Interview with Zack King 09/03/2020
Zack King is a dancer, actor, and video artist based in San Diego. He strives to cultivate empathy and curiosity by making work that is personal and socially relevant. He believes each project is an opportunity to create something new and beautiful while learning more about himself.
What projects are you currently working on? I am currently creating dance films with transcenDANCE youth arts project, Disco Riot, and The Agency 515 in partnership with La Jolla Playhouse. All three films are set to premiere by the end of this year.
- transcenDANCE – “Home Within a Home” – December 1st
- Disco Riot – “Soul of a Nation” – September 28th
- Agency 515 – “Towards belonging” – TBA
How has this pandemic affected or shifted your practice/changed your projects? When the pandemic hit, I lost five of the seven projects I had lined up for the spring and summer. My dance collective canceled our in-person rehearsals, and I was stuck at home dancing when I could and studying filmmaking on YouTube. After about a month, the collective and I began to rehearse via zoom. It was challenging and sometimes depressing but we persisted. After about six weeks of quarantine and zoom rehearsals, the collective decided to meet for practice at a park while following CDC guidelines for physical distancing. A couple of months later I began to get calls and emails about doing video work. So many companies and organizations were adapting to the pandemic by converting their in-person shows and projects into videos. I feel lucky and grateful to have work in this time. Who knew that my aspirations to be a filmmaker would provide me with several opportunities to serve my community AND pay my bills. What a freaking stroke of luck!
What has your journey been like as an artist or creative person? I would say I’m a late bloomer. I started dancing for fun at seventeen and didn’t start training for a career as an artist until my third or fourth semester at San Diego City College. I struggled a lot with anxiety and depression as a young person. Combine that with an alcoholic parent and the same identity crisis that most young people feel as they leave their childhood behind to embrace adulting and the results weren’t pretty. I was in and out of school from 2009-2015. And by “in and out”, I mean I was kicked out several times. I worked random jobs, danced anywhere I could, and split the rest of my time between trying to find myself and trying to run away from myself. Still unsure of my future, I enrolled back in school in 2015 with the goal of transferring to SDSU. This was the same year I started acting and making videos. I wouldn’t say it was smooth sailing after this but the pieces did begin to fall into place. Every step I took towards my goal of being an artist also brought me closer to self-acceptance and love. In 2018, I graduated from SDSU with a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Theatre. I’m proud to have been named the 2018 Outstanding Graduate from the Dance Department. My life hasn’t been easy but I’ve still had a better life than some of my friends and It’s important to me to remember that. My struggle grounds me in reality and reminds me there is still work to do.
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming, or rising artists/creatives?
- Focus on loving yourself – everything will make more sense when you are vibing with your own frequency. Loving myself allowed me to strip off the expectations of society and find my own path. I cared too much about who I was and where I came from to let any person or system decide my fate. I also think a person can’t truly know what it means to love another person until you’ve loved yourself.
- Figure out what drives you – In my opinion, your career choice doesn’t really matter as long as you’re happy. What matters is understanding the mechanisms that drive you and your core beliefs. When I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor because that is how I thought I could have the biggest impact on people. It’s also how I thought I could make the most money. Once I figured out that I care more about positively impacting people than I care about being a doctor, I found a more pleasurable path towards my goal. I also realized that being broke all my life had properly prepared me to live as an artist.
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