We had the good fortune of connecting with Axel Geittmann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Axel, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk at it’s core is learning to navigate the unknown. The best way to mitigate risk is to build experience. And the best way to build experience is to take risks. Learning your customer’s risk limits is very important when you are approaching them with new concepts and products. I like to look at risk from a consumer point of view and work backwards to breakdown the pain points of a purchase. If the pain points are manageable, the risk is manageable and worth considering. Personally, if I’m not dealing with risk daily in business, it means I’m not getting enough opportunities. The very definition of entrepreneurial is “to take financial risks, in the hope of profit,” so viewing risk as an opportunity, is core to building anything new in my opinion.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Mixing art and capitalism keeps me very busy- though it feels contradictory sometimes. It’s something as an artist, you need to accept to move forward in your career. I Focus 99.9% of my time on Superfluent. Our sales and marketing agency. For me, having the opportunity to approach my business from a painter’s perspective allows me to see the business in different layers. I view this as an advantage, as flat, straight lines and modern business don’t mix. The biggest challenge with art is putting something out there which is so vulnerable and personal to you. It builds character like nothing else I’ve ever done. This is especially true of mural work. It’s public in nature and often times, you are being spectated as you paint live. This is where you truly learn to trust your process. Typically, you are the only one who knows how your piece will eventually finish out. Business is similar in that sometimes when you are working towards long-view goals, the process isn’t always seen or felt until the results are achieved. People love to judge your work halfway through. My advice is to stay the course if you know it’s right, regardless of other’s reactions. My artwork has always been an outlet for me to channel the darkest times in my life into something imaginative and engaging. When people view my work, I hope they get inspired to use artwork as a release and a way to build confidence in themselves, as I have.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The city has grown so much since I moved here in 2008 and to very mixed opinions on whether it’s been overall positive or negative. I would recommend to everyone who visits the city to spend time getting to know the food, cultural spots and businesses which “New Denver” was built upon: Art: Visit the Latino Cultural arts center to learn about the Latinx history in the city and influence on art. The MCA is a must for drinks on the roof… And also the art. Botanical gardens at Chatfield for frontier vibes and cool sculptures Black book gallery for contemporary pop art. Five points for the mural art is amazing. Just don’t pay culture vultures for a “graffiti tour.” Artists don’t benefit from them. Food: Nab tamales and all sorts of rad food to go from La Popular on Lawrence street. Queen of Sheba Ethiopian restaurant for Yebeg Wott. Crema for the best coffee in the city. Sushi Den is 100% the hit for fresh fish. Brother’s bar for a late night JCB. City Grille- ignore everything but the burgers. Best in town. Fight me if you disagree. Shopping: Berkeley Supply is the only place you should ever shop for jeans if you are a man. Vices got that sneaker heat. Emage for all things skateboarding and footwear. Wheatridge cyclery for two wheel stuff.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Nobody builds what they have all by themselves. It is so important to recognize the people who have given you opportunities and who support your vision. I want to thank anyone who has ever worked for one of my organizations for letting us learn from your experience and knowledge. We benefit from our partnership together and appreciate everything you bring to this community. The true measurement of a business is the people who build it. Bottom line.