We capture and share stories of inspiring people and highlight amazing businesses and experiences for our Scotch Parlor community.
Intro Episode - Rick Scotch: A Creator
Rick spent more than a decade in the financial investment world as a market strategist and financial advisor. As he moved forward in life, he felt like something was missing and began searching for his "creative calling." So in 2016, Rick decided to leave the finance industry, start his creative entrepreneurial journey, and develop his skills in becoming a Multimedia Designer specializing in UX Design and Visual Media.
In 2018, Rick launched Scotch Parlor as a media project, with the idea to interview and profile the journeys of inspiring people throughout the Bay Area. It was built as a media platform where he produced a podcast, created short documentaries, and took editorial-type photos of the people he interviewed.
With the 2020 Pandemic limiting his podcast projects, he decided he would have to do his podcast interviews remotely for the future. The tremendous benefit of doing these remote podcasts was he could now bring the journeys and stories of inspiring creators from all across the nation to his Scotch Parlor audience. Scotch Parlor, today, continues to build upon its original concept of capturing and sharing the stories of inspiring creators through podcasting, short documentaries, and cool photos.
Rick is a big believer in self-teaching, learning, adapting, and being fearless when trying new things. All his ventures, jobs, and personal experiences have led him to what he genuinely loves doing. That's designing, creating content, and sharing stories with a camera.
Rick says, "Scotch Parlor will always be a project and platform that evolves and gets better and better over time. For now, this is where you will get to hear inspiring creators, be introduced to uniquely cool goods, recommended great books, and perhaps lured into pouring yourself a cocktail."
Cheers, and Go Create.
Capturing Suspense: Neo-Noir Photographer Nicolas Miller
Nicolas Miller (@nickmillers) is a fantastic photographer who's seen much success since he started taking his photography seriously in 2018. Inspired by moody New York during storms that bring darker weather, Nicolas can be seen walking for miles on end throughout the city, finding the perfect shot that possesses neo-noir-inspired elements.
Neo-noir is defined "as a revival of the genre of film noir. The film noir genre includes stylish Hollywood crime dramas, often with a twisted dark wit. Neo-noir has a similar style but with updated themes, content, style, visual elements, and media."
This is why you will see his best work is usually done at night or during a storm when no one is around. He chooses to shoot at those opportune moments to capture a sense of broody suspense throughout the city. His photography style is unique and captures escapism in its raw form, which is why he's seen success so early on.
Nicolas hasn't always wandered the New York City streets at night looking for that golden opportunity; he's spent most of his life in France before moving to London for 4 years in 2013 and finally relocating to the states in 2018. As a kid, Nicolas never felt he was the artistic type; he was an average school athlete competing in sports like European football, tennis, and swimming and always wanted to play video games and hang out with his friends.
Initially interested in landscape photography, Nicolas knew he'd have to change his lifestyle to travel outside the city to capture any kind of landscape, so he decided to use New York City instead as his backdrop. He felt inspired by how his city looked on its darkest days and decided to capture pictures showcasing a pensive city. He gets loads of inspiration from watching classic gangster and crime drama movies like Blade Runner, King of New York, and French Connections. This leads him to study these genres' film stills to capture the same moody cinematographic effect he brings into his photography.
As many artists feel the pressure to constantly be active with their craft, Nicolas is unique in that he needs a certain level of motivation to go out and capture New York. He won't pressure himself or push to get more content out. If Nicolas feels that motivation, he will grab his camera - Sony A7R and hit the city. If he doesn't feel inspired to go and shoot, he'll wait until he does. His chosen style affords him more flexibility as he has to wait for gloomy weather to make an entrance. In his effort to not force his technique, we see the true beauty of patience and quiet perseverance.
While he might have to wait for the right circumstances to shoot, he is always active on social media and loves answering questions and connecting with the community he's built online. And while you might not find a website to purchase his prints, if you find yourself in need of one to buy for your wall, contact him directly on Instagram (@nickmillers) or Twitter (@nickmillers1), and he'd be happy to sell you your chosen print.
Nicolas's wanderlust will take him far and wide on many future trips throughout New York City and beyond. He'll bring along his camera to capture his journeys and tell many more stories through the eye of the lens.
In this episode, you will hear how Nicolas is inspired by classic gangster and crime movies, the weather conditions he looks for to shoot, his creative process on how uses his phone and iPad for post-production, his Instagram post-process, tips for those who are looking to start in photography and other great inspirational insights on how he creates.
Enjoy getting to know Nicolas and his journey as a creator.
Cheers, and go create.
The Lens of Arwin - Land, Sea & Sky
Arwin Levinson is a Las Vegas-based landscape photographer known to capture some of the most compelling photography that depicts nature in its most raw and ethereal form. Levinson's commitment to her photography career only took a serious turn several years ago, and since then, she's devoted her time to capturing not only perfectly timed photos of our world but also the feeling of awe you get when you experience those moments of wonder in real-time.
Arwin was born in Massachusetts and studied computer science at the University of Illinois before finding herself in Las Vegas. One day, on a road trip through the country to help her sister move to Los Angeles, Levinson found herself driving through the mountains in Colorado when she felt immediately inspired by the nature and the views of the mountains. She picked up her first camera not long after in Portland (a Pentax SLR) and found herself wandering around the landscapes trying to capture as much of the land surrounding the North West as she could. When she moved back to Illinois, she found herself in a city with very minimal landscape opportunities, but a work trip that took her all the way to India, where she got the chance to visit the Himalayas, would rekindle her passion for photography again.
Arwin's style is more realistic with certain aspects she adds that go beyond realism and add more depth to the photo, all to capture the viewers and transport them in. She uses techniques like exposure blending, focal-length, and time blending to reveal a photo that includes many layers that all work to enhance the image. She also loves to shoot astrophotography and has an interest in the universe and our placement among the stars. The stars are always vibrant and round, and when she can, she finds a way for sunbeams to be the source of light that pulls us in. Her technique is added in Photoshop, while Lightroom is used to organize all the photos she takes, which she admits she picks only a handful of them for her viewers to see.
To create such stunning photography, Levinson credits her patience and persistence to get the perfect shot she envisions. She makes a list of the things she wants to shoot and does her research to determine when the best time to capture those shots is. She considers the weather, season, and time of year and whether the conditions will be right to get what she wants. Once she's ready to shoot her shot, Arwin drives as far out as 8 hours to bring back what she's envisioned. She's committed to getting the perfect shot and has even had to come back to the same place several years in a row to photograph a landscape due to poor weather conditions and overcrowded locations.
Arwin, within only a few years of experience, has wowed her audience on social media with her photography, but that doesn't stop her from continuing her training with resources like workshops, books, and tutorials. She finds inspiration in travelers, hikers, and other photographers and does her part to share her wisdom with other up-and-coming photographers. Arwin is always looking for inspiration as she tries to get out into nature as often as she can to fine-tune her craft and capture photography that her viewers get to feel an emotional connection with.
In this podcast, you will hear how Arwin's love for landscape photography began, her choice of camera brand, her favorite lens and why she loves her lens so much, her creator routine as she plans, shoots, and does post-production, tips for those who are looking to start in photography and other great inspirational insights on how she creates.
Enjoy getting to know Arwin and her journey as a creator.
You can follow Arwin on Instagram at @arwin.l
and check out her photography on her website at photographybyarwin.com
Cheers, and Go Create.
Born & Bred: The Creative Duo
Have you ever dreamed of opening up a creative agency? Do you wonder what it would be like to run your own creative shop? Let me introduce you to Kyle Merwin and George De’Ath, the founders of San Francisco’s creative branding and marketing agency Born & Bred.
In 2017, Born and Bred was established as a creative agency that can build brands and help grow brands like Eaze, Del Monte’s PinkGlow Pineapple, Whisper, and numerous others. Their involvement with each of their clients is remarkable. They put their whole heart into what they do and have a motto that they live by - “If the devil’s in the details, Hail Satan.”
In this podcast episode, you will hear from Kyle Merwin, the co-founder of Born & Bred and Lead Business Strategist. Originally born in La Paz, Bolivia, Kyle was raised in San Francisco, California, where he lives. Growing up, Kyle has always connected to his creative side. One of his favorite things to do was to create entertaining YouTube videos from his iMac. Initially, he thought he would go to film school but decided to pursue his connection to the creative world’s business side. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Kyle got his start on the ground floor of Eaze, the cannabis-technology company, as employee #18 and implemented tactics that grew the company to over one million deliveries in its first year.
Kyle met George De’Ath during his time there and would later become the other half of Born & Bred. Their yin-yang dynamic yielded instant business chemistry, which led to the founding of Born & Bred.
George De’Ath put the 'born' in Born & Bred. As a career designer and creative director, George turned his dream of starting an agency into a reality when he met Kyle Merwin in 2017. George’s background has allowed him to bring a global perspective to branding and design. Hailing from the United Kingdom and, before Born & Bred, George worked at agencies spanning the globe where he gained extensive experience across various industries, including Samsung, Diageo, and L'Oréal.
Grateful for his prior experience, George still knew a company creates the most meaningful work when people feel purpose in what they do. George uncovered his vision of bringing soul and energy back into design. He was confident, if the team thrives, then the output will mirror and, with the help of Merwin, that is what he has done.
In this podcast, you will hear how these gentlemen were growing up, their journey to how Born and Breed all came together, insights on the creative industry, advice for those who are looking to get into the creative agency world, tips for those who are trying to establish their own brands, what Kyle and George like to do for fun, drink, read, and other great inspirational insights of how life is like running an agency.
Cheers, and Go Create.
Behind The Mask with Chris Herren & Faust
Magician, entertainer, and storyteller are all words that come to my mind when I think of Chris Herren and his alter ego, Faust. Chris creates a cirque-style of performance that’s filled with mime, music, and magic. He is a member of two of the most prestigious Magic organizations in the world, The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California, and The Magic Circle of London, England. His magical style has won him two International Competition Awards and he has appeared on America’s Got Talent Season 15.
Chris’s love for magic started at a young age with his grandma sharing old Filipino folklore legends of mystical creatures using magic in their stories. He also remembers when he first saw the great illusionist Harry Houdini perform these unexplainable escapes on a black and white TV. Magical impressions like these are what steered Chris down the path to perform magic throughout his younger years.
As Chris grew older he had to set aside his love for magic as life’s responsibilities took over. It wasn’t until life gave him a health scare that got him to revisit his passion for magic.
The seed of Faust began about ten years ago, while Chris was dealing with cancer. He described his life at that time, “as being in a constant dream-like state of mind due to all the medication and the chemotherapy visits. It’s like you’re there but you’re not really there.” Chris was seeking a way to translate and manifest all of these emotions and what it feels like to be in this perpetual state of mind of battling cancer. His first consideration was, he would just write about it but that did not feel right. Then he revisited his love for magic and started exploring the idea of creating this alter ego. That’s when it clicked and over the years, Chris documented his thoughts and feelings through this idea of an alter ego. It was until his wife urged him to take a magic class in Las Vegas that blossomed that seed and Faust was born.
Chris is an amazingly talented individual and a master storyteller. His sense of engagement with his audience and that unique magical experience he brings to his shows is magnificent to watch. In this Scotch Parlor Story you will learn more about Chris’s journey, why he loves magic so much, who is Faust and what he is all about, and many other insights on what it’s like to be in the magic world.
Enjoy and always love what you do.
Graphic Design & Cocktails
Matthew describes himself as a graphic designer who loves cocktails. I would go further to describe Matthew as a person who followed his strengths, explored his passions, magnificent at what he does, and yes...loves cocktails.
Today, Matthew runs his independent graphic design business, Wyne Enterprises. Some of the brands he works with are Uber, Facebook, and St. George Spirits. He has also been recognized in publications like Playboy, The Atlantic, People, and many others.
Matthew's graphic design work is very distinctive, poetic, graceful, and artistic. What additionally makes Matthew so unique within the graphic design industry, is how he took his love for cocktails and created a blog called LettersandLiquor.com with his Instagram account called @letterandliquor. The blog features 52 cocktails and their recipes, along with the stories behind the cocktails, and lettering inspired by different eras. His blog and Instagram account are so aesthetically pleasing; it builds the desire to grab a recipe and create a cocktail.
Matthew didn't start his career in design. When he was younger, his love for music was so strong he felt that's where his life path was meant to be. After years of traveling from show to show, creating and playing music, Matthew found his passion dwindling. At that point, he decided to give up music and pursue another creative art...painting. Matthew painted for a bit but decided while living in New York; the starving artist lifestyle wasn't for him. Matthew went on to work in the advertising industry, which is where he discovered his unique strength which was lettering. That's when he decided to enroll in a graphic design program, and the rest is history.
One of my favorite things with speaking with Matthew was the way he described his hands. He talked about his hands as if his hands have a conscious mind of their own. He says, "through all the years of drawing and sketching his hands of an accumulated knowledge that no computer software can replicate." This is one of the reasons why he always sketches first before he finalizes the design on the computer. His hands can create something that his brain or his computer would have not naturally done. This is also a reason why he is brilliant at what he does. To him, it's not about doing it quickly to move to the next project; it's about creating a piece of art that is unique and beautiful for each of his clients.
In this podcast, we talk about his journey, the wisdom that his hands naturally have over his brain, how the love of cocktails started, his process when he brings a design to life, and other encouraging words of wisdom from a creative freelancer point of view.
Enjoy the podcast, and do what you love.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Rick’s Passion is Infectious
As a maker, hearing stories by other makers who have worked hard to forge their own path is more than inspiring, sometimes it’s necessary. Rick finds people who love what they do and follow their heart, and the passion he has for his guests shines through. Love the Scotch Parlor.
Capturing real entrepreneurs and lifestyle
Rick captures authentic stories of true entrepreneurs. After listening to each podcast I truly get inspired to continue my own path as an entrepreneur. You will not only be inspired by each story but will also learn new techniques from people that have made it within their market. Within each story there is something to learn from that you can apply to your own business. Cheers! 🥃
Podcast for Doers
Amazing stories from true entrepreneurs that are still grinding, duct taping and boot strapping it to make their dreams turn into reality.