The ever-growing popularity of social media and the increase of online presences within the the workplace inspires many young adults to utilize the internet to artistically prosper and essentially create a brand for themselves. Among this new generation of digitally literate and technologically equipped kids is Daniel Phelps (‘21), a current member of the video […]
The ever-growing popularity of social media and the increase of online presences within the the workplace inspires many young adults to utilize the internet to artistically prosper and essentially create a brand for themselves.
Among this new generation of digitally literate and technologically equipped kids is Daniel Phelps (‘21), a current member of the video production program here at Christian Brothers.
Daniel Phelps shows an ambitious interest in many fields ranging from photography and video to music and clothing. He created the @tillinfinity43 Instagram account as “a way to kind of combine those all together” and is currently posting self-made digital content.
He aspires to further develop the project and eagerly says that, “eventually it’d be super cool to host it as a place for other people too– kind of like a platform for creative stuff, music from other people, almost like a record label in the future.”
The desire to make clothing began in his sophomore year, and in an attempt to incorporate the Russian that he was learning at the time, he settled on the initial name of polyarnaya zvezda, which translates to polar star.
However, he came to the disappointing realization that someone else in Sacramento was already using the same name. It was then that Daniel turned to music titles for further inspiration and eventually crafted together the name of tillinfinity43, a reference to the classic Souls of Mischief song from the 90’s, “93 till infinity”.
As far as the meaning of the number 43, Daniel laughed as he confessed:
“With Instagram, every name ever is already taken so it took me basically two hours to come up with the numbers because I had to think of something that I could add to tillinfinity that I think looks cool but isn’t super limiting like tillinfinityclothing, because it’s not just a clothing thing and my motto ‘dedicated to expression’ is really about the arts,” he said. “The numbers, it just looked cool and it kind of had a ring to it.”
Despite the initial struggle to come up with an original title for his brand, he expressed his satisfaction with the final idea, “I love it because It’s a really versatile name,” he says. “It can be pretty corny, but it’s really about not giving up and just sticking with you… ’til infinity.”
As for his music, Daniel first began making his own beats and songs four years ago, but one of his greatest struggles has always been finding other people that are interested and willing to collaborate. It’s this struggle that really inspired him to use social media as a way to build a community for people that are interested in a similar focus of art and style.
Phelps has had a long, ever-changing journey with music, initially making electronic for a few years but also growing up in the midst of the United States’ extensive rap and hip hop scene.
“It’s really complicated because at first I would just try to make trap and rap stuff that’s like super popular and incorporate electronic music into that at first, but then this year I’ve really brought in what I listen to and that’s been a big inspiration.”
Daniel has gathered a lot of recent inspiration from artists like Shabazz Palaces, Flume, Kaytranada, and Digable Planets, a 90s group that Daniel said “incorporated jazz into their music in a way that no one else had really done before”.
Like all artists, it takes an abundance of trial and error before developing a cohesive and captivating style.
“I’m not proud of it but I went through the whole ‘influencer, traveling, sunset pictures’ phase” he says in a playfully mocking manner– we’ve all been there. But as of late, Daniel has been inspired by the reworking of film as he uses his artwork to emphasize the simplistic beauty of “just hanging out and capturing raw emotion.”
“Before I would just try to capture sunsets and stuff, but now I just really want to capture emotion and definitely more of a moment,” he says. “The one thing that’s so beautiful about it is when you’re holding those negatives that are literally a physical piece from that moment when you took that picture.”
As a close friend to Phelps, Daniel Pogue (‘21) shares the innovation and creativity he witnesses, ”He’s a very creative person and is developing his own unique style— he’s not really following the trends, but when he does, he’s always putting his own little twist on it.”
However, Phelps also opened up about his firsthand struggle with artist’s block.
“It’s really hard because often it seems out of my control. There will be weeks where I cannot make anything but then there will be 3 days where I’m able to make my favorite stuff that I have ever made.”
Daniel shares insight on how he overcomes inactivity and stagnant ideas,
“Honestly, persistence is really the main thing. You can go into the studio or go out wanting to take pictures without that inspiration, but I think if you do it everyday and really put in those hours but t as you keep going it can and will come to you.”
As far as the future of tillinifinty and its founder, Daniel remarks with optimistic uncertainty, “I’m not so sure myself because interests are always changing, but I know that I want to create something whether that be with tillinfinity or with music, and I don’t just want to do one thing.”
He envisions creating a brand or company that adheres to his limitless interests, and while this is his prime goal, Daniel remains realistic and still puts forth his best effort in school.
More so, Attending Christian Brothers has further encouraged Daniel’s artistic ambitions.
“One thing that I love about CB is how open and supportive it is of the arts. I’ve had several teachers who have helped me realize that art is a possibility you can pursue in life”, he shares. “I especially love KBFT because when you’re making videos on your own you have full control, but when you’re in a class and are given a specific topic, you really learn how to tell stories through video. It really relates to my goal of expressing an atmosphere or feeling through film, stories and music.”
Phelps exhibits immense gratitude towards experiences that the video program has provided, one being the Student Television Network convention that took place in Seattle last Spring.
“STN was great because it really teaches you how to work with people because being put in that strict time limit really tests your team skills. It’s hard to be apart of a team that’s doing something creative because each person will have their own vision and learning how to take the best parts and being able to compromise is really hard but very useful, and I’ve grown in that because of KBFT”.
For the next couple years, Daniel sees himself staying in the U.S. He has a special attachment to California for its immense diversity and invigorating cities.
“I want to go to places with a lot of culture, because growing up in Sacramento there’s always been so much of that. Growing up my dad would always take me to reggae concerts and all the stuff that was going on in the city and really just experiencing art and music and places that are rich in that.”
Now that he’s established his brand, Daniel hopes to stand out and create art that pushes the boundaries of normality.
“Overall my thing with tillinfinity is taking inspiration but being original and not replicating,” Daniel says. “It’s very easy to think that everything has already been done and there’s nowhere else to go, but the people who brought back film and ’90s culture and other stuff like that, it probably wasn’t cool until they did it, and that’s how I hope to be with something else.”
Just last Friday, as soon as the dismissal bell rang, Daniel, our friends and I all piled into a car to hang out. Daniel, sitting shotgun and playing a song that he intended to use for an upcoming video, begged our driving friend to swoop by his house so Daniel could grab his camera, just for the mere purpose of having it on him in case inspiration sparks.
Later in the day, our group of eleven went to the park. We were all sitting in the grass talking and laughing when someone pointed out that Daniel had put in his earbuds and was listening to his music on full blast, bobbing his head in time with the rhythm and playing various air instruments. One of his buddies proclaimed, “Oh yeah, he does this sometimes”, and we all let out of roar of laughter.