At MAEKAN, the story defines the medium. Some stories function best as written text, others hope to capture the emotion through an intimate audio experience. In cases such as this audio story, the transcripts we provide are done to the best of our ability through AI transcription services and human transcribers. We try our best, but this may contain small errors or non-traditional sentence structure. The imperfection of humans is what makes us perfect.
Eugene: He’s a native of Chicago. He’s the CEO and co-founder of Super Heroic, a company focused on reinventing play for children. If you’re not familiar with him, Jun Cha, many people would consider him to be well on his way to becoming a master in his craft of tattooing. (applause)
So my first question is and this is something that I find really fascinating—I’ll start with Jun, and if you go on Jun’s Instagram, it’s super serious all black and white. But as I get to know him and as I’ve gotten to know him over the years, it seems like it’s a disconnection between that world that he shares and his personality. So my question to you is what do you think someone sees in you or what do they think of you? And what do you think is the reality. How would you describe yourself?
Jun: In terms of what they perceive on social media? And you’re basing your reality off of what you see on your phone. Your question is what is their version of me in reality?
Eugene: Exactly! Or the version they think of you.
Jun: Well, if you get to know me, I just enjoy—I think the problem with social media is you’re painting this fake version of what you think is you or your brand or whatever it is. And, reality is different: you can talk, you can look people in the eye and there’s a whole different thing. So I’m just like everyone else: normal; I’ve got shit to do. (audience laughs)
Eugene: That’s a good point, though, I’ll come back to you. Because I’ll ask Jason the same thing: do you think the reality of what you put yourself out and the world is the same as the person they meet?
Jason: For me I would say, yes, I have to be congruent and consistent in how I show up because I work with kids. And so in order to enable trust and scale trust in my industry for what I’m focused on, like, I can’t be one thing in public and then be a scumbag behind the scenes. It doesn’t allow for transparency and honesty because we do care deeply about who we serve because they’re so little.
Jun: To his point, that just authenticity: if you’re gonna be just you all the time, your social media—everyone’s talking about “brand, brand and branding” all the time so if you’re just authentically do what you do, whether it’s what you create or whatever you’re producing, it reflects when you actually meet people in person. And if you’re really fake, it’s going to come across very easily. So, yeah.
Eugene: But do you find it difficult and do you find it a wear on you to always have to create siloed versions of yourself, because maybe it’s different for you because you’re a “brand” and when people go on your account, they’re looking for Jun Cha the tattoo artist.
Jun: Mm hmm. Well, yeah, I don’t consciously wake up and think “can I make silos of myself?” I just create work and I enjoy share things I do and I try to focus on what is the best work that I can do. And then how did people respond to it, that’s up to them. The more you curate and try to control people’s perceptions of what you think they’re going to take about what you do I think the more as an artist you’re going to get lost in worrying about all that useless energy. For me so for me, my process has to do with what is it that I am thinking about consuming and at the end of the day putting out to the world?