We had the good fortune of connecting with Will Focus and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Will, let’s talk legacy – what do you want yours to be?
It’s an interesting question. I always feel most people want to know what it is someone would like to do for their career or maybe what they see themselves doing in the future; however, I ask and answer this for myself all the time. I want my legacy to be one that fosters growth built on systems that I created from the ground up. I want my legacy to be one of breaking generational curses, leaving something self sustainable for my family, and to be remembered as someone who never hesitated to lend a helping hand.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Well my artwork story is a long one, but I can keep it short. My mother was my inspiration behind becoming an artist. I always make sure to give her her flowers when this comes up. When I was 5, she took me and my two cousins into the dining room, pulled out a sheet of lined paper and began to draw us. I had never seen anyone draw at this point, but I couldn’t look away. That was my origin story, you know, bit by a radioactive spider… with a pencil.
I think that as time progressed I always felt overlooked in the beginning. I wasn’t very forward with my artwork. It was almost something that people saw in passing because it was mostly for myself. I was/am a huge anime/manga/comic fan. This caused me to become hyper focused on superheroes/villains and world building. I think as time went on and I learned there were so many artistic voices out there, it became a bit overwhelming and I began to shrink a little. Eventually I would only display my design work and never my illustration. This lasted for a bit, but thanks to Nay and her constant positivity bludgeoning I began showcasing my personal work more and eventually developed a personal style that mixes my love for Afrofuturism, Cyberpunk, and Manga. It’s an odd combination but I am extremely proud of having found my style and artistic voice to put my work into the ether without fear of judgment and it being well received.
This road wasn’t easy. The market is heavily oversaturated and again, as stated previously, you can find your voice drowned out. It’s like having 1 of 100 products on a supermarket shelf; how do you stand apart from all those other “similar” things? I got to where I was today by remembering a reinforcement that my mother always told me, another belief my father had, and a saying my band teacher would always say: “noone is smarter than you, and there is nothing you can’t accomplish”, “you should always know how to fix things yourself”, and “practice doesn’t make perfect…. perfect practice makes perfect”. These always stayed with me and helped me elevate and also picked me up when doubt would surface. They never failed. Because of this, I currently have my own LLC, Not For Profit, and several smaller businesses. All of these were possible because of a combined “never give up” attitude I adopted as a combination of the three statements previously mentioned.
I’ve learned that you will always be your own worst critic and the things you see as failures will often be the things your customer base, fans, family and friends will gravitate to and love the most.
I just want the world to know that everything I did, created, and embarked on was done out of love and the desire to create an uplifting, liberating, and better playing field for my people. My story is one of evolution.
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.
Wow, this question is a bit tough because I’m an August Virgo who is an introvert with extrovert tendencies. For me it would be a combination of visiting all of the Vegan/Plant Based food spots I know, along with fun links to various friends etc that I know to do fun things.
I would definitely in no particular order do the following (lining up the week, but it could go any way).
Monday – Seasoned Vegan in Harlem (gotta get the Crawfish with the spinach or broccoli, and the mac and cheese). Probably check out some stores on 125th and then chop it up a bit and catch up.
Tuesday – Veggie Castle in Queens. Definitely need the lo mein, with the ginger chicken and drumsticks, maybe the mushroom po-boy too. If time permits and they’re open during this panorama then we are going to long island city to play some archery tag. If you haven’t been you gotta go at some point lol.
Wednesday – Natural Blend in Bk is a must, gotta grab my citrus rib panini and some callaloo patties. I will use this day to also hit Nicholas Brooklyn on Fulton street. I love oils and natural soaps etc and this is the go to – maybe take them to check out what’s happening at Basquiat’s Bottle as well.
Thursday – Greedi Vegan in Bk. Gotta get the friend okra, oyster poboy, and greedi burger. After this, then we can check out what may be going on at the Barclays. Usually there is some event that checks all the boxes.
Friday – Sofia & Grace in Bk. They have amazing vegan cookies, so I’m definitely loading up on the Sweet Potato cookies. Then hopping over to see what’s going on at Remy Rouge Culture Center. Usually they will have an event or two, be it spoken word or some artistic event.
Saturday – Toad Style in Bk may be the move. Going to order the fried cauliflower and eat my life away lol. This would be a good time to wind down and check what’s going on in the city. If it’s summertime, then most likely parks and rec always has interesting events to check out, ie. movies, competition events, and more.
Sunday – Well I guess I will round this out with Chun Vegetarian and Dunn Well Donuts – as you can see… yeah, Im hungry a lot. Then I guess I can close this out with axe throwing. Something fun, and then a bit of gaming end of the night.
I like any type of thing that will make people just talk and have a good time. As long as whomever I’m with is smiling, I’m all for it. I’m also a jokester and get a kick out of laughable moments. The funnier the better.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I want to dedicate this to my wife Nay and my kids, BB, Will, and Sean. They have been my motivating forces and support in so many ways. They inspire me to believe in myself and to want to lead by example. They make me always choose to be the best me I can be without ever doubting myself.
Instagram: @TheOneWillFocus @TheOneWillFocus2 @TheOneWillFocus3
Photographer: NayMarie of TajiMag www.iamnaymarie.com www.tajimag.com @iamnaymarie @tajimagazine