There are a million things that inspire me as an artist, photographer and creative director. There's also a list of about 10 people whose work, paths and lives inspire me on many levels. I always ask designers and artists who their inspirations are, as I am always curious about who and what motivates people. So I've decided to share my own inspirations with the community of people who support me and follow my work. I've been working on creating a better balance between constantly refining my skills as a creative director and designer, and continuing to feed the pen-to-paper passion that sparked my love affair with the arts. What better way to do so than to create a journal of drawings to pay homage to my inspirations? Meet the first three influencers who've inspired me both as an artist and an individual.
American film director, Spike Lee, is a household name. He's been one of my biggest sources of inspiration for years, primarily because of his authenticity, style and charisma, creative perspective and the undertones of social consciousness in every Spike Lee Joint. "Uncle Spike," as I often refer to him, inspires me to embrace my own creative visions with courage and use my talent to project my voice on issues that are important.
I discovered Benny Gold, the man and the brand, about four years ago. Like many designers, Benny got his start in design agencies and corporate America before venturing out on his own in search of creative freedom. The San Francisco-based Benny Gold Brand had begun with a simple sticker, and has grown to become a well-respected international streetwear brand. What I've always admired about Benny, the man, is his ability to stay true to himself and stay young. That's not an easy feat as brands and businesses grow, but Benny Gold has managed to maintain that sense of authenticity and youthfulness. He reminds and inspires me to be true to myself, despite how much or drastically things begin to shift around me.
DC-based photographer, Gary Williams, has been an incredible inspiration for me over the last three or four years. After being laid off seven years into his corporate job, Williams delved heavily into his passions for photography and videography. I'd been following his journey with great admiration, but his story really resonated with me after I was laid off this past summer. I remembered reading his Instagram post about how he felt God needed to give him an extra push to really step into his path and purpose as an artist and creative. I felt the same had happened to me. I'd known I was too comfortable, but I didn't trust myself enough to move on. I reached out to Gary not too long after I'd become unemployed, not for a handout or plug, but simply asking for advice and insight about how to move into the next phase of my life and purpose. He's a busy man with clients as big as Nike, Timex, GQ and Levi's; a part of me had accepted the impossible odds that I'd actually get a reply. However, he took the time to impart wisdom and plant encouragement in me. That small gesture gave me the reassurance I needed to keep pushing forward. I am a huge fan of his work and aesthetic, but Gary Williams also inspires and reminds me to trust God, trust myself and trust my gifts.