Creative Spotlight: Mikey Paulino Alban
Mikey pursues innovation within a generation satisfied with maintaining the status quo. His clothing line Freshman Year is making waves in the Hip Hop community, sported by artists across the country. His love for creativity and Jesus collide in many creative mediums, and he’s just getting started. Today he joins Creative Collected to share about his perspective on creativity and it’s influence on faith and culture.
You have many creative mediums that you utilize - photography, design, fashion, music - how do they all connect for you?
I’ve always had a motto I live by… I just always say “Creativity Saves.” I wouldn’t have my creativity if it weren’t for God. Sometimes I get caught up in a vision, in what I’m doing and I quickly realize I can’t do it on my own. Creativity is the way I live out my salvation. I use the gifts that I have to purposefully glorify Christ. Me creating things through Freshman Year - networking, writing music, being intentional through lyrics - I do that because I’m saved. I struggled when I got saved because I thought I had to give it up and change who I was. I thought creatively there were things I couldn’t do.
Tell us more about that. What exactly were the limits you felt within your creativity when you became a Christian?
Honestly, my whole life - it seemed like the “you can’ts” were bigger in Christianity than the “you can’s.” I wanted to find a way to get God out of the box and erase the do’s and don’ts of Christianity. I still struggle with it to be honest, and I try to not let pride get in the way. I have to commit my life to Him, my creativity to Him
My faith mindset needs to be “what can I do?” I’ve always been into clothing and music. Instead of giving those things up because I’m a Christian, I use it for God’s glory. I learned that God was more about relationships rather than roles. People often assign an “un-Christian” role to things that involve creativity or mainstream culture, and that shouldn’t be the case.
I want millennials to not be scared - if they are chasing a relationship with Jesus, they don’t have to give up a lot of what makes them, them. Of course, your mindset is changed when you accept Jesus, our lives are transformed. But Christianity isn’t about losing; you have so much to gain.
How should the everyday consumer respond to the message “Creativity Saves?”
For us, we don’t design clothing for believers. We get a lot of orders from people who don't have a relationship with Jesus. If we did, that would be a disservice to the Kingdom. We try to do clothing in a creative way, that's appealing to everybody. We want people to support us and know that we are a Christian centered line. You can have a relationship with Jesus and not give up quality fashion or other things you’re passionate about.
Does you believe faith inspired creativity should have boundaries or have limits?
I immediately think of Christian Hip Hop, Lecrae who has been around for a while and now he’s working more mainstream…
The bible says we should seek the lost [Luke 19:10; Matthew 28:16-20] There’s a balance between what you’re feeding yourself with and how you present yourself. People should know what we believe when they interact with us as Christians. We are supposed to witness and be a light. I also think that there is a dangerous line, where people are clouded in their judgment. It’s a matter of heart and flesh. I’ve been asked to work big shows and work with mainstream artists, offering me a lot of money but I need to have discipline. I need to know when to say no to working with people who will compromise my mission. I don’t want it to get to a place where people look at Freshmen Year and can’t see Jesus somewhere within it. I can’t buy into something that disrespects the Kingdom. I support collaboration but we have to be careful with it.
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