I can trace back anything about myself back to specific events that happened in my past. It’s like a little map that I just never really show anyone.
As a very young child–much like anyone else–I was thrown the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question via my mother and grandmother. The answer was that I wanted to be an artist. I wasn’t sure what type, but I knew I wanted to create. That’s all I was born to do. Of course, my family wasn’t exactly thrilled to hear my “career” choice, but that’s besides the point.
Over the subsequent years, I reached out and tried as many things as I could. I drew, sculpted, directed home videos, etc. At one point I wanted to be an animator, a comic book artist, a writer–there were many, many things I wished I could be.
Once I moved back to America, the question of where I saw my future going had come up again. I was in high school, and my counselors and family were very set on the idea of me having some kind of military career. Of course, where it lacked in creativity, it made up for in stability–but stability was never really my thing.
I broke away from their wishes–mostly because my entire world changed at that point in my life. I had left home at age 14, and suddenly my life was up to me. Again, stability was never really something I was gifted. I gave up my home, but in return, I could create my own path.
Some time later, I found myself hanging around a tattoo shop. At first, my excuse to be there was that it was for a project. I was to get as familiar as I could with the shop, and the industry that surrounded it. Yes, this was a real project I needed to do in high school. It was completely optional, but I knew it was a good opportunity to get myself acquainted with an art form I knew nothing about. Long story short, the crew at the shop grew to like me, and I was allowed to stay once my project was over.
Around the same time, I had found myself tackling a completely new art form that I never imagined I’d ever touch. I was working at a book store at this point, and that’s when I noticed that a new bakery was opening up across from us. It was specifically a Japanese bakery from Hokkaido. I had no experience with such things at this point, so I can’t really tell you what made me want to start working there. Baking–at the time–was definitely not my thing, especially not that style of baking.
In most cases, you’d be expected to have some kind of culinary background to be able to get into such a place, but the bakers who ran this one were old-school. They didn’t care about what you knew, they only cared about how much you were willing to learn. The head bakers there were some of the most hardworking people I had ever met, and yes, I did consider them to be artists. Saying that they had passion for what they created would be an understatement. Two of them were a married couple, both with about 30 years of baking under their belts. The founder was a master baker with 40. These people were incredibly intimidating, but humble and somehow very warm and welcoming of us newcomers. Above all, they wanted to pass the art on and keep it alive.
Needless to say, my time tattooing and baking would come to an end, and I’d eventually find myself in art school. This was a choice I had made because I was completely self-taught, and I felt I had shot myself in the foot by not learning from anyone when I was younger. I was not interested in having a degree at all. I was only really there with the hopes that I’d find a teacher I could sponge off of–one that would both challenge and inspire me.
By this point, I had also started posting videos onto a little site called YouTube in my spare time. Why? Mostly because I really missed making videos. As I said, video was a medium I liked to play with as a child, and I even took a film course in high school. With all the time spent baking and tattooing, I was feeling a pull back to this art form.
Something a bit alarming began to happen. Instead of finishing my art projects, I found myself way more focused on putting out videos. Yes, school did suffer a bit because of this, but I was having fun. I had somehow managed to gather up roughly 6,000 subscribers, so at least someone was watching.
What happens next is pretty obvious, but not something I saw coming at all. One of my videos blew up, and the channel took off. Suddenly, YouTube was a huge part of my life. I’m sitting here two years after my first upload, and I’ve found myself in a very strange position. YouTube is the one thing that really worked for me out of everything I’ve ever tried to do. Of course, I’m not saying I lack talent in other areas–it’s just that YouTube happens to be the one that stood out.
Many of you know I have issues. You hear it in my voice, you read about it here or on my social media. To many, it may seem like I hate what I do. That simply isn’t the case. I often times find it overwhelming that something I created has managed to spread this far, and reached so many people. I have my silver play button on the wall, and it’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life. It’s a symbol of my crazy little digital adventure.
However, as you now know because you read this, I am a creatively hungry person. I need to keep trying and learning new things–otherwise, I tend to rot away.
My Chemical Romance was one of my favorite bands when I was younger. Now, I know they aren’t for everyone, but I only brought them up to demonstrate a point. In case you’re unfamiliar with them, they’re a band that was active between 2001-2013. One thing that really stood out about them was the fact that they’d drastically change with each album–to the point that many fans found themselves feeling alienated quite often. Their third album, The Black Parade, is probably the one they were most known for. At the end of their tour for said album, they released a live DVD called The Black Parade is Dead, implying that they’d never play the album again. I’m not sure if this is what happened or not, as I didn’t follow them as closely when the next album came out, but people were angry. People couldn’t understand why the band needed to change so much all the time. Most bands didn’t. Most bands had their thing and stuck to it, only adjusting slightly with each new album.
Here is how I see it: While I do prefer their older stuff, and I simply can’t get into their final album, I respect their creative choices immensely. I can see why they would want to change. Art needs to evolve and grow. It changes with the artist, and the last thing any artist wants is to keep putting out the same thing. It takes guts to get out of your comfort zone–facing the possibility that your next creation may not be as great as the last. That is simply terrifying.
So why do I bring this up? I’ve dabbled in many art forms over the span of my short life so far–all of them amazing. YouTube may be what I’m most known for, but I know I’ve got more in me. No, I’m not saying that I’m going to quit right this second, but there soon may be a time where “ReignBot” will have to be put to rest so I can carry on. No matter what form it comes in, as long as I’m still breathing, all I want to do is take these little pieces of me and continue to push them out into the world. It’s simply what I was born to do.