J.K. Thomas Bio
(Creator and Founder of Aim & Engage)
From a young age, Justin has always been interested in telling stories. He would spend his days after school writing little short stories about grand adventures in fantasy lands. One time when he was asked to write a story about what he did on the school holidays and proceeded to write about going on an adventure to the moon to meet aliens.
Justin went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Creative Industries. Originally just wanting to become a screenwriter, he decided to switch careers after working multiple different roles. After working on several small productions over the years, Justin produced his first short film in 2014 called Sony Fusion: Reality. It can be found on YouTube if you look for it. In 2017, with a cast and crew of twenty people, Justin produced his largest short film yet called Hope. It ended up winning third place at the Berlin Lift Off Online Film Festival.
So why is Justin interested in arts distribution? When he was in a group of artist friends, Justin learned about the struggles that his friends with running and managing their market stalls. It just so happened that Justin had a meeting that day where one of his ideas was rejected. So with all these ideas and a problem to solve in the market, Justin went home that night to brainstorm a solution. He came up with a company, but no central message.
It was a major problem as Justin was entering a very crowded market. So could he be different? After a lot introspection, Justin remembered on of his core values. Artists are not just making films or painting canvases, they are telling stories. People like to watch films and go to exhibitions, but they also like to know about the artist themselves – and thus Aim & Engage was born. The idea of not buying a simple mug or poster, but investing their time in the people behind the artwork. It’s a journey of discovery for not just the artists but also themselves.
But something happened to change the company forever. In 2020, a virus called SARS –CoV-2 begun to spring out of China one day. It then spread worldwide and infected the world. Tragically it killed a lot of people and displaced many more. Simple day to day things were no longer possible. Governments were in disarray and scrambling to control outbreaks. People lost their jobs and self employed artists found that demand for their product has changed drastically.
It drastically changed Justin’s perspective about the company. A lot of the focus was on aiming and engaging people, but Aim & Engage was just another company selling products to people. With people becoming less invested in companies and global shocks in the market, it was clear that people are becoming more invested in people. Thus aim of the company had to shift focus to the people. The focus of the company became about directly employing and redistributing the profits back into the artists. It is not about buying products, but investing in the artists, not the company. The company just simplifies the process, but empowers the people inside and outside the company.
It is one of the core values of the company, people over profits. To enable artists to focus on life beyond art distribution, to simply just create and to engage with people. It is how we build a better a way forward for the artists of today and tomorrow.