ETHAN "SIMBA" GRAHAM

 
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Location:

Lower East Side, New York


What kind of artist are you?

Evolving



How would you classify yourself as an artist and what is your main form of creativity?

I would consider myself an artist who’s consistently in a transitional period of growth. My main form of creativity is dance and movement expression.

What does the quote: “Wind blows the hardest the closer you get to the mountaintop” mean to you?

This quote reinforces the idea that the harder challenges you face in life are a direct result of the consistent growth and evolution you attain in your journey. And I resonate with its reminder that harder challenges you face should be met with nothing less than a harder conviction to push through for what you want to achieve.

 
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How did you begin your journey as an artist and what is it like being a young artist in New York City? 

 I started my artistic journey after joining my first young arts intensive in 2014 “New York Youth Movement Collaborative (NYMC)”, under Ehizoje Azeke and Marguerite Hemmings. The program really sparked my passion for movement and art as a whole and started my discovery of what I define as my purpose. Being a young artist for me is constantly about commitment and self growth. I feel as a young artist I have a commitment to learn as much as I can about the path and responsibility I carry that comes with being an artist.

What has been the most interesting collaboration to date?

 My most interesting collaboration has been with Andre Zachary and Lamont Hamilton’s “Dapline!” production at New York Live Arts. It connected with me because it was my first pro performance, but the theme of brotherhood and adversity was something I connected to on stage. My first krump mentor and family who were monumental in helping me discover my passion were also in the piece with me, which brought a newer meaning to the theme of brotherhood and initiation to the environment with the cast.

 Do you believe it was significant to pursue dance for in College? Why or why not?

 I do believe it was significant for me to pursue dance at Hunter College, because it taught me the value of commitment and dedication to pushing myself physically, as well as how to approach challenges in my path with as open and clear of a mind as possible. Day in and day out I pushed myself to take on any and all material and technique classes thrown at me, which was just as much of a mental challenge as it was physically. Ultimately, it had a key part in evolving my power of will and open mind.

 
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Who inspires you the most? What artists, in any other art form, has also inspired you in your own creativity?

I get inspired the most by those that I work and train closely with. Whether it’s my close mentors, the people I consider family in dance, working and growing side by side with them and being able to experience and witness the growth of those around you is one of the best sources of inspiration for me. 

What would you say, is your main motivation to continue your artistry. Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?

My biggest motivation to go forward with my artistry is what I believe to be the eternal drive to want to inspire others. I feel I have an obligation personally to give light and touch lives where I can individually, and being an artist I’m always on a mission to share my gifts with the world.


On the path to becoming an artist, what are two of the biggest lessons you’ve acquired thus far?

 Only one lesson comes to mind that was truly monumental, and that was how important passion and drive are for an artist. I feel as an artist, without a passion to experience and live through your art, you can’t truly experience being an artist. That passion has been my strongest factor before everything else for as long as I can remember. And when all else falls away and gets rocky, your passion serves as that anchor of stability, to remind you of why you wanted to be an artist in the first place.

What do you want your impact on this world to be?

The only impact I’d want is to know that I lived my life touching people’s lives and bringing light to them, that allowed them to get closer and closer to attaining their own success and happiness. I don’t want to be known as the person that has done everything, but if I have the opportunity to inspire someone to do a legendary amount of good, I will do all I can to help them and share my light with them.

 
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In dance, how important is it to have teachers and mentors? How has your experience with that been?

Having a teacher or mentor is definitely important when it comes to understanding the craft from professionals and knowledgeable individuals who set the path for you. My discovery of my passion and pursuit of it started largely due to the supportive group of teachers I had, and still have, from that time period. I do truly feel I have been blessed with great mentors, as the ones I truly hold dear to me and my journey have not only been monumental in my development, but are still consistently there to witness my present achievements. They have truly become family to me.


What do you think is important for a Dancer/Choreographer to survive financially?

 I don’t believe I still have a fully developed response to this, BUT, some things I’ve learned along my way are definitely to not be hesitant to take any and every opportunity that comes your way, especially as a newcomer. Earning some experience not only has allowed me to make some amazing connections to people, but taught me more about being prepared and carrying yourself professionally, which are just a few of the traits needed to be a prospering, as well as self sufficient, freelance artist.

Besides dance, what are your other interests?

In all honesty, I am a full time nerd who happens to know how to dance. Since childhood I’ve been a huge lover of all things Anime/Comics/Cartoons/etc., and pretty much anything that was on Cartoon Network/Toonami on Saturday mornings/nights. So for anyone out there wanting to talk to me about the Dragon Ball Super: Broly movie but is hesitant because you think I only care about dance related things; LET’S TALK ABOUT IT!

Where can people find you on the web/how can people contact you?

You can find me easiest on Instagram @ethansimba !

 

JENNIFER "BEASTY" ACOSTA

 
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Location:

Bronx,NY

What kind of artist are you?

Dancer,Choreographer and Beatboxer


Tell me a little bit about yourself. 

I was born and raised in the Bronx,Ny with my family. I grew up in Soundview Houses with my family both my parents are Puerto Rican Bronx natives.I live in the Bronx in my own apartment.I’m a mother of 1 child my son Jeremiah he’s 8 years old very smart,bright,funny,honest he loves games and loves to dance.Recently got engaged with my Fiancé Macho we’ve been together for 11yrs and we plan our beautiful son.He’s been an amazing Dad supporter and partner,my backbone best friend in my life he’s also a breakdancer.My main line of work is to share my dance artistry which includes performing,teaching dance in my community to the youth all ages and move people with my talents.The interest that I gain was when I was a little girl born with talent I always wanted to dance professionally and perform infront of people on stages and got to do it in elementary school talent shows, Middle school talent shows and highschool talent shows.I was self taught in hip hop street jazz and break dancing but when I got into highschool that’s when I got the training for ballet modern jazz and west African.I continue developing more with the dance company in school and evolving more.My style of dance is Hip Hop,Breakdance,Street Jazz,Contemporary,Salsa, and West African blending old skool and new style trends.Professionally dancing for 15 years and teaching dance for 10 years. Doing showcases, performing at Colleges SUNY and CUNY, Theaters, summer stages, Dance tours, and got to perform with professional dance companies Full circle productions, Rhythm City,Kr3ts and Dance Cat-alyst, Music Videos for Artists, MTV, BET, Apollo Theater, Fashion shows, Promo Events, and Battle Events.Ever since I got inspire by watching a couple dance movies like Breaking 1&2,Beatstreet,Dirty Dancing,You’ve got Served,Honey and being inspire by Michael Jackson,Janet Jackson,Usher,TLC,Missy Elliot and Aaliyah I wanted to be a professional dancer.I dance in my neighborhood block parties being the life of the party getting everyone moving on their feet doing the dances I’ve seen in the movies that inspire me also the social dances like the running man cabbage patch,kid n play and the electric slide.I started to create my own movements and choreographing routines growing up and also being inspire by my peers.I got into after school programs to be involved in dance and step when I was 10 years old my parents didn’t have the funds to put me in a professional dance studio.So I decided to find my way to get into free dance workshops growing up at the time.Dance runs in my blood it’s my break through of life as well as music born with it because of my parents my dad was a breakdancer and my mom was a salsera dancer.My whole purpose is to give back and continue to do what I love to inspire the people in my community and the world.I go by the name Beasty because of my energy and impact I have when I perform.

 
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After witnessing you bless the stage at BAAD, I wondered, how does she do that? And by that, I mean the fact that you’re able to maintain endurance with your amazing choreography and you also keep a steady beat/rhythm with your beatboxing. How were you able to build that endurance and mix the two so effortlessly?

Thank you so much! I was so honored to pay tribute to Aretha Franklin queen of soul music felt her spirit that night.I started beatboxing at thirteen learned from my dad by visually just watching him and he taught me the basics and told me to combine my beats and listen to some tracks and follow the beat.I also use to watch videos from Dougie E Fresh and fat boys who inspire me as well on their bass and different sound effects every beatboxer got their own way of beatboxing which is very inspiring.So I kept practicing for years and incorporating different rhythm beats also mimicking songs as far as humming the songs and doing the beats with the snares in the backround like a drum set.In my highschool, I went to Lehman H.S. And graduated from there.Back in 2002 they had a Talent competition show called Lehman Idol and beatboxing was apart of the competition.My First time ever doing a beatbox battle against this boy we had to beatbox to the song tracks that the dj played the same exact way.So I did it and won champion beatboxer and 100 cash.I was thrill about that performance and from there I wanted to do something spectacular in the future.Fast forward about 4 years ago I started bringing my beatboxing back and decided to incorporate my dancing with it and practicing the endurance for 2 years with exercising my breathing while keeping the beat and dancing at the sametime.Than brought out my first Beatboxing and Dance mix video concept last year in September 2018 and it got so many views was shock how I moved so many people.I wanted to bring something creatively different that no one has scene or done and being the first female beatboxer to ever do it.And it has taken a new height in my career got to perform it in Detroit City Dance Festival stage,BAAD Theater ,Brooklyn Arts gallery,Times Square Arts Stage,Symphony Space Theater, Dixon Place Theater and Bronx Music Heritage Center and will to continue to do more.Recently did an amazing showcase in March for Women in Hip Hop cu-curated by my mentor bgirl Rokafella and La Bruja doing beatboxing and Dance with 4 of my backup dancers created and choreograph a 7min piece in the Bronx and was so honored to make it in the Bronx Times Newspaper making noise in my borough where hip hop started left the people who came to the show impress and inspire.I want to continue to perform in more theaters or different places around the world.Being seen in my creative work.


  What exactly is it that you want to say with your creative work? After an audience member views your work, what part of you, if any, would you like them to walk away with?

I would like them to walk away with feeling inspired and move by my work ethic and creativity.Also to go for what they want and it’s never too late to do what you love, never give up and always stay ready!



As an artist, what does culture mean to you? Is it important in your creative works? 

Culture means to me an Artistic expression of my nationality,Music,Food,Dance, the struggle and Hustle where I grew up in the Bronx.Its important in my creative works because I represent where I’m from growing tough skin and overcoming obstacles in my life.

 
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How do you handle and prioritize your creativity as well as make time for your family in a busy city like the one you’re in?

Can you share some advice for women creatives who also have to take care of a family?

I will say it’s a bit complicated but it’s possible to make it work and plan ahead.I work as a self employed freelance Artist which means i do many jobs as far as teaching dance for an organization,doing gigs,and projects,you gotta make your coins cause rent is expensive living in NYC.But I keep a notepad and write down my schedule on everything to be on point and with the help of my fiancé taking care of our son when I’m working he supports me in everything I do and we take turns so it’s a bit easier and planning ahead of time also having family support.I make time for my family because I’m a mother first and my son is my first priority.


  What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best? 

My laptop which is my notebook I keep all my files in order.My speaker and microphone for the music to keep practicing and creating and also my iPhone with Instagram and Facebook I promote content of my work and promote showcases I’m in and about my art.


What would you say, is your main motivation to continue creating? Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?

My main motivation to continue creating is to give back to my community and share my artistry being that I love to perform move people with my talent.Also emotional motivations when I go through something deep music and dance is my healer and expression.


What artist has influenced you the most? What artists, in any other art form, has also inspired you in your own creativity?

Janet Jackson has influenced me the most when it comes to dancing her style and her presence on stage she's a beast and Missy Elliot too with her creativity in all her videos are dope and inspired me.Also my mentor Bgirl Rokafella she's a legend seeing her breakdance with power moves and style and trained with her has influenced me in my own creativity.


 

 
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How do you think your work can change the world? How do you think artists can have an impact on the world as it is today?

Being remember as an empowerment Artist of moving people with my talent knowing I gave back.I would say for Artists stay creative give back share your gifts to move people.


What has been your most interesting collaboration to date and why?

Recently Dancing with Dance Cat-alyst company and last year in Detroit.Its a mix of Ballet,modern,jazz,and hip hop.Owner and choreographer Cat Manturuk shes amazing and inspiring dancer.I will say moving different out my comfort zone when it comes to ballet, modern, and jazz for me it’s a different focus cause I’m use to attacking moves and sharp hits in one spot but with this focus it’s fun to express and move across the floor and being able to express dance differently has inspire me to train more in these styles of dance.As a professional dancer you have to explore other styles to become a better version of yourself.


 Have you been able to travel and pursue your art in different countries? How have these experiences been?

No not yet would love too but I’ve traveled and performed in different states Florida,Colorado,Detroit,D.C,Pittsburgh,and Virginia.My experiences in these states was amazing to bring my art of dance there and the people there are cool and welcoming also the food is great.


  What would you tell a young girl who’s looking to be a “Beast” like you? 

Be dedicated and consistent to train in many dance styles.Take as many classes to develop your creativity,workout,practice everyday to become the beast that you need to be because you want to be the best version of yourself.

 How can people contact you? (social media handles, youtube, email, etc.)

My Instagram: Jen_beasty88

Facebook:Jennifer Acosta

YouTube:Jen_beasty

Email:bgirlbeasty@gmail.com

 

JIYAN DAVE AKA JUDE

 
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Tell me a little bit about yourself. (I.e. Where did you grow up, where is your family from, what is your main line of work and how did you gain interest in it?)

 As a born and raised Londoner, my ideas take inspiration from the cosmopolitan nature of my upbringing. I see my city as a physical reflection of the Internet. A hub of global cultures, foods, trade, arts, communities and people. This has obviously impacted the way I see life. Influenced from a young age with Indian music and movies constantly playing in my home, as well as hearing a range of languages and sounds in my neighbourhood. Colourful language, music, imagery, stories and ideas stimulated my mind growing up in East London. I use the medium of film, music and writing to create art and tell stories. My father is born in East Africa, of South Asian descent and my mother is from South Asia, but being exposed to a variety of cultures from a young age, such as Jamaican, Nigerian, Chinese, English, Greek, Turkish, Arab and more, has shaped my artistic and creative expression.

 What exactly is it that you want to say with your stories and videos and how do you get them to do that?

 My work is all about telling unique and uplifting stories. It ranges from personal experiences to those of people around me, to fictional narratives. The ideas of community, relationships, social stratification, climbing towards success and coming back from mental health or physical adversity are usually my key focus points. If I’m creating work for a client according to a brief (such as content for social media), then I try to infuse my own flair and storytelling style into the final product. Of course, the client ultimately makes the choice for what they need in the end.


What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best?

 Film and content work is primarily recorded on Panasonic G7, as that’s the camera I currently own. Editing is done on Adobe Premiere Pro. The workflow on Premiere is simple, dynamic and effective, especially as I’ve been using it for many years now. 

Script Writing on Final Draft, or Google Docs if I’m in a rush and want to share it before a proper write up.  Music on Fl Studio and/or Logic.


  What would you say, is your main motivation to continue writing and creating content? Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?

I many motivations. I want to be the best at what I do. I want to make a different to people’s lives. I want the world to see my talents… the list goes on. Yes, I have faced economic, intellectual and emotional and creative challenges as many people have (which I won’t go into), but I’ve come to realise them as fuel for my fire. The flame still burns, and life experiences only add to its heat.

 
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What writer/content creator has influenced you the most? What artists, in any other art form, has also inspired you in your own creativity?

I have always been drawn to the idea of expansion. Expanding beyond the creative  boundaries and ‘expectations’ from other. I feel skills (especially creative) can be transferred and ideas are boundless. The idea of the artist-entrepreneur and the polymath is something that inspires me to keep improving and getting better, because they are masters of many. In saying that, I also respect and admire the Kings and Queens of singular disciplines. Here are a few of my inspirations:

William Shakespeare Orson Welles Al Pacino Denzel Washington

The Rock Muhammad Ali Leonardo Da Vinci Kanye West

JME Skepta Eminem Drake

Javed Akhtar RIshi Rich

(there are far too many writers, directors, actors and musicians to name)





 How do you think your work can change the world? How do you think artists can have an impact on the world as it is today?

Art is beyond this world. It lives in the imaginary realm, produced in the physical, felt in the emotional and interpreted in the mental. Such a unique thing, which transmutes and shifts, speaking to an individual, yet simultaneously still speaking a universal language. It is the language with no tongue. Maybe that is ultimately what will help change the world… or spark the minds that will. I feel my work is unique in a sense that, it comes from my perspective. A story can be told a million ways depending on who is telling it, and I believe my natural abilities to communicate and connect can hope to bring a positive vibes to the world. Artists already make an impact on the world today. Have you seen how many Trump caricatures there are these days? Lol. I say that, to say this. It is more so about the structures in place and a viable audience that allow for artists to do so. The internet is a great leveller, but even on the Internet you may need to fund your social posts etc to reach audiences... unless you’re part of a community, or trend on reddit or something. It all depends on what impact and the level of impact artists want to make. 

Artists will always impact the world, as the world will always impact artists.


What has been your most interesting collaboration to date and why?

 I take pride and respect all my collaborations because every artist is unique and every person has their own input.

 
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Why did you choose to pursue a BA in Media Arts? How was your experience at University of London’s Royal Holloway? What is your take on artists pursuing Arts Degrees?

I actually just wanted to get out of my home lol. For real though, I may not have gone to Uni if it wasn’t for one of my teachers telling me, “you can still act and make music, but also move out of home and experience life differently”. That was it. I decided to go to Royal Holloway University of London. Also, I liked the course and the campus. As a struggling actor, I thought… I could keep auditioning and getting constantly rejected, or I can take control and learn how to make my own movies, tell my own stories and control my own narratives… that way, nobody can keep me out of (acting) work. I thought I could meet new people, learn new skills and live just outside London, on a campus, like in films (lol). Like anything in life, it has its highs and lows, but overall, I had a good time. I met some really cool people, made great friends and found further passions.


I feel education is important. It doesn’t have to be in the form of a degree, but you have to know your shit. Academic paths aren’t for everyone, but in the current socio-economic climate, it isn’t a bad idea to qualify in something and have a decent income to fund your artistic ventures (trust me… the fantasy of a struggling artist, only makes sense if you’re not really struggling lol aka… trust fund/ have money somewhere funding your life). 

Also, it may add more caps to your feather?


Have you been able to travel and pursue your art in different countries? How have these experiences been?

Not to pursue my art as of yet, but definitely to be inspired. Still a lot more travelling to do… ask me in a few years…

 
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How do you think artists are able to survive and thrive in London?

Haha. That’s a tough question, as everyone is on their own path… but generally, from what I currently know… it’s like any major city in the world. You work, you live and keep going. Communities help. Also, let’s not forget… London can be very bloody expensive. If you’re not originally from here, you better save up some serious cash.



How can people contact you?

Don’t contact me. I’m away for meditation. Jk @jiyandave on Insta, but I may not be around… I take a lot of time off social media to actually live my life lol. 

Peace.

 

JOATHAN MCMAHON

 
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 What exactly do you want to convey through your illustrations and music? 

A lot of it was just compulsion, since I was really young I've always had a terrible habit of drumming and drawing on everything.


 How did you start illustrating and producing?

I like to imagine I was born with a pencil because I have no idea when I started drawing. With producing I started a little over 10 years ago now, I used to play in a drum corp and when I got too old to play in competitions I started teaching myself to make beats.


What do you imagine your ideal career path to be? Would you like to be a full-time artist?

 My ideal career is to make $10 every time I inhale and $15 every time I exhale.


What technology/software/tools do you use to keep focused on what you do best?

Well I do most of my drawing on a Wacom companion 2. I use Adobe CC with Kyle brushes. It's like painting but without having to wait for things to dry. For producing I like to use Ableton Live, I find the workflow suits me well from creating to mixing tracks.


What are two of the biggest lessons you’ve acquired thus far in life? What are two of the biggest lessons you’ve acquired as an entrepreneurial artist? 

Two of the biggest lessons I guess I've learned in life are not to be too worried about what everyone thinks, and also to make sure you have yourself taken care of or most people won't even think to make sure that you're alright. The two biggest lessons I've learned as an entrepreneurial Artist are to take money up front, and don't lowball your prices to be nice. Still trying to take my own advice though.

 
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How do you get paid for your creations? 

 Cash,credit, or PayPal but Canada ain't got cashapp yet :(


What would you say, is your main motivation to continue your artistry. Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?

I'm a compulsive creator who gets gradually more and more disillusioned with life when I'm away from drawing too much. It's mostly for myself, but money is nice.


 What illustrator and producer has influenced you the most? What artists, in any other art form, has also inspired you in your own creativity?

For illustration I've been influenced by mcbess, Katsuhiro otomo, Kehinde wiley, sutueatsflies, Hajime Sorayama. For production, I would say, daft Punk, Pnd, El-p, Trent Reznor, Mike Dean, kavinsky, Dilla, Nujabes, Mark Ronson, Tame Impala, Jimi Hendrix, Pink floyd. I'm forgetting names honestly, Lil Wayne and Jay-z have influenced my recording process there's definitely others.I think that's all I've got off the top of my head.

 
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How do you think your art and your music can change the world? How do you think artists can change the world as we see it today?

I don't know if it can, I just want to keep making stuff.


What do you want your impact on this world to be? 

I want people to be like oh that guy wa55up? Yeah he did dope sh*t

 
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What has been the most interesting collaboration you’ve done to date and why?

My most interesting collaboration is ongoing with my homegirl in Australia. We make beats over Skype sometimes and have never met but she dope. Shout out to Ksunc02.


How can people contact you? 

Via wa55up.media.solutions@gmail.com or www.wa55up.co

 Ig:wa55up

Twitter:_wa55up_

 

NAJA NEWELL

 
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Location: 

NYC


What kind of artist are you?

 Creator



Tell me a little bit about yourself. (I.e. Where did you grow up, where is your family from, what is your main line of work and how did you gain interest in it?)

I grew up in Queens, NY. My family is from NYC and North Carolina, truly Southern folk. My main line of work is directing and producing film as well as choreographing. 

 How did you begin dancing, choreographing, and acting?

I began dancing when I met my sister in 2004. She lived in East Orange NJ and every other weekend we would have sleepovers while our parents went out on dates. Every Saturday the kids in the neighborhood would come outside and just start dancing. Dance battling was a huge thing over there. And since then dance has been a common force in my life.

 
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What does the quote “never trade honesty for relatability” mean to you?

That quote is from Rupi Kaur. It really means a lot to me because I found myself really pissed off at myself after creating a body of work that although pleased me, it wasn’t honest. I was very afraid of what people would think when I choreographed for the first time. The quote when I first read it moved me in such a way I had no other choice but to live by it. These days it is very hard to have an unpopular opinion. I found myself compromising my beliefs in order to not go against the status quo. Although creating work that is relatable is nice, it doesn’t serve me or anyone else to create work that is not honest. 


  What do you think is important for a Dancer/Choreographer/actress to survive financially?

I think finding a circle, getting into those spaces of people who are looking to do similar things as you. Find people who are also emerging artists and collaborate! Something I’ve learned this year is that it really does take a village, you will not make it on your own. 



 What would you like your career path to be? Would you like to be a full-time artist?

I would like my career path to be one where I am creating stories that change lives, specifically black lives. I am 100% drawn into and intrigued by black stories and how we navigate this world. An ideal career path would be traveling the world and documenting stories.

 
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Did you attend University and if so, what did you pursue and how was that experience? Do you think it’s important and/or necessary for an artist to pursue arts in College?

I did attend university. I entered with an idea that I would major in chemistry to then become a chemical engineer and make hair products catered to curly hair. But let’s just say that clearly wasn’t my calling. I tried theatre, psychology, economics, before deciding on double majoring in dance and media studies. And although it took me a while to find something I was interested in I wouldn’t change my journey at all. I think it is very important to try everything in order to know what you like. Majoring in arts allowed me to hone in on my voice. It gave me the creative freedom to express myself in ways I never imagined I would be able to, and it gave me a outlet for some of the most unbearable points in my life. Having a creative mind is good for things outside of the arts as well.

 
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 What would you say, is your main motivation to continue creating? Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into it?

I am not sure what compels me to create. It may be selfishness. 



 Other than creating, what are your other interests? 

I enjoy dancing around just for fun, without judgment or a care in the world. I enjoy discovering new places and learning new things. 


Where can people contact you?

People can contact me via email najanewell@gmail.com or direct message me on IG najaknew

 

RINA ESPIRITU

 
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How would you classify yourself as an artist and what is your main form of creativity?


I can tell you what I've done so far:

Choreographies/movement improvisations: ensemble, duet, solo

Durational performances

Music video direction

Public discourse

Street performances 

Interactive Installation

Tumblr pages

An eating event

Mixed media gestural paintings

Performed for other choreographers

How did you begin your journey as an artist?


I did a crazy thing which was major in Dance at Hunter College without having prior dance training (well I went to level K-pop dance classes sparsely during Senior HS and during my Freshman year in college). I was a sophomore in college and had to declare a major. I was also very depressed and missing most of my classes and ended up failing or withdrawing. I was only showing up to an elective Hip-Hop class taught by Robin Dunn. It was a new experience because I had no choice but to be visible. I had sensorial experience of taking up space and time while breaking a sweat. We had to look in the mirror and watch our bodies make the movement, we had to let other students watch us. It gave me momentary vitality.


 I had teachers who did not leave me jaded from making choreography (Jessica Nicoll, David Capps, Maura Donohue), so I was lucky that leaving school left me more curious and wanting to take my art practice further. I was stubborn and didn’t want to work any other way after having experiences with people in rehearsals. Being an artist felt like an absurd idea and therefore a more preferred venture than being a nurse or a teacher which for a short while, I was convinced were my only two options because I respected those jobs that most of my relatives have. My paternal grandmother was a Filipino elementary teacher. I have three paternal aunts, one is a teacher, another a nurse, the third one, a caregiver. In addition, some of my maternal aunts are also teachers and nurses. Another one owns a sari-sari store and one uncle owns a mechanic shop. My mother, the breadwinner is a middle school math teacher, my father was a high school physics teacher who now works at JFK as a food preparer. He doesn’t want to teach here in America in part due to my mother’s “first day of teaching stories” and with his dependent spouse status, he wasn’t allowed to work for years. For the family newly arrived in Jamaica, Queens in 2005, we were a fuck show although on facebook we looked good cause we would post photos of us on an apple-picking trip somewhere Upstate. My family all agreed on one thing, that I should fix my life and get a real job. I don’t talk to them and if I decide to talk to my mom then I should be ready to be metaphorically slapped in the face. I get slapped in the face a couple of times every year.


What do you imagine your ideal career path to be? Would you like to be a full-time artist?


My favorite performance art article has great words about this question.


In a way I am a full-time artist because I haven’t had a boss nor an employer for a year now. I do some part time stuff every now and then. My other job is managing self mental hygiene. 

Career might not be the right word. My ideal path is to continue making work and to  transform my sense of self through it. There are many ways this can manifest.

 
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Do you use any technology/software/tools in your creations?


I always use gmail, boomerang for gmail, instagram, Facebook, tumblr, and squarespace for online presence and correspondence with other people. With the material works I’ve produced, I used anything I found at Parents House Residency or in public parks.


What are two of the biggest lessons you’ve acquired thus far in life? What are two of the biggest lessons you’ve acquired as an entrepreneurial artist?


On top of my head, I learned from experience that absurdity gives me vitality. My life right now is in a way absurd and seems like a path to future homelessness but I try to not take life seriously and that it’s fine. It’s bittersweet to be reminded that I’m one among 7.5  billions of people living in an ever expanding universe. Dead or alive it won’t really matter as much, so I might as well follow my whims. Yep I have the thought-process of an upper middle class teenager. And parents don’t always know the best for their kids. Stay stubborn for as long as you know what you care about.


I am not an entrepreneurial artist. It’s contextual. I present work where I don’t get paid at all especially if I’m doing work I care about. I try to counter it by presenting in places where either at least I get stipends or get some money from it. This is how I made it happen last year. Otherwise I would have to get a job to fund making all the works I’ve done even though I’m still not paying rent. Above everything, presenting work overlaps with managing my mental hygiene. So it’s always good to have multiple projects I truly care about. I like the challenges and limitations of having to use as little money as possible in making/presenting work.


There is creative leverage in not having your livelihood depend on the art you make. I haven’t left my mother’s house. I haven’t figured this out. 


How do you get paid for your creations? How do you make time out of your daily adult schedule to create?


I’m not a proper adult. My mother provides housing, food, phone, internet, heat, sometimes transportation, and water. I don’t get commensurate payment for the work I do because we haven’t truly agreed on what work is. I get stipends sometimes and money from part time gigs to help pay for materials, collaboration and documentation fees. I was a restaurant host for almost three years, a part-time teacher’s assistant, I’ve done house/babysitting, I performed for other artists. All the money is spent on generating more work/self-care. The practice of making has become a necessary part of my life that without it I can notice my depression getting worse. It’s one of the best antidepressant for me. But it’s definitely work. So on days when “laziness” sinks in, I am fucked. I haven’t fully figured this out.

 
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What would you say, is your main motivation to continue your artistry?  Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?


Definitely not economic. As an immigrant who came here as a teenager with parents who have a history of poverty, they are worried for me. My parents think I’m wasting my life and that I should get a job. My mother is not kicking me out yet so for now I’m fulfilling my position in the family as the great disappointment while having the time to make work and cultivate meaningful friendships, the absurd and shameless life in Tagalog, I’m walang hiya. I truly hate working for money which means I am not fully contending with reality. That’s my peter pan privilege (PPP). I can refuse work because I have reluctant parental support that is precarious and more or less obligatory on my mother’s part. One of the reasons I can’t sleep at night. I haven’t figured this out. I intend to have better relationships with my relatives and family, sometimes I think leaving the house would spearhead it but it means I have to capitulate. My personal conundrum. Simply, I am able to make work at the expense of not contributing to the satisfaction and peace of mind for my family. 


Who inspires you the most? What artists, in any other art form, has also inspired you in your own creativity?


Right now it’s Uniska Wahala Kano. Look her up. I’m inspired by everything I come across whether I decide to like it or not. I’m bad with recall. I’m inspired by people I know shout out to Leili Huzaibah, Esther Neff, Sierra Ortega, David Ian Griess, Regine Romaine, and many more you can check my website I have a section of my friends works.


 How do you think your artistry can change the world? How do you think artists can change the world as we see it today?


I don’t think Artists can change the world but for sure they can be one among many other instigators. Changing the world implicates self-transformation. Artists ultimately don’t have full control as to how others operate and it is even more true with the self. Nevertheless, they should encourage others in self transforming as they do it to themselves. Setting an example is a way to communicate without being preachy. Everyone else ideally should be doing the same kind of work but it’s hard when many of us can’t create/maintain meaningful relationships any longer and therefore numbing ourselves with intense daily doses of superficial novelty. I am among them.

 
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What do you want your impact on this world to be?

Barely. As little footprint as possible but I’m failing at it. I drink from plastic bottles, I find myself getting coffee at Starbucks, I eat factory farmed meat, the vegetables I eat are not organic, I seem to be wasting my time getting lost in social media and vast internet virtual realities, and I binge watch on Netflix and Hulu. I haven’t figured out the best way to tame myself and not just give away my supposedly valuable attention.


What has been the most interesting collaboration you’ve done to date and why?

Everything that I’ve done is always a collaboration with another person whether they are another performer or organizer. I have to say it would be the things I’ve done with folks from Undoing and Doing collective instigated by Lorene Bouboushian. It’s a branching off of the Civic Reflex group that started in April 2018 at the former PPL site. I have to say the thing I’ve done at PPL with Nick Fracaro is also a collaboration with Leili Huzaibah, Helly Minarti, and Esther Neff because I was talking to them as I was thinking about what I wanted to do at the site. Basically it was interesting to me because it was generative in a way that I ended up knowing more people that I can go outside the house and take buses and trains for. 


What advice would you give to someone who is interested in choreography and dance?

Start now. You will never be ready or feel like it. Fail as much as you can. Fail hard. You can’t give so much fucks about everything. Know your values as an artist meaning know what it would take for you to say no to an opportunity. Start implementing your values as soon as you start. Your values will show in your art practice. Ie if you like getting awards for your work then your art practice will likely need to be palatable to as many people in the higher ups as possible and then you have to care about the higher ups. If fame is important to you then your art practice will make what’s easily consumable in the shortest amount of time. If you want to make money off of it then you will be “business as usual”. I on the other hand is not interested in any of these as my climax. You have to be honest with yourself what do you really give a fuck about? 


How can people contact you?

www.rinaespiritu.com

rina.c.espiritu@gmail.com

Follow me @rina_espiritu I update that more

 

SABRINA POLANCO

 
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Tell me a little bit about yourself. ( I.e. Where did you grow up, where is your family from, what is your main line of work and how did you gain interest in it?) 

I am an Argentinean with Dominican roots. I was born and raised in a small town in northeastern Argentina called Posadas, where I grew up with my two sisters, aunt and my grandparents until I moved to the United States. 

I’ve always been drawn to the arts, but I believe it started playing a more important role in my life once I migrated here. Reconnecting with my parents and having to adapt to a new culture was very challenging and I found comfort in dance and the visual arts as I coped with the transition. During the first few years in the US, dance seemed like a more accessible language compared to English, and it helped me connect and become part of a community. Now, I consider myself a multidisciplinary creative, but I’m mostly interested in Graphic Design, Video and Dance. 


Having witnessed you create photographic works and dance works as well, one can say you are essentially a creative and whatever you touch, one can expect to see excellence written all over it. Where do you think your creativity stems from?

(You are so sweet. Thank you!) I think my creativity comes from my curiosity and my ability to feel very deeply. 


I crave novelty and I find myself looking for opportunities to learn new things. I love the excitement and the challenge of encountering new information and using my brain in new ways. I think it’s important for artists to look for inspiration outside of their niche and get a new perspective from other disciplines. I find this beautiful sense of freedom when I learn something new, it’s fun, playful and free of my high expectation and self-criticism.


My creativity also comes from my feelings. Sometimes my emotions can be very extreme, they range from a state complete of euphoria to an almost paralyzing confusion, and in those moments art (especially dance) becomes a form of self-therapy, and that’s when I focus on my personal work, when I reconnect with myself and rekindle my passion. 



Why/how did you become obsessed with branding and visual identity?

I quit my job as Special Ed Teacher last year, and I decided to sign up for a 9-month intensive Graphic Design program at Shillington. I fell in love with branding because it merges my interests in psychology and art. My process relies in understanding the client, their voice, their values, their audience and communicating that in a way that is cohesive and visually compelling. Things are changing; people want to feel a connection to brands, they want to know they share their same values, it’s more than the product/service they offer, we are looking for authentic companies, and I love this new holistic and humane approach to branding.

 
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Did you attend University and if so, what did you pursue. Do you think it’s important and/or necessary for an artist to pursue arts in College?

I studied Psychology and Dance at Hunter College. Two years after I graduated I realized I did not want to pursue either career professionally, but I am still happy with my decision to double major, since my knowledge and love for dance and psychology shaped who I am: Dance affects how I experience the world, Psychology influences how I react to it. 


I believe artists are innately curious people and it is our job to continue to learn, and College can be a great way to accomplish that. I loved my college experience and I found it very valuable, but I am aware that our education system is designed to cater to one very specific way of learning, so it is up to each creative to decide if college is the best option, or if there are other alternatives that could potentially work better for them. Most of us can access information very easily by using our phones, there are incredible (free)  sources online, you can find mentors by reading their books or listening to their podcast, go to events that inspire you, connect with your community of creatives, ask for help, look for inspiration and knowledge in a museum, analyze the work created by the people you admire, etc. Learning is not restricted to a classroom. 


 What is it like being a young artist in New York City?

Exciting and terrifying. New York City is a great place for artists, the city has its own special rhythm and the streets and the people who call it home are great sources of inspiration and support, there are great opportunities to learn and progress in your career, and I believe most of us are able to find our own little creative family. On the other hand, if we fall into trap of comparing ourselves to others, being surrounded by so much talent and stimuli, can become very intimidating and overwhelming.


What would you say, is your main motivation to continue your artistry. Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?

It’s a form of self-preservation, I would be miserable if I didn’t. Most women in my immediate family are in the science field, I grew up thinking I would become a marine biologist or a neuroscientist, and I didn’t take art very seriously. It wasn’t until fairly recently that I accepted that I am the happiest when I am creating. 


I am still trying to find “my voice,” but as I become more confident in who I am as a person, I am realizing that I want my work to have a purpose. I am very passionate about social justice, equity, mental health, sexual empowerment and how we can make an impact by being cognizant and self-aware in our daily interactions.  I am still trying to find ways to infuse that in my work and I believe as I continue to deconstruct my own belief system it would become more apparent in my art. 

 
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What is the most important lesson you’ve carried with you in your life thus far? If you had to pick your life’s motto, what would it be?

I am an anxious person. I tend to worry about things I can’t control which lead me to imagine a million possible outcomes (which most of the time don’t event happen) and if I am not careful fear can take over my life. I try to fight this side of me by forcing myself to take risks, follow my heart, and by not taking life too seriously. I try to apply that to every aspect of my life, by saying and doing the things that scare me and loving myself and others unconditionally.


I base all my life and career decisions on these two questions:

“What’s the worst thing that could happen?”

“What’s the best thing that could happen?” 

Most of the time the worst thing that could happen is that you end up in the same or a similar place you are in right now, and you remain stagnant, BUT if you take that first terrifying step you can get a little bit closer to what and where you want to be. 


What do you think is important for an artist to survive financially?

I think it is important to diversify your income, create a mailing list, and keep the unrelated day job if you have to, but make time to create work that’s authentic, find ways that you can monetize your skills, your knowledge and your art without selling your soul. I think most of us also struggle to be objective and price our work adequately. As a young artist, I suffer from imposter syndrome and I feel guilty when people pay me, but if we do not value our art and the resources we put into learning and developing our craft how can we expect others to do it. For designers, and probably most other artists, I would say charge per project and stop exchanging your hours for money. If you are able to make great work and it only takes you 30 minutes to create that, you still need to charge for your knowledge, your skill, the value you are offering, and whatever else you need to survive.

 
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How important to you is your culture?

My culture is a very important part of my identity, although the meaning of that has changed since I moved to New York City. Most Argentinians don’t consider themselves Latinxs, we will gladly remind you that some distant relative in our family tree came from Europe, while rejecting our African and Indigenous roots, and for many years I struggled to feel connected to other Latinxs. I am not sure what triggered this change in me, but I finally was able to appreciate that I am part of a larger and collective Latinx culture. I find comfort and a piece of home when I meet other Latinxs. We are vibrant, resilient and so incredibly welcoming and humble. I am constantly inspired by our strength and our ability to embrace life.


Who is your main source of motivation as you go through this life?

My friends and family play a huge role. I know most of the time they have a hard time relating or understanding my feelings and decisions, but I am very lucky to have such supportive people in my life.


My main source of motivation would be my life-partner, Javier. We are best friends and because we are both creative inquisitive humans we challenge and inspire each other. He believes in me and reminds me of my potential when I doubt myself, he helps me deal with my dark days, but most importantly he understand and values my need for freedom and adventure. 


I am also very inspired by certain people that I met accidentally while traveling or in New York, I can’t necessarily put them in a specific category, they are a weird combination of  friends, souls mates and consequential strangers, but they are very special souls and have a unique way of looking at life. 



How can people contact you and where can they find you on Social Media?

My website: sabrinapolancoferreyra.com 

Instagram: @madebysabri

Personal Instagram: @thelifeofsabri

 

BLYZET

 
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What do you do?

I consider myself an entrepreneur because of the many ventures I’m involved in. But to clearly answer the question, I’m an intuitive Strategist. I help people create the life they want. 

Tell me a little bit about yourself. ( I.e. Where did you grow up, where is your family from, what is your main line of work and how did you gain interest in it?) 

I’m originally from Gabon, Africa. I came to the US when I was 7 years old. My father is French and my mother is African. I’m an entrepreneur, but my main line of work is being an intuitive Strategist. I’ve always been very intuitive since being a young girl, my friends use to call me a know it all because I would always know everything that would happen. Being young I didn’t really know what it was, but when I knew I knew. As I grew up I explored different religions and spiritual practices which gave me insight on my intuitive abilities. What made me decide to fully be an intuitive Strategist was because my life has been what some people would call miserable, but I don’t see it like. I’m always creating the life I want and I’ve always gotten what I want. I learned how to align my life to my greatest self regardless of the obstacles. I’m still learning, of course, life is a journey which we are constantly learning from. But it’s just to say, I do what I do to help others create the life they want as well. My many studies brought me to this point. As stated earlier I studied many religions from all over the world, studied spiritual practices such a yoga and meditation. I also obtained a psychology degree. Creating the life you want sounds all good and dandy but it can be difficult if you don’t know what to do. Our society causes us to have limitations that hinder our inner growth and peace. Technology, media, culture, even our diets and language. I work with mind, body and spirit. To manifest the life we desire, you cannot forget about one. I help people transform their lives by teaching to not create bad karma and by small achievable life changes. 


How did you become an intuitive strategist?

 You are the founder of “Gazelle World Cleaning Foundation” can you tell me more about this foundation and why you discovered it?


 My first company I opened right out of high school was a cleaning company called Gazelle Cleaning Services. I knew that my ultimate goal was to clean the environment. It was after I visited Peru for a spiritual retreat that I decided to completely shut the company down after 7 years in business. I decided that I didn’t want to go against my ultimate goal just for money. After that retreat, any venture I did had to always be related to my true self, my mission on earth and never just about money. 


What is Rouselens Photography?

 Rouse lens means awaken lens. Through personally healing I knew I had to find a creative outlet. It was important for my next step to manifesting the life I want. I tried painting, dancing, etc until I was gifted a camera for my birthday. I found that photography was it. But it’s not just regular photography. I took pictures of people, landscapes, animals you name it. I was inspired and felt creative release by taking pictures of eyeballs, faces, bees, flowers but mostly people making love. On social media, I’ve only posted pictures of people for now because I was afraid. But you can expect a shift in the upcoming months.

 
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What is the M.I.L.F. Perspective? How did it begin?

 M.I.L.F Perspective is a lifestyle brand and movement. M.I.L.F meaning “Mama In Living Finesse.” It began with me wanting to create an e-commerce business, but of course, wanting to have purpose. I didn’t want to create another meaningless brand. I also knew I wanted to have a podcast to provide free content with my intuitive coaching, and since becoming a mom I really wanted to connect with and support other moms. Being a mom has been my greatest challenge from learning about toxic products, to learning about childhood development to literally having to do it all. So it all kinda came together. My friends call me a radical because I research everything before introducing it to my son and family lol So maybe I can shed some light for some moms out there. I believe there’s something very powerful when women come together. We all go through similar situations. I wanted to be able to have a community where we can discuss anything, love, life, politics, holistic healing, all that. Discuss, learn and grow from the M.I.L.F Perspective. 



What is the most important lesson you’ve carried with you in your life thus far? If you had to pick your life’s motto, what would it be?

 My motto is:

Gratitude is the Attitude. Being in a state of gratitude always puts you in alignment with your blessings. 


Did you attend University? How was this experience? If you did, or did not, what was your reasoning?

I did go to college, and I loved it because I pursued a degree I was passionate about. I was a bit disappointed because a college degree is very specific and I’ve learned more outside of University. I’m grateful for the experience, however, I don’t believe college is for everyone and I don’t believe you need a degree to be successful. And I definitely feel that University is overpriced. 


 
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What is one personal goal and one professional goal you have for the next five years?

 I’m really not sure. For the most part, I live in the now. I try not to focus on the future too much. I’m more of a create- my-life- as-I-go person. The future is never promised. As long as I am progressing that’s all that matters to me. 


Do you have any advice so far for young, female, professionals of color who want to pursue entrepreneurship?

Just do it, don’t be scared and don’t over think. Fear of being set back can keep you from an opportunity that can push you forward. Fear will always keep you from true success. Risk is the secret ingredient of success. Also, don’t do everything yourself. Give respect, credit and support to others.

 
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How important to you is your culture?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I think it’s important but not that important. I feel as though I get Inspired and grow from learning different cultures. I take from different cultures and create my own to suit my life. 



Who is your main source of motivation as you go through this life?

My son definitely has a huge impact on motivating me but to be honest I allow myself to be motivated by different people. My clients motivate me. My educators motivate me. A stranger I don’t know can motivate me. It’s really all about having a growth mindset. I want to always grow. That’s all. 


Where can people contact you and where can they find you on Social Media?

www.blyzet.com  Or on all social media’s @blyzet

 

SHANIMA TANNI

 
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What is your main line of work and how did you gain interest in it?

I am a Human Resources professional. I manage payroll, benefits and other Human Resources related items at a Jewish day school. 

I didn’t plan on working in Human Resources. I wanted to attend graduate school and obtain a PhD in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology. It wasn’t until the end of my junior year, after working at many labs on campus and completing a research poster, I realized reading countless articles and writing up results of the experiments was not something I wanted to do in the long run. So I applied for a few different internships and it was between an Operations and Human Resources internship at the end of the day. The Human Resources internship offered the job to me first so I started there. After I graduated from college my internship extended to a full-time position and I worked with that organization for two full years time before moving on to my current job.


What is the most important lesson you’ve carried with you in your life thus far. If you had to pick your life’s motto, what would it be?

I try my best not to do anything to others that I wouldn’t wish upon myself and that’s because I believe in karma. My mantra is to do things within my means and to be a good person.


How was your undergraduate experience and how were you able to financially support yourself during those years? What advice would you give to anyone who is entering college?

Like most people, I had my ups and downs in college. It took me 3 semesters to understand what schedule worked for me and how to discipline myself to achieve the grades I wanted. I was involved in a few different organizations on campus and they kept my experience eventful. There were difficult times where getting along with others posed to be a challenge, but in hindsight, those unpleasant moments made me a stronger, well-rounded individual..

The college experience is what you make it to be. If you close yourself off from new experiences and stick to just attending classes, don’t expect anyone chasing after you to have a social life, it’s not high school.

 
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Usually, students walk out of their undergrad studies knee deep in debt, but you were able to walk away with a significant amount of income from attending college. How were you able to do this? 


My high school college advisor helped me make the decision early. I wanted to go out of state to get away from my parents and she was able to help me understand, staying in the city was more beneficial for me because all the internship opportunities are in the city and it would be cheaper for me to attend because I am a New York resident.

I had a $5k scholarship from UFT and because my parents didn’t make it a lot, I qualified for maximum FAFSA and TAP which covered my tuition and I received some refunds every year. I started working since I was 15 and worked all throughout high school and college. My mom used to also pack my lunches so I didn’t have to eat out. My parents trained me to save at a very young age so I saved most of my earnings, scholarship and financial aid money and was able to graduate with $20k in my pocket.



What is one personal goal and one professional goal you have for the next five years?

I have more personal goals than professional ones. I plan on visiting as many countries as possible until I have a family. I would like to be a certified payroll specialist in the next few years.

 What are three saving habits you think have made the most impact on your financial health?

Budgeting is the key to savings. Setting a goal for yourself on a monthly, weekly and daily basis to keep yourself on track. Keeping my money in safe deposit box and CD account also helped as I couldn’t access the money as frequently. 

 
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How important to you is your culture? 

I think it’s more important to me than I like to think it is. Being raised in Bangladesh for the first decade of my life and then migrating to the US defiantly shaped my culture to be a hybrid. I respect both my roots and my new culture

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to hit the gym, come up with new healthy recipes and binge watch tv and from time to time indulge myself in a henna hair treatment.

 
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What are some things you think people should do before they’re 25? 

  • Save at least $25k

  • Look your best because it will just get harder from here

  • Visit the country of your dream 

  • Find your passion and allow yourself to have new passions as you grow older

  • Start saving for retirement 

  • Take that experimental job

 

CHASE COLLUM

 
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What exactly is it that you want to say with your photographs, and how do you get your photographs to do that?

Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed with the number of things that are out there to be said. So many ideas circle us every day. I think the beauty of photography is that it allows us to say as much, or as little, as we want to say within the frame. To convey a message with an image, I first define my subject, and then determine the contextual space in which that subject’s definition is most clearly expressed. Sometimes, such as in portraiture, that can mean thoughtfully staging the subject, set and lighting. In other instances, such as in photojournalism or event coverage, that can mean reactively placing the subject in the most suitable context available in any given moment. 


How did you start photographing?

My journey into photography began when I was a student at Baruch College in 2012. I was covering the Occupy Wall Street movement, and came to the realization in the midst of one of the marches that words alone were insufficient to convey the story that was playing out in front of me. I was in the midst of the crowd, snapping photos on my woefully-inadequate cellphone - more for my own reference than for publication - when my phone battery died. While I stood in the midst of all the chaos of the protest thinking about what to do next, there was a break in the crowd, and I realized that I was standing directly across the street from a camera store. It was one of those moments that froze itself into my memory. I knew right then and there that it was time to commit myself to photography and it was one of the five best decisions I’ve made in my lifetime. 


What would you like your career path to be? Would you like to be a photographer full-time?

I stood on the precipice of working as a professional photographer about four years ago. At the time, I couldn’t imagine a way to work full-time in photography without dedicating the majority of my time to weddings, since they’re the highest-paying jobs available to most photographers. That was not a future that looked forward to at all. My aversion to wedding photography, combined with my need at that time to secure a steady salary in order to bring balance to my chaotic life, led me to take a  step back from photography. But in recent months, my passion has been reignited, so I began to rededicate myself to the art of producing images. With my renewed sense of purpose, I now approach photography from a more mature and patient place, with more focused intention than ever before. I don’t know whether full-time photography is in my future, but it is something that I have been considering lately. For me, working full time in photography would only be a positive outcome if I am doing work that brings me fulfillment. If I’m not able to focus 100% on work that I care about, work that inspires me, then I don’t see the point in pursuing a full-time photography path. 

 
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What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?

I’m going to apologize in advance for going deep on this question, because I’m a bit of a gear head. 


I have been shooting with a Canon 5d mark iii for the past six years, and while there are now several cameras with higher resolution available, I find myself drawn to the subtle line between perfection and limitation that the mark iii represents. For lenses, I shot most of my work on the Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS lens, but recently widened my range a bit. I now pack the Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8-4 OSD lens, the Canon 50mm f/1.8 STM, and the Tamron 70-210mm f/4 VI OSD lens. These three lenses provide me with a balance between image quality (which verges on perfection), weight (with all being among the lowest-weight lenses in their respective categories), and performance. I also keep a set of Kenko macro extension tubes in my bag in case I need any detail shots. 


For lighting, I travel with the Canon 430 EX II Speedlight and the Yongnuo 560 Speedlight along with the CowboyStudios remote flash trigger system. I have a collapsible Neewer 24x24” softbox and reflector kit for portrait lighting, and a couple of Flashpoint folding stands with five-pound sandbags to keep them from tipping over in the wind (I learned how crucial sandbags can be when one of my light stands fell on to the president of Poland during a video shoot three years ago!). Finally, I have a Sekonic flash meter that takes the guesswork out of setting up lighting scenarios on the fly. 


I also use the Peak Design system, which includes the Leash L-2 camera strap, the Capture Clip and and the CaptureLens kit. Together, these allow me to have access to all of the equipment I need when shooting events without having to risk a trip to my camera bag that could cause me to miss out on a key moment. 


I know this sounds like a lot of equipment to carry around, but I’ve built my kit specifically to be very mobile. I like to call it my own personal subway studio. 


Concerning software, I rely almost entirely on Adobe Lightroom for my editing work, though I do occasionally venture into Photoshop when absolutely necessary, but I prefer to do most of my work in-camera to lighten the post-processing load. 

 How do you get paid to do what you want to do with your photography and how do you make time out of your daily adult schedule for it?

Recently, most of my photo work is booked through Thumbtack, an app that connects people with professionals. Rather than paying a flat annual fee as with some similar sites, I pay a small, disclosed sum on a lead-by-lead basis. What this means is that I am able to see postings from people in my area looking for a specific type of photography service, whether it be events or portraits, or some other specialty project. If I see something that I feel is within my wheelhouse, I send a quote to the customer along with a note explaining who I am, directing them to my website and reviews from previous customers, and walking them through the things that I will provide within the quoted price. Even though my time is restricted to weeknights and weekends, I land a considerable amount of work through this platform, and have been booked steadily every weekend by at least one client since the last weekend of October. About 5-10% of my revenue through this platform goes to Thumbtack, and the rest - about $1,200 to $1,500 of net revenue per month at my current rate of booking one to two clients per week - goes in my pocket. 


Separate from the Thumbtack platform, I also have a variety of existing clients that I have maintained for several years who I work for on an event-by-event basis. 


While I have not yet registered my photography business in New York City, I plan to do so shortly, and I keep detailed records of all transactions and business costs so that I can file taxes accordingly. 

 
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What would you say, is your main motivation to continue taking pictures. Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?

For much of my life, I actually avoided taking photographs because I felt that it was a distraction from the experience of the moment. In a way, that is part of what drew me to eventually take up photography for private clients; I want to be able to provide my clients and subjects with an opportunity to truly engage in their important life events so that they can put down their own cameras and phones and create memories rather worthy of being captured in high definition. 


I think most of the categorical motivations you’ve listed play a part to a varying degree in all projects that I engage in. Economic motivation is really what sparked my resurgence into professional photography in recent months; I broke an important lens in my collection a few months ago, and quality replacement gear is very costly, so I took up client work in order to cover the costs of investing in new equipment without tapping into my primary income stream. Political motivation is something that occasionally plays a part in my work, though not that often. I tend to gravitate toward personal stories rather than tackling macro issues with my work at this point, though as I alluded to earlier, most of my early work was in photojournalism, which was very politically-oriented. Out of the latter two sub-motivations, I would say that emotional motivation is more of a draw for me than intellectual motivation. That said, I do appreciate intellectual expression in the work of others. 


What photographer has influenced you the most? What artists, in any other art form, has also inspired you in your own creativity?

One of the first great photographers that I studied was Stephen Shames. I had the privilege of meeting him while I was studying at Nassau Community College, and his work covering the Black Panther movement during the civil rights era as well as his work in Uganda were integral to the flipping of the switch that turned on my own passion for photography. 


After Stephen, the photographer who most influenced me was Ambrose Eng, a fellow student at Baruch College whose career has blossomed magnificently. He works heavily in photography and video all around the world for a fascinating set of clients. Though he and I have not kept in touch, I am inspired by his work from afar. He really helped me to grasp the basics of photography that I built my own work and field study around. Without his early input and advice, I am not sure I would have ever found myself yearning to pursue photography. 

 
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How do you think photography can change the world? How do you think artists can change the world as we see it today?

I think there are so many good examples of how photography has changed the world already. Just one example of this comes from National Geographic, which created a platform for natural documentary photography that inspired environmentalism as we know it today. In a more modern context, photography and videography have been essential to bringing both awareness and accountability to some of the most pressing issues of our time. A smartphone video of a police encounter with Eric Garner in Staten Island and other similar videos sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. And just yesterday, the world paused to appreciate the first-ever photographs from the surface of Mars, which will likely inspire a whole new generation of space explorers who will accomplish things we probably can’t even imagine today. Millions of photographs are captured every day through smartphones, compact cameras, and professional-grade mirrorless and dslr cameras. It takes just one camera in the right place, at the right time, and aimed the right direction to drastically change our cultural landscape. 


 What do you want your impact on this world to be? 

I am not really sure how to answer this question, because I cannot predict what events and circumstances I will witness in my life. What I will say is that on an individual level, I want to be someone who brings more good into this world than I take out of it.

 

DANIEL GITTENS

 
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What exactly is it that you want to say with your photographs, and how do you get your photographs to do that?

I’m still learning what I ultimately want my photos to say, but for now, they’re my perceptions of the world I see around me, or the person I’m shooting. I don’t take the photo unless the view from my camera is exactly what I want to see when I’m editing, so I’m very particular about the process.


How did you start photographing?

I started taking photos with my phone back in 2014. I remember standing on a train platform in the Bronx with my phone out, and thinking “Hmm...this lighting looks kind of cool”. So I took a photo. Gradually I continued to do it more, and I shrugged off the idea of buying an actual camera, because, why would I even think of doing that? Now I’m on my fourth camera body since 2016.


 What would you like your career path to be? Would you like to be a photographer full-time?

Every time I shoot something that lights me up, I want that to be my career path. Currently, where I seem to be doing really well is shooting boudoir. It’s hard to practice, because I have to have someone not only want to take photos so revealing, but with me in the room as well. What drives me is the thrill of improving, and shooting a photo better than the last one. Shooting full-time? I think I would LOVE to do it. I won’t rush it, though.

 
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What technology/software/camera gear do you use to keep focused on what you do best, as you photograph?

As far as software is concerned, I keep a sharp eye on Instagram. It’s truly where I do the majority of my studying and developing my eye; seeing what photos stand out to me and why, what I would like to imitate, and what I think I could do better. My current camera is a Sony A7, and it’s pretty much the best single piece of hardware I’ve ever held. I’ve had it since March 2018, and I really have no complaints about it at all. The reason I kept switching cameras was because there was something I didn’t like about the others, whether it was their weight, their speed, or the sensor was just far too incapable in poorly-lit scenarios. With my A7, I feel like all my criteria are met.


How do you get paid to do what you want to do with your photography?

When it comes to payment, I always discuss it beforehand with a client who approaches me. When I reach out to someone, I really want the practice, so I don’t charge them, of course. I have never had any issues with anyone toying with my trust, but when I’ve done shoots for businesses, I have used invoices to make things official and to keep them accountable.

 
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What would you say, is your main motivation to continue taking pictures. Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?

My main motivation is absolutely the thrill of being good at this craft. There’s so much work that goes into a photo being great that a lot of people can’t readily appreciate. This is the one thing I can really say that I’ve been great at, so I love pushing my limits and coming from a shoot thinking “Damn, I really killed it today”. Followed by marveling over my photos as I’m editing them, and then seeing the reactions on social media when I post.


What photographer has influenced you the most? What artists, in any other art form, has also inspired you in your own creativity?

I’m not particularly artsy, so I can’t say with any honesty that many artists outside of photography influence me to any measurable degree. My favorite shooter, though, is an Englishman named Alex. He’s a boudoir photographer, Instagram @acalculatedrisk, and he is the only person to have me routinely gasp when I see his work. His photos are so striking, moody, and so far from generic. His work is probably where I get my love of dark photos from.

 
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 How do you think photography can change the world? How do you think artists can change the world as we see it today?

Changing the world with photography...that’s a hard one for me, I think that would definitely be best asked of a photojournalist or street photographer; they’re the ones really out in the world, mixing it up with everyday people and having the conversations.


What do you want your impact on this world to be? 

I want to leave this world knowing I made someone’s life better. There are people in this world who are sunshine in human form, and I strive to be another one. Giving love, kindness, attention, and fairness to people shape who I am as a person.

 

ANDREW SUSENO

 
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You were born in Great Lakes, IL, can you tell me more about your life growing up and how you began dancing and ultimately decided to pursue a BA in dance at Wesleyan University? 

Spring Board Diving

Karate, Aikido

Began dance @ Wes - majored in Computer Science

Stopped to explore spirituality, it was a source of freedom and i was fascinated with how we make meaning via movement.



You then continued to become a Certified Orthopedic Manual Therapist at NAIOMT, a Doctor of Physical Therapy at NYU, you’re a Feldenkrais Practitioner, and a Certified Laban Movement Analyst (CLMA), why did you decide it was important to get this education?


DPT: to learn about the human body and to be able to help people through pain and difficulties.

CLMA- to learning about how we make meaning out of movement. It seemed like something mystical to me...and it still is. This created the container for human experience and examining who i am. I was tryign to find my way out of whiteness and this was the ticket, I didn’t know how...everything around me was sayign it had to do with my individual experience, rather than my collective.

You are one of the founding members of Parcon, an inclusive, site-specific movement practice that was inspired by Contact Improvisation and Parkour. You also began People of Color Contact Improvisation jams. These two projects both provide space for inclusivity and community. Can you tell me more about Parcon and the POC Improv jams, what motivated you to begin them, and why is it important that they exist?


Parcon : Taught a class, founded ParconNYC, and then invesitigated….and develop Parcon Resilience. BIPOC jams: Monthly time that came out of falling leaves and ontario jam.

 
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What are two of the biggest lessons you’ve acquired thus far in life? 

Swim in the wisdom of collective; be transparent with your ideas; Learn how to make boundaries so that your work is self-determined and that you are not doing other people’s work for other people.



What are two of the biggest lessons you’ve acquired as an entrepreneurial artist? 

Do good work and document it well.



Where do you believe your creativity stems from? 

Desire to find relevant connection with others especially across differences of age and ability. Desire to find relevance for myself.

 
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What advice do you have for younger artists? How important do you think it is to have a mentor as an artist?

Mentors are critical because they can save you from wasted effort and hardship. They help you develop your ideas and build boundaries where needed to get what is important for you.



What do you want your impact on the world to be?

To integrate the environmental and relational somatics investigated in Parcon Resilience to become a tool about how people participate in community in an embodied way.

 
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What has been the most interesting collaboration you’ve done to date and why?

Non-Violent Communication collaboration with Shana Deane for the Summer of 2018 in Nelson A Rockefeller Park. exploring how the work integrates with NVC...feelings/ needs/ and requests….became the ground for lots of future theory. 


What or who motivates you the most?

People who have allowed themselves to be moved by the work. 

How/where can people contact you? 

www.parconrc.org

Andrew@parconrc.org

 

CORY “NOVA” VILLEGAS

 
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What kind of artist are you?

That’s a tough question because it wasn’t until recently that I considered myself an artist. For a long time, I was just grateful for the times in passing I got to create work. But, then it hit me. That’s exactly what it is. I’m a creator of movement and storytelling. So by definition, I’m a choreographer. However, I believe my work as an artist is much more complex than that. I like to create movement pieces using real-world experiences that have happened to me as gay Afro-Latina from the Bronx. I use poetry and spoken word as a way to marry experience with dance/movement. 



Tell me a little bit about yourself. (I.e. Where did you grow up, where is your family from, what is your main line of work and how did you gain interest in it?)

I’ve grown up in the Hunts Point Area of the Bronx for all of my life. I am both Puerto Rican and Dominican. My mom was born in New York also raised in the Bronx by two parents who were both born in Puerto Rico and migrated here. My dad is from the Dominican Republic, he came here after six months of marrying my mom. Both of my parents are extremely hard working and raising me in the Bronx, wasn’t. They enrolled me in dance classes at the age of 5 so that they wouldn’t take the chance of losing me to my environment. It was then that dance was introduced to me. My main line of work is teaching dance. I gained interest in it when I entered high school and my dance teacher then now another mentor Penelope Kalloo poured dance in me in a different way. She allowed me control, in how I was going to learn dance and the dynamics of it. For the first time, someone gave me the opportunity to create something that was mine. Then she allowed me to teach it to my peers. It was then I realized how much I loved to teach dance and allow other people to learn my knowledge. Out of high school though, the plan was not to become a dance educator. I was supposed to become a computer engineer of sorts. My mentor, let me know that I looked unhappy that I should do what made my heart happy. That's how I ended up pursuing a degree in it. Her endless push and belief that I had much more to say than I even realized was how I ended up teaching dance. 


In addition to being a Dancer, Choreographer, and Educator, you’re also a Lighting Designer. Why was it important to learn this skill and how has it been helpful in the other creative aspects of your life? 

Lighting design was one of those things I accidentally care to love. It was something that one of my mentors Roderick Murray just believed I could do. I remember getting ready to do lighting design in a show at school and him placing me in front of the light board and saying “I want you to just play.” This, of course, was after learning about colors and things in class but it was the first time I had ever been that close to a lighting board. It was then that I began to explore the endless possibilities of the world of lighting design and I fell in love. As an artist and choreographer, I believe it is important to learn this skill because it helps elevate and create a world for audiences to become a part of. It helps add dimension and depth to your work, which helps in overall execution. It has been extremely helpful in my work and other aspects of my life because I never have to worry about trying to find someone to light my pieces. I have all the tools necessary to create my world. But it has helped me outside of my work because I have been given the opportunity to light works in different ways and different venues. I’ve been able to use any kind of instrument from the oldest to the newest and still create a world of genius. It’s put a great emphasis on my versatility as an artist. 

 
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You are the Artistic Director/Founder of Soul Dance Co. Can you tell me more about Soul Dance Co. and how it was created?

Soul Dance Co.: The Soul Experience believes that as individuals we all have something valuable to share with the world. The experiences with dance and world struggles as it pertains to race, gender, and sexuality amongst the company have led to the mission of creating an experience through moving and storytelling. The company aims to give dancers not only the opportunity to perform, but also gain experience through their personal experiences as people and artistry. The goal is to reach the audience and dancers in such a powerful way that it will lead to the relating and learning through the stories told in their work. The company hopes that audiences and performers will feel like they are a part of the process and are not alone in a world where it is so easy to feel ordinary. Through the use of poetry, music, Afro-Latin, Contemporary-Ballet, Jazz and Modern technique these souls will create and produce original work. Their work is an exhibition of physicality, endurance, and perseverance all while holding true to the human experience narratives created by the company. Although their differences as dancers, the passion and love for dance glows in each and every one of them.

The company was created on the idea that no one from my generation was creating work that I cared about or wanted to be a part of. I wanted a place where I could talk and create things that spoke to me and that I believed in. I remember sitting in the Co-Artistic Director’s car one late night and telling him I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted to create a space where I’m just doing the things that I wanted to do and that was it. He grabbed my hand and said, “Let’s Do It.” The rest is pretty much history. 


Within the works that I’ve seen you create, I’ve gotten a sense that you’re able to fuse culture and identity into your artistry and make it so that other people can understand fragments of you, the choreographer. How important would you say is culture and identity in the creative process and also in your everyday life? 

 Interestingly enough, I am actually really shy. I am someone who needs to get warmed up to anyone before I even show a quarter of who I am. Choreographically, however, I find that all the things that make me uncomfortable to talk about I choose to do so in my work. I find dance to be the medium between myself and others. My choice to incorporate so much my culture and who I am is simply because I feel like not enough creative work out there captures the true essence of the individual. It is so important that my work continues the conversation of my Afro-Latin roots, as well as my struggle with being a lesbian from the Bronx. You see, the world we live in right now is consumed by notions of separation and unconnectivity, it isn't until people view and actually perform my work that people actually find familiarity in the voice of it. It is important that I speak of all the things that I am truly uncomfortable to talk about because of fear of not being accepted or heard. The truth is my work is my mystical force field, tailored to reach every soul in one form or another to feel some sort of understanding for what it is that I am trying to say. My identity is what makes me, me. My culture pumps so richly through my veins and my home, that to ignore it wouldn’t be living. It would merely be existing. 

 
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You’re currently a BA/MA student in the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program. How has this experience been for you and do you believe it was significant to pursue dance in College? Why or why not?

 Being a graduate in the AGDEP Program has had its ups and downs. However, it has paid such a pivotal role in who I am as an artist. It is an extensive program, with so much work, exams and just things that are easy to get lost in. A large part of my time I felt unaccounted for and fed artistically. Part of my reason for wanting to be in the program was because I wanted more kids in the Bronx to experience dance in a way that I was fortunate enough to get. It wasn't until voicing these things allowed that I found that I had so many resources in front of me because of the program that I wasn’t able to see. I was able to study with Pedro Ruiz as my mentor and his choreographic eye and undeniable genius have made a lot of my work slightly more genius than it already was. But, most importantly it taught me to think about dance intellectually. This is why I feel pursuing dance is important because it switches your thinking about dance to a more intellectual level. It's no longer just physical. You have now tapped into a different dimension in dance, which has helped elevate my work exponentially. 


Who inspires you the most? What artists, in any other art form, has also inspired you in your own creativity?

A lot of my inspiration comes from Ronald K. Brown. I remember the first time I saw the work of Ronald K. Brown, I was immediately drawn to his notion that movement of the ancestors was also valid in a concert dance setting. When I say ancestors I am referring to the spirituality of African dance and its essence. However, he never let go of the technical aspects of dance. The physicality and extreme need to always celebrate where you come from along with the narrative quality are the things that pushed me to do the kind of work and research I am now doing. Much like his work, my work marries African dance, Afro Cuban and aspects of modern and contemporary technique. 

Another art form that inspires me tremendously is music. Music drives my every move in my work. Coming from a family that is rich in salsa musicians. My grandmother’s first husband was a famous producer/trumpet in Puerto Rico. His name was Kito Velez. He wrote the famous salsa song “Tengo Un Swing.”  When I choreograph, listening to music is the most electrifying thing there is because I hear every note, every chord, beat and melody. This guides and inspires the story behind whatever piece it is that I’m creating. It is an instant burst of inspiration.  


What would you say, is your main motivation to continue your artistry. Would you say economic, political, intellectual, and emotional motivations can be factored into this main motivation?

My main motivation to continue my artistry lies in my want to change the narrative of social dance. Being a dancer where my first ever learned technique was New York Style salsa, I seek to keep infusing it in my work and present it on concert stages. Salsa and every other style of dance that is considered social deserves the same prestige and respect and the known concert styles and not just through competitions. I want people to see the beauty and richness in the celebration of culture and how it is not an issue of black or white, but more so an evolution in the times.  I believe in this main motivation there can be economic, political, intellectual and emotional motivations factored in. It would give more Salsa dancers and families a place to earn money as just that and help families celebrate their culture. It will start to raise questions about equality, about gender and ultimate questions about privilege. Why? Because these styles will be equally respected. But mainly, intellectually, because it will now have people thinking outside of conformity. This is something that is not as common as it seems. 

 
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On the path to becoming an artist, what are two of the biggest lessons you’ve acquired thus far?

As I started to own my artistry and really hone in on it I’ve learned quite a few lessons. The first is to be your honest, most true and authentic self. Often when I see artists create I see material that is either being down or “trending.” I rarely see work that I can look at and say, this belongs to so and so. I believe in being your truest self in your artistry and the only way to do that is to own it. Katherine Dunham used to tell her dancers “You must know your source,” and for me, I try to pull from my source. From all the things that make me, me. I’ve also learned acceptance. You must accept that not everyone will understand your artistic voice and that is okay. Artistry should not purely be for an audience but we must learn to be selfish with it also. If we don’t do that then it all just become exhibitionary and when will we connect deeply with the work. 


What do you want your impact on this world to be?

I want my impact on this world to be that I changed the view of what “concert dance should be.” I want to see more Hispanics and people of color in modern dance companies, I want to see our lovely, feisty and outgoing personalities being showcased in settings that are considered to be “elegant, sophisticated and mature.” I want to be at the forefront of that movement and I want to change those views. If at some point on this quest some changes start to be made I’m happy I could change part of the narrative in the dance world. 


In dance, how important is it to have teachers and mentors? How has your experience with that been? 

I believe it is always important to have people you learn from and some sort of mentorship in dance. They serve as a second set of eyes and ears to your findings as a creator and mover. Mentors for me, serve as an avenue where questions are posed to get you to think deeper into your work and why you make the choices you make. This for me is so important because while not all dance needs to have some sort of emotional attachment or meaning to it, I believe it should evoke some sort of thought if not have you question the process of the creation. My experience personally with mentorship has been mostly one that is good. Being the kind of creator/choreographer that an exploring the movement vocabulary that I do from the African diaspora and mixing that with social Latin dances, I always experience a lot of backlash. Normally the criticism is that my work is to social and shouldn’t be presented as finished professional work. My mentors, however, have always pushed me to stay true to what I believe in and to really have a clear voice in my work. They always ask me to really go for it if I am going to go for it. They ask me to take my negative criticism and fuse it in my work and exploit the things that make critics so uncomfortable, which ends up creating the success stories of all my pieces. I would say mentorship is awesome as long as an artist you allow your mentors to know that you are clear and know exactly what it is you are trying to say to your audience. It opens the path for more authentic guidance.

What do you think is important for a Dancer/Choreographer to survive financially?

 I think what is important for a Dancer/Choreographer to survive financially is not being afraid to have three and five jobs to fund your dream. You must be willing to do whatever it takes to work and fund your dream. No work should be beneath you and no work should be above you. In order to survive, you must know that you can stand as the leader of the pack as well as be someone who just resides in the pack. You must also always remain hungry and just someone who is a collaborator. With collaboration comes being willing to take yourself out of your comfort zone. Sometimes, the opportunities that pay off financially are the ones that came from collaborating with someone and stepping out of your comfort zone to do so. Trust that all the hard work and overtime will be worth it even though it’ll be hard as hell. 

Besides dance, what are your other interests? 

One of my greater interests aside from dance is collecting sneakers. As a kid, I remember growing up in the Dominican Republic and just looking around and seeing the people around me with not enough to buy shoes. While I had shoes and my family could afford to put some on my feet, I didn’t have the luxury of having many pairs. I remember thinking that when I got older and could do for myself I’d collect every sneaker my heart desired when I was that age. And so I did. I started collecting everything from, running sneakers, to designer sneakers, to skateboard sneakers and even basketball sneakers. My sneaker collection has grown to almost 100 pairs, all of which I’ve worn throughout the years and have just collected because of how unique the sneaker is. While there are people who are apart of the “Sneakerhead” community whose collection is bigger than mine, I want to continue to grow my collection and grow it. Sneakers to me tell a story about who the person is, where they’ve been and where they’re going and that sort of history interests me. 


Where can people find you on the web/how can people contact you?

People can contact me through social media which are: 

ig: iamthesupernova

fb: Cory Nova Villegas

I can also be reached through email at: 

CoryVillegas13@gmail.com 

On the web I can be found through my company’s website: 

souldanceco.com 

I try to utilize all technological mediums because I want to be reachable and the kind of artist that’s easy to be found and collaborate with. 

 

BRADLEY “DENDOLOGY” FAIR

 
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What kind of artist are you?

Musician, and graphic artist


What are your forms of creativity and how did you begin?

I started actually because I was on punishment for not having good grades so my parents took everything away. I couldn’t go outside, I couldn’t use the tv, I could only go out of my room to eat, drink or use the restroom. Very strict.  The only thing they couldn’t take was what I owned which was this $200 PC I got from a pawnshop. I found a free program to make beats on, and spent all of my time falling in love with it since. As for art, it also came to me in times of travail, after familial drama at the home reached a boiling point, I took exile to the beach where I stayed for three days and three nights. During that exile, I slept under the stars and woke up to the most brilliant sun rays. While wading through the morning water, I had an epiphany to digitize my artwork. Ever since I’ve been able to finally monetize and showcase my work to a larger group of like-minded people.

 
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 What do you want people to walk away with after hearing or seeing something you created? 

I want them to know that it’s entirely possible to access “impossibilities” and make them real. I had no prior experience in art or music, no schooling, no workshops. Just a love for something that at the time, probably, gave me a lot of signs not to love it. But it was a creative outlet for me. No matter how wack or ugly my creations were, it made me feel good to be able to create, and most importantly, I liked it! I want to emphasize how important it is to create and how accessible it now has become. I want everyone to tap into their inner superstar!

 
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 What do you imagine your ideal career path to be? Would you like to be a full-time artist?

My intent is to become a full-time professional multi-hyphenate. I could be a music producer, one day and a graphic artist the next. I imagine many other amazing creators calling me one day for a bomb beat and the next day, asking me to design cover art, and the next day asking me to shoot the video for that same song. But I also believe in being amazing at all those things, not just passable. I want to monopolize creativity if that doesn’t come off as insane and impossible! I’m all for vertical integration of music and art in my brand.

 
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What technology/software/tools do you use to keep focused on what you do best?

My trusty iPad has been my device of choice for this journey into creative arts. I use it to sketch my graphics, creative ad videos, engage on social media and converse with clients and other personnel/loved ones. I’m a huge fan of the Adobe Suite of programs, most importantly Adobe Draw, Sketch, Photoshop, Lightroom, and Premiere. They have really mastered streamlining a lot of different tools in a way that is not only user friendly but performative and powerful. I’ve also got my toshiba PC that I use to create my instrumental and songs on. The program, FL studio,is free to download but if you want all the extra cool gimmicks, it starts at $99. 

A mild investment when you consider a lifetime of creations.