Wayne Bussey II: Student, Artist, Educator

"I don't need anybody to know anything about me except that I'm an artist."

by Paige Watkins

A student of Media Arts & Studies at Wayne State University, Wayne Bussey II works to understand media & its societal impact, while also spending time creating photography & film. This week, the Archives got to sit down with the young creative to talk about how he got started and where he plans to go from here.

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It was only about a year ago when Wayne began taking photography and film seriously. He credits his friend Amia for taking him on his first photography adventures, where they would just walk around and photograph whatever they felt compelled to.

“It was bad. I look at my early stuff and I’m like ‘oh my god, that’s awful.’”

But his talent has grown through a personal commitment to learn and create new art and media. As a Research Fellow for Detroit Future Schools, he worked with Nathaniel Mullen, a trained photographer and the director of DFS. Mullen gave Wayne his early lessons about composition and what to focus on when capturing pictures. His time at DFS inspired a key motivation of Wayne’s life - education and empowerment through media. With DFS, he completed his first film project, #DFSideas - an ask to students to submit their thoughts around schooling in Detroit. At conferences like the Allied Media Conference in Detroit and Free Minds, Free People in Oakland, California, he had the opportunity to spread the idea of “humanizing schooling,” facilitating discussions & working to inspire similar education reform efforts in cities across the country. He says he just “grew into” his art from there.

I look at my work now, and - it’s only been a year - but I’ve really improved.
“I want to wake people the fuck up.”

Wayne wants to pursue his creative skills in the long-term, and sees himself working towards a career intersecting media and education. He wants to be a filmmaker because he understands that media has the power to shape culture, ideas and perceptions. But he recognizes the dangers of conspiring with the “hollywood machine,” and would prefer to work independently or at publications like Vice, traveling the world to create media he cares about on issues like race, gender and the environment.

Currently, Wayne is focusing on building his portfolio and just taking as many pictures as he can - shooting events and photoshoots in his free time. He recently visited Chicago and, after spending a night being unable to sleep, left his hotel to walk around with his camera capturing the empty, early morning city. He enjoys taking pictures of “spaces - people in spaces & spaces with people in it” and finds himself taking his camera as he travels in order to capture his experiences.

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Check out Wayne’s instagram to see more of his work, as well as his tumblr.