Tag Archives: Art

The Universe is Your Stage so we Ignite our Souls

Sunday September 22nd 2013, I experienced something I don’t think my mind will ever let me forget.

I always wanted to attend a Poetry Slam, and, it has been increasingly been on my brain over the last year to go to one. However, between other obligations and just life in general prevented me, until this night, September 22nd 2013.

Guided By the Spirit

A little back story on poetry and I, I use to write a lot of poems when I was in High School. In fact I became involved in a poetry community where I would post some of my latest work on a board and got some pretty amazing feedback from it. As I grew older I simply stopped. Periodically, I would write, but not as much as I did before. I went through a very troubling time, where I just hated anything artistically & creatively I had done. And as I grew more and more depressed realizing I was not like everyone else… in a fit of rage I tore all my work into pieces and threw away almost 10 years worth of emotions in a single evening.

I would eventually regret my decision to do so, realizing I should have not turn my back on the one thing that eventually would mean everything to me.

Sunday September 22nd, 2013 I attended the Hamilton HYP Poetry Slam, held at Baltimore House. I knew, I just knew I was going to be writing about tonight, and probably a majority of individuals probably won’t be able to begin to understand but I do hope it makes some sort of sense to people reading this.

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First off, I will begin by saying that all of the poets involved in the Open-Mic & Poetry Slam were absolutely amazing. Not just because their poetry was amazing, just to go up in front of that microphone regardless of the poetry reading themselves, displays a lot of courage. Public speaking is the most well known fear and phobia a individual can experience, people would rather die then get up and speak thats how bad it is. So for those individuals that got up on stage on that faithful night of Sunday September 22nd 2013 at Baltimore House Cafe, I applaud you, for that.

Secondly, aside from getting up on stage in front of an audience, pouring something you have written about your emotions. Deep feelings of sadness or thoughts & views on society, in a world where we are only taught to think and feel a certain way and if your views don’t mesh with everyone else you’re considered an outcast… but you, you stood up for what you believe in, spoke your mind, through rhythm and rhyme and told your story… is a source of inspiration for others.

Finally, the energy level that came shining through, the sense of passion displayed within every single word you spoke and breathe you took to let the emotions settle, took my breathe away. I could feel my heart beating faster with each line you read upon that stage, may you make note, words do truly effect us all.

But my experience did not stop there, what came during each of the readings I can not begin to put into words. There were times during each one of those readings, where my eyes would focus and re-focus between the poet and the backdrop of the stage at Baltimore House. And I kid you not, as it defocused upon the backdrop I saw your true self upon that stage. The beautiful most immaculate souls these eyes ever did see.

I saw the fiery courage within the voices, the power and strength of an individual, in which, one would only assume was weak just at a glance. I saw the beauty within a person and the confidence of a warrior ready to do battle. It was right then and there I knew I was meant to attend this amazing event. To experience what I experience and share what I saw with others.

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You see most people go through their entire lives not knowing who they truly are. They get trapped in this idea or vision of who they think other people believe them to be. But when you embrace something so pure as what I saw that night, you can not hide the beauty of your soul.

We grasp on to ideals and adopt them as our own, listening to what society tells us through media and pop culture that this is the ideal lifestyle you want to live. That you should look like this or that. You should run with this crowd because they are the most popular. And we believe in it, we believe in it so strongly we stop at nothing to fit in and we lose ourselves in it.

We deny our true self, but, if we only pursue and listen to our hearts you know it is not who we were meant to be. We end up feeling empty inside, so we fill our lives with meaningless objects & drama that creates stress in our lives, so much so, we caught off our ability to breathe. And all the things we think we want in our lives end up owning us, instead of us owning life.

And all of a sudden we are working just to maintain this lifestyle, but if only we gave ourselves more and surrendered it to the will of the universe, our inner spirit, will we then become whole again. And with that, that is the true meaning of life and that is what I saw up on stage that faithful Sunday night.

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5 Things I wish I knew in college as a creative

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I learned in my college years at Mohawk College as a Television Broadcasting student the past few weeks. And had many conversations with highly engaged community driven creative individuals and I can’t imagine what the future for creatives in the city will be like in 5 to 10 years down the line.

The industry is changing very drastically even from a month-to-month basis that it’s hard to know how everything in the digital space will pan out. I’m not going to write something like Television is completely dead. It really isn’t, but how we consume our media has drastically change.

Our society has slowly changed, we no longer have valuable family time on a Friday night, watching Family Matters, Full House, and Whose The Boss. We no longer sit down at 6pm & or 11pm to watch the evening news… why would we? We’ve checked out our facebook, twitter feed and got the news updates as it is happening in real time. It use to be normal just have one single television set in the family room where we could all congregate, and then, it became normal to have a television set in every room of the house… okay, I’m exaggerating, perhaps one in each bedroom, plus a family room.

But as the digital age progresses, fewer people are watching “television” the way we use to think television should be watched. A majority of television consumption is now through our Smart phones, Tablets, laptop and desktop computers. We are also consuming media in shorter lengths of time because our attention span as dwindled down right to the core. If it doesn’t capture our attention within the first 30 seconds you’ve lost the audience. If you’re not a die hard fan of the concept why do I care to watch it in the first place.

So with all that being said, I wonder what kind of education is being programmed into young idealistic minds today to shape the future of tomorrow. Are they learning about the importance of content being produced and know why we create with an idea of cross platform purposes. Are they merely being taught the basics of video production or other technical aspects that would go into storytelling or finally are they being taught to think in new innovative ways, and think beyond the box we tend to put ourselves in.

So with that being said, I comprised a short top 5 list of things I wish I knew when I first got started in College.

1.) Networking, biggest favour to yourself is getting out in the community and network with other creatives, bring your friends, along with you too, force them into it if you have to!

Networking at events such as Creative Exchange, anything by Factory Media Arts, Cobalt Connects, get out there now, even if you’re just starting out and have nothing to show, it doesn’t matter. The skills you develop by actually interacting with people that are doing something in real time will go a long way with your professional career.

And you never know, you might just end up with a job with a simple handshake and a smile. Find the grassroots networking events, Startup Drinks comes to mind, which is a great networking event that happens once a month that will allow you to easily break the ice, but be consistent when attending. Once you do that, bring a friend, then they feel comfortable and may know another individual that might consider it of value to make connections. That is how we grow together as a community and build long lasting relationships with our peers.

And if at all possible, if you see something missing and you think the creative community could benefit from, build your own networking event. Reach out to the people you wish you could see more of at networking events, never get bogged down being and be an island only to yourself and a select few. The more individuals you know the more opportunities are then created for you to grow not only as a professional but as a person as well.

That’s what I ended up doing over the last year, after I attended my first Web Series meet up in Toronto, I fell in love with the energy that flowed through the space. It was something I was already passionate about so it only made sense to me that I wanted to bring that energy to the Hamilton Creatives.

And don’t be afraid to take the lead, and be a leader if you have to, even if it’s not widely accepted in the beginning. The more you work on building your connections the more people get to know what you’re up to and trying to accomplish.

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2.) If you’re not on social media, start now! And I don’t mean just the usual suspects (Facebook and Google) I mean twitter, Linkedin, even instagram. Use them to build your digital presence, another fellow Mohawk Grad actually brought this up. And after thinking about it, it was so true. You don’t have to have a company twitter account, it is more about getting into the process of interacting with again your community, building trust online, and creating engaging conversation.

Just make sure when you do sign up for twitter, you make your user name as simple as your first and last name. Try not to make it too crazy. The friend I spoke of which most of you reading this probably have seen his tweets, has gone through a few name changes and the only reason for this is as he continues to grow his following on twitter he has changed his work place at least once or twice and with each time he does, he merely changes the end of his twitter handle to reflect the company that he might be working for.

Linkedin, another great way to build relationships and potential leads for future job opportunities. Again, regardless of work experience, start building your professional connections now! It will make the transition process of being a student to a professional a whole lot smoother.

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3.) Take a business course: I would have loved to have more of an intensive class within the 3 year program that talks about the aspect of being a creative entrepreneur. For those individuals that have a passion and drive to build their own business. To be able to learn more about team building, managerial, sales, marketing side of production services. And the knowing what a reasonable rate is for the line of work that you’re doing. Obviously it will vary depending on the situation, a team of one won’t charge the same price as a team of 5 or 6 individuals as a company so that is a must to take into the consideration.

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4.) Development of boundaries: In other words, don’t ever let anyone walk all over you and take advantage of your skill sets as a creative. There is a statue of limitations on proving yourself in the industry and get away from the “It will be a great demo reel piece.” Knowing how much your time is worth, how much your equipment costs and your educational background. You are not a ‘starving artist’ there is no such thing, you just have to develop the right mindset as a creative well in advance before you dive in.

I can tell you through my experience, I spent almost a grand total of 14,000 dollars on getting all of my equipment. I saw it as an investment opportunity, and I haven’t regretted that decision yet. I also spend money every time I go out and buy a new external hard drive so I can properly archive and maintain raw footage just in case if I have to go back to something.

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Now going back to education, if your in Television Broadcasting, you’re using industry leading, cutting edge equipment that probably costs more than anyone is willing to admit. You’re trained in the art of storytelling, knowing what drives a great emotional piece that psychologically compels the viewer to share. You’re using equipment has to be properly taken care of and update and software that costs a pretty penny, unless of course you do it the old pirate way.

So knowing where, when and why you’re setting the boundaries is key. This isn’t a hobby class you’re taking this is your professional career and people have to understand that but most of all you have to understand that. And you might have to say no to projects you really want to take on, but, if you say yes all the time and especially with little to no pay being rewarded it will be that much harder to break later on in life.

5.) Follow your passion: This one is probably the most important of them all. Follow your passion, passion & enthusiasm will set you apart from everyone else. Never let the industry drain your passion to the point that you become jaded. The minute that you come across like that, get out of the way.

And there is a big difference between being realistic and jaded, even when your realistic you still have enthusiasm but if you’re jaded you just rip apart anything that someone new wants to try. And it becomes more pessimistic view on the world. Never let someone else’s path derail you from yours.

Even if they have 30 years worth of experience behind them, the fact is, times are changing. What might not have worked 10 years ago when they first tried to implement the very same idea, could have a completely different impact on how it could work now. Be mindful of these individuals, and stay true to your passionate side, keep the imagination alive and be open to endless possibilities, hang on to that as tightly as possible!

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And my final thought for all of the above is always stay true to yourself, never try and pretend to be like someone else! Be as real as possible. You don’t need to impress anyone, you just need to be you! Let your passion shine through your work like the golden sun breaking through the clouds of a stormy day.

Love and cherish every minute that you spend filling your head up with knowledge and truly empower yourself to be the best creative individual you can be.

– Cheers Michael

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The most powerful weapon human kind has, the power of choice.

A few days ago I had a few meetings to go to and a few things to sort out with my life, probably one of the better days I’ve had in a little while. I noticed something about myself when I started talking to someone about some of the stuff that I’ve done in the past and what I am looking forward to do, I get really soft and silent when it comes to certain subjects but very loud and animated when I discuss things about community and just in general certain stuff I am passionate about.

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It’s very strange what happened, I wanted to ask to get into this certain program that will help me develop what I want to develop in my field of video production and storytelling, but that’s not what the weird part. The weird part came after when someone sent me an email to a link to the very same program I was looking for more information on, which brings me to the conclusion that this is something I need and must do.

I might have to sacrifice a few things in my life at the moment but I am prepared to take those sacrifices on to continue to build what I would call my legacy, sounds a little bit vain, I know but having an ego is not necessarily a bad thing to have in life. It just means you know what you want, and the image you want to leave behind. And this is merely one part of the legacy I wish to leave with the rest of the world.

These blogs of course are apart of that, making sure I document every step leaving my footprint upon the world and making sure people know, I was here, and I am never to be forgotten. The other most powerful moment of the day was having a conversation with a young creative entrepreneur I met just about a year coming up this August. He is two years younger than I am, but he has this passion and drive and ideology towards life in him that I’ve never really seen before at a relatable level. We talked about his project which is this festival he started and how I come to cross paths with him called “A mid-summer nights dream”.

This is something I captured of the day event festival.

His outlook on life was very refreshing to see, a majority of individuals I meet or are friends with are slightly older than I, and there for have become jaded by pursing something new and with a sense of purpose. That I really enjoyed my conversation with him. His story about struggle and not knowing if the festival will be a success or not but something told him inside of himself to just do it and keep going. “Push on through” as he said things happen during the right time and place it is suppose to happen.

Needless to say he is very excited for this years festival and I to am as excited because I watched his progress and seen how much effort and work he has devoted himself to this festival that it will pay off in droves. I think the festival will have a bigger turn out than last year now that people who were there are helping to spread the message. And I think it is the best time for a festival like this.

You can see it, within the past two artcrawls in Hamilton even for the summer the amount of people that are out and about exploring James St North which is the centre for not only Hamilton, but Hamilton’s Art & culture community. The last artcrawl almost felt like supercrawl which only happens once a year and they shut down the streets, there was enough people and energy that fills James St N that warranted that to happen so people could freely walk down the street rather than a sidewalk.

The exciting growth in Hamilton’s Arts community grew organically, and that growth and excitement is now hitting a huge turning point in how art and culture can revitalize a city.

The third most thing that happened to me on that very same day was a friend of mine took me to a bar and I very suddenly realized that they had karaoke, which again gets me going sometimes when I want to express that side of me. Nothing like belting out my favourite songs to sing to unleash the musical creativity in me. Since I don’t play any musical instruments Karaoke and singing to me are the next best thing I can do to satisfy that need.

Karaoke Playlist: Frank Sinatra – My Way, Bobby Darin – Mack The Knife, Jerry Lee Lewis – Great Balls of Fire, Louis Armstrong – What a Wonderful World, Jerry Lee Lewis – Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going on, AC/DC – Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.

Afterwards my friend that I was with said to me that she didn’t realize I had the range of music, and I was a renaissance man of talent, which often goes unnoticed. This made me smile, because this is how exactly how I feel about me and my art. A few of my idols as artists such as Michelangelo, or Da Vinci were best known for a wide range of talents and I always transplanted that idea in developing my creativity. So needless to say I feel like I’ve done something right now that people are starting to take notice.

It is important to me not just as an artist but as a human being to be able to freely explore the endless pool of abilities that God has given me, and I’m not much of a religious individual, I grew up catholic but I find organized religion to lose its purpose when you have agendas that have nothing to do with a calling from a higher power. I do believe in God, I just don’t believe in the catholic church. I don’t believe in going to a place of worship every Sunday especially since God and the spirit of God is all around us and surrounds us. I believe in celebrating in my own way and I think God would want us to do that.

“For qit will be like a man rgoing on a journey, who called his servants3 and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five stalents,4 to another two, to another one, tto each according to his ability. Then he rwent away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and udug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now vafter a long time the master of those servants came and wsettled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and xfaithful servant.5 yYou have been faithful over a little; zI will set you over much. Enter into athe joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be ba hard man, reaping cwhere you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here dyou have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You ewicked and eslothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 fFor to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And gcast hthe worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place gthere will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – Matthew 25:14-30

This bible story always stuck out in my mind when I think about talents and abilities, and finding purpose within your talents to be able to share with the rest of the world the gift that which you have been given. Never fear your abilities, realizing that you have so much to give, and the more you give freely of yourself, the more ye shall return by the grace of God.

I am more of a spiritual human being rather than a God fearing individual, so hope you didn’t read into this as if I was just that. I am open to the endless possibilities that can and will only be discovered after departed from this body and where our souls go afterwards. And if you don’t believe in anything like that I certainly hope you’re making the most out of your life if you think that this is the only thing we have to look forward to.

I am eternally grateful for having this kind of mindset that was nurtured within me, to be humbled by not knowing what might happen after we pass on, but appreciating all religion’s just as they individual belief systems. My favourite religion teacher once said to our class “The secret is just to do and be good, if you do and be good with your life that’s all that matters”. And I believe that to be true. Just do the best that you can with your life and not be afraid. There are no right or wrong answers just experiences. So go and experience as much of life as you possibly can. Be good to your neighbour and fellow man/woman. And love as much as you can with out fear of being hurt in the process, because even in pain there is always a reason and I believe with all my heart and soul that you would not be given a bad experience you were not meant to handle.

Best part of being human is our ability to adapt and gain strength even during our darkest moments, the human spirit will always prevail.

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How do you feel about your art?

This weekend I decided to finish up a painting I started a while back, felt good to be back into the painting spirit again.

It feels very spiritual for me when I’m creating something out of nothing and through an artistic endeavour like painting.

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How do you feel about your art? It could be painting, writing, drawing?

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“While They Sleep” Novel CrowdFunding Campaign

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I am a storyteller, content creator, and I help promote other creator’s content because I believe in what they do.

Have you ever had a dream, and come so close to accomplishing it, and but gave up shortly after, and all you needed was to push a little further to and just need someone to give you a hand up to really build something tangible.

I feel this novel is just that for me, I’ve worked tirelessly on this project, and now I just need that hand up to really make this project come true.

The novel is an action & adventure story about a woman, Sarah Monroe, a writer / archaeologist who goes on incredible journey of self-discovery.

The novel is also about the disconnect between humans and technology. And how technology is suppose to serve us better as communicators but really it destroys the best part of being human with social interaction.

The novel will also have a film / series counter part to go along with the novel.

So in funding this campaign you will help me with

• Having an editor go through the book with me
• Publishing the novel as a paperback/hardcopy version
• Marketing and promotion of the book
• Graphic designer to work on the cover of the book as well.

The 9,000 will also help fund the series / Film production costs
and there for you will also be acknowledge as a producer role in helping me fund this project.

Link to the first two chapters of the Novel:  While_They_Sleep_Novel_By_Michael_Canton
Link to the GoFundMe Site to donate to this Novel:  http://www.gofundme.com/3kxm9k

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Creative Entrepreneur

So, you want to earn a living doing something you’re truly passionate about, chances are maybe it is something in the creative spectrum.

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While watching television, I thought about something Bob Proctor had said in a seminar I was watching the day earlier. Which was ‘Think’ and he goes on with during this seminar how we don’t use our brain power enough basically.

Which I think is true, we only use as much brain power it takes to take on what ever task we might be under taking at that time. It was at that time I really turned off my television, television really doesn’t help you think. It’s really a form of escapism from our day to day lives.

After I turned off the television set I went for a drive and started thinking about my life and current state it’s been. I thought about all the things I want to do with my life and my future plans. And at that moment I started thinking about the past, as I was heading down a road I use to take all the time that is filled with memories.

It was at that particular moment I realized just how much has changed around me, I instinctively thought but I myself haven’t changed very much. Which is obviously not true and took action to correct that thought.

Physical form, a lot hasn’t changed, environmentally hasn’t really changed a whole lot but both mentally and emotionally I’ve been growing drastically. And then I thought, I wonder why that is? In dealing with all theses shifts and changes that have occurred with my surroundings, I learned how to mentally prepare myself in dealing with change.

Change, regardless of you want it or not in your life is inevitable. Things change all the time, sometimes slow, some times rapidly, so rapidly as such that you don’t even know it has happen.

So getting back to the title ‘creative entrepreneur’ – It’s true, my environment hasn’t changed much sometimes I get a tad bit edge of the seat about this because I want to create movement with my life, so much so, I can actually see the difference.

But what I am coming to understand is through my experiences I am able to call upon these new skill sets in order to really jump start a new life in as a Creative Entrepreneur. I wouldn’t exactly call it a ‘New Life’ really however, after looking at my past once more I have and always had a creative Entrepreneur sensibility to me.

One example came to mind, one of my passions has always been photography and I loved going out and taking shot after shot after shot. I developed a fairly keen eye for what looks good on camera. Any rate, I had taken all these pictures and I had never really done anything with them until one day I decided I was going to create greeting cards out of them. Where I was working at the time agreed to let me use a little corner space to have them on display and I decided to sell them for 2 dollars a piece.

I remember the within the first week of having them up people flocked to the display and they were bought and sold within a matter of a couple weeks.

This kind of creative and entrepreneurial thinking must be revisited in my mind, sure it won’t make me a ‘living’ but it is just one of many income streams that could prove to be lucrative. It’s also more than just selling, it’s about developing these creative ideas, and really brining these ideas to life with precision and direct results.

Now it’s your turn, have you ever been in a similar mind frame? How did you over come it?

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Declaration of Self

Over the course of the last few weeks, I’ve taken time out of being on the computer to go for really long walks. I would go to this one spot, on a bayfront area and I would just stare off into nature’s wondrous miracle.

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I captured this photo last night while watching the sun go down behind the tree line of the mountain landscape. And was mesmerized by the relaxation of watching two younger individuals sitting there fishing. I’m not 100 percent sure if they caught anything but I’m sure they didn’t care.

I realized a few things while sitting there, one we are sometimes too connected to our technology. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email. I would know, because I was in fact using all three of those while I was there when the point was not to.

A friend of mine then came out along and we walked and talked and walked some more and I really enjoyed that moment. The face to face, person to person connectivity we had. She has been a really good friend to me over the last year and tentatively listened to what I was going through. And I in return do the same.

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I began thinking about, happiness, and what does it mean to be happy. Is happiness what we get when we go after what we want and obtain it. Or is Happiness in the journey of the pursuit.

Should we not just be content, but joyful of the abundance we have in our lives, the very simple things that doesn’t cost us any money and is effortless to achieve. Building strong friendships with people, building character within ourselves that actually stand for something. The ability to be free to create and cultivate from our passions.

I declare my vision for my life is that, I am in control of my destiny, my Future and no one else. Using my artistic passions such as Writing, Painting, FilmMaking and my ability to inspire and motivate others will be my ultimate path.

My core values will keep me in line making sure that no matter what I do they are in line with my ultimate vision. People will pay to hear my vision and my story because I feel there are more people out there like me. That really want to live with a sense of passion and purpose.

In return, I declare I will return 25 Percent of profits in the beginning, back into helping those who wish to start building and creating a life as I am doing. After some time that return will increase to 50 percent, until finally we’ve reach 75 percent return in gratitude.

I know how hard it is to be struggling, I know how much passion individuals have for their idea. And there is not a soul to take a chance on them to really help build a future for them. And I want to be that person that provides them that assistance.

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It is my goal to build the foundation & mindset of the ultimate creative entrepreneur and philanthropist. Using my skill sets to lay down brink by brink the building blocks necessary to then help others in my own Devine way.

Now it’s your turn,
What will you do?

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