Remix Project - Cristhian RamirezIt’s no secret that today’s youth are digital natives.

They are virtually born ‘online’ and will have a huge impact on tomorrow’s art and technology.

If they get the chance.

That’s where The Remix Project comes into play. They want to create opportunities for young adults from all socio-economic backgrounds to further their education, or enter creative industries.

The artists who are learning with the Remix Project are seriously creative! In fact, if you’re attending Social Mix 2012, you’ll see firsthand some of the amazing work that’s coming out of this important initiative.

I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with one talented young graduate of The Remix Project, so without further ado, please meet Cristhian Ramirez!

Hi Cristhian, great to meet you – tell us a bit about yourself.

I am 24 years old. I was born in Guatemala, Guatemala City. When I was 4 my family decided to move to Canada so my 3 siblings and I could have a better future. I grew up in a cozy home in a quiet Scarborough neighbourhood, and eventually graduated from high school – however, in my last year of high school I had a son (who is 6 years old now).

Having a child at the young age of 18 put pressure on me to figure out what I wanted to do in life, in order to set an example for him. He is my motivation for everything that I did/do to get my career in order. Without him in my life, I don’t know where I’d be or what I’d be doing.

A few years after high school I fell into a job working back up for a wedding photographer. He gave me a crash course on how to use his equipment on my first shift and I didn’t take it for granted! Once the wedding season died down I went back into the 9-5 work world.

Transitioning back to that structured lifestyle was very challenging, but now I knew that there was more to life than just landing a safe job in order to pay the bills.

About a year later my friends and I came up with the idea of starting a blog that we used as a platform to gain a network, so we could all get our names out in public with each of the individual talents we all had.

When did you connect with the Remix Project – and WHY?

I was getting better at photography and was shooting a Hip Hop festival at Nathan Philips Square when I ran into an old friend. He told me about The Remix Project, and I joined them in the summer of 2010.

They specialize in taking artists in the early stages of building their brand and business – and plugs them into an environment that where they have the opportunity to use a photo studio, recording studio and computers to get work done, as well opportunities to meet and network with other artists/students.

Explain what it was like working/learning from them?

I really got to see what it was like being in full control of your career, and I learned that if I wanted anything to happen for me that I needed to get up and go get it. I learned that a good work ethic would eventually help me accomplish the goals that I set out for myself.

They offer great workshops with industry leaders, who come to the space to talk to us on a variety of topics, things like branding & marketing, applying for government grants, and getting your business started.

It was a place for me to see what my options where if I was really serious about making what once started as a hobby to a paying career.

What is the biggest lesson you took away from your time with Remix?

The Remix Project Class Pic

The biggest lesson I took from The Remix Project was to appreciate art as a whole, and to not see others as competition, but as inspiration as well! As artists we all pour our heart and soul into the work that we do, and we have to respect each other.

One of the hardest things is displaying your work, where you’re showing your own genuine emotions from within, and being worried that no one will like it or understand it – so I learned to appreciate my peers and be inspired by them.

Were there times you felt like giving up? And why/or why not?

There were many times I felt like giving up and sometimes I still do – I am human. The trick is to not let that feeling overcome the goals you set for yourself, just keep your eye on the prize and you will get there.

I always say to myself to build a house you build it brick by brick – your first wall, then your second, then your third and fourth and before you know it you are on your roof and your house is built. Anything worth living for is also worth fighting for, nothing comes easy.

What are you doing now? Work wise/life wise?

Now I am working as an event photographer shooting corporate events for Black Board Marketing, which is the business side of Remix.

After graduating you have the opportunity to get paid gigs with them, and gain more experience. I also shoot club events for quick money and I also work as a videographer shooting music videos for an artist that I am working with.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In the next ten years I see myself shooting short films and big motion pictures and doing photoshoots for celebrities and musicians.

If you could use one word or phrase to sum up the Remix Project, what would it be?

An amazing talent curator.

Jugnoo Editor’s note: We’d like to thank Cristhian for sharing his story with us, and helping to spread the word about the good work that The Remix Project is doing. You only have three more days to get your tickets for Social Mix 2012, happening this Thursday July 26th – along with a world class social media event, you’ll get to meet some of the amazing students from Remix, and see the fantastically creative work that they are doing.

Photo credits: Cristhian Ramirez, The Remix Project