Humans of Parkland: Christian Waggoner
“Right now I’m studying Graphic Design. I actually grew up wanting to be a structural engineer. I always liked art and I also wanted to be a journalist, so I ended up just combining all my passions and realizing that I really wanted to communicate through art.
I was in ballet for nine years, so music and dance has always been a big creative release for me. For a couple years now, I’ve been interested in dance hooping and doing tricks. I picked up a hoop, starting doing it, and it really helped me get motivated and feel connected in a community. I usually try to hoop for an hour every morning and an hour every night.
When I put on music and think, ‘oh I really want to listen to this new acoustic CD,’ I’ll throw in a hip-hop record and just throw myself for a loop to see what happens. I feel like I get lost while I’m [hooping], but it almost helps me start and finish my day, because it’s good physical exercise, it’s stimulating. I really connect to music through moving, so it helps get things pumping for me.
I find that the days I wake up and hula-hoop are the days I do better working in my sketchbook, and come up with better brainstorming ideas for class.
I’ve always been interested [in visual communication], and I’ve had a lot of teachers and peers say, ‘you have a knack for that,’ or ‘you have an eye for that.’ Then I began to believe that maybe I do.
A year ago, I took two college art classes, which was my first real college experience. I took a two-dimensional design class, and that kind of opened up the door to the art world for me.
I took a semester off, though, because I thought I was moving to Colorado to go to art school out there. For about 9 months, my fiancé and I planned this big move, saved up for it, lined up our jobs for transfer, and planned to start our new life. We knew this other couple for a long time that was going to make the move with us. We drove west in January, but when we got out there, our “roommates” ended up just not showing up. They decided to stay out in Philadelphia.
So we’re out there with not quite enough money to make it on our own. We had to face the defeat of moving across the country to stay in an Extended Stay with our cat and our plans, and the thought that if we don’t turn back now, we may not make it.
That put me in a pretty deep creative rut for a little while. I didn’t know how to start creating again. I was really down on myself and I felt like I couldn’t clearly communicate what I wanted to when I was in a rut like that. So I needed something to break through and get back into releasing that creativity through myself no matter how bad things are.
It was pretty humbling because I thought that [Champaign-Urbana] was the last place I’d want to end up, but when we came back, we found an apartment really quick, I had my family around again, my fiancé and I got our jobs back, and everything just fell back into place. It’s interesting because I thought that this was just the place I didn’t want to be, but here we are, and we’re happy.”