We had the good fortune of connecting with Fernando Moguel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Fernando, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Creating makes me happy. Whether it is writing a poem or short story, creating an illustration, producing a video, or composing a song, the process of creating something from my own imagination is something I have always loved. That process of turning an original concept or idea into something tangible is my state of happiness. It gets me in that flow state, the state of being completely engaged in the present moment. I think creativity and mindfulness are similar in many ways. It’s not to say that there aren’t stressful moments during the process of creation; in fact, the creation process often brings certain roadblocks and moments of frustration, but the moments are temporary and the reward of resolving the challenges is much greater and definitely worth the temporary frustration. Ever since I can remember, I have loved creating. As I child, and even as I grew older, wherever I would go, I would always carry a notebook to doodle, draw, write, or tinker with ideas. It’s a passion I have had since I was really young, and I have my parents to thank for nurturing and encouraging my creativity and love of learning. I’ve always tended to jump from project to project, from medium to medium, writing to composing, drawing to taking photography, etc. With my current personal project, Syne, I get to mix my many passions and interests. I mingle poetry with music and illustration, songs with animation and character design, and more. I also mix my passion for creativity with my passion for learning and educating. Essentially, Syne is my ultimate passion project.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am very lucky to be able to use my creativity in different ways for a living and on a regular basis. I’m currently a Project Manager at an education-tech company where I help design educational experiments and curriculum, lead a scriptwriting and video production team, direct the development of a tech platform, and even get to perform and act on camera occasionally. As you might imagine, I get to use my creativity on a daily basis. Outside of my day-to-day job, I produce children’s music for clients in different parts of the world. And in between, I continually grow my personal brands and creative projects Syne and Little Syne. Syne is my project and also my artist moniker or pseudonym. It began as a musical act, mostly consisting of songs that I would write and produce. But the project quickly evolved to encompass other forms of creativity, including illustration, poetry and story writing, character creation, world building, animation, video production, and more. For many of my songs, I started creating characters and storylines, until, eventually, I began collaborating with an animation studio in the Czech Republic to create animated music videos that featured my characters and stories. Another interesting thing about the songs is that most of them are written in a poetic way and deal with themes of humanity while also touching on important social and cultural themes or issues, like the destruction of the environment or learning how to deal with change. I like to think of it as “mindful music”. Aside from the animated music videos, another one of the projects that I am most passionate about is an illustrated book that I created called Mr. Pendlum’s Compendium-Illustrated Verse from the Multiverse Vol. 1 (my goal is to make a series with many volumes!) This book touches on a wide range of subjects that interest me, such as psychology, philosophy, astrophysics, mythology, and many others, but the poems are written in silly and quirky rhyming verse, presenting the topics and concepts in a fun and accessible way. Within the book are also included lyrics to several of my original songs. The book also has different levels of interaction; for example, within the book, I have placed many objects hidden in the illustrations for people to find. I also include an appendix of sorts (that I call the “Pendlum Addendum”) that contains online links to songs, a glossary, and audiovisual versions of the poems. To explain the audiovisual poems, each poem, I narrate and musicalize, and then I hire an animator to animate my own illustrations, and finally, I put all of these elements together to create an audiovisual version of the poem. My goal is to make poetry more interactive, to add new levels and dimensions for people to interact with my poetry. Currently, I am working with a company called Invi that specializes in creating virtual spaces to transform my book into an interactive virtual space that presents the poems in novel, interactive, and creative ways. This project with Invi is still in its infancy, but I am very excited to create this interactive virtual poetry world. I am always looking for ways to mix different art forms in creative new ways, and that is one of the things I enjoy doing most with my project Syne. The goal behind Syne is to inspire wonder and curiosity in others, the way my parents inspired me to be curious and to love learning. They didn’t necessarily teach me all of the concepts that I know, but they instilled in me a sense of wonder and a passion for being curious, and that is one of the main things that Syne is about. Another aim of mine with this project is to slowly build a mini-universe made up of my own stories, characters, worlds, songs, and artwork. I call it the Syneverse. (www.syneverse.com) More recently, another project stemmed from Syne, called Little Syne. This project is specifically geared for young learners, and it consists of educational music that is fun, quirky, and dance-y. Just as it is with Syne, the goal is to inspire curiosity and a love of learning by presenting educational topics in fun and original ways. This sub-brand/side-project is relatively new but I have already created a lot of original songs and videos for it. (www.littlesyne.com) It hasn’t been an easy or straightforward path to get here, but I believe that all of my work and life experiences have contributed and given me the tools and experience to bring these projects to life. From a very early age, our parents got my brother and me to try different things; they got us into piano classes, Tae-Kwon-Do lessons, soccer and basketball teams, they taught us chess and singing. They got us into acting and auditions. My brother stuck more with a passion for building and engineering things, while I stuck more to being creative through the arts. Then at age 9, I auditioned for a live stage show of Barney the purple dinosaur and ended up touring with Barney for 2 years. On that tour, I met internationally renowned children’s entertainers, The Wiggles, and from then, I performed and toured with them for many years. After many years of touring and performing and getting to know Australia (The Wiggles are based in Sydney), I decided to go to university at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia where I got a Bachelors’s in Contemporary Arts. Sometime after, I worked at an IB World School managing a TV studio and working in communications. Between these experiences, I have worked as a session musician, singer, sound engineer, composer, video editor, photographer, and graphic designer. My experiences have been pretty diverse and all over the place, but I am grateful that they have because I realize that I love working at the intersection of different creative fields. I enjoy being able to use different creative skills and be involved in different kinds of projects. In particular, my passion lies at the intersection of the creative arts and education, and even though my path was not planned, I believe my experiences have enabled me to pursue my passions. Or perhaps my experiences are the reason for my passions. It’s hard to say, but I am grateful for where they have led me.Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Houston is a great city with a lot of interesting places to visit, and it’s still growing and getting better and better. Whenever I have family or friends visiting, we always go to the museums in the museum district; Houston has great museums, and it might take you a few days just to see some of the best ones. I might do the Museum of Fine Arts and the Menil on one day, and probably the Science of Natural History and the Health Museum on another day. But each one has so much to see that you could spread them out over more days if you have the time. The Menil is a small, more hidden gem, but it has a great section on one of my favorite artists, René Magritte. On another day, I would probably go to Space Center Houston and NASA. It might be a little cliché, but it’s a must-see historical destination with a lot of interactive and fun exhibitions. Save another day for Seismique, which is a brand new gallery that opened up recently. It’s not just your ordinary gallery—it has more than 40 otherworldly exhibits that integrate art with projection mapping, lightmapping, augmented reality, motion tracking, holograms, gamification, and other interactive tech elements! You can spend your fifth day just getting to know the city a bit more. Take a walk at Discovery Green or Memorial Park, kayak around Buffalo Bayou, go to shops and restaurants around Montrose, the Heights, or the Galleria, have a coffee at Greek styled coffee shop, Agora. Also, there are many great live music and comedy events always happening in the city at classic venues, such as The House of Blues and White Oak Music Hall. Oh, and there are always free music events at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, which is surrounded by beautiful parks and open spaces! If you can, watch a Rockets game at the Toyota Center, and if you’re not from Texas, make sure to go 2-stepping and try some Texas BBQ!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without a doubt, I share my accomplishments with my parents and my brother. My accomplishments are theirs as well. They have enabled and inspired me in so many ways. My parents have always empowered and encouraged my brother and me to learn, to be kind, to be creative, to follow our passions. They are the most dedicated parents one could ask for. My brother has always been a best friend to me, someone to talk to about the mysteries of the universe and explore profound philosophical thoughts and nurture a sense of wonder. In every book that I create, I write a little dedicatory note that says, “All of my works are dedicated to my parents and brother, who have always inspired and empowered me to create.” Aside from my family, I would have to thank the many writers, musicians, artists, great thinkers, and other creative minds that I admire and have read or learned from. I am always reading and taking courses on different subjects, so there are too many to name, but some notable names would be Carl Sagan, Dr. Seuss, Hans Zimmer, Koji Kondo, and Philip Pullman.
Other: Little Syne Website: https://www.littlesyne.com/
Photographer (for personal photo): Ambar Paula