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Meet David Kamara, creative entrepreneur and Chelsea graduate

David looking directly into the camera
  • Written byEleanor Harvey
  • Published date 04 September 2023
David looking directly into the camera
David Kamara | Photograph: Self Made and Seen, Lisa Gilby

We met David Kamara at an Alumni Networking event earlier this year. We were so impressed by his strength and dedication to both his work and his everyday life that we wanted to know more.

In 2019, he graduated from Chelsea College of Arts with a BA Fine Art. Since then, he’s launched House of Fire Studios, a multimedia production house; and educational platform The Sowing Grounds, all whilst battling chronic illness.

Here he talks us through his challenges and successes as a creative entrepreneur.

Can you share a little about yourself and your experience as a creative entrepreneur?

My journey as a creative entrepreneur has been a transformative one, filled with challenges and moments of self-discovery.

I faced a significant obstacle that tested my determination. For years, I battled chronic illness that left me bedridden, unable to communicate or pursue my creative passions. It was a dark time and served as a major obstacle to my dreams, but it also became the catalyst for a profound shift in the way I see things. While I couldn't actively work on my dreams during that time, it ignited an unwavering determination within to overcome adversity and make a difference in the world. Given my limitations, I recognised the importance of building a business that allowed me to work on it rather than being physically involved in the day-to-day.

In 2020 I launched House of Fire Studios, a production house that honours those who’ve made significant impact and are willing to pursue a vision. I wanted to highlight the unique human characteristics to overcome challenges despite major setbacks.

What was the most significant obstacle you encountered when starting your business?

The internal battle with doubt and discouragement. A desire and determination to create something impactful was being fuelled within me, but physical limitations hindered me from pursuing these ambitions. The discouragement set in when I decided to take a break from the business to focus on my health (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!). Although I was inactive, it was also a time of introspection for me. I experienced a profound shift in paradigms and outlook on life, motivating me to persevere and create meaningful work.

Are you able to pin-point the turning point for you?

During this time I was fortunate enough to cross paths with a colleague who, not only worked in the same industry as me but, also empathised with my situation, having faced similar trials. She supported and guided me into re-engaging in work and projects. Initially I was hesitant as I didn’t want to push myself, especially as the work was exhausting at times. However, that’s when I stumbled upon the strangest thing. Through engaging in work again I felt a positive shift in my health and well-being, as if it nourished my soul. I discovered the power of purpose and gained a deep understanding of the idea of self-actualisation in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I believe there’s immense power in 'purpose' to heal and transform lives. This year we collaborated to launch an educational platform The Sowing Grounds.

You mentioned your platform, The Sowing Grounds, which provides innovative education for the contemporary creative industry. Can you tell us more about it?

The Sowing Grounds embodies my belief in the potential for growth in every individual. The idea behind the name is that we’re comparing investing in one's personal development to the careful nurturing of a seed.

Our mission is to provide a supportive environment for creative entrepreneurs to cultivate their skills and gain the tools needed to succeed, both now and in the future. The platform goes beyond traditional education, focusing on future innovations and technologies in the creative industry. We hope to use the platform to help participants stay ahead of the curve and develop skills that will remain relevant in the years to come.

Based on your experiences working with your business partner, what are the benefits of collaboration?

I've always felt like there’s a mysterious quality to collaboration, it has an unexplainable power to help you achieve great things that couldn’t be accomplished alone. When you work with others each person brings their unique perspective and experience, and everyone gets to tap into that wealth of collective knowledge. Sometimes, it’s hard to lift yourself out of a rut, but when someone says "let’s start something” or “let’s build something great together”, it’s inspiring. There’s a creative force in such language that pushes you to reach deep within yourself and accomplish things you didn’t know were possible.

What’s next for you?

Now, I'm focused on reclaiming the time I lost due to my illness by embracing life and making the most of every opportunity. I'm taking steps to improve my online presence and share more of myself and my story, at a pace that feels comfortable for me. I’ve changed profoundly as a person and I want my online image to reflect that growth, even if it's just a symbolic representation.

I’ve adopted a new mindset to live life on my terms. Meaning, if there's a place I want to explore, someone I'd like to meet, or something I'm eager to experience, I seize the moment without hesitation. It's about saying 'yes' to the experiences that resonate with my soul.

How did attending UAL help your career?

My biggest takeaway from Chelsea was undoubtedly developing creative thinking. While it may seem straightforward, the complexity lies in how it shapes our minds to constantly generate new ideas.

In art school, we're consistently working towards various deadlines, showcases, and exhibitions, which becomes a training ground for our creative minds. We learn to exercise that creative muscle, seeing things from diverse perspectives and exploring multiple possibilities.

It's led me to a place where I feel like an idea machine - I can't turn off that part of my brain. This skill has proven invaluable in my creative career. When you’re starting out, you discover the most important aspect is being of service to others. I’m always thinking up creative solutions to interesting challenges faced by my clients. I believe, when you adopt the mindset of a problem solver, you'll always be able to create value in everything you do.

Connect with The Sowing Grounds on LinkedIn and Instagram

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