We had the good fortune of connecting with Jameel Haiat and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jameel, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
That is truly an easy question to answer…. When one is artistic or creative, there is absolutely no choice but to want to pursue a career within the Arts, no matter what avenue it may be. As a creative person, it was something I was born with, an innate part of who I am as a human being. I have always needed to express myself through art, whatever that be in the form of painting, sculpture or writing.
The feelings that lie within myself as an artist, the emotions, ideas and perspectives, have always needed to be shared with others.
For me, whether I made money or not was never a question. It was purely a mental and physical requirement to share. The fact that I did have a very full and successful career in the Arts was an additional bonus.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
During the first chapter of my life, my career flourished within the Themed Entertainment Industry. It was a considerable struggle to start with and to work my way through the ranks, but good fortune and drive got me there. For any artist trying to make a living doing what they love there is always the unknown, the doubt. So, I started out by sculpting at small scenic shops throughout Los Angeles. Once I established myself, I had the wonderful opportunity to move to New York, and so I did and became a Lead Sculptor for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. Ultimately, I ended up back in Los Angeles, and as luck would have it, I wound up being hired as a Principal Production Designer for Walt Disney Imagineering.
The twenty five years I spent within the industry were challenging, exciting and always unique. No two projects were the same, but the amazing people and creative energy were always present. I look back now at the long hours, stressful days and nights, as well as the many laughs and incredible adventures and embrace all of it. It was a fantastic and amazing journey.
Now, as I am in a new chapter of my life, I have no more restraints to any company. I am writing and pursing my own creative endeavors and agenda. I have recently published my first poetry book, “Life Edited – Pain. Pleasure. Perspective” and am currently writing a new fictional novel. I hope to continue down this path, with the support of my wife, and have plans to keep writing and creating.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
As I’m currently living in Hong Kong, there are so many incredible things to do, see and experience here that are obviously completely unique to what the Los Angeles experience would be… But, as I actually do have friends that will be coming to visit us in Hong Kong soon, here is what I would make sure their visit included:
Day One – Daytime walking tour of parts of Wan Chai, Central and Sheung Wan (includes a ride on the traditional “skinny” trams of Hong Kong, a cool lunch spot and cocktails). All wonderful areas of Hong Kong that show the beautiful mix of old charm and new world. Dinner at one of the amazing high rise restaurants on the Hong Kong side with a beautiful night view of the city and harbor.
Day Two – Tram ride to the Peak (perched above Hong Kong – iconic view of the city!) and hike around the top of the Peak with stops for incredible views. in the evening, a trip to the Kowloon side of Hong Kong and a visit to Mong Kok which is full of amazing street vendors, food, and blazing neon lights.
Day Three – Traditional Hong Kong dim sum brunch in Kowloon (at Prince Edward) at a Michelin Star restaurant and then a day walking through the Prince Edward Flower Market.
Day Four – A full day at one of the beautiful old world beach villages ( either Stanley, Shek O or Tai O). Exploring, hiking, eating, drinking and chilling at the beach make for a completely fantastic day away from the skyscrapers!
Day Five – More daytime exploration of Hong Kong and Kowloon as we eat and drink our way through the city (Causeway Bay & Sai Ying Pun on the Hong Kong side, then taking the MTR to Kowloon and exploring Sham Shui Po and Tsim Sha Tsui)
Everyday would be a wonderful party with incredible food in between the sights and nights would end with fabulous dinners and cocktails! You simply can’t go wrong with Hong Kong, Her beauty and culture is evident everywhere in the diversity of her food, the amazing day and night life, fantastic street art and street vendors and on and on…
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
As this is my second chapter in life, I would not be where I am now without the encouragement and support of my beautiful wife Hilcia. She has seen my vison, embraced it and taken the journey with me.