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Meet Fuji Dreskin

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fuji Dreskin.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Fuji. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in Denver with my parents June and Stephen and my older siblings Matao and Andrea. According to my parents, I have always had a tenacious personality and as a kid and I made as much art as possible. They helped me over the years by letting me take art classes at the art student league and then later by supporting my decision to go to DSA as a visual artist. Around this time I was also writing/recording songs in secret, playing the drums, modeling, and spent most of my time making cosplay to wear and compete in at anime conventions. I realized I gravitated towards performing, and while I continued to be passionate about my visual arts, music was bubbling beneath the surface.

I went to CCA for illustration and then lived in the Bay Area for the next 8 years. I have family that lives nearby and had been visiting since I was a kid so I consider it my other home. After graduating school, I dedicated myself completely to a career in music and produced my first music video titled “Hikikomori” in Sacramento. I love that filmmaking brings out my director, cosplay, illustration/storyboarding and editing skills in the most fun, collaborative way.

I started working professionally with animals and rescues about 10 years ago in Oakland and animal advocacy has continued to be a central part of my life and calling. I now have my own pet care business that keeps me playful and being with the animals on the daily reminds me why I do what I do for the bigger picture.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
There has been a lot of positive experiences in my journey so far but when it comes to personal struggles, I’d have to say addressing my depression, physical health and PTSD is at the top of the list. It took me years to seek professional help for my depression but when I did, it dramatically improved the quality of my life. I was lucky that I had resources at the time to help me find good treatment. It gave me a chance to understand myself better and cultivate healthy ways of addressing with my emotions and anxiety. Finding your own path to health can be challenging and take time, but well worth it.

However, professional help alone was not the key for me. For example, finding a meditation practice that truly resonated with me wasn’t easy but now that I have found one, it refreshes me on every level, every day. Sometimes sitting suits me just fine but moving meditations like tarot, yoga, dance, Qigong and Capoeira have also been tremendously helpful for me. Of course then there is music, the universal language. One of the quickest ways to relax, calm down and even dance is to listen/sing to your favorite songs or frequencies. It’s so easy, all you have to do is press play. I have done this my entire life and it inspires me to keep making music for those moments when a song can make all the difference.

I also want to mention the positive role that cannabis has had on my health. My message is simple: listen to your body. Be honest with yourself about how it makes you feel and why you are consuming it. Make sure you are choosing the best options and methods for your situation and that its improving your quality of life. Every body reacts differently and balance is key.

This leads me to the final piece of the puzzle, what I was eating. I started being completely honest with myself about how each food made me feel afterwards. When I had a tasty meal that was vegan I would literally feel happy and light enough to dance which became a good way to measure my energy levels and mood. Before, I thought it was normal to feel sluggish, sleepy and little sick for a while after eating a meal. In addition, I have found that there are many convenient, delicious, nutritious foods that don’t brutally breed, abuse and kill animals along with the natural world. I’ve found a lot of inspiration from the people who run animal sanctuaries and educate the public on all that’s hidden from us and what really happens in the livestock industry. I have the highest respect for the tireless work they do and the information and stories they share. My main point is that I have more happiness, clarity, physicial and spiritual health than I ever have and I know what I eat and surround myself with has had everything to do with it.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Fuji Yama – what should we know?
I’m a rapper and singer who is here for the people and the animals. I write all of my songs I love producing conceptual music videos for them. My most recent music video titled “Renegade” is a great introduction to who I am and what I believe in. I enjoy all aspects of filmmaking, specifically directing, casting and making story boards, wardrobe/props and editing. As an artist on the other side of the camera I’m most known for my dance and storytelling as well as my relationship with animals and metaphysics.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Oh man, so many people and animals come to mind but first and foremost is my family that has always been in my corner. My mother is an independent filmmaker and seeing her enter her film and scripts into festivals and competitions was very inspiring. She raised me with artists like Frida Khalo and Ai Weiwei and shared with me all the family history stories that she worked so hard to aquire. My father is my rock and has given me an immeasurable amount of love and support as a person and artist. I do my best to learn from his warmth, intelligence, insight and humor.

My siblings are a huge source of stability and motivation for me. My sister is a very talented photographer who used me in her art projects since I was about 11 or 12 and taught me how to model. Those photoshoots provided us with the perfect opportunity to discover our individual artistic styles in a fun way. Andrea is now a professional photographer and her skills have only grown. We still do photoshoots and get super excited to find new ways of exploring ourselves through the fashion and movement. I also learned a lot about how to be a photographer/cinematographer from her when we would switch and she’d model for me. Making AMV’s (anime music videos) with her as kids is also how I learned to edit film. A lot of my storytelling style is influenced by all of the anime and manga we grew up watching/reading together. Andrea is a hilarious, smart, and loving person and I’m so grateful to have her and my nephew Ethan in my life.

My brother Matao and I are also very close. He taught me to never be a follower, even to him, and have a strong sense of self with conviction in my choices. That was when we were about 7 and has really stuck with me. I can’t thank him enough for introducing me to all the different kinds of music and perspectives throughout my life. He has always listened to my tracks and given me invaluable advice and feedback. He is also an illustrator and musician so we can understand each other on those creative levels. Sometimes just one conversation with him will illuminate my path in the most majestic way.

All of my family on my mother’s side and especially everyone in Sacramento has had my back through all of life’s changes. My maternal grandmother Fujiye who is my namesake, has always told me to go for my dreams and do what makes me happy. My cousin Koji and his wife Dessie have given me so much support as a person and artist, I don’t know where to start. From always being excited to listen to my music and giving me helpful responses, to being an enormous part of my music video team in 2016, their encouragement and warm energy has made all the difference in my life and career. I have learned so much from the beautiful way they live their lives, love each other and music.

I’m extremely thankful to everyone in my family on my father’s side for their love and support, specifically my grandmother Jeanet Dreskin in Greenville, South Carolina who has taught me so much about being an artist. She is a brilliant and loving woman who is also an accomplished medical and surreal illustrator that I truly admire.

Morgan Beem is a comic book artist, illustrator and close friend that I’ve known since I was about 11. Our friendship has been continued to be a source of light and love throughout my life. We made comics and traveled to anime/comic conventions to cosplay together for years. She has often been the first person I sent music to and has always been a big part of my team.

My good friend Emily Miller is an exceptionally talented singer and songwriter that I went to DSA with. I learned a lot just by listening to her songs and talking with her about music. She also introduced me to different ancient healing ceremonies over the years which has meant much to me and improved my life significantly.

Finally, I want to give my sincere thanks to all of my friends and fans who have been so loving and supportive these years. I put my blood, sweat and tears into what I produce so it means more than I can say that it is resonating with you. Recently a lot of new people have been reaching out to me about my music and dance and I would also like to thank them for taking time to listen, watch and respond. I’m thrilled to share this journey with you all! Connecting with others who are moved by my most honest self is a gift that I treasure.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Brittany Okabe, Sam Grabowska, Avalon Pictures, Erik Martin, Fulfilms Productions.

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