Keep Swimming: An Ode to Resilience in the Roughest Hour
Preach Perfect has been one of the most interesting figures in Art in quite some time. The way his photography captures different aspects of black love while incorporating different types of colors is truly special. The 22-year-old photographer, filmmaker, and creative director is gearing up for his first solo exhibition, titled Keep Swimming. Preach will be premiering his first short film, Blue Waters at his exhibition. We got to discuss his new project and the meaning behind this project and what resilience means to him.
What is the meaning behind Keep Swimming?
The meaning behind Keep Swimming is more so an outlook. I want people to view life as an ocean. There will be things in life (the water) that will try to hinder you & keep you from where you want to go but, you MUST Keep Swimming.
Why did you choose the name Keep Swimming for this project?
It was originally called “Yesterday is Over”. From June to August I was going through a really bad depressive episode. Mac released on the 3rd of August & I remember everyone being hyped about Travis Scott album that night. Something just made me listen to Macs album first I can’t really tell you what or why. I sat with that album for months. it was very influential & key to me coming out of that episode. & I remember Mac tweeting “Stop Keeping Score, Just Keep Swimming”. & for me, that meant stop looking at what everyone else is doing, stop living in your head. Keep going until you get to where you want.
Who are some creative influences who inspired you when making this project?
My big bro & mentor Adrian Walker & Bino. The best photographers I know. When it comes to storytelling & capturing black skin. It’s them.
What was the driving force that pushed you to go through with this project/exhibition?
My best friend & assistant Don’ae first & foremost. Along with my brothers RY & Kellz. No idea is a crazy idea to them. No matter how discouraged I get they’ll push me to do things I knew I could do but was afraid to. Also living in Chicago with my brother J-Hop gave me more confidence, seeing how confident he was in his craft, and him constantly pushing me to be better in mine.
How has Mac Miller and his legacy and how it influenced this project?
Man, it’s weird because when Mac came out I wasn’t big on him. He popped literally the same time as Cole, Kendrick, Drake, Wale, & Sean so it was hard for me to even listen to him. I got into Mac around GO:OD AM. I heard Perfect Circle / Godspeed & was hooked. I relate to Mac & he also reminds me of my grandfather. My grandfather was on drugs & eventually spent time in jail when I was younger so I didn’t see him much. He passed away in December 2012. I remember he said on his death bed after years of being clean “it’s easy to go back”. I believe my grandfather knew it was his time because he knew just how easy it was to go back to the lifestyle he once lived. We know Mac was struggling going back & forth with being clean & it reminds me of exactly what my Grandfather said. So, when I listen to Swimming it sounds like to me Mac knew & he was at peace or at least coming to that peace. I feel like for me this is me finding my peace, showing my art to my hometown.
What is the hardest part about directing, since this is your first time directing a short film?
Staying confident for sure. I acted in my brother Ryan Hopkins film which he also wrote mine & his confidence in knowing what shots to get when it’s a “one-take jake” haha or when we need to shoot it 10 more times. For me, it was finding that confidence in something i’ve never done before.
What made you pursue directing/film making?
When I started photography I could literally see the images in my head, as time grew on the images began to move & I began to dive heavily into watching films more than I ever did & I loved movies all my life. When I started photography, I could see the images in my head as time progressed and I progressed the images began to move. I’ve always loved film, my favorite director is Spike Lee, my favorite actor is Denzel Washington. Now seeing a director like Barry Jenkins, who I’m greatly influenced by, I felt it was time. So I feel the transition is easy it’s just a matter of putting the words, movements, and sounds to the images that I take.
What roadblocks did you face when creating this project?
Most of my struggles with making this happen were within. A lot of self-doubt instead of trusting God as well as me & my team’s hard work. I shook that off literally like a week ago lol.
Do you have any advice for young filmmakers like yourself?
Stay true to your vision & trust yourself.
Which film influenced you the most while making this project?
Moonlight for sure. I ripped the whole shooting style unconsciously haha. I love Barry Jenkins. The way he makes you feel as if you’re in the movie is so captivating man. I’m getting goosebumps thinking about it.
Be sure to check out the trailer for the short film ‘Blue Waters’ out now. Also get tickets to the event below. Be there November 9th!