The Creative Life in Our Cities: A Conversation with Jonathan Braue

We have many talented artists and creatives living and working in our Farmington/Farmington Hills community and our weekly interview series, sponsored by City Life Realty, will introduce you to some of them.

Today we feature filmmaker and storyteller Jonathan Braue.

When did you first get started in the arts?

I have been involved with some form of art since I was young, starting with music and growing that into drawing, woodworking, and theater. I finally found my art form in filmmaking once I put my hands on a first video camera in high school. From that moment, I couldn’t get enough of it.

Did you study filmmaking?  

My only formal training came from a year-long, high school Film & Broadcast course at Kimball High School at the time (now, Royal Oak High School). I also took a few electives in college. What I enjoyed most from my high school course was being entrusted to take a camera and simply create. There was no right or wrong to it. The class was treated as a workshop to experiment A LOT and learn from your failures which eventually lead to your successes.

Who has been a mentor to you along the way?

Surprisingly, I have not had many direct mentors in my work, but those that I would put on a list are my best friend and business partner, Joe Talbot; and my investor and friend, Dan Gilbert. Outside of those two, I draw inspiration, influence and critiques from many friends, colleagues and leaders in the industry.

Are you a member of any local or regional arts groups?

Not at the moment but looking to get more involved both in Detroit and my current hometown of Farmington.

Can you describe something you’ve created that is particularly meaningful to you?

The piece that means the most to me is a film I just made called The Pearson Twins. Seeing how that piece impacts people’s perceptions on life for the better is what brings me the most joy out of the work I do.

Has your art appeared in any city programs or events, such as the Public Art Program at City Hall or Art on the Grand?

My platform for my work is primarily digital or in a theater so my work has been shown at places like The Fox, Cobo Hall, and Fisher Theater.

Can you share a favorite quote about art or life?

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” -Albert Einstein

What advice or suggestions do you have for younger artists?

Create all the time. The only way you get better is by fearlessly creating all the time, learning from what you created, and making the next creation better than the last.

What do you think is missing from the arts community in Farmington/Hills?

A centralized place/organization/creator space.

Why is celebrating and promoting art healthy for a local community?

Art is culture. It is what gives a place its personality. If you want to leave an imprint on a time and place, what is left for future generations is what is built and created.

Learn more about Jonathan and his work at Woodward Original.

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