Cj’s journey began in East Victoria, Australia. When he turned 7, his family moved to New South Wales, and made their way to a small town called “Woolgoolga”, nicknamed “Woopi” by locals. The town gives off a small beach area vibe. It is a natural creative hub on the coast, a piece of paradise between the deserted bush and emerald seas. This rural town allowed Cj and his family to get dirty. He grew up as a real kid should: swimming, dancing, and climbing every tree in sight. He says that deep down he will always be that small-town kid, and he is more than excited to represent Woopi as an artist. From 15 onwards, he started to find his purpose in dance. He wanted to learn all of the styles and found a passion in his art form, using his body to convey his thoughts and emotions. Quickly, he learned how to story-tell through his dance, letting his true feelings bleed onto the stage with every performance.
Cj was never a bad kid — more misunderstood than anything — but his dyslexia affected his grades. Instead of accepting this, he began to try harder and saw his banishment to the land of the outcasts as an opportunity to look closer into the behavior of his abnormal classmates. He realized that some people aren’t book smart and that doesn’t make you stupid or flunky. It means the stereotypical life and tedious 9–5 job doesn’t work for some. Theatre didn’t work out initially, so he took it on the chin and finished school.
As his friends all left for college, he found himself alone but he still pushed through. He auditioned for another performing arts school, even though he knew he couldn’t afford it if he got accepted. Still, he followed his gut and took the gamble. It paid off. They offered him a full-ride scholarship. While at school, he grew every aspect of his creative process and sharpened his skills. It was dance that led him to his art. Once Cj graduated, he moved to Sydney and started on his journey. For 2.5 years, he made pennies…just enough to survive. The first big gig he landed was with the show, “So You Think You Can Dance”. Although the pay was still abysmal, he was hopeful. Once those years passed, he realized through his endless auditions and few callbacks that Sydney is “clicky,” and like any other big city you have to know people. The industry was very tight-knit, leaving little opportunity for newcomers. “Knowing you aren’t going to get the job but driving there and trying anyways is a part of the job,” says Cj. These were trying times. He lived in a garage surrounded by tools while pursuing his dreams. But all he needed was a few feet of space and a discarded mirror to continue choreographing his dances. Night after night, he returned to this garage and trained for his future, not quite knowing how life would unfold. Despite a few people he knew tossing him gigs every now and then, he once again found himself as a floater in the community — the outcast class.
One night, Cj sat sifting through his inbox and came across an email from “Dance Informer”: “Casting call for the lead character in Cirque du Soleil!” The character description described Cj perfectly — emotional, whimsical, and trippy.
He arrived at the building and walked into the audition room. He looked at the judging table, scanned their faces, and couldn’t help but grin ear to ear. The judges were foreign. It was a fair game — no friends, no favorites. They recognized his talent and charm as a dancer and invited him to the callback. The next day he gets a call, “You’re the only one left. But we still have to go to Germany, France, and Canada before we get back to you!”
A couple of months later, they called him back, “We have exciting news! We’re going to fly you out to Las Vegas to perform for the final audition.” This was it! This was the opportunity he had waited for his whole life. They flew him out and gave him three days to impress them. The first night, he watched the show and was in awe of the Olympic level of artistic talent.
The next day, he auditioned for the judges. Unlike the auditions in Australia, he didn’t feel nervous; he felt comfortable, totally ready to perform. He felt respected and valued. Just being there was an honor. The next day he was back in his garage in Sydney, waiting for a phone call. Two months later they call him. They chat for a while as they take him on an emotional rollercoaster. He felt like the conversation was just a polite way to say “fuck off”, but then they said, “Are you ready for your life to change?” Cj’s heart skips a beat as he screams and curses with excitement into the phone. No more garage, no more government checks. They gave him two months to get his affairs in order and then it was back to Vegas.
Cj performed in Las Vegas for three years alongside an incredible crew of international talent. This pushed Cj to further expand how he expressed himself. During the breaks between performances, he took to drawing and painting. His art started to flourish and it became his new passion. Like the rest of Cj’s life, he didn’t hesitate to dive in head-first. He quit his dream job for his new dream. Back to square one.
Cj’s mission is to do the things he loves, be the best version of himself, and meet the people that inspire him and push him to be his best. Cj’s art helped him see hope in a seemingly hopeless world. “This passion will itself turn to existence in one way or another,” he said.
Cj lives for the love and joy that his art brings people. There is no right way to achieve success and no wrong way to follow your dreams; it just is.
“NFTs are the evolution of art, the evolution of thinking. It’s not just a way to make a quick buck, but it’s the natural step for the art world. A space for us to expand outside of galleries and museums, a platform for everyone, everywhere.”