The PLAY collection is about making the time to simply enjoy your body and the way it moves. Releasing the mind of boundaries that allow us to grow away from curiosity and acts of playfulness. Celebrating our newest addition, PLAY (Illuminate) — Sources of Light is an interview series with creatives through various realms and mediums within visual arts, music and beauty. We sat down with multidisciplinary artist Anthony Blue Jr. to discuss process, pleasure and play.
What is your favorite time of day and why?
My favorite time of day is the morning time, waking up with a fresh brain is better for me now. I used to like the late nights but I prefer the morning when my brain is revitalized.
Becoming an artist isn't always a linear path. How would you describe your own journey? What moments of adversity stand out in your mind?
I don't know, I think it was more so like an eagerness and aim for consistency. A very open-minded journey and whatever happens, happens and let faith kind of lead the way. I guess living in New York City, the first challenge you're faced with is financial problems. The city's expensive. When I moved here I didn't have much money so taking the train would cost money, leaving the house would cost money, getting back home would cost money. The challenges were figuring out what to do to make money and then accepting that challenge. Knowing how the city operates and there so many people looking for something and how can I provide a service that people are looking for and still kind of understand how to survive and then just find a sweet spot.
What sources of joy, strength, or pleasure do you draw from? What inspires you to create?
Sunshine. I'm simple. New York has seasonal depression that is completely unnecessary but we go through it just to live here. By the end of May or June, the Sun finally hits, and that makes me happy.
What advice or words of encouragement would you give to your younger self during challenging times?
Being close to my friends makes me happy. Seeing my family makes me happy. I've been blessed with a talented family so I don't have to look far for inspiration. Even just having a conversation with any of my siblings, I'm like I have to get on my shit because they all do great things. So family, friends, my beautiful girlfriend and good people.
What are some ways you engage in playful practice? What are some things you like to do to keep motivated and keep your body moving?
Just keep going. Even if you're feeling down, that feeling doesn't last forever. Just keep going.
Do you find that as you get older and as you grow it becomes more difficult to incorporate play into your life? In what ways are you able to connect with your inner child?
Well, this is a great question. We're in my studio right now and the way I have it set up is so that I’m able to touch everything. Anything you touch is already on because when ideas come, you never know, so just being able to catch it versus having to set up. I’m blessed to have a space where I can kind of play around in and I get my best ideas from just goofing off. Having the access to touch everything and just being in here sparks playfulness. My girlfriend peeks in here sometimes and asks, you good in here? And I say I’m great.
I do think it becomes difficult to incorporate play just how society as a whole, forces you to grow up and take things seriously. If you submit to that way of thinking, I think it's an easy trap to kind of lose your playfulness. Just checking in and knowing when I have to be serious. I know I have to pay bills, I have to do the dumbass tax situation. Knowing the difference between business and pleasure, I try to keep it more pleasure so I can play more.
Your work incorporates various mediums. Can you tell us a bit about your creative process? Do the mediums inform the work? Or do you start with a vision, and from there choose the mediums that will bring the vision to life?
I think it's different, I think the process is different every time. For example, if you're working on a project for a brand or a client, they may approach you with the vision and you have to lock into that. A lot of personal projects are just coming in here and sitting in front of the gear or the equipment and seeing what comes out, developing ideas, and seeing what was fun, what works and what doesn't. Including many different practices and a lot of my personal stuff is based on play. Then I share it and the way the internet works is people would say oh that's awesome and then I do it again based on the response. There are so many different ways and different approaches to everything.
If you had the ability to bend time to your will, what would you slow down, speed up or freeze altogether?
I don't know, I kind of like time. I like it in a sense of growing older, and the knowledge that comes when you get older. I think I might’ve mentally tricked myself, when I take pictures I feel like I'm freezing time and just chasing that feeling even though I don't know what the feeling is until I see it.
As a DJ it might be 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. and they call the last call but everyone is still there and is still committed to the party, so I would stretch that out every time and we always try to push it when they do that.
Creative Direction: Kendall Falcon
Photography: Kalan Briggs & Helen Jade Shedd
Art Direction: Corrina Mackinnon