We had the good fortune of connecting with Pax Paran and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Pax, what role has risk played in your life or career?
In my opinion, risk-taking is an essential part of growth. There is always the chance that the risk you’ve taken will blow up in your face – you might have a terrible first date and end up wasting your time – but the risk of the date going terribly is equal to the chance that you might meet the love of your life. So my philosophy on risk is to just go for it. You can’t win if you don’t give yourself the opportunity to.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
So in my VoyageATL interview, I talked about my visual art initiative, Ampersyme Creative Studio, which I still operate under for graphic design and illustration projects. Since the last time we spoke, however, I’ve devoted a lot of time to music and am excited to announce I’ll be releasing music soon under the moniker ‘Pax Paran.’ I’m really excited to continue working on music after putting that part of my life on hold for a few years to focus on visual design, and I can’t wait to finally explore this part of me that’s been quiet for so long. I think a lot of the themes behind “Pax” – finding your voice, learning how to be brave, searching for peace – will resonate with a lot of people. My goal is for the songs to be a source of healing the way those of so many artists have been for (and before) me.

The first project planned for release is a single titled ‘Covert’, which I wrote, performed, and produced. I will be posting updates on my Instagram page (@paxparan) where people can stay connected and hear some of what I’m working on at the moment!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As an Atlanta native, I’ve had the opportunity to do this many times for visiting friends and relatives! My must-see spots are usually outdoors – and why not? Atlanta’s best feature is the scenery!

A trip to Stone Mountain is always fun because there’s so much to do: we usually will do a hike and a picnic, and you gotta stay for the laser show. Weather permitting, a visit to the Botanical Gardens is a favorite, especially during the holidays when they have all the lights up. I love taking people to Sweetwater Creek for a hike, and anywhere in the Chattahoochee Nature Preserve, too.

As far as food, there’s definitely no shortage of great places to go. West Egg Café in the West Midtown Arts District is the perfect brunch spot, and you can follow it up with a stroll through IKEA in Atlantic Station. I take people up to Canton Street in Roswell when I can, and if they’re into Thai food, ‘Rice’ is one of my favorite Thai spots in the whole city.

Obviously, anywhere along the Beltline is a safe bet for good food and a great atmosphere, and the strip of bars in Virginia Highlands is my go-to for a night out. The apple martini at Fontaine’s will always hold a special place in my heart.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Like many creatives, my family were my first and fiercest supporters growing up – I can’t tell you how many times my parents stopped what they were doing to attend impromptu living room “concerts” (AKA: me singing my heart out to a Celine Dion cassette tape blasted over a portable radio). So I definitely have them to thank for allowing me the space to explore my creativity in the early years. This Shoutout, however, is dedicated to the first person who put me on a stage and launched my professional performing career – the one and only Christina Hoff, former Artistic Director of Atlanta’s own Fabrefaction Theatre Conservatory.

Christina and I met when I was 13 years old, and I had a passion for performing but no experience in front of a real audience. She cast me in my first theatrical role as Snoopy in the musical “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and that was the launching point for all my future performances, theatrical and otherwise. Christina is exactly the person you want on your creative team because she is the ultimate cheerleader but can also give exacting, constructive feedback that will help you grow as an artist in ways you might not have known you needed to. She is a big-ideas thinker with actionable steps to reach her vision, which is an incredibly rare combination. I have been so blessed to have her in my personal and professional corners for so many years, and it is her special brand of support that makes me think to myself, even in the darkest times, “I can do this.”

Instagram: @paxparan

Image Credits
Whitney Fields, Sydney Sevdalis

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