, that works everywhere.” They were like, “What else?” I’m like, “Diamond shape, it works with the shin. It won’t wrap too much.” I have to think about that with body movement. I take this into account. This is a story that happened. I wanted to represent balance. I was like, “Sri Yantra would work. It is a knee. The way the triangles on the edges work. It will fold nicely.” I’m taking into account a lot of things and trying to figure it out. That is how it goes.
It reminds me of when I was in high school, all the girls decided to get a tattoo because they all had turned eighteen. I graduated when I was seventeen so I didn’t get to get one yet. All the girls went. One of the girls got the little frog to keep the toes. It was popular. She got that on her bikini line and nobody thought about where it was specifically.
That will be discreet. You can hide it. Throw a frog on it and go.
The funniest thing is she ended up having to get it removed because the little frog poked out in her bikini. She lived on the lake. She was wearing a bikini all the time. You guys need to think about how that functions. You don’t want a frog leg hanging out.
That could be why you want it. You are like, “It is hilarious.”
“What is the center there?” There are so many things that we are going to get comments on in this conversation. Why do you think that tattooing, tattoos and having tattoos are more acceptable now than it was even several years ago?
Television, Miami InK and LA Ink, that is the biggest impetus. That was the moment that it had all changed. It was taboo and underground. It was acceptable because it was presented to millions of people and people got a glimpse at the inside of it. It was like, “That is a tattoo shop. That is how it works. It is not that scary.”
It is no creepy people.
They got a glimpse at roughly what the inside of a tattoo experience was. That changed everything.
The more people got it, the more you couldn’t require that you cover it up at work.
It was less scary. Before that, it was like, “You want to go into a tattoo shop. Who knows what is going on in there? Nobody knows what is going on in there. This place is dark and spooky.” Not that my vibe shop is but I still I miss that. I started tattooing at the tail end. I have been tattooing for several years. That is new. Pre-‘90s tattooing was probably crazy. I don’t know. I started tattooing in 2005.
It was all military, spikers and sailors.
It is, for better or worse, like gang tattoos. It was tougher and more intimidating prior to television and Instagram. Tattooing is weird now.
What makes that weird? What does that mean?
There are how-to commercials on Instagram and YouTube. They are how to do stuff, which is a terrible idea.
How to tattoo yourself?
That is what happens when you tell people how to do things on the internet.
They go to someone and say, “Fix this.”
It is also dangerous. It is like cosmetics or surfaces but you are an art surgeon. It is peak artistic capability, thrown in with a little bit of topical surgery. It is not something that the uninitiated should be doing just because they saw a YouTube video or an Instagram Reel where it is like, “How to do a line?” You shouldn’t do a line if you had to do a line. You shouldn’t be doing a line at all unless you had an apprenticeship.
I’m a traditionalist in that aspect. You need an apprenticeship. I don’t believe in tattoo schools. It is nonsense. They have always been nonsense. They are trash. It is a horrible idea. I’m also 0% status. Blessed that tradition works. It worked and it was fine. You learn from someone who knows what they are doing and now you know what you’re doing. You don’t need to expand beyond that. That is how I see it.You learn from someone who knows what they are doing, and now you know what you're doing. You don't need to expand beyond that. Click To Tweet
I’m a traditionalist from that perspective. It is a terrible idea but it is changing in lots of ways for the better. Exposure is enhanced. Therefore, the amount of your work gets back to the day that I’m referring to the good old days of tattoos. Someone would only see your portfolio if they walked into this scary tattoo shop, picked up one of the five portfolios and decided, “That one.”
Your reach was none. Your reach was the town or county but like, “There is a guy who tattoos three towns over.” You are not getting much reach back in that time. It worked. The whole world is in a weird place now. TV brought exposure. The internet had exploded it. Since anyone can have a TV channel, it is anything you could imagine you can find. It is for better or worse.
It is more respected as an art form or self-expression. I was telling somebody about when I was a kid, if you wore the wrong shoes, you were called out for being different like if you wore purple pants. I had purple pants. I loved them. They were like, “Purple for pants?” Purple eyes and purple hair and grandmas have purple hair and pink hair. Self-expression is more accepted. It is amazing.
It is hilarious. I have been to the pendulum that has swung the other way. I love being here so much because people are like, “California, huh?” I’m like, “I have seen the other side of the pendulum.” The pendulum swings in a lot of ways. I’m pendulum center. I have done tattoo conventions in London. People have cut their noses off, have horns implanted and missing fingers on purpose. Their whole face is tattooed like a tiger. I have seen that stuff for several years. I’m desensitized but the pendulum swings. There is a land far further than this that I have seen. That is why I’m trying to say, “Self-expression gets a little weird.” Reel it in. It’s fine. You don’t need to have purple eyeballs. You can if you want. I have seen the pendulum swing the whole stand.
There is a guy in Austin. I don’t know if he is still there. I met him years ago. He was known as the Lizard Man because his entire body had scales. He had the horns implanted and split his tongue.
More power to you. You can be a lizard. Do we want everyone to like it? Does everyone need to be that expressive? Do you feel like you are a lizard?
Do you identify as a lizard?
That guy does. I don’t know. Do I condone this behavior on a large scale from a guy who is an expert in body modification and manipulation?
The question is always when you are hopefully 85, do you still think you are going to identify as a lizard or a tiger?
I love that it is permanent. Permanence is everything’s impermanent. I started tattooing because I got all kinds of tattoos. I don’t have them because I was under the premise that getting tattooed was an experience and a realization of the impermanence of reality from a more Buddhist perspective. Honestly, everyone was always like, “Permanent.”Permanence is everything's impermanent. Click To Tweet
The longer you do have tattoos as I have, the same ones that I had when I was sixteen. I’m like, “Fair enough. It does last a lot.” It was adolescent thinking, “Who knows? I didn’t necessarily think I was going to be here still. I didn’t think that far ahead.” I’m still here and I still have tattoos. Yes, they are a relative person.
It is an interesting memory. It is like carrying around that photo of this is what I felt at this time. It is real that I needed to put it on my body.
I love the idea that the dude is going to be a 90-year-old lizard. I feel like you were a lizard. I have no regrets or anything. That is the point. They have semi-removal and semi-permanent. This is the most boring. That takes all of the cool danger factor out of it. My favorite thing about tattooing, in general, regarding what is happening with artificial intelligence or AI on a full segue is that it is replacing a lot of artistic expressions regarding AI. People ask me about that. It is interesting. There is a lot of generative art that is happening. People are like, “What do you think about this?” There is a lot of generative music happening.
AI is doing everyone’s job. I have said and will continue to say, “Tattooing is the fullest expression and highest form of art.” You are carving your art into people and it is consensual. You can’t do anything else. It is not like you are going to tattoo a wolf or tiger, which would be cooler and crazier but it is not consensual and it would be inappropriate.
You don’t know what a tiger identifies as.
If he wants to get a little tattoo and he could somehow verbalize this using some way, I would tattoo him consensually the tiger. People can turn themselves into tigers. That has happened before. Drawing pictures of living people is crazier than drawing pictures on a piece of paper, canvas or wall. If you apply the same logic to anything, it is crazier.
The stakes are higher and art is the highest artistic medium. I have always said that tattooing is undervalued because you can look at a Jackson Pollock painting, not to knock him. He smokes cigarettes, pours some paint on the floor and calls it a day. It is great. It is sick. $200 million for a Jackson Pollock and people will be like, “$2,000 or $200 for a tattoo.” I’m like, “I don’t get it. Tattooing is a much higher level of artistic pursuit than any of them.”
As we are seeing, AI is replacing digital artists. I’m a digital artist too. You have to do tattoos. In this modern era, it is replacing illustrators, painting, music and every single art form. They don’t have a tat-bot 3000 yet. If they do, they will do that at least after. I stand still, not correcting that. I feel like tattooing is the highest artistic medium. Pursuing that as a career, I felt like, “That is the craziest one to do art.”
With the AI thing, it is interesting but whoever wrote the code for the generative art is the artist. That is how I see it personally. I feel like whoever wrote the code that allows the machine learning programs to generate art, the art they generate is not art. That whole process is the artistic process. I believe the artist is the one who wrote the code for that. All the generative art is part of the way for other people to get involved. You are all involved with their artistry. I have never made any of that because I don’t care about being involved in the coder.
Whoever made the code and wrote the art, that is their art. They are making art. That is cool. It is great. It is one of the craziest art forms. That is an impressive art project. That is mind-blowingly impressive as an art project. Hats off to them. I don’t necessarily feel the needs to be involved in their artistic project. I have enough artistic projects. That is where I feel highly about tattooing until they have a tat-bot 3000 some people would get one but I’m good.
It depends on probably the price and the experience.
They could make some surgery-level sensors. They could make a machine to do that.
Robots that perform surgeries.
It would be expensive at first but it would eventually be cheaper. That is how typically that stuff works. It would be way more expensive at first until it got figured out. It would be like you have one on every corner. The human aspect would be valued even higher. They were like, “That was a human-made tattoo, not a cyborg tattoo.”
One of those things was popular at first.
I feel relatively safe that AI isn’t going to replace me too soon.
You have the retreat. It is such a different experience.
They run you through an AI or VR experience. They are hosing you down. You are like, “I’m in a waterside in VR.” People love it. They do it.
You did say that you are in tech design.
I have an app. It is almost done. Our app has been in the works since 2018.
What is the app?
Sacred Geometry app. Geometry is made simply. It is to democratize your ability to do sacred geometry. Sacred geometry for everybody. It is a tool to allow people to make geometry. I like it to be educational to some capacity for children too. They understand which shapes or which and try to align them and see how you can create patterns when they are tiled. We are going to have a tiling mode. We have been working on that.
It is like playing with the geometry block.
That is one of the projects that I’m most excited about that we have been working on for several years.
That is tech and on the other side, you have developed proprietary inks.
I haven’t made any available ink. We are doing a Forte Tattoo Tech, which is a biodegradable tattoo supply collection. We made all the things disposable in tattooing, which is a lot of stuff. It is simply boring stuff, syringe wraps, razors, rinse cups, ink caps and bags. It is not the most exciting product but it is all the stuff you need to tattoo every time to create a station.
You create a lot of waste in tattooing. It is waste that is single-use. It has to be single-use because you are dealing with blood and pathogens. Everything is covered in a tattoo shop. We make sure everything is sterile but it also creates tons of medical waste. Forte Tattoo Tech is biodegradable tattoo-wise. It is a line of biodegradable and compostable products. We ran into a big issue with it. The shelf life is terrible because it biodegrades. The problem with biodegradable products and why it is not being implemented in every field is the shelf life. It worked great and a little less great. We have two tons of biodegradable stuff.The problem with biodegradable products and why it is not being implemented in every field is the shelf life. Click To Tweet
You can compost them on your ranch.
You can compost it. It is not like that is the benefit. That is not a total waste. We need to make it slightly less biodegradable. Biodegradable but with a longer shelf life. I like to go to the end of things and be like, “I tried that. That doesn’t work. How do we improve that to the middle ground to make it work.” It is cool that a lot of these things work for their method. It is just I had to get such an enormous amount of them, tons per item. The reason we didn’t sell them that quickly was we started the product line in February 2020. It was the worse time to start a product line when no one had been buying any products for a few years. They all started to biodegrade. It failed but that happened. Failing forward is a great business thing to know.
Now that you are in Texas and close to Mexico, somebody had this great beautiful idea. I don’t know where it went. I read about it years ago about creating biodegradable products from avocado seeds. We are guacamole alley over here and avocado toast thing. The avocado seeds are tossed. They are strong.
I have heard of some manufacturers using it for sure. It could be an avenue to explore. I have also been trying to look into some more mycelium aging components. They also biodegraded too much. I want to make mycelium mattresses. That was my idea. You could grow mattresses. They would be all squishy and Bidegrade. We have had them for several years. They would be cheap because you could grow them.
It was like things like mattresses and carpets.
I do enjoy the idea of redoing boring stuff that people don’t think about anymore. It is that whole like, “I have invented the Post-its.” You are that guy in the helicopter in that movie. Boring stuff is great as a business.
What is used without thoughts?
There is something beautiful about that. It is expected to perform always. Sometimes you realize, “Why it doesn’t?” Like this whole thing with straws. Everyone knows that biodegradable straws suck. They are the worst, especially paper ones. You can make them. People have used wheat spaghetti. Some of the best results are a piece of spaghetti. It is great but turn that into a product because you can all use spaghetti. I like solutions like that. I enjoy solving problems. It is my mindset. It is fun. That is where all this comes down to. Is there even a problem? I don’t like to fix stuff that is not broken. I do try to do that but you shouldn’t.
You can always improve.
It is good advice. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. I don’t listen to that. I still try to fix it. Next time, I will be on for several years like, “I told you not to fix it.” Sometimes I tried to be like, “I will make my ink cups out of paper.” They melt and you’re like, “It wasn’t that broken.”
We needed a coating on that to make it.
We did. We had to peel the coating and it did work. We did a plant-based product that coats it all. It did work in front of the cups. By doing that, you did have to coat them. It is another additional step. The products do work. We have run to scale the issue. We need to move them faster. We are working on that. It is a funny product line for the market of a small sector of tattooers. I’m more interested in the innovation aspects of that than the maybe selling. It is not profitable to sell it to tattooers. It is like you are selling them a piece of surround rag. You have to sell millions of rolls of it.
It is not going to be your replacement tattooing business model.
I’m trying to move into the innovative space regarding those renewables. Anytime, there is an issue where it is like, “This isn’t going to go away.” With tattooing and thinking about things from the standpoint of permanence, it is interesting and important to think about your actions and how they do the ripples from the little pebble you drop in the water. I think about that. With tattooing, it is nuanced but you get desensitized to that. You are like, “I do one thing and that is going to stay there.” There is instant gratification with tattooing. You get used to your actions being permanent. You are like, “If I draw this, that stays there.”.There is no backward. I don’t think backward at all.
There is no command Z.
I design all my stuff in Photoshop. There is a lot of command Z in the design process but there is none in real life and it is not in real life. You have to move forward. I don’t think backward. I’m like, “That didn’t work. How are we going to improve it forward?”
Do you bring that into your life through the app? That is something that I struggle with. The business owners, in general, and the leaders who see, “That was a mistake. That is fine. Let’s learn from it and move forward,” are the ones who are more likely to continually climb the mountain.
It is like that quote, “If you are living in the past, it is depression. If you are living in the future, it is anxiety. If you are living in the present, it is peace.” I live in anxiety. I live in the future. If you are not doing anything, that is fine. If you are trying to get things done, that is not going to help. Being in the present is not going to do anything. You are like, “I did it.” You hang out. “I’m in anxiety. I’m in the future. I’m drinking coffee.” I live in an anxious state about the future. If you want to create the future, you have to think about the future. You embrace a little bit of anxiety. I don’t live in the past. I don’t live in the depression. I live in the anxiety part. It is not that bad.If you are living in the past, it is depression. If you are living in the future, it is anxiety. If you are living in the present, it is peace. Click To Tweet
One of the quotes that I loved from one of my guests was, “Entrepreneurship is a constant balance between anxiety and boredom.” You get to this point where you are sewing and you got to slow down for a minute. As soon as you stop, you are like, “This isn’t going to work for me.” You got to go back into anxiety. I just met you so I’m going to say what I think about you. I will say it like that instead of diagnosing. There is less fear in the anxiety. The anxiety is always pushing forward but you don’t have a fear of it. That is the difference.
That is if you are growing up skateboarding. If you are about to throw yourself down twenty stairs and you might die, like making razors that biodegrade in several years, there is nothing scary about that. I’m like, “What is it going to do like bio grater? I’m going to invest.”I also spent a lot of time in the coin world. My risk tolerance is much different from normal people’s. I have a big ebb and flow of things. I have very unaverage risk tolerance. I have faced tattoos. I don’t see the world the same. I have flown helicopters to the base of Everest and tattooed them inside the pyramid of Giza.
I’m drawing on people’s faces. Usher wanted me to draw on his chin. It’s like, “Are you scared you are going to draw on this dude’s face who is going to have 100 million people see him?” I’m like, “I’m not. I don’t know.” Risk tolerance is like a fear of failing. I feel like you fail all the time. Guessing you asked backward.
I’m extremely ambitious. Elon had a conversation about that a little bit where it was like, “I don’t even have the time to think about it that way.” What if I already go and try? One of my first tattoos was, “Die trying.” That is covered up because it was cheesy and it was also very un-Yoda. There is no try. There is only do. There is only a try but also, if you don’t succeed, you don’t fail. Try is not important. There is failing and succeeding.
I don’t think any of those things are finite. Success isn’t a finite thing. It is not like a goal. It is not a future time. It is not an item and is soluble. What I’m trying to say is very cliché. It is like, “You are moving forward or backward.” As long as I’m moving slightly forward, that compounds and in time, their progress are noticeable. It is a little forward. It is like reducing mountains into molehills. It’s the opposite of where they say, “Why are you turning the English thing?”
It is like, “You are turning a molehill into a mountain.” I’m like, “Don’t turn a mountain into a molehill. Turn the big thing into a little thing. Turn a big item into a little item. If you don’t eat an entire elephant, who eats an elephant?” I would try it but they are smart and have strong, crazy emotional connections. They have crazy memory.
I bought my son a mountain bike and I never biked much at all. He is young and I have another young son. They decided they were going to go mountain biking. I’m like, “I got to go mountain biking.” I took my street bike because I didn’t want to invest in a mountain bike. If you are going to do things, you do have to invest in the proper equipment.
After a faceplant, I did invest in the proper equipment but I find myself doing all these things they are doing. It has been a while and they are phenomenal. They are doing these crazy jumps. They were not doing trails. Trails are boring. They won’t do it. Everywhere we go is an hour away. We got to do these crazy things and I do it with them. I’m not getting nearly as much air. You see this in all sports like skiing and skateboarding. When my son wrecks, he has this ejector seat thing and he is running away fine. I’m like, “How did you do that?” I find that I dissect every time I fall. I’m like, “Why did I fall? Why did that not land correctly?” I hopefully don’t do it again. Every single time, it is because I second-guessed.
That is where it happens. If you got to send it, it’s hard. That was a skateboarding thing. That is why I did not pick up professional skateboarding. I’m super analytical in that way. I will assess this. The way my mind works is like, “I’m not that way to hook myself.” I don’t do gainers on the backflip. I could hit my run. I think too much. Too much thinking, not enough doing, is my fault too. I don’t achieve more. Regarding the business stuff and the stuff we are talking about, it is a lot of planning and strategy to get to them. You can’t force those things.
With a lot of physical activities, if you know you physically can do it and you can get over the fear, you can hook yourself. That is necessary for the impulse. To start a business and do anything, you have to start it through that act of fearlessness. The stuff I have to do is like bureaucracy. It is nothing like sending in about it with that. It is like, “File this paperwork. I get someone else to do it.” It is action.
There is a bit of sending it in that only because there are a million hurdles you have to know that you can overcome. You are like, “I will figure out how to overcome them.” A lot of people don’t like operating in Travis County because of the paperwork and red tape. There is always going to be something else that is going to come back at me. I will handle it when it comes. You are not afraid of it but I can ask a question or spend the time.
I have a challenge with that. My rebellious spirit of me was like, “Bureaucracy is my absolute seal.” I’m moving forward. You have to figure out and play that part of the game. No matter what, you are going to go for it. That is what it is like to buy this ranch. That was a bit like, “We will see. If it doesn’t work out, I don’t know. We will cross that bridge when we don’t get to it.”
You don’t cross the bridge if you get to it and then like, “I don’t know.” Don’t necessarily overthink. You have got to have a certain level of wiggliness. It is a healthy balance. You got to calculate your risk-to-reward ratio and that is like, “When we succeed? How much better is that? That is great. Let’s do that.” Instead of, “What if it doesn’t work out? Who is going to make it not mean?” Put energy into that and move forward.
My mind works a lot like yours. It goes in a different direction sometimes. You are talking about skateboarding. We are talking about business and mountain biking. I have a friend who broke his ankle while walking upstairs. You can be afraid of a million different things that are never going to happen and not be afraid of the one freak accident that is going to happen.
I broke my ankle skateboarding but it was doing easy stuff that I wasn’t that worried about because when you are afraid, you are also engaged. Your mind is heightened into alertness. You are prepared for something to explore. It is beneficial to get me a little bit concerned. It can be helpful. It is just managing that. It is overthought. You need to figure out what you want to do and what you are trying to accomplish. Break that total picture down into small items that can be categorized and achieved slowly one by one.
There is no magic potion to success. It is simple. It is defining your relationship with success. What does that word mean to you? How are you trying to utilize that? I believe success as a concept is simply one’s ability to close the gap between where they are and what they would like or desire. Your ability to shorten the time interval between those things is how successful I believe you are.
I’m not judging anyone in their thing because if you say, “I want to be a professional basketball player,” that is what is up. What are you doing to achieve those goals? If you could do that, you go tomorrow. I don’t care how but you and that gap were shortened. You are extremely successful not because you are a basketball player but because the gap and the contrast between your desire were immediate. That immediacy is a metric of success but that is my metric. If I would say to myself, “I watch to eject. That would be sick. Go away wherever you want. That would be dope.”
I said that for a couple of years. That is not successful. Success is attaining that instantaneously, in my opinion. It is your interval or ability to take your desires and wrap and compress them. He saw me eject. I’m done instantly. That is a success. That is why he could buy a jet in one second. It is backward. I think of it that way. Your ability to close the gap of desire is how I see success. It doesn’t matter what you want in life.
Do you see yourself as successful?
Yes, but more in the way that people typically perceive it. People say, “You have a car and house.” That is a success. It is true. I don’t think about it that way. Talking about success is more from a pseudo-analytical, psychological perspective or Buddhist/psychology perspective on success as a concept and trying to unravel that for people. When I say that, everyone is going, “I’m unsuccessful because I can’t pop a jet out of thin air.” Some people go, “I’m depressed.” Some people are like, “I’m anxious. I’m going to leave here and work on my app.”
The anxiety says, “Me not being successful gives me a lot of anxiety because I don’t want to be depressed so I would rather be anxious about the future success that I’m going to create.” You have to be an optimist for this to work. You can’t live with a pessimistic attitude for any of this stuff I’m talking about. You are going to spiral downward. Don’t make it about you but generate value.
If you don’t have what you want, where can you generate value? That value will be monetized. If you don’t have a spaceship, you got to make more value. I don’t have a spaceship. I need to make more value so I can have a spaceship. I could have a spaceship if I brought enough value to earth. I would be able to get a spaceship. Getting a spaceship would also bring a lot of value but it is difficult.
I have a different mission. My mission is to bring sacred geometry and the understanding of reality through a perspective of geometry to humanity. My mission is not to have spaceships. That would be cool but that is a whole separate thing. There are many levels to it. What do you want in life? Break it down into small things and do the small things. Don’t worry about how. Do little things. You can achieve anything. People have achieved all kinds of crazy stuff. I like David Goggin’s attitude about it all. I disagree with some things but it’s great. I love him. Everyone should have their mini David Goggins, like the devil or angel on the shoulder. Don’t even have any of the other ones.
What does David Goggin say to you?
He doesn’t even talk to me. I have worked seven days a week. He doesn’t even have to talk. I have applied that to what I do artistically. Whereas some people think, “That means you should go running.” If David Goggins is doing that, don’t start running. You are never going to be on that level. They are a crazy person.
You would have to be actual. It would be a problem if you got on that dude’s level. He is crazy about running. Don’t try to do him. It is like being like, “I’m super inspired by Michael Jordan. I’m going to start playing basketball.” Maybe if you are a child because, by that time, that could be your main inspiration to go get after it.
Apply it to yourself. Figure out what your strong suits are and how you can be that. There already is that person. They exist. It is already them. There is something beautiful in the uniqueness of everyone. Realize that we don’t need another guy. We got him. We don’t need another Michael Jordan. Whatever you want to relate to as you are like, “You don’t need another one but whatever you are is dope.”
That is back to the unique thing back into self-expression. Some of that self-expression stuff is like, “Is that you or are you trying to be different?” It is wise to live with as much authenticity as you can. Be you. It is dope, fantastic. Don’t compare yourself to other people. It is not that practical unless they are dope and you are inspired to be like them. Yes, compare yourself to them if you want.
Study what works for them.
There are so many different motivation styles. Some people like softer motivation, like Abraham Hicks’s style of motivation. There is something wrong with that. Some people enjoy that. There are different kinds of strong motivation. They were like, “We are terrible. Be better.” They were like, “I like that.” I like a little bit mix of the two. I don’t mind it. I noticed a lot of guys resonate with that more. It is like a more militant attitude of motivation. Some people respond well to it. Some people do not. It’s Abraham Hicks’s mindset, “You are perfect. Be here.” They are both true. Figure out which one works for you in terms of a motivational style.
Sometimes you need different things. Sometimes you need your butt kicked and step back.
I’m speaking vaguely towards the totality of possibility. Without a direct of what you are trying to accomplish, it is hard to explain how to accomplish that unless we know what we are trying to achieve. At this point, I keep on a ramble.
The essence of it is going back to what you are saying about, “Make a little bit of hills that you have to climb.”
I was about to be like, “Get a helicopter.”
I was talking to somebody and I was like, “Sometimes in your life, you reach the level of success that you thought was your pinnacle.” You get there and you are at the top of that mountain. You look over and you see another mountain. You go, “To get there, I got to go back down and climb this other mountain.” Sometimes you are the person who figures out if there is a zip line.
There is nothing wrong with being not inherently virtuous. One of the biggest fallacies that we have been told as a society is that struggle is inherently virtuous. “I am struggling so I am gaining virtue.” You are not inherently gaining through things being difficult. You can use that to strengthen. You can polish a diamond. You can become more resilient due to that struggle if you are aware of that. Don’t put yourself into terrible situations because it will make you stronger. It can but it is not inherently going to.
One of the issues is that. Simply know that you can. By cheat, you can make it easy for yourself. Just because it is easy doesn’t mean it is not virtuous. It can flow effortlessly. Most of nature operates relatively effortlessly. It depends but in homeostasis, with your surroundings, things should flow. Getting into a flow state is helpful.
Once you are in aligning all of your things, everything should start to build momentum. It should roll along. You don’t have to punch the mountain to get through. If you could have a laser, burrow out a hole and walk through it. That is better. I go back to the helicopter. It is amazing to walk the whole thing if you want to do that. If you also could go there immediately, do that.
That presents itself or it makes you happy.
Are we trying to get to the top or are we trying to have a journey? Some people are like, “It is not the destination. It is the journey.” It depends. Sometimes you are flying somewhere to go there. If that was next door, that would be great. You didn’t have to do the journey because you were trying to go there. If you are going to the grocery store, is it the journey or are you trying to get something at the grocery store?
Your wife lives in London. Do you enjoy that flight every time?
She lives here. If you had a concord that was two hours, that would be better. It is not virtuous to get on a tugboat. You could be like, “I took the tugboat.” I watched 1923. It is a tugboat from Africa to America. That didn’t work out well. Sorry for the spoiler. The point is you could ride a canoe. You could also swim. David Goggins is on my shoulder and he was like, “You didn’t swim across the Atlantic. You are weak. Weakness incarnate.” It is true. You would be far stronger. I would die if I tried to swim across the Atlantic. It is also not practical and virtuous. It would be cool.
Are we going to see an article?
I’m not trying to be a mega-athlete. That is not my mission statement. That is important to know what you are trying to do.
People have business missions. If you don’t have a personal mission, you don’t even know what business to align yourself with.
You will be inspired by all kinds of stuff. You are going to hear me and be like, “I want to do a tattoo business.” I’m like, “Good luck. I’m doing that.” You are like, “You are competing with me. I’m motivated. That is a horrible idea. That is like trying to go on a race against that.” Go for it. Yes, you can. It is like, “Why do your own thing? Stay in your life. Invent something.” There are all kinds of stuff. We will come up with something if we make it the thing. There are infinite opportunities and options. Do something out of line to you. Figure out what mission statement and why?
Back to the tattooing. Why do you want this tattoo? What is your why? Once you know the why, you were like, “It is because I have a passion.” You understand your why remotely. How are we going to portray the why? That will start to when. You have to break things down into their simplest forms. It is not that crazy to do. You have to have the desire or the impetus to do it at all. That breaks down to the motivation to do it.
A lot of people struggle with the motivation to do it but without a strong why, you struggle with that. With a strong why, I don’t think anyone struggles with that. If they have a strong enough why, you get up, go and do it. It is my day off but am I going to not wake up and come in? I have a specific mission statement and a mission to myself, doing a little talk is going to be marginally better for moving slightly forward. I will do that. I will be like, “No, I’m not going to do that.” I’m not that person but it is okay to be that person. I’m trying to help you all not be that person.
Everyone who is reading, I’m trying to make you the most optimal version of yourself. I feel like I owe that to myself. I don’t know if there is a weirdness but I feel like, “Did you try 100% or 90%?” Did you show up and be like, “Not.” I’m afraid of that in a lot of ways. I’m afraid of not trying. If you try and you can be like, “No, I try to get to where I wanted,” you know what you want in life. Write that down. Whether it’s material, spiritual or metaphorical., whatever you are trying to achieve, you have to start with that. You have to know what you are trying to do.
How are you trying to feel if you don’t know anything to do?
That is a huge one for bringing them in. One of the tools for how to achieve anything is feeling that it has already occurred. For instance, Jet, how does it feel to you to have that?
Start with feeling free. Joyous because feel like it would be fun. If people are on there, give him the laughter. If you are like, “I’m struggling with feeling joy because I’m battling with X, Y and Z.” What is a time in your life that you have felt joy? You can probably pull out a Yoda of joy.
I have been through this process with people in work situations. I have never been in this place but I have seen others get into this place where they have a hard time remembering and finding those feelings of joy and success because they are stuck in thinking about what is not there. You can’t move into the feeling if you can’t.
If that is you and you experience that, do not try the Dillon Forte anxiety method of success. Focus on being in the presence, reduce all of those feelings, push those all the way and experience nowness which is void of any of those, to clear it out. Do not try to be like, “I will drink 4 gallons of coffee and experience all the anxiety because I’m going to punch right through it. I am naturally joyous and optimistic. I will have fun with that. I will make that a game.”
I don’t experience anxiety like that. I experience excitement, which is anxiety for optimists. Anxiety is excitement for the future successes that you will behold. Depression is sorrow for the joyous experiences that did not unfold backward. That is backward. Besides time travel, there is nothing you can do about that without going on some quantum physics tangent which is unnecessary for the moment.
We will focus on if you have the challenge of moving to an experience of a current joyous state. Focusing on the present is key. Meditation practice is key. That is necessary. I don’t meditate personally. Anxiety, coffee and future productivity are where I live. I also sit there and draw on people for twelve hours a day and do one at a time, which is a meditation in action.
If you were having a hard time experiencing joy or any of the emotional spaces that exist in the positive perspective, none is great, which is forced the state of meditation, presence and nowness. It is key for reducing the like. Life is a suffering perspective. Be in the presence of nowness and try to move through it and move breath through anywhere. That is an ailment physically.
Training people how to deal with pain is something that I do on a daily with tattooing. There is a shamanistic perspective of that where I have to bring people through their state of suffering every single day, hold them in a state of suffering for twelve hours and have them move through different areas with breath work. I’m comfortable with training from a physical, internal, emotional state or hypothetical business perspective. There are many things. Without a specific, it is hard to diagnose earth vaguely, which I think I am doing.
One of the things that I love about podcasts or reading is that you can hear something a million times but when you need it, you hear it differently. I feel like the people who need to hear those things will hear that.
There is a couple of different styles of motivation. You will hear what you need to hear. It’s a wide spectrum. I hope there is some value. I am a genuine, authentic person. This is all like how I feel about things. I don’t know how to communicate in any other way. I’m not trying to manipulate, create ways or even hold myself accountable. I’m in a place where I don’t need to do anything other than that. It is great. It is much more fun. I’m glad.
There have been a lot of benefits. You and I could talk for hours. Hopefully, we will talk again and I will get you back on here when the retreat is fully operating.
Maybe even something specific that someone wants to know other than an intro into my work, which is Sacred Geometry and how, why and what.
Thank you so much for coming and talking with us.
No worries. I appreciate it.
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