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Business of HYPE: Joshua Vides

Business of HYPE is a weekly series brought to you by HYPEBEAST Radio and hosted by jeffstaple. It’s a show about creatives, brand-builders, entrepreneurs and the realities behind the dreams they’ve built. On the Season 7 finale, Jeff sits down with artist, Joshua Vides.

Vides is well known for his monochromatic stencil work that blurs the line of dimension, which can be seen on everything from sneakers and purses, to experiential art installations, chapels and more. The California native originally started in the streetwear scene however, when in 2009, he started his own brand, CLSC, while also working for cultural stalwart The Hundreds. At his brand’s peak, Vides raked in over a million dollar in sales, found a permanent home in Zumiez and attracted a number of investors. Despite its momentum however, Josh left in April 2017 to consult — a career he found to be taxing and challenging. At 28, married with two children, Josh tells us he was broke, aimless and exhausted of his options. 

“I was just so lost in the sauce. I had watched Abstract—the Tinker Hatfield episode. I’m like, ‘Where’s all the other sketches? Where’s all the shit that no one’s ever seen?’ And I was like wait… everything starts out a sketch. Literally the next morning I ran to my wife like here’s the concept. Making everything look like the beginning, taking everything to the origin — the flat sketch shoe. Then went outside, found a pair of Reeboks in my garage, spray-painted them white, and it was a whole thing.”

Josh began building his portfolio on Instagram, drawing on Nike Air Force 1s, Modernica chairs, parking lots, BE@RBRICKS, and his most signature piece, traffic cones. In February 2018, while living paycheck to paycheck, he took a gamble by renting a storefront space for a popup exhibit, using $8,000 USD of his $10,000 USD savings. The two-day installation was a success and led to his next opportunity of working at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game. Soon after, business began to boom as his client list grew to include the MLB, T-Mobile, Converse, Fendi, Herschel and more.

Within a few years, Josh has transformed from streetwear owner to a multimedia artist. He attributes his early work as “school” for his current success, from having an agency and brand, to his early days of being a firefighter. For him, it’s about knowing how to “understand different situations of one project.” Constantly innovating his craft, Josh is well aware of the ephemeral nature of the industry and says he’s always trying to “better himself.”

This episode features references to the following:

2:20 – Joshua Vides, artist
4:55 – CLSC
5:20 – Ben & Bobby Hundreds
5:37 – The Hundreds
5:46 – Mixed Media Productions
7:12 – Working at The Hundreds
7:35 – Managing CLSC
10:40 – Quit CLSC
11:28 – Zumiez
13:00 – Magic Tradeshow
13:19 – Seventh Letter
18:10 – Moving to agency
23:04 – Beginning of sketches
23:40 – Frank Cooke
24:31 – Nike Air Force 1
26:00 – Tinker Hatfield
28:01 – Modernica chair
28:19 – BE@RBRICK
28:28 – Painting outside
36:22 – Creating a pop-up
38:00 – NBA All Star Weekend
38:57 – Game 7
48:00 – The Hollywood Roosevelt
48:18 – T-Mobile
53:00 – MLB
60:55 – Turning down a gig
62:50 – Converse
67:14 – Complexcon
69:51 – Advice
71:28 – Fendi
73:09 – Matte Black Coffee