“Can I show you something?”, Joy Divizn asks excitedly as Hakeem Rowe grins in response. He pulls out a pair of Apple cord headphones from his pocket, giving Keem an ear-bud as he scoots over on the dark-washed leather couch.
“This is the sh*t I’m on. I just made this,” Joy says showing him his phone. “This is how you know I really got it.” The pair rock out together for a few minutes, with Joy praising the angles and clips of the short film he’s stashed. Yet his work remains shrouded in mystery.
With Opium tatted on his left arm, it’s clear the Houston native’s affiliation with the label is inked beyond that of a paper contract. Cultivating relationships that have taken him farther than imagined, he moved to Los Angeles at 19 years old with just $100 in his pocket — taking a leap of faith that changed his life forever.
“I really think my life started when I moved to LA,” he said. “It didn’t start until six years ago. Even to this day, I feel like I’m not supposed to be here. It’s not that I haven’t done enough, but it’s just like, who is this guy?”
You may be wondering that very question: Who is Joy Divizn? As a photographer, videographer and clothing designer, the 25-year-old’s talents lie within the confines of rudderless and rebellious allure. Combatting conventionality — saying he always felt like the “world was against me” growing up in Houston — Joy (aka Phoenix Guerrero) finds, well, joy in his passion for film. His moniker not only defines his very existence as a creative, but is a guide to lead him to a brighter state of mind. “Joy” is even tatted on his eyelid, serving as a reminder on the positive outlook he seeks.
He found his calling at a film camp in third grade, where his parents provided him with an outlet for creativity and expression. His father was “the artist,” as Joy felt a greater sense of accomplishment when completing his second film at camp. “That was the one,” he said, knowing that in that moment his path had been unveiled. As far as reference points, it was the critically-acclaimed Fight Club that fueled Joy’s undying love for filmmaking — allowing him to truly focus on making the most out of his creative process. However, he doesn’t do music videos, proudly attesting that “That’s not me.”
Manifesting himself in Hollywood, he kept cool and stayed authentic — first striving to link up with Opium-adjacent creative Ian Connor. Following a few back-and-forth exchanges on Twitter, their meeting happened coincidentally as he recalls. Joy interestingly worked as Maxo Kream’s assistant for a short period of time, when he soon realized Connor lived a street across from him. He and Connor connected, which led to Joy becoming a fixture in Playboi Carti’s camp.
His style is instantly synonymous with the grainy, lo-fi visuals of Opium — whose dark, rage-inducing aura is comparable to that of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. “Everything repeats itself,” he said referencing Ozzy concerts in the ‘90s, and iconic collectives like Odd Future and A$AP Mob. “It’s our time right now.” Blacked-out fits, Rick Owens, spiked chokers and dreary face makeup; all of which embodies the movement “the one” Carti ignited. While not directly signed to Opium, in Joy’s mind “creative consulting is just talking” (i.e. Burberry Erry) and Carti listens.
“He really gave his current self to ‘Whole Lotta Red’… that week, he was just in the zone. I’ve never seen anything like that. Watching him make ‘ROCKSTAR MADE’ literally just confirmed everything. He just knows what he’s doing with everything. It’s almost coming off as unintentional because it’s flowing out of him — it’s so natural.”Joy Divizn
Ultimately, intrigue is Joy’s niche — stacking mountains of reels in his hard drive that may or may not see the light of day. An integral part to capturing the process of Whole Lotta Red, Joy’s admiration for the “biggest artist in the world” has been virtually lifelong (six years to be exact). Aside from their close friendship, Joy’s worked with Carti on a number of unreleased projects — one being a leaked snippet of Carti’s original verse on Drake’s “Pain 1993.”
“At any given time, I can just drop. When? I don’t know. It’s either not happening anytime soon or after I’m gone,” he offhandedly mentions, speaking on in-studio clips of WLR sessions — revealing Carti completed the album in five days’ time — as well as now infamous footage of Virgil Abloh’s first-ever Louis Vuitton show. “Timing is everything” to Joy, and in time, his influence will truly reveal itself.
“Once this next video drops, people will finally understand. It will really show my range. I create things for me, not for others. I’m not doing [campaigns] or things like that.”Joy Divizn
It’s not just the grungy, cigarette-clad VHS shots either. His clothing brand, “Painkiller,” provides him with the capital to continue fueling his cinematic efforts. Whether it be promoting a new collection or to solely cleanse his creative soul, his short films seem him embrace his pain, build his world and find therapeutic bliss, among other things.
“With me, I feel like it’s half art and half…”, he trails off. “I’m not trying to get too dark, but I have issues. Childhood issues end up making you, and I’m thankful for that. Use that pain and go crazy. You can always turn it into something positive. It just takes one opportunity for your life to change and you won’t know it until it happens.”
Unpacking his come-up and creative instincts with OGM host Hakeem Rowe, Joy Divizn speaks on Opium, Playboi Carti, Ian Connor, Fight Club, filmmaking, cinematography and more in this extremely exclusive Our Generation Music interview.
Watch Joy Divizn’s interview below!