Elijah J. Graham
21, black, from Detroit, raised in Sterling Heights, mastermind. I'm the one that threw all this together and I've been working my backend off just to see this work flourish. I practice every form of art all the time because I cannot help myself. This is how I was raised! At 10 years old, I would sit inside at recess (because I was bad) and write stories on a computer. I would make wack beats on Garageband because I had nothing to do. I would take pictures and film movies because my mom put it in my head that there is no other way to be!
I care about my own work but there's something out there that is more important than me. Oculatas, crazy name and most people don't even know what this site or this company is about. Let me tell you what I see out of Oculatas. I see a world where the artists own their masters and make profound statements about whatever they want. I see a world that allows artists to make every type of work they want without being confined to a genre that their distribution label or company orders them to stay in. These companies know too much about money and not enough about the process of creation. Oculatas focuses on the latter. I don't care who makes something like what we have here, I just know that it must be made.
Money will come and go, but a community of creators that is not afraid to express themselves, that is permanent. That is Oculatas.
Maybe it would be best to list myself in the categories I see myself as: Muslim and an immigrant. My name is Alem Cizmic- no middle name because that would dilute my ethnicity- and though I was born in the United States, I see myself as an immigrant before an American. I come from a refugee family that escaped persecution during the early 90’s war in Bosnia and Herzegovina which is why it’s important to me to represent the people of the diaspora in every aspect of my life. Pain from the war was all around me my entire life so it became important to become a person who was worthy of representing my people.
This led me to pursue the medical field where your very purpose of work is to help the underprivileged. I just finished a Biology Major at Wayne State and took a gap year to gain some life experience before medical school which led to my short stories and poems as an outlet of expression. Writing my thoughts down is how I can see how my thoughts evolve over the year as a reflection of self, basically it’s progression bar. Honestly, writing is the only form of creative outlet I have because I can’t draw to save my life, but it’s an outlet I don’t think I could survive without anymore. Maybe to sum myself up, all I want from this life is to make an impact to make sure the representation of who I am doesn’t disappear.