We had the good fortune of connecting with Krysada Binly Panusith Phounsiri and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Krysada Binly, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I was born in Huay Xai, Laos. I immigrated to San Diego, CA before I was 2 years old. I was raised in Southeast San Diego. I’ve learned to embed the teachings of my homeland’s culture along with my upbringing in Southeast San Diego. They complement and contrast with each other. Growing up, we did not have much. Moving from one rented place to another, I experienced impermanence in a physical home. Over the years, I invested much of my time thinking about home and what does home mean to me. The Lao saying is “Sa Baiiii Sa Baiii” or “Baw Pen Yung” – The first saying is essentially to relax, and the second saying pretty much means “it’s all good”. Even through the war that my community faced, we keep a relaxed and chill attitude towards working through our problems. I had to contrast this attitude with the apparent reality of what my neighborhood brought to me which was financial struggle, gangs, and a fast way for youth to toughen up. Much of the exploration of my youth was coupled with curiosity and discipline in craft of whatever creative obsession I had. Through it all, it made me learn how to grow and be creative in where I see home to be. Home is wherever my passions thrive, and it does not have to be a physical place. I find home in being able to create something from nothing, whether it is from Breaking, writing poems, and finding inspiration for the photos I take. I find home in creating art and connect with people through art. Because without words, I can feel that sense of home. To this day, my past has impacted how I see life and how I approach the art I choose to create in.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started Breaking at the age of 13. I fell in love with the dance and Hip Hop. It was a way for me to express myself without words, while channeling all the emotions I had inside to project in the physical realm. That’s all there is to it. It was my love, my obsession, my way to truly feel alive. It was the guiding light that helped me find conviction in my identity. Through dance, I was able to connect with people and travel the world. Battling in many places and sharing cyphers with people everywhere. It is beautiful. I started writing Poetry around 6th Grade. I never truly found my poetic voice until I took a class in college. It was June Jordan’s Poetry for the People class. I was taught to deconstruct the notions that were taught to me about what poetry was, while learning technique and reading poems from poets who wrote their stories in their own terms, their own voices. It empowered me to think deeply about my story, my family’s story, and my community’s. I was taught to write, or be written. That saying has never left me. I published my first book of poetry a few years back under Sahtu Press. I am currently looking for publishers who will want to work with me on getting my 2nd book of poetry out. My manuscript is finished, so now is the submission and hoping part. It’s not easy. I was always told that poetry doesn’t sell, but I don’t care. I want and want to get published to inspire others in my community to do the same. Our stories are valid, and they need to be out there for people acknowledge. I feel like every poem is an attempt to combat invisibility and erasure, no matter how trivial the poem can be. I started photography back in 2012-2013. This was during the time I lived in Vegas and was dancing in the MUS.I.C show. I always had an attraction to the visual narrative and through the years, I saw myself picking up cameras to photograph family and friends for memories. I thought nothing of it from a technical standpoint until I saw beautiful images of models and timeless Black & White photos. It gave me a feeling when I saw such powerful photos that evoked emotion. I wanted to learn how to photograph people. From there, my Brother and I bought my sister’s camera so that she can upgrade, while I can learn photography. The majority of it was self-taught in the sense that I learned from the internet, youtube, and outside of a class setting. Just like Breaking, I then connected with people and other photographers and would learn things along the way. The power of the visual narrative still sticks with me. I love photographing people. My photos, most of them, need to have people at the forefront.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Before it closed due to the pandemic, Salt & Whiskey Bar was my favorite place to go on the weekend. I can be by myself, or invite friends. No matter what, it was my den. It was my refuge. I can soak myself in the ambient noise and reflect on the many happenings of my life. It was where I finished writing the manuscript for my 2nd poetry book. It is where I invite everyone for no reason other than to be in each other’s presence. Another spot I recommend is Panama 66 inside Balboa Park. I love that place. Outside of the beaches, it is so San Diego to me. It’s a restaurant, inside out famous park, with a Beer Garden Grass area where you can lounge in the Sun. It’s an outdoor place where I hang out after I’ve done a photo shoot at the park and I want to have drinks. It is a family friendly place where I can invite whoever. We can hang out, or we can talk about creative projects.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a shoutout to my little Brother, Kennedy aka Eranetik. He is my partner in crime when it comes to growing up in the Breaking scene. We push each other in our respective paths, but truly had an amazing journey through Breaking and Hip Hop. He is someone I always looked out for and was a priority to protect while encouraging growth in the passions he choses. The creative endeavors I chose to share with him and other loved ones in my neighborhood was because I wanted them to be the best version of themselves and not be limited by what the environment or peer pressure gave them. I wanted to inspired him so that he can also strengthen me in my passions. He deserves a shout out because without him, I would lose a significant amount of my motivation to push through and continue my grind.
Website: Photography: www.snappilots.com Poetry: www.sahtupress.com
Instagram: @BboyLancer & @SnapPilots
Twitter: @BboyLancer & @SnapPilots
Other: To purchase my poetry book, ‘Dance Among Elephants’: https://sahtu.press/product/dance-among-elephants Beauty Beyond Scars Photography Project: http://www.snappilots.com/snap-blog
Kien Quan Micah Spader Robert K. Lim Kennedy Phounsiri Nor Sanavongsay
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