Ernest seeks out and interviews independent thinkers, companies and individuals who make AND do things that make a difference and bring colour to our city. We talk to James from OYOI NCL.
Who are you? What do you make or do?
Hello! My name is James, I represent OYOI NCL, a locally based online platform design to help independents and creatives in the city showcase what they do to new audiences online.
In the time we’ve been networking in Newcastle we’ve met some amazing creatives and taken part in some great projects. I’m also a self-taught photographer, and I’ve got some… pretty unique photos of the city…
Why do you do this?
Me and my team do this because we love Newcastle, and we’re driven to give something back to the city that inspired us while we grew up. We also understand the difficulty of getting your work out there, so we aim to help anyone in any way we can!
Where did you first get involved, where did the idea come from?
Around 18 months ago now we had the idea for the blog and website, but it’s only recently we’ve freed up space in our personal lives to really engage with the community and start some creative projects. The idea came from a trip to Leeds, where I was inspired by a similar business model, and realised I could bring this to Newcastle.
Give us an idea of the background detailed planning that goes with what you do?
We spend a lot of time meeting new people and discovering what they do in the community. We then think about ways we can showcase their work to new audiences, whether that’s blogging about them or collaborating with them on some design work.
In terms of the photography we do, a fair amount of planning and preparation goes into finding the right time and place to get the shots. It’s always worth the effort.
What does a typical day look like?
We have a studio space in Heaton, so an average day is normally spent in their designing the website, meeting clients and brainstorming projects. At the moment we’ve been curating a street art project in Heaton, which has lead us to find some really big clients looking for mural work for their businesses, meaning we’ve been in the office organising invoices and proposals for designs.
Who do you like working with?
Generally speaking, I enjoy working with young creatives, and people who are new to what they do. I like to give them that much-needed support and encouragement to really push themselves and surround themselves with the right kind of people. It can be daunting trying to do your own thing, but if you know others are succeeding, it’s inspiring.
What is the most important thing that you have learned?
Don’t bite off more than you can chew! Take things as they come and always go at your own pace, or things can get stressful!
What does this bring to Newcastle?
A fresh platform to see what Newcastle has to offer beneath the surface. In 2013 Newcastle’s Art Funding was cut by 100%, however, in 2014, Newcastle was praised by the Guardian as the best City in Newcastle. I believe that this is thanks to the local independents really pushing the boundaries of what Newcastle has to offer, while the council sits back and does as little as possible to help.
How do you see your future?
Hopefully, the ball will keep rolling and OYOI will just get bigger and bigger, It’s something I’d love to make a career out of. When I was growing up, organisations like Electric Sheep and Unit44 inspired the person I am today, and one day I hope OYOI will inspire young adults to do more creative things for their area.