Ok. So first off, this blog entry could go either way. It’s bound to end with a bang as we just completed another version of our Stormy Skies design for an ongoing client at Ormeau, so stay tuned for that. But, apart from that, it’s 730am and even though I’m a borderline alcoholic, even I have standards in starting times that coincide with BWS trading hours. So here we are, sober and thinking relatively straight. This could all go very, VERY wrong.
So what I’m going to do here, is make this blog a bit longer than usual, you see, it’s basically my last blog for 2020. Yes yes, it’s only the start of December, but I’ll get into clarification on this in a bit.
So far, we’ve managed to finish off on a great design project, I’m going to try and finish off on a half decent, non intoxicated read for my audience (pending how long it takes me to write and how quick 900am BWS hours cometh). I’ve also something else to go into as well and basically, everything here is going to give a little perception into how I live my life and how I see things around me.
1: Hard work and dedication brings choice in down time.
I, like just about everyone in the trades, started out thinking my busiest and most productive time of the year was the lead up to Christmas. The phone is running hot, lots of jobs on and 7 days a week on the tools is a must. After going ass up in 2009, then restructuring the business to how I wanted it to fit into my life, not the other way around, along with actually going through the figures, I soon found out Christmas was just a rush period that wasn’t overly productive financially, and with this, the extra effort put into the tools was not rewarded.
So basically, several years ago, I decided to change things around. Most contractors, will work right up to Christmas eve, then take 2-3 weeks off. For me, I hate this for several reasons, but mainly just for two main ones.
First, what I explained above in regards to extra work put into the tools, for less reward financially. Everything we do leading up to Christmas is small and fiddly and because we basically charge per SQM, this makes most jobs not overly profitable. This see’s us having to do 3-4 jobs a week on different sites, running around town like a bloody plumber with a million times more stress and anxiety, whilst not really making the kind of money return that our larger, more complicated projects bring to the table.
Second, I hate taking holiday’s when everyone else is on holidays. I’m from the bush. I don’t like crowded places and everywhere I like to go, others like to go to as well, in big numbers after Christmas.
So basically, we take off at the end of the first week of December after finishing a few days of paperwork and catching up, then come back the first week of January, giving us roughly a 3 week break and enough to reset, whilst giving us a head start in January on our larger projects that are always booked in start of the new year. January and February are always our most productive months, and we hit them head on, fully rested.
If you’re one of the two people over the past 10 years who’ve given me a bad review for not being enough of a robot to service you, please keep in mind if I don’t service myself first, I’m not at my best to service your project. Have patience. Thank you for it.
2. Copy cats and competition.
I used the picture above here, to portray that although these cats are very different in colours, contrasts and even size, they both look amazing in their own regard.
Last night, I had one of my peers contact me letting me know of another young contractor starting out in the Brisbane area, who was kind of copying our designs along with naming them the exact same design names of our designs. Now this peer, contacted us thinking I would be upset with this, but on the contrary, I love seeing what other contractors are coming up with.
Jump over to Facebook and check out Sands Concreting and see what they’re up to.
Now keep in mind, this is in no way calling them out, in turn, I’m trying to give them a plug. I’ve been in their shoes before, starting out and getting things moving, I will enjoy watching them build and grow both in business and their artwork.
Maybe, I would reconsider what I called my designs if in their shoes, not through plagerism, but through originality. Half the reason why we’re booked for 6 months in advance, is that everything we do is honest and original, both in context and creativeness. But, apart from that, good competition only promotes business, not hinders it. Let me explain more.
A lot of contractors in our industry, although maybe skilled trades people, lack severely in how a business should operate. They see someone copying their work, or using their photos of the copy cats website, under cuttinig their prices and they get upset.
We’ve spent many years building our business here at Walker Concreting and Resurfacing. We have put ourselves in a position where, if a prospective client is interested in getting some work done, more likely than not, they will find us first through their searches.
What this means, is that other good, quality contractors who are trying to push our industry along and build the reputation of the products, only means more phone calls and enquiries coming our way as well.
Keep up the good work guys, if you want to chat about the artistic side at some stage over a beer, give me a buzz. I’m also always open to chatting about structural quality of installations, we should all aspire to keeping the standards high for a good reputation. All these designs also allow for true creative, artistic freedom, keep working towards that and a quality install and you’ll keep growing.
The next topic here, is exactly about that, I’ll detail that a bit more specifically there.
3. It’s about fluid creation, not just substance.
I used the picture above to start this section off because, depending on your artistic veiwpoint, you will either see this picture in one of two ways.
First, it’s a city scape with lots of different buildings put into it, then some abstract curved structures to add to all the buildings, and finished off in contrasted colour to give it some life.
Second, the curved, modernized structures add a seamless transition from new to old into a dated back drop of standardised buildings and although the colouring is contrasted, they have been chosen to flow well naturally in a viewpoint more directed towards a feeling of the city, that exists in this time, but reaches towards the future. The colouring also portrays dim, dull buildings of the past overpowered by the ultra shiny and gloss of the new futuristic buildings that await. It’s two different time periods clashing.
Something I’ve always strived for with our custom designs, is not to fall into the trap of just adding things for the sake of adding things. Some of my early work, has taken inspiration from older contractors like Mick and Rod from CCI and Tuff respectively. They have some really cool work and they were inspiring, but when I looked at their work, I thought it was just overly complication for the sake of adding more, instead of doing more, with less (if that makes sense).
Take this next photo for example, it was completed by Mick at CCI, to be fair, one of the pioneers in this finishing and I love his work.
But for me, when I look at this, it doesn’t suit my style of artistic creation. It seems complicated and over the top just for the sake of, adding more “things”. I like complicated too, but if you look at my work, my individual design style, is adding complication to each detail, rather than just adding more detail. There is plenty of pictures below for examples after this.
One last thing. Custom designs are about colour flows. It’s about what colours work with each other. Even to the point, on our sandstone designs, we adjust the secondary colouring to tone them down so it all flows better.
Sands Concreting that I linked before, has used our design name Stormy Skies and completed a version of it in their design style, in somewhat the same colouring. Apart from in my personal tastes seeing a little bit too much “adding things for the sake of more things”, I think you’re overlooking the artistic side of this design with your colour choices and flow.
Don’t get me wrong, you do you and please, keep up the good work, as I stated before, good competition promotes more business. But instead of using Black and White for your detailing, I use Midnight Blue and Natural from the #CCS colour range, because the design is based around a magenta green to heavy blue visual perspective that mother nature provides us everytime a severe storm passes through. It’s not just things added to the concrete canvas. There’s a reason for each bit.
I would lean your design more towards a feeling of being in outer space, amongst the galaxy and stars, going forth where no man has gone before. I like this. It breathes to the complicated design you have completed, it gives it a feeling and takes it out of just being visual.
Can you see why using other peoples design names doesn’t really work now? The feeling is off. But, the design isn’t. As I said before, keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing what else you come up with.
4. The finale, my lastest rendition of Stormy Skies.
So we returned this year to install the concrete for the second driveway onto the property, along with resurfacing it and the patio area again, in our Stormy Skies finish.
This really is a design that’s close to my heart. It’s about firstly a solid installation, smooth with just enough even texture to make it non slip. It’s about the grey to mid tone blue back drop of a beautiful sky, with dark blue undertones as mother nature intertwines a beatiful day with a summer storm approaching. Finally finished off by Thor’s hammer beating heavily through the skies causing lighting to crash sporadically, over powering throughout highlights of the chaos behind.
As you can hopefully see, although this design is complicated, it’s not complicated through just adding more substance for the sake of adding other “things”. I take care in each swirl. Making the most out of each trigger pull from the hopper gun. Like a Japanese Sword Smith, everything completed has a reason, being thoughtful to leave enough space for the Midnight Blue blending.
This is my art work. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to display it.
Please enjoy the latest photos and finally, please everyone take a little step back from stress on the lead up to Christmas. Whatever time you get to take off and where ever you end up taking it, enjoy every second of it to the best of your ability.
Life is short and we’re all required to work hard to succeed. But don’t forget yourself in the process. You’re a long time dead.
As for me, it’s 900am and BWS and I just synced up. Cheers everyone. See you in 2021.