Coolest Entrepreneurs: James Burt, The Artistik Company


James Burt | Age 43 | The Artistik Company

You may not know James Burt’s face, but you know his handiwork.

Murals across town are bursting with color, creativity and charisma — and it’s all thanks to Burt’s state-of-the-art talent.

Silicon Slopes. Adobe. Stack Real Estate. Instructure. John Curtis’ office wall in Washington, D.C. These clients and more (specifically 32 walls in four states) have hired Burt to give their space a jolt of personality. He’s even done live mural performances in Vegas, Yellowstone and Salt Lake City.

Burt is the oldest son of five born into a humble life with a single deaf mother in Southern California.

“My circumstances taught me the value of hard work and tenacity,” he says.

In 2015, he founded The Artistik Company‚ working an office job by day and painting murals by night. Then, two years later, he quit his job and jumped in two hands first. It was time to start drawing up his future.

“A once-intimidating childhood dream quickly became an amazing reality,” he says. “It’s mindblowing.”

So are walls that can talk.

First Things First

FIRST WORD With sign language, I’m sure I gestured and voiced, “Got Milk?”



FIRST OBSESSION Magnum PI’s red Ferrari.

FIRST CELEBRITY CRUSH Michelle Pfeiffer in “Grease 2.”

FIRST WHEELS Rusted out 1980 Ford Pinto.

FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU GET TO WORK Pop on my headphones and tune into an autobiography or audio book about the subject I’m painting to channel their energy into my work.

FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU GET HOME Lay on the couch and study a snapshot of the work I’ve done that day to memorize any changes I want to make the next day.

FIRST BIG BREAK I’ve been blessed with many, but painting a mural for Silicon Slopes has definitely been the mural that catapulted my dreams into reality.

FIRST FAILURE Early on with The Artistik Company, I signed up to sponsor a hole in a golf tournament. I had overbooked my days and found myself having to scramble to complete a traveling mural I intended to set up at the hole. I finally finished it at 4 a.m. the morning of the tournament. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered at the golf course that I’d missed the tournament by one day! Such a big investment with no return. Too much work and no rest will bring failure one way or another.


FIRST RULE OF COOL Work for the opportunity to give back.

Last Things Last

LAST TEXT YOU SENT “NFL cleats go online tomorrow. The word gets out! Any help pushing it with social media tomorrow would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for all the help you have given me.”

LAST SHOW YOU WATCHED “Frozen 2” with my 6-year-old twins.

LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO “Sugar” by Maroon 5.

LAST PODCAST YOU LISTENED TO “Meat and Potatoes,” the Silicon Slopes podcast.

LAST BOOK YOU READ “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor — my third time.

FAMOUS LAST WORDS Twenty years ago I met the author George Durrant. I asked him, “How are you?” He replied, “Today is my best day yet. I can’t wait until tomorrow.” I have used that line hundreds of times since.


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