Humans excel in different ways; that’s a given. Perhaps under the guidance of elders or innate dispositions, some opt for the professional world. Doctors. Lawyers. Teachers. In the ever expanding world in which we inhabit, there can never be enough. But, for every Scrub, Suit and Tie, a Creative is needed to restore balance. As the late Nina Simone prophetically stated: “an artist’s duty, as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times”. And I agree. A Creative’s content should not only document the world through their vision, but ultimately stand as an accurate reflection of self. This week, I introduce a young man who is the embodiment of the creative spectrum in which those choice humans choose to excel.
For Liam Heeley, or as I affectionately dub him: PP da YIC (check my previous post for what this actually means), there is no end goal. A young man who has truly taken the helm of his own destiny, it’s the journey in which he lives for. In his own words: “to me there’s no end goal”. An industrious young man, the quantity of his work is matched by the quality he produces. In the short time I’ve known him (I met him at a One6Wave gig last July), he has continually improved. He cares about what he does. Before I met him, there were a few people I knew personally whose work rate I could vouch for as being unparalleled. Since I’ve known him, I can say with the utmost sincerity he has taken a well-deserved seat at this table of productivity. He lives for content.
From photography, videography, blogging (both written and video format), to modelling, he doesn’t believe in ‘pigeon-holing’ one’s self into a particular role. He has proven to be a virtuoso in the aforementioned avenues. A true prodigy. When asked where does he see himself in a few years, his response was affirmation of his varied abilities. “I’ll be everywhere doing everythin'”, he attests. “I wanna be on a billboard. I wanna do a personal collection with someone – I never know what’s round the corner. You can’t pin-point anythin’. You can’t say I’m a fashion-blogger, or a photographer, or a content creator. I’m just doin’ what I love. Plant ten seeds and one tree grows”.
Do what you love.
When asked “Why influencin’?”, he visibly shuns this to the point of being somewhat uncomfortable with the notion. “I don’t look at it like that”, he explains. “I like to look at it like real life. Real influencers don’t mean to influence – they’re just doin’ them and they inspire people by doin’ them. It’s just me being me and people naturally become influenced”. In the period I have known him, I can attest to this reaction. There is a humility to him which is endearing. But do not allow that to detract from the intensity in which his passion for his craft burns. When it comes to content, there is a fearlessness that befits a man his age. He knows no bounds. And I commend him. It isn’t arrogance to exude confidence in your craft; it’s merely total self belief.
Now 18, though he has been an active Creative “for around 2 years”, he professes that he has been ‘full-time’ for half that span. “I was 17 when I quit my job”, he recollects. Delving deeper, he tells me that upon finishing school, he opted to leave college and his then part-time job which brought him to Selfridges for a short period where he met a fellow Creative he continues to collaborate with to this day: Remi Akande. A man who is accomplished in his own right. “I was goin’ for my dream,” he continues. ” I wanna go for everythin’. That’s all that really matters to me”.
When it comes to being a Creative, he loves one aspect above all else: the spontaneity. In his realm, though no two days are the same, his continual efforts has afforded him total control. “I can shoot what I want, when I want, where I want. I love the freedom of it. I’m doin’ this full time”. Behind the camera, he’s a genius. One only needs to visit lixmvisuals for a snapshot of his portfolio thus far. Recently upgrading his equipment, though he means to reflect and share his life’s journey, he also possesses a social intelligence that shall only engender greater heights. “Havin’ a camera at hand is always handy”, he confides. “That’s why it’s super important for me to learn photography as it expands my network”.
By “stayin’ in his own lane”, he’s able to produce content that is a true reflection of self. “It’s so easy to follow a trend and what everyone else is doin'”, he believes. “I’d rather just do my own thing. Social media isn’t real life. I’d rather be a real life icon. But, if you build your social media and irl presence, your followin’ will grow naturally”. And I agree. Rather than focusing on ‘the numbers’, instead the onus should be on showcasing ‘you’ in whatever capacity that entails. By doing so, there remains a level of integrity to your content. That’s perchance why your audience were drawn to you initially. They like you for you. “Be you”.
‘Being Liam’ for a day ranges from personal shoots wherein he posts daily to his Instagram feed; commissioned shoots with brands/models/restaurants; fashion shows; to blog posts and video content. “I’ll never do a job unless I can do 110%. You gotta be around the right people – you gotta be around the same energy”. And I agree. In any relationship whether it be familial, societal or professional, for one to be at their best, the energy must be right. And it must be reciprocated. Happiest when he’s had a productive day, as a true Creative, though “its not all about the money, when you can make a livin’ from doin’ what you love, we all know that’s the maddest feelin’ in the world”. And I agree.
In the two years he has been active, he has continually leveled up. He has gone from setting up his camera on a tripod with a timer to take his own pictures; to setting up an online magazine (FERVIDMAG); to creating content for brands such as GRAMM; to collaborating on campaigns with brands such as Superdry; to Paris Fashion Week. Though grateful for these opportunities, he does not cite any of the aforementioned as his biggest achievement to date. What is it you ask? “Not givin’ up on what I enjoy doin'”. That shows the character of the man. Yes accolades and experiences are rewarding, but being able to “always find a way of doin’ what I love whilst makin’ a livin’ out of it”, there is nothing better. “Nothin’ beats the feeling of not givin’ up”.
One of the most important things is you have to remember to enjoy it.
Retelling the story an event he was invited to recently conveys this all too well. “I was there on my laptop editin'”, he laughs. “It’s not a bad thing. I wanted to. No one was forcin’ me to. People were sayin’ to enjoy it. To me, I love content, I love shootin’ stuff”. This is a man that shuns ‘time-off’. He views it as valuable time lost when he could have been productive in some capacity. “I can never satisfy myself with my workload. Sometimes I put myself under too much pressure”. I can say this first-hand: he is somewhat blind to how hard he truly works. And you know what? That’s a good problem to have. Would you not rather too much work such as events to attend and commissioned pieces wherein you have the ability to choose your schedule rather than too little? I know which I’d prefer.
Where most may fear their innate creative seeds and branch out into the more ‘accepted’ academic routes, he didn’t wilt. Over the past two years, he has watered those seeds. Through sheer courage and determination, those seeds are now growing. From photography, videography, blogging (both written and video format), to modelling, da YIC’s seeds has transcended to solid roots that has allowed him to branch out and blossom from precocious boy to an accomplished man. And he’s just 18.
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Images by: electra.elise