Recently, I came across an article that described 10 ways to tell if someone is a true artist. The qualities they embody were listed as follows:
- They are focused on their art, not selling themselves.
- They do not work for money; money works for them.
- They are free-spirited.
- They love what they do.
- They don't care what the world thinks.
- They never stop learning.
- Practice makes perfect.
- They do not compete.
- They take mental breaks from time to time.
- They stay grounded and humble.
Now, we all know an artist or two that embody some of those qualities, but rarely do we come across someone who embodies ALL of them. Luckily, there is somebody right here in our backyard that happens to be that rarity; he goes by the name of Alex Joachim. As an artist in every sense of the word, Alex has been perfecting his skill in photography, videography, illustration, and direction for years. One look at his portfolio and you'll see that his artistic vision is an ever-evolving entity that excites you and makes you think a little deeper. We got the opportunity to speak with Alex and pick his brain about how he got his start and what more there is to come. Check out the conversation below!
ItsLitBoston: Give me a brief summary of where you grew up, your living circumstances and what put you onto the path you're on now?
Alex Joachim: I grew up in Mattapan, on Blue Hill Ave to be honest - one of the ugliest streets to raise a child in the Boston communities. I lived in a home filled with a lot of love to balance out the type of neighborhood we lived in. We had more than most in my community so it felt, wealth in spirit, love and support. My mother kept me active in sports when I was young which was possibly one of the best things she could’ve done for me to refrain from me succumbing to the type of things my community had in store for me.
What's the story behind your name? Is there any particular meaning behind it?
Joachim, which means ‘joyous dog’ in french. My name is Alex Millien, but growing up my mother continued to tell me ‘you can be whatever you set your mind to’. Questioning every day who I was and what I wanted to be, I found art. I fell in love with it, and not once did she tell me that art was not the choice I should chose. She allowed her young son to pursue whatever he desired. With that I’ve taken her last name in signing anything art related, as a tribute to her support in my growth.
You refer to yourself as a Creative Director, but that title is a little vague for someone that has never worked with you. Can you explain what exactly that entails?
In my profession in Branding & Marketing for companies a Creative Director is the individual that not only creates the art but also oversees it and how it is produced. In my art I create the concept for what you see as the final product. Conceptualizing the who, what, where along with the purpose for it - whether the medium is photography, videography, or in my illustrations. A Creative Director is someone that doesn’t just point and create without purpose because to the Creative Director everything in the process of creating is important.
Who or what are your influences in the art/fashion/photography industry or in your personal life? Where do you draw inspiration from?
My influences come from life experiences, my past relationships, current energy I’m feeling and the type of energy I allow around me. I literally do not pay attention to what’s new in art/fashion/photography industry. I don’t enjoy the pumping visuals and fads that are continuously revolving. I believe the only thing I’ve let from pop culture in my life has been my Yeezy’s, I love my Yeezy’s lol.
What's your process for directing/shooting? Do you plan concepts for shoots ahead of time or do you just go with the flow?
I let life hit me, I then take everything my mind is screaming at me and create accordingly. What’s been on my mind lately has been things such as celebrating the black woman, injustice in ‘the system’, police brutality, and the history of slavery. I chose the model that fits closest to my imagination and on occasion we both build on the idea so they too have a bit of creative control(which in retrospect makes them more involved). In my mind I don't believe I could ever create a beautiful body of work with ‘just going with the flow’, planning even at its most basic form is a must for me.
What do you think your collaborators (models, customers, etc) appreciate most about your artistic vision and direction?
What I believe people that have worked with me appreciate the most about my vision and direction is that I’m reliable, but most of all consistent in elevating my craftsmanship. They understand my passion, my drive and support me in every way possible.
Can you name some people you want to work with in the future?
To be honest I have no one in particular I’d like to work with, because I’m so open to working with anyone that can inspire me visually. I want to start working with dancers if that applies to your question.
What's your end game? Like, paint the big picture of what is the overall goal you want to achieve.
My end game is to live life free from a 9-5 even though I'm in Marketing & Branding which is what I love to do as well. I would like to just create without constriction, and to travel as often as possible to expand my mind and way of thinking, especially before I have my first child(whenever that may be, lol).
One thing that cannot be denied is the talent that exudes from this young Black man. With wisdom beyond his years as well as unwavering passion for his craft, it is obvious that we will be seeing great things from Alex Joachim in the near future. For those interested in creating with him, his contact information is posted below. Also, make sure you keep up with what's going on with him by following him on his respective social media accounts posted below as well!
IG - @byAlexJoachim
Twitter - @byAlexJoachim
Snapchat - byAlexJoachim