Between freelancing through my work as a creative & building community movements through Hard Knock Leadership it's been one hell of a rollercoaster ride in balancing the dream of being internationally based.
After spending 6 months on the road overseas, a return to the 6ix felt more than right. I made it back to Toronto for a surprise visit this summer and decided to adapt the policy of working in silence behind the scenes to make more movements than announcements. I guess time passes by quickly when you're focused on the hustle because now I'm preparing to head back on the road again without a giving you an update on my current movements.
So in order to answer the question "What exactly are you doing?" which I often get, I'm sharing the Hard Knock Highlights of this year.
Hard Knock Highlights: Year 2
Registration of Indian Private Limited Enterprise
My main reason for the return was to handle some paperwork that would allow me to travel back to India as an overseas citizen. I spent the first four months of travel overseas in my native lands of Southern India, trying to get an understanding for how I could play more of a long term role with my cultural heritage.
This summer I stepped on board as a managing director and registered an Indian Private Limited Enterprise with the goal of creating solutions that supports sustainable development internationally. This has opened up a whole new world for me to explore and while at the moment I'm still developing what my exactly this role will look like for me over the next two years expect that you will hear about more potential projects from India.
Local & Global creative collaborations:
Building the collective has become an important area of focus for me. Call it squad goals but I truly believe in the idea of going further together with other like minded individuals to build the empire.
Year One India: While overseas in India, I took on the role of an international correspondent to support the Year One Publication. By exploring content for an Indian audience, for my boys who are behind the digital consulting firm Splash Effects, I contributed a piece to their publication with a Hard Knock angle that highlighted the strength of India's very own Queen of the Boxing Ring: Mary Kom
Surface Collective: My one month stay in Bangkok fostered the building of another creative partnership with a fellow Canadian creative, Rod Tasaka, founder of The Surface Collective. I've been working with Rod behind the scenes to vision out a collective creative brand that supports local inspiration and collaborations while on the road, along with contributing as an artist to his creative design work with surface.
Siamese Connection: On my return to Toronto, I've been mapping out some long term collaborations both local & global with one of my good friends Marwa Siam Abdou who wrote a piece on my personal story while I was overseas as her Tales of Toronto project.
She has recently broken into the role of a film maker creating her very first short film that touches on the very personal and challenging topic of autism under the lens of migrant families. Take a look at the trailer below
I've been supporting Marwa's production company Siamese connection through my role as a documentary photographer as we both share a common vision on wanting to tell the untold stories of underrepresented ethnicities. Expect to see more creative work under this lens.
I started the year reinventing my career from a higher education specialist to a full time artist & creative. While I'm still trying to navigate highs and lows of freelancer's life, I've dedicated part of my purpose and long term goals to fostering more creative collaborations with other creators.
I'm always looking to build & collaborate with creatives both locally & globally so give me a shout if you see potential in working together to create something great.
Inside Out Project Toronto 2015
For anyone knows me as creator knows that my photography style has heavily been influenced by the work JR Artist & the Inside Out Project.
I remember when I first saw JR's ted talk that challenged the world to stand up for what they cared about by participating in his global art project that would turn the world inside out.
I had to opportunity to jump on board with JR's team to support with their installation at Nathan Phillips Square for Nuit Blanche. To be part of the Toronto team to support a project that has given me so much creative energy in the last couple of years was truly an honour.
We Are Dixon Project
Over the summer I was approached by the City of Toronto & A community service group in the west end to support youth from Dixon community through Arts Education.
The We Are Dixon project was created to connect with youth from the west end around the idea of photography as a tool for community building, which continued from a similar project in Scarborough last year. This project worked with somali youth to develop an knowledge around the power storytelling and camera fundamentals.
My involvement in this project was an opportunity to build bridges between the east & west ends of the city as part of the long term goal of arts educational programming via HKL.
Here is more of an in depth overview of the content & curriculum provided in the program-
Grolsch Global Creates
This October I was selected as a finalist for Grolsch Global's #discoverinteresting campaign by acclaimed Toronto artist & curator Soteeoh. The campaign brought together 20 instagrammers to contribute their work to a live gallery event hosted at The Rivoli on Queen St. West. Canvas pieces from each artist was part of a silent auction that raised funds towards StreetArt Toronto. My journey as an artist began 13 years ago capturing the streets of Scarborough through black and white film and being able to put Scarborough back on the map in a positive highlighting it speaks to my purpose as an artist.
If you would like to see my Toronto work hanging out somewhere in your space, high resolution digital prints like this can now be purchased through my online store.
The Journey Continues in Australia
On a final note, I wanted to announce my upcoming international tour dates.
I will be continuing my journey with an overseas residency in Melbourne, Australia for 2016. On this tour I will once again be exploring the ability of creating various bodies of work as an international artist and community builder. Want to know about my stories of wonderlust? Then read my piece on the road less traveled
If you are interested in bringing the work I do to your community, shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to build.
Structural Building of Hard Knock Leadership
This year Hard Knock Leadership has been testing various platforms to provide more of a foundational structure for its long term vision. Had the opportunity to be a part of Toronto local startup Sojo this summer for their ideas bootcamp in order to ideate a model the work of HKL through social entrepreneurship. The team at Sojo has been helpful in helping a number of change makers turn their ideas into actions.
Hard Knock Leadership is currently identified as social initiative that was created to serve and adapt to different aspects of youth based change in disadvantaged communities around the world.
This Hard Knock Highlight post aims to provide updates on the movements HKL is currently involved with