Today we’d like to introduce you to Rian Watkins.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m 28 years old and I was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. My family has been my main support system and motivation throughout my life.
Baltimore is a complex city that often is misunderstood but I found so much inspiration in my art from the pride and charisma that my city carries itself with. Growing up as a black male pre social media, it wasn’t as accepted to be different. Your primary options for respect were either sports or getting into the street life. I was always into art, the colors, the textures and patterns. My first interest was clothing design. In high school, I interned with a screen printing company that inspired my first experiments with merchandising. Baltimore was the beginning for me and ultimately will always be home, but I’ve always yearned to see more.
I began my college career in Queens, NY at St. John’s University. There I was first exposed to photography in a creative sense. I was brought on by a local streetwear blog to capture looks throughout the city and it helped me get comfortable shooting strangers. I made lifelong friends and had valuable experiences that helped shape me into the man I am today. Everything wasn’t always sweet, however perseverance served as a major theme.
I began attending Temple University in the spring of 2013. Philadelphia is where my photography and graphic design careers both began to flourish. Temple University overall was a very rewarding experience overall. Partying was fun as was learning from some talented professors but studying abroad may have been the most valuable experience. As a youngin out Northwest Baltimore to be able to see London, Paris, Amsterdam and more made the world feel so big and full of potential. It has inspired me to do everything in my power to see more and provide opportunities for those with limited resources to experience travel.
Since moving to Philadelphia, I gained valuable business confidence. Securing some larger clients helped me to get over that imposter syndrome creatives often struggle with.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My sophomore year at St. Johns, a few close friends of mine and I were banned from student housing. St. Johns was a very strict school and that clashed with my lifestyle for sure at the time. Me and my boys We were partying all crazy and I lost my focus on what was important. My parents obviously weren’t feeling me at the time so I moved home to Baltimore and worked a super ass job just to help out at home. I was at a crazy low beefing with my folks and just needed to bust a move or I was gonna go crazy. It was right around this time I found out I was accepted into Temple and good to transfer. Issues with financial aid however delayed the process causing more frustrations.
Anxious to get outta Baltimore, I rode with my boy up to New York. He too was no longer allowed to dorm and was looking for a house to stay. During that transitional period, we partied, slept in the wheel and other homies’ cribs waiting for a valid housing option to come through.
Once we secured a place, I worked two jobs, Levis & Yellow Rat Bastard, all to hop on the train and head back to Queens. Some days I was beyond exhausted but the hustle and bustle made me feel like I was living in my purpose. I also was shooting still and honing in on my crafts.
ItsMyRevolution Creative – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Now I handle creative direction, photography, graphic design & videography for a wide range of national & international clientele. My goal with my work is to tell captivating stories in authentic and empathetic ways.
My work can be viewed at www.rianwatkins.com. Previous partnerships include: NFLPA, Sparkling Ice, City Council of Philadelphia, Unite Fitness, Dubzoo, etc.
In addition, I am a co-owner of Lifestyle brand Gorilla Power (www.gorilla-power.com), a health and wellness company dedicated to self-improvement and consistent growth. We produce delicious plant-based protein bars, curate interactive fitness events and design merchandise.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I am most proud of my work when I am in positions to inspire the youth around me. Opportunities like teaching photo and video to youth in Negril, Jamaica with the Lizzie Mae Foundation stand out as highlights for sure. In addition, I had the opportunity to teach photography to students 8-14 with The Children’s Learning Institute in Philadelphia.
- Website: rianwatkins.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine Conner took the photo of me