We recently had the chance to interview the super talented west coast videographer / photographer @kybalionvfx to talk about his career and how he got to where he is today.
How did you get started?
I’ve been wanting to create art for as long as I can remember. I wanted to be good at drawing or sketching initially. The coolest thing in the world to me was looking at people’s in class doodles. Unfortunately for me no matter how many hours that I put into it, I couldn’t get the results I wanted. My hands just don’t hold that capability. For awhile, I wasn’t creating anything. Fast forward to my freshman year of high school. I took a digital photography class. Although I enjoyed it I wasn’t able to get the results I wanted. My friends were killing it, I was struggling to keep a C. I suppose I just kept trying because I enjoyed it more than anything. My work was kept private because it wasn’t anything I was proud of but after years of hard work I feel comfortable enough to share what I do with the world and operate a business.
When did you decide that you wanted to become a creator?
I’d say looking at other creatives and their lifestyle really made me want to do it as a business or job. I like having the freedom, I like having the final call to do what I want to do. While watching photographers like 13th Witness just exploring the world and getting paid to do it, I thought maybe I can do something similar. As much as I love creation, I love the lifestyle that it offers. Every individual can literally choose their own worth and become who they want to be. It’s more difficult to do that in the real world, it’s more difficult to get your voice heard. For me, I always felt like I had a lot to say but nobody listened. When you get a little bit of recognition as a creator it’s easier to be heard. I love that part.
What gave you the courage to start a company, speak out, become a public figure?
Starting a company, speaking out and becoming who I am today was always scary for me. I don’t think I knew what I was doing. To this day there are times where I just feel lost and don’t really have much certainty in what I’m doing. There’s always that fear, am I good enough to start a company based on creating art? Would anybody pay me? The simple answer is, you don’t know until you try. Of course, when I first started the amount of times I got paid was absolutely rare. I just kept pushing and attempting to get better with the experiences that I was having. It was hard but I think if you really love what you do the courage translates itself through the passion you put in.
Tell use more about where you are from and your background?
I’m born into a Kashmiri-Punjabi immigrant family. I was born in Florida then moved to the Bay Area when I was in my early youth. Aside from a few years I spent in Iowa for college, I’ve pretty much been in the Bay Area for a large majority of my life.
What is one of your greatest accomplishment to date? Tell us about something that you are most proud of?
Oh man. I’d say there are special people I’ve gotten the chance to work with or that have posted my work which is always super awesome. However, I think in the raw sense that isn’t my biggest accomplishment although it may seem that way. For me back when tumblr was a thing I remember waking up one morning and seeing my photo get 60,000 reposts. It’s tumblr and it doesn’t mean much but I always felt unsure about the quality of what I do. I was just really happy to know that people were enjoying my work. It sounds silly but having people hit me up to ask me about my photography and gaining a following just by posting what I do was an awesome feeling. My mood changed from being like, man I don’t know if I can do this to maybe I can do this because people like it.
What was one of your most challenging moments and how did you overcome it?
Probably working with egos. They’ll be more. Here’s the issue in art sometimes. I’ve shot with a couple really talented and popular people. They’re superstars in the music world or sports world but I’ll get sniped for credits sometimes when whatever I did gets posted. That’s pretty disrespectful to me until I realize that this is like middle school all over again. Things are clique-based and judgemental. I’ve just realized that I have to do things at my own pace to get on the same equal level as them to get recognized. But yes, it’s always frustrating when your efforts go unnoticed by hundreds of thousands or in some cases millions of people.
Next, control freaks that you have to work with sometimes. I’ve known people that have never filmed anything that feel confident to direct without any notes. It’s difficult but sometimes you just gotta suck it up, do what you can and move on. Don’t work with these kinds of people once you realize those traits. The final project will never be good and it’ll take up days of unnecessary time to get there.
Does your family support you in your efforts? How?
My immediate family, sure. To a certain extent. There’s so many things they won’t know or understand so they’ve just accepted that I’m an adult and I know what I’m doing. I’ve always said they support by not asking me questions. A lot of what I’m doing is unconventional especially for immigrants.
Extended family doesn’t support. Aunties and some cousins only pretend to support or pretend to care when they’re caught talking trash. When they get caught they don’t apologize or consider the things that they said, they’re just scared of the platform I have to share things. They’re scared of the people I keep around. They have no choice but to act fake nice until they get caught again.
Who are your favorite people and/or role models, both business and personal?
Business wise I have to go with Jay-Z. What he’s done to stay on top of his game for that extent of time is unbelievable. To not only make timeless music but make solid investments and create a new image of rap music isn’t easy.
Personal, I’m a huge basketball fan and I’m 24 years old so I’d have to go with LeBron. I grew up watching him live up to every pressure and expectation that was set out for him. It’s inspiring to see the way he’s handled media not just recently but for his entire career. He’s a man that had it all at the age of 18 but continued to work hard and keep his image completely clean. That’s awesome to me.
What message would you send to inspire all the other creators out there who look up to you?
Work, work, work. It doesn’t seem like it does much initially but the more work you put in the more opportunities start to come your way. I’ll put it this way, if you’re unsure about an idea would you rather try it to get it out there and accept the results? Or would you be that person that has a couple drinks and talks about an idea that you’ve never put into action for years?
What do you understand about the video industry that other people don’t understand?
That people like to feel important. Sometimes I don’t have the best call but if someone explains it to me on why they feel like this is best then I can get behind that. I always try to practice that when I’m in charge so people don’t feel like they aren’t being heard. Good communication is key.
What’s next for you in your career/business?
Just going to keep grinding. Hard work creates certainty. I want to do more resourceful music videos.
What does Disrupt mean to you?
Not using your mouth, using your work to hurt some feelings and take what they won’t give you.
How can people connect with you on social media?
I’m on all social medias as @kybalionvfx
Thank you again for taking the time to chat with us.
Check out @kybalionvfx’s latest music video he directed, Jamal Jordan – Pay Attention below. Enjoy!
Journey Into An Artist’s Life: Exclusive Interview With Jennifer Jean
Meet Jennifer Jean. A hapa who grew up in Philadelphia and has been creating art for over 15 years. She attended Syracuse University and received her MFA from Boston University. She worked as a gallery director, operations manager, and fine art consultant, and has been an adjunct educator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Jennifer Jean is currently the President and Founding exhibition chair of the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. MA chapter. Recently I got a chance to interview Jennifer, and we spoke about her journey as an artist.
In this article, you’ll learn all about her story, her biggest influences, values and principles that led to her success and a lot more. This article is jammed with a lot of life-changing experiences.
1. Tell me about yourself (a brief background story) and what you do?
My name is Jennifer Jean, and I grew up in Philadelphia. I attended Syracuse University and received my MFA from Boston University. Art and being an artist are therapy for me, not just physically but psychologically and spiritually. My dual Buddhist-Catholic heritage is reflected in my work. I think of my art as an objective homage to my Eastern and Western traditions and to the raw architecture and sounds of the city. My 2D work (primary oil on canvas and wood) is a reflection of what is beautiful and sometimes misconceived in both cultures. My use of color and creative texture lend harmoniously from the natural world and my heritage influences.
Each piece I create is inspired by my own life, language, travel experiences, and poems. Poems have a way of speaking the truth, to empower and encourage the reader as 2D and 3D artworks affect the viewer. Conflict, balance, and harmony are reflected in each piece.
What do I do? My life is filled with creating, managing, mentoring, and communicating about modern and contemporary art. I worked as a gallery director, operations manager, and fine art consultant, and have been an adjunct educator at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. I am currently the president and founding exhibition chair of the National Association of Women Artists, Inc. MA chapter. As one Gallery Director said ‘You are a character who is always smiling’. I know for myself I am unconventional but inspiring and outré at times — so what I do and create is a reflection of that. In short, I do artsy things.
2. Who were the biggest influences in your life?
My Mama has always been my creative inspiration, a safe and offbeat person. My first memory in the arts was being able to create a wall consisting of a large white or brown paper held by tape—my artistic Mama would say “wow me.” I thought this was the norm in everyone’s home. She would always hide my doodles from my Dad who feared the lack of security of being an artist.
Other influences, include Philadelphia. Outside of school, I spent many hours exploring the 1300 Chestnut Street murals, sketching at the Rodin Museum, and sitting/drawing in the Arms and Armor room at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition, I sketched anyone who would let me and sometimes people I saw at a distance—I still remember the glares and fingers of unwilling subjects.
Happily, both continue to be strong forces and inspiration to me. This year I started my COPA Artist in Residence ‘the Arts in the Court project 2020-2023’ for judge’s chambers where my 60×48 inches oils give us a glimpse into an earlier period of Philadelphia history where the city was the “workshop of the world”. The potential subjects include the manufacturing line at old industrial companies such as a Bergodoll brewery, the Tasty Cake Company, Philco Radio Company, and steel making at Midvale Heppenstall.
3. What do you think about when you create art?
I always start by writing ideas. These thoughts lead to themes adding conflict, balance, and harmony to shape my work’s form and energy.
From the written ideas, images are formed from quick sketches, and the work begins. Every piece in the series is a representation of an idea. I did this with my current theme: ‘Knots of the mind’ which explores the ongoing melee between the heart and the mind, complicated by love, hunger, power, doubt
4. What values and principles have led to your success?
A constant thirst for knowledge and determination. I’m lucky to have my Mama’s gift at following through with things. She would say “Listen to yourself as there is always another way,” Those words along with “one, done and move on” are constant reminders of why I love being an artist.
As long as I am able to create art, write, and experience the joys of life—a hopeful outlook—then I have achieved some balance. Balance consists of always learning, experiencing, and pushing myself to reach for more—an ongoing narrative where I hope to always be surrounded by honest critics, and people who are inspiring and stimulated in their own lives. Laughing is a must, and being loved and respected by intelligent people. I want to be mind-blown and leave this world a little better.
5. Do you have a special ritual when you create art?
I’m a creature of habit! My personality keeps me listening to the same album when creating a piece and ultimately a series. I sit on the ground a pillow covered with paint along with standing constantly when my bum is numb. I am able to close off the outside, which I am grateful for.
6. Any other hobbies we should know about?
I love anything water-related especially vacationing on lakes where I can waterski and so forth. Other than collecting books, I collect shells from my travels. They are so beautiful and to know they were once a home that provided shelter for a beautiful or unsightly creature is incredible.
7. What advice would you give to your younger self?
No preparation is enough to be a full-time artist. You just need to persist and dive in.
“I think a lot of making art is listening to yourself,” said Kiki Smith. This holds true to how you want to be perceived on social media. By listening to oneself you are never limited—it is your own vision.
You can reach Jennifer Jean on IG: @jennyjean25
You can also check out her website: http://jenniferjeanart.com/
Meet Rob Krzak: The Athlete Turned Businessman That Operates a Seven-Figure Online Business
Rob Krzak grew up playing three different sports, with dreams of attending a D1 school and one day being the new face of the sports industry. Now he runs a successful e-Commerce business that has transformed his life.
In the 8th grade he began getting offered D1 scholarships, but instead he chose to go to public high school instead. He went into his local Public High school believing that he could change the culture and make a change in the sports world. He worked hard, but eventually felt like he had enough and started making bad decisions. After being a three sports athlete his entire life, his senior year came around and he was completely kicked off of all teams because of his poor choices in partying and having many distractions,
Rob knew he wanted to be different than everyone in his graduating class. He didn’t believe in dream chasing, he had a much bigger vision. This is when he first started with online business. Rob first did Amazon FBA where he was successful, but he wasn’t able to grasp the scaling aspect. After, he decided to move into the e-Commerce business. With e-Commerce he learned that he can scale Facebooks ads aggressively. Rob loves speed and control, and he quickly learned that e-Commerce gave him both of those things. His business has now turned into a seven-figure online business.
His biggest challenge throughout this process has been commitment. Staying focused when you first start an online business can be very difficult he shares, especially when you are used to a certain lifestyle.
For him, mindset isn’t the biggest thing when it comes to starting a new business venture, if anything he believes it is overhyped. He believes that people focus too much on mindset and not enough on the commitment aspect of things.
What truly sets Rob apart and has made him so successful is his authenticity. He describes this as the most important aspect of himself and business owners alike. When it comes to his business, he is completely transparent with his customers. He values over providing information and making an actual impact on the world more than anything else.
For more information on this entrepreneur, click here.
Meet Andrew Evans: The Serial Entrepreneur With The Secret To Success
Serial entrepreneur Andrew Evans is the host of the Ace Weekly Podcast, one of the top 100 podcasts on Apple Podcasts. He currently owns and operates four separate companies: AI Powered Forex Trading Software, Student Development Company, Ace Weekly Podcast, and a Social Media Marketing Agency.
For as long as he could remember, Andrew has had a heart and desire for entrepreneurship.
At a young age, Andrew was already fueling his entrepreneurial drive with his success in sales. He developed his work ethic, speaking skills, and learned to connect with others by building numerous small businesses, but he always knew that he had a deeper calling to serve and impact others. After breaking sales records at his company throughout the years, Andrew decided that he wanted to equip other young people with the same skills and habits that he’d developed.
In 2018, he began working on the Ace Weekly Podcast where he would be teaching other aspiring leaders how to gain the mentality needed to be successful.
Andrew’s Spartan organization works with more students than any other organization in Miami-Dade County. His mission is to empower young people and transform the way that they show up in our world and in our communities. The reason why he opened his original sales office in Miami is because of the great impact that Vector Marketing had on his life at a young age and he wanted to be able to provide that same opportunity to other young people in his community. They work with more students than any other organization in Miami-Dade county.
Aside from his podcast and sales office, Andrew is also passionate about creating a financial revolution for individuals across the world. Powered by Artificial Intelligence, his corporation Ace Trading Enterprises is helping provide software that allows the average person to have an easier and more successful experience in the world of trading and investing.
His future goals involve transforming the broken education system by building a non- profit college in Miami. Andrew wants to create a modern curriculum that advances human consciousness and teaches students the information and skills that are most important for young people to learn, all while creating a placement program that ensures that students are graduating with job offers and equipped to be valuable in the industry that they desire.
When Andrew started the Ace Weekly Podcast, his main goal was to help provide and equip people with the mindset that is required to succeed. As someone with the habits and mentality needed to be successful in life, he is a role model for people who wish to find success.
For more information on this entrepreneur, click here.
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