Today we’d like to introduce you to Kasey Stokes.
How I got started? Photography began as means to transfer out of Santa Monica College. I wanted to be an artist. Question was.. what kind? I had exhausted all my art class requirements and I was SO READY to leave SMC but needed something to make up those units. Ms. Bradford, one of the Black Collegians program Advisors showed me my options after sitting me down for a LONG talk. I was on academic prohibition at the time. Long story short she says “… it’s either..Photo 1 or Ceramics I? ..I think you should try photo you might like it. Or you can say that you tried..” and I’ll never forget that conversation.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In Winter 2017, I re-enrolled back at SMC to take a professional portfolio class. Our class was so advanced the photo committee voted and said we deserved to have an Art Gallery, I was STOKED (no pun intended) I was so excited to show off my work!! 12 weeks go by and I’ve now shot everything, sorted through thousands of images and selected my seven images to print and for the showcase. Exactly 7 days before the show, I make one of the biggest mistakes of my life. The hard drive holding ALL my work including the 7 images for my show falls off my table and hits the floor. My heart stops. I plug in my drive and nothing happens. But I didn’t panic. I just kept trying and trying till I was like okay, I think I’m in trouble here. Checked the clock then I rushed over to best buy’s geek squad to see if they can help. They run a diagnostic, The tech says. “I’m Sorry but…” and my heart dropped. While he’s describing my options. I’m fighting tears and thinking to myself , “I F’d up big time what am I gonna do?”. I begin to think of my show and how much time and effort I just lost. Soon I get home, I break all the way down. Heavy tears. I felt defeated. My moms heard me so she comes in the room, I explained everything that happen, the situation and me wanting to quit. She helped me pick my head up and search for another solution. Moms was my rock in one of the hardest times in my career. So I ended up finding a place online and filing a claim, The tech tells me it the estimated cost is around $1,200.00 to get my drive fixed and a rushed service would cost $1,400.00. Where was I gonna get $1,400.00 in 5days!? Plus the expenses to print and mount my images for the show. I told my professor everything! He couldn’t help. I began to pray on it more. And more.
So I started a Go Fund me! only four people supported. I raised a total of $120 bucks… I was forced to sell some of my favorite shoes raised $800.00. The other $500- $600 from hustling for photo gigs. I was able to raise all the money in 5 days! My professor was SHOCKED! .. Hell, I was as well. But it showed my hustle and determination.
My business is freelance Photography + Video. I like to think I am a storyteller. Capturing moments that people love to relive. In its most organic sense. I would say I specialize in lifestyle imagery and portraits… Hm, I’m know for my work ethic as a Lifestyle Photographer. I always have a camera handy no matter the occasion. I had a billboard feature this year! It was my first one. I did a campaign for Rizo Curls which is owned by a friend of mine, Julissa Prado. It stood In Times Square, NYC for about two weeks… That was a proud moment. A milestone. My work ethic, My dedication, and my vision. My perspective will be the key to why I am successful.
What were you like growing up?
I was extremely active growing up. Super observant. Yet I was always the first kid up and out on the streets ready to play in the morning. Gathering all the kids on the block everyday so we can go run the streets. Very Sports driven, I played two sports up until College, Art was just a hobby when it was time go home when the street lights came on. I was only interested in getting better at basketball or baseball, Art came naturally. My moms is an Art Major, my sister Sydney was an artist. Being as close as I am to them, I picked up a lot of drawing fundamentals before taking my first art class at Orville Wright Middle School. Then my brother is an avid comic reader/collector, so reading comics with him exposed me to superhero illustrations. Not to mention my obsession with Anime. I love a good anime series, Afro Samurai, AOT, Hunter x Hunter, One Punch Man to name a few. But, Growing up I felt as if I was exposed to lots of different elements. Music, Art, Sports, Social events, Running the streets. I soaked in a lot of influences in my house hold, and being around certain people in school. It was a blessing. Cause it all really molded me into the person I am now. I saw things differently..And I still do.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stokley.jpg/