Othello studied Photography (PG Dip) at Central Saint Martins in 2000, and then came back to UAL to study the MA in Fine Art at Camberwell College of Arts in 2011. We met with Othello on a sunny afternoon in London to hear about his experiences working as a photographer.
The key to getting work is to keep plugging away, and work in the field that you want to get into, even if it’s not what you want to be doing straight away.
When I was at CSM I also got a part time job at the Photographers’ gallery. This eventually resulted in them giving me my own commission, The world in London. If you want to work in your chosen industry, get any job you can in that field – it’s the best way to get the contacts and you never know what can become of it.
The MA at Camberwell changed everything for me. The course was diverse, there were performance artists, painters, sculptors… It gave me the ability to understand and contextualise my work. I was mostly doing commercial work before the MA, and I wanted to go down the fine art route. The course helped me break down my whole process and changed the way I thought about my work. It also taught me to let go of control – you can’t control what other people say, or interpret about your work…
I am still in touch with my lecturer from the MA, Rebecca Fortnum. She gives me advice and direction. I am also part of an amazing network of friends from Central St Martins who are really supportive of each other’s work.
Lots of galleries in London have young people’s programmes for under-24s which are all free. Join these while you can, as they’re a great way to build up your contacts.
I am based in Clerkenwell, I don’t have a studio at the minute but am searching for a place where I can live and work. In Liverpool there is a creative quarter – London needs something like that, where there is rent control for at least five years. As an artist there is very little security in London, I have had to leave two studios in the past due to developments of luxury apartments, and it’s getting so expensive.
Having a website is vital. People look you up before you meet them, you have to be visible – you can’t blag anymore. I am at the stage now where I meet people and they tell me what I’ve done!
Othello’s L8 Unseen Commission is currently in the Museum of Liverpool until the 6th September.
Othello has also been working on the Masculinity Project – you can find out more about the project here