Coral-Leigh Ismail is a self–taught Artist, Writer, Designer and Magicians Assistant to ‘The Homosexuals’ (Late 60s Band previously known as The Rejects). She shared with us what it means to her to be an artist.
How would you describe your art work?
The best way to describe the themes and styles of my work, would be to close your eyes for a minute or so and to try and visualize a Pick n’ Mix bag of communication, people and stories all having a party together on your Iris. My work is extremely collective, versatile and has no concrete place to go. As an Artist you should transform your eyes to Magpie eyes and seek as much silver treasure as possible, which can be fed into your work .
Where do you take inspiration from?
I take all of my inspiration purely from People and from life. It’s a simple thing to write, but it is a fascinating thing to try and explain in my work. I find it difficult to try and comprehend how you could not to be honest. I am a Gypsy in abode and was brought up in a juxtaposition of two places; firstly, a tower block flat overlooking cowardly criminal boys snatching pearls of plenty from pensioners
Secondly my Gran and Grandad’s palace of Marmite on toast, down the road from the ‘millionaires house’, which in fact wasn’t the inhabitancy of millionaires. I moved abode around 20 times and school? I have lost count. That was a lovely bit of numbers and mathematics. I started to draw instinctual at a very young age, a form of escapism I would recognise it back as being now. As a family we weren’t very fond of where we would end up living, so my mama used to let us all write poems and draw on the wall. You can imagine yourself anywhere.
A gypsy, only with houses and flats. Moving around so much virtually sent me mute, it was difficult being a new girl all the time and as a child I was extremely shy, so drawing was a form of communication I felt comfortable in to make friends with. I remember vividly looking out our window and drawing jungles instead of the degenerates being destructive. It was fitting to do so, there were plenty of animals, outside but they weren’t lions, tigers and bears. To conquer my shyness I went to quite a notorious secondary school and begun to learn’ how to never shut up’.
Talking, travelling and meeting new people seem to be my main concrete source of inspiration. Its a massive subject matter and the avenues are extremely versatile. I strongly believe that talking is the medical remedy to at least 600 problems or even all. It’s the most underrated skill in our world. You learn so much from people, books are ornaments in comparison for education. The idea of being an artist, a human is to be able to coherently communicate and always cater to the needs of your listener(s). If you have no self awareness, substance and method, how on earth are you able to relate and understand others?
Who are your favourite Artists?
The majority of my favourite Artists are either Self-Taught, Outsider or have an infatuation with the conscience and sub conscience mind. A few of them include Niki de Saint Phalle, Stephen Wright and Dali.
What is your favourite Ice Cream flavour?
I love Ice Cream nearly as much as love! Pistachio ice cream is a fond frozen flavor of mine.
Jake Mitchell shares his opinion on how to keep your head above the water after graduation.
Graduation can be a great time, and a scary time. It’s the beginning of the rest of your life. If you learn to do three simple things, your post graduation job hunt will go much more smoothly.
1. Stay focused. After you graduate, most people have the tendency to slide backwards. When you are given more free time, you want to use it doing the things you normally do. You want to have fun. The biggest asset to your job hunt is to treat it as if it is a job itself. Wake up early every day, and do job hunt work from 8-5. After that you can spend the day however you like, but make sure to stay on topic for your “work day.”
2. Get help. Remember that you don’t have to do it all alone. Write up a draft of your resume, and pass it to each of your friends, but send it one at a time so each friend can upgrade upon what your last friend has changed too. By the time your resume has gone through all your friends it will be a polished gem. Also, never be afraid to ask someone you know if they may have some openings at their place of work.
3. Meet new people. Many people think getting a job online is the easiest. In reality, it is not. The majority of available jobs out there are not posted online, and some positions you apply for online already have been filled. You should spend about 2 hours a day looking online, but after that do research about job fairs, or other places where you may meet someone who could connect you with a winning position.
Following these three steps is a great way to start off your job search. If you dedicate to doing this, you will find a job in no time easily.
Jade Langton-Evans specializes in bespoke natural and beautiful photography for weddings, maternity, babies, children and family, as written in her biography. She is not only a very talented photographer but she has also started up her own successful business at a very young age. Turning her hobby into her dream job. She is a great example of how following your dreams can pay off and keep the inspiration flowing.
The whole interview was a little bit long for a blog post, so we have selected the very best bits for the blog. But because there was so much more we wanted to give you the opportunity to read the whole Elexu interview with Jade Langton-Evans – we can highly recommend it.
Christy R.: Tell me a bit about your business and what introduced you to photography?
Jade: What I loved photographing the most were people. Every single person is different and fascinating in their own way and I loved to be able to capture stories and expressions as well as emotions. There are so many inspirational photographers and artists out there and I embraced visually others work.
It took me a few years to get me to the point where I am today, I worked and learnt some things from professionals and also became a manager at a big photography company from which I felt in my heart it was time for me to flee and start out for myself. I must add this is one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life!
I had been taking on weddings and portraits when I could fit them in alongside my full time job, but I wanted to be able to give my clients an experience that included my whole heart and soul. It takes a long time to develop a style that people understand you.
The steps I took into starting the business were the biggest; taking the lunge into actually working and being self-reliant for myself.
Christy R.: What is your biggest accomplishment to date?
Jade: I have been very lucky in my first year of business to have some wonderful accomplishments. Such as my work being featured on some of the top wedding and baby blogs on the UK.
Christy R.: What is the most difficult thing about running your own business?
Jade: I think the most difficult thing about running a business is being able to stand out from the crowd constantly against the competition. I think especially when there are so many people trying to be different and inspiring and it takes a long time to become established and known for a particular area you have to be on your toes all the time and sometimes it feels like I’m sleeping, eating and breathing photography and hoping that people can find me in between the sea of other artists. It goes to say though that I’m very blessed in the respect that most of my clientele have found and booked me because of images they have seen of their own friends and family and it soon becomes a huge link.
Christy R.: What inspires you?
Jade: What starts my ideas off can be something very simple such as beautiful scenery, pretty things, books, good use of light, photographs, people, window displays, seasons and life in general and a big one is my clients! My work is really focused on them so I bring a piece of them into each individual session.
I regularly take time out to chill such as walking in the countryside when I’m busy because your brain can get so bogged down with editing, replying to emails, sorting out samples, and albums etc. etc. that you have to remind yourself daily why you love what you do.
If I can take some quiet time regularly to think in peace it floods my mind with new inspirations to enable to keep creating new ideas. I also think it’s important to keep being inspired because it’s the key to your creativity. If I wasn’t inspired I genuinely would not be able to capture emotion and love, which I do in my images.
Today we have an interview from David Young, one of our budding interns, and an aspirant, Alicia Erb, who shares with us her ambition to become a Pay Per Click Account Manager.
David: Tell me about yourself…
Alicia: I’m a recent Texas Tech graduate of marketing and minor in sociology. I currently work at Top Spot Internet Marketing in Houston as a PPC Account Manager. In the little free time I have, I like to spend time with my family and friends, hit up the gym for a little Zumba and catch some rays by the pool.
David: What are you aspiring to do now that you have graduated?
Alicia: Well I have a lot of professional goals now that I’ve graduated. First off, I plan to learn as much as I can about being a successful PPC Account Manager and create a lot of successful leads for all my clients. And ultimately, I hope to be promoted based on performance within my first year.
David: What was it that made you decide you wanted to do marketing?
Alicia: A lot of trial and error. I was always interested in business (b/c my mom is an accountant) but after trying out different roles that were focused on accounting, for example being my sorority’s treasurer, I realized that accounting wasn’t the aspect for me. I had an opportunity to work for a marketing agency and I loved that aspect of business, mostly because I love interacting with people.
David: What has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Alicia: My biggest challenge was probably deciding what I wanted to do professionally. It was a little discouraging when all my friends knew exactly what they wanted to do and I had no idea. My main goal was to find a profession that I would love and I would be proud of and although it took a while to figure it out, I’m glad I didn’t settle for one just based on pay or financial security.
David: Elexu’s three pillars are content, capital, and connections. How do you think these things could help you?
Alicia: Well obviously content and capital are great things to gain, but as a marketer I believe the most important one to gain would be the connections. I believe creating relationships with people, personally and professionally is the most important part in being successful.
Wendy Paintsil founded @sixtyseven communications, a PR and social enterprise in Wrexham (North Wales) two years ago after being made redundant. @sixtyseven is now a successful PR establishment that helps community cohesion projects as well as taking on PR projects. Their most successful project to date is The Wrexham Community choir, aimed at breaking down barriers in the community; the multi cultural choir has over 160 members and has performed at music festivals all over Wales.
1. What made you choose to start up @67 communications? I had thought many times about setting up my own business but when I was made redundant in 2009, I decided to give it a go and put my effort in to making it work. I had worked previously in the field of social affairs broadcasting, media training, community development and press office work and wanted to combine all of these areas of interest into a company which worked to break down communication barriers and give access to the media to voices which are not usually heard or to those who find it difficult to do so. As a social enterprise, I wanted to create a company with a difference – one that sole’s objective was not pursuit of money but had people at its centre. I also aimed to provide training and create long term job opportunities to people living in Wrexham who have incredible talent and skills who often have to leave the area to find work. I wish I had started years ago!
2. What were the difficulties? The main difficulty in setting up a business without capital is that there are no financial resources available to assist new start ups based in Wrexham town centre. Whilst there are a plethora of government funded agencies that advertise services to assist business – unfortunately, these are mainly sign posting services and in reality fail to deliver real support. I spent many months visiting many of these services to find myself back at square one. I felt I had wasted a lot of time and the main thing I learnt was I was taking time and energy away from focusing on developing the business and doing actual work.
There is a personal financial sacrifice to be made which does impact on your family life. Working to create a successful company means you learn to do without what you were used to, sacrificing holidays and other things which it used to be easy to waste money on. It also means you never switch off from work, being ill is something you have to work through and there is always something to do. There is a plus side though, it means you can work to drive forward what makes your heart sing, you keep your integrity and whilst some jobs are mundane – you set your own goals, you meet fabulous people, have the opportunity to act on your ideas and work on fantastic projects and there is never a day which you dread seeing your boss.
3. What is special about @67s approach to PR? Whilst atsixyseven provides usual PR services, we are also specialists in the field of multi-cultural PR – engaging with many organisations and issues which affect the diverse communities living in the area.
4. What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given? Tough question as I have been given so many pieces of advice by business advisors, followed them and realised that I’ve been sent down the wrong path. I think one piece of advice given to me many years ago was that “it’s better to regret the things you’ve done rather than regret those things you never did”. So whatever the future holds – I had a go!
5. And what would be the best piece of advice you would give to anybody that would want to start up their own social enterprise company? It is not for me to advise anyone – I can pass on my experience but anyone who insists that there is only one way to do something is probably someone I’d ignore. You are the best person to advise yourself. This is what I try to do but know there is always room for improvement – Treat people well. Trust myself. Be open and be willing to learn. Never thinking my job has more value or significance than someone else’s – I’m lucky at the moment but never take it for granted – we are more than a job title. Take time to think and plan. Take a walk every day and have time to switch off even for a short while – it’s amazing what great ideas I have when I’m away from sitting at a computer screen. Laugh. Talking to people and being engaged and aware of what’s going on around me. Being curious and never forgetting the importance of my family and friends – they’re my biggest support for when things are good or bad – why I am who I am and why I do what I do.
Here is a video bonus where Wendy answered the question – ‘In what ways did you generate an income to help you first start out in freelance PR?’
Community is vital for anyone who seeks support in a career that has unexpected challenges. Today we have an interview from Amy Bloom, one of our budding interns, and a musical theatre aspirant, Ben, who shares with us his journey and struggles in his career.
Amy: I hear you have landed the part of Warner in Legally Blonde in Colchester, Essex Congratulations. What drew you to singing (what do you love about it)?
Ben: Thank you very much. Well when I hurt my leg back in 2007, I decided to start singing again, as I had previously been in my school choir in Junior School. My Grandparents showed me a DVD concert version of Les Miserables, which inspired me to try and sing the song Bring Him Home. It has taken me about 5 years to get my voice to the point where I can finally sing the show stopper but there is still a lot of room for improvement.
Amy: Are there any obstacles or struggles you face in your career that would cause you to stop pursuing musicals?
Ben: I think there is definitely a pre conception in life that everything is just going to fall on your lap. I believe if you are disciplined in any field and learn your craft through hard work you will get there eventually. However I do feel that there are some great artists that are not picked up by record labels purely on the basis that they “DONT FIT THE MOULD” or that they are not what the label is looking for at that moment in time. I think that is where we all struggle as artists.
Amy: Do you think if you had more (Content, Capital or Connections) it would be easier?
Ben: Without a doubt, money and connections would help tremendously. For example if I had more time to gig more and get my teeth into more hearty productions and train my voice more regularly I am sure I could progress extremely quickly. I love my job at the moment but it is not what I want to be doing when I am 30. My goal is to sing in the Royal Albert Hall and bring the house down.
Amy: When Elexu is up and running is a competition (Endowment) something you would be interested in joining?
Ben: Of course, I would love the chance to further my career.
Amy: What sort of endowments would you like to see for an aspiring singer?
Ben: An endowment that gave someone like me the chance to meet an already well-established singer would be great, so I could get advice on how to progress in my field or the chance to spend a day behind the scenes of a music video being filmed or backstage at the theatre, would be great!
For more information about Ben check out: http://www.benbrunning.co.uk or Twitter: @bbrunningmusic.
Hope you’ve enjoyed hearing a bit from the life of one of our aspirants. Elexu is always looking to help those just like Ben and anyone with a dream who needs access to $ (capital), info (content), or connections. Sign up for the Elexu newsletter to become on of the invite-only members on our site!