Lauren

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"Embarking on a new career path. I thought it was silly, at first, to get back into a field more competitive than the one I’m already in… but then I got a taste of it again. When you get a taste of something that fuels your soul, you can’t let go of it. You have to pursue it.

I had pushed the idea of getting back into acting so far down that I had almost forgotten about it. Almost. Quite a few people might know that I have a passion for public relations and social media, but some of them don’t know just how deep my desire to act is and how long I’ve known it. I was seven when I took my first acting class and I loved it. Two years later, Titanic came out. I went to see it in theaters and watching Kate Winslet inspired me. That was the moment I knew. I spent the next 10 years acting in various plays, but when it came time to go to college, I decided to get a different degree and pursue acting afterward if it was truly my calling.

I’m optimistic because I know the possibilities are endless and I’m happy every moment I’m challenging myself, but the fear is always there, lurking in the back of my mind. I was afraid to post anything about me pursuing my dream again, but I got to the point where I realized that by hiding it, I wasn’t interfering in anyone else’s dreams, just my own. It turns out that a lot of my friends are extremely supportive and sometimes have more confidence in me than I have in myself. I’m grateful for those people. I’m grateful that I can pursue acting while still contributing to the PR field. And most of all, I’m grateful to know that there is a fire in my heart calling me to follow my dreams."

Nichole

"Over time, a person can become use to living in a city with a large population, like my home New York City. I don't notice how many people I pass or bump into throughout the day any more. The connections are so constant that it becomes a continuous impression of being tethered to another person. That crowded feeling becomes a normal feeling. There rare occasions when everything seems to silence and I feel most connected to only myself. During the few moments after twilight, I look at the darkening sky to see all the possible colors it can contain. There is something magical about the different shades of teal that takes over reds and oranges from the setting sun. I mentally separate myself from the crowd and I can feel my own energy. It is as if time is quietly standing still. This feeling only lasts a few minutes because these colors quickly expire. Then, the city’s overwhelming buzz crashes back and continues into the night."

Keith

"I'm more of a glass half empty kind of person and I've come to except that. At the same time I've come to understand that life requires both half empty and half full. I'm most optimistic about the prospect of becoming my true self. It sounds so cliche but Oprah Winfrey has always been a huge influence on my life growing up. I've learned that everything happens for a reason. My goal is to learn from everything in life. 


The toughest situation I've been through would be two years ago today, March 6th. It was when I moved to New York. I work for a luxury home furnishing brand and a week before Christmas I was given the bad news that my store was closing and I would be out of a job that I loved. Luckily, I got some news that they were offering me a transfer. Prior to March 6th I had three weeks to find an apartment and move with little to no money. Those three weeks were full of so many emotions. My mother was my saving grace and helped me move with the little money she had. She knew it meant a lot to me, that I was following my passion and here I am today." 

Jasmine

"I learned to always finish what you start and always live life because you never know when it will end... 

My greatest memory was graduating from college and walking across the stage because I knew I finished what I started even with all the challenges that came my way. My worse memory was losing my father when I was 20 because I knew he wouldn't see me graduate from college, get married or see me have kids."

Adrienne

"...I remember me and my daughter were discussing sadness one day and she told me, 'Well, when you're sad, God can make your heart happy'.

Like, we weren't even on the subject of God, she just said it. So I told her she was right, God does Love us enough to make our hearts feel better. And then she was like, 'Well, I Love God'.

So I asked her how do you show God that you Love Him? She said, 'I give Him hugs, I bake Him a cake and put it in a box and send it to Heaven'.

So at that moment I realized that, at her age, she's actually relating to God being a part of her life and being able to express her appreciation for Him. But what really got me after we had that conversation was that as a mother I was doing something right. And as a single mother, that's probably the number one thing we worry about the most. It's like, I have to make sure I'm doing everything right because according to society, since her dad is no longer involved, she's going to be lacking something. So I'm trying to make up for what she's lacking and I'm very critical about that. So the conversation we had is a moment I have to revisit from time to time to remind myself that, 'Hey... we're on the right track here...'"

Turkey Mascots

(Left)  "What am I thankful for? Hmmm that's a good question because I've started this list all month. Immediately the things that come to mind are (you know) family, my job, good friends, etc. But it's sometimes the little things that really resonate once you take a moment to really think about it. And sometimes it's just the opportunity to be the one crawling around the floor with my nieces and having them say 'you're a horsey Auntie Mae!'. It's little moments like that. Like those are the things I'm truly thankful for! Everybody says, family, health, prosperity, blah blah blah; but to me it's all about the those really small itty bitty things that matter most...

OH... and I'm thankful for this costume..."

(Right)

I play roller derby... so I'm thankful for roller derby!! (laughs)

Andrew & Nikki

Nikki: "... We have to communicate a lot more when we're painting together, we both have different styles and we both look at colors and shapes a lot differently. And so it helps us communicate  a lot. It's really important."

Andrew: "People see my work and they give me a lot of props and credibility for it. But they don't realize if I did all of this alone it wouldn't  be half as good. She sits next to me and we talk about it. Like we actually discuss it. And because she's the one I'm discussing it with, my artwork comes out waaaaay better!"

"In general, we get really good at telling each other what we do like and what we don't like. So whenever it comes down to things outside of our art, it's not an ordeal. It's like we don't have to walk on eggs shells when it comes to communicating our differences"

Che' & Chrystal

"We honestly share the same passion for fashion and our style is very similar. Although we both love fashion, she is really into cosmetology but mostly makeup. Together we share our ideas and support each other with unconditional love."

Candace

"Most of the time when people look at me, they think I'm evil, rude and bitchy and I don't really know why. But I'm honestly not as hard as (I guess) I give off to other people. I think that I do kind of hide that little part inside of me because I don't like being vulnerable."

"I have zero positive relationships to look at and I think that's why I'm single. My dad had been married for 25 years and now they're getting a divorce. Like I haven't witness lasting Love before. My grandmother and grandfather, as far as I can remember, stayed in two different rooms in the house. My mom and dad broke up when I was 2 years old. They both remarried somebody. She (mom) got divorced during my sophomore  year in college. "

Antoine

"I got a lot on my plate man. I go to school, I'm an entrepreneur, I work a 9 to 5, and I'm a father. I'm always moving man. You never know who you're going to run into so I try to stay as busy as possible.  Right now it's hard for me to focus on one thing, so I try to do A, B and C at one time to figure out which one works best for me..."

Rich

Legit, like I feel like I've been so focused and driven on the s**t I do that I really haven't hit a point that set me back yet.

My end goal is to 'not have to'.  Dead ass. To 'not have to'. I want to be at a point where I'm creating because I WANT to, not because I HAVE to. "

Adriana

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"I've been living in New York City for 2 years. I was raised in Bogota, Colombia. I moved out here (NYC) for freedom; Freedom to express myself and to be exactly who I am without being judged for it. New York is also a great place to follow the dream I've always had in being a tattoo artist. I've been obsessed with tattoos all my life.

Back home I always felt like I didn't belong there. Like, I never felt accepted by the people around me. 

I'm really optimistic about finally being able to open up shop as a tattoo artist. I look forward to giving people wonderful pieces of art that they can wear for the rest of their lives. I love tattooing so much, one of my biggest fears would be if something bad were to happen to my hand.  Like, not being able to draw scares me..." 

Brandie

"I fear not realizing all my potential. Like that's seriously my biggest fear. Like the one thing that wakes me up and gets me off of my butt when I'm being lazy and not trying is me imagining laying on my deathbed asking myself, 'what if I would've have done this?'. That scares the heck out of me. It's definitely a fear of regret from not trying. Like right now at this very moment I don't have a fear because I'm actually living life. But years down the line, oh my God, I feel like I wouldn't be ready to die. So while I have this life and this ability to try, I have to get on it!"

Alton

"Right now, I'm just networking with people and getting a better feel of Houston. As far as work, I'm doing designing such as logos, clothes, stuff like that. I've also done some modeling as well. 

I'm originally from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. I left and moved to Houston to pursue my dreams as a music artist. The idea of pursuing music came from people like my mother, Michael Jackson and Beyonce. 

About two years ago, I had a friend that was telling me about the city and I'd been wanting to move out of Arkansas for a while now.  So one day I just made up my mind, got up and moved. Now I'm ready to take care of business.

The most valuable lesson I've learned from all of this is to not be scared..."

Jack

" I'm attending Columbia College. It's an art school out here in Chicago. Currently im studying film there. Unfortunately, it's a very discriminatory industry right now. Especially towards woman or anyone who isn't a white straight man. And even though I am one, I feel like I can make a change as long as I'm not focusing towards that. 

I recently got a job 3 days ago that requires me to speak to random people on the street about homosexual rights. Since then I've been feeling more confident about myself because I'm actually making connections. I'm meeting new people everyday. Like this is the best life has ever felt and I hope it continues to be this way..."

Ce'Mone

"It's crazy because I recently lost a baby but my mom just found out she's expecting again. I feel like that's God's way of saying I'm about to be a mother because my mom was never really a mother. 

 Me and my mother are finally getting real close but It wasn't always like that though. I use to despise my mother with a passion. My mother was physically there but was never really emotionally there. Like she didn't really raise me, you know? Like, how can you be there but let me get "assaulted". And my dad stays like 30-45 mins away calling and checking on me because he's getting bad feelings about my well-being. But she couldn't even tell when I was going through something when I was living with her. 

But regardless of all the sh** I went through and going through right now, I'm still planning for a brighter future."

James

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"I was born and raised in London. I've always wanted to travel the world so I worked hard, saved up as much money as I could, quit my job and then booked my first trip to South America... My trip to the U.S. Is the largest trip I've taken so far. I'm enjoying Chicago, but Portland was one of my favorite cities to visit so far. It has such a cool vibe with lots of beer as well (laughs). 

If someone asked me for advice on how to start traveling, I would tell them to work super hard, save some money up and don't think about it, just do it. Book your first trip and then carry on with the rest of it..."

Willie

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"I'm just a homeless who just got off them drugs. Back in the day, I did it all. Cocaine, crack.. you name it.

I'm originally from Louisiana. My family was going to a family reunion. I had to work that day so I wasn't able to go with them. Anyway, it was 13 of them riding in a van. They ended up driving towards a bridge that I told them not to ride on because it was a very old bridge and I didn't trust it. They took the bridge anyway and it collapsed. Just like that, I lost my family. I can't tell you what happened years after that but I do know I ended up homeless eventually.

When you're homeless, you do what other homeless people do because the people who aren't homeless can't relate to you. So they don't want to have nothing to do with you. And all the homeless people did was drugs, so that's what I ended up doing."

Eulas James (EastsideFlii)

"I just did my time and I'm fresh out. Allah changed my life for the better. I have a 3 year old who's changed my outlook on the way I live.

Now Life is my riches, Hollygrove forever, EASTSIDEFLII is who I am. Freedom is my mission through music."

Earlie Hudnall Jr.

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"I don't think money is the motive. We do things to survive. I've never had the intent of going into business or more less taking pictures for money to make it. I've been very fortunate to have had a job at TSU. My first job here was cleaning the paint room in the art department. Dr. John Biggers  gave me that job. Dr. Biggers and  Dr. Thomas F. Freeman are the reasons why I pursued photography. They allowed me the space, freedom and inspiration to do so. But money was never the motive for me. Documenting one's community was the motive and has become a great passion of mine from the beginning. 

You have to set your goals, you have to pursue them, then you have to put everything else secondary to that. But when you pursue them, you have to pursue them with a passion. And if you don't pursue it with a passion and if you don't Love what you do, well then again, you need to find something else to do. See when I get up and I come to TSU, whether I'm doing a picture for a student, or if I'm doing a picture for someone in the administration department, or whatever; I Love what I'm doing."