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Hotseat - Shawn York

811_HotseatWhere did you grow up and go to school?

I was born in St. Maarten and grew up in Sucker Garden. My mom passed away when I was very young. My father worked and my aunt took care of me. The beach was always important and I didn’t grow up with video games. My life was happy. I attended Milton Peters College. I did MAVO and then switched to HAVO. But after two years, it was clear that no matter how much I worked, I was not going to pass. I decided to use the time in a better way and started to work.


Did you enjoy working? Describe your experience.

Well, I was working at the airport as accounting support staff. I learned that I did not want to be in a job like that. It was repetitive work that had no creative outlet. I had to collect tickets and input them into the system. This is definitely not what I wanted to do. I needed to be creative.


What did you do then?

I knew I wanted to study further. I was extremely motivated to get ahead and avoid working in a boring job. I did my first Bachelor’s degree in graphic design. In 2008, I moved to Holland and started the course. It included so many creative aspects. It gave me a really good overview of what graphics included. We learnt design, interactive design, web sites, photography, video editing. I actually got into photography and felt that websites are not really my thing.


How would you describe yourself?

I’m very practical. I like to be relaxed and calm to create the best work.


What are you doing now?

Well, I’m starting my third year of a four-year degree course in International Communication Management. It’s like I’m studying two similar subjects. They both involve communication. Graphics is all about the skill of creating things. Now I’m learning how to strategically use the graphics and manage communication messages as part of Public Relations. This course is more focused on the written aspects of communication. When I return to Holland, I’m starting an internship with EE2. I’ll find out more when I’m there, but I’m excited because they organize music events for the youth. The events are arranged so that artists can connect with other artists and I’m passionate about music.


Where do you see your future?

Studying overseas is the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I’m still working on what exactly I’ll do when I’ve completed my studies in 2016. I definitely see myself having my own business and working with other companies; maybe doing events or public relations for them. I already have my own business printing and selling 37 square mile T shirts. I’m always going to build that option in the future.


What do you think about the future of St. Maarten?

I’m a St. Maartener. It’ll always be home; it’s always developing and tourism is really important. I want to be part of St. Maarten’s future. I’ll always come back here.


What inspires you?

Life is inspirational. I’m inspired by the people I meet. I spend most of my time exploring, travelling and designing. I create in my spare time. It’s not something from which I need time off. I want to see and experience as much as I can, to keep everything alive.


What do you do on weekends?

I like hiking, snorkelling and doing sports and activities with my friends. I’m not into clubs and partying.


Where is home for you?

Home is wherever I am.


Who/what inspires you most?

My mom. I’m getting more and more curious about her. I’m finding out things that surprise me and explain some of what I’m like. She loved music and taught Nasio Fontaine, the famous Dominican Reggae guitarist – Wow!


What’s your biggest fear?

I’m scared of uncertainty. I think that doubts are actually a challenge of what needs to be faced. The biggest reward comes from the biggest risk. I used to be really scared of speaking in public; then I forced myself to speak in class all the time. Now, I still don’t like it, but I don’t fall apart when I have to speak in public.


What’s your pet peeve?

I hate letting people down. It’s important to deliver.


What is your favourite type of music? What artistes do you listen to?

I like all music: Hip Hop, Techno, Rap, etc., and artists like Eminem. It’s easier to say that I don’t like country music. It’s too drawn out and whiney. The story never gets anywhere.


If you could invite three famous people (dead or alive) for dinner, who would they be and what would you cook for them?

My mom; I want to know more about her.

Warren Buffet; so I can appreciate pre-technology history. I could learn a lot from him.

Picasso; to find out about his life as an artist without technology.

Well, I’m a one on one person and I don’t cook so I’d get seafood brought in for each meeting.