What do the words "Creative Community" bring to mind for you? How do you feel is the best way to utilize members in a Creative Community?
The words to me bring to mind how important having my team has been. To me, community is what makes ideas become a reality and furthermore fun to achieve. I think the best way to utilize members in a creative community is to assess what you feel it is that a particular member is passionate about and have them contribute in a way that is meaningful to them. When people feel they are contributing to something that they feel is important to them they will feel fulfilled.I personally feel that most people that get into a creative field don't do it just for financial success; they would like to leave in impact on this place. You'd have to be stupid to get into the creative industries with strictly the idea of financial success in mind. I'm sure there are much easier routes for that. This is a place to try and leave your mark, to try and make a difference and to try and bring people together through community and creativity.
How did you discover your creativity?
I discovered my creativity at a very young age. I was very lucky to have parents that were in the arts and also encouraged me to be creative. I have always enjoyed using my imagination and dreaming to create something lasting.To me it just seemed to be a natural part of life. I tried for many years to do various jobs outside of the creative field just to survive. I literally could not handle my life. I was so uninspired and so bored. To me, it was much more fulfilling and invigorating to struggle to do something creative perhaps less lucrative than it was to not be creative at all. It was those experiences that helped me to discover that I was a creative person and couldn't happily exist without having some method to express it.
Name the biggest challenge you have had in your career to date. How did you solve it?
The biggest challenge I've had to deal with in my career is simply just making enough money to survive while doing what I love. For quite some time I had a considerable amount of debt I acquired while attempting to build my career Los Angeles. It was really challenging. I'm not of the mindset of being too conservative. I can be very frugal but I'm definitely a risk taker. I tend to believe you have to spend money to make money. I spent many years continuing to go out, go out, go out and build community. That was not always an affordable choice. I attribute a lot of my success to the community I have built and contribute to. I have probably gotten at least 200% more work for people I trust and believe in than I have for myself. This may sound cheesy but I do believe that what goes around come around. I have tried to be as generous to my community as possible and I do believe that has come around to me in more ways than I could have ever imagined.
What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?
I'm not sure what exactly my first "Big Break" would be and to be honest, I'm not clear that those entirely exist. I'm not going to say that they don't exist but I do tend to believe that a career in a creative field, my industry being photography, are very similar to a marketing campaign for a major motion picture. You have to hit it repeatedly and from many angles, over and over until someone notices. I think people respond when they see over and over in many different places and contexts that you are doing cool stuff and lots of it for various different clients. Once that is rolling that things start to happen. I think my biggest campaign so far has been for a cosmetics brands. I have some great and loyal clients in beauty that have greatly contributed and continue to contribute to my continued success. Some of my tops include Michelle Phan, Ipsy and NYX cosmetics.
What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?
I'm writing this interview in my hotel room in NYC and therefore find it perfectly ironic to be asked and answering this question. Literally in my backpack because I didn't want to check a bag is everything I need; clothes for 3 days, my toothbrush, a good book and my camera.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out in your creative profession?
Always believe in yourself and in your brand. Be prepared to work harder than you've ever expected and to continue doing that but I do believe that persistence is king in this industry. Be persistent; not annoying but persistent.
What are some of your favorite places/books/blogs/websites for inspiration?
I absolutely love social media, especially instagram. We now have at our fingertips, literally, so much media and the ability to see what everyone is doing. Instagram for me is like a black hole of digital information. I see so much beautiful work happening on there. I can get lost in there for ages.
What would be your DREAM ASSIGNMENT?
My dream assignment would be to go to some tropical islands for several months and just shoot beauty portraits of people in that environment.
Who are the people that have been instrumental in your success as a creative professional?
There are so many people who have been instrumental in my success. I have always thought that having mentors is so important. People who have navigated not only creative industries but also just business and entrepreneurship as well. For me one of my mentors, Robert Stephens, founder of Geek Squad, has been very supportive. Jason Bell, photographer, has also been a great mentor to me.
What would be your last supper?
My last supper would be filled with my greatest friends, many bottles of good red wine and perhaps a pizza or 2. Community is so important to me. My friends are everything to me and they have greatly contributed to my success. I would be so grateful to have a drink with them and celebrate everything that we have built.
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