Who is Creative Explained?

I'm Armen Adamjan, or better known as creative explained.

Most of you know me as the super energetic guy on TikTok / Instagram, who creates fast-paced videos teaching hacks, tips and tricks, usually by yelling a whole bunch of knowledge on screen with swish and swoosh sound effects. Some have called me “the plant ninja”, “plant Jesus”, and “Dave Grohl of plants”. I think it’s hilarious (and awesome) when I come across these kinds of comments on my videos. It’s fun to see people’s perception of me, and who they think I remind them of (fun fact: about 6,000 people have commented stating that I look like Lin-Manuel Miranda from Hamilton :p) 

But that’s all fun and games, because the real story of who I am and how I became “creative explained”, is quite unique, as it is with all human beings. Each and every one of us, are the direct result of our family’s background, the choices that were made for us when growing up, the choices we make when we’re old enough to understand that we’re in charge of our own brain; all the good and bad experiences that life throws at you, the emotional-rollercoaster rides, the people you’re surrounded by and “what” you’re surrounded by. Believe it or not, where you are located on this planet (your country, your city, your town) has a tremendous impact on your life; and then there are the opportunities that YOU create for yourself that can change who you will eventually become as a human. 

My story started in Armenia, right before the war began between the neighboring-country, Azerbaijan. Born in Yerevan (the capital of Armenia), however, at age 3 my parents decided to move to Denmark to escape the conflicts and to give my sisters and I a chance to have a better future. We lived in Denmark for 11 years, until I was turning 14 years old. I grew up doing martial arts, Judo and Taekwondo, which taught me a lot of discipline and patience at a very young age. At age 12, my parents bought me my first computer (an IBM), and I quickly got an interest in computers and how they worked. So much that I started teaching myself programming in different computer languages. I spent hours, days and weeks in front of the computer, but never missing my martial arts classes. By age 13, I knew how to write in 3 programming languages.

Teaching myself how to program software really opened my mind to believing that anything is possible; and that anyone can teach themselves anything they desire. I envisioned my life as a programmer, designing and creating programs that could help the world in some way. However, in 2003, my parents told me we were moving to the United States. I was super excited about it, because after all, USA was the land of the dreams. My perception of the US was all based on the movies I had watched. At the time, I was in love with Jean Claude Van-Damme’s and Sylvester Stallone’s movies, so you can imagine just becoming a teenager, the sound of moving to the US, was amazing.

Denmark is a small country with only about 5.5 million people, a little dot compared to the size of the US and its population. My family and I moved to Rhode Island on June 18th, 2003, and this is where my life made a drastic turn. The transition from Europe to the US was the biggest challenge of my life, because not only did I not have any friends, but I also didn’t speak English. But because I taught myself programming and spent years doing martial arts, I believed in myself enough to get through this obstacle.

I researched the most popular things in the US and came across that breakdancing was a “cool” thing to do. I just turned 14 and there was about 3 months left until school started, so I decided if I was to make any friends fast, I would have to show that I’m more than just some “foreign kid”. At least that was my thought at the time, so I started teaching myself how to breakdance, every single day for the next 3 months, while also learning English at home. After countless of injuries and fails, I had learned a few cool dance moves, and some English – not nearly enough, but enough to keep a conversation going. 

On the first day of high school, during the orientation, the gym hall was filled with 2,000 students. I walked in shocked because I had just come from a school with only 300 students total. While all the students were sitting around the gym waiting for the principal to come and welcome everyone, I got a crazy idea. I noticed a microphone in the middle of the gym, so I walked up to it, as many students pointing at me wondering what I was doing. I took the microphone and yelled out: “Check this out!” and then I started breakdancing for about one minute. My heart was racing, but I tried to do my best moves and shortly after I started dancing, the whole gym hall getting loud. I finished my breakdancing with handstand-freeze, and then I heard clapping as the principal was approaching me. He told me to cut it out and to take a seat. I’ll never forget the moment I was walking to take a seat among all the students. I could see how everyone was wondering who on earth I was and where I came from.

From that day on, I made tons of friends and became known as the “break-dancer” in high school. However, it wasn’t long before I picked up another hobby. In 2005, I got a camera as a gift that was able to record 15 second video clips. I started using that feature to film myself dance, in order to learn from my mistakes and to just see what it even looked like to perform some of the moves. After a few weeks of filming myself dance, I thought it’d be awesome if I created a video compilation with my best dance moves.

The more video clips I filmed, the more I got into editing them, which eventually led me to want to learn more about filming and editing. I started researching and learning about making videos, creating visual effects, sound effects, motion-graphics and animation. I quickly got into making short films, music videos and other types of videos, and by junior year in high school, I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life: work with videos.

My passion for film making grew by the day, as I kept getting fascinated what you could do with a camera. I realized that with a camera, I was able to express myself and my thoughts in a visual and entertaining way. So, my dream of becoming a programmer, now transformed into becoming a film maker. But then again, if had never taught myself how to program, I would never pick up editing as fast as I did. Understanding how software works helped me tremendously in learning how to edit videos using Adobe software. By the time I graduated high school, I had become an expert in Adobe Premiere, After Effects and Photoshop.

In 2008, I started attending an art school in Boston, Massachusetts, majoring in video production and motion graphics. However, within the first few months, I was shocked how much I had already taught myself during high school. I was barely learning any new knowledge and felt like I was wasting my time attending classes. I gave it a whole year until I decided to move to Los Angeles, California to attend another art college. This time I switched my major to visual effects and animation, because that was my weak area in film making. After 9 months, I once again realized that I wasn’t learning, or at least not learning in the pace that I wanted to.

I took a break from college, moved back to Rhode Island with my parents and decided to get in the business of creating videos on my own. This is when my life took yet another dramatic turn. I was 21 years old making music videos for local artists. Not long after I started uploading some of my work on Facebook and YouTube, a well-known DJ in Rhode Island, noticed my videos and contacted me. His name was Corey Roberts or better known as CR The Beast.

The next 10 years, I created new opportunities for myself; I worked with many different companies and artists, I worked on many projects, and kept evolving my creative abilities. There are too many things that happened during this time of my life, it would end up being a book that you're reading right now, if I continue. So let's just say that these 10 years shaped me into who I am, and I finally discovered what I was meant to do.

Before the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was living in Colorado and hadn’t seen my family for 9 months. So, in March 2020, I booked a flight to visit them in Rhode Island. I had little knowledge about the pandemic at the time. I saw some people wearing masks but didn’t understand why. When I got to my parents’ house, they helped me catch up with what was happening around the world. We all remember how fast life changed from March to April, so many new restrictions, lockdowns, infected individuals and rising death tolls. By mid-April, I was forced to remain in Rhode Island at my parents’ home because of a state lock-down. What was supposed to be a two-week visit, turned into a long vacation.

In May, I was beginning to lose my mind. I hadn’t filmed any videos, wasn’t able to get new clients or jobs creating videos and couldn’t leave my parents’ house. This was when my friend Kyle Hutchinson from California called me and told me that I should start a TikTok account, and that I’d be perfect for the platform. I wasn’t really up for it, since I already had an Instagram and YouTube account. But Kyle kept insisting that I should give TikTok a try, so I told him I would give it a go at some point.

On the same day, I was in the kitchen about to chop up some green onions (scallions) for lunch, but right before I cut off the ends with the roots, I thought to myself “maybe people don’t know that you can re-grow green onions with the ends.” This is when I got the idea to do a TikTok post showing how easy it is to re-grow green onions. I created a 15 second video, posted it and forgot about it. The very next day, I opened up TikTok and noticed that it got over 100,000 views. I was mind-blown. So many people around the world had no idea about this simple plant tip/trick. It was in this moment that I decided to create more garden/plant videos, hoping people would learn from the information I provided in the videos.

Gardening and plants have been a hobby for me since I was 24 years old, so the fact that I could potentially combine my love for plants with my love for creating videos, totally motivated me to produce more content for TikTok. All my videos got thousands of views, lots of engagement, comments and shares. Only a few of them went viral with over million views, which is when I started to analyze what people enjoyed about my videos and how I could improve my content to reach more people. Early on, I began using the phrase “don’t throw it out” in many of my videos. My followers liked the phrase and told me I should continue using it for future videos. I listened and it soon became my catchphrase.

In just 3 months, I had already gained a half of a million followers. My life had slowly started to change. Every day that I woke up, I brainstormed ideas, read through comments of my videos and researched what plant problems people are dealing with, in order to create more content that people around the world could find useful and learn from.

Around July 2020, many of my followers mentioned that I should write a book about my plant tips and tricks, because it was hard to find the information that they needed on my TikTok page. After uploading over 200 videos by August 2020, I realized it was tough for myself to even navigate and find my own videos. I decided to attempt writing a book.

From August to October 2020, I spent every day writing, designing, and ultimately creating the first edition of “Don’t Throw it Out!” – my first official book. I released it in December, and in just two weeks, 500 people had purchased the book.

I was speechless knowing how many people enjoyed and learned from my book. I had no idea it was going to be circulating the world the way it was. By the end of January, I reached 1 million followers on TikTok – and 8,000 copies of my book were sold. I continued creating new content, adding other tips and tricks that people could use in their home, kitchen and while cooking.

In February 2021, my first book was purchased 10,000 times, which is when I decided that it is time to start writing book number two (the one you’re reading right now). I can’t begin to express what it means to me that so many of you are learning from my videos and my book(s). It warms my heart to know that I’m able to inspire people to get into gardening, working with plants and just being more aware of food waste and sustainability. What is even more amazing to me is how many children are getting involved. Parents are doing plant projects with their kids using my videos and my books. Schools are educating students using my book, and companies and brands around the world have gained an interest in working with me to help inspire and encourage people of all ages to rethink what sustainability means.

I hope this gives you a better insight of who I am, even though there's still plenty I haven't mentioned. 

- Armen Adamjan, creative_explained