Deep in the jungle of Philadelphia, where rats are the size of toddlers and houses are made from pizza boxes, I met an oddly shaped man with deeply dark eyes. He drew a long shadow across the ground cascading off the curb and spilling into the street like tendrils of black ink. I stood there, motionless, tense. A rabbit watching the shadow of a hawk swooping down upon it. I could flee, or I could stay and bask in this strange darkness…mesmerized. I chose to stay; to let this presence descend upon my mind. To drive my sanity to the brink of shattering! But when the man who cast his shadow finally revealed himself to me, it was not darkness that I found. It was vibrance, it was the illumination of being alive. The bright beautiful colors of infinite possibilities within infinite other, stranger, and more wonderful possibilities.
This is the easiest way for me to honor and explain my friendship with Willie Alsedek. A person who I’ve come to call one of my closest friends and most kindred spirits. He’s also the kid who slept through my Video Engineering class in college, and who ignored and joked about the professors in almost every class. I felt contempt for him when I first met him. A stranger who had no respect for the institution of higher education, someone who thought he was above it. Someone who I thought didn’t deserve to be there. At least, that’s what I let myself believe.
I couldn’t have been more wrong in my assumptions.
Over time, we continued to criss-cross in our majors and find each other to be scheduled in the same class. I ended up getting paired with Willie on a project and it was then that I realized why he slept in class and ignored most of the teachers. They didn’t give a shit, first of all…But more importantly once I had the opportunity to work creatively with him I discovered that he was a secret genius, and one of the most perceptive human beings I have ever met. His varied talents and creativity along with an extreme passion for writing heavy and thought-provoking stories and sketches had inspired me to push myself in ways that I never had the audacity to do.
Willie and I eventually became friends, and then roommates, and then a creative powerhouse. In our loft apartment in Northeast Philadelphia, we began creating alter egos for a concept show. We then wrote, directed and edited our own (shortly lived) web series with the help of our incredibly talented and creative friends. We drew and painted collaborative works, played music together to form a terrible and hilarious band. We actually even wrote a rock opera and performed it at a tiny music festival (read: friend’s backyard) to the raucous applause of one drunk middle aged woman and a lot of blank stares.
It was the height of my college years. It was my creative renaissance. And it was where the idea for Beard Brains Studio was first formed. Surrounded by creative people, all helping each other on various school or professional projects. Everyone together, working in their own amazing way to create something unique and profound absolutely changed my life.
It’s been a very long time since those memories were first formed. My good friend Willie’s focus remains the same in all aspects of his creativity. Pouring out artwork in so many mediums I can hardly keep up. I am beyond excited to share his work with you all, and to hopefully have an impact on helping him get to a larger audience. Which is the sentiment I carry for every Artist that we feature.
Please stop by Willie’s Bio Page to see a sample of his work. He also sells his Tarot card deck on Etsy and has a Vimeo page where you can find a growing list of his film work and production reels.