The Art of the Personal Project is a crucial element to let potential buyers see how you think creatively on your own.  I am drawn to personal projects that have an interesting vision or that show something I have never seen before.  In this thread, I’ll include a link to each personal project with the artist statement so you can see more of the project. Please note: This thread is not affiliated with any company; I’m just featuring projects that I find.  Please DO NOT send me your work.  I do not take submissions.


Today’s featured artist:   Doug Menuez

In a world that often moves at a breakneck pace, finding moments of stillness and introspection can be a challenge. However, filmmaker and artist Doug Menuez has managed to capture these moments in his latest documentary, “Because of You, I Am”. This film takes viewers into the world of taiko, the Japanese drum, through the eyes of two of its beloved pioneers while delving into the deeper philosophical aspects that underpin it.

“Because of You, I Am” follows the stories of PJ and Roy Hirabayashi, two Japanese American artists who found the taiko drum as their identity and voice fifty years ago. Executive Producer of the film, Pear Urushima, has been a long-time collaborator with Doug since they first met on a project for Apple. Pear, who is a marketing guru and also a taiko player, thought of Doug to tell this story knowing his deep passion and understanding of artistry, working in tandem with his ability to share stories of humanity and art.

Pear produced PJ and Roy’s website ( which celebrates their journey of taiko artistry, social activism and community building. From the start, this project was designed to be a multimedia production, requiring Doug to see the whole picture of the documentary film, stills, and publications while shooting. The entire crew worked together to merge all of these components, setting a captivating exploration of cultural exchange, mentorship, and the pursuit of artistic excellence.

“Because of You, I Am” offers a genuine glimpse into the rich tapestry of Japanese-American culture and history. Doug skillfully weaves together interviews, historical narratives, and breathtaking visuals, creating a compelling narrative that transports viewers to a world where intentionality reigns supreme.

Each element of the film serves a purpose and gives deliberate attention to each detail – from the choice of black-and-white cinematography to the carefully curated interviews. With these intentional decisions, Doug invites the audience to reflect on the power of simplicity and the beauty found in spaces left unfilled.

To see more of this project, click here


APE contributor Suzanne Sease currently works as a consultant for photographers and illustrators around the world.  She has been involved in the photography and illustration advertising and in-house corporate industry for decades.  After establishing the art-buying department at The Martin Agency, then working for Kaplan-Thaler, Capital One, Best Buy and numerous smaller agencies and companies, she decided to be a consultant in 1999.  Follow her at @SuzanneSease.  Instagram

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