October 10th, 2018 I sat in the second row of a small restaurant space inside the Hyatt in Bellevue, Washington. I was very fortunate to get an invite to roll with my brother-in-law to a "talk". It wasn't a networking thing, it wasn't a keynote or lecture but a small gathering of people in the extended network of two men. What I didn't know at the time was at that very moment my brain waves and energy were connecting with the brain waves and energy of the people who I would end up connecting with in the not so distant future. Thach Nguyen, a real estate powerhouse in the Seattle/Bellevue area, was in going hard! Despite being drained from the day and that week, I could feel the energy inside the room buzzing. I'll never forget the moment, as Thach was ranting on about being clear on our goals and requests from the universe, he looked right at me and in his in Vietnamese accent nearly shouted, "WHAT DO YOU REAALLY WANT!?!?" The passion and energy he was releasing, I can't really describe it but broke something inside of me.
The next day, I sat down with a notepad. Honestly, I can't remember exactly what I wrote or if I even have it still.. but I went into defining in crystal clear detail the people, the artworks, the galleries and the experiences I have been dreaming about and WANT to live out. Saving it and documenting it didn't matter at the time, all that mattered was that I needed to get out of me what had been swarming around inside of me.
7 days later on October 17th, 2018 I got a call from my Mom. She reminded me of someone in our extended family that she had mentioned a few times before. She told me about how this woman posted an opportunity for a large graffiti style mural project in Cabo and was looking for someone to work with. My Mom told me how she sent a message and told her all about how long I've been doing graffiti and what I do, essentially promoting me up and down. I was rather shocked to be honest. I found it quite ironic that one of the opportunities that would go on to change the course and direction of my art career would be started by the same woman who 22 years earlier looked at my first piece of graffiti, called it garbage and went on to become the greatest opposer of my graffiti career.. I mean literally, she just gave me shit a year ago for a picture I posted of something I painted illegally at a bridge spot lol. Do not take me wrong though, I love my Mom dearly. We have just never seen eye to eye on this subject and today as a grown man, I am so grateful for the adversity I faced with her as a teenager and the lack of support I got when it came to the thing I loved the most. That challenge only made me more passionate about my graffiti/art and drove me to work 10x harder than anyone I knew, it was a true blessing in disguise.
Some 3 months later, here I was, sitting at probably the most luxurious restaurant, in one of the most money condensed places in the world, being treated to a sunset dinner just off the beach. I am with the two men I spent most of my time with this trip. The connection with these two was instantaneous and in less than 72 hours I feel like I am reconnecting with childhood friends. In the middle of our conversation, I notice Rene is just starring at me, almost squinting in deep thought as he sips his beer. In Spanish he says to me, "you know, your name suits you.." I ask him what he means by this and as he goes on to explain in detail, my mind snaps back to the moment the name came to me. In 2013, I was working part time, under the table, for my brother-in-law's company and was in the early stages of development of my "art career". As a graffiti writer, I understand the power of a name and the personal brand that goes with it. I wanted to create a persona, a "character", who embodied all the things I wanted to create in life and a person who I wanted to become. One day it hit me and I ran into Ejay's office, "BRO!!, I got it man!! ...Jay Michael." He chuckled, "Man that's sooo good, you gotta grow a ponytail now!" We laughed and that was that. As I came back to the present moment, breathing in the warm air drifting on shore from the Pacific Ocean, I explained to them the story I just shared with you here. I wrapped it up by telling them about one of my favorite quotes from Carey Grant, "I acted like Carey Grant so long that I became him."
Looking off into the distance, I can see the party boats floating around in the bay as the sounds of drunken Americans echo across the water, I look back over the infinity pool at the hotel and relish in the insane amount of money that was invested to make Cabo the amazing place it is. I start to imagine what the next year of my life is going to look like. I take a drink of my Perrier, the voice inside of my head speaks up and I hear, "I've acted like Jay Michael so long that I’ve become him."