#WHOARETHEY: Malakhai Pearson
A multidisciplinary creative specializing in photo, video, driving and organizing really dope projects for the city of Boston, and genuinely the most positive human you’ll ever meet in your life only scratches the surface of the depth Malakhai has to offer. Mal’s enthusiasm shows in every action, not just his words. Read on to learn about what’s going on in Malakhai’s head and creative process.
Where are you from and where are you living and working now?
I’m originally from Framingham Massachusetts. That’s where I spent most of my formative years. Around the time I graduated from high school my mom moved to East Boston and I’ve been here (EB) ever since.
What were some projects you got into when you were younger that exposed you to art and the potential of art?
This is a great question. For me, it all starts with music. Music was/is the gateway to everything. At a young age I always had my walkman with me and then later on an mp3 player / ipod. The band Gorillaz had a huge influence on me when I was young. Everything about the band spoke to me, the anime inspired visuals, the blend of hiphop/electronic and rock music and just the story of everything. I think that’s a good place to start when talking about influences….
The visual arts came to me through films. As a kid I was also obsessed with movies. Notably I had a fascination with Tarantino's work because of his source material. Kung Fu, hip hop, anime and westerns could all exist within the same world. His work has a little bit of everything and I think that speaks to me as a person as well - I’m interested in a lot of artistic mediums and I’m not really out here trying to limit myself.
What are your preferred mediums to work with?
Right now it’s mostly photo and video. I’m very interested in exploring within that though. I’m really pushing myself to try and do more video and possibly getting into short films/documentaries. Again, still obsessed with music so I like to spin every now and then. I’m planning on writing more - I love conducting interviews and I’m currently playing around the idea of podcasting as well.
So from going to a business school, what perspective does a formal business background give you and your creative process?
HA. So yeah I went to this school called Bentley. It’s a business University. When I mean business I mean like a majority of my peers went on to accounting or finance. In school I had to take the general course requirements of these disciplines and I wasn’t really the biggest fan. Whether I like to admit it or not though my business education has a HUGE influence on my creative process. I love the organizational aspect of traditional business planning and I totally got that from my four years at Bentley. At the end of the day being a successful creative comes down to if you can get shit done or not and I think having a traditional business education has gifted me with the tempo at which I produce my work.
While on a business track, what inspired you to begin shooting?
Yo so again I wasn't the biggest fan of my core classes at University. I found myself really frustrated creatively. In highschool - I dabbled in video work while on the wrestling team at FHS. I would make video promos and compile our matches into video montages and put it to music. I never had the time to really focus on arts because I was living and breathing wrestling. When I got to college I wasn't competing anymore. That and combination of boredom and being on Tumblr all day made me think about picking up a camera. From then on I never put it down. I’ve always been making stuff over the past 5 years.
Any new skill sets you’re trying to learn this year?
AFTER EFFECTS. Trying to kill the keyframe game this year. Oh and I’m trying to listen more and be more patient.
You always have your hand in various organizations or projects. What are some of the things you’re working on in Boston right now?
Yeah so notably I’m the go to visuals person for CLLCTV.US here in Boston. I shoot for most of our events (the Wave and Ichiban Saturdays at Hojoko). Recently, I’ve become a member of allyoucaneatllc - a creative agency lead by Dj / Entrepreneur Yung Towfu. For allyoucaeat I focus on visuals (photo and video content) but I’m also doing a little bit of behind the scenes work as well. The behind the scenes stuff is really where my Business education kinda comes in handy I guess these loans ain’t for nuthin’. I’m super excited about both projects...the event work makes sense for me. I’m able to be around music and visuals at the same time and that’s where I thrive. That’s my world and i’m trying to own that a little more. I also freelance for StaysilentPVD and that’s been amazing getting to know the scene out in Providence a little bit. Shout out to them and the team down there. They are amazing.
Do you think these projects are important pieces to the creative culture in the city and contribute to its growth?
Yes. In short CLLCTV.US is a legendary organization. I mean, I don’t think people understand how hard it was for them to get started 6 years ago in Boston. As we all know - the industry doesn’t view Boston as a key market (for entertainment / the arts). Without CLLCTV.US I don’t think that orgs like allyoucaneat or anyone else could exist as easily. They really have paved the way. The Wave for example is really one of the only few parties in Boston that brings the type of DJ’s won’t play top 40 all night long. Not that there's anything wrong with top 40 but like let’s face it that ain’t it. ESPECIALLY when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Orgs like CLLCTV.US are important because they foster culture - events like the wave might be the catalyst for like minded creatives to meet up and possibly make then next dope event or project. CLLCTV.US and other orgs like Bodega for example provide the space for creation. We need more of that in Boston i think.
Allyoucaneat one the other hand is still a baby and I love that. The team is figuring how to make this shit work and how to bring the best experience to patrons + supporters that we can. I think Boston needs more allyoucaneats, more CLLCTV.USs. I think the city is changing and I’m just excited to see the growth.
Who or what has been inspiring you lately?
I mean my friends inspire the fuck out of me. That’s really been my source of inspo + motivation as of late. I think that’s a huge testament to the work that they are doing because the energy and light the bring to the table is nuts.
Outside of my friends - I gotta credit Krista Schlueter’s work especially when it comes to event photo. Her event work is basically editorial and it’s amazing and I love it. Her work showed me that event work can be art and not just promotional material.
Lastly, I just started training again. I picked up ju jitsu and woah it’s been transcendent. Without getting too much into it - it’s showing me how to breathe again. It’s very easy for me to get caught up in the day to day grind of work and projects...but BJJ is showing me how to breathe. It’s like someone could be attempting to choke you out OR you might be in an uncomfortable position, sometimes you just gotta breathe through it and collect your composure. BREATH is everything to us and we neglect it....so yeah BJJ has been very inspiring in a very practical way.