From hobby to hustle: Jerome McCroy’s journey to wood cutout success and creative inspiration

Jerome McCroy’s journey from casual artist to thriving entrepreneur is a tale of passion meeting opportunity. The artist, known as @jaymaccustoms on social media, specializes in creative wood cutouts. Amassing over 11,000 followers on Instagram, his profession wasn’t always a full-time gig. 

Drawing and painting have always been a source of comfort for McCroy. While working in retail before the pandemic, he felt like he was missing out on a normal life. This caused McCroy to draw “‘prolifically.” 

“I was drawing like something every single day, most of the time there’s something I was drawing at the request of my son, so a lot of it was Marvel and Disney characters and things along those lines,” he continued. 

In 2014, he later joined an art collective in California where he got back into spray painting and wood carving. 

“I enjoyed the challenge of completing these wood cutouts. It was so satisfying,” he said.

McCroy’s rise to prominence on Instagram was a result of his authentic talent and dedication. Through collaborations with renowned musicians and businesses like Juelz Santana, he garnered significant engagement and recognition for his work. 

“I did about 17 pieces for Juelz Santana,” he said. “He just kept reposting the stuff I was making and it helped me gain 1,200 followers in a week.” 

This exposure caused McCroy to doubt “why I was continuing to work a nine-to-five.” At the beginning of 2022, he quit his job and has been doing art full-time ever since. 

He reflects on his journey and credits much of his success to his wife.

“She has been not only my biggest supporter, my biggest fan, but she’s part-time editor and the most influential partner,” he said. “ I would have never taken a leap towards doing this full-time without her blessing and I owe much of this success to our relationship.”

“I think just some of the pieces that I made really cut through with people, like I made a Mets piece of the Yankees piece that had a subway map on it,” he continued. “And it just exploded because it resonates with New Yorkers. It’s pride in New York City. It’s pride in the subways.”

In a nod to his New York roots and in honor of 4/20, McCroy teamed up with amNewYork to design a special cutout. McCroy traveled across to the city to ask New Yorkers about cannabis’ impact on the city’s culture. He said this year’s date is a palindrome, meaning the date (4/20/24) is the same forwards and backward. As a native New Yorker, McCroy recalls the “holiday’s” impact on the community. 

“I remember in high school, people ditched school on April 20 just to go to Washington Square Park and there would be weed falling out of the sky.”

‘It’s always been a big part of the culture of living in the city, and especially now with that being legalized,” he said. “I just feel like it’s something that I just wanted to do for the culture.”

McCroy also spoke about cannabis’ role in his creative process.

“It’s a recreational device meant to promote so many things outside of just being high. There’s peace, there’s love, there’s unity, he said. “What brings five or six people together quicker than a joint or a blunt?” 

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