FAI Instructors of the Month: July 2016

Congratulations to Cassaundra Smyth, and Kevin Axtell for being chosen as FAI’s Instructors of the month!


Tell Us A Little About Yourself.

I moved to California when i was 20. Lived in SoCal 5 years and now Oakland for a year. I spend my time trying to push my skill level in the arts that i am truly passionate about.

“An artist is never happy with his work”

Years from now I’ll still be pushing my crafts with a higher skill level and more experience and accomplishments under my belt.

What Are Some  Interesting Statistics or Unique Talents That You Have?

I have a degree in Fine Arts and a degree in Multimedia Design. I’ve been working as a branding and advertising designer for almost 4 years now and have been doing design work for FAI for 2 years now.

How Did You Come Into Flow Arts?

I started spinning poi 6 years ago through a group of friends going to raves. 6 years later it amazes me how much the art means to me and where it has taken me in life. I truly wouldn’t be the person I am today, or have the amazing people I have in my life, or have experienced what I have if it wasn’t for this art. The community isn’t just a community to me anymore, its family.

What Props Do You Use And What Props Are Your Favorite?

Poi – 6 years

Mini hoops – 4 years

Fans – 4 years

Double staffs – 3 years

Clubs – 2 years

My main prop and favorite to teach and play with is poi.

Where Have You Taught And Where Will You Be Teaching?

March 24 – March 27 Universal Flow Gathering Apple Valley California 2 Workshops

April 14 – April 17 Manipulation 2016 pres. Master Ongs Prop Shop // April Edition Buckhorn Camp, Idyllwild, CA. 2 Workshops

April 22 – April 24 UCSCJC — 2016 UC Santa Cruz Juggling Convention West Field House, UCSC 1 Workshop

May12 – May 15 Spin Summit La Foret Conference & Retreat Center, Colorado, 2 Workshops, Showcase Performance

May 19 – May 22 Kinetic Fire 2016 Hannon’s Camp America 2 Workshops

June 2 – June 5 FireDrums 2016 Calaveras County California

That’s all for me for the this year till next season. I may be in the showcase at Pacific Fire 2016, September 15 – 18, but I haven’t got confirmed for it yet.




Tell Us A Little About Yourself.

I was born in Colorado but grew up in Northern California. Since high school, I’ve easily been to over 100 Juggling and Flow Arts Festivals and they have in many ways shaped my life. I have been a professional entertainer for 14 years, performing both Juggling and Fire Shows all over the state, country, and, world. I’ve performed in pairs, groups, and as a solo artist and I love it all! In addition to performance, I am also a motivator and Master Firewalking Instructor. This has been a huge part of my life, motivating and inspiring others has really helped me stay motivated myself throughout the years. I work as the Director for The Firewalking Center, in California. In addition to performing and firewalking, the other big part of my professional life is event production. I am a partner at the Flow Arts Institute and the General Manager of the FireDrums Festival. I have also served 2 terms on the Board of Directors for the International Jugglers Association (IJA). I live an exciting, challenging, blessed life that I am grateful for every single day. Also, I’m married to an incredible, talented, beautiful woman named Brandi, and I have two awesome kitties named Isa and Kai. In addition to growing my current projects, my goals for the future include learning and teaching fire Magic as well as entering into the stand up comedy realm.

What Are Some  Interesting Statistics or Unique Talents That You Have?

I have a very high level of skills with multiple Props.

I co created a Club Manipulation Instructional DVD called “Club Motion” back in 2009

I love to make sculpture and art out of my many props. A hobby I call “Prop Art”

I also play the guitar and write songs.

How Did You Come Into Flow Arts?

I learned to juggle way back in high school from a friend in drama class. After I graduated high school I started going to Juggling Festivals (in Lodi and Humboldt). There, I fell in love with object manipulation in general. At these festivals I started to work with Poi, Staff, and Contact Juggling in addition to my relentless juggling habit. These props were my first experiences of “Flow”. Even though I was already using flow arts tools, I feel I really became a Flow Artist when I attended my first flow festival, FIREDRUMS! That event had me hooked. I loved juggling festivals, but they always felt a little too tame and sterile. The vibe of the Fire and Flow Festival scene really hit home with me and I fell in love all over again.

What Props Do You Use And What Props Are Your Favorite?

Balls – 18 years

Clubs – 16 years

Contact Juggling – 16 years

Poi – 15 years

Staff + Double Staff – 14 years

Rings – 12 years

Diabolo – 12 years

Fans – 5 years

Buugeng – 2 years

Fire Magic – 1 year

Where Have You Taught And Where Will You Be Teaching?

Have taught at,

April – FLAME Festival – Georgia – Multiple Workshops

May – Kinetic Fire Festival – Ohio Multiple Workshops + Performance

June – FireDrums – California General Manager of event – Performance + workshops

June – Ignight Fire Flow Conference LA California Multiple Workshops + Performance


Will be teaching at,

August 5th – 7th ELFIT ( Empowerment leader training) – Massachusetts – seminar special guestinstructor

August 11th-14th – New England Flow Fest (NEFF) – New Hampshire – Workshops, Performance, Firewalk

Sept 15th- 18th – Pacific Fire Gathering – Oregon Coast – Firewalking

October 21st-23rd Pyrotrainia 2016 Multiple Classes and empowerment activities – Vista California

Nov 18th-20th – Firewalking Instructor Training – Tuolumne California – Seminar leader

Anything Else You Would Like To Mention?

I’m also involved in the Flow Arts Institute‘s Fire Safety Program. annnnnnnd I run an annual retreat/training intensive for flow artists called PYROTRAINIA that blends firewalking and empowerment with high end skill workshops. The Next one is October 21st-23rd in southern California –

For more follow Kevin on Facebook, follow him on Instagram, and check out his website www.kevinaxtell.com.

Photo & Video Credits: 

Jim Fitzgerald

Jacob Avanzato

Robert Nadel of Robert Stone Nadel Photography

Omar Nazif of Omar Nazif Photography

Andrew Dolan of Andrew Dolan Photography

Jeremiah Johnston

Jeremy Hohengarten of Still Music Photography

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