At the heart of every renaissance, it becomes the role of the artist to build a community with others. For the artist creates works of art not for personal gain, they create art in hopes that it will one day inspire the world.
So who is this artist & how did he get to this state of mind?
This is the story of how my side hustle as an artist became my main game.
My strongest recollection of becoming an artist was through the medium of photography in high school, where I learnt to use a film camera. I was blessed to meet a teacher who for first time had given me the encouragement I needed to develop a passion. By allowing me to express myself freely, I was able to mould the craft to share my own message. I became inspired by the work of street photographer Jamal Shabazz and completed my first photo story on Scarborough as my own body of work. It was added to a student exhibit in my final year of high school and I felt that perhaps the camera was a tool that was given to me so that I could document the world in front of me.
Truth is, I never expected the camera to become an extension of my mind and body like it is today. In fact it was only in university, when I was hired on as a student to capture campus life events that I started to be driven to see the world through a different lens. The camera allowed me to create peace at a time of my life when I chose to live in chaos. It was a muse that allowed me to get away, which probably explained why it accompanied me when I escaped to different realities.
As soon as I was granted my Canadian citizenship in my first year at university, I started traveling. Without hesitation the camera became my most trusted companion as I backpacked through seven countries of Europe in 2005; carrying my father's Nikon film camera shooting reels of black & white and colour. My first digital point & shoot was taken to Bahamas on my second international trip in 2007, where I really started to shoot everything in front of me. When I had saved up enough money to buy my first entry level digital SLR, that accompanied me to India in 2009 and then Costa Rica and Panama in 2010 to capture the magical spirit in what I experienced. I didn't stop here, my step up to a novice SLR documented my travels to East Coast Canada in 2011 & 2014, It captured my yearly return to Costa Rica & Panama between 2011-2014, my first visit to China in 2012, Hawaii 2013 & Dominican Republic in 2014.
By this rate of world experience, many of you may be considering me to be a travel photographer of some sort. I considered myself more of a wanderer with years worth of unreleased memories that I have put away to be released and published someday. My travel photography work that was commissioned by passion rather than paid gigs and would often get back logged in post process, which became more and more time consuming as I started to move towards the traditional career that payed for my lifestyle.
Looking back over the last ten years, I've shot everything from concerts, dance performances, hip hop showcases, portfolio shoots for artists, proposal & engagements shoots of close friends, fighters at mixed martial arts training camps and most importantly faces of the people in my life. In my own growth as a photographer I've seen my own transition from lifestyle and events to travel and landscapes to culture and portraiture.
Covering different subject matter has allowed me to learn more about the craft by capturing new content & each subject was important to me learning about the type of photographer I wanted to become.
But I also struggled during the late end of those ten years to find a deeper focus in the subject matter I wanted to dedicate my work to. I loved the art & was passionate when shooting but deep down inside I knew something was missing from the art that I was producing. I was searching with no clear sight of the greater meaning and purpose of an artist.
This feeling became something that made me question the importance of photography in my life at a time that I was growing professionally and needed to cut out the things that slowed me down in finding a stronger focus in a career.
And so this year I came to that hard knock awakening where I had to ask myself if being an artist was something that was worth continuing to do in my lifetime.
To be continued next week in: The Rebirth of an Artist - Part 2
"Hard Knock Awakenings" was created as a form of reflective based storytelling, dedicated to realizations of purpose, struggle & passion in paths of life we have taken.
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This is leadership for the everyday hustle