Side Hustle City

Jason Alghussein on Marrying Art, Technology, and Entrepreneurship

November 12, 2023 Adam Koehler & Kyle Stevie with Jason Alghussein Season 4 Episode 54
Jason Alghussein on Marrying Art, Technology, and Entrepreneurship
Side Hustle City
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Side Hustle City
Jason Alghussein on Marrying Art, Technology, and Entrepreneurship
Nov 12, 2023 Season 4 Episode 54
Adam Koehler & Kyle Stevie with Jason Alghussein

Send us a Text Message.

Have you ever wondered how one can bridge the gap between creativity and technology? Meet Jason Alghussein, a versatile talent who embodies the perfect blend of artistry and technical acumen. His journey from graphic design to software engineering brilliantly demonstrates how he interweaves creativity with his technical skills in everyday tasks. Jason shares his insights on the undervaluing of artists in society and highlights the importance of side hustles for artists to earn a decent living.

Join us as we explore Jason's experience in the vibrant city of Cincinnati, where he transformed his passion for painting into a reliable source of income. His story of being featured in Cincinnati Magazine is a testament to his talent and dedication. Jason captivates us with his journey of creating a mural for the Blink festival, symbolizing hope and joy.

In an industry often overlooked for its financial aspect, Jason shares his experience of self-financing his mural painting. He navigates the challenges of budgeting and managing rentals, revealing the behind-the-scenes of a successful art project. We also get a sneak peek into his ventures in real estate, where he's currently renovating an abandoned building. Don't miss this enlightening episode as we explore the intersection of art, creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship with Jason Alghussein.

As you're inspired to embark on your side hustle journey after listening to this episode, you might wonder where to start or how to make your vision a reality. That's where our trusted partner, Reversed Out Creative comes in.

With a team of experienced professionals and a track record of helping clients achieve their dreams, they are ready to assist you in reaching your goals. To find out more, visit www.reversedout.com. We also recently launched our YouTube Channel, Marketing Pro Trends,  which summarizes all of our blog posts.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Send us a Text Message.

Have you ever wondered how one can bridge the gap between creativity and technology? Meet Jason Alghussein, a versatile talent who embodies the perfect blend of artistry and technical acumen. His journey from graphic design to software engineering brilliantly demonstrates how he interweaves creativity with his technical skills in everyday tasks. Jason shares his insights on the undervaluing of artists in society and highlights the importance of side hustles for artists to earn a decent living.

Join us as we explore Jason's experience in the vibrant city of Cincinnati, where he transformed his passion for painting into a reliable source of income. His story of being featured in Cincinnati Magazine is a testament to his talent and dedication. Jason captivates us with his journey of creating a mural for the Blink festival, symbolizing hope and joy.

In an industry often overlooked for its financial aspect, Jason shares his experience of self-financing his mural painting. He navigates the challenges of budgeting and managing rentals, revealing the behind-the-scenes of a successful art project. We also get a sneak peek into his ventures in real estate, where he's currently renovating an abandoned building. Don't miss this enlightening episode as we explore the intersection of art, creativity, technology, and entrepreneurship with Jason Alghussein.

As you're inspired to embark on your side hustle journey after listening to this episode, you might wonder where to start or how to make your vision a reality. That's where our trusted partner, Reversed Out Creative comes in.

With a team of experienced professionals and a track record of helping clients achieve their dreams, they are ready to assist you in reaching your goals. To find out more, visit www.reversedout.com. We also recently launched our YouTube Channel, Marketing Pro Trends,  which summarizes all of our blog posts.

Everyday AI: Your daily guide to grown with Generative AI
Can't keep up with AI? We've got you. Everyday AI helps you keep up and get ahead.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Support the Show.

Subscribe to Side Hustle City and join our Community on Facebook

Speaker 3:

Welcome to Side Hustle City and thanks for joining us. Our goal is to help you connect to real people who found success turning their side hustle into a main hustle, and we hope you can too. I'm Adam Kaler. I'm joined by Kyle Stevie, my co-host. Let's get started. All right. Welcome back everybody to the Side Hustle City podcast. We got a special guest with us today Jason Agusane. How you doing? I'm doing well. Thanks for having me, adam and the Cincinnati guy here actually in studio. This is wild, I know. And, of course, kyle Stevie here. Yep, yeah, actually actually came in. Yeah, to be physically present with our physically present guest for once.

Speaker 1:

Nice and everybody gets to go on a two week vacation when they want to. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

We'll be on another one here soon. So this is our busy vacation time. Jason, this is like it's our me and my wife say anniversary. It's her birthday. It's Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Nice. Yeah, we got all the crazy stuff going on, so, but speaking of Halloween Horror Nights, a lot of creative people down there and you, sir are creative.

Speaker 2:

I am, I am I. My degree is in graphic design and web development and I do, you know, fine art and photography and stuff like that as well, and kind of eventually transitioned more and more down the the programming, software engineering rabbit hole. But you know, I'm still an artist at heart, just doing my thing.

Speaker 1:

Love it. I will be not speaking this whole podcast thing because you guys are going to nerd out.

Speaker 3:

Well, I don't do too much art anymore, but I also went to school for art. I got one that aren't student Pittsburgh, but it was for computer, animation, multimedia. But I went to school for the creative and form arts downtowns. You know pretty much my whole career. I've been doing design and web design and all that good stuff, but haven't really personally. I mean I do HTML and everything, but I haven't. I don't do it, I just hand that off to other people and I don't do a whole lot of development work. Yeah, but you're also a painter, I mean, you're more like the fine artist probably too.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, I always kind of had like a strong artistic creative bone in my body where, you know, ever since I was a little kid, I was always drawing and painting and then that kind of eventually led me down into graphic design in terms of, you know, college and my career and things like that. And then it was in while I was in school. You know, when you, when you're taking a graphic design degree program, you're kind of required to take some introductory programming courses as well. So HTML, css, things like that. It's kind of like very introductory, very basic, but parallel to my, my design degree, I kept going down the rabbit hole of programming, like taking JavaScript and NET and database engineering and things like that. So I kind of consider myself like left brain, right brain, you know, not just not just an artist or a designer and not just a programmer, right, I'm someone that tries to do both and can do both and try to do both pretty well for my clients and you know things like that.

Speaker 3:

Well, and Kyle, you will talk during this because he's also into real estate. All right, that'll work. Yeah, tell us a little bit about. So I'm also into real estate, which is weird, but I mean, maybe it's because, like, artists don't get paid a whole lot. So we're like, hey, we need to supplement this yeah, if we're ever going to get out of this world where we're freelancing and we're, you know, getting paid nothing to work for, you know a nine to five job or whatever, we have to do something else, yeah, you got to have the side hustle, you know you got to have it.

Speaker 2:

So, yeah, I think it's kind of a shame and I don't feel this way about artists, but I feel that society feels this way about artists, which is that in general, you know, they're undervalued, underpaid, things like that. And that's actually part of the reason why I chose to, you know, in terms of my career, transition more into software engineering, just because it's like hey, this is a little better pay. You know, like graphic design, even if you are a graduate and you have a degree, I mean, starting salary of a graphic designer is not super impressive, you know. And then everyone always wants to like hey, if you design this logo, like, you'll get some exposure. You know everyone wants to pay you an exposure bucks, but you know I can't pay my mortgage with exposure bucks, so it's like you know I need real, you know cold, hard American dollars, right? So this software engineering is a little more up my alley in terms of, you know, just getting paid decently well, but also like I really enjoy the technical challenge of it and I feel like I would be really bored if I were just painting you know doing art and painting and things like that and I also think I'd be really bored if I were just doing programming. And so actually being a front end web engineer is like kind of perfect for me, because I design user interfaces and so I'm using my creative side to, you know, go along with the branding and marketing of the whole you know, overall strategy of whatever the website or app is that we're building. But then I get to focus on the technical execution and using my more analytical side and I feel like having the ability to flex both muscles on projects while I work is nice for me, because I would be really bored if I just did one or the other. Yeah, yeah, well, what did you? Where'd you go to school? I went to Cincinnati State.

Speaker 3:

Oh yeah, I went to Cincinnati State. Yeah, hell yeah, dude, I took some classes there.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

I wanted to get a bachelor's degree. So I'd gotten a two year degree from an art school, right, and it was a national accreditation, it wasn't the regional accreditation, so not all of my credits transferred over and I wanted to get a bachelor's degree and I needed to get those gen eds out of the way, because we had no gen eds at the college I went to so I had to take my writing classes and all that. But you know, I took my HTML class there, my CSS class. A buddy of mine got his web degree there. Yeah yeah, that school is underrated, like seriously. They just, they just focus on what you need.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I think I think it's a phenomenal school and I really, now that I'm older and looking back and I have more maturity to appreciate certain things that I've experienced through my life, I realized, like what a great opportunity it was to go to school there. And it was, you know, a very affordable college, really small, intimate class sizes, where I developed, you know, really good long time connections with all of my teachers. Like I still go out to coffee with you know, my old English teacher and grab beer with my old graphic design instructors and stuff like that, and so it's really cool to go to a college and form those bonds with your instructors that become like lifelong, lifelong bonds. But it's also really great to go to a school where you are actually taught extremely valuable hard skills and you know, really, at the end of the day, it's like anyone can be like a manager or this or that, and I think, at the end of the day, when we're talking about building a web app or you know designing, you know anything. It's like you need to know how to use design software tools. Right, you need to know how to build an architect and program a web application and how do you put that onto. You know a hosting environment, you know AWS, server configuration, things like that. So it's like to go to that school and have such an affordable college tuition and then be able to graduate and come out of there with like just really banger awesome skills, right, Like I only have a two year degree. Right, I only have a two year degree. I joke around with people and tell them I have a four year degree because it took me four years to get, but I only hold an Associates of Arts, of Graphic Design, that's what I had for a year, man.

Speaker 3:

And then that's when I decided I was like I was in a job interview one time and I said what would be good to pair this with? They said marketing, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I agreed with marketing right.

Speaker 3:

That's what I went and got my bachelor's in. But you know, I was able to transfer a lot of those credits over. And you know, I've got a nephew who's in his senior year in high school right now and my brother and I were talking and my brother's wife we were talking. We were like, hey, you know what should he? He wants to be an audio video, he wants to do this, he wants to do that. But I was like, just go to Cincinnati State the first two years. Like, if you're not exactly sure what you want to do, just go to Cincinnati State for a couple of years. Take those gen eds they're a third. It's like dude, it's like a third of the cost that you see, super affordable. And it all transfers over.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So why would you go to UC for the first two years? Yeah, would you just do that.

Speaker 2:

Cincinnati State is totally like a little hidden gem and I think and this kind of goes back to like how society values things or undervalues things, right, like you know, as an artist I always felt kind of like Society doesn't appreciate other artists, right, you know, it's like they're not getting paid very well. I think sometimes people consider artists to be like these, like you know, loopy, doopey people that just like oh yeah, you know well, and you do, you paint and you.

Speaker 3:

It's not just on a canvas, your canvas is the city.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So I, um, a while ago I painted a mural. It was actually during COVID. I live across the street, I live right by Finley Market Okay, I live by Finley Market and OTR and across the street from my building was this really ugly, dilapidated, abandoned building that my front windows of my building kind of look out and face, and the side of that building had been, you know, parched over with just concrete, so like you're talking about a 50 foot tall, solid, gray concrete wall, beautiful. Yeah, it was very beautiful, very beautiful, and so kind of like during COVID, you know, there was not really much to do. I kind of had, you know, a bit of free time and some money and was like, hey, this would be a great time to like maybe just go paint a mural on this building, which I didn't have any permission to paint, this mural by the way.

Speaker 3:

Forgiveness, not permission. Yeah, yeah, exactly so, like dude, it's over the Rhine. Like they're spinning out cars right now yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, I mean, there's worse things going on than you beautifying a gray, 50 foot tall building. Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And I kind of, I kind of thought I you know, my attitude towards the thing is like you know I genuinely did try to get in touch with whoever in the building but it was like impossible. Like the right bang is, well, the building was wrapped up in an LLC. Oh yeah, and that LLC. Then I look up who owns that LLC, where that LLC is registered. That LLC was registered back to the abandoned building you know the statue and the statutory agent was like a totally obvious fake name as Robert Jones, oh yeah, you know what I mean. And so I kind of had done a bit of research and dug deeper into the title and kind of came to the conclusion that it was owned by someone previously who had been convicted of like some sexual offense crimes or you know something like that. And when I realized that I was like dude, I'm just going to go paint this building and like I don't think anyone's going to give a shit if I painted this thing or not, and, you know, and if, if I do have some type of problem or lawsuit or conflict down the line, like I'll just deal with that when that happens, but like, for the time being, right now, I'm just going to go ahead and paint the thing, and so one day I just kind of like rented a boom lift and got a ton of paint from Home Depot and just kind of started painting this thing and it's a painting of, of orange groves, um, of Palestinian jaffa oranges. So my dad my dad was a refugee, uh, from Palestine from the war of 1948 when Israel was established, and, um, subsequently, my family, um, all became refugees at this, at this point in history, um, and my family had owned a pretty considerable amount of land in which they grew oranges on, and so part of our family history always kind of reminisces about this these orange groves that my father, you know, when he was a child, would get to run around and play in with his siblings and things like that. Just like how everyone in the United States, if you say Florida orange, like people know what that is. In the Middle East, and also in Europe, if you say jaffa orange, people know what that is Okay. And so jaffa is a port city on the coast of the Mediterranean and Palestine where the oranges were actually shipped out of and exported to. You know different countries throughout. You know Europe, africa, the Middle East, you know just kind of all around you got access to all that yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And then what's what's really interesting too is, um the history of oranges and Palestine. Basically they were like U S agricultural agriculturalists or hort hortical, hortical lists, and um that actually copied some of the same grafting techniques of Palestinian farmers and started applying that to the Florida orange orange trade. And this goes back I mean, this goes back to like the 1800s and and all of this history is actually really well documented but it's not very widely known to, you know, just common everyday people. But you know, the pal palasinian orange growing has been going on for centuries and oh sure, um, and then you know those techniques were sort of you know, brought over to to the United States, you know, back in the day.

Speaker 3:

So it's kind of it's kind of cool to be a part of that little history, it's cool to have something like that in a place like Cincinnati too, cause when you think about Cincinnati, you don't think of this extreme diversity, like we're not New York.

Speaker 2:

We're not LA.

Speaker 1:

We're essentially black and white. You know it's like 50% black, 50% white.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, yeah, you don't have like a bunch of. Palestinians here who've got?

Speaker 2:

yeah, yeah, there's you know there's a small, so I mean for me, I actually the first time I ever met any Palestinian people like in my entire life beside my own family was I was like 21 years old, 20 years old or something like that, and it was when I had moved to Cincinnati. Um, and yeah, and I happened to like be walking down the sidewalk one day and I heard some people speaking Arabic and like a cell phone shop, right and like, and I was in the hood, right, so I'm, I'm walking into this like cricket wireless, like in the hood, like Gilbert Gilbert Avenue.

Speaker 3:

Where's people selling cell phones outside of my place in front of dollars? Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so, like I hear these guys like speaking Arabic and you know I only speak like a very, very limited amount of Arabic, like you know I can say hello, how are you Go fuck yourself? You know about as much German as I see yeah, yeah, yeah, and so like I walk into the cell phone shop and I say which is kind of funny now that I look back on that, because Akhlan was, Akhlan means like welcome, so you don't. You don't say welcome when you're walking.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, you know exactly, exactly so, like. But the guy understood, like what I was saying was like hello, right, yeah, and you.

Speaker 2:

The word Akhlan can also just be used, like you know, less formally to say hello like Akhlan, you know like, but but for me, at the time I'm just saying Akhlan was Akhlan, because when I would travel to the Middle East, that's how people would say hello to me and I'm think I'm hearing it as hello, hello. And now that I have a more deep understanding of Arabic, I realized like oh, this means welcome, and it like you don't really say it when you walk into someone's house or someone's shop to them. Yeah, you know, they say that to you. It's like when you're at the airport they say have a nice trip, and they're working at the TSA or something.

Speaker 3:

You're like you too, and you're like wait a minute, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, exactly, or? Or yeah you know those kinds of situations. Well, it's funny because that I'm talking to you, because Sunday we were in. What the heck was I like? I was like I'm like what the heck was I last week in Orlando and we were looking for Mass, right. So where my wife looks it up and we find an 1130 Mass and it's at St Jude Church in Orlando, we go in there. Well, it's a Maronite church, which is the Eastern right, and they're a separate thing. They've been doing it. I mean, they've been doing it the way they do it, yeah, for millennia, like over millennia, or is it ox or was it Catholic? It was Catholic. So they're in there, they, they're, they're good with the Pope, the Holy See, but they have a different process. Like I'd say, 80% of it is what you would experience if you went to a Roman Catholic church. But when you open their book, yeah, part of the Mass was in Aramaic, yeah, so when you open the book, the right side, they have a set of Aramaic and my buddy Lath, who I believe is Palestinian I posted a picture of it and he goes that's Arabic on the other side of the, of the, of the Aramaic and it's it was Syriac Aramaic. So I guess Syrian and Aramaic or kind of the Syrian type of old language, yeah, but it was cool because I'm sitting there and it sounded like Arabic.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 3:

But it's like, literally the, it's the language Jesus spoke. Yeah, yeah, so I'm sitting in this mass and they're actually doing this. It's almost like it's cool. When you go to like a Latin mass, you know you're like, wow, I'm a Latin mass, this is pretty cool, but go back even further than that. Yeah, and that's what they were speaking.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. And then and like even there's a ton of different dialects of Arabic. So it's like you know people that live in Egypt and speak, you know Egyptian colloquial Arabic. If they go to Morocco, people in Morocco might have a hard time understanding them, or you know?

Speaker 3:

same with Portuguese. Yeah, brazil and you go to Portugal, it's like, yeah, two different, like it sounds different. When I was in Portugal, it sounded like Ukrainian, yeah. I was like this sounds like Ukrainian, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Spain. They use like Spanish, yeah, catalan and well, you know Spanish those two are totally different. Like the Catalan, they speak their own basic language. Yeah, Derivatives from Spanish. But it's like Lionel Messi he still can't speak Catalan. He grew up in Argentina, yeah.

Speaker 3:

We've been Mexicans and Portuguese or Puerto Rican's. They have different ways of speaking and their slang is different. Yeah, so yeah, I totally understand that.

Speaker 1:

But yeah, like verb tenses, latin Americans, they don't use the second, they don't use second person familiar plural. So like I want the.

Speaker 3:

Cincinnati public.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, For us who went to places that actually cared about education. Let me explain it.

Speaker 3:

You grew up in Northern Kentucky. That's a fancy education. Now that's where you go.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, but basically like when I would say you like you two. Here there's a different verb conjugation. They don't use that in Latin America, oh, they still. They just use singular the whole way through.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, oh, I can see that getting confusing, but yeah, ok, well, that's wild, but I mean that's cool. You were able to meet up with people and then you were able to share some of your culture. Yeah, with Cincinnati, yeah, and there's probably people. Were there any stories or anything done on that?

Speaker 2:

Yes, so Cincinnati magazine actually ran like a feature piece on it. I was kind of like I was like whoa, six pages.

Speaker 3:

That's a classy magazine.

Speaker 2:

That's a lot of you know a lot of writing about the painting, right, and so I was pretty honored. I was pretty honored by that, especially because I had entered, I had entered the mural to be part of, like the blink, you know, to be lit up. Yes, Blink.

Speaker 3:

So I don't know what blink is, but blink in Cincinnati is this. It's like any kind of painting on a wall or whatever they. They do these like laser projections onto the paintings and make it look like they're coming alive. Kyle actually has a building down the street here. He's invested in Filey Filey.

Speaker 1:

Faley group from Brooklyn Filey's. The F A, I L E Is the people that painted it.

Speaker 3:

Oh, is that who painted your building?

Speaker 1:

They painted ours, and then we're first financial right next to it. It needs to get touched up.

Speaker 3:

Well, you got a guy right here, so there's a. So they make it look cool Like he's got a car on the side of the building, so it makes it look like it's kind of bouncing and driving, yeah, yeah, and, and they do it around windows and it's really really cool.

Speaker 2:

So you, you had you wanted to be a part of it. Yeah, so what? What happened was? You know, I painted the mural in 2020, like during COVID pandemic. And then, you know, because of the pandemic, large scale events, large scale events like blink, you know we're obviously put on hold for a few years, and so, you know, blink didn't run. And then, kind of like, really toward the end, you know, blink kind of announced like, hey, we're going to boot up for 2022. And you know, my mural had been, you know, painted in the city of Cincinnati for about two years already and I thought like, ok, hey, this will be cool, like I would love to have this mural like lit up during blink. And so I had submitted the mural to be a part of to, you know, officially be a part of blink. But you know, the location of my mural is kind of like just maybe like two or three blocks Outside of like the footprint of like where blink really operates and and is approved by the city of Cincinnati with permits and road closures and things like that. So it was not, ultimately was not included in blink. You know, the mural itself. However, the guys at blink really did a great job of including me in other other parts of this of oh, that's cool. Yeah, they had me paint a small mural in an alleyway you know infinitely market and then I also worked on. There was a secret walls battle on the side of Agar's studio and oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. And so I was a part of like the secret walls painting battle and stuff like that, and so so, although my mural was not able to be included in official blink capacity, the guys at blink really did do a great job of including me, you know. So I just want to throw that out there. But thank you, you know, justin, over at blink, for you know, including me and stuff. But the thing was was like I was still kind of bummed out that my, my mural, like my big mural, wasn't going to be lit up Right, and so I was like you know what, fuck it. Like let's just do this Right, like I'll light it up myself.

Speaker 3:

So I, oh, so you just take the bull by the horns. Yeah, dude, I just like I get unofficially be part of this.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, yeah. What are they going to do? Like I added so much value to this guy's building too, I know it's crazy, yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so the thing, the thing that's like kind of funny about this whole situation is, like, you know, I, the type of person I am, is like I'll always give something a shot, like you know, it's like okay, like well, let me, let me just see if I can raise the money and light it up and do this, and you know, and if it doesn't work out, like that's okay, but I'm not going to tell myself no, like oh, I can't do that, that's a crazy idea, I'll never be able to make it happen. Like my attitude towards pretty much anything is like just give it a shot, you know, like just give it a shot, try, you know, make that phone call network with people, try to see how we can pull this thing off, right, yeah. And so it was literally six weeks before blink actually was going to happen and I had kind of crashed a blink artist meetup because, like, keep in mind, I'm not officially a part of blink, you know doing their thing, right, so so I kind of crashed this meetup and I was. I was looking for someone who could help me with projection mapping, right, because I already had the mural. You know, I already had the mural. And then I also, because my background is in graphic design and animation and stuff I was like, well, I have the building and the mural and I I'm able to animate and do stuff on my computer, but I don't know about the equipment like projector equipment and projection mapping onto the building and stuff like that. So it's like if I can get someone to help me fill that void then we can do this project Right. And so I got really lucky that I was introduced to a guy named Byron Hutchins here in Cincinnati who does a lot of theater, like technical direction for theater things. So you know that's dealing with all. You know lighting and you know things for a theater set and projectors and just like the whole. You know music, switchboard equipment, computer animation like he's just brilliant on all of those things. And then what was really cool about this guy in particular was, as I was talking to him and I showed him my artwork and I was explaining like hey, I painted this you know picture of these Palestinian jaffa oranges, he was like, dude, say no more, I'm totally going to help you out at its heart. You know the painting symbolizes joy, right, you know, it's bright giant oranges against a big blue sky Happy times. Yeah, it's like it's happy times, it's good vibes, it's, you know, and it's kind of like a hope and a wish that we could return to that together, right, you know, not just as Palestinians but as Palestinians and Israelis and if anyone else who wants to come and visit and live in Palestine.

Speaker 3:

It sounds like something you would want to light up at Blink.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so, yeah, so, anyway, you know, I wanted, I wanted to light the thing up, and so what what had happened was, you know, just by chance, you know, I had met this guy, like I said, byron, who understood the history behind everything. And because he understood the history and meaning behind my art, he was like really enthusiastic about helping me. Right, he really wanted to help me. And I was like, dude, that's great, like because I need someone. I don't want help, just help. I want someone who like really gives a shit about this project, right.

Speaker 3:

Well, because you can get help with people like yeah, I'll do that. You got to beat them up about helping you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, no, no. It's like I really wanted someone like I could depend on and count on. And Byron was a dude that really came through for me and he's the guy that really made this all happen and and with him, you know, working with him, I was able to understand like, ok, well, how much are these projectors Like? Where do I? Where do we get them? How do we rent them? What kind of projectors do we need? Where do they need to be placed? You know all this stuff. There's so many logistical details that go into all of that. And you know he was able to like kind of help me plot out a budget. And then with that budget, I knew, ok, how much money do I need to raise? You know, to do this project? So I threw together a GoFundMe campaign for like 20 grand, because you know, renting these projectors themselves were that was like seven or eight grand, just like God, I think. Just renting the projectors for how long? Five days. So what's this? Blink, yeah, blink, is four days long, but we need to have the projectors like one day in advance to like calibrate right. So we had a five day rental on these projectors and that was in. That was above seven grand.

Speaker 3:

You were in the wrong business. Yeah, yeah, yeah, projector, round business.

Speaker 1:

You can only do the focusing from like what Seven thirty at night so well.

Speaker 2:

I mean, dude, these guys were up at like three or four or five am Working on this. It like it really took a lot of work from everybody and I basically also. These projectors are not. These are not like little tabletop actors. Ok, these things are the size of like a mini Cooper, OK these are. These are like high intensity laser projectors and basically. So here's the deal. The city wouldn't give me a permit, right, the city wouldn't give me a permit for a street closure because the city had already issued so many street and you were four officially part of?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, exactly.

Speaker 2:

Exactly so, and the reason so? The city wouldn't give me a permit, right, and so the reason why that's like relevant to any of this stuff is the best position to put the projectors in would have been like just directly in the middle of the street, right across from the building, ok. But because we weren't able to use the street, we had to bring the projectors closer to the building, which then decreases the amount of spread that's coming out of the lens of the yeah Right. So then what we had to do was when we realized, like hey, we're not going to be able to have a permit, we're not going to be able to use the street and we can't go further away. We have to go closer. We need to projectors, we need to. Yeah, we needed to cover the square footage of the building, and so we actually had two projectors set up, like kind of like cross beam, you know, like the left projectors projecting onto the right side of the building, the right, yeah, yeah. So like, and then you know, we have to split the video footage and assign half of the video, like you know, half of the frames go to this projector and half of the frames go to that project, wow, and then it all needs to be playing in synchrony, wow, yeah. And then also, like, by the way, it's all synced up with music, so we have to have a whole speaker set up and things like that. And then the trigonometry like you know, these guys that were calculating the trigonometry of, like, the light disbursement from the lens of the projectors, they're like, hey, we need to put these projectors seven and a half feet up off the ground, right? So then, well, what do we got to do? We need to build scaffolding towers to put these projectors on. Well, the fricking projectors weigh like 450 pounds. Oh man so now, how do you get a 450 pound piece of electronic equipment seven, eight feet up off the ground? Now we need a forklift right. Oh my God. So it's like the amount of dude, just like it will take you an entire business day just to like make a phone call and get a forklift to show up.

Speaker 1:

Sure.

Speaker 2:

Right, like so, just that. And then, like I'm managing, like I had to pull guys off of my construction project because I, you know, I'm having a house under construction here in Newport. I'm pulling my part of my crew off of my construction project to say, hey, you know, chris Rado, I need you guys to come over here, pick up a truck, you know, get your truck in your trailer, pick up some scaffolding equipment, meet me here at this time. We're going to build these things, you know. And at the same time, I'm doing all that. I'm also like trying to like hype up social media, to like run this go fund me campaign, right. And then I'm managing this like go fund me campaign. I'm managing like a whole crew of people helping me with equipment and also, by the way, like I need to be animating and like designing graphics for like the actual animation that's right. Project right, right, yeah. And so I I had dude, I mean I hadn't slept for like two weeks, basically leading, leading into blank, okay, and I actually kind of like last minute, one thing that was going on is like so my, my, you know, macbook Pro is like a 2015 MacBook Pro and it's, it's been a great computer. I've had it this whole time. It's like it's really held up for all the work I do. But when I opened it up and I started to dive into actual animation work, my computer like just kept crashing and, like you know, not able. You know, 2015, macbook Pro not really up to snuff to handle, you know 2020, adobe After Effects and you know, just like all the rendering and stuff like that. And so I had realized like dude, my computer, I'm not going to be able to get this project done. You know, on my own Last minute, just like Hail Mary, this is probably like three days before blank I'm realizing like dude, I'm not going to be able to finish this. I call up a buddy of mine, mike, who also wants to Cincinnati State, and I call him up and I was like Mike, you know, I got to check for you, I'm coming, I'm coming over to your house and you're going to help me animate this. We're going to drink a bunch of coffee.

Speaker 3:

People like when you say check, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And so, you know, big shout out to my buddy, mike Wolfram, for helping me animate, and also my buddy, greg, who I went to college with as well, helped me, you know, set up different things in After Effects to like really get the project on a good, on a good footing, and so I had done. Basically what I had done is, you know, I had to split up some of this animation work in order to really get it done in time. Oh yeah, in time for Blink and Mike and I were both up. I mean, I wasn't anticipating this, but like I slept over at his house for like two or three nights, oh geez, we just I showed up, we worked all night until like three or four am passed out, you know, woke up again like a couple hours later, went back into the animation studio, drank more coffee, cranking out. You know, I'm basically doing the design and prep work of the graphics and then handing them off to Mike to actually animate the graphics on his, on his computer, because his computer had like way more CPU GPU meat, you know to.

Speaker 3:

You know to yeah, when I was in college, man just rendering those animations and everything was just took days. Yeah, no, no, no, no.

Speaker 2:

It's people and people like, if you don't actually have a like technical experience with like animation work and rendering and stuff like that, oh you're in trouble. That is a huge amount of time. It's a huge amount of time.

Speaker 3:

I had a 30 second animation in college and a bunch of SGI computers in a lab, yeah, and I think I had 11 of them running overnight. Yeah, to render my animation. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so this, you know this honest and also I mean, here's the thing is like you're talking about like a what was that? Like a 30 second?

Speaker 3:

animation or so. Oh, this was in 97 too. Yeah, it was a 30 second animation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so my my animation was actually six minutes and like 45 seconds long, so like. Oh my gosh to render all that out was actually like a lot right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And so, and then there are certain aspects like of rendering, where they can render those frames pretty quickly because it's less complicated. But then we had done. There's like one part of the animation where we have like the oranges are kind of like bursting with you know like kind of like a burst, like liquid effects you know, but that kind of like liquidy explosion type of animation. You know that takes a lot of computational power for a computer to generate that and render it. So so basically you know we do this project. While Mike and I were in the animation studio pooling all nighters drinking coffee that I actually had the crew of the projection guys, all the set projector guys, were down on set getting the equipment set up. So I actually wasn't physically on the set while all this equipment was being set up. I watched it all get set up later through the security footage of my neighbor, right.

Speaker 3:

Oh my god, oh my god, a rain camera or something, yeah.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So like my buddy, my buddy, a neighbor, you know he's got a bunch of cameras, like you know, just on top of his garage, you know, just security cameras, and like one of them is just perfectly angled, like at my orange grove mural and like the area in front of it. So I have all this footage of like these dudes, you know, unloading these huge projectors like out of the back of this truck, getting the forklift, lifting it up, and then they're there at, like you know, they're still there, like two, three in the morning, okay, and then it starts raining. It starts raining on these guys and so then they have to set up a fricking tent above all of the electronic equipment. Right, you know, because just people, I really have to express how thankful and appreciative of I am of like the whole crew that helps me with this project, because I think if you're just someone who, like, walks by this art exhibit and you see it and you're like, oh, cool, but you would have no idea what went, in how much how much backbreaking labor really went in.

Speaker 3:

Well, I mean just just people that we talk about, like talk to on this podcast, and I'm sure the people to listen to this podcast like just trying to get people to do anything. Yeah, like. Yeah, this was a passion project for you.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was a total passion project for me and I was hoping so I had put like, basically because this project really consumed, like you know, full six weeks of my time, and when I mean like full six weeks, I'm talking like 80 hour work weeks, like I was fully, I was completely unplugged from all of my clients, like actually doing real.

Speaker 3:

I know you got to get, you got to make money you got to, you got a house that you're trying to read. Yeah, yeah, yeah, like.

Speaker 2:

I have a whole crew of people that were working for me. I have, you know, my own mortgage payment and food and stuff.

Speaker 3:

Everything, yeah.

Speaker 2:

You know. So I, you know, in the GoFundMe budget I kind of had allocated, you know like, and was clear with everybody Like I'd like to pay myself, you know like three or $4,000 for you know, doing this whole project Sounds fair, you know.

Speaker 3:

I mean how long the whole project last.

Speaker 2:

Like it was a well, the the blink exhibit itself lasted, you know, for four days during blink, but all this setup yeah, I mean this was, this was six weeks.

Speaker 3:

You painted the thing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, this was six weeks of just straight busting ass Right. And then here's the deal, though I didn't even get to pay myself that for. Oh, there was overrun or something. Yeah, there were, there were absolutely overruns, Right, and so I've reached into my own pockets to, you know, pay that out and I think at the end of the, the whole project, I I kept, like you know, a thousand bucks and it was like, dude, you know the amount of driving and gas and things, that's like that I did. And I had also, you know, like I said, I had I financed the painting of the mural myself and that cost me 10 grand out of out of my own pocket. Oh, paint and everything else. Yeah, I felt like I had already contributed, like my financial contribution. I'm also contributing my time and all this stuff and it's like if, if people can just help me out to cover some of the related expenses, that would be great.

Speaker 3:

Tell us how people I mean, are you doing art for people that that may want something like say, somebody has a building?

Speaker 2:

You know, I mean, if someone wants to commission a mural with me, I mean they can reach out and we can talk about it. The thing that's hard is like again, you know, kind of going back to this earlier conversation it's like people don't want to pay, like an artist's like real money, and and then it's it's really hard for me as a software engineer. So like, let me step away from my computer where I'm making good money, to then go do something for cheap for someone because they're undervaluing my work.

Speaker 1:

You know what I mean. It's like so.

Speaker 2:

I'm down, Like if someone hits me up and wants to do a project, I would, I would love to. But, like you know, I also want to be like paid, like accordingly, or I actually would rather just not be paid at all and allow it to be like a generous gift from myself of my time that other people can appreciate. But I feel like there's this like middle ground where, like, someone pays you and they only pay you a little bit and then they feel like, oh, they paid you and they're entitled to this thing, but like I, you know, you wasn't really compensated according. You know to what I feel, Right, you know. So it's I'd rather like dude, like pay me well, or just like don't pay me.

Speaker 3:

Right, you know what I mean. It's like I don't want to, it's one or the other Like. I just want to be clear on what this is.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 3:

So, like I mean, if, if you're going to pay me and I got to deal with it, then yours got to pay me what I need to get paid and like to be clear.

Speaker 2:

Like you know, this project that I did, that I paid for for, cost me $10,000 hard expense for supplies and materials and things like that. So it's like if I'm going to do a mural for someone, it's like, dude, that needs to be like $30,000. Yeah, you know what I mean. Like it's, it's not like.

Speaker 3:

It's not a project that takes a week to do. I mean, this is not at all.

Speaker 2:

I mean, I worked on that thing for a month, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

You know so and like that's. The other thing is like the level of detail and certain things like that. And also the painting of the orange grove mural. Like I'll be honest with you, I actually deliberately and intentionally kept it like a pretty simple organic shape form, because when you're working on a building that's 50 feet tall and you're trying to have, you know, tight geometric shapes or something like that and like a high level of detail, all that stuff, all of that equates to more time, and more time means more money. Right, you know, I'm renting, you know, a 50 foot tall boom lift. You know that that alone cost me a couple hundred bucks a day. Sure, right, you know. So it's like you're, by adding a little more detail, you're actually adding several thousand dollars of expense to the overall project. And because this was a project that I was not commissioned for, I was not getting paid at all anything I approached it kind of like okay, hey, I need to get this done at this kind of timeframe, this kind of budget. And then, tactically and deliberately, I kept this painting more on the simple side, like if you're an artist and you're looking at this painting, you kind of would see, it's like okay, there's a couple of branches, there's a couple of leaves, some big orange circles, it's like it's kind of an easy thing if you're an artist to do. And the other thing is is, like you know, if you're painting an orange tree and you know a branch, you know tree branch goes a little to the left or a little to the right, that's okay. If you're painting someone's face and an eyeball is a little to the left or a little to the right, that looks really weird, right? So the subject matter itself of what I was painting was also a very forgiving subject matter for me to work with and that was intentional. Like when I, when I painted this mural, I actually wasn't like, hey, I'm going to paint an orange tree. That wasn't really like my thought process. My thought process was man, that building is really ugly. I kind of wish there were a mural there. Maybe I should paint one. Well, what should I paint? Well, I need to keep it kind of simple, because you know of logistics and expense and things like that. So, like, let me, let me keep it kind of simple. So let me do something organic. You know, like what would be a good thing to have there? Well, why don't I do a tree? You know, why don't I do like a, like a cool tree, and like I had done different paintings of like really like imaginative tree houses before. So I kind of have like a little bit of a series of these like like interesting cool tree house paintings that I've done and I thought like you know what, why don't I just like do one of those like large scale on this building? Yeah, and so I kind of had decided like, oh, like let me do, like I'll paint a tree, some you know some kind of tree on this building. And then when I settled on that idea of a tree, then that kind of I started to think about like, oh, let me do an orange tree. You know, like, let me do the orange tree, like from the stories that my dad told me about Palestine, you know, like, let me, let me do this, like this has a lot of meaning to my family Also, you know, when my dad you know my dad passed away, I mean I think about him every day and like, like, let me have something to like, you know, commemorate him and his memory. And I think that this, this orange tree, it, you know it, doesn't just symbolize you know Palestine and you know Palestinian stuff, and like the history of you know old stories back home, it also actually, you know, symbolizes like just me sitting with my dad. You know what I mean Me being in Egypt, you know flying out to Egypt to sit with my dad, hang out with him, have a conversation with him, and and just you know we would like sit outside of his flat and we would drink tea and there was a little mint garden outside of his building and so you know I have very vivid memories of sitting outside with my dad drinking tea and he would always pluck, you know, a mint leaf from the, the little mint bush, and you know kind of crinkle it with his fingers and put it in his tea and you know, it has this like very aromatic, you know. So, like all of these, like all these stories, you know, all of this is kind of like in that painting which is awesome, you know.

Speaker 3:

Thank you, thank you. Yeah that's awesome, man. Well, tell people how they can reach out to you. How can they find you? How can they? I know you mentioned you were doing some real estate projects and you're trying to. You're looking for some hard money, lenders or something to invest in some of these projects.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so you can hit me up. I mean, I have an email address like welcometojaffacom, so all one word so welcome to. And then Jaffa is J-A-F-F-A, so welcome to Jaffa at gmailcom, also at welcome to Jaffa on Instagram. And then crazy plot twists to this whole story. So in the background of you know, painting this mural and stuff on this building, I actually had a lawsuit. I had litigation against the building with a neighbor of mine. We both sued together to gain title of this building because it was abandoned and no one was taking care of it and there are stacks of maintenance orders, you know, against this building. So after a couple years this was, you know, a couple of year long court battle we actually won title to the building and so now I actually have the title to the building, so now the mural can stay up, yeah, yeah. So now I actually own the building. I have title, I've got it free and clear, but the building is abandoned, right, you know. It has leaky roof, rotten floor, joist, like the whole building needs to be totally renovated, right, and I've managed construction projects before. I'm looking at this building and I'm thinking like you know what, man, I think I can actually get this done. I think it's, you know, we could do this for a couple hundred thousand bucks. And so now what I'm doing is I'm running around and I'm shaking branches and I'm trying to see, you know, who would like to be involved in, you know, lending on a on this construction project. That has, you know, pretty cool backstories of the whole deal. I think I always like working on cool projects. I think this project is is a cool thing, yeah, and I'd like to. I'd like to see if I can raise the funds to, you know, get the renovation on this building done.

Speaker 3:

Nice yeah. Do you have anything up online that people could kind of like look at like a, like a pling in for the building? Are you going to rent it out? Are you going to turn it into apartments?

Speaker 2:

So you know, I mean my. My idea is I would like to renovate it. It's currently set up as a multifamily for, you know, four units. The building is four stories tall. There's, you know, one unit on each floor. It's currently set up as like three bedroom, one bath on each floor, but the way that it's currently laid out is like pretty small and tight and cramped. I think that it would actually be a lot better to demo, demo the place out and instead of trying to cram three bedrooms in there, I would just do a two bedroom layout.

Speaker 3:

Maybe I'll put some big closets, yeah, larger larger, more spacious rooms.

Speaker 2:

You know, I think it would feel a lot nicer. It's in an area where there's a lot of new development going on. I think it would be great to you know be a part of that energy down there.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean, yeah, finlay Market Area. You got a building down there, that's great.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah, it's like solid, it's solid so. So I was thinking of, you know, renovating the building, keeping it long term, and like renting, renting the apartments out, and then I, you know, maybe down the line when I want to sell or something, I might sell the whole building itself or, you know, I could turn them into condos, just with a little bit of legal filing. You can section it into condos and sell them individually. So but you know, that's all kind of like down the line. You know, my thing right now is just like you know, can I shake, shake some branches, and you know, get some fruit, and you know and see if anyone wants to lend on this thing. And you know and I have a bit of you know equity and property already myself that, like you know, I'm not just running around looking for money. You can borrow against that I have something to borrow against, you know. And so if someone wants to reach out and is interested in helping fund the steel, that would be, that would be awesome.

Speaker 3:

Well, one side of the building is painted so you don't have to pay for that again. Yeah, yeah, exactly, exactly. Well, jason man, thanks for being on the show. Man, this has been awesome. And guys, I mean you know you're you're hearing from someone who put his own money and his time and was able to go out and do a GoFundMe to just for a pet project. I mean that you know, to honor your people and honor your father and the other gentleman you spoke about, and you know you guys can get off your butts and do something. I mean it's you're working a nine to five job. You're doing something. We talk about this all the time on the show. Yeah, I mean to build something and to create something. And you know your painting of this building that you weren't even allowed to do, yeah, turned into. Now you owning the building, yeah, yeah. And now you're like, well, hey, I might as well fix this up. Yeah, we need more housing in Cincinnati.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, dude, you're just solving all kinds of problems with just one building.

Speaker 3:

I'm trying to, I'm trying to, but you're one person and you're able to make an impact.

Speaker 2:

I'm trying. You know, I appreciate that man Like I, I I'm just. I wake up, I do my thing. I kind of I'm focused on, you know the things I'm focused on and it's. You know, the side hustle is real, right, you know, you always got to have a side hustle. This is kind of like my little side hustle. The way I do things is like they're they're all slow plans that are kind of churning in the background, right, you know, this was a three year long lawsuit that we finally won out on. You know, and and I have other projects that are like another type of lawsuit, another type of thing, another type of you know whatever, where I think, hey, you know, this is a viable project, or this is a viable case, or whatever it is, and I just have them like slowly churning in the background. And then, obviously, I'm doing my day to day, which is, you know, designing and programming websites. You know, we just actually launched a whole new fleet of websites for the East coast hockey league.

Speaker 3:

So oh, that's sweet. Yeah, yeah, nice man.

Speaker 2:

So you know doing my thing, just you know keeping the side hustle going as well.

Speaker 3:

Well, let's, let's keep it going for you. Yeah, awesome, jason. Well, thanks a lot for being on the show, sir Cool. Thanks, adam I appreciate it man. Thanks for joining us on this week's episode of side hustle city. You've heard from our guests. Now let's hear from you. Join our community on Facebook, side hustle city. It's a group where people share ideas, share their inspirational stories and motivate each other to be successful and turn their side hustle into their main hustle. We'll see you there and we'll see you next week on the show. Thank, you.

(Cont.) Jason Alghussein on Marrying Art, Technology, and Entrepreneurship