We had the good fortune of connecting with Stan Prokopenko and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stan, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
Most people are probably unaware of just how much time I spend running my business compared to the amount of time I actually dedicate to drawing or painting. When you’re a freelance artist, your focus is on your art because you need to produce a lot of it for your clients. My business model is online education so I’m spending much more of my time filming, scripting, editing, researching, and marketing courses. As time goes on and my business has grown I’ve been able to hire other people to assist me with these tasks, but new things still crop up that take me away from being an artist full time. My goal though is to eventually get to a point where I can achieve a certain level of independence from my business and go back to drawing and painting.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
One element that sets my business apart is the business philosophy. From the beginning I wanted to make educational content that was packed with useful info, but was also enjoyable for artists to watch. My belief has been that if you’re having fun you’re more likely to absorb that knowledge and learn faster. Ever since my first video I’ve been applying that philosophy to my growing library of free and premium online lessons and I would say it’s made it easier to grow. That’s not to imply there haven’t been challenges though. When you’re running an online business like Proko you need to embrace change and adapt to new things quickly. My team and I have had to worry about algorithm changes that affect the amount of people that view our videos, increasing competition from other artists who film tutorials online, and even censorship from YouTube on some of our figure and anatomy lessons. Despite all these challenges though you learn from each of them and then start finding creative solutions to overcome them. If there’s one thing I want the world to know about Proko it’s that I’m working on trying to make it the ultimate online educational platform for artists to learn and share their work.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Make sure to visit Balboa Park. You can spend a full day at the San Diego Zoo and another walking around the park, admiring the architecture, and visiting the museums. My must have food places in San Diego include Sushi Fish Attach, Ken’s Sushi, Hidden Fish, J/Wata Temaki Bar, Dumpling Inn & Shanghai Saloon, Bud’s Louisiana Café, and Extraordinary Desserts. I’m a big fan of a good Moscow Mule and the best one in San Diego is at Starlite.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There’s way too many for me to mention here, but a few immediately come to mind. The first is Jeff Watts, who not only provided students like me with a great education and learning environment at his Atelier, but also gave me the opportunity to teach there as well. Next would be all the other artists that have collabed with me on my channel. People like Marshall Vandruff, Stephen Bauman, Kim Jung Gi, Aaron Blaise, Court Jones, and many many more have allowed Proko to evolve beyond just me and it’s given my students knowledge that I wouldn’t be able to provide them with. Then there’s my talented team of people that I work with everyday that put an incredible amount of effort into making these videos and growing the business. Finally to my parents and wife who have given me an incredible amount of support throughout the years.
Other: 2nd YouTube Channel for art podcast – https://www.youtube.com/draftsmen