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  • Troy

Make the Complex look Simple

Throughout my life I've always felt uncomfortable talking about my work and my aspirations in life. My mind is always running through different possibilities and career choices. I just want to do it all.

I've wanted direct live broadcasts. I've wanted to launch my own streetwear brand. I've wanted to write and direct my own original series' and features. I've wanted to be a concert photographer. I've wanted to be a school teacher.

And I don't see a reason to count out those goals in life.

I will trekking through my professional journey for the rest of my life. Things will change. Interests will change. Goals will change. But throughout this whole journey, one thing will be constant for me. My goal to "make the complex look simple."


Around a decade or so ago, my best friend and I wanted to start our own clothing brand, like high schoolers do. The first brand concept we came up with was XTNCT. The mantra behind XTNCT was that the clean, quiet, and simple aesthetic in clothing was now "extinct". This was during the Hypebeast tumblr days. Most brands everyone was wearing (Obey, The Hundreds, Stussy, Diamond, etc.) was loud and about drawing attention to yourself. It was all about who could have the flashier snapback, G-shock, crewneck, cargo short combination. The hypebeast movement didn't cater to the simplistic, quieter crowd that didn't want to stand out like us. We just wanted to wear something cool and lowkey. We had some fun making a few designs for fun but never put it to print. We kinda liked the name, but definitely didn't love it. Nothing came of XTNCT and we retired the name.

After we scrapped XTNCT, I still really liked the idea of creating a brand that represented myself. My friend didn't care as much. In high school, I never fell in love with any brands available at stores and just wore Quiksilver, Billabong, other name brand shirts because it didn't bring attention towards me and allowed me to stay low-key without getting bullied. There weren't really any other brands to choose from. I didn't surf or skate either, so I didn't even feel connected to the lifestyle it promoted.

I wanted a brand to fit me as a person. I wanted something that was quiet but strong, clean, and impactful. I wanted something that catered to the kind of people didn't care to stick out but still knew dope shit. The kind of people who challenge themselves for themselves and not the clout. I personally love taking on challenges that wouldn't necessarily get praise from the general public, but garner respect from those who understand the work you put into it.

In high school one of my friends wanted to make a parody music video to "Good Life" by Kanye West to advertise our upcoming Homecoming dance. He wanted to just do a normal music video to the song, but I wanted to try and replicate the actual music video. This was back when iMovie title card animations were seen as complex. We shot the video in front of the green wall in our underfunded video studio. I "downloaded" the adobe creative suite and learned how to do basic text animations and keying in order to try and replicate the video. Did it look good? Not really, but the video was fully keyed and had animated text throughout. Would the video have been fine if we shot it like a standard music video? Sure, but I was pretty proud of how close it resembled the music video.

On another day, my ASB advisor wanted me to mic up the school choir at the school's football stadium in order for them to be able to sing "God Bless America" through the PA system. Did I have any experience with a sound board? Did I know what phantom power meant? Did I know what an XLR cable was? Not really. All I knew was that if you plug this into that the sound would sometimes work depending if a switch was flipped or not. But by just knowing that, I knew more than my advisor. After different tests with my classmate we got the mics connected to our sound board and the sound board connected to the stadium's PA system. The choir sang and the choir's director came to us saying they appreciate our work and have never been able to sing through the PA before.

Every time I worked on something new, I challenged myself to go above and do the unexpected. I wanted to push myself to learn how to do it, get it done, and impress. It felt so accomplishing to finish a project and to be asked how I did it. I always wanted to do better than what was expected of me.

I have so much respect to everyone who challenge themselves for a living. Taking every opportunity to learn and push their craft to the next level. When the "Good Life" music video dropped, the animation blew my mind. (The animations still blow my mind.) There was no step-by-step tutorial you could watch in order to animate like that. You had to envision your end result, use your knowledge from previous projects, and put it together in an innovative way. The animator really made the complex look simple.

The video was simplex.

Simplex is an all encompassing mantra I strive for. I want to make the complex look simple. I want people to look at my projects and feel inspired to make something similar. I want people who understand the craft to respect the amount of work that was put into the project.

Simplex is an aesthetic, a goal, and a way of life. It's for the people who dedicate themselves to always bettering their craft. It's for the people who aren't necessarily recognized by the public. It's for the people whose work gets overlooked, but that work couldn't have been done without their expertise and experience.

I admire everyone out there that are doing things you never thought you could do. What you do is not easy. There is countless amount of knowledge and experience that goes into everything you do. What you have done today, you might have not been able to do a year ago. You make the complex look simple.

This is my first official post on my Simplex Minds journey. Simplex Minds is going to be a place for me to document my journey as well as highlight others who are working to complex look simple.

Simplex Minds will always be growing. This is only the beginning.

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