Technically Speaking
Technically Speaking with Harrison Wheeler
Creative Empowerment: Embracing Individuality and Promoting Cultural Expression with Eso Tolson

Creative Empowerment: Embracing Individuality and Promoting Cultural Expression with Eso Tolson

Eso Tolson, a Memphis-based designer and brand strategist, shares his journey as an artist and how he developed his unique style. He reveals his passion for uplifting and inspiring people through his work, including his art projects. He also talks about finding safety and comfort in different spaces and the impact of his trip to Hawaii. He emphasizes the importance of taking breaks and finding inspiration outside of work. His love for Memphis and its vernacular language has influenced his art, which resonated with the community. He encourages creatives to stay true to themselves and make a difference.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embrace AI as a creative tool, not a threat

  • Cultivate inclusive spaces for self-expression while respecting others

  • Overcome creative blocks by taking fulfilling breaks

  • Celebrate cultural influences in your art

  • Use empowering words for both yourself and others


"AI art is just a tool to speed up the process of whatever you're trying to build." - Eso Tolson

"Feeling safe is about creating spaces where people can let their guard down and just be themselves." - Eso Tolson

"When I'm in a creative rut, I take a step back and do things that fulfill me, like taking a walk or engaging in activities unrelated to my work." - Eso Tolson

"I wanted to celebrate the vernacular language of Memphis and highlight that it doesn't diminish intelligence or other qualities." - Eso Tolson

"The words of empowerment I share are meaningful to me first, and I know that others can benefit from them too." - Eso Tolson


(01:36) Introduction of Eso Tolson, The Multi-Disciplinary Artist

(03:14) Icebreaker: His current obsession with AI art and his take on new technology

(06:47) Icebreaker: What he realized about adaptability during his recent trip to Hawaii and what makes a space safe and inclusive

(11:15) Icebreaker: Discover your "coffee bean" and how it can help you break your creative rut

(13:42) From track star to artist: His journey from East St. Louis, IL to Memphis, TN

(20:49) How he developed his unique and authentic lettering style, his love letter Spectacular Vernacular to Memphis, and why Memphis embraced it

(28:11) The reason he shows up online and shares empowering messages to others

(31:42) How creativity isn't just for artists, and how every person is creative in their own way

(32:45) Where to find Eso online

About The Guest:

Eso Tolson is a Memphis-based multi-disciplinary artist and creative director known for his unique lettering style and ability to uplift, inspire, and celebrate people through his work. He specializes in hand-lettering for branding, editorial, and commercial projects. He is also an accomplished speaker and shared his story and philosophy on TEDx Talks "Less Grind, More Chill."

Connect with Eso Tolson:


Referenced Links:

Watch Less Grind, More Chill on TEDx

Spectacular Vernacular: Eso’s Love Letter to Memphis

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Technically Speaking
Technically Speaking with Harrison Wheeler
Technically Speaking is a podcast by Harrison Wheeler about BIPOC designers, entrepreneurs & technologists sharing their unique stories of triumph and resilience at the intersection of product design.