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Paul Joachim

Published April 14, 2017

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 Q & A

What have you been doing since graduating from FSU?

My life has been an incredible adventure of self-discovery and experiencing things I could never have dreamed up back in college. Not yet having the all fearless habits I have now, I begrudgingly jumped onto the hamster wheel and got a job as a graphic designer. A few graphic design jobs in and several years later, I started to work for myself as a freelance digital illustrator. In 2000, I opened a web design shop with full-time employees. All the while, my art and self-expression were being generated from my passion for food and cooking—I was producing very little fine art which was a deep missing element in my life.

In 2006, I created a sculpted cake and quickly realized there was something special here for me. I called a BFA graduate friend from FSU and said, “Some day, I’m going to create actual sculpture from cake.” Four years later, and many cake sculpting obsessed hours later, I was invited on Food Network’s Food Network Challenge and ended up winning the competition. At that moment, I made the decision to change careers and sculpt in food full-time. In the past six years, I’ve lived a lifetime of experiences. I recently had a two-week stint sculpting in South Beach Miami for a Fortune 50 company, sculpting in LA for IMDb, Oreo and an Oscar party, then flying to NYC sculpting the owner of an NBA team at his birthday, and two days later, I sculpted at a high-society bat-mitzvah in NYC. I flew home from New York and was a guest on a TV show two days after that.

I’ve sculpted for billionaires, museums, galleries and events across the US, South America, Central America, Canada and Australia. Corporations such as Universal Studios and Delta Airlines have hired me to sculpt at their events. I’ve been a guest on national TV shows, such as, CBS’ The Talk, Australia’s TODAY show, Food Network’s Outrageous Chocolate, A&E Shipping Wars and Hallmark’s Home & Family talk show. My work has even made the pages of The National Enquirer.

My chocolate sculpting business continues to grow, and the opportunities simply get more exciting as each day passes. Meanwhile, I am happily married for 19 years to an FSU music graduate, I’m a father to two incredible kids, and I keep myself fit and healthy, mind and body.

What did you learn at FSU to get you there?

A BFA in Studio Art at FSU developed my skills to turn abstract concepts into well-communicated, tangible visual works of art. The professors gave me the personal space to develop an unrestrained self-expression that has contributed to a highly successful career as a sculptor and performer. Especially professor and sculptor, Ed Love—his voice still guides me through my work to take risks, put myself out there and achieve the unachievable. For those that didn’t know Ed, he was a gifted teacher that passed away many years ago. He possessed a unique ability to push students beyond their self-imposed boundaries. He allowed me to break essentially every rule there was in a classroom setting so that I experience different ways of thinking and create art way outside the norm.

For example, back in my studio space, I painted large pieces of paper solid with various colors. I took those into life drawing class, taping them to the wall behind me. I then stood and became truly present to the model, studying the movement of her body along with the subtle lighting contouring and defining her shape. Next, I took a carpenter’s knife and cut out shapes from the colored paper and then glued them to the drawing paper to define the shape of the model. All the while, every other student was drawing with charcoal or pencil as you would expect to see in a life drawing class. Experiences such as this taught me to embrace risk and showed me that the act of taking a risk, in itself, is in fact art. In this space of unbridled self-expression, I found my light, my gift, and who I would become later in life.

What advice would you give to art students?

Everyone has fears they face in life and with their art. The key to my success has been putting these fears on my back and moving forward regardless, in the space of self-expression. There is a voice of fear in your head telling you not to do something or what’s right, what’s wrong, or, “What if ____?” I say to that voice, “Thank you for the advice, but I’m not interested.” Move forward with your intentions—regardless of the fear.

I never set limits on who I am as a person and what I can achieve. I ignore society’s limitations on what it means to be a white, male, middle class, artist, smart, straight, married, short, son, father, chef, yogi… Society neatly defines what every label means creating debilitating limitations on human potential. I am anything and anyone. I am an artist, and I am an engineer. I am male, and I am female. I am white, and I am black. I am literally anything or anyone I choose, and by choosing, I unleash my potential. Ignore who you are “supposed to be,” and BE what you desire.

Now create your art and your life from this space—and the universe will work through you in the most magical of ways. The potential of your art and self-expression will expand in ways that were not previously available or even fathomable.