Vidsy Chats: Luke O'Brien
Working across multiple creative fields can be a balancing act, but it can also be an opportunity to refresh and challenge yourself.
We speak to Luke O’Brien, a graffiti artist and Vidsy motion designer, about his approach to creating and advice for young people starting out.
What do you think the creative mindset is?
“I feel like you often see the stereotype of creative people being a bit frustrated. But deep inside, they’re just people who want to be their true self. Creative people are really in accordance with who they are, and often just really want to be heard. It’s cool when people, especially in creative fields, feel comfortable with themselves and what they create.
A lot of creative people are, you might say, lone-wolves. They usually have a strict vision of what they want to achieve. Being creative and the nature of being creative really pushes people to be like ‘this is me and this is what I want to do and I’m going to do it myself if I have to’, which I think is really amazing.”
Has your creative approach changed?
“Yeah, definitely. It takes a long time to know what you want to do creatively. It took me four to five years just to figure out what I wanted to focus on. But then it takes even more time to be confident in what you are creating. Confidence is by far what takes the longest to achieve.
The main switch for me was doing my first exhibition in London after moving here. I felt like I had an impact on people and it helped me be more vocal. I wasn’t shy before, but I was calm and didn’t talk much, I did my own thing. After I got my work out, I felt like I was making an impact. I felt validated.”
What advice would you give to a young person starting out in the creative world?
“I’d just say never stop trying. It’s hard to know what you want to do but the more you try the more ideas you get. Sometimes what’s more important is knowing what you don’t want to do creatively. Knowing you tried something and it wasn’t for you can be a really powerful tool to move forward.
You have so much available: try being hands-on, try digital, try print, try the short efficient way, try the long passionate way. Have fun and talk to people. See what aspects of creative work you like, then go with what feels comfortable.”
So you work across multiple mediums: graffiti, film and motion design. Do you think this changed your creative approach?
“It’s really good for me because it balances things out, especially when I’m feeling saturated. Honestly, I think most creative people struggle to only do one thing. For example, if you take a graphic designer, it’s likely they do some music on the side or something similar.
You often get this double lifestyle with creative people. I think it’s because we want to create more and more, but it’s hard to be constant in just one field. So when one area feels saturated, you just hop on another. Like I don't feel very filmy now. But I know in a few weeks I can break away and go back to it.”
What are the challenges facing young people in the creative industry in 2019?
“The biggest challenge is having confidence. It’s knowing that opportunity is out there, even if there’s lots of competition. It can feel like certain fields get saturated. For example, I’ve seen a surge of 3D artists on Instagram, and if that’s what you’re doing it can be hard to stand out.
But on the other side, educating yourself and accessing resources is easier than ever. If you want to learn something new, you can. And this is true everywhere in the world, more and more people have access to the internet and learning new skills. However, with this comes more saturation. Although I like to use the challenge of standing out to push my creativity, it’s not about being jealous of other people’s work, I feel inspired when I see someone create something really cool. It pushes me to create more.”
Looking for more insights into building a career in the creative industry?