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Check Out Willis Aybar’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Willis Aybar.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I’m the proud son of immigrant parents. Born in the Dominican Republic as the oldest of four boys, we grew up in the projects in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn NY. My parents were really busy providing for four boys, including a pair of twins, so my imagination filled in the gaps. I’ve been an artist for as long as I can remember, from having my artwork on the bulletin boards in elementary school to playing alto saxophone while my Junior High School marched down during graduation. In high school, I fell in love with graffiti and the underground hiphop culture, teamed up with my friends and finished three hiphop mixtapes.

When I first moved to Baltimore, I didn’t have a job. A local barbershop had a recording studio upstairs and I was in the studio so much, I ended up also becoming a barber. During this time, Instagram was picking up steam, and I remember simply just wanting to post more photos. Right around that time, my uncle sold me an iPhone 4, and there begins my photography journey.

Today my team and I focus on weddings, events, lifestyle and portraits. I’m also trying my hand at videography and the magic of storytelling through video. I strongly believe that an artist’s journey is never finished. Today I manage a nationwide network of technicians at a recently acquired Baltimore Tech startup, and I take photography clients after work and on weekends. I work my 9-5 and then my 5-9 (more like 5-2 though) from audio engineering and launching podcasts to e-commerce, marketing, and design. Out of all these paths, photography has been my constant. Through this beautiful medium, I document my family, my son and my life and the lives of many others. Creating and spreading creativity just a little bit every day.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It’s never a smooth road. Finding a way to make monetary sense out of any Art is a mission on its own. So many late nights and early mornings, months without days off. Being late on rent while attempting to go full time a few times too many. You sort of have to have blind faith and relentless optimism to push through. It’s the stuff that makes no sense to others. I took the risks though, and it was worth the reward. Luckily for us all, the journey is everything. If you are reading this, first make it make sense, and then make it make money.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
A few years ago, I was the manager of a T-Mobile retail store and was working OrderUp (food delivery) after work. I randomly received a spam email about an info session for a coding Boot Camp in DC. My cousin Sal and my friend Luis joined me. A few months later, Sal graduates from that boot camp and begins his engineering career. Fast forward two years later and Sal tells me there’s a position open at the startup he works at and I fit the description. The market manager for OrderUp ended up working at this Startup when they were acquired by Groupon and they recently quit, just like that the job was mine. From a spam email to post-acquisition integration with a Fortune 500 company. Im honestly most proud of my ability to adapt, my passion for constant growth, and the creativity that ties it all together.

Any big plans?
I’m unsatisfied and restless. A natural seeker. So, I’m working on multiple projects at once. Still grinding through my 9-5 and still taking care of my clients on a weekly basis. There are some e-commerce plays being made which include heavy digital marketing learning and applications. There are also some plays being made in the event industry as COVID-19 restrictions lighten up and more events are taking place. The future plans contain Real Estate properties and a secure but fun financial future for my family and me.

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