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How to Become a Creative Barbarian

Just had a workshop in downtown LA the other day, shout out to my friends Don Dillon, Jose Mendez, Eric, and Anton.

One fun idea we innovated during the workshop with this notion of “creative barbarian“, that is, to get rid of all notions of what is proper in terms of creativity and success, and just to do things for fun, in a barbaric creative way.

What does it mean to become a creative barbarian?

The basic just is destroy all past notion of “success”, in regards to Parisian notions. No more romanticism. No more desire for a solo exhibition, a desire for 1 million followers, desire for a solo hard cover printed book, no desire for “success. In fact, what did the barbarians love to do? They loved to experience, explore and conquer. I don’t think they had any notion of “success“, which is mostly a modern notion.

The problem is people don’t know why they are making photos

Why do you make photos? And also, why do you need to be “successful” in your pursuits of creativity?

My personal theory is that in today’s modern capitalistic world, no activity is deemed as valid or legitimate unless there are metrics associated with it, and or money.

For example, never give people a straight answer. For example, if somebody ask you what you do for a living, don’t give them the standard boring answer like saying “I am a consultant”, or I am a programmer at company XYZ. Instead, just say you’re a photographer.

When you tell people you are a photographer, what they will think that is “do they make money from it? If so how much? And how can I pursue my own passion and make a living from it?”

In America, it seems that everyone likes the idea of pursuing your passion and making a living from it. Then again the funny thing is that Americans also want to get super rich and famous for things. If I told you that you could make a living from your passion, and yet only make $40,000 a year from it, but have total creative freedom and life freedom, information on dependence, would you do it?

The best way

If your life goal is to publish some sort of printed book, I say instead just make a free, open access, open source PDF e-book out of it. In a lot of ways, I think print is overrated. 99% of the romanticization behind printed books is around the notions of “legitimacy” and “success“.

Photographers seem to have fragile self-esteem and ego. I have never met a self-confident photographer.

Do you gotta make money from it?

I don’t think so. For example, I do not monetize any of my YouTube videos, nor put out annoying advertisements on top of them. Why? The first thing is an ethical thing; I myself hate advertising, why would I do it to others? Even if I could earn a few bucks?

Intelligence strategy is to not monetize your YouTube videos. Why? Even if you get 100 million views on a single video, it might only earn you $7000 USD. That is not a lot of money.

Just think about these K-pop stars. How do they make money? Not through YouTube or YouTube advertising, but rather going on tour and selling merchandise. And truth be told, my suspicion is that K-pop stars, even BLACKPINK or BTS probably don’t make that much money. Probably, they just get some sort of base salary from their company, maybe they get paid $500,000 a year. But they do not own themselves or their souls.

How to publish a book

Lots of easy ways. The simplest one is just design it using Apple Keynote, either your laptop, iPad, or even your iPhone. Export it as a PDF, and just share it with friends and family via email, or just post a link to your blog, or host it on dropbox or Google Drive.

Another tool is affinity publisher, a great much cheaper alternative to Adobe InDesign. And what I love about it is that once you buy you own it forever, instead of some annoying subscription plan.

Also another option is to design it using Google slides, and export it as a PDF. Also you could directly share a Google slides link with your friends and family.

Watch my Vlog on being a creative barbarian

Thoughts on my mind

  1. Better to do the thing unoptimally than to not do it
  2. How to make the best out of a “bad” situation
  3. Decrease the range of motion, increase the weight.

Back home photos

How did ERIC KIM get so swole?

565 pound rack pull deadlift.

More fun: ERIC KIM back in America vlogs

Hadong South Korea creative Zen photography retreat 2023

One of my new workshops which I am super insanely pumped about: my first ever HADONG South Korea creative photography workshop retreat.

Tentative Dates: July 9th to July 15th, 2023 (Monday to Friday), every day.

If you want to be updated, register intent here.



Moar in the HAPTIC SHOP >

Just vlog it.

I think many of us would benefit from using YouTube. Not for money, but for fun. Upload video slideshows of your photos, and also vlog your thoughts and experiences.

How to start your own YouTube channel

Other stuff I’m really into

  1. I really like the Philz Coffee new Manhattan blend, light roast. I just use it in my espresso machine at home, and it tastes great! A lot better than a lot of these new trendy “third wave“ coffee roasters.
  2. Drinking green tea during the afternoon and midday, the Kirkland green teabags taste fine, and also the cheap Matcha powder seems to work OK. I do miss the green tea that I got from HADONG South Korea however.

Get real photo feedback

Not sure how good your photos are or how you could improve? Upload them to

A future future I would love to ARS is just being able to transcribe your feedback via audio.

Thoughts on suburban living

Yes, you can make good photos in the suburbs!

Also a new fun thought on my mind is this; if you could reap all of the upsides and benefits of the suburbs, is suburban living the best lifestyle possible?


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Other news

  1. Elon Musk and twitter — Elon has balls.
  2. Just have a kid.
  3. The art of hypelifting // 495 pound 5 plate hype “cheating” micro squat video link.

Learn more

  2. BOOKS

Philosophers to read and study

  1. Nietzsche
  2. Seneca
  3. Heraclitus

Philosophy by KIM >