To me, art is more than film, photography, design: it is close examination of one's everyday life.
In considering my own everyday life, I see that I’m healthy, motivated, and intelligent, and so I seek work that will enable me to contribute at a higher level. In addition to commissioned arts, I’m actively pursuing the following professions as a different kind of art. I think that work in these realms will be a vital way to challenge myself and to serve the community at large.
Working as a firefighter was one of my earliest childhood dreams; I liked the idea of being able to help people as a profession. As I matured, I didn't think I could satisfy the athletic demands of the job, and so I turned away from it. Today, I still see the physical aspect of firefighting as something I must work very hard to develop; however, I've also come to see other important aspects of the fire service that I'm already very good at.
First, I have the spirit for this work. I feel strongly about life, not only when times are good, but also in times of great loss and uncertainty. I have the capacity to do the right thing even when my own, personal interests are thwarted.
Second, I'm generally a good student, and I know I can excel at the emergency medical aspect of the job, which has become a significant part of the modern fire service.
Finally, I'm in excellent physical health. Although I wasn't a star athlete growing up, I know how to eat properly, and I exercise daily. I've made great progress in strength and conditioning through consistent weightlifting and running.
There's an image about positions of leadership—especially within large companies and government—that only the most respectable individuals should aspire to them. I don't consider myself to be important or respectable; however, I do feel strongly about serving the community. Also, I have an understanding of how individuals and groups think and act, which is a critical component of leadership.
My most valuable leadership experience was from my time at Ontracc, a media development company that I started with two partners in 2009. The three of us were incredibly optimistic going into the venture. We had written down business plans and ideals, and we believed we were united around those plans. However, it was fascinating to see how each one of us translated the plans, ideals according to our own inclinations. So although we agreed on paper, we acted in a manner that was isolated, which led to an inability to shape our own work.
This experience gave me insight into how people think. In particular, it shed light on my own thought process. With this as a foundation, it becomes easier to recognize blind alleys early on and to ultimately contribute at a high level within any organization. That said, I'm especially interested in government because of its underlying public interest.
When I was growing up, my parents frequently took my brother and I to the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It was (and still is) a special place, and what I loved most about it were the programs they showed at the Wortham IMAX Theater.
Back then (i.e. 1990s), IMAX was all about science films. I remember Fires of Kuwait, Blue Planet, Cosmic Voyage, Ring of Fire—and before each film, there was an anthem video for the City of Houston, showing diverse blue-collar and white-collar workers around the city, images of downtown, and other landmarks. In the theater, it always felt like we, the audience, were doing something important together; somehow these momentous events unfolding onscreen were part of our daily lives, whether one was in grade school or working to put food on the table.
To this day, I still imagine filmmaking to be this way: creating pictures and sounds that have some sort of relevance in our everyday lives. Between 2006 and 2010, I lived in LA and worked in "the industry;" I gained first-hand experience on how difficult it is to accomplish this goal. However, I still want to do it and believe I will ultimately find a way—if not for any reason other than the fact that I will keep trying.