Juergen Berkessel: Artist, Photographer and Founder of Polymash

Juergen Berkessel: Artist, Photographer and Founder of Polymash

Today’s guest is Juergen Berkessel, founder of Polymash, here to talk about podcasting as a content strategy and the false distinction between career paths that occupy creative versus so-called ‘commercial’ spheres.

Digital marketing agency Polymash
Digital marketing agency Polymash

Juergen is a true polymath with an inspiring career trajectory and personal journey. He is a professional photographer, computer programmer, app developer, digital marketing expert, and podcaster who immigrated from Germany to the United States.

His company Polymash is a boutique digital marketing agency based in Florida, and Juergen has become a friend of Sourdough’s because Polymash has been advising on the subject of content strategy for the Not Real Art podcast.

Press the play button above to hear our interview with Juergen Berkessel

Our conversation begins with Juergen telling the story of this journey. We hear him talk about how he got into photography, how he lived off rice and beans in New York as a struggling photographer, and how he made a career pivot into the world of software development thereafter. Here we talk at length about how the creative discoveries Juergen made after he pivoted make the fine art community’s distaste at the idea of ‘selling out’ seem extremely petty and shortsighted.

From there, we take a deep dive into the work Juergen is doing today with Polymash. He speaks about how to make your content more SEO compatible as an artist, weighing in specifically on how to fit podcasting into these strategies and build your network at the same time. He also shares a few pro tips for how to make your content benefit you rather than falling into ‘digital sharecropping’ by making your website the central hub of all of your content output. Tune in for today’s inspiring and educational conversation with Juergen Berkessel!

Under The Railing by Juergen Berkessel, 2000
Under The Railing by Juergen Berkessel, 2000
Keansburg by Juergen Berkessel, 2016
Keansburg by Juergen Berkessel, 2016

“Did you ever have this self-imposed expectation to have this purity that some of us in the art community have? Where the fine art programs that I was part of with people who wanted to do this very traditional art thing – this concept of ‘selling out’, or applying yourself commercially was frowned upon by a segment of the art communities that I grew up in during those times and maybe even in New York a little bit, the Soho art scene. In a way, it is a terribly self-limiting belief that you put on yourself. I didn’t realize at the time that this creativity that I have, I have been able to leverage in many roles, whether it is user experience, programming, or whether it was starting our own agency Polymash ten years ago, or app development. Looking back I am always so appreciative and so amazed by how deeply the creative processes that came out of these reformative years have been able to manifest themselves all along that journey.” — @polymash [0:28:07.0]

7 World Trade Center Bridge by Juergen Berkessel
7 World Trade Center Bridge by Juergen Berkessel

Key Points From Juergen Berkessel Episode:

  • An intro to Juergen Berkessel and his content strategy business, Polymash.
  • How Juergen met Sourdough and they connected through a mutual love of art.
  • A window into Juergen’s multifaceted career and involvement with art and business.
  • Juergen’s thoughts on combining creativity and analytical skills in his career.
  • How Juergen found photography and took it up after moving to America.
  • Juergen’s memories of studying art and working as a commercial photographer thereafter.
  • How Juergen got exposed to large format cameras working for a photography studio in New York.
  • Being uninspired working as a freelance commercial photographer and how Juergen found his creative voice.
  • The story of how Juergen made a career pivot and entered a career in programming.
  • Perspectives on ‘selling out’ considering this being frowned upon in fine art communities.
  • How the democratization of creative mediums is changing negative perceptions of commercialization.
  • Critical thoughts about the so-called gap between high and low art.
  • How podcasting fits into the democratization of art and Sourdough’s work with Juergen.
  • Content strategy tips from Juergen; how he helps businesses through Polymash.
  • The need for artists to have their own website to fight ‘digital sharecropping’.
  • Prioritizing subscribers to your email list over people who downloaded your podcast.
  • The usefulness podcasts provide for building a sense of intimacy with guests that turns into future business relationships.
  • How podcasting becomes a content strategy by generating content that can be shaped for SEO.
  • Juergen’s explanation of domain authority, how to build it, and how it makes your website more searchable.
  • The significance of the idea that podcasts get new listeners primarily through Google searches.
  • Thoughts on the educational power of podcasts and how to make them more accessible.
  • Juergen’s wife Robyn’s expertise in positive thinking and how she applies it in her podcast.
  • Final thoughts on juxtaposition and identity: ‘A thing is what it is only in relation to what it is not.’

“The surprising parts of our journeys are often the unexpected ways in which we wind up making use of our education.” — @polymash [0:15:56.0]

“It’s very difficult to self-actualize and find your voice when you are struggling to put food on the table.” — @polymash [0:20:34.0]

“Ask not how to monetize your podcast, ask how your podcast can help monetize your business.” — @polymash [0:51:39.0]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Smile, Summer is coming...
Smile, Summer is coming…

“The access to the tools, the techniques, has been democratized and everyone has similar access to it and so whether or not gallery X or curator Y deems that this is proper art, that has become so irrelevant.” — @polymash [0:37:47.0]

“We are not a podcasting company, we are a digital strategy company, and podcasting winds up being one of the vehicles for content strategy to help businesses achieve an objective.” — @polymash [0:43:38.0]

Scott "Sourdough" Power

Scott “Sourdough” Power is the the creator and executive producer of NotRealArt.com. He is also the co-founder of Crewest Studio a digital media company in Los Angeles dedicated to creative culture and the $2T creative economy.