Peace and thank you for taking time to drop by! This next Creator Spotlight is of Jarvis Sheffield, Creator of Black Science Fiction Society.
Who are you? I am a husband and father from Chattanooga, Tennessee. I have worked within higher education for over 12 years now. I am a social media marketer, site administrator and publisher. I have been involved in various forms of multimedia for over 20 years. I am a multimedia manager having done graphic design, web design, video and animation multimedia. In addition, I teach seminars, workshops, and classes on technology and education. I am a 20 plus year member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary studies from Tennessee State University where I formed a foundation of determination by living the school’s motto- Think, Work, and Serve. I have further refined my skills with hard work and integrity by earning a Master’s Degree in Education from Trevecca Nazarene University. I am currently developing education video games and completing my Doctorate in Education.
I believe we should all take personal responsibility to be positive change agents in each other’s lives. I have dedicated my life to developing myself, others and our communities.
Favorite Music and / or Music Artist! At present, my favorite music would be Neosoul. Neosoul is sort of a throwback to music I grew up with that was categorized by live instruments and raw unmodulated vocals from the artists that had real talent. My top artist in the Neo soul genre is none other than Jill Scott.
What are some books or literature that are on your personal shelf or that you are currently reading? My bookshelf is immense. I have more books than I have space for on my books shelves. A few are; Genesis Anthology of Science Fiction 1 & 2, Discovery, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Warriors of 4 Worlds, COG, Immortal, Shadow Walker Chronicles, Renpet, Braking The Curse of Willie Lynch, Black Men: Obsolete Single, Dangerous, Asleep, Awake, Skinless and several Piers Anthony and Octavia Butler titles.
Favorite Visual Artist (besides yourself 🙂 LOL, I am far from an artist. Creating things has always been something I enjoy doing however. It is a good way to express yourself. Some things you just do for yourself for your own edification like singing in the shower. LOL, I would have to say that my favorite visual artist is Maurits Cornelis Escher or better know as MC Escher. Escher he was a Dutch graphic artist known for his mathematically inspired artistry. His work often featured impossible constructions, explorations of infinity, architecture, and tessellations. His artwork is visually stunning, intriguing and timeless.
Did Art choose you or did you choose Art? I think art chose me to be honest. I never set out to create. Certain ideas and concepts kind of wanted out of my head. It was sort of like being compelled to do it. For me it happens in spurts. I wrote and entire book of poetry back in the 1990s that way. Then maybe 10 years later I penned a few Sci-Fi stories.
Who or What were your earliest inspirations and present influences that inspire your art? I think my earliest influences were Star Wars, Star Trek and Twilight Zone. I used to watch the reruns of Star Trek and Twilight Zone with my older brothers. Star trek had Lieutenant Uhura and a few other Black men sprinkled in. Twilight Zone had interesting storylines. When star wars came out that sealed the deal. It was action packed, flashy and had Billy D. Williams running Cloud City.
How important is it to study your art and how do you approach keeping your skills sharp? I think if you intend to make a living off your art or want to be professional, you should devote time and effort into it to make it the best it can be. However, that is not the focus for all artists or creators. Some people like myself like to create for the sake of creation. It’s therapeutic. I know this goes against the grain of some competitive people but some things should be done for the pure enjoyment of it. Not everything in life should have a price tag attached to it. Certain things should exist strictly for their intrinsic value.
Describe the inspiration and process you that led to the creation of the BSFS. I had the concept back in 2004 but didn’t move on it until 2008. I was tired of waiting on others to move us to the next level with sci-fi. My son was the reason I actually made the move to start BSFS. When we were watching a movie, he asked me, “Why are all the black people bad guys?” I explained to the best of my ability but got a bit angry that a child would notice that at such an early age. Also, then Senator Barack Obama was making his making his mark on national politics by accenting to the highest office in the country. So, I was motivated to push myself to be the change I wanted to see. I set out to make science fiction show positive images of Black people. That is how Black Science Fiction Society was born.
I have had the great opportunity to form www.BlackScienceFictionSociety.com; Black Science Fiction Society is a non-profit organization and social network that encourages racial and ethnic diversity through various forms of media. We highlight, celebrate and develop science fiction, speculative fiction, sword and soul, fantasy, horror, movies, games and other forms of media. Also, Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction is an anthology series that features Black themed worlds of science fiction, speculative fiction, horror and fantasy. Writers that are both seasoned contributed 25 pieces of the most entertaining, eclectic and enthralling stories that will capture your imaginations from around the globe. Genesis Science Fiction Magazine is The Only Print & E-Magazine in the World Dedicated Exclusively to the Black Science Fiction Genre. Lasty, Genesis Science Fiction Radio. The Genesis Science Fiction Radio features conversations with creators and consumers about relevant topics in science fiction from a black perspective.
Current Project(s)! Currently, I am actively involved in maintaining the projects already created such as the social network, book series, magazine and radio show with the teams running them. I am currently doing voice acting with Brandon Wright on his Deadstar Animated film series as one of the characters. Also, in that same vein of animation another major project in the works is our first feature film Earth Squadron. It tells the story of what happens when Earth is invaded by aliens, only to find that the only people capable of saving Earth are the planet’s social rejects.
A couple of other side projects involve game design and toy creation. There are things I have been studying for the last few years while doing coursework toward my Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology and my Doctoral degree In Education. I want to always be thorough with the things I am involved in and have the credentials to back it up.
Dream Project!My dream project would be everything we are doing now but with a big budget. Afro-futuristic Black Sci-Fi web, video, books, magazines, games, toys, the works!
The dream of blacks making science fiction as a concept has been in the minds of many of us since we were all children watching science fiction movies and television shows such as Buck Rogers, Star Wars, Battle Star Galactica and Star Trek. Most of us have however, found that the characters that are ethnic, as a general rule most often have been relegated to secondary roles, sidekicks, stereotypes, sex objects, dope heads, not in the show at all or my favorite – the first to die in the show.
We, however, feel it is only right to present science fiction with a different face, one that is not filled with the normal negative representation of ethnic characters. We think that it is essential for characters of all colors and creeds to be represented positively and fairly. Given that, this movement is not exclusive to Black People. It is for all people but with a Black focus. We welcome all races and ethnicities to partake of our wondrous gift Black Science Fiction. I look at it as a privilege to be able to do what I do.
For more info:
Business Contact: Jarvis Sheffield, M.Ed.
Thank you for your time! I appreciate it! Stay focused and continued success!
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