We had the good fortune of connecting with Chevy Wilkins and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chevy, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking a risk is the one thing I feel people need to do to reach the next goal or level that they are trying to accomplish. If that risk isn’t taken then it could stunt growth and prevent yourself from getting to that next level. If you aren’t taking risks to better yourself or your business then it could also mean that someone could be scared and afraid to fail but that’s what it’s all about! We are supposed to fail and try again and fail 10 more times after that because when it comes down to it, life is what you make of it. It’s a lot about mentality and knowing that you need to fail in order to learn and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes. Your mind and your perspective is a very strong thing that we can can control which ties in to taking risks because when we fail and we have that outlook then we can get right back up again and try it differently. When it comes to my experiences with risk taking, it has been something that I couldn’t imagine my life if I didn’t take the risks that I did that have led to my photography career. I took a risk in community college back home in IL while I was playing softball. I wasn’t much of a creative kid and I hated college, still do, never knew what I wanted to do or what I was even good at and I took a chance on photography just because I thought I could if I worked hard then I could do that as my career like… how fun would that be!? Same month I got my first camera I ended up getting kicked off my college softball team. Speed up to 2 years later, I ended up getting my associate… quiting my 9-5 I had for barely 3 months, and randomly moving to LA to try and pursue my photography. Moving to LA was the biggest risk I took. I ended up moving during COVID and knew it would be hard but knew that the work I could get was going to be worth it. I still have my struggles, I’ve only been here for 6 months but it’s gotten me to work with one of the best production companies, the Reel Goats, and working with artists like Blueface, Felly, Gyyps, BIGBABYGUCCI, Since99, Warhol’s, Bre-Z, and S.I.A.T (aka Stuck In A Tree). I’m also the photographer at a new store on Fairfax, 4:30, that have seen faces like A$AP Rocky, YG Addie, Lil Mouse, Ian Conner, Smino, DaniLeigh, and Yung Bans. The work I’ve gotten from takings the risk is amazing but incomparable to the relationships I’ve formed with some even more amazing people.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Since doing photography, it’s opened up a whole creative side of my mind I never knew I had. I can listen to a song and see how I would shoot the video right away and come up with a treatment right then and there. I think my work ethic is crazy, I now have 4 jobs and getting my bachelors degree in film and media and it’s been extremely overwhelming. I just got done with a 2 day shoot and put in 32 hours to it while I have a 5 page paper due, 2 discussions and movie to study in the meantime I’m waiting for my flight back to IL so I can go shoot a wedding. The paper will have to wait. I think this is what really sets me apart from others because this work ethic has carried over to my photography which helped established my professionalism and the way I run my business. The main lesson I’ve learned and what I always say and actually just got tattooed on me is “Trust the Process”. This was something I learned playing basketball in high school because we won maybe 2 games a season if we were lucky my freshman year and our coach always stressed just trust the process. I go back to my high school after graduating 2 years later and they have a winning record and even make it past regionals. This has something that always stuck in my mind just because it showed me why to trust the process and what will come out of it. Going into my photography this has taught me that it can and will be hard at first but if you keep a good mindset and keep working hard and taking risks then your going to see the positive results.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
A few of my favorite places is Lake Hollywood park to just chill, El Matador Beach is amazing and has a lot of great little hideaways but have to make sure the tide is low. I also would probably take them surfing and hiking for sure. The first month I was here I wanted to be productive because I’ve played sports since I was 5 and wanted to do something fun that would also keep me in shape so I went and bought a board and just started going everyday to Venice Beach and teaching myself (still learning) up until I started having a busy schedule but since it’s warmer out I need to get back out again! My favorite food spots is Sakana, amazing sushi, Sweet Chick right next to 4:30 on fairfax, and Sunset Grill, best Mojitos in Hollywood!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Definitely my family over at 4:30. I moved to LA in December 2020, met them later that month while they were building the store, and just started vlogging and taking pictures right off the bat and started going back there every day. I started doing their product lifestyle shoots, creative direction, even went in to the store to just do my homework. They are a great brand, great people, and have helped mentor me with my career as well. It’s allowed for me to network a lot and make connections with people who come through the store since it is on Fairfax and it’s not like any another store, it draws in the culture and allows people to express themselves and their art. The energy around it is illuminating and It’s great to be around such inspiring people. I also want to thank my mom and dad more than anyone. I told my mom I was moving to California and driving my car there in 2 days and she said alright let’s go and she helped me make the move. Of course my dad gave me a hug and a knife before leaving and said to be safe. I could tell they were skeptical when I told them I changed my major to art and I was going to be a photographer but with the drive I had and when they saw me shooting my first wedding is when I could tell they took me more seriously and started believing in me more. Couldn’t have done it without them.
Youtube: Chevy Wilkins