Monday, July 22, 2024

‘You can’t hold art down’: Victoria entrepreneur advocates for artists through creator studio


From his fourth-floor recording studio in downtown Victoria, Jordan Dack breaks down filmmaking techniques behind visual productions that inspire him as a musician and filmmaker.

Unbeknownst to him, Dack’s enthusiasm for art and culture is contagious, which is evident in his most recent passion project.

Dack is the Creative Director of the Haus of Owl Creation Lab, a multimedia production house in Victoria, that specializes in supporting artists with their creative ideas through music, video, and image production for all skill levels and backgrounds. 

As a writer, singer and music producer, Dack painfully watched as recording studios he often frequented were forced to close throughout 2021 as the pandemic swept the country.

In an effort to help keep the industry alive, the Calgary native and resident of Victoria of 15 years took a shot in the dark by building his own studio.

“What we’re trying here is brand new. I didn’t take the leap to make a million bucks. I was ready and willing to take on a project that forced me to work 12 hours a day to put this together,” says Dack.

“It took people walking through the door every day that were the right people. The synchronistic nature of this adventure has been unbelievable. I didn’t believe in things happening for a reason before this project but every day there’s evidence that it’s the truth.”

After signing the lease in March 2022, the local entrepreneur hit the ground running, wasting no time going from room to room tearing out the old and designing the new.

Before and after renovations behind the Haus of Owl (Photos provided by Jordan Dack).
Haus of Owl renovations (Photos provided by Jordan Dack)

While the studio was being constructed, rumblings and rumours circulated throughout the creative community, prompting a few eager guests to rent out parts of the studio months before it officially opened.

In July, Dack launched the multiuse production house, offering all the technical equipment needed to operate its photo studio, recording studio, podcast and video room, as well as the vibrant communal space known as the garden.

Beyond the tools and gadgets offered for a cost-friendly price, the vision behind Dack’s production house is to bring together artists from a variety of backgrounds, telling tales of their creative pursuits, sharing ideas, and supporting one another in a space that offers constructive criticism.  

“If you asked me a month ago, I’d say the greatest surprise has been finding out what an artist truly needs versus what I assume they need. We need studio environments, we need gear so that artists can capture what’s in their imagination, but what we need most is a place that feels like when artists walk in they can exhale. I honestly think that might be more important,” said Dack.

“We would still be creating amazing shit in here if people felt they could be their full artistic selves. It’s good that we’ve got the gear and everything cause that is necessary to a certain degree but we would still be creating without it. You can’t hold art down, ever.”

Dack’s vision of a community-driven home for artists comes from his years spent travelling as an entrepreneur, spending his days working alongside others at co-working spaces around the world.

After crossing paths and working alongside talented minds in the business world, Dack started to ask himself as an artist, what kind of resources were being offered for creators in Victoria?

“I got to see first hand, projects around here are always strengthened when there are people from diverse backgrounds in the same room together. It’s the same theory when you start a business. Surround yourself with people that are smarter than you and do it as quickly as possible.” 

“The same goes for a space like this. Surround yourself with people that know things that you don’t know, and think in ways that you don’t think, then step back and see what happens,” says Dack. 

As the Haus of Owl continues to build a respected reputation throughout Victoria, Dack’s efforts to provide accessible opportunities to artists have become one of his most profound projects to date, not just from a business perspective, but also from the legacy and teachings he will pass on to his nine-year-old son.

As an entrepreneur who has spent several years mentoring and encouraging young adults to chase their dreams, Dack laughs as he tells Victoria Buzz, fatherhood has challenged him in ways he never predicted.

“I think having a kid immediately reveals all the holes in your knowledge, you sit and realize, I have to teach what I know. Holy shit, I don’t really know anything,” says Dack.

“Having a son changes everything. In this day and age, as a dad, you immediately have to ask yourself, what does it mean to be a man? I have to teach this kid how to become whatever he is going to become.”

While balancing his role as a father and an entrepreneur, Dack has learned to listen and support those around him in a way that he admits is foreign to the business owner.

Launching into a leadership role unlike any other with no framework or rulebook, Dack says the support he has been able to offer those new faces that stroll into his office, has helped him face his greatest challenge yet—the art of being brave.

“It’s not in my wheelhouse to manage people. Those that might rub one another the wrong way, and what I should do about that. “This place only works if people feel safe enough to show up and create from their hearts. It doesn’t take much for a place to not feel safe,” says Dack.

“As my wife reminds me all the time. You can’t create a safe place, a safe space just doesn’t exist in this world. We can pursue that vision but people are never fully safe in a space.”

“What we aim to do is create brave spaces, which means we try to establish as much safety as possible to motivate courage. Having to work with that is my greatest challenge.”

As the Haus of Owl continues to grow with new and notable artists from across the country grace the halls of Dack’s production house, the man of many hats looks forward to welcoming those in a space that invites authentic ideas and creativity in a digital age driven by trends and comparison.

“For the first time in anything I’ve been involved in a lack of marketing in some ways serves the branding. We don’t wanna be like, hey everyone, here’s a flashy two-for-one discount on studio time. No, this is like a temple of creativity. The people that are supposed to be here will be here,” said Dack. 

To learn more about the Haus of Owl’s resources, upcoming events or membership opportunities more information can be found on their website. 

Haus of Owl Creator Studio

  • Where: Haus of Owl, 780 Blanshard Street
  • When: Monday to Sunday, 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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