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Born & raised in Miami Beach, FL I was named Jasbir Singh Ghuman Jr. Shortened to JB. So… call me JB. Father is from India, mother is from N. Carolina. Making me somewhere in the middle. Ended up being an artsy weirdo most of my life and became obsessed with break-dancing /poetry/photography throughout my teenage years. Moved to Harlem, NYC as soon as I graduated H.S. and tried to be an underground installation artist. AKA stacking tree logs in the subway system with deep messages only for the city to move them within hours. :-/ The art scene was a bit hard to break into given I was a cliche dirty sneaker poor kid with zero connections but was cast in an Urban Outfitters campaign while riding the subway home and started acting from there. The money was rad for a humble cat like me and it brought me to LA. Though sitting on sets only curated a deep obsession to rearrange the lights, re-angle the shots and an overall desire to be the one “putting it all together.”
From there I quit acting though forever grateful for it’s teachings on how to connect to actors given now I know what’s it’s like to be one & went back to my artsy “ways” though now (conscious) of cameras, sets and the like enabling me to combine the film medium with my previous installation / visual art efforts. I did a slew of short docs that I’d edit in my own creative way on top of some short experimental films via equipment I saved up for via bar backing each night & more than happy to do so given it allowed me the cash to buy said equipment. Wrote a script about a girl who was an Inner-Sexed 13 year old who walks her dead dog with wheels tapped to it’s paws and grows to embrace her truth via learning to break-dance on a Twister Pad in front of the school set in a meshed 80’s 90’s world filled with an old’school Miami Bass soundtrack. Named it “SPORK” (not a spoon not a fork / not a boy not a girl) I shockingly got funding randomly from a bud who knew someone who knew someone and suddenly I was on set yelling “ACTION” to all these kid actors. Some neato adult actors fell in love with my creative efforts and Yardley Smith (Lisa Simpson), Keith David and other dope actors jumped on board once my script went live on the casting breakdowns for all to read.
Finished it and to my surprise, I won the Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival. Then B.F.I London gave me an honor mention on top of other best feature awards in over seven other big festivals while screening in over 21 festivals across the globe. This artsy poor cliche artist was now traveling the world and being told how “Talented” I was which felt rad given… up until this moment I was always simply called “weird.” Sold the film and it ended up going from art house theaters to Netflix and held the #1 spot for its category for a couple of months, developing a sort of cult following. Though the whole “you’re so weird” vibe came back as soon as I was plugged into the “Hollywood System” and my ambitions/ideas moving forward had my new fancy agent/attorney and team just staring at me going “um… sorry jB but… you’re kind of (waiiiit for it) weird.” Sigh… so from there pulled back from the “matrix” and did about 17 music videos in a giant warehouse I used all my award money to re-vamp into a production space of my own making just above Skid Row and called it my “Star Lair.” All the music videos of which I edited / curated from the ground up in exchange for working 100% for free given the budgets we’re so small if even putting my own meager money into them but was extremely grateful regardless as I was able to showcase my creative “swag” via my direction, editing, curation impulse which would encase my constant efforts to share my inner-sayings. But after so many videos it just felt like my undying need to say my emotional “creative messages” we’re more or less being left on the ground and my “style” was kind of being stared at / emulated.
So… I stepped away from music videos and decided to return to making my experimental films. Got a job teaching Art-Therapy to inner-city High School kids with my own creative approach, naming my class #ThaExpressionists. From there I spent over 5.5 years curating/creating my latest film titled “The (ART) oF BE(i)NG” that starred basically all my fellow creative friends I’ve made while on my journey. From rappers to dancers to even old school porn stars and Disney animators: The film is loosely based on Ariel via “The Little Mermaid” only instead of rising out of the sea, she’s rising into a higher dimensional self while maintaining her lower dimensional self. A multi-dimensional story meant to expand the consciousness of the viewer as well as their emotional capacity. Yeah… well, I guess “I am weird”, ha. But whatever. I finished it and yet again was shocked to find out the Sundance Film Festival accepted me and even gave me a special engagement in the festival. Was literally this past Jan. 29th 2019 and I’m still floored by the reaction. Nothing short of gratitude on my end.
From there, someone from the Outfest Film Festival was in the audience and he pulled me into their festival as well. Of which they had me screen my film in the MOCA. A gallery I’ve walked into multiple times with my portfolio asking to leave it just in case it’d peak any of the curators interest only to be told if I did it’d be “thrown in the trash.” Which I totally understood given protocol but… I’d leave it anyway given I just wanted so badly to have my creative efforts to make it somehow into a legit gallery. So to be standing in the MOCA sharing my film was… tear jerking to say the least. Most recently I wrote / dir / created a short animated film starring Pee Wee Herman, Ginger Spice & Tatum O'Neal. Titled "The CROWN With a SHADOW" it's a story about a young male pink skunk fish destined to be queen. Based on the real life fish that undergoes a process of changing genders within it's life span. It struck me how much of the "natural" world is so diverse and inspired me to tell such a story to enlighten viewers to see a shared reality in a expanded way. Got into a bunch of festivals once again and working on the feature now. All the while in the midst of filming my next film that’s once more leaning towards the Avant-garde spectrum. It stars most of the same cast with some new cast members like Kelly Osborne, Luciana, Coco Peru and others. It’s yet again all being made on my humble efforts but like I’ve said multiple times in this harangue… I’m nothing short of grateful. Truth be told, I'm perpetually wishing/hoping/waiting for all said efforts to finally land me a larger gig where I can finally show my (expression) on a mass audience level. I know I'm forever in the "weird" category but I also know this reality only grows when something (new) is given the chance to shine. So... I'll keep creating until that blessing finds me.
The journey thus far has been literally filled with shine & light but equally pain & loss. One of my parents took their lives, my closest companion of 14 years died in my arms, I’ve been betrayed by so many intimate humans it’s mind-boggling, was excommunicated from my family for being gay, I’ve made the dumbest choices only to realize to late & simply… had to walk on glass for miles in exchange for certain “creative efforts” to find their fruition. Make no mistake, the struggle… is real. And I tip my hat to (any) human whether their a creative, dentist, athlete, janitor, agent, mother, father or really anyone… who stares (forward) if even surrounded by the dark and keeps… pushing. Believing. And above all, feeling. Given what’s the point of (anything) otherwise. ox jBjR! 11:11
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