This week is a special feature of some amazing young men on a mission to GIVE during this blessed HOLIDAY SEASON! KJuan Patterson is a graphics designer, barber and photographer. Sergio Smith is a model on the rise and a young man that grew up before my very eyes. Who knew that the quiet, very respectful and sweetheart of a young man that I took to Usher’s New Look minicamp in Milwaukee 5 years ago would be where he is now? With Sergio and the help of many others, KJuan is on a mission to raise $10,000 by December 23, to bless families for Christmas. You have to read about and support their efforts.
Check it out! – La Tasha K. Mason (@Tash1216)
You were born in Cleveland, OH, but you reside in Warren, OH, correct? How long have you lived in Warren? Tell us about your childhood.
I have been living in Warren about 25 years. We moved to Warren from Cleveland, Ohio. My mom was a single parent that raised four children…2 boys and 2 girls. I am the oldest of them all. I’ve always been the type of kid that was very creative. I found myself loving art and music growing up. I was always in church and loved being around my grandmother, The Late Mary Patterson.
You do graphic designs, photography, and you’re a barber…What did you start off doing and which one of these crafts are you most passionate about and why?
When I was 12 years old, New Jerusalem church and Pastor Alton Merrell, Sr. blessed me with a piano. I had no clue what I was doing, but I played around with it every day until I caught on. After a while, I ended up becoming the church pianist following in Saudra Matlock’s footsteps.
Barbering came along not too long after that. I use to tell my friends that I cut my own hair, and they believed me because my cut was so good so one day my friend, Mike, asked for a cut. Ewwww Lawd did I butcher that cut lol. All my friends gave me a chance to butcher them until I got it right. Now, I can hang with the best of them from fades/ twist/ designs etc. But it’s not my passion. I love graphic design and photography because they both give you creative freedom. You choose the art form you want to create. I use to compare myself with other people thinking I wasn’t good enough, or not the best. Then one day, I realized we all have a different point of view that makes us all unique. I got into graphic design doing church programs.
As a 1996 graduate of the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, I began to incorporate all my skills to become good at what I wanted to achieve. I can remember doing Club Cards and Funeral programs…the pictures would be so bad, I thought to myself, maybe I should try photography. I have associates in Television Production. I just began to utilize those skills to make my work very clean and eye catching. It’s a skill that I recently began to learn and am catching on real quick.
You have a very creative eye and to be a barber, obviously, a very steady hand. Is there anything else that you are skilled/gifted with that I’ve not listed? Tell me about it.
I have the gift of making people laugh naturally and bringing people together for any occasion. Growing up, I spent a lot of time alone because I always felt unaccepted. Then one day, I realized loving yourself is the most challenging skill/ job or task. Other than that, anything I put my hands to do, I just pray about it and things began to happen for me.
Where do you typically do your photo shoots? Do you have a studio and where is it located?
I do most of my shooting on location, mostly in natural settings such as parks. I set up at home a lot of times moving the entire place around to capture that one amazing picture.
Tell us about your thought process when you’re doing one of your graphic or hair cut designs?
With graphic art, I love simplicity. I never try to over think a project. Simplicity can be the most beautiful art. With hair designs, I love dimensions and layers. I want my client to get out the chair feeling like they are a star. Changing how a person views themselves really takes creativity. I can show you some before and after pictures, and you would fall out laughing…..but, it’s about appreciating the effort it took to make that person feel amazing.
What about your technique do you feel sets you apart from other graphic designers, barbers and photographers?
As a barber, what sets me apart from the others is my point of view. I take my time to make every cut extremely detailed. With photography, my point of view…you can give 100 photographers the same camera and same subject, we all will find something creative to capture. I am new to the photography world but not afraid to learn. I know I’m not the best, but I strive for perfection.
Who does your clientele consist of? What are your demographics?
For barbering, it’s mostly Afro American males, ages 19-40, but I can cut all types of hair. With photography, I practiced on my male friends first; they are mostly in their early 20’s.
On your website, you play all gospel music. Is there a reason behind that? Tell me about it.
I love God more than anything in this world. I was a very depressed person growing up. I tried suicide so many times in my life. I never had joy, and I never had anything worth being happy for. I used to get picked on as a child a lot. We grew up a poor but blessed family. I would always go to church with my grandmother. I found so much peace being around the saints. It was the one place I found true love. If it wasn’t from other people, I knew God loved me most. That is why I play a lot of gospel/inspirational songs. It’s a lifter of the hung down head.
You have a 2012 Male Calendar that you created. How did you decide who would be featured in the calendar?
The first issue, I wanted to use all of my friends. Most of them are football players/athletes. So, I began to shoot them for fun; about 10 of them are my close friends. The other gentlemen we had to search for. I put a message on Facebook and got a couple gentlemen.
Why did you decide to do a male calendar as opposed to a female calendar?
The reason for a male calendar…first, women will support you. They will buy your product, they give you advice, and help you to no end. Men, you have to beg them to work in some cases (as it relates to sells). Another reason for a male calendar is because I have mostly male friends. Reason three, I would have had to pay Make-up artists, Hair Stylists, Clothing Designers, Nail techs, etc., for a female calendar. With men you can shoot in the swamp and be done. Plus, I was able to do all the cuts and make-up myself. Using male models made it very easy and affordable for me.
Everyone involved volunteered their time and services with a goal to raise a minimum of $10,000 to donate the proceeds from this calendar to bless families for the holidays. Who were your sponsors?
Sterling McCullough Williams Funeral Homes and especially Crystal Williams-Costa have been my biggest supporters. They have helped me to no end. When I wanted to start this project Crystal invested into me and bought me everything I needed without blinking an eye, because she sees greatness in me. I had a choice between a trip to Vegas to getaway or Camera Supplies…I got the camera and supplies.
Yes, everyone has donated their time and efforts too. I have traveled to Atlanta, New York, Kentucky, etc., using my own money to complete this product.
You mentioned your intent to accomplish giving back by dividing the funds raised between a few organizations. What are those organizations and why do you feel it’s important to support them?
I plan to give donations to Salvation Army/Angel Tree and some other charities that I know will do right with the donations. I feel it’s important with these charities because growing up these were the ones that helped us when we had nothing.
What is the cost per calendar, where can it be purchased and how much more do you need to reach your goal of $10,000 by December 23rd?
You can get the calendars on KJuanInc.com, Amazon.com, Global Health and Fitness, Ebay.com and any model or their mothers for a low cost of $19.99. It will take the help from everyone to complete this vision. I remember my first gift from the Angel tree…MONEY!!!!!! I was the happiest kid. So, we just want to do some good for some child this holiday season.
One of your models, Sergio Smith, was one of the students that I took to Usher’s Business and Sports Marketing Camp through his nonprofit organization, Usher’s New Look Foundation. It was in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 2006 with Usher, Wendy’s and the Milwaukee Bucks. Sergio was one of the students that stood out to me, so I am particularly interested in knowing how he became involved with these efforts. Either you or Sergio can answer this question.
I have been cutting Sergio’s hair for years. He has been one of my biggest supporters. Whenever I have a program at the church, he would give me money to offset the cost. He was one of my first photo subjects. The pictures came out great. When I am low spirited, he knows how to make his boy smile. When I mentioned a calendar, he was with it, no questions asked. That’s what true friends do. We support each other.
Sergio, tell us about your successful college career and your modeling career to date. Where do you see yourself in five years with modeling, etc. Do you feel like your trip to Usher’s mini business camp influenced or motivated you to pursue any of the goals you’ve set for yourself/achieved? Where should people look to find out more about you and possibly book you for a modeling gig?
My college Career at University of Cincinnati has been nothing but an upward hill to success. The people I have met and been influenced by have all helped me along my path. I still have a lengthy journey of Law School ahead, but I remain more motivated than ever. If I continue to look at role models like LaTasha Mason, as well as, keep my mom for my support system, I feel like I can do great things.
Modeling started out as a hobby but after being pursued vigorously by several different agencies, I have seen it as another opportunity to grow financially as well as network with more successful people. As some would say, “Your network can determine your net worth.” and I am a firm believer in that saying. After getting signed to Cleveland Talent Group and doing some modeling for NPC Photography, I feel I have established and can continue to work on a name for myself in this industry in the future. KJuan Photography also played a big part in local status with the high quality work that he puts out on the daily basis. He is another role model that our city can look up to for always being productive while trying to help others.
In 5 years I can picture myself doing some modeling but more importantly just being able to provide for my family and those around me, while hopefully just getting done with Law School and graduating. When I ventured on my Usher mini-camp experience, I feel like it instantly impacted me throughout my life, and I will always remember it because Usher is just a person too, and at that age it took meeting him to realize that. But also to realize he was not only music, Usher had multiple streams of income and motivated me to explore the business world and understand things more thoroughly. Also, meeting him humbled me to know that a star of that magnitude was giving back in such a tremendous way and focusing on the most important part of our society, the youth, our future.
People can find out more about me on Facebook. I try and stay up to date on there. Twitter is the main source of my social networking these days but business wise they can find me on Model Mayhem or simply by contacting Cleveland Talent Group if interested in booking me for anything.
KJuan, what’s next for you?
I am planning on doing bigger and better things. This November we had a huge turkey giveaway at Fizek Gym. I love to help peo ple. I love to see that smile on someone’s face who might have felt like giving up. I’m not perfect, but I strive to be the best man that I can be.
I am working on some ideas that will not only bless me but put a smile on my friends’ and family’s faces just watching me grow and become successful in my journeys. They will always be in my corner pushing me to be the best. Keep watching me, follow me on Twitter @Barber2thestarz…Just know the best is yet to come.
Keep up with these brotha’s that are doing some amazing things!!