True Knowledge is Knowing You Don’t Know Shit: a Conversation with Narque on Art, Decentralization & Animé

–interview by JP Mavour

Who is Narque? If you were describing yourself to a perfect stranger, what would you say?

I would have to say Narque is a humble student with room for growth. I feel that one aspect of life is the quest for knowledge, and that it’s a never-ending one. I’ve learned a lot throughout my life, but would never insist that I’m done or that I’ve reached a plateau where I need not continue. My opinion is that true knowledge is knowing you don’t know shit and accepting new ideas and new perspectives with an elementary-school eagerness to absorb as much on the new subject as you can.

What does art mean to you?

Art is that new idea, that new perspective—and for a while I thought it was too difficult for me to understand so I kinda just admired it from afar. It was like having a crush on a person on the other side of the room. I don’t know what took me so long to approach art, maybe because it seemed so daunting, but when I finally worked up the courage, art was like “WTF took you so long?!” Art let me know I was overthinking it all, so I’m glad for that clarity. Art means a new relationship for me, one that I’ve always wanted and am working on building.

How’d you get into art and artistic expression?

It definitely wasn’t of my own accord, but I do appreciate anyone and anything that helped me get here. I’m a big kid and I’ve always loved cartoons,—to this day I would still rather watch animation than live action. Also, as a kid I never liked books without illustrations; lucky for me my older brother was heavy into comics and collected a lot so I was immersed in comic book art. I tried drawing myself but it was not my gift, but I became friends with people who, to me, were gifted. The gift of social media and it enabling access to artists all over the globe and learning their stories is just naturally the direction we’re headed and I’m glad to be part of it.

What made you want to act?

Truthfully, I’m going off trust. I’m trusting my friends and family when they say I’m an actor and should pursue it. But I‘ve always loved it. I was in drama class in school and Miss Mormando planted that seed in me. I watched a lot of movies, too—since I worked at Blockbuster Video I would practice my skills and techniques compared to what I watched and was just inspired.

Before you dove head-first into acting you were working for TSA and had what I assume was an already full life. As someone who’s also made the transition from a job that has nothing to do with my craft to diving into it full time, I’m interested to hear what that was like for you.

Wow that was after Blockbuster, my airport career. Thirteen years in that field, but I always knew in the back of my mind that it wasn’t me. I do appreciate everything it showed and taught me and the friends I made. Working at the airport I met people from around the world and got insight on different cultures and types of individuals, and I had the privilege of not having language be a barrier. I love that sense of understanding and having a human connection, and I hope that translates into my art.

Acting is one of those skills that, if you’re doing it well, it looks easy. What in your opinion is the hardest part of acting?

Well I still can’t cry on command so that part is hard af, but I come from the idea that you become the role you take on. So the hardest part is being cozy in that new skin, being at ease as that new person and not looking like you’re trying, to be someone you’re not. I honestly still struggle with it, which is why I say I still have room to grow.

Who are your favorite actors?

I’m assuming I shouldn’t rant on this topic even though I could go on forever, and it’s definitely still an evolving topic for me, so I’ll just name a couple who feel prominent to me currently: Daniel Kaluuya, Sophie Okonedo, and Jim Carrey.

What are your favorite movies?

I love movies in general—good ones, bad ones, I need to re-watch some, but I’ll just do three again: Primal Fear, Malcolm X, and The Lion King.

I’ve heard you’re a bit of an animé head; how’d you get into that? What are your favorites? And is One Piece overrated?

Otaku fr fr. It started with Bulletproof Comics [a comic shop in Brooklyn] they had VHSs of animé and my brother used to take me. The first one I remember watching was Ninja Scroll so that’s a classic, then Dragon Ball Z opened the flood gates to Evangelion, Gundam Wing, Street Fighter, Fatal Fury, Guyver, Bleach, Naruto, Ghost in the Shell, Berserk, La Blue Girl, Black Clover…I read manga too and could suggest some, but sadly to say, I never got into One Piece even though I know it’s fire af. I believe it’s still going on to this day—if not, it’s been around for a while and I just missed the boat, but I’ll catch it eventually and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

What role or effect have psychedelics had in your life, both personally and as an artist?

I’m new to the realm of the psychedelics but it has had some positive effects on the way I think, the way I interact with others, and has given me a bigger appreciation of love—like literally love is the answer; it’s just about figuring out what love means to you. Also as far as I can tell I’m more creative with psychedelics but these are just my experiences and I don’t know if they’ll do the same for others.

I believe there are two types of people in this world, mushroom people and acid people. Where do you fall?

I’m not ashamed to say I’m definitely on the acid side. I like shrooms, don’t get me wrong, but acid just hits different, plus I’ve had some bad experiences around shrooms—not because of a bad trip or anything, just bad circumstances—but every time I’ve used acid has been pleasant thus far so yeah.

What’s the best/craziest trip you’ve ever had?

So I take my first pull of DMT. I felt weird like this is new. Then after I took the second pull the world starts to go in a kaleidoscope pattern. Reality starts breaking down and these fractals of a new world start to emerge, it was jarring. Then I heard a sound or a tone that started off low but gradually and quickly went higher in pitch. When the tone reached what I guess was its climax, everything went black. From the void, a landscape appeared before me out of a swirling, twisting point. It was as if from that singular point is where and how everything came to be, including myself. It gave me the sense that self, landscape, and everything in that landscape was connected. I felt like I was connected to it all and that I was everything. I saw colors I’ve never seen before and lights I’ve never seen before. I looked around and noticed a tree and other landscape details of that reality and it felt like there were others. I felt like other entities were present where I was but not interacting with me. I had the sense that I wasn’t alone. As I confirmed the feeling to myself that there might be others I notice the tree in my field of vision, and at that instant, the trunk of the tree opened up and an eyeball was revealed; the eyeball looked at me. When the DMT started wearing off, I felt distraught that the world I was in was fading away. I remember holding the energy/aura of the place I was in, in my hands. It was pulsating in my grip. I felt pleasure and was at peace having this ball of energy in my hands. It felt like I could maintain access to that reality. I came out of it with the insight that love is the answer to everything, at least that’s how I felt after the experience.

The phrase “Decentralize Everything” can be found in your Instagram bio. Web3 is all about decentralization—is that something that you took from there, or a philosophy that led you to Web3?

First time I used the word “decentralized” was when I started to learn about crypto and the blockchain. For me Decentralization is about reclaiming liberties that we as human beings should possess and not having to be dependent on outside entities to supply and/or approve of those liberties. Every time I use this term it just gives me a sense of empowerment and hope. So when I say “Decentralize Everything”, it’s in hopes that every person can empower themselves to a better tomorrow, and not just those in the know of blockchain and Web3.

In your ideal world, how does a decentralized future look?

An ideal decentralized world has no government. Instead blockchain and Web3 tech helps connect people and ideas. Matters of law and policies are agreed upon through means of a transparent voting system. Every individual would have the tools to become their own bank/company and create wealth for themselves and others; work would be fair and pay equal, and no middle person or unnecessary entity would be needed for any goods or services. The individual would have more access and investment in how their lives are led.

In twenty years Narque will be…?

Still learning, still a student, hopefully richer and/or stress-free, living in a decentralized world.

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