“I started writing short stories in New Zealand, where I grew up, and then continued through secondary school in Devon. I wrote my first book when I was 18, a collection of short facts only half of which are true, leaving the reader to guess which are real and which are fake. Since then, I’ve spent the last three years at university in Oxford, where I’ve devoted most of my time to the completion of a sci-fi novel called ‘Earth after Man’. The story takes place centuries after a nuclear war has wiped out the majority of humanity, and begins in a beautiful village known only as the Gleam. Survivors can gain entry to this paradise, but only on one condition. Before joining the society, you must put on a headset that wipes the entirety of your memories and your mind.
A couple of months ago I submitted the first couple of chapters of this book to a London literary agency, the very same organisation that represents JK Rowling. Unbelievably, they liked what they saw, and requested to see the rest of my manuscript! They’re currently looking over it whilst they decide whether or not they’d be willing to represent me in the future.
I’d just love to get the book published so I can write more and more and more, but I realise that idea might be a bit of a pipe dream. At the moment I’m just being patient and realistic whilst I wait to see what the agency decide to do with me. I’ve been keeping distracted with some other creative projects, such as co-writing and acting in an amateur short movie called ‘Sunrise in the Evening.’ It was filmed across a variety of London locations, and will be fully released in February. Anyone interested can see the trailer right here!
At the end of the day, it’s just really important to create. I know our society doesn’t always encourage it, but I don’t think anyone should ever quash their imagination. And hey, if you can find a way to make money off your creativity too? Then in the words of Aunty Donna: haven’t you done well.”
“I’m finding this whole point in my life incredibly bizarre. I’m 21, and everything is suddenly more complex. It never fully occurred to me how blurred so many lines actually are – nothing is as clear cut as I once thought. Friends, relationships, education, work etc. it’s all a lot more messy now I’m older. I’ve gone through situations I never even considered would happen. A lot of staple things are just not there anymore, so in some ways I feel like it’s now up to me to stabalise. Some days this is exciting, but others it’s completely terrifying.
What are you working on?
Following from how I started writing my book, this came about when Hugh provided a random title, for which I then provided a blurb. Hugh messaged to say he enjoyed what I had written, to the point where I thought to myself: why not make it into a story? Hugh had completed his book, one which I’m sure and hope will get the attention it deserves, and mentioned how cathartic writing was.
The freedom to write about concepts I had enjoyed from other writings was odd. It didn’t matter that my writing was potentially completely awful, that the last time I actually wrote anything similar was during GCSEs, I could just explore the ideas I had always wanted to explore. It was, and is, cool to see how things formed, and crazier when I consider that it all came from me. I’ve always enjoyed talking to people who just create things for the love of creating itself; I hate to sound pretentious, but sometimes I think people get too caught up in the idea that the end result has to be significant, or that they’re not good enough sometimes saying they simply “can’t”. I can totally understand that, but it’s a whole other experience they’re missing out on.”
“I started music when I was 6. It’s been in my family for generations: my grandad was big into classical music, and my dad too
I think I wrote my first piece of music when i was about 16 or 17, yeah that really was a big moment for me. It’s that kick you get when you make that first break. Whether a t-shirt print designer who makes their first t-shirt, or a journalists first published article, or writing your first song, there’s this rush of achievement you feel. And after that you’re hooked. So it’s good and bad you know, because then there’s no going back, you get addicted.
My mum had been sick on and off for years, and this really put things into perspective about doing what you really want because you never know when it will be too late. I know a lot of people say it, but I strongly believe you should do what you love. And I think not enough people live this way.”
Luis: We studied together in illustration, she works for a newspaper that I illustrated for, he is a skill full illustrator and he is a fashion professional in character – is that a good description.
Rafael: We met five minutes ago for the first time.
Manrutt: But it was planned. We have kept in touch through Instagram, and then Luis told us he was coming to London, so we all arranged this day to finally meet in person.
Luis: I never been in London before so I came with my husband for three days and then I messaged the group to say I’m here and we should meet.
Jeremy: Plan today? We don’t have any plan for the day. We don’t have any plan you know… artists(!)
Manrutt: It is really important to connect. Working individually as a freelancer can be very isolated. Sometimes we are treated very poorly by others in the industry. So it is good to meet other like-minded artists to share our stories, exchange opinions, and to know I have support and not to suffer in silence. This will build a genuine, loving, and supportive community. In the world of social media where everything is consumed digitally, I miss and value human contacts. This can become rare in the capital city and I would like to break this cliche and do it more often.
From left to right:Manrutt, Luis Camargo, Rafael Zugliani, Ana, Jeremy Combot
– check out the Profiles tab for more info. and contact details for on Manrutt and Luis –
What you want to do / or be / or achieve: Living on my personal work
“Three and a half years ago I arrived in Brussels to showcase my first international solo exhibition. You can imagine how excited I was. If I knew how special that trip would be… Not only was the exhibition a big success, but it led me to meet the person who changed my life, in and out, completely. During a silly tour in Rome, I met my husband. As I get back to Brazil, I sold everything I had, and came here to live with him. Some people thought I was crazy, but I remembered my mother saying “go for it! how many times have you felt like this?”. And it was true. The only passion i felt so strong was towards my work. Life after that had its ups and downs, adjusting to a new country and life is not easy, but i don’t regret a thing. Now the goal is to get my old brazilian life back, but in here, making my living as a illustrator and an artist. I guess you never know, the smallest encounter can change you life. Just have to be a little brave and persist in it, nothing is for free.”
“I’m in full time modelling. I live over in Sweden now, and I’m back down for Fashion Week.
It wasn’t something I ever thought of doing – but once when I was out with my mum and someone came over and asked me if I’d ever considered modelling. I was 6ft 2 at the age of 15, so there was a lot of potential opportunities for me. So I kind of just fell into it. I’m 17 now, and the last two years have been incredible – my life changed like you can’t imagine. I had to leave school, because there was no way I could do both, with travelling to different countries on shoots, I was busy every day of the week. The most memorable thing I’ve done so far was probably my first GQ shoot, and I was involved in a piece with Juergen Teller. There were 4 of us, and we were flown over to Greenland where we had to pose without any clothes on, outside in the snow. Yeh, that was crazy, and of course, because it’s Jurgen Teller, you do it and know it’s also going to be an important art work that will be published.
I’ll probably do this until 24/25 I think, but I’m enjoying it, and will figure out later what I’ll do next. I’m quite chill with it. It’s what I advise other people too – stay chill and go for what you want, things will work themselves out along the way.”
“I became an animal welfare activist about a year ago. I have my own cat, who I adore, but I love all animals in general. I became a vegetarian too as I can’t say that I care for animals but then go around eating them. Nothing against the taste or health, but I couldn’t support it with my love for all creatures. So I help charities to market their causes; and even though I cannot go along to these places a lot, I give my financial and online support where I can.
Outside of my job I’m also in two music bands – the music always helps me to express my emotions, pain and anger about the world’s imperfections and the more people know me and my views the more they could possibly understand and start thinking in more compassionate direction.”
Check out Atashi Tada’s Instagram pages for more on her music: @dicepeople and @elysiandivide
“I am camera technician. I work in the film industry. I am from Guadeloupe, in the Caribbean. I spent the last few years working between the Caribbean, Paris and London but I needed to settle somewhere. That’s how I ended up in London.
At home, in Guadeloupe, we have a small film industry who is growing very fast but we don’t have the opportunities yet to do a proper career in the camera department. I came to London to grow and become a Director of Photography. I am here to get experience, learn as much as possible. Living oversea is a great life experience.
My Dream is to reach my goal, travel the world to make films, settle in a hot country and have a family….Find the next Nigerian Spike Lee and make films with him all over Africa, or something like that 🙂
My turning point was my high school diploma. I passed my exam, turned 18 and moved to Paris the following week. I remember my mom asking me confirmation on my plans for Uni. At that point, I think that she understood that I was determined, so my uncle took me ticket to Paris. I became independent. When you are 18, it’s feels like having two wings growing on your back.
My parents would prefer me to stay in the Caribbeans and become an accountant or a doctor, but they trusted me enough to let me go and follow my dreams. I think it’s important that parents trust their children vision. It build their confidence and ambition. The society need confident and ambitious people and the world will always need storytellers.”
“Once I finished law school, I worked as a junior lawyer back in Romania. I had shorter hair then.
But after that I got a project, in art – I wrote scenarios for theatre places and also played as an actor in a remake of Oscar Wilde’s book. We did an adaptation on his play, a Portrait of Dorian Grey – read the book if you haven’t done so. We adapted it to our day, with a modern version of the character. It’s a very psychological story, about religion, and power… and what happens to him once he takes his Uncle’s fortunes.
I chose to quit my both jobs – as a junior lawyer and as a manager in a big company involved in real estate construction. At that time I was engaged to a girl for four years, who was a judge. She fell in depression for a long time… and she saw things differently after her depression. You know, she studied a lot and didn’t go out anymore. After a long period of this, she didn’t have any more energy, any more power to fight against any of the difficulties. And you have to provide a happiness to your soul so you can keep good balance. She is now in a hospital for people with mental issues. So she came one day and said “I don’t love you anymore, I don’t want to be together”. And really I was doing both the jobs for her because I wanted to be able to provide her the comfort. As a man I do not need that many things, she needed more the make up, the clothes… I was just wanting to share the feelings with someone and have what I need, nothing luxurious.
After this I decided I can’t stay anymore in my country, everywhere I went we had a memory ‘we went there for the first time to eat’ or ‘we met at that corner’ and so on. So I knew I had to change places and start a new life. Then I got this project from a friend of mine, I met her in Milano when I was playing soccer for Inter Milan. She was a Director from the United States. So I showed her Milan and Italy, and we made friends. She knew I was writing poetry and other things, and she proposed me ‘you have talent, you should focus on this… look I have a good opportunity for you – we are going with a private theatre in the US. It is mostly with a charity but they are paying well, and you can help to write the scenarios with us’.
I accepted and started to work with them… and then they thought it was a good idea for me to also try as an actor. They gave me some training, and I started to let my hair grow, because it was for the role. Now the project has finished but I have decided to keep the hair.”
“It’s funny you ask how we know each other, because we all just met today. They are from Holland, and I came over from France. But we’ve all come here to work for Jason Mabana.
It’s with the Condoco Dance Company. We’ve been chosen to work on a dance project, which we had to audition for back home. So it really was a big moment when I found out I had been chosen.
The project will be about Aleppo. Not in a sad, tragic way – but more to tell the story of it, in a creative style. And there are plans, I hope, that we will travel to refugee camps to do the performance, which will be so nice; but we are not sure yet when this will happen. For now, it is already confirmed that we will be at the Sadler’s Wells theatre, which should be great. We have one month here to work on this, and then again in end of April before performing.
The dance centre is not far from here, but I made a big mistake – we were told that it was in Edgware, and I when I looked at the map I thought it was Edgware Road! So I am staying quite far from here right now!