UTM’s Creatives For A Change hosted their third annual Careers in Creativity event, sponsored by the Department of Visual Studies and Department of English and Drama, on November 21. The event was hosted by Laurella Jose and Deema Abu Naser, the Vice President and Marketing Director of Creatives For A Change.
Careers in Creativity featured four professionals who work in various artistic fields. The itinerary included fifteen-minute talks from each speaker, a group Q&A, and concluded with networking opportunities.
The first speaker was Raquel Da Silva, a Toronto-based artist and designer, who mainly works with paintings. Da Silva is currently studying Painting and Furniture Design at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University. Before OCAD, she worked as an intern with Colour Magazine in Vancouver. Following her internship, she went to Brazil and began creating street art. During her stay in Brazil, she created a piece of artwork which ultimately became the foundation of her brand. She has collaborated with Nike Air Jordan and Adidas. Da Silva advised future artists to be comfortable with rejection, as it will happen a lot. She also advised them to attend events and network.
The second speaker was Almost Guilty, a visual artist from Toronto. When he began his talk, he stated he didn’t want to be like every other panel, sharing their success stories through PowerPoint slides. Rather, he wanted to express his experiences with a story about failure and how failure fuels motivation. Almost Guilty began his brand in Toronto but felt stuck. He decided he wanted to work for Kanye West, so he went to New York for New York Fashion Week where West was attending. Almost Guilty researched how to find West and tried to contact him. He saw West a few times before having the opportunity to give his contact information to West’s assistant, who said that he can work backstage during New York Fashion Week. Almost Guilty felt that his career was finally starting to develop. However, the day of New York Fashion Week, his name wasn’t on the list and the show began without him. Later in his career, he was invited to another fashion show where he actually met Kanye West face to face. Almost Guilty encouraged the audience to use failure as fuel because the road to success is never linear.
The third speaker was Sara Elgamal, a filmmaker and producer. Before her current career, she went to York University in hopes of becoming a journalist to share honest stories. She worked in news and decided that wasn’t the field for her, but realized she had good leadership skills and wanted to become a producer. Elgamal worked in the advertising field in the UK and worked on various music videos. She’s worked with musicians such as Daniel Caesar and Sonder. She directed a campaign for United Nations about female genital mutilation (FGM). During her presentation, she chose to share the music video for “Too Fast” by Sonder and the campaign video about FGM. Elgamal encouraged beginner musicians to have an idea of what they want to do when creating their brand and identity about music. She said money is needed, and people can get grants from banks and even collaborate with other brands as a source for income.
Hussein Ibrahim, a Toronto-based fashion designer, was the final speaker. He works at the Get Fresh Company as the lead designer. In his talk, Ibrahim gave advice on starting a company. He said entrepreneurs have to focus on their goals, otherwise they’ll get distracted and want to give up. He structured his presentation with how-to slides labelled: “Tunnel Vision,” “Link & Build,” “Energy,” “Keep it Moving,” “Increase Your Value,” and “All Due in Time.” Ibrahim explained maintaining relationships and attending events are ways to increase visibility for creators. Entrepreneurs have to hustle, grind, and do everything they can to reach goals. He advised entrepreneurs to never give up. There’s always more to do, such as make realistic goals and surround yourself with people who motivate you. Ibrahim has worked with Bruno Mars, Puma, and the Toronto Raptors.
Careers in Creativity educated the audience about the knowledge and experience it takes to venture into a creative field.