Greg Davis is an award winning filmmaker and a photographer that is represented by the National Geographic Image Collection. He has worked his way from local festivals to international exhibitions and his fine art prints continue to be sought after and hang in private and institutional collections worldwide.
We talk about how Greg made a significant life change from a decade long career in technology to one of self assessment and exploration and traveled around the world, camera in hand. We cover how to make the move from the corporate world to following your passion to becoming a successful artist that has sold 7-figures worth of fine art prints.
Greg’s award winning work has been exhibited at prestigious galleries around the country and he has also been published in print internationally in the U.S., Great Britain, Papua New Guinea and Mexico.
If you can do something that you’re passionate about, but also have a secure nut so you’re not worried about living and your survival’s being taken care of. Then you have some gestation period between success or failure and success, you know, so I’ve truly believed you’ve got to keep hitting the ball.
All of that experience is something that I love because I learned how to communicate and connect. And it was just a beautiful experience, you know? So. Yeah, I mean, I failed, but it was, it was beautiful.
All right. I got Neil here on the establishing your empire podcast. Thanks so much for coming by the house and doing this.
Thank you for having me. I’m. I want to just say, I apologize for all the scheduling issues, trying to get this going. It’s been it’s been a time when I’ve been making some transitions and, and I appreciate your.
course, you know, the thing about a podcast, it’s always a want to have not a need to have. So I totally understand. And it actually happens. Yeah. It’s not the first time know it will be less. So luckily I get to do these at my home office, so I don’t have to like go someplace or schedule something. So it’s not, not too difficult to set up, but why don’t we start off with the seemingly easy question, but not always.
It’s just tell us a little bit about yourself.
Who are you, Neil? Yeah. So grew up in Minnesota. And my parents you know, came from India. So I have an Indian background and basically lived a pretty nice childhood. My grandparents raised me, my parents were both entrepreneurs and were very much into work.
So I had a childhood. And I got really amazing wisdom for my grandparents. My grandparents were into aryuveda and all these amazing things. And my dad was kind of more of an entertainer salesperson type vibe got into janitorial or janitorial products and stuff. But mostly he was a fun person to be around and he taught me how to dance.
And I used to dance like Michael Jackson as a business, as a child. So I had a very interesting childhood. I was like one of the only Indian kids in my, in my town. So I felt somewhat special and different, but also had a pretty normal childhood for the most part. I had some traumas for sure. Broke my hips and my legs and all sorts of things, probably due to some dancing and also just, you know, parenting in the way that they were parented, you know, which is a common theme in most people’s stories.
Which leads me to some of the work I do. But yeah, grew up in Minnesota loved tennis and table tennis and racquet sports
that actually, yeah. Yeah, for
sure. But yeah, overall just had a pretty cool life there. Certain things definitely like, you know, are my roots in Minnesota still, but overall, now, Texas man.
And how long have you been here in Austin? I’ve been here
eight years. Oh yeah. Nice. Since 2008. So I’ve been here for a little bit as well and seeing the growth and the change. Austin has been both positive and negative. I’ve enjoyed seeing the city grow and I’d rather be in a growing city than a dying city, but there’s also some.
You know, the life changes out of the city. Right. So why don’t you tell us a little bit more real quick and we can go through kind of how you got there, but tell us, like, when, when you talk about your businesses, you are now, what’s kind of the main thing that you’re doing. Cause it seems like there’s a lot
Yeah. So the main thing would be cacao that’s that’s the thing that I’m most passionate. And it was also a big part of my healing journey is using various plant medicine and then noticing how cacao this chocolate bean can, can make someone so much happier and also take them out of their, their head with.
You know, I used to drink coffee and teas and all these things that would put me very stimulated and this was really amazing. And so I asked myself, you know, this is my passion, what can I do about it? And I wanted to focus on creating more ceremonial cacao on this planet. 95% of the cacao in this world is hybridized.
And, and it’s kind of like a sacred thing that I believe can have a lot of change and help a lot of people. Needs to be preserved. So what’s the difference between
cacao and chocolate?
So chocolate is like an after thought of what the original thing is, which is cacao. And a lot of times as a Dutch process of alkalizing and making cacao into chocolate.
So it’s it’s kind of like taking sugar cane and making it into some form of sugar. But it’s not the original thing as such and most of the chocolate you find is not the original the actual genetics of chocolate. So,
and like, so people that are sitting at the cows probably extremely small compared to like what, where it should be like on those journey with cacao, like what stage or level do you think you’re at or want to get to at, or wherever you want to
Right. So, I mean, I feel like I’m at a stage where I can taste and feel and know a lot about what I’m consuming. It’s kinda like a Somia in wine. When you consume something enough and various types, you get a knowledge about it. And I feel like I have a pretty solid knowledge about it. I’d love to still learn more.
And then also I’ve been meeting connections through the cacao world. And there’s people who specialize in keeping the sacred bean and my dream and my goal. And my next investment is only focused on standardizing that process and making sure that people start labeling that, making sure the ceremonial beans are rectified, notified, and know people know that they’re consuming.
It’s a lot of times, you know, you get this fair trade and it’s, it’s nothing like that. It’s just. Something
and because it was just my lack of knowledge. Like some, when you say seminar, ceremonial, excuse me. Like what’s it actually mean? Like is that is actually actually what we do in a ceremony or is it something
It’s all of the it’s a ceremony is the actual genetics. So there’s three types of genetics beans that are well-known Trinitarios, Creole, and Fronterra. So these types of things. Are the ceremonial beans, the original beans that were found in 7,500 years ago, potentially in the rainforest potentially either Ecuador, Peru, it’s still, no one really knows, you know proof says it’s found first their equity versus his boundaries there.
But I used to work for the rainforest partnership and I learned a lot about some of the details on the history and a lot of the actual science behind it. So ceremony is conducted definitely with intention. So. It’s not like you’re making your morning cup of Joe. But you can do that with ceremony, like a cow and you you’re basically setting your intention.
You’re doing some form of energy release, so it could be breath work. It could be movement, it could be dance. It could be even journaling for that matter, but various traditions have different ways of activating the medic. And you literally are almost, you know, praying and into the cup and drinking it.
And then going through some form of catharsis, like a cathartic release, where you’re able to feel incense and emotion that hasn’t been seen and are held and you’re able to express it and fully move through it. And how
is that based upon the actual, what you’re drinking and then and how much is your for less
It’s, it’s there. I mean, you can’t drink a cow and go to sleep. You know, it’s going to do something to you and just that. And it has all these amazing bliss molecules. There’s actual chemicals in. A medicine that activates releases oxytocin. So the first time you fall in love that energy is in the body.
And if you’re aware of it, you’re going to feel it. Yeah. And you know, so for
me, that’s super interesting. Cause I think we always have emotions tied to a lot for things. Foods want them drinks, coffee, all this. And I think a lot of people have some positive and negative emotions to coffee. I wasn’t a big coffee drinker.
I was, I’m more of a, I like a lot. So like. Which is still, you know, a higher stimulant caffeine, but we did our honeymoon in Africa, on a safari and, you know, they serve your coffee and it’s like this fantastic coffee outside your door, right. When you wake up. And so I don’t, I’ve been drinking coffee more now.
Cause I think I just, you know, have this positive emotions towards it, but I still only like the cold brew because I just don’t. I think it’s too acidic. I think in my mind so I think a lot of us are looking for that stimulate and what I, what I’ve found that if I, you know, coffee, a lot of times isn’t enough.
I have to actually be out and move around because I sit in front of a computer all day. So how can somebody that just a normal, like, you know, office worker or whatever. This is something in the morning type of thing.
What do you recommend? Yeah, so coffee and cacao are kind of like, then they’re like the opposites of each other.
They both have similar ingredients. Both of them have theobromine, but the amount of theobromine in cacao is like the amount of caffeine in coffee. You, so it’s like complete opposite in that sense. There’s still coffee, caffeine. And. But it’s kind of the amount where it, instead of energetically bringing you a lot here, it brings you a lot here.
It’s, it’s literally theobromine is a hard opener. That’s what it’s made to do. So it’s definitely something anyone can consume. And I think it’s better for work for me. I feel like being in a happier place when I’m working feels better. And if you look at my organization, everyone seems to be more joyful.
But just like anything, moderation is very important. So I. Even cacao fasts, and one cup of coffee requires 32 glasses of water to balance your internal pH. So just like anything, like if you’re on a honeymoon and you’re drinking really good wine from France, you know, that’s going to be amazing. And our body has certain limitations, right.
So if we’re not actually healthy, it has some form of. Anything can be not so good for us. Right. I feel that way about it. Mostly. Yeah. I mean, I think
balance is not just in food and drinks. It’s just about everything. Why don’t you? Well, let’s back up, but I love that because it’s just something, I have very little knowledge of it, but I’m always interested in, in you know, new things and trying to.
You know, work in front of the computer. Like I said, it’s not, it’s not everyday I can get out and about, and I am a very energetic type of a person to always looking for new ways to do that. But let’s talk about kind of your journey a little bit. So, so you were, you did a lot of dancing as a kid. Like what, what, what, tell me go any way anywhere you want to go in the path?
Yeah, sure. So you know, in Minnesota I was dancing. I had a lot of fun. Expressing myself, but then there was the trauma part. So that’s kind of like the work even cacao helps with is is that, so, you know, I went to college in Wisconsin and in Florida, as well as England, I went to three different colleges and I studied hospitality and the reason I got into hospitality is my father was in pharmaceuticals.
And he used to travel a lot and I used to go visit with him and these awesome hotels. And I just loved the feeling of people being taken care of and just this amazing people, love food. And I love food. I’m a foodie myself. And it was like learning that, that hospitality feeling of, of creating a space where people feel welcome and at home.
So that’s the path I went on. And, and then I was working at a hotel. I was 21 years old. I was a director of catering for 300. And I had gained so much weight from just the Western lifestyle. And that’s when I went back into what my grandparents taught me, the, you know, the way my grandma would procure and garden, and my grandpa would go to like four or five different stores and markets to get the right foods and the right vegetables.
It was that I learned that sensitivity. And, and in that sensitivity, I. Implementing aryuveda and implementing the doses and balance and went down that path. So a cacao and all those things came later on in life, but it was first healing, the body and healing the mind and healing the soul and getting out of the toxic lifestyle that I was living.
So, and then how
I actually, like, you know, I’m sure 24 years old, 20, 25, how did you actually move to that next step? Right. You’re working in a job, you know, that’s unhealthy, but like some of those. It’s sometimes it’s really hard for people
to move out of that. Totally. It was, it was addicting. I was getting paid very well.
I was in a partnership with a very beautiful human and we were connected from college and we were on the marriage path and everything. And my parents came up to me one morning and told me we have an amazing opportunity. My parents have a janitorial and sanitation supply company and a company in India.
One of the largest companies in. Approached us to do a joint venture. So my parents were like, we need you to leave your job and we’re moving to India. And so my, my partner and I both moved to India and we started working and doing this joint venture. The joint venture took a long time and a lot of money.
And in that process, I took my American express card and I started. Importing care team. My mom was flying into New York city before she to drive in India and getting care team treatments done. So it basically takes your, your fuzzy frizzy hair and it makes it flat and beautiful for a period of four to six months.
So I, I contacted my mom’s salon and I started, I became the first, the only importer of care team in India. So that’s, that was one of the things I did for three years. And my mom is still doing that. So that was, that was like going to India and immersing myself in the culture. It became really easy to just start living healthily and having support.
For someone who’s
never been to India. Just a quick side question, like where what’s your favorite places where to go?
What do you love about India? India is like, I feel like I’m such a culturally fruitful place where people just are comfortable being with each other. I love India. And I love the food and just the very, the, the, just the variants that are there.
You know, you go to north India, south India, it’s so different everywhere in even the way they consume, even the way they believe in terms of spirituality. So different. My favorite place is called gold. And go is like a peninsula. And it’s one of the most beautiful places. If you asked me it’s been owned by the Portuguese a lot and no one really owns Goa.
It goes between India and various governments. And it’s just one of those very sovereign places where people go to vacation and people go from all over the world. Kind of like Bali. I don’t know if you’ve been to Bali or I haven’t.
Yeah, but obviously
know about Bali, but you know, the BGS and the John Lennon and all those guys used to go in and create palaces there.
And there’s beautiful places all over and it’s amazing. It’s like scooter life, you, you drive a scooter around. Eat fresh food and it’s really good.
That sounds amazing. So you’re importing and doing all this, what happens next? W why, why did you stop doing it? I
guess, stopped. So, you know, it was part of my own growth, you know, like as an Indian son, only one Indian son, Belief that I had to take care of my family and I had to create something for them in order for their lives to move forward.
And it was all these things that I had to work through in order to start fulfilling my own dreams and my own passions and carotene. Wasn’t my passion. So I decided to go back to the U S and rebuild my life again. And, and I had different thoughts on what I wanted to do with that business. I also became very aware of health and just the way.
The world worked in certain ways of, of just toxins and things. And I truly believe that keratin wasn’t good for humans, you know, personally. So I didn’t want to put my energy into it anymore, you know? And so I came back and I hustled and, and rebuilt myself. And yeah, it was cool. So what was the next thing that you
did that was successful or
anything that, yeah, so I started another business.
It was called outstanding dining. It was kind of like a group on for restaurants, family owned restaurant. And local charities. So charities that I believed in and, and so I would tie them together and it was basically like an app and I got, I think 75 local, Minnesota restaurants signed up and we were doing that for a bit.
And then, yeah, it wasn’t, it wasn’t something that really took off, but
w w well, one of the questions I like to ask about, like, starting something like that is there’s always so many want to be entrepreneurs. And they always want to start something. And you know, I think one of the traits of entrepreneurship is maybe just allowing, not hearing all the no’s before you start or whatever it is, but like any tips or tricks, I’ve just actually getting started with that
Yeah. I mean, If you can do something that you’re passionate about, but also have a secure, not say you’re not worried about living, you know, your survival’s being taken care of. Then you have some gestation period between success or failure and success, you know, so I truly believe you got to keep hitting that.
You know, like the only way you’re going to be able to hit that ball with confidence and authority is, is by not doing that first. You know? So I, I just, all of that experience is something that I love because I learned how to communicate and connect and it was just a beautiful experience, you know? So yeah, I mean, I failed, but it was, it was beautiful.
and did you have like a side hustle that you were watching perhaps,
or. It’s still in the hospitality industry. I was a general manager for a hotel and arrested. Even in between those years, I was a chef at a restaurant. I also was a bartender. I ran a, a local that’s actually not local it’s based in Denver, but it was a pop-up bartending service.
So I was a manager of that. I did all these things, you know, just to keep the doors open and keep moving. You know,
it’s so funny. It’s very civil me. I’m always doing multiple things, but chef real quick. What’s your favorite? Like seasoning, like if you have a go-to one that you just kind of always have to have.
Yeah. So it’s not a have to have, but I’d really love truffle. Okay. Yeah. I can go for, you know, making anything truffle, like, you know, it has its own grounding feel to it and it’s nice. Yeah. Yeah. And
that, that took off where now a lot of things aren’t actual truffle,
but truffle it’s true.
Yeah. Ma I think mine would have to be lemon pepper is, seems so basic.
It can take some very boring dishes and at least give some life to it at least a little bit. And if you don’t have lemon pepper, then you know, obviously lemons and pepper work actually even better, but just a little bit more effort to put in there. So what was one of the things that maybe worked or didn’t work that’s of note with the with, I forget what the business was that we were doing.
Yeah. That the hot, that, where you had the multiple
areas, what did, what worked and didn’t work? Yeah. Yeah, just getting into the heart of like, getting to know people and getting to know what they needed and being able to communicate from the heart space, that was like the best experience. And also recognizing like my dream of wanting to own a restaurant needed it.
It’s still there, but I knew that there was time between when I was going to start it and you know, all of that, just like learning. Absorb wisdom, you know, and, and see the hard work people put into their business and then try to be there for them in the most integral way possible. So, yeah, I mean, that was, that was, it was a loss in the sense, like, I couldn’t fulfill all their dreams, but I got to at least experience, you know, a lot of what it takes to be a restaurant owner.
So what kind of restaurant would you want? Yeah, I’ve got an, I’ve got a really good idea. It’s a farm to table. Are you Vedic restaurant? So like, I love Casa and I’m a huge fan of Casa. But I would love to make something like Casa, but more plant like flavor. And I’m more of the curries and the, and the, in the long take, like things that take a long time to make like the long taken curries and the boss monkeys, rice, and the and things, making something like that, where it happens serves only once a day.
But food is being created all day, you know, and that you can taste that flavor in that work it’s been created. So I think some of
that was great because one just like tactically, like something can show up and get their food pretty quickly. Right. Because it’s, it’s ready to go and you can make it in mass.
Right. As opposed to. Having everything being very specific. And then you could also tell really great stories around your ingredients because it’s in season or you got at the certain farm or whatever. I could see that doing really well. Also with that. Is this something that you could do pop-ups with, you can start that way, right.
And to test some stuff out,
you know, Casa allows me to cook in their restaurant and I’ve done it a few times where I’ve had a Curry nights and things. And I
give a little quick background on Casa. Cause there’s a lot of people I actually have there’s all over the world. So sometimes they
won’t. So let me tell you a little bit about Casa, Casa de.
Is a macrobiotic restaurant, but it’s also like a spiritual center. It’s a space, a community space where they have facilities all over my business. Third eye meditation lounge is inside, along with another other businesses. And it’s a beautiful nonprofit been around for 30 years. Serving similar food for 30 years and it’s all a hundred percent organic.
They try to do as local as possible. And it literally feels like integrity. Just walking into the space. It’s like this beautiful, very tropical feeling that you are.
I feel like you’re in a different country, but you walk in and it’s like downtown Austin, which I’m sure 30 years ago was not even downtown at all.
Right on the way from downtown to Zilker park or something. But. Let’s see, actually, that’s take a side note because there’s so many different areas. I do want to talk about meditation because I think. Something that’s very helpful, helpful for a lot of people, but a lot of people don’t know who or where to start.
And we can talk about it in any direction you want to go. I do think that people would get some value on like how to start meditating and where to,
yeah. I’ll just talk about a few things about meditation that I know that’s based on my experience. You know, I believe we all, I believe that the. The body keeps the score and the issues are in the tissues and our nervous system and how we feel in our body is really important on how much you can meditate.
So if you don’t feel good in your body, it’s going to be more difficult for you to manage. It’s gonna be more difficult to calm the nervous system down and to process certain things within the body. So, I mean, for me, I started out and I went to Vipassana and I did the 10 day silent meditation retreat, which helped me face a lot of.
Has helped me face a lot of my trauma and, and allow the feelings that I wouldn’t allow myself to feel that come up. And that was very helpful from there. I learned all sorts of techniques and ways to meditate and, and also heal my body. Cause I think it’s a simultaneous thing. You, you, you can meditate, you know, forever.
But then you can also integrate some of that stuff. So it’s kind of like taking. I re a backpack when you need a suitcase. And if you, if you don’t heal the body, it’s going to feel like you’re always on a shorter journey than you could be on. Essentially. Does that make sense? It does.
And I’ll take it another side note.
Cause as though it was fun. So you’re like the third pipe, probably fourth or fifth, actually they have done these, you know, these long-term silent retreats, right? Maybe walk us through a little bit of that a little bit more. Cause I think it’s so interesting. Something that I haven’t done, but it’s
something that I’m very interest.
Yeah. So I went to the DAMA, Siri, Kaufman, Texas, it’s this organization is beautiful. They have these centers around the world and it’s, donation-based they take care of you, housing, food, you know, everything you need. And it’s just this little room that you get and it’s so beautiful. This. So my experience was I walked into this room.
I have my suitcase, and there’s nothing really that you can bring into this other than like clothes and that’s it. No supplements, just you. And it was really cool. So I walk in this room. I’m in here, got a schedule. And it’s basically 10 hours or so of meditation or learning your there’s some, some classwork.
There’s a, there’s a, a man who started his foundation who’s passed and he’s got videos that you listen to every night. The cool thing about it is if you’re, if you’re with what, what has happened. Every question you have gets answered in those videos each night, which is interesting. This guy obviously put this program together with a lot of intention and you do have questions.
I feel like I had questions and you can’t really speak to anybody about it. So this, this video at night, it was really helpful, but it’s basically breakfast at six in the morning. You get a lunch, a small lunch, and then a small dinner, and then you’re basically. One hour meditations is happening every, every hour.
And then you, you’re kind of like just in a spot where you don’t move for an hour. Each time the meditation happens. And the first three days you’re concentrating only on the air that’s coming out of your nose. And then it goes deeper. So there’s different practices that you’re learning, but really you’re learning body awareness.
You’re learning sensations, and you’re also learning to come up and feel the blocks because there will be blocks that come up when you’re not dealing with anything in the world, other than yourself. You will start to feel some of the things that are potentially within you. And do you
go in there with like a goal and, you
know, I, you know, I, I did
like a business idea or this or that, or relationship
health, or I think after the first one, you could probably do more of that.
Maybe if you do come in with the goal, that goal might not be apparent. If you face something else within your soul’s journey. You know, so I don’t want to say, you know, I know,
right? Yeah. Because you’ve been through it and back to just the normal meditation, I think a lot of people have troubles quieting their brain.
And obviously it’s very easy to reach for your phone or TV or, or whatever it is or a drink, or you can go on a large list there. What’s some just basic tips. I think for someone who. You know, they, they hear that 10 day retreat and that that’s way too much, but maybe they’re starting to feel like they need to start doing something.
What’s a great way to just,
yeah, totally. There’s some really cool techniques that you can do prior to meditation. So I say getting all the energy that stagnant or anything that’s within the body, getting that up, moving, shaking a tap. That’s really good. And then there’s also these little devices you can get there’s meditation devices, you can actually use they can do light therapy.
There’s something called a NuCalm, which puts Gabba on your PCIX. Right. Right here, it’s an acupuncture pressure point and it literally helps you shut down the brain. And then there’s followed by that there’s actual sounds that connect with the GABA and helped you get into a meditative state. So I actually love that.
I use that on a lot of my clients. And that’s just great for anybody you do that for an hour or half an hour, even it’s like four or five, six hours of additional sleep that your body receives from that transmission. So it’s
interesting that you say the tabbing cause I, what I do use in this, I guess you could be in the meditative area, but when I get nervous, I count my breasts and tap my fingers.
And I’ll do a three and three out just to kind of reset myself. And what’s great is you could do it without anybody knowing it’s, especially before you know, you’re giving a big speech or something. It’s a great way to just quit thinking about all the, what ifs and all these nervousness that are popping up and just focus on breathing.
And I think the tapping helps with that. It was Tony Robbins that I heard that did that. I don’t remember where it was from, but that’s what was very helpful. That’s very basic because he could just do it on the side. And you’ve kind of talked about, and I know we were going to jump around the journey, but you’ve talked about clients.
So when, when you say that
what’s that mean project, me and my partner, and a few other healers, it’s called a rooted integration project, a rooted integration project.com. It’s basically a four week program where we help reset the nervous system, get the gut health, the brain health, the heart health, and creating basically more, more coherence.
So we use heart math. We use a Tre, which is tremor release exercises. A lot of times trauma is stuck in the psoas and we help release just basic trauma in the body. And then we teach various meditative techniques, clearing technique. And we also have a shaman who helps with some ceremony work. So plant medicine potentially can be used, but we meet people where they’re at.
And most importantly is for people to help develop a secure attachment to them. So they understand, you know, what they’re bringing to the world and understand the separateness and the connectedness in between.
What’s kind of a, either a normal client or an ideal
client for you guys. Yeah. So someone who potentially, you know, has trauma or has found awareness with the trauma, doesn’t know how to actually heal or integrate someone who’s taken plant medicine who needs some support.
Someone who’s lost a family member, anybody who’s needing emotional connectedness, also inner child healing. So we, we do regression work. We do a lot of emotional work, so people are having hard time accessing their emotions. We help them do that. Yeah.
So it’s kind of, you know, I guess a different way of kind of a psychologist with a little bit of you know, but also with the body, it sounds like too, kind of the
merging of all the bodies, mind, body spirit.
So all of it.
Yeah. I’ll I’ll yeah, that’s a great way to put it. And how’d you even get into that stuff, obviously, you’ve you kind of have this interesting path and you were getting more connected to yourself. And then a follow up question with that is how did you make that into a business? Cause that’s something that’s super interesting.
I think a lot of people start getting involved in these unique areas that might not be so mainstream, but then they just kind of keep it to themselves or just
do with their friends. I studied tantra, I learned seven levels of a lineage and I just started teaching. I had a clients about 10 years ago.
I started. Just implementing all the things I learned after two years of celibacy, after going through my own progress of the program, I learned from this couple who’ve been teaching for 40 plus years. They were 70 plus years old and they had all this energy and vitality and I was. Sign me up, you know, so that was my first teaching.
I become certified in somatics and Reiki and all sorts of things. But Tanisha was for me, one of the most important things that I wanted to bring to the Western world in an appropriate integral way. So I started teaching the COVID. And I did this a hundred day celibacy course about seven or eight years ago here in Austin.
And it was a huge success. I think we, we made like 50 grand, you know, and it was awesome. It was like, wow, this, this actually is great. And, and to this day, a lot of these students are people very much involved in my life and I’ve seen so much progress from it. I believe you have to root down to right.
And tantra is one of the greatest tools to root down, to rise up, to get strong in your core and your mulabandha and in the lower parts. And so it was tantra that taught me a lot of these foundational work. And from there, I just studied everything I could possibly study. And I put together a program based on what I thought worked best.
And it’s always improving. I’m always taking more courses and learning more that I can implement with this project.
So what about the haters that sit there and say that. You making money off of this stuff. Do you have any, any flack in that
area? Of course, money and I think is very powerful. And you know, if you’ve read rich dad, poor dad, you know, you’ll understand just the basic concepts and power around money and.
If you value something and, and you want to do something about it, money has to be exchanged. And I think that’s important. So I
see money as fuel, right? And because you have to have it, and let’s say in your field, if you want to reach five people and stuff like that, that’s fine. You don’t have to, you don’t have to charge for it.
But if you want to reach 5,000 or 5 million, you’re going to have to have some fuel
a hundred percent, a hundred percent. If I don’t feel comfortable with the work I’m doing, if I don’t feel. In that exchange. I don’t want to be there. And it’s it’s energy for me to be able to share that space. So I value it.
It’s not cheap. Our program is $4,000 per month and I don’t think that’s a small investment. It’s a mortgage for some people. So, you know, nice mortgage.
Yeah. But you know, it’s also investment in yourself is what in a lot of people that want it want to get to the next level. To me selling on value is different than selling.
Like, you know, I’m going to give you these four attributes to whatever you’re saying. Hey, what if I can. Really some blockage of you. So you could invest in some place or starting a company, or
not only that is preventative medicine, right? So it’s genetic work that we do that help prevent things that are in your genetic line.
So we do actual gene work. It’s crazy. Like you can prevent a lot of things that your parents went through. If you get awareness, And that’s, that’s all it is. And that you can’t pay. If you can’t go to the Western, you can’t go to a doctor and you can’t even go to a psychologist to find that information it’s deep work.
I say, you know, parents of alcoholic or something is that, and that’s kinda what you’re saying is,
and fix something like that. Not even fix it first, we figured out the root of how it started. That’s how trauma works. It’s it’s, it’s something that happened too fast, too quick, too soon. You didn’t have any way of, of processing or.
Finding the ground from there. So you’re still holding something that’s nervous in the body. That’s, that’s how trauma works, really. So it could be that they’re traumatized from something within their family line that caused the alcoholic gene to turn on. So we then find that and access it and process and heal.
was it. Are there any traumatic trauma there that you would like to share that, that you went through that got you on this
I mean, I went through a lot of things with my own father and my mother that, you know, definitely taught me a lot about how to even recognize trauma. I didn’t even know I was traumatized for so long and that’s a lot of people’s story.
Sometimes people think that this happy go lucky lifestyle in life. And trauma, what happens is it when it comes up you get to see some of the parts and the areas in which these patterns are stored and you get to heal, not just that aspect, but your, your family’s reason for carrying it too. So it’s really beautiful.
The circle that happens. Wait, sorry, what was the question again? There was
some traumatic stuff that you .
So when I was a child, I walked into a party with my parents and very nice lush. Beautiful home. And, and I don’t know exactly what it was, but there was an energy there and this, this person was unbuttoning my coat and fondling me right in front of my father.
And for a long time, that was an unprocessed trauma that caused me to not first of all, trust men, my father, and we had a huge gremlin between us for a long time, which got cause a lot of abandoned us and all sorts of things. But I’m at a point where I recognize. His story and all the things that created that incident, you know, and no longer causing blame and shame and all the things around that.
Well thank you for sharing that’s I mean, that’s that stuff can, you know and I’m very happy also on the flip side of it, that you’ve been able to recognize it, which is a big step and then, and deal with it to move through it because you don’t want that weight
to carry around forever. Trauma you carry people’s pain.
That’s not yours. You know, so it’s like I was carrying not just my feelings and emotions, but my father’s and his emotion and reaction was also traumatic. So you get to learn these things. And
because he probably felt very, very belittled as well or worthless or whatever it would be. It’s probably more than Muslim.
It was his inner child that was present at that moment to which you get to learn some of these. Through something called completion process, it’s a form of hypnosis that I also have trained in. So yeah. W w
why don’t you give us a little bit more on that? I suppose also there’s so many different areas
and completion process is a tool designed by teal Swan.
And what it is is it’s allowing, let’s say a traumatic incident that happened in your childhood. You there’s a whole set and setting that you create in order to have your adults. Comfort your inner child during that space. So if you have had something in a feeling or emotion, or even an incident that you feel still unsafe around, there’s a, there’s a way to bring your adult self to comfort your inner child.
And that’s what the process really is. It takes about two hours. Oh, wow. Yeah.
And you know, one thing I wanted to get to as well with a lot of these sayings is let’s say that somebody who doesn’t have a lot of money doesn’t live in Austin, Texas, But has some of these, you know, this trauma or traumatic experiences that they do want to begin to work through.
You know what, what’s a good place to start.
we recommend first thing is read the book. It didn’t start with you. That book actually comes with a bunch of worksheets that I utilize for my clients as well. It’s great. It helps you start to uncover and then process. Just learning how to sense your feelings is a great way to start moving emotions that are stuck in the body.
So there’s tools start doing that, and that will bring you to the next thing, which could be yoga or whatever it is that helps start moving the energy or tapping or emotional, you know Tre you know, things like that. So you can find a Tre practitioner in every state in the world, basically. And then what’s,
what’s, you know, what’s five years out for you.
Like, what are you, what
are you looking forward to doing? Totally I hope to have. Created really amazing connections with cacao and potentially owning a farm myself or creating more sustainability for farmers traveling and, and really sharing the medicine that is cacao. I think that’s probably the focus for the next few years.
I’m also potentially working with a franchise advisor. To make third eyes something that we can bring to other cities and to bring to other communities. And that’s also goal. And our do you guys have
plans for just selling like the rock a cow? We do it. I feel like it’s do that now, right? Yeah. Yeah.
And is that more in like a powdered state in a hard, slow?
Well, what we do is we take a cow paste, which is everything that comes from the actual being other than the, than the fruit like the. So the relish or whatever you want to call it. And we, and they grind it up into a paste, so that has all the fat in it.
And when you transport that it’ll melt. Right? So we do focus on making that and we ship it cold a lot of times. But we take that paste and we, we cold crumble it into a powder so people can consume it easier. And that’s one of our flagship products is the third act of cowlick, elixir. And people just add that to their hot water and use one of those little latte mixers.
And you’ve got your morning drink. That’s a
lot of fun. And then. Take a kind of a look back like, all right. So you’ve done a lot of interesting things a bit all over the world. It sounds like. What kind of advice would you give all the way back to like, you know, 16 year old self?
Yeah. Yeah, it would be probably to read certain books, you know, and get more info, get more knowledge around certain things that I feel like I’m playing catch up on now, you know?
So yeah, I mean, it would be to also have, don’t forget to have fun. Yeah. And remember your roots, remember how important it is that that culture brought to you? You know, there was a time and a place where I felt like my culture, wasn’t something I could be proud of and that’s completely shifted as I’ve dived deeper into it.
what about any, so you talked about, you know, we just talked about what you would recommend yourself, but in any regrets or along this path?
Yeah, definitely. Not like regrets, but just. Be slower, you know, just take more time, find, find meditation quicker, you know? I think those are the things, you know I feel like I had a beautiful life, but it happened too quickly and I wish I could have just slowed down a little bit.
I feel like that’s something. And so it would say when they’re older, so it’s great that, you know, maybe we didn’t recognize that when we were 16, but you know, the younger than better to recognize slow down. And I feel like that as well. One thing that I, it was a quote I heard or something. I do firmly believe it, in order to slow down time, you have to create your new experiences because otherwise, if you’re doing the same thing every day, your brain kind of gets on autopilot.
And it’s very
forgettable. Right? I believe that in some aspect, I feel like consistency is good. But then if you can just make 1% shift within consistency. So you’re still consistent, still in the masculine, but then you’re finding creative ways to integrate that consistent thing that you’re doing. So you’re getting better at it or you’re getting optimizing it or whatever it is, you know, so, yeah.
like, and so we do like, I, you know, to have our food at certain times and having shelter had a lot of different things that need to be consistent. Yeah. What about like, I’m sure you get with a ton of these like common myths that you hear in cringe. It could be meditation. It could be in the other areas that you do, but anything that you just want to talk about that like, just kind of, you hear and you kind of
want to talk about, yeah.
So, you know, in Austin it’s really popular now, the hot bats or the hot the sauna and then the cold baths, you know, and, you know, I really feel like putting yourself in a position to be hot and cold. Can be really good for the nerve reset the nervous system sometimes, but doing that constantly doesn’t allow for gestation to happen.
So I really believe integration is being able to go from dissonance to resonance and finding consistency and being resonant. And I feel like right now in our spiritual community, in various plant medicine communities, it’s too much of the medicine. It’s too much of the. The, the party without the, the rest and the meditation and the, and the parts that require integration.
So I know it’s cool to take mushrooms and all these other things, but you know what we’re doing at third eyes, creating classes and spaces where people can integrate, you know, what they’ve learned from their journey and to really slow down, to speed up so that, you know, they have more focus and clarity.
They feel more fulfilled in their life. And I think that’s really important.
So let’s talk more about plant medicine. And I have very little knowledge in this area as in personal out knowledge, but I’m very interested in the area, right. So I’m actually just take it wherever you like it. You know what, what’s a very common questions that people have asked you, or what do you guys start with?
Like w w w
wherever we want to take it. So so in terms of health, just basically, I believe that when we’re healing, we have a lot of symptoms and when we heal too quickly, So when our body is, is doing something internally, that’s moving something too quickly. Energetically our physical body may not be able to handle it.
So you know, Plant medicine can, can be really good if let’s say you have a block that your consciousness can not overcome. Plant medicine can be helpful to help you change your state in order to move through something, you know, that can be potentially painful or traumatic or whatever it may be.
It could be even genetic that you have no idea about that you’re carrying, you know, so. Depending on what it is. There’s various different plant medicines. There’s things that open you up. There’s things that bring you in this things that is various things. So like ketamine is a disassociative. Iowasca is one of those things that can be very spirit.
It’s like a spirit molecule where it connects your soul to, you know, to the earth in a very, in a way that can be very disruptive. Can take a long time to integrate from. So that’s why I believe set and setting are super important. Let’s say you lose a partner of 20 years, you know, and you have a hard time processing it and your children are tired and you don’t have a lot of, you have a lot of time on your hands.
I asked them might be good for you, you know, but let’s say you’re an entrepreneur and you’ve got shit going on and you can’t take two months off for three months off to rest and do that. I will ask us not recommend it. I would potentially recommend maybe mushrooms, which has a quicker gestation time from recovery.
Because these are poisons in our body is going to react in a way that will heal in certain ways. If you’re, if you’re in the right space and you have the right time and you have the right dealers and support around you. So it’s really sentencing. And all these different medicines do different things.
Our Western world is becoming very open to that in our current timeframe, which is cool. However, there’s an extreme to everything, right? So. I really believe, you know, the person who’s procuring the medicine, the person who’s receiving the medicine have really good intentions is coming from a really grounded place.
And, and really decides, you know, this is what I want to do. What do you ask the right person? What they need, you know, and where do you see you kind
of the future of this? I mean, it seems like you said it, you know, the U S itself seemed like they’re becoming more and more open to some of these MDMs and stuff like that.
Where do you see
this? Yeah, like MDME are our sassafras. That’s like more of like, let’s say someone who’s been bitter for a long time, you know, it needs to find more love. It’s a good one for that. What I see it going is, do you know what spiral dynamics is? I do not know. Okay. So spiral dynamics is this, is this a.
Thought belief system in which there’s various types of consciousness that live in our planet right now that if you believe in spiral dynamics, this is the first time in our life where we have so much variety of consciousness. So there’s different groups and people and humans who live in a certain vibration live in a certain lifestyle that carry a certain vibration and consciousness.
That’s why there’s so much difference right now, this very much difference between our parents. Or grandparents and grandchildren, whatever it may be technology and various human or earth changes have created these separations. Not that it’s good or bad, but because of this new consciousness that’s coming, you know, we’re going to have a lot more evolution.
So I believe we’re going to evolve. And, and that’s what I see at our future being is being more evolved society. But with variance, you know, there’s still people in our world living primitively there’s people who are living very much in a technological AI world. So you see how there’s so much variance
and when you say kind of evolve or primitively.
I have, I think I got a pretty good idea what you’re saying, but are you saying basically at some people just won’t make it to the next kind of state that they should be in or they’re just going to live poorly or like, what do you mean?
See, I don’t believe in shooting, you know, are like shooting on me or anyone because everyone has their own life and purpose.
Right. So dogs going to be a dog and maybe next life there’ll be a human, I guess what you’re saying now. Yeah. So that’s the reincarnation aspect of how I believe. So if someone eats Doritos, smoke cigarettes, drinks, alcohol, they’re going to live out their life purpose to whatever it is. Or if you look at like a guy from SunLife organics who completely shifted his life and how now has these juicing places and yo you know, healthy things, people can make a shift, you know, and it’s not any.
Like forced to do. That’s an internal thing, you know? So I, I truly believe everyone’s, life’s purpose is their life’s purpose. And if they decide to upgrade their consciousness, that’s going to be a sovereign personal choice and then they’re going to do it. And then and it could be even a downgrade of consciousness.
very much so. Right. Yeah. And, and kind of that’s, it’s interesting. Cause that’s what. More where I, how I grew up as is believing a lot of those different things. And the religion that I grew up in was very much in the reincarnation of kind of moving your soul to the next journey next step, and try to move up.
C and then there is no hierarchy though. That’s where the sovereignty and the unity comes from because the dog and the, and the, and the, the very evolved person hold the same amount of power that creates the. The same godly energy that circulates in that dog is in that human too. That’s the only way we will be able to see them.
On this dimension. So what does success look like for you? So success for me, I’ve been around, you know, outwardly successful people and I’ve been around people who I never thought would be successful or is successful, but successful to me is feeling really good. And the being so nervous system is happy.
Physical body is happy. Sex life is intact and fruitful. Finances are, are good. Friendships are really strong. Community is strong. So I don’t want to be rich and lonely. I’m not going to be that guy. I don’t care about that. That’s not my end goal. My end goal is to be surrounded by loving, amazing trustful people who are creating in this world.
And, and, and it’s, there’s no like unseen unsaid competition. Creating beautiful creations together and sovereignty, you know, so success to me is being able to give to the world, you know, and, and create with the world. So, yeah.
So what do you think what are you proudest of that you’ve have you’ve accomplished.
So it’s, it’s an internal thing. That’s proud. I don’t, I can’t be proud of it to other people because it doesn’t make sense. But for me to overcome all the physical challenges and to be, you know, an athlete to be a a competitive pickleball player, it feels. Or even tennis player, whatever it is.
I felt like that could have never happened in my life, just from all the difficulties I had from just walking. So that to me is such a thing I’m very proud of. You know, I feel like that’s an accomplishment. Absolutely. Yeah.
Anything that we didn’t cover that
you would like to. So I did start a rejuvenation center in Costa Rica.
I started this thing called blue zones, rejuvenation. I had a tragic incident after I was working for my family’s business and I wasn’t in integrity and I wasn’t living my passion and I lost part of my finger. Oh, wow. I’d never noticed that. Yeah. So I lost part of my finger in a boating accident. I was wakesurfing and a rope got cutter on my arm and I pulled my hand back and it caught my finger and it completely changed my life.
Spirituality wasn’t on the back burner. It was like on the front burner and I was ready to follow my dreams and start third eye and do all the things before I started third, I started blue zones, which blue zones. I dunno if you know who Dan Bittner is. He’s probably a 10 time bestselling author of the blue zones book.
He was a national geographic photographer who made his name and did some amazing things. And. Places around the world that people lived over a hundred years consistently. And that’s what called blue zones. So I studied the blue zones. I got into it and I created a rejuvenation center in Costa Rica called Costa Rica called blue zones rejuvenation center.
So I left everything. I took all the money I had and I invested into this hotel and we converted into a center and we started doing these things and I just fell in love with Costa Rica and retreat. We got a season, this, this letter from a guy named Dan Bittner who wrote those books. And my partners were lawyers who did not want to change the name.
And I was like, I just want to do retreats. You know? So they were like adamant about it. I was like, you know what, I’m going back to Austin. And, and in that time, a gentleman gave me some investment to, to start making elixirs. So I started this whole business, just making it like. And in my retreats, I used to make these really awesome elixirs, cacao, elixirs, and golden milks and all these things to help people feel good in their body.
And that’s kinda how I started out. Third eye is really
interesting. And so is, is that retreats still there?
And no, they went. I was kind of the, the brain around the whole business. They went back to the hotel, but I did build a yoga teak, so they did get to
keep it, keep it. And do you still travel back to Costa
Or I haven’t. You know, I desire to go back, but other places that I desire to put some energy into, it’s so
hard. There’s so many amazing places in the world. I actually haven’t been to Costa Rica because my wife has been multiple times. We’ve been to Nicaragua. I had an amazing experience there and I loved it.
They’ve got good,
good cow there too. I’m sure they do. I’m
there, right? I mean, they’re right next to Costa Rica. One way that she described Nicaragua is it’s like Costa Rica, but like 20 years ago before it got so popular, The days it’s not near as popular because we, you know, we have a pretty negative commentation and of the area as Americans, but also it has had some political instability over the years.
There’s been a, there’s a million people from Canada. They’re like, they’re like, yeah, it took me 14 hours to get here. I’m like, yeah, I got here in six hours, you know, like, or, or five and, you know, from Austin, cause it’s straight south and pretty easy. And they just don’t have that negative connotation of the area.
And then there all the time, and there’s fantastic surfing. And you can say on Alma temp is this like volcano that you can stay on and right up on a horseback and just, and it’s cost nothing like literally nothing.
My friend has a property up. She owns a property that she, she doesn’t know if she’s gonna go back to but it’s crazy because you can own property there, very inexpensively.
And but there is a little bit of fear around the local war that’s happening there and you can lose it all. Yeah, yeah, for sure.
When we were there you know, we weren’t stupid. Didn’t do anything crazy, but we felt totally safe at the time and that obviously could be fluid, but we were, there was, and also it’s a touristy.
And the fact of the Nicaragua Nicaragua’s touristy, which is nothing like touristy places that are known to house travelers, just fine. Airbnb, places like that. So, yeah. And this is my last question. I end every podcast with this. How would you like to be remembered? Yeah.
Yeah, so in India they have this thing called
So someone who is heart giving, you know, someone who. Is able to give, you know, with less thought involved, you know, so obviously having good boundaries of what I need to do to take care of myself, but being able to give with a good heart and that’s something I feel like is really important. I love it.
Yeah. Well, Neil,
thank you so much for being on the podcast. Thank you for having me. Pleasure. Yeah,
that’s great. Cheers. Yeah. Cheers.
That’s the beauty of taking my own work to the show, if you will. If I go and I get to witness you dancing to my music, like it’s nothing better for me, it takes some effort. So this kid dances to my music, he comes walking in at Austin City Limits Music Festival, standing there staring at the Blanket Weaver shot, and for him, it’s gotta be like this massive picture, right?
Because I was thinking if the kid liked it, like, how cool is it for a five-year-old to like one of my pictures. So they made their way over to the print bin and they’re standing in front of the print bin, and he can barely see over it. And I heard his dad say, well, you can have this, or you can have the shirt. You just you can’t have both. You got to pick one.
And he looks up at his dad and he points at the piece. His dad looks at me and he goes, “I guess we’ll take this.” And I said, I’ll ship it to you, but I’m going to ship it to him. What’s your name little guy? Because I needed to know. I just need to know what’s your name? Little guy said Finley.
And I said, well, let me tell you the story about this picture….On the other side of the world is a country called Vietnam. And in the North, there are a lot of big mountains in the north. And there are people in those mountains that take a plant called indigo and they grow it and they pull it up and they boil it in water and they make colors with it, out of the plant.
And she makes blankets because it’s in the mountain. So it gets cold. So she makes these blankets to keep her family warm. And they start to walk out in and the father has this question mark above his head. He turns around and he said, “Man, I got to share this with you. First off, I’ve never seen my son beeline right towards a piece of art or anything like that. Dinosaurs and dump trucks. I kind of don’t understand why, I have no idea why he did it. And I bought it. I still don’t. I still didn’t get it. But when you told me this story, Finley’s named after his grandfather, his grandfather, his mother’s father is Mr. Finley.
He passed away two weeks ago and Mr. Finley fought in the Vietnamese War. And I can’t tell you why in the hell this is happening. I don’t know. I think that this was a way that now his grandson can live with a beautiful giving image of Vietnam.
We got Greg Davis here on the establishing your empire podcast. Thank you for so much for being here today. Got the new office set up. So this took a little bit of finagling to get it going, but really appreciate you being here
Greg Davis: [00:03:39] honored to be the first time in the office.
Daran Herrman: That’s right. So why don’t we start and just give us a little background of who you are and what you do.
Greg Davis: Yeah. I currently at this moment in my life, I’ve enjoyed this break in the pandemic. Take some time off new homeowner out in outside of Austin. Come from a nice family from east Texas. Same hometown for, we’ve been in that town for a little over a hundred years. So it’s some heritage there. What I currently do for work and we’ll get to that.
I have a pretty interesting life over the last 15 years. I’ve made my sole income as a working photographer and selling art as a, as my offering. I mean, I offer things like these beautiful pieces that you have behind you. It’s taken me all over the world all of the United States to show and share the work and then also shooting in different remote parts of the world.
So it’s been quite an venture.
Daran Herrman: [00:04:28] So 15 years ago you got into photography?
Greg Davis: [00:04:30] Yeah. I was a tech guy before that. And how did, how did you start that crazy part of this whole story? So I I’ll start back in the beginning. I grew up in a small town in east, Texas. And my great grandfather came over the horse and buggy and the east Texas, and opened up a dry goods store on the corner of two dirt roads in a town called Livingston, Texas, about an hour north of Houston, big pine trees, lumber, you know that was really the main focus of the area in the beginning.
But people needed the dry goods. So we’ve still got the receipts from the family store from way back when that was in 19. Oh, I think it was 1904 is when they started my great-grandfather and his brother. And then that was passed. My grandfather passed to my dad and then I was about to graduate away from high school.
I graduated in 87. I was the high school newspaper photographer. My dad had an old E one camera and I thought grab the 81 and see what happens. It was an excuse to take pictures of the girls first off. So I, I I grabbed the 81. It was filmed days, had the dark room. And there was nothing in that early work that really said this.
Kid’s got it right. That asked me, what do you want to do, son? I said art school. I said, no, no, no. So what do you want to do? I said, I don’t know, what do you want me to do, dad? He said, I want you to go to business school, get your Baylor business degree. He had gone to Baylor. His dad had gone to Baylor and their mother, great grandmother.
My great grandmother had gone to Baylor. So I bleed green and gold. Went to Baylor, put down the camera. Didn’t really take any photographs. This was, you know, in the early nineties, late eighties, early nineties. And after graduation, I got in to the tech world, early tech and you know, 15 years later I woke up with Dell and Compaq, HP slinging hardware.
And this was late nineties into the early two thousands. And At around that time, I was around 30 to 35 years old. I’m 52 now, but about 30 to 35. And I kind of went through a personal valley of darkness. Okay. This is not a light story, but this is what happened. Th the ending is nice because I came out of it.
Unscaved if you will, I probably scarred a little bit, but I lost six family members died in a very short amount of time. Probably about five years was about five of them. My dad included my grandmother, my dad, my cousin, aunt, uncle, and then ultimately another two cousins. And I was attacked by a gang.
I’ve got 40 stitches in my head and neck from a violent gang attack, a bottle over the back of the head. It was an initiation. It was unprovoked. I didn’t have anything to do with it really. I was just the target, but was attacked from behind. And then when I was on the ground was beat and fortunately got away was able to fight or flight kicked in big time.
And I was able to scramble and get away from the situation. More to the sort of the pits that I was in. I lost all of my nest egg and a bad financial move, which was a significant amount of money. Cause I’d been in tech for, you know, at that point for, at that point, probably a decade. And and then I had a love of a girlfriend.
I was with that I love dearly that, you know, did, did her thing behind my back. And so I was brokenhearted. I was beat. I was battered. Yeah, literally. Yeah. And I was in a really, really bad place. It was not it was not healthy, you know, mentally. Do, did
Daran Herrman: [00:08:06] you have any imbalance of the depression
Greg Davis: [00:08:08] at that?
Oh yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. Yeah. I was out verifiably. And I was drinking and I was drinking pretty heavily. And I wasn’t a friendly guy when when it got to a point, I had a lot of insecurities. I had a lot of anger issues. I didn’t trust any body, get interested, anything I didn’t trust God everybody’s dying.
I didn’t trust the system. It had stolen from me. I didn’t trust women. I’d been cheated on, I didn’t trust other people cause I’d been attacked. Anything, you know? Like how can you live a happy life without trust? I mean, I, to me, you have to trust that in something that’s greater and other people, you know, I and your partner for sure.
Daran Herrman: [00:08:51] And I think a lot of people in the past year, maybe not all of those items, but a number of those have had. So tough times dealing with everything, especially when you’re, you took away some things like human interaction and they family members, loss, disinformation, everywhere, not trusting information coming out.
Greg Davis: [00:09:11] And the unknown of not knowing what’s going to happen through all of this right
Daran Herrman: [00:09:17] on drinking. Right on top of it, just a little bit multiplier
Greg Davis: [00:09:20] there, drugs, right? There’s been probably some, some heavy lifting for people through this past year and a half. So my, my heart goes out to people. I certainly know what it feels like to be in a very challenging place and there is help out there.
And I highly recommend talking to somebody about it. I saw therapists back then after the attack, really when that happened, that really kind of got me going a wrong direction, but the therapist was extremely beneficial. He highly recommended that I quit drinking. And and, and I, I call them God winks, serendipity and the synchronicity and the things in our lives line up that are sometimes hard to explain wow.
Hard to explain. Like I’m like, whoa, what just happened? You know, and trying to piece it together. How did that come about? Well, totally random. This therapist had a really good conversation with these dudes dude. And during one of our conversations, he stood up and he said, yeah, I’m Mike. And I’m an alcoholic.
He goes, let me tell you a story. And this was Intuit about maybe a month. He said I was in a bar when I was, I forget how old he was at the time 26, maybe I was in a bar and a bar fight broke out. And I wasn’t necessarily the intended target, but I got a bottle over my head. Right. And this is, this is the guy that I’m went in for the thing.
And I was like, are you kidding? You’re kidding me. Right? Like he’s no, I was in a, oh no, it was his throat. That’s what it was. I got it. Wasn’t a, it was, it wasn’t the back of the head that he, it was, it slit his throat and Mrs. Jones. Wow. Yeah. So he said I haven’t had a drink since that day. I knew that my life wasn’t, I was in the wrong place with the wrong people.
And that was it. So I thought, how in the world am I coming in to talk about this? And this guy’s had the same thing he said, I recommend that you quit. I can try it. So when tooth Africa, the years now, I think it’s 2003. That was the beginning of 2004. Quit drinking. And the God winks started even more.
The serendipity, the synchronicity, I, you know, I, there was one point in all of that debt, then that depth I rolled out of my bed. I was living in Colorado Springs at the time. And a lot of people asked me about like, where were you when it happened? You know, what happened happened? And I can share the short story and you say, I say Colorado Springs.
And they’re like, what? But if you really think about I 25 as a corridor for the drug cartels right out of Mexico, right through El Paso, right up to Albuquerque, right up through Pueblo, right up through Trinidad, right into Colorado Springs, right up to Denver, boom, you know, distribution, the central United States.
And there are, I learned there are, you know, there’s presence in each of these cities for the cargo that’s coming through, you know, and there’s communication. Hey, the cargo made it through because there’s probably a big money involved. And the, in Colorado Springs there’s presence of people. Are working
Daran Herrman: [00:12:37] might be a smaller presence, but it’s still there.
Right? I think in a lot of cities, like even Austin, you almost have to look for trouble, but there’s still trouble
Greg Davis: [00:12:45] for sure. It’s it I’ve been here 25 years now. So I’ve seen a bit of a change. It’s got some big city problems and then you start to witness that stuff on the streets more to just some, you know, monkey business going on and people doing things, you know, that this doesn’t feel right.
Yeah. I’ve had some really interesting things with downtown Austin over the last five years. Just it’s changing, it’s changing. It’s still an amazing place. It’s a big city problems are coming in here, but still want to quit drinking. So quit drinking. And then these, these coincidences and, oh, let me go back to that night that I had truly hit rock bottom and I was in bed probably three o’clock in the morning and I rolled out of bed and it was almost out of body.
I remember rolling out and just was just at the bottom and was sort of afraid. Where, where I was, you know, like mentally, I like wherever you are, whoever you are. You’ve got to come down here. You’ve got to help me. I need guidance. I need, I can’t take any more pain. You know, I just had had it. And the proverbial lightning struck I quit drinking soon after that.
And these, these things started happening. I was like, wow. You know, and I’d ask for this, these, these messages I’d ask for, for help. I’d ask for change. You know, how did that, how did it show up? For me, it showed up in these coincidence is this the serendipity that showed up in my life and I started embracing them as language.
And that led me to sell it all the real th the last big one was out of the BLUF two friends of mine. Call me a couple and. And this was, as, as things I had, I was pretty much getting close to making the decision. And then when they called and said, Hey, we’re going around the world for a year. You have any interest in going with us.
I was like, I hadn’t talked to them in years. I was like, are you kidding me? I mean, you know, let’s go. So this was oh five. This was like summer of five. No, no, sorry. Summer of four, I got back some real five. And that was all I needed to hear. That was it. You know, I didn’t want to necessarily go off by myself.
I do now. And it’s fine, but for some reason just where I was and post 9 1 1, and, you know, I just was like, it’s a little bit sheltered, but at some point you gotta, you know, just throw off the bow line and go for the adventure. Well, and they gave you a little
Daran Herrman: [00:15:02] push and a lot of my, I haven’t been a big push is that it doesn’t sound like, but they gave you that little less.
Like, and it didn’t sound like you, it sounded like you were ready and didn’t have a lot of excuses not to go. Like, I’m sure you could come up with them, but You know, and sometimes we just need something, a little exciting to sh to jumble things a little bit you know, I don’t have near as cool story, but I’ll just small for me is I always want to move and I came to Austin and it was great.
It was fin it’s like there was perfect weather and this and that. And I was finally like, all right, like how long have you been here? Since 2008. Okay, cool. So I’ve been here for bet.
Greg Davis: [00:15:36] seen a lot of change.
Daran Herrman: [00:15:38] The downtown skyline is a little different, but you know, and then and I had a buddy that I had one friend move here.
That’s all I needed. I think was just one little light, itty bitty. I’d move out a job, nothing like that. But I had a couch to sleep on for a week or two until I figured it out. Right. And it’s, you know, looking back, you’re like, that’s, that’s it, that’s all that made you push.
Greg Davis: [00:15:59] Yeah. Right. Yeah. And if we’re open to change, all we need is that spark and trust.
It goes back to trust. Right. I mean, Hey, you know, I trusted, wow, you’re calling, you know, this is, this is it. And so where’d, you guys go. So I S I, you know, now I’m going to cut back to 1987. I was the high school newspaper photographer. Right. But I hadn’t photographed really up until a little bit. Yeah. You know, and before that trip, not much.
So I was like, okay, it was shopping for a camera. I didn’t want to take a big, fancy, expensive camera. I wasn’t into cameras. I wasn’t even shooting. A lot of photos is obviously pre this, you know, so not everybody was carrying a camera around. And so I went and bought an Olympus C7 50 point and shoot, I think it’s 4.5 megapixel camera.
It had a nice zoom, you know, it all, you know, I had probably $400 camera. That’s all I thought about it. I thought I’m going to take some photographs. I set up a little bitty website. This was oh four. So, you know, no social media, let’s get a little website just so I can have a way to communicate with family and friends.
This would be the way that I’d communicate. And then. W plan on writing some stories so that I could bring people in that knew me, just share my experience with them. You know, it sounds crazy now, but oh four, that was sort of a different world back then. And I thought I’ll set up a little store too, and we’ll maybe sell a few prints and that’ll help help with this.
Help me around the world, you know, and plan was to go for a year and I’ll cut ahead a little bit, got home and had sold $500 worth of photos. And I thought, oh, that that’s not going to work for $500 in a year. You know? So when I got home, I wasn’t thinking that what was going to happen was going to happen, but I’ll cut back to the tree,
Daran Herrman: [00:17:43] sell a couple of prints.
Greg Davis: [00:17:45] to family and friends to
Daran Herrman: [00:17:48] charity. Yeah. It’s family, friends. I didn’t have, I can’t, I don’t, I feel bad giving you money, but I’ll buy a print. I’ll trade
Greg Davis: [00:17:57] you, trade you yourself. Yeah. So I didn’t have a lot of confidence when I got home, but there’s an interesting story about how things sort of changed regarding all that.
And again, that’s lessons, you know, in there that it may not look like something, you know, but, but the little push, but the little putting yourself out there, a little courage or this or that, you know, I mean, things can, can move on you in different directions, but you gotta have some action. You know, I think you gotta move.
We started in Turkey and we ended up going through through Africa, over into Asia down into Australia and south Pacific and then back home, just chock full of beautiful, amazing situations. And also to be fair, some downtime, some loneliness, some what the hell am I doing here?
Daran Herrman: [00:18:45] Traveling like that.
And, and, and being with a couple that was a couple too. So that’s, that’s tough seeing them having a good time and stuff. They
Greg Davis: [00:18:52] got their little thing, you know? Yeah. Did that increase your trust in people seeing such different variety of people? Yeah. I
think one of the main reasons is for even going, was this trust that I didn’t have before or for something greater for people, for women, for the system, all this stuff I’d lost.
And, you know, I was looking to reconnect to that. I was looking to reconnect to people, regain my trust in people and women in the system and God, and and having to take, having to approach them one that you’re attracted to and not in any sexual way. Well, I just there’s, we have attraction to people.
There’s something in that person that we recognize there’s an old soul in there that we’ve come across or whatever it is. We’re drawn to certain people in certain for certain reasons. And these people that I was drawn to, I would have to approach them to photograph them. And it’s not always the easiest thing to do.
Not at all. You have to be extremely authentic and vulnerable to get the kind of work that I, that I shoot now. I mean, you really have to put yourself out there and it’s gotta be coming from the right place or the footage, photographs not going to come off. Well, you know, why are you making this photograph and what is it about this person and what can I give back without throwing a bunch of dollar bills at a person that I don’t, I don’t like this, this idea.
I’ve seen it turn bad in some places where now the people are expecting it and there’s even gets to a point where they demand it and then it gets, it’s very inauthentic thing, but I like to travel with a small printer and I’ll give them, or I’ll take a Polaroid and I’ll give them a Polaroid, love that idea
Daran Herrman: [00:20:31] of a little swell printer.
Cause I’ve, I’ve gone around and you get this really cool photo and you show them and they’re like, oh, that’s me. You know? And then I’m gone and it’s gone, I’m gone and they’re gone. And the whole thing. And then what I do want to say there, and I think we’re going to have a little theme here of this is trust.
You know, I think I’ve always known it without actually saying it out loud or thinking it directly is it’s a massive trust thing when it, when you’re taking the photos, people, even in people who know what, you know, have had their photo taken a thousand times, all this, even this. Yeah. Correct.
Completely gnarly. Yeah. And we like, even for me, like I was saying before we jumped on. Yeah, I do the filming thing and all that. And I think that is so people would trust me with a good product. They see other things to do a nice website, doing all the things because I’m, you know, you know, almost asking for the trust of it.
But then the secondary piece is hoping that they trust to open up as you are, which I do really appreciate. And it’s super interesting already, and we just started. But yeah, I think there’s a big piece there of photography. And I’m going to be thinking about this later today and probably for a while.
Cause I just did a shoot yesterday and you know, people, even people that are out there self-promoting can get really. It’s hard with a big camera in front of their face, you know they can really clam up unless you kind of can get them to open up for you and be
Greg Davis: [00:21:59] themselves. Right. Well, you did a good job of that.
And you know, me knowing what I’m walking into and knowing this re these rigs and all that, but like, you know, talking, talking me through, just making me comfortable in your home here, you know, getting some water, showing me around the place, you know, I mean, gaining trust through just basic being authentic and conversational and sharing what you have.
That’s a big part of sort of gaining that trust. Sure. Without it, you know, you walk in and it’s okay. I do what you put me at ease. So hats off, you know what I mean? And that’s part of, of any kind of photography and video videography work is making the subject at ease. You know,
Daran Herrman: [00:22:41] I’ve been on the other side of the podcast being in your shoes and that’s a little interesting sometimes, you know, so maybe that that’s helpful, but yeah,
Greg Davis: [00:22:50] well, I, I don’t make it, here’s my deal.
I don’t make any plans. I just come in here and whatever comes out of me through that, into you guys. Thanks for listening. You know, I there’s no plan here. There’s no agenda for me. It’s just sharing the, the, the story behind how I got here and that’s all I can do, you know, and my work is my work and it, you know, it’s, it speaks to people or it doesn’t and that’s okay.
I don’t I don’t have a, a real agenda. I do like sharing my story though. I think it can be inspiring for people, some not and some soaps. So I think
Daran Herrman: [00:23:27] one of the big things sorry to interject, but is, is a lot of people want to become a photographer and replace the word photographer with a lot of things.
It’s interesting that, you know, a lot of people have been in the corporate world. Like you have been have been super depressed, especially at this pre previous year and a half. So I think it’s great to understand how we can go from one end to the other. And so to get back to the story, so you travel, you come back and they like, okay.
Greg Davis: [00:23:53] I
Daran Herrman: [00:23:53] used to be making all this money. I made $500 and spent way more than that. Yeah.
Greg Davis: [00:23:58] So what’d you do? So I had, so I didn’t after I lost, because I lost a lot of, I lost my nest egg in a bad financial move before I left. Right. And so I had, and I don’t mind sharing this. I mean, I had some stuff that was, I’ve never touched, but I had about $17,000.
Th to my name. I mean, I had a little bit more of just safety net stuff, but at 17 that I could kind of get to and it didn’t have much. Okay. I have much before the bad financial move I had enough, but you know, I was like, you know what? I can’t take anymore. I’m out, man. I can’t, I was just like, I can’t take.
And then also it’s done, I’m off, taken off. I spent 17, I spent it all 17,500 on that trip, which is not a lot of money. Cause I was living really simply overseas and eating really simply. But that forced me into not forced as a bad word that engaged me in the communities know on the streets of India and in the mountain villages of Thailand or wherever it might be got away from the tourist scene.
And even in oh four, it was just a different world, no Instagram and no social media. It just was a, it was a slower pace of travel. There was still travelers for sure. Can we cut. Cut to get back. I got back and Austin, 2005, you said, oh yeah. So yeah, it wasn’t that far off of a totally different world back then.
Right? I mean, downtown didn’t even feel like a big city. No, not at all dead zone down there back then. You couldn’t walk anywhere too. It was great. Yeah. No, Uber, I had to
Daran Herrman: [00:25:36] walk, trying to find a gap was the worst thing to do in the morning. They couldn’t find them. Yeah. It’s stuck
Greg Davis: [00:25:42] down there, dude. You gotta to come get me.
Daran Herrman: [00:25:44] get a lock. I walked, I had apartment five and a half miles away. I walked on one night as I couldn’t, I couldn’t figure it out. There
Greg Davis: [00:25:50] was limited amount of calves and they were going to the airport anyways.
Daran Herrman: [00:25:53] It was busy and it was like, it’s hilarious. Cause it’s
Greg Davis: [00:25:56] just start walking. Yeah. But we can remember when it was that right.
And It was quaint and cute. And it was, it seemed like it was more gel down there with some of the personalities probably cause I was hanging out there. I was working it. So I got back from the trip and some friends of mine that I grew up with in, in Livingston, Texas Brad and Chad Womack, who Brad was the bachelor at one point.
So they hit it really big in the TV world and brought a lot of attention to them and their bars. The, the MTV people came into town and the chugging as a check the dizzy rooster drew was the hangout for the MTV folks. And that was Brad and Chad’s bar. So they were just hitting on all cylinders with these guys.
And they had a bar over on I’m on a red river called it’s the most now. And it was called the velvet spade. So I contacted them and said, Hey, I’m back from this trip around the world. And I don’t want to go back to corporate America. I’ve never bartended. You got a bar because they were opening new bars every week.
It seemed like, and they said, yeah, we got one on red river that were just start and you can go over there and sling some drinks for us. And cool. So I was there and of course, talking to people well at the bar, you know, before it really got, you know, busy the bar, you had a few hours there, kind of the regulars that would come in and shoot the breeze.
And I got to talking about, oh, you just got back from this trip and, you know, kind of talking to people. And I talked about it enough to where one of the, one of the brothers or the youngest brother, I said, why don’t you hang up some of your pictures in the bar here, you know, and be cool. And I was like, okay, I don’t even know how to do that, but I’m telling you embarrassed to even say, but went to Costco and printed them and went to Walmart and got some frames.
I’m mortified now that, but Hey, I didn’t know. And I certainly didn’t have any money to custom frame and printed on museum rag and all the stuff that I do now, but I printed up a dozen photos and stuck them on the wall. It developed speed. And about a weekend, someone stole the one that was closest to the door.
Right. I thought, you know, if they’re good enough to steal, maybe, maybe there’s something else there. Oh, no. I’d love to meet the person who stole it and like just them, not just laugh, you know? Cause it really did like, wow. Hmm. And then I met a girl I was dating her and we were walking down west sixth street and back then west sixth street.
There was, that was the little Irish pub that was down there. Mother Egan’s. Yeah, there’s just a couple of a couple right. Or right next to mother Egan’s was a little blank, little open parking lot. They’re still there actually surprisingly, but it was an art market. Like the kinda like the ones they have on down on south Lamar south Congress and the girl she elbows me and says, Hey, why don’t you go in there and see what’s what’s that.
Because she had seen my photos and was like, oh wow, these are amazing. I have, thank you, honey. You’re supposed to say that just no, seriously, go in there and check it out. So I went in and I said, Hey, who runs this outfit? What’s this is this an art, like an app. If I have some things I want to offer, I think I was like, yeah, go back there.
The guy named with goatee named Wayne, go talk to Wayne. So I went back and talked to Wayne. I said, Hey, Wayne, I’m I’m Greg Davis. And my girlfriend, Christine, that she says, I’ve got some photos that might do well in a place like this. How does this work? You know? And he said, well we’ll set you up 10 the first time you do it, I’ll set you up a tent and we’ll get you some walls.
And it’s $25 a day to do it. And I looked at her and I was like, twenty-five bucks a day. Why not try it? And already had the work. I already knew kind of like how to print and frame them cheap at that point because of the, cause the bar work. And so he said, well, just do that next weekend, come back and give us a, give us a try and see what you got.
So I went and went back to Costco and Walmart whisper that. And then these are still the same travel photos.
This is from that one year. That’s when that, yeah, this was just a few months after I’d gotten back from this one-year trip. So yeah, this is still the original from that little Olympus point and shoot.
So, I mean, I literally had to go through the little website that I had set up for myself and was like looking through them and going, okay. Which one of these do I print now that I’ve got this opportunity to, to show?
Daran Herrman: [00:30:12] So how did the first day go at
Greg Davis: [00:30:14] the art market? Yeah, so I went and printed them, framed him.
He had the walls, he had the tent came out there, backed in the truck, you know, and hung, hung the little, had little hooks. I’d made little business cards and you have like 20 prints, something, 10 prints. I haven’t, you know, I’m glad I did it. I took a photograph. Of my very first day, because I speak, like I speak to at university of Texas and to some schools and some groups and things like that.
And I always bring that in as part of the, the story, which is because now my work is big and it’s like, you know, I got my own studio and it’s big and bold. And back then it was, I call it my chicken coop days, you know, it was really simple, but
Daran Herrman: [00:30:58] that’s great foresight that you knew. I mean, you’re obviously a storyteller through, and through that, you knew that there was a story there, but yourself,
Greg Davis: [00:31:06] I guess the days
Daran Herrman: [00:31:07] where you just pulled out your phone and you had to like power on a little point and shoot or, well, you know,
Greg Davis: [00:31:13] that was part of the story too, was I took these photographs with that, you know, so I kinda thought, and you know what, I need to bring that with me.
I need to bring that with me. Cause that is kind of a thing. Cause it wasn’t a professional grade camera. It was a current camera, you know, but it wasn’t a professional grade camera and the photos. I we’re really nice, you know? And that’s from that, that camera first day knew it. I knew, I knew this is what I supposed to do with my life cell.
Anything that first time did that 500 bucks, the next weekend I sold a thousand dollars. Really? I said
Daran Herrman: [00:31:43] little shops. I didn’t even know
Greg Davis: [00:31:45] people did well on those things. Yeah. So the next weekend, my second week, and I doubled my grant and I was like, wait a second. There’s 52 weeks in this year. And I just did a thousand bucks.
Okay. Yeah. I got cost of goods and blah, blah, blah, blah. I was like, I hadn’t even really tried yet. You know, so I, I got it. I got a shot at this, you know, immediately it was obvious and people were, you know, bad. I hate to keep using this reference, but Instagram was not around. So the world, even in oh four was a more closed place.
We didn’t have access to the imagery and the all that was. What I was seeing and bringing home and, and the spirit behind it to of course helps it. Wasn’t just a snapshot that was soul and spirit in the
Daran Herrman: [00:32:26] work out of that first collection was your, which one did the best or which one was your
Greg Davis: [00:32:33] favorite?
And that’s a great question. Cause I didn’t know. Right. I went out to my little rinky-dink website and I pulled off, you know, selected the photos. Okay. I think this one’s good. I think that one, I mean, it was what I liked. Right. And then I’ve been out there probably three weeks, maybe a month. And there was a girl who came to the bar.
She was a regular name, Sarah. And I’m trying to think how this story went. Cause I haven’t told it in so long. She came out. She actually, I knew her from the bar. She came to the, to the little market and said, ah, She came up to me. She goes, I don’t see it here, but I know the one that I want. And I was like, w which one?
She goes, the hands I go, what? She goes, the hands, the blue and the green hands. I was like, I had to think like, oh, wait a second. Okay. The Vietnam. So I had to go out to my own site and select the image that I hadn’t selected as the first edit, you know, or the first edit of what I was going to print. And I pulled it off and I printed a few extra just in case.
Cause I knew she wanted one. She came the next weekend. She got it. And those other two. So,
Daran Herrman: [00:33:41] so you, you shot that photo cause that’s, that’s still a big photo for you, right? Yeah. Yeah. And so you shot that on like a little pin tacks, a regular point
Greg Davis: [00:33:49] and shoot and Olympus.
Daran Herrman: [00:33:51] Yeah. Yeah. Back then. This is worth like 30 cents nowadays.
Which is important because a lot of people think that you have to have this newest craziest, I mean, I shot with a 70 for a long time. Yeah. The phone nowadays is better than 90% of the stuff we used to use back then. But the motivation, when you have a camera, you know, sometimes you’ll there’s some benefits there to have a DSLR it’s gonna motivate you
Greg Davis: [00:34:14] and print in print.
You can print something small with this. Okay. But sure. I’m in, I’m in the print game, you know equality Frank game.
Daran Herrman: [00:34:23] It’s still important that, you know yeah. You can get to where you are now with you know, getting real expensive camera, but it doesn’t mean you have to start
Greg Davis: [00:34:32] with that. Absolutely. Yeah.
You don’t and you don’t have to print big in the beginning to make it work. I was, you know, my biggest was a 11 by 14 print and then I’d frame it to maybe 16 by 20 and you know, back then I maybe offer it for 250 bucks or something, you know, and I had probably 50 bucks in it, you know, and it was enough, you know it was plenty.
I was starting a new thing, you know, and I wasn’t even sure it was gonna work. I mean, I knew that people were really responding on an emotional level and that’s important. I think when you’re offering anything, is people need to feel connected to that thing that they are collecting or purchasing or.
Or whatever it is, or even if
Daran Herrman: [00:35:17] they’re just enjoying it, you know, it doesn’t have to be something that hang up on their, in their house. So, okay. You, you have that thousand dollar a day. You’re like, Hey, I’m going to full-time. So, and you’re selling some stuff. How did you move to the next step of like, okay, I’m going to be a photographer now, like I’m going to take more
Greg Davis: [00:35:34] photos.
Well, I, at that point I continued doing that and I kept hearing about, you know these other larger, more regional city run art festivals. And again, I’m going, going back to when I didn’t know anything. Right. So I was like, oh, the city’s an island come from art. I didn’t come from the, the, the market. I didn’t know anything about it.
When a lot of information there was no YouTube. So yeah, every city has an annual. Large juried, Jerry Jerry means that the artists are selected, the artists apply, and then they have a professional jury normally run by a museum curator, local gallery owner, maybe the previous year’s best of show of that show.
The next year they’ll put up slides and they’ll select, you know, and they only select certain amount of artists and a certain amount of artists within category. So only, you know, 10 photographers out of 200 applications or something to keep the quality of the show high, not all shows are like this. The good ones that I like to do are like to get in.
I don’t always get in them either, but the ones I like to do when I’m getting, when I get in. So I learned about these, these shows and I’m like, oh wow. Okay. And then I kept having people would come by my space in Austin at this little small art market. And they kept saying there’s a, well, a few times they were like, there’s a girl at the, at the Austin show, which is the big city show that I hadn’t.
No, I think I’ve been doing at that point, like six months. And that’s when the show was like, there’s a girl over there named Lisa, Christine she’s out of San Francisco and her work and your work have a really there’s something going on there, like similar yeah. Fives. And so I had to look her up and I was like, wow, that’s quite a compliment.
Cause Lisa, Christina was very, very talented. And I kept hearing that over and over it still at this little art market, you know, even after that, after the big show in Austin had gone away and everybody for the weekend was over. But over the course of people had seen that work and they wouldn’t make their way to, and they’d go, your work reminds me of somebody.
I was like, Lisa, Christine. They’re like, that’s her how’d you know, that I was like, I keep hearing that over and over and over, you know? And she had been doing what she, she does for at least maybe a decade or more. So she was sort of this original inspiration of like, oh, wow, thanks for living as a photographer, offering her beautiful pieces, framed for, for homes, you know?
And And then, you know, ultimately I got to a point where I was like, I that’s my direction. I’m going to go that direction and start doing these shows, applying for these shows and yeah.
Daran Herrman: [00:38:01] And then where was the next breaking point? Right. So you got it, you got a little bit of money so that you can actually, you know, pay your bills a little bit, but, but like where were we?
I think we’ve got a whole different couple levels until you’re today. So what was kind of another kind of big
Greg Davis: [00:38:19] piece? Yeah, that was, that was just starting to go from sort of this small time. Art markets. Okay. Now I’m starting to do regional, you know, of course the one in Austin, Houston has the Bayou city arts festival Fort worth main street, the massive show, 300,000 people go to it and there’s money in Fort worth and they collect art.
They’ve got a great thing going in Fort worth with Ayman Carter, with Kimball. They got a better art scene in Fort worth. And then we’ve got here in Austin, add people are going to kill me to say that, but from a museum standpoint, oh, well, that’s not necessarily from the art standpoint. I don’t want to make that comparison because there’s great art in both, but from a purely museum standpoint, you know, I think it’s a deeper, deeper roots there, Austin.
Austin’s way better than it’s been. Right. But there was a time in Austin, but really struggled with bringing in proper museums. But it’s it’s yeah. It’s, it’s way better than it. Well it’s and it’ll continue to get better with funding and people focusing on it and before it was, yeah, that’s a great show then you’ve got, I mean the walkie has their museum amazing architectural museum looks like a bird.
This opens and closes. Not, not over time. Just it opens sometimes when the winds are right before. Architectural building Chicago old town is a great show. So you have these really highly juried shows and it takes a particular type of artists to do these types of shows. Not all artists want to do it cause it’s extremely difficult.
You’re at the mercy of the weather. You’re at the mercy of people. Hmm. Anybody can say anything they want and anybody can, you know, so it’s not for everybody. It’s a very difficult way to make a living. But offering art is it’s just a challenge to do it, but it’s extremely rewarding and I wouldn’t choose it any other way.
And I’ve been able to meet amazing people, travel all over the world, but it started from that little show to, to the regionals and then more nationwide. And I think, I don’t, I don’t know if the big break, but it, maybe it was the big break. There’s been a lot of big breaks actually over time, but in 2010, I driven out to, to, to west Texas out to Marfa to celebrate my birthday and my girlfriend at the time.
And I were coming back in 2010, right. We’re coming back and out in west, Texas, you know, you’re off the cellular network and you know, there’s a point where you hit snore maybe, or somewhere, but you hit cellular service and all of a sudden the phone starts going off. Right. And so my phone beeped a couple of times and things a couple of times, and I’m driving it straight away but said, Hey, could you check that?
And actually not to say what I did. I forget when I guess I looked down and saw it real quick. And it said, NG contract. And I handed it to Lauren, Lauren. I said, Hey, please read that for me. And she opened up the, the email and said, oh my God, pull the car over right now. We pulled the car over and dancing in the desert that night national geographic had contacted me and offered me to be represented by their image collection, which is their agency and national geographic.
So I’ve been with them. There’s been a lot of changes recently with Disney buyout and the Fox buyout before that. And a lot of structural changes with nacho. For 10 years I was represented by their image collection. So supporting content was sent to my editor there and just like huge. I mean, it made you and I met them.
I don’t really ever know how it, it happened for sure, but I think a lot of different things, but one thing that definitely happened was I was showing my work at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar, which is a one of these art art the festival things that happens during Christmas here in Austin, amazing heritage.
The Armadillo has been going on 41 years. There’s three bands a day, but I will
Daran Herrman: [00:42:05] ask is before, cause I’m a big believer that you can increase the surface area of your luck by doing some stuff. How many shows do you think you did before you landed the national geographic contract?
Greg Davis: [00:42:22] Yeah, so the, the, the way that went down was I was at the Armadillo and I’d been doing shows well, 2010, 2005 to 2010, so five, five years.
And I probably averaged 20 a year 20 shows. So I was a hundred over a hundred. Yeah. At least around there. And it happened that next door. And that was the year that the Armadillo was at the at the convention center. They were between the Austin music hall and now where they are at the Palmer, but they were at the convention center and next door was a national geographic book cell.
They were getting rid of all their books from the year. Into your cell. And someone from the organization knew someone that I knew and they had told her about me. And then she came over and walked in and said, hi, I’m so-and-so from national geographic. And of course I straightened up immediately like, whoa, this is, you know, and she goes, do you mind if I have a look at some of your work?
No, please, please. And she walked in and she had her hands kind of behind her back, you know, she was looking up and I, I was trying to like, get, get an idea of what, you know, how was she responding, but this woman sees the best photographs and some of the books, you know, arguably some of the best photographs in the world, you know, and she didn’t give me much response which is, which was fine.
And she turned around and we talked for a second and she says, well, it’s nice to meet you. I’ve got to get back over to the, the cell, you know, off, she went. And I thought, well, wow, that was cool, but I didn’t know what I expected, but wow. That close, you know? Yeah. And then six months later was when we were out in, in Marfa and coming back and this thing showed up and they got, you got on their radar for sure.
A huge compliment, a huge honor to be even in the company. And I would go to DC annually to their gatherings and still keep in contact with a lot of the people that were, that I met. And tell me
Daran Herrman: [00:44:18] about a photo, any photo that you just kind of remember whether there was some. You know, intense person or some emotion that came up positive or negative, just something that happened that, that with one of your photos, whether it’s a photo that you
Greg Davis: [00:44:34] sell or not, you know?
Yeah. I mean, I never did finish the story. It’s about this image, but I never did really finished the story. Going back to the girl, Sarah, that was at the bar, he said, Hey, I found this image of the blue and the green hands. And, you know, and, and this image was captured. It’s it’s, I call it the blanket Weaver and it’s indigo dyes on one woman’s hands.
So it’s a blue and a green hand. And I was on a trail and far north of Vietnam, nine months into this one year trip around the world, nine months, the cycle of birth, I felt like at that moment on that trail, when I took that one shot I was coming down as though it’s called Sapa up in the north and I was kind of coming down into this valley and.
This woman was coming up from below and we kind of, our past metaphorically literally crossed, you know, there was, and that was the moment right there. She was right in front of me, full traditional dress, black mom, pillbox hat, embroidered earrings and walking in front of me, maybe 30 yards and, and her pants were flashing blue and green as she walked.
And I was just, wow. You know, to me and her hustled up behind her, tapped her on the shoulder. She turns around, sees me freaks out. Like it was, you know, I had to gain trust real fast about made myself smaller, put my hands up, you know, and then I went with a question because I didn’t speak Vietnamese, but
Daran Herrman: [00:46:04] it
Greg Davis: [00:46:04] wasn’t in your hands. It’s just like, and it loosened her up and I could see her kind of start as our wheels turning. Like, how do I.
Daran Herrman: [00:46:20] Yeah, that you’re weaving
Greg Davis: [00:46:22] audio. Right. And she did this and she did this, slap it in your head. I didn’t really know. Yeah. I, I, that candidate, but I didn’t at that time, I didn’t know that they, I mean, of course they worked with Indego, but I didn’t know what was going on. And she
Daran Herrman: [00:46:35] was, sounded like a little bit excited to show you.
She was a little bit, actually what I do,
Greg Davis: [00:46:39] this is what I do. So this guy’s interested. Wow, cool. It’s there’s tourists going through there. So it wasn’t a completely like, oh my gosh, white man is in the middle of the, you know, it was just sort of startling to her, I think more than anything, but there’s a lot of tourism.
They even teach the younger mung girls in, in, in the boys, in, in school, how to speak English. Right. So, you know she, this woman did not speak it, but we got through it. And then I just said, Hey. Something, something told me just to have her hold them out. Is that okay? I took one picture and she looked at me like this guy’s crazy.
I have another photo of my, and I left and that was it. You know? And then, you know, three months later, I’m back home. One photo did like 1700,
Daran Herrman: [00:47:20] you know, like how we do it nowadays
Greg Davis: [00:47:21] with DSLRs one photo, one photo, one photo and put it away. And then this Sarah at the bar says, Hey, I found the one, the blue and the green hands.
I’m like, I had to think about it. So I went back out printed a few extra now cut to, I don’t remember what year, but I showed my work at ACL Austin city limits music festival for 13 years. There’s an art market on the grounds and a always an amazing experience, worldwide exposure at the coolest people sold a lot of artwork, believe it or not.
I ship and deliver, so it didn’t have to walk out with them, you know, but a story and there’s a, there’s a bazillion of these. This one just came to mind. Because I just told it two days ago to to my nephew. And so there was a, I wanna say it was probably 2016. We’ll call it. I think it was 2016.
And what’s crazy is I’ll probably tell you, this is how I have about 8,000 contacts in my contact list. This syncs with my Mac and his name was Finley. Let me look up and see if he’s here. Finley
Finley Atkins ACL 2017, little five-year-old that bought my blanket waiver. So this kid is walking by my booth with his dad and he lets go of his dad’s hand and his dad kind of goes, Hey, are you good? And I’m saying, and the space, you know, the space is about this size. And I watched this child walk across and he breaks hands with his dad.
His dad’s like, Hey, where you going? And the kid bee-lined like straight into the booth and it was standing there. Looking up at the blue and the green hands, the bank. And we were just like, as I’m watching this whole thing happen and I’ve seen it before, I just w I, that’s the beauty of, that’s the beauty of doing, taking my own work to the show, if you will, and
Daran Herrman: [00:49:18] being in there too.
Cause a lot of times it’s somebody else showing it and just be it to interact with people, be a witness and also to get some of that feedback, understand what even what, not just what people buy, but what did people stand and see and interact with and seemed like they had emotional
Greg Davis: [00:49:35] draw too, be a witness.
And this guy brings his own work. He gets to watch people dance to his music. I like watching people dance to my music if I were to put it in a gallery. And here’s how that works. I put it in the gallery. Okay. We have an opening night, but after that it’s in the gallery. I walk over to the mailbox, open the mailbox.
Wow. A check. But that bank. Sure. Nothing meant for me, nothing. I play check whatever. Yeah. And I had a paycheck if I go and I get to witness you dancing. And the, my music, like, there’s nothing better for me. It takes some effort, but this kid dances to my music, he comes walking in at ACL standard, staring at the blanket Weaver shot for him.
It’s got to be like this massive picture. Right. And it’s abstract too. So it’s not clearly hands. It is, but it’s some abs and they’re different colors. Like he’s never seen anything colorful. Yeah. He’s five. So I was really curious. So I kind of took a few, he steps over kind of nonchalantly, you know, kind of eavesdropped in a little bit on the conversation.
And his dad leaned down to him. His dad says, well, son, it’s 1090 $5. I’m kidding. Can I shook his head like this and it was he’s five. He, and really the numbers thing, maybe still kind of figuring out what that means. 1090 $5. So he kind of walked around and I had a pretty, pretty big space and he walked kind of back in the back and around, and he was just looking up at everything and I couldn’t help myself.
So I went over, I have a little print bin that I sell a little $35 prints right now, walked over and I said, Hey, just so you know, I’ve got little ones that aren’t so much because I was thinking if the kid liked it, like how cool is it for a five-year-old to like one of my pictures, like, you know, it’s not about 7 35 bucks, but I’ve got little ones, you know, if you, so they made their way over to the print bin and they’re standing in front of the print, Ben and family can barely see over it.
And he’s like this. Yes. A few steps closer again, because I saw him getting in the conversation and I heard his dad say, well, you can have this. Yes. I can have the share. you can have this. Or you can have the shirt, which camp both. You got to pick one. And then family looks up at his dad. He points at the space.
His dad looks at me and he goes, I guess we’ll take this. Huh? Wow. Right. And he goes, we’ll buy it. But if only two ship could ship it to us, I said, I’ll ship it to you, but I’m gonna ship it to him. What’s your name? Little guy. Cause I need to know. I just need to know your name. Look, I said, Finley said, okay, Finley, I’m going to ship this picture to you in the act.
What do you live, family? What’s your address? And he said, he looked up at his dad. He’s like 1 6, 7, his dad Alex’s dad was like wanting him to learn his address. Right. So was like 1 67 and he got it. Right. So we go, okay, cool. I said, well, it’s going to be about two weeks for it to come in the mail in the, you know, here’s my card.
Let me know if you guys don’t get it. And why do you like that picture so much Finley and he’s five. He says, yeah, I don’t know. It’s just interesting. It’s one person who has a two colored hand you five, right? I said, well, let me tell you the story about this picture. I sit in the far north. I said, if you, if you go the other side of it and I’m talking to a five-year-old, so watered it down.
Five-year-old style, sit on the other side of the world world. There’s a country called Vietnam. And in the north, there’s a lot of big mountains in the north. And there are people in those mountains that take a plant called indigo and they grow it and they pull it up and they boil it in water and they make colors with it out of the plant.
They make the blue and they make the green and they make other colors, some other things. Right. But this woman made indigo die with these and she makes blankets cause it’s in the mountain. So it gets cold. So she makes these blankets to keep per family warm. Yeah. Five-year-old story. So he was just like, wow.
Okay, cool. And they say, okay, thank you, sir. Okay. We two weeks and they start to walk out and the father has this question mark, above his head as he walks out, just like I could tell by his face, he’s just going. As he’s walking, he’s shaking his head and he turns around and he said, man, I got to share this with you because that first off family right there, right there.
First of all, I’ve never seen my son go beeline, right. Towards a piece of art or anything like that. Like he likes, you know, dinosaurs and talk to trucks and Legos or whatnot. Yeah. According to me, like nothing like, like, and I don’t understand why I have no, when he did it and I bought it. I still don’t. I still didn’t get it.
But you told me this story. I just gotta share it with you. I don’t know why I’m going to be sharing with this with you because family’s named after his grandfather is his mother. There’s Mr. Finley. He passed away two weeks ago and Mr. Finley fought in the Vietnamese war. Oh my. And I can’t tell you why in the hell this has happening.
I don’t know. But I just wanted to share that with you. So for me, it kind of gives me chills to think about what’s happening behind the veil. Right. We don’t know what’s happening behind the veil. Like Finley’s, grandfather’s spirit is still could be around family, his grandfather, I guarantee you had some trauma from his, what he saw in Vietnam.
Most likely, I don’t know, but probably did. Right. And genetically we’re passing our DNA and our genes down to our children. And so I think that this was a way that now his grandson can live with a beautiful giving image of Vietnam open,
Daran Herrman: [00:55:08] so openness as opposed to closed, right. The hands facing up. Man.
That’s so interesting. Okay. So, so you have like now much more successful photographer, get to do it full, which to most photographers that’s to assess and its own self. And you’ve gone through a bunch of ups and downs, obviously along the way. Any advice you’d give like your high school self you’re you’re, you know, you’re doing the yearbook self, and anything you would say to you back then.
Greg Davis: [00:55:39] Poof, that’s a good question because we can all use advice even now. I mean, get, give me some advice. It’s always good to have mentors. It’s always good to have people in front of you who have gone down this path. You know, it would have been amazing. I mean, I I’m happy with the way things are, but it really would w what would happen if I would have gone to that art?
When I said, when dad said, where do you want to, what do you want to do soon art school? If I would have gone to art school and really used the gift, maybe it wouldn’t have been a gift at that point, maybe wait, and needed to wait. So you don’t, you can’t question what it is, you know, like it, it happened the way that it happened and I’m happy that it happened that way.
It’s it’s I wouldn’t change it. Advice to the young man. Just. You know, back then, I didn’t have a clue. I just be authentic and treat people with kindness and don’t sweat the small stuff and, you know, just try to find purpose in your life, you know, try, you know, have faith, devotion, yeah. Purpose. And that’s, we’re all here to connect to something greater than ourself, you know, or, or we have, or we’ve given up hope completely.
And don’t believe in that that’s one way to live and that’s okay. But I think most of us are looking to connect to something greater than ourselves. Where do we find that connection and how do we find that connection through our partner, through our, you know, our work through our community? You know, what about
Daran Herrman: [00:57:09] any regrets along the way?
Greg Davis: [00:57:14] I don’t think so. I don’t think so. Cause they’ve all been learning experiences, you know, I mean the attack, you know, I could say, well, I’ve kind of regret walking into that bar that night or whatever, or walking into that situation that night, but he’s such a different person, but it really changed my life, you know?
Bad shit can do. Can I say that on here? Oh, you can say whatever you want. I bet you can. It happened to all of us. Right. And, and, and, and it’s it’s can be the biggest blessing ever. And it was, it is, you know, I, I forgive him, the guys, it took me a while to forgive them. And I think, I think that forgiveness is huge.
And, and the word you can say, the word I forgive them, but you know, when you’ve truly forgiven somebody because he can
Daran Herrman: [00:57:58] let go. Totally. Yeah. You don’t forgive them if you’re still holding on, right.
Greg Davis: [00:58:04] You still carry it around the side. It’s
Daran Herrman: [00:58:05] freedom. When you can let go. It’s hard to do it is. So I end every podcast with this question.
But that’ll be my last question. So how would you like to be remembered?
Greg Davis: [00:58:17] Well, fortunate actually, I’m in a visual art, you know and I could simply say, you know, my work is going to live on. And through my art, I would like to be known through the art. I mean, that’s going to be my voice when I’m gone.
Right. So I could, could lean on that and say, you know, in the work you can see the spirit, you can see the empathy, you can see the compassion for others. You can see the, we are one in the work. I hope that’s where it’s coming from. Okay. It’s coming from, why can’t we all just get along? Let’s all realize how beautiful we are individually, no matter where we are, where we’re from, who we are, what stuff we’ve done.
Even if you have been a bad person, it doesn’t mean you can’t move out of that. I mean, you can move through that. So hopefully the work, you know, will be a voice for me. Once this physical body is gone At the end of the day, it’s about family and about community and being important and giving to those in your immediate circle.
I think, you know, you, we all have reaches, you know, and those reaches are important, but ultimately it comes down to that inner circle and just trying to be real and authentic and have conversations that have meaning. And you know, there’s a, in Mexico, the day of the dead, they believe that you died twice.
The first time that you die is when your physical body passes. The second time that you die is when your name is last spoken, right?
Daran Herrman: [00:59:41] And it might be awhile for years,
Greg Davis: [00:59:42] especially with the work I, you know, I’m not going for fame. It’s a, it’s a slippery slope. I see it. I’ve witnessed it in other people. And I’d like for the work to be known and the, like for the work to really speak to people and they really feel connected to, to that.
It’s all about them. You know, at the end of the day, it’s about educating people through the work, but it’s also about, and I get to witness this, that that’s the beauty again, that goes back to me, hustling the way that I hustle, getting the work in front of people and me being there is I get to witness the connection that’s made.
So it’s this triangle impacted and co-creating the work with the sun. Bringing it to someone else who’s then having their own individual experience of that. And so what a gift
Daran Herrman: [01:00:24] I’ll it has been a big pleasure to have you on the podcast today. Greg Davis, photography.com and I’ll have a bunch of all your social leaks in the in the show notes, but
Greg Davis: [01:00:34] I enjoyed it.
Great. Thank you so much. Cheers. Yeah.