We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Young II and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michael, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I see the Work/Life balance as something with ebbs and flows through life. As I get ready to step into uncle status I see the weight of decisions (personal and professional) differently. Running at full blast at building, learning, engaging and creating is paramount in your 20s. Do NOT waste your 20s. They’ll build your future. Now though, as I look at my 40s I see the my focus is not only on myself and my professional moves but also how I begin to pour into the next generation.
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.
The art I produce spans from illustration to video. I’ve been fortunate to work in multiple capacities from freelance to in-house to my own platform. At the core, what sets me apart is what my experience. Like many others, the unique experience of life lived in multiple cities and countries provides a perspective that bleeds into my art. The experience of being a Black Man in America, a creative, a father and husband all contributes to it.
Back to what I was saying earlier about my 20s, that is how I got where I am today. I spent my 20s learning and creating everything from logos, comics, documentaries and music. That prepared me for a professional track that throws all kinds of twists and turns my way. I won’t say the lessons I learned along the way were easy but I did have fun on my journey. For instance, a big lesson I learned is that I can’t make everyone happy. The next big lesson was that ‘You are enough’.
For the world? I guess it’s similar to the question I ask many guests on my show lol. “Do you think of legacy? If so, what do you want your legacy to be?” I do think about legacy a lot. I see it in my son everyday. Professionally, I want to be the inspiration that was always easy to come to and easy to work with. Straight-forward but understanding and excited about creativity. In my platform, I want to be a place for Black People to not only discuss Hip Hop and Geek topics but also to discuss the finer points shaped through the lens of Blackness. That, and to keep it all ages because I understand our youth watch us way more than we know.
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.
As far as visiting, it’s the pandemic so we ain’t goin NOWHERE! lol. Nah, for real… The first is a drive up the coast. PCH is HORRIBLE but the view is amazing and I think it’s worth the time to travel and take in the sites. Next, I’m all about going where the people are, not the tourists. So with knowing that openings/closings can always change you got Pips on La Brea, The Wood Bbq Lounge, Bottom Line Lounge for nightlife. In the day, I’d take them for a ride so they can see how different LA really is. I love LA but LA is crazy segregated and many people have NO idea about it and I think everyone that sees it for the first time is shocked. So the most fun? Walking the trail in Santa Monica or Venice to people watch. Exciting people? You’ve got folks like ARCKATRON or iLLIXie to connect with. Places? Lounges or kickback somewhere of course, always cool to have a dope atmosphere with dope people.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
When it comes to the inspiration and encouragement from others that has lifted me up along the way I can always shout out my Mom and Dad on the work ethic and determination side. My design eye which flows into my platform was all powered through the collaboration and level of exhibited creativity that pushed me from artists like Christian Bacote and Monsee Wood. At NERDSoul, what pushes me are great creators and collaborators like Blerd-ish, 133Art, and even cosplayers like Gamma Rae Cosplay and The Ninja Cosplay.