AFH Alumni Stories: Edition 01 — Mushen Kieta

‘You got a job? Come to this thing tomorrow and you have a job.’ And that was that.”

To fourteen-year-old Kieta, AFH was attractive for a number of reasons. First, it was a paid opportunity to make art. No stranger to creativity, Kieta had dabbled in video games, Photoshop, and web development since he was eleven years old.

“I just wanted to get better at drawing, get better at art, and sell more paintings.”

A Lesley University representative from a recent visit to AFH, 2017

I talked to Susan Rodgerson [AFH Founder] and was like, ‘Can we get a Film Studio?’ She talked to this guy, George Cox, who shot a video for AFH and they hired him to be a mentor for a temporary Video Studio. I joined and during my last summer at AFH, they made it permanent.”

AFH’s Video & Motion studio in production mode, 2017

“It was a big event with big names. Usually we would film about twenty people but this was around two thousand people. It was at Boston University’s stadium and it was just huge. We were the only people filming and it was just like, ‘This is so cool.’

It was really what I ultimately wanted to do, making movies, so I had tunnel vision. All I cared about was filming and editing at that time.”

A video set constructed by Mushen at the Artists For Humanity EpiCenter
Mushen Kieta, “Tabemasu,” 2006

“This growth, and being able to acknowledge that I was growing, was my proudest moment.”

Kieta graduated from the Snowden International School in 2008 and spent the next years between New York City and Boston. He began working full time and at the end of 2009, bought his first camera, a DSLR, as well as a laptop. This launched his ability to work towards learning how to use the camera, and he started to film and edit multiple projects.

Mushen Kieta, “Goodluck Blackcat,” 2017
Filming for NBC with fellow alumni Sahra Nguyen

“It was about being able to show some kind of potential. I got good feedback from it, people liked it, and I got hired by an AFH alumni for a documentary through NBC.”

This documentary project, one that took Kieta from LA, to Minneapolis, to New York, and to Hawaii, was just the beginning for Kieta.

“AFH taught me everything I needed to know in terms of artistic skills, entrepreneurial skills, and being able to sell myself as an artist in order to be a professional.”

Kieta continues, “If I hadn’t gone to AFH, I would have had to learn those skills somewhere else or teach myself or come to some realization. It might have never happened or it might have taken ten years,” he said, speaking to the experience he gained without necessarily going to art school.

Mushen Kieta, “Far From Home,” 2017

“If I hadn’t gone through the program, I would’ve given up a long time ago in terms of being an artist as a career. That very first summer at AFH showed me how you really can make money as an artist.”

This path — and this opportunity — is just a part of the AFH impact that Kieta describes. While there are the practical applications of being able to work as a teenager, Kieta places importance on the social connections made and the communities formed from his AFH experience.

Mushen developed “Gallery by Trinket & Mona” available through Apple’s App Store



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