Today we’d like to introduce you to Ranji McMillan.
Ranji, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I am Ranji McMillan. I am also an artist Ranjiroo. I am an Atlanta-based artist. My areas of focus are photography, painting, sculpture, graphic arts, and multi-media. Originally from California’s Bay Area, me and my siblings were always encouraged to create from an early age. My family struggled financially throughout my childhood but my mom was forever proving that you didn’t need money to enjoy life. Because of this, painting, sculpting, drawing, and crafting have always been my go-to methods of enjoyment and relaxation.
When I was in my teens, the financial struggle got to be unmanageable for my single mother, and she, my two sisters, artist, Amani and writer, Kyada, and myself, had to move with her to Atlanta where all of my family resides. My brother, Shavoya, also an artist and writer, was in his early 20’s and decided to stay in California. After high school, I had to go straight into the working world. I was 18 and was living with a friend in Decatur and had no time for college. I went right into working constantly to make ends meet for myself. It wouldn’t be until 2006 when I actually enrolled in a Norcross-based college to study Psychology.
In 2000, when I was 18, I took a job as a photographer at a department store photography studio. It was there that I learned basic composition of photography. After a few years there, a friend asked me if I would like to freelance with him at a Creative Marketing Agency in Atlanta, and I quickly accepted. At the Creative Marketing agency, I met many artists. These were painters, photographers, videographers, stylists, studio managers, and everything in between. Several of them worked with various art studios in multiple capacities and were deeply involved in the Atlanta art scene. This is how I began to grow as an artist. For several years following these artists’ introductions, I entered several of my art pieces in various art shows throughout Atlanta.
I see art in everything. My mind to create receives new oxygen every day. Doors have opened and opportunities to share my art with the world constantly present themselves. I make good use of these opportunities and for them, I am forever grateful. I appreciate every second of my life because it is a second that I can create beauty.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
After working at the Creative agency for several years, things at work and in my personal life began to evolve. The company downsized and many of my colleagues were fired and consequently dispersed. Some leaving the state, others leaving the country. I fell on hard times financially and worked several jobs at once. If someone was hiring I would just say yes and make it work. At one point in my life, I had four jobs at one time. In 2012, I was 30 years old. I was a paperboy 7 nights a week. I was a part-time visual merchandiser at a department store. I was a merchandise coordinator at a Creative Marketing studio. I was exhausted and absolutely broke. I was perpetually lacking a utility at home. One month, it may be no heat/gas, Another month, it may be no electricity.
The artist inside of me had died. My life had become a matter of survival. Couple that with severely bad, and sometimes abusive, relationships, and I was in a state of deep depression. This low point lasted for about three years. I remember feeling dead inside and wondering why God was keeping me alive. At this point, my art was in stacked piles in closets, underneath my bed, and filed behind couches. I didn’t want to live anymore. I remember verbally telling God that I couldn’t fight anymore. I asked him to find me because I couldn’t find him. I gave up completely.
One day, after crying all morning, I stood in the part of the house that got the best reception on my phone. I didn’t have a computer anymore, so I didn’t have the internet. I managed to google information on government assistance and stumbled upon Your Invisible Power by Genevieve Behrend. I read it completely. This was the first information related to Quantum Physics I received and studying Quantum Physics changed my life.
I learned that there is a thinking stuff from whence all things are made. I learned that I could have more and be happy if I could steady my mind and control my thoughts. I was at rock bottom and posed a question: What if I did it all? What if I applied everything that I have ever read about manifesting anything? What if I lived in a world in my head that I created, that was where I wanted to be? What if I shut off all sources of negativity and conflicting beliefs? What would happen? What do I have to lose? So I did it. I created a bubble. I live in that bubble. I am still there.
After a few days of focused meditation and mind-control, I received a call from my former company asking me to return. I did. After a few months, another company contacted me and asked me to come work for them for double the pay. I had asked God to find me, and through quantum physics, we found each other. In Winter of 2016, I felt compelled to reach out to those at their lowest point. I began creating care packages for the homeless. I filled them with food and toiletries and loaded them into my car. I drove around all night with my cousin, and we passed them out to whoever we could find. In each care package was a note that said “God can find you anywhere” Am I religious? Not at all. But I’ve discovered the key. It is my goal to share it with the world.
We’d love to hear more about your art.
My mind is not set in one particular range, therefore my art does not come from one particular medium. My art is based on my mood. The medium in which I make my most important contribution is photography. Photography is quick, and I’m impatient, so it works for me. Through photography, I capture what I want immediately. However, I’m not always able to shoot outdoors and in studios. Those days in the house are filled with painting, editing, and creating abstract digital prints and color palettes.
I take pride in my use of symmetry, though I take the asymmetrical very seriously. This means what looks random may have taken me hours, if not days, to get exactly right. My mind lives in a collage of 80’s pop, retro television shows, and 90’s R&B references. My art is a collage as well. I admire artists who have a set style and give 1000% to that style and you can recognize their work anywhere. I’m simply not that artist. I have about five various approaches and areas of focus. I take pride in each one of them.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I have learned that it’s not about luck. You are the creator of your world if you would only recognize your abilities. You’re the music-maker. You’re the maestro. It’s a power you’re blessed with.