Music Q+A: Dukane

Why did you want to get into music?

I’ve always been an entertainer but originally started as a basketball player. Even the sound of a basketball bouncing traversed into an interest of music. Through basketball I got to travel all over the world and saw a lot. I have a story to tell through music.

What was your first musical experience?

Growing up listening to Tupac, and then the whole Southern atmosphere of Master P

Who are your favorite names in music right now?

East coast, Jay Z Naz and Styes P.

What is your next release going to be?

My first official project with producer Stevie Cali! “Most Hated” it’s gonna make history!

Author Q+A: Troy Gathers

What inspired you on this book?

Take Me With You Volume 2 was actually inspired by my relationships with others. Over the past 10 years, I’ve really embraced the fact that we are dealing with character types more so than people. Have you ever met someone who reminds you of someone you knew your whole life, just by there actions? That’s what inspired me to write this book.

Why did you want to become a writer? 

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. In middle school, I would enter all the writing and drawing contest to display my interest. I won a few of them and received awards of participation for others, but the passion was always there.

What was the hardest part of creating this book? 

The hardest part of writing this book was actually finding the time that I could sit down and just write. Currently, my day revolves around finishing up my Ph.D and running multiple businesses. I did find the time to finish up the book but it usually came at the price of sleep.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

After reading Take Me With You Volume 2, I want the readers to leave with a sense of discernment. This book is packed with biblical scriptures, wisdom and lessons. I want people to gain a better understanding of who’s in their life. The wrong friendships could really hurt your future.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books? 

Great question. When I was growing up my favorite books were the The Trumpet of the Swan, James and the Giant Peach and The Scarlet Letter. These 3 books will always be on my favorites list.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading? 

Usually those that don’t like to read a whole lot are more visual people, which is fine. What I would tell them is, just imagine a movie that only you could see and you make up the faces of the characters and you determine the imagery of the story. Reading is the only pastime that gives you that experience.

Why should we buy your book?

Everyone reading this interview should buy my books because I put real life aspects in my books. I guarantee with all my books you will learn and adjust from my writings. I only deal with facts and personal experiences of others and myself. When you buy any one of my books you are buying information and not opinion.

Model Q+A: Anastasia Belotskaya

How do you get modeling jobs? Are you with an agency or freelance?

I have an agency that handles my bookings, it is absolutely necessary . Having a reputable agent is really what defines modeling as profession.

What made you want to be a model?

I was scouted back in Moscow, Russia, where I was born, by a photographer. He offered me to do a photo shoot and suggested I try myself in modeling. My first ever photoshoot got me exited about the job and I started working, at first part – time, then it became my career.

What is the hardest part about pursuing modeling as a profession?

Hardest part is to stay patient. Before you actually start getting bookings, it’s a long way of attending dozens of castings and long time waiting for pretty much everything: clients to book you, editorials to come out , and also get paid.

What is the most fun?

Fashion weeks are fun. For every designer, a fashion show is a celebration of the new collection, so it is very exiting to share their joy. Waling down the runway is just fun itself . And also some shows also have very cool afterparties;)

How do you respond to people who don’t believe in your goals?

I don’t really respond. Just do what I like and want to do.

What advice do you have for people who want to model?

Go for it, you can do it

What are your career aspirations and where can we find you next?

I have designed my own lingerie line and recently started working with a non profit organization supporting women’s rights  

Some more links on Anastasia!

http://retouchist.net/work/2017/2/25/retouching-the-dapier-by-arianna-coan-prichard

http://www.majormodel.com/portfolio/mainboard/women/1032770/anastasia-belotskaya

https://www.facebook.com/anastasiabelotskayamodel/ 

https://www.stevemadden.com/world/mag_article.jsp?categoryId=3278&entity=601

http://www.modelingmentor.com/blog/model-of-the-month-anastasia-belotskaya/

Anastasia Belotskaya @anastasett by Philippe Regard @philipperegard Hair and Make Up by Dunia Ghabour @duniaghabour

Anastasia Belotskaya @anastasett by Philippe Regard @philipperegard Hair and Make Up by Dunia Ghabour @duniaghabour

Artist Q+A: Meredith Hama-Brown

What kind of art do you specialize in?

I’m an actor and also a director/writer.

‘Cinephiliac’ film

What first attracted you to art?

It’s hard to say what first attracted me to it. But I do know that I’ve always used my work as a way to make sense of complicated thoughts and emotions. Even as a teenager I would keep a journal and write in it most days. So I would say that in a sense it has always just been a part of my life.

What made you want to do it as a profession and not a hobby?

I was very fortunate to grow up with parents who encouraged that I do something I’m passionate about. I’m sure that played a big role in why I wanted to pursue something creative professionally. I also always felt that since so much time is spent at work, that if I did something I really cared about then I would be better off. Of course, maybe I wasn’t really taking into consideration all of the challenges that come along with creative professions.

Who are your favourite artists and how have they influenced your work?

So many different artists have influenced me and I don’t think I can sum it up in one answer. I really think that every artist whose work I’ve seen, even if I didn’t like it, has had an impact on my work. I guess that’s why it is so important to experience every type of art possible, because that is what allows us to expand our range and discern between what speaks most to us and what doesn’t.

What is your attitude towards art in our time period?

My attitude towards art in any time period would be that it is a reflection of the current world. From what I see of art these days, it is very expansive and varied, maybe more so than the past. I feel like this points to how complex our modern world is. And art serves as a way to express how we feel in this world. But then again maybe every time period has felt this way.

What is your advice for people who want to have professional careers as artists?

I don’t really know that any one person can give a satisfying answer to this because everyone’s creative path needs to be found in such a unique way. So I guess my piece of advice would be simply to stay true to who you are and to seek out your own authenticity in your creative work. At least that is what I am always continually trying to do!

‘Lifeguard’ film

Where can we view your work and/or buy it?

The best place to see some of my work and also to stay up to date on new work being released would be my website or instagram.

Actor Q+A: Nicole Vukov

What is your favorite thing about acting?

Definitely the ability to explore all the different sides of myself and being able to transform into a completely different character but still finding myself within that character. I love being in the moment and when a scene or moment works, you just feel it. It’s electric and that is honestly the best part of acting.

What is the hardest part?

The hardest part? Well I don’t think there is a hardest part I think it does get frustrating but that is all part of the process. If you can’t enjoy the process and the struggle than you shouldn’t be acting.

What are your tips for newbie actors?

I don’t think I’m qualified to give tips to newbies because as much as I’ve done I always feel like a newbie and I’m always learning, so all I can say is that no matter the experience you should always view yourself as a student because there is always room to grow.

What skills, training and education do you recommend?

I definitely believe in education so if you have the opportunity to go to school and study acting you should because being able to study such a craft is considered a privilege.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses and what do you learn from watching them?

One of my favorite actors is Johnny Depp. He’s known for creating all these quirky characters and I am always curious about his thought process while creating a character and that’s why I’m fascinated with his work.

What are your upcoming projects and career goals?

In the last year I starred in two off Broadway shows called Conversations with an Average Joe and Three eyes on Pinocchio. Now I’m back starring two new original productions called Highlights & Shadows and The Immigrant Story of a Millennial Dream performing at the renowned The Producer’s Club. Highlights & Shadows is an Original One Act Play about three young Millennial girls. Navigating the ins and outs of what it is to be a girl in this generation. It’s not just a girly story it’s more than that. It explores the themes of mental burden, sex and consequence. It questions the term “It’s fine, I’m fine” and highlights conversations that girls keep behind closed doors. Highlights & Shadows is a lighthearted play with a strong message to the core and wants to open that conversation. The Immigrant Story of a Millennial Dream an Original One-Woman Show tells the story of a young immigrant girl trying to purse her millennial dream. What is a millennial dream you may ask? It’s whatever you want it to be. It’s an homage to the American Dream as the millennial generation tries to define what the American Dream means to them. This story is just one of the many with a twist. “It all started with a key”, she said. I’m exited to announce that I will be starring as the lead in both shows and exited for people to come see it at The Producer’s Club Off-Broadway.

What is something funny that’s happened to you on the job that makes you love acting more?

Oh gosh many things ahaha. I love moments that happened on accident for example me forgetting a line or me knocking something down on stage but being able to stay in the moment and use that to your advantage to create something special is what it’s all about. Honestly those are the things that make me love acting even more.

Artist Q+A: Tim Starnes

What kind(s) of art do you specialize in?

BIO:

Tim Starnes is an American playwright meets entrepreneuritainer – current owner and CEO of Ethereal Crack, largest provider of ghost tours in the United States, and other tourist trap attractions – he claims credit as being one of the world’s few “backyard theme park” owners. When not running Ethereal Crack and wrangling staff and his family, he writes stageplays that seem as if they have come from the pages of an irate history textbook left to go on an endless loop on an endless rollercoaster in an endless rainstorm, with periods of history shamelessly pulped together with fictional characters based on real figures, and then heavily peppered with autobiographical stints tinged with aspects of horror-comedy, cheap thrillers, German expressionism, and film noir.

Interested in comedy as black as licorice floating in the darkest corner of space (where nobody can hear the critics scream,) punchy satire, absurdism-tainted realism, and biting hard, he is here to prove that it is great fun (and exercise) to be run out of town by an angry mob, especially when you have style about it.

What first attracted you to art?

It’s what I’ve always loved doing – I have always loved entertaining people. Unfortunately, unless you live in NYC or LA, and are very lucky, doing just that is extremely difficult without being a small-time party clown, magician or artist – you might be lucky to get your name in the paper – especially in rural North Carolina, where I’m from.

What made you want to do it as a profession and not a hobby?

It’s just one of those natural callings in life – I can’t explain it, or maybe I’m just psychologically messed up and have an interior need to entertain people to validate myself. Your pick.

Who are your favorite artists and how have they influenced your work?

John Waters, Terry Pratchett, Terry Gilliam, William S Burroughs, Frank Lloyd Wright, Florenz Ziegfeld, Johnny Carson, and many more.

What is your attitude towards art in our time period?

I feel that art currently lacks substance. Have you watched a TV or a movie in the past ten years? Not even late-night TV isn’t enjoyable anymore now that David Letterman has left. The status of art is so incredibly sad. CGI and low-grade writing has replaced what used to be great about the artform – and if you check out my work, I’m no prude! It isn’t the content itself, but a lack of thoughtfulness or ingenuity behind it.

What is your advice for people who want to have professional careers as artists?

Drink a lot of coffee, and don’t give up. If an idea doesn’t work, throw in the towel and move on to the next thing, but don’t act like it didn’t happen. Things also take time – don’t be afraid of that.

Where can we view your work and/or buy it?

Check out my current venture at www.etherealcrack.com or @EtherealCrack on Twitter.

Actor Q+A: Christy Chilton

What is your favorite thing about acting?

The self expression that it allows,a great performance is one that breaks down walls, not merely for the audience’s sake but for the further development of the actor who’s processing and working through the role. This is why you’ll often see actors continue to choose roles that “challenge” them, each role well worked opens you a bit more creatively. It definitely becomes a craving, to grow and further cultivate your creative talent, to stretch the limits of how far you can go. More often than not, the audience is not merely watching a well rehearsed performance but more so they are witnessing a genuine and often times, a vulnerable, display of feelings, actions, reactions, and emotion thereby creating a pure, intimate exchange of emotion between actor and audience.

What is the hardest part?

Finding projects and roles that I truly love and admire. Breaking through the barriers of vulnerability in some instances.

What are your tips for newbie actors?

Anything that you can find, all that you can afford, really, what ever works best for you and your lifestyle. Success in this industry (and most others) comes after experience, perseverance and consistent action taken.

What skills, training and education do you recommend?

I went through formal training for the majority of my life, yet most of my personal favorite breakthrough moments and performances are the ones that followed my training with Benson Simmons, who taught me the Ivana Chubbuck Technique, which is a combination of the Stanislavski, Meisner, and Hagen methods all rolled into one.

Who are your favorite actors/actresses and what do you learn from watching them?

Leo Dicaprio is a fav, he really absorbs his characters and takes each one on fully.

What are your upcoming projects and career goals?

Two short films in the works presently, Ultimately would like to finish my own screenplay and begin working more on the other end of the camera again.

What is something funny that’s happened to you on the job that makes you love acting more?

There have been a lot of funny moments while on various sets over time. They are a usually a welcomed break, drawing cast and crew together a bit more.

Author Q+A: Roxanne E. Burkey + Charles V. Breakfield

What inspired you on this book?

As the 9th book in The Enigma Book Series we wanted to explore a new angle for the technology plot of this story. Each story has a technology focus, so for this story we decided a fun avenue was the bad guys trying to do combat without any digital footprint. We also wanted to utilize our feet-on-the-street CATS team or Cyber Assassin Technology Services team. It also allowed us to use several locations across the globe which gives it a more interesting dimension.

Why did you want to become writers?

We have each written at one time or another for fun, for work, and now again for fun but always in the technology field. Doing fictional writing, leveraging our professional expertise in technology, our extensive travel, and the variety of people who have crossed our paths, is the venue of choice for us to entertain readers as well as make them think.

What was the hardest part of creating this book?

To be honest the hardest part of this book was to work a very complex data gathering activity without the use of technology. Today, everyone knows how to use a smart phone to text, share pictures, or call, but how would you communicate if you couldn’t use that device? So if you have a bad guy business model how do you communicate without being observed like we are in the digital world? We think we have created several moments in this story where our reader will gasp with surprise and turn the pages faster to see what happens next.

What do you hope people gain from reading it?

The Enigma Dragon is designed to entertain an adult who likes a story that makes them think with relevant use of technology, romance, humor, and some returning characters. To answer your question, the bottom line is story telling enjoyment. Course it wouldn’t hurt if this is their first venture into the series that they would read the others.

When you were a kid, what were your favorite books?

We have both been readers for a long time. Hardy Boys series were always entertaining and provided variety. The Hobbit for fantasy, Call of the Wild for battling with nature, and Jane Eyre for complex characterization just to name a few. When Breakfield lived in Germany for 3 years as a teenager, there was no U.S. television so there was only reading and radio drama’s while his dad was stationed there. One reads a lot in those circumstances.

What is your advice to people who are not excited about reading?

Since we have been readers for all our lives it is odd to find how many people do not enjoy recreational reading. For these folks we are in the process of creating audio versions with The Enigma Factor, The Enigma Rising, and The Enigma Ignite available on Amazon/ACX in the US and UK and The Enigma Wraith in the process of being converted. This kind of goes back to when the Breakfield family would listen to Armed Forces Radio drama’s on Sunday nights. It is actually quite fun hearing our narrator bring the characters and books to life. A different media for a different kind of enjoyment.

Why should we buy your book?

If you like mystery, intrigue, humor, some romance wrapped up with relevant technology from the devices we use today then these stories are engaging, different, and fun. Mostly so you can be taken to a place that is fictional but oh could be so real. What is really gratifying is when people pick up the series and then complain that the next book isn’t ready for them but they have consumed everything else in the series. By the way we are half way done with book #10 so if you are voracious reader, by the time you have chewed through the first 9 books, book 10 should be done. (Uh yeah that did sound like a challenge, but that’s how we are.)

Artist Q+A: Atif A K

What kind(s) of art do you specialize in?

Art for me is cathartic- so I try to explore various art forms out of curiosity and as a mode of expression. Originally, I have been a writer all my life- as in commercial/copywriter but recent I authored my first book Automation vs. Autocracy: Robogeddon En Route which is available on Kindle/Amazon. I have also written poetry for last twenty years- so there you can also find my Knots & Bonds.

Moreover, I have also been a recording artist with an with Universal Music and an MJ Rock Tributes album which will be available online through all major stores under the artist name The Atif and MJ Rock Tributes as the album name. I play guitars, piano and sing as a way to extinguish the fire in belly.

Also, I have been a professional photographer for last ten years or so- thanks to DSLR revolution things are way faster and much easy to maneuver with humungous possibilities. I do portraits, real estate and fashion but I enjoy wild life photography most. My portfolio can be seen or Flickr and my site.

Additionally, I love to design movie posters in leisure time. With VOD revolution and online media promotions- digital art is in much demand. More movies are made and thus I enjoy my childhood hobby by indulging in poster art.

Last but not least- film I think is the culmination of all art forms. It requires understanding of visual, audio, art direction, wardrobe, color scheme, writing (most importantly) and with a bunch of improv artists film has come to become my most first expression. It’s mighty, it’s challenging and it satisfies me like nothing can- as a curious bone.

What first attracted you to art?

I remember drawing pictures of Superman, F16, Aquariums and Knight Rider as far as my memory goes. But then our drawing class was replaced by technical drawing and my whole therapeutic experience with fine arts and sketching went down the drain. After years I was able to catch up when I took lesson in Adobe, Coral Draw and Quark Express.

I contrived music virus after I was pushed into the polygons and geometry boxes- I started learning piano with a school friend and although he stopped pursuing it seriously; here I am still infected and still going strong.

Films have always fascinated me in terms of story telling. As a writer I have this edge to twist the plot at any point in terms of keep improving it at the last moments while shooting and flip the takes to make it more interesting during the edit. This incredible power to flip the narration of story telling is really attractive which I discovered during my tenure at New York Film Academy’s LA Campus while I was shooting at the European Block in the Universal Studios, right behind where they were shooting Modern Family with Sofia Vergara on the set.

What made you want to do it as a profession and not a hobby?

I was very lucky that I was able to adopt writing as profession. When this passion turned into profession- my life became paid vacation. With the help of music I started doing music videos while writing commercials into various evolving new media and adapting accordingly. This enhanced my writing techniques to nth level.

After I completed my NYFA thesis short film- I sent it to various film festivals. I was astonished at the reception of it. In the meantime, I set up my complete production house. I was able to edit and shoot, write and do sound. So while I was writing books as ghostwriter, I started getting assignments in this brave new world of integrated and hands-on tech world.

The intel Macbook Pro saved me from the hassle of juxtaposing between Matrox, Final Cut and Adobe Production Suite (the former version of Creative Cloud). This pushed me into various opportunities with mobile production possibilities. I was free- I did not have to stick to my editing unit.

So while I traveled world- I did music videos and I found the real calling when I saw a real possibilities of telling stories without the support of studios, investors or big budgets. That has been my calling and my last documentary project ED vs IT: SOS is already in profits on Amazon Prime.

When future looks so lucrative, and the curiosity bug has bitten you deep- there is no reason to spread this epidemic. Especially, when people are ready to pay for it both as clients, audience and now on crowdfunding platforms too.

Who are your favorite artists and how have they influenced your work?What is your attitude towards art in our time period?

I would say select works of Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and David Fincher are those that come to mind. But I feel that in lieu of the new media revolution, there are some great artists in form of Writer/Director/Producers (which has become pretty common) out there. Film has incredible potential. There is some great cinema in Europe and I am very influenced by their liberal techniques free from patterns and formats or the inclusion of sex, violence and fear.

Cinema’s potential in my view has not been tapped even to 15% until now. It is the biggest and highest form of entertainment and both in terms of art and tech- there is a tremendous responsibility, possibility and challenge that can keep pushing it to next level of perception. I still think that all we see on Netflix and Amazon are very safe. A good art is like a metaphysical experience- it keeps hitting you every time you embrace it. Like Mona Lisa, like U2’s Joshua Tree, like Natural Born Killer- it retains its magic and grows on you. Sadly, a lot we see today is disposable- which is a need of the industry in its own. Yet we can go beyond general reception and make things more creative like Felini did and free it from the artistic restraints like David Lynch does or may be Kubrick.

The bread and butter of artist is his art. And if he can sustain that. Commercial success follows it. In his lifetime or later. But that’s not the essence. The essence is the experience which the whole world is yearning as everything around us is saturating at massive pace.

What is your advice for people who want to have professional careers as artists?

In terms of anthropology, this has been the best time as art entwines tech with the help of digital. You can find everything online on You Tube, Google and Wikipedia. Every detail is described and whether it is in terms of acquiring new skills or understanding the nuances of past art forms- it’s all accessible. The tools have become very user friendly as contrary to expert friendly the way it used to be in the past.

So if you have passion and burning to desire to confess what is disturbing you in your heart- you are free to maneuver the various phases in this interconnected world and share it with a bang. Just from the comfort of your MacBook, home or backpacking around the world.

I think for me it is the ultimate luxury to be able to live and grow in a virtual world.

Just go ahead and explore your calling. Just be very curious. If things interest you there is a great deal of it out there to be explored. Millions of documentaries can teach you what you won’t find in any university or a degree. Coding will expose you to a world of infinite possibilities. No need to wait and let them say that “Youth is wasted on the Young”. There was never a luxury ever in the history of mankind where kids could adopt an idea and blow it out of proportion. Look at Google, Facebook, Amazon and many others. They were all youngsters, fresh Silicon Valley blood. Remember it is not even restricted to Silicon Valley. When you temper with your vision to enforce it on mass audience to adopt it- you are essentially an artist. Your tools may be different, your industry may be unique- but you ideology to paint a brilliant picture on a canvass will forever make you an enterprising artist. All artist are entrepreneurs. When you pick up the brush, with a fatal portrait in your head, and you manifest it even better than you thought. You just topped yourself, surprising yourself is the greatest fruition for an artist.

I sometimes critique various exhibitions in the Big Apple on the portal Arte Fuse. A whole new dimension has been unleashed for fine artists through online medium. The promotion of exhibitions to selling of art has all become suddenly very accessible. Now it is up to us, how we can deploy these resources to our advantage. Some artists take digital art as the downside for which I say is a selection perception. Tech is a tool, use it whether you are an artist or a technician. Reach out to max people through social media. It’s now or never sort of an affair today.

Where can we view your work and/or buy it?

My book can be bought on Amazon/Kindle, Automation vs. Autocracy: Robogeddon En Route. My documentary can be viewed on Amazon Prime: ED vs. IT: SOS. My music can be found on iTunes, Amazon Music and all major stores: The Atif: MJ Rock Tributes. And my film that is still in production can be found on YouTube: The Disowned under my production house name DABLAB NY.

Model Q+A: Maximilian Orlando

How do you get modeling jobs? Are you with an agency or freelance?

I’m currently signed with PUSH Models International agency in San Francisco, CA and get a lot of my bookings through them. However, I’ve always believed in the power of pursuing your passion -and one of mine is fashion- so I have definitely procured my own contracts many times throughout my modeling career.

What made you want to be a model?

I have always been into fashion. To me, fashion is art and engineering at it’s pinnacle form. Shapes, colors, styles, etc. The variance has always enchanted me. Being a model allows me to use fashion as a catalyst for self expression. That’s why I got into it.

What is the hardest part about pursuing modeling as a profession?

The hardest part about pursuing modeling is the rejection. Starting out is extremely hard, especially if you don’t have representation. I heard a thousand No’s before a single Yes. And that’s not an easy pill to swallow. Furthermore, you won’t make a ton of money in the beginning, so it becomes a financial burden to go on constant castings, book photoshoots to update your portfolio, eat healthy, exercise, maintain good skin care, etc.

What is the most fun?

I think that the best thing about being a model is the opportunity it provides you to travel & meet some extraordinarily creative individuals. I did a photoshoot with the coolest girl who was from Shanghai. It was such a vibe! That’s the beauty of this industry. It’s the raw, creative experiences and memories that will stick with you forever.

How do you respond to people who don’t believe in your goals?

I have always tried to ignore negativity. People always try to bring you down to make themselves feel better. With age, I’ve learned not to give people my energy who don’t deserve it. They can be detrimental to your career.

What advice do you have for people who want to model?

Anyone who wants to model should be involved in some form of competition. Learning about the pitfalls of life & having the ability to perform well under pressure are great tools for professional models.

What are your career aspirations and where can we find you next?

I would love to book an international campaign as the face of an African fashion line. I think that would be really cool! I’m currently attending castings for 2018 New York Fashion Week.