• UO Interviews: What We Give

    In a season that’s so often focused on receiving, we took the opportunity to talk to some of our friends and contributors about what it means to give back. Scroll on to read more about what they’re grateful for thankful for and how they’re passing it on. 

    Micah E. Wood - Photographer
    Baltimore, MD 

    What are you most thankful for this year?
    Baltimore. This city has done so much for me artistically and emotionally ❤️. 

    Why is giving important? 
    Giving is a way to show you care, to show that you were thinking of someone and thought they'd love what you bought or made them. Giving back is important, even if you don't have a lot of money you're probably better off then a lot of others. So, find out how to give back. Even if it's selling art to give proceeds to causes, do what you can to help. 

    What's the most meaningful gift you've ever given? What's the most meaningful you've received? 
    The best gift I ever received was tickets to see Kanye West on his "Late Registration" tour. It was my first concert ever and my parents paid for my brother Ronin and I to go. I was 14, he was 16 almost 17. We recently saw him together again for my first time since that show. It's been 11 years and it made me feel like a kid again. I realized all the music heard and all of the world I've seen since then, when I was that nerdy awkward 14 year old with no friends except for his brother. Now I have plenty of friends but most importantly I still have my best friend my brother ❤️. 

    What do you plan to give this year?
    I've just been thinking of hyper-personal gifts for my friends and family. I don't care about spending a lot of money or pushing myself to find something for everyone because for me if I think of the right gift I'll give it to you any time of the year.

    Why is it important to share your gifts with the world?
    So that people know that it isn't about getting the most expensive gift it's about getting the most important one, the most sincere one.

    Tavish Timothy - Photographer 
    Brooklyn, NY 

    What are you most thankful for this year?
    Friendship. A few days after seeing Moonlight, I reunited with a friend traveling in South America. On the flight to Medellin, I thought about time's role in the film: how where we are and who we're with shape how we view ourselves and informs our capacity for vulnerability. My friend and I made a little routine of our days together, starting each morning with espresso, meandering walks, and conversations that blurred into a long, slow lunch and more espresso until night fell. We saw each other a few times in the last two years but each day in Medellin felt like our year living together in undergrad.

    Why is giving important?
    Giving is a lot like improvisation. Both bring a little difference, a little magic into our daily routines.

    What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve ever given?
    Building with friends and bringing their ideas to fruition. My friend Jake had a penchant for thrifting and an idea for vintage menswear that emphasized everyday wear over period-piece costume. Over a few years we worked through iterations of Etsy stores, markets, and a pop-up shop to get closer to that initial vision.

    What’s the most meaningful gift you’ve ever received?
    While working with Jake, I spent many weekends thrifting in the small, peripheral towns near  Richmond. On one occasion, I discovered this vintage book of illustrations and descriptions of California backroads. Inside the book was a handwritten note dated Christmas 1973. At the closing of the note, the author wrote: "I'm overcoming a bout of futility that comes and goes. With love, Aunt Ruth.

    As someone who struggles with their weight in the world, I found relief and encouragement in Ruth's candor. Small affirmations carry so much meaning and embolden you to acknowledge and express your own feelings. In doing so, you strengthen your capacity to do the same for others.

    What do you plan to give this year?
    More time and attention to others.

    Why is it important to share your gifts with the world?
    In a recent conversation, artist and educator, Elise Peterson put it this way: “why not talk about what you love to do?” It’s your duty. You owe it to yourself and those around you.

    Brinson McGowan - Photographer
    Atlanta, GA

    “It’s always been a big thing of mine to personally create a lot of the gifts I give during the holidays, sometimes just to save money but also to be able to give my friends and family something sentimental and more personal than just a gift card or something. Anyways, I’m super excited because this year my girlfriend, Hannah and I are collaborating on creating a handmade calendar for 2017 to give to our friends and family. My girlfriend is an incredibly talented painter and has painting some beautiful nature themed pieces around a set of numerals I designed for each of the 12 months of the year.” 

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