You probably know Jeff Cole from the amazing illustrations he creates. Melding pop culture icons with motivational quotes and combining seminal sneakers with famous faces, he depicts vivid scenes that are distinctive but familiar. Yes, Cole is an illustrator first. But he’s also that rare artist who’s mastered the business side of things. In 2016, Cole and his partner Mark Brazil co-founded Ikonick, a Los Angeles-based company that creates and sells inspirational art canvases. At Ikonick, Cole’s imagination isn’t limited to making art. Instead, he’s built his company and massive social following by balancing inspiration and administration, using unique hiring processes and finding an equilibrium between inventiveness and structure.

On the day of this interview, Cole’s busy working with his Ikonick team to perfect an upcoming social media plan and the challenges of being both boss and creator are at the forefront of his mind. “Let me tell you, the hardest part of my job is to feel like you're still an artist, but maintaining this almost analytical structure to your life,” he explains.