Feature

Cardiff creatives making waves

According to research by the British Council, Cardiff’s creative sector is increasing. The city’s fast growing emergent media and TV industry is thanks in part to the BBC and the 42,000 students who are based in the the welsh capital. Cardiff is a hub of creativity with a growing appetite for the arts and entrepreneurship. ‘Making Waves’ looks at what its like to be one of the city’s young creative movers and shakers.

Nicole Ready (pictured above) is a 20 year old fashion stylist and creative director, originally from Barbados, CURRENTLY living in Cardiff. In her final year of university, she has already worked with BRICKS magazine in their latest issue and gotten her family involved in a Gucci campaign. This is only the beginning.

What made you want to get into the fashion industry?

To start off, my mum was always into fashion, so I was influenced by her growing up. Later on when I was around 11 years old, I started visiting these fashion upcycling workshop with local fashion designers and creatives – Sarah and Julia, who now run the sustainable studio in Cardiff. They opened up my perspective on fashion and styling from then onwards. I love how it can be used to visualise topics that matter and that I care about, in a way that people can understand.

You were recently featured in the new Gucci Kindred Campaign, what was that like?

The Gucci campaign was insane. There was an open call put out by stylist Charlotte James, who I had met a few times before, to cast Welsh communities for Vogue online. One of the suggestions was large families so I put mine forward and we got it! The day of the shoot it was a crew of around 10 and was basically my family hanging out in our normal spots but in Gucci clothes. Being able to participate in something like this and share my love for fashion with my family was amazing. It was also a really important campaign as it showed welsh people for what they are, which is one big friendly community. Wales often gets overlooked in the UK, so it was so great to see Wales shown in such a positive real way.

Tell me about your recent work with BRICKS and Welsh trailblazer Tori West?

I’m so grateful for that internship because it definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. It was in London in her studio and while I was there, I immediately knew this is the place I want to work – it just felt right. It also pushed me to learn and adapt quickly. I had been styling fashion for about 3 and half years at that point, so being immersed in the industry was a lot of fun. Seeing my name in print in the magazine and being around so many creatives gave me the motivation I need to continue pursuing this career.

What’s it like for you, being a creative in Cardiff?

It’s a nice place to be a creative, there’s definitely a sense of community. In Cardiff kind of everyone knows everyone. Everything is quite central, so you are within reach of a lot of resources and people.

Do you see the growth in the creative economy in Cardiff?

In Cardiff definitely, especially in the past few years the creative scene has grown a lot, I see people who I’ve known for a long time who haven’t gone down the conventional academic route and just throw themselves into their art, it’s so refreshing. People are thriving on their own, groups and creative spaces have been formed such as Phrame wales and the Sustainable Studio, which is great to have that support system.

What do you feel the fashion industry needs to improve on and do you see yourself working to change these things?

As it’s the 2nd most damaging industry to the planet, there is a lot that needs to improve. The obsession with shopping and lack of responsibility people have in regard to fast fashion and how disposable they see clothes as is frustrating. I personally make a conscious effort to not be like that. I want to use fashion to educate people about things that are important, not just pretty shoots that look fun – and I think young people are starting to do that, they’re shaping the industry and forcing a change that needs to happen by recognising that as consumers we have a lot of influence.

What advice would you give young people thinking of going into this industry?

I would say to take up opportunities that come to and really network wherever you can. Instagram is amazing for accessibility to people but it’s not everything. Actually putting yourself out there to speak to someone at an event is more impactful than a DM. Just try everything out because then you’ll know what you want to pursue and what isn’t for you which is also as useful to be aware of.

I want to use fashion to educate people about things that are important, not Just pretty shoots that look fun – and I think young people are starting to do that, they’re shaping the industry and forcing a change that needs to happen by recognising that as consumers we have a lot of influence.

nicole Ready

Sam Rhys is a 23 year-old Content Producer from Llandeilo, West Wales, currently working in Cardiff for Boom Social. Being a Welsh speaker, Sam works to produce Welsh content and seek out Welsh talent, ultimately contributing to keeping the language alive and preserving Welsh culture.

Sam Rhys

Tell me about the platform HANSH?

HANSH is a welsh language multi-platform digital channel aimed at 16-35 year olds. We have various types of content on the channel, from food to fashion vlogs to travel and comedy. The important thing HANSH does is it gives the Welsh youth a reason to use their welsh after education. So many young people in wales lose their welsh after school because of the lack of welsh language content. They don’t seem to find anywhere to express themselves in the language, especially if they’re from an English speaking home. HANSH gives the Welsh language relevance again and helps normalise it so people can see it as an everyday language, rather than something to only use in the classroom.

What are some projects you’ve worked on previously and do you have any exciting ones coming up?

One of the things I enjoy doing is finding new, exciting Welsh talent and also finding the existing talent that speak Welsh! We made a mid-form documentary on Ketnipz, the Cardiff born Welsh speaking Instagram sensation, and we’re currently filming a documentary in Patagonia, Argentina, where there’s a community of Welsh speakers. Every item we produce is interesting in it’s own way.

What’s it like being a creative in Cardiff?

Being a creative in Cardiff is a great challenge and the scene is growing every year. It’s such a friendly city, with limitless opportunities.

Do you see the growth in the creative economy over the years?

The growth has been really positive, despite the restrictions Cardiff council impose on welsh creatives. With more people releasing welsh language music than ever and self-releasing music videos, the music scene is vibrant. Bands like Adwaith and Accu getting a Welsh music prize nomination as well as bands like boy Azooga and Cate Le Bon getting international success supporting Neil Young, Liam Gallagher and appearing on Later with Jools Holland, really fill the newer, younger bands with hope. People like Recordiau Neb and the Codi Pais zine are creating their own culture, celebrating their uniqueness too.

How do you feel the TV and Media industry is doing at the moment?

I think the industry at the moment is in a confused position. With changes in TV, watching habits and funding for streaming rather than linear television, a lot is changing. Let’s just hope the industry here in Wales can keep the same pace as the international market and keep being competitive. It’ll be a lot clearer where we are and where the industry is in a couple of years.

How do you feel the youth is playing a part in revolutionizing visual arts and the creative industry in general?

The youth is everything. It’s a shame there’s a severe lack of funding in Wales though, especially in the arts. That means there’s a big chunk of Welsh talent having to move to the country next door or elsewhere to pursue their creative careers. But there’s a big crop of young creatives taking advantage of social media to get their work out there.

What advice would you give young people thinking about going into this industry?

Always be true to what you believe in, take risks and get out of your comfort zone by experimenting. It’s so easy to be stuck in a routine once you find a pathway, but always remember what you wanted to do and seek to find new ways to do it. And always take your time.

Always be true to what you believe in, take risks and get out of your comfort zone by experimenting. It’s so easy to be stuck in a routine once you find a pathway, but always remember what you wanted to do and seek to find new ways to do it. And always take your time.

sam rhys

Anna Winstone is a 26 year-old Documentary Film Maker from the Isle of Anglesey, North Wales. Currently based in Cardiff, Anna works across multiple production companies, helping to bring to screen undiscovered stories of people in a world that can be quite tumultuous at times.

Anna Winstone

Tell me about your work?

I’m a documentary film maker and researcher so I work across multiple production companies as a researcher specializing in documentary and factual. If you need an expert in Norwegian saltfish making or a 50-year- old parachute jumper, I’m the one who finds them. It’s the best job, I get to talk to people about the things they love, their life stories and strange specialties, it takes me all over the place meeting and filming some absolutely precious humans.

What made you want to go into the film industry?

I can’t pinpoint an exact moment. It was a culmination of things, I worked a lot of minimum wage zero hour contract jobs from waitressing to cleaning and then I’d go home and watch a film or tv, and as cliché as it sounds it’s an escape. I think it was my best friend in the end who told me to apply for film school as I was obsessed with the making of films. I just wanted to be a part of that world and tell stories that I didn’t think anyone had touched on yet.

What are some previous projects you’ve worked on?

I’ve previously worked across quite a random selection docs on topics such as sex workers, insomnia, drag queens, family food traditions from different cultures, the future of politics in Wales, Homophobia, new gen artists of Instagram and at the moment, I’m working on one that tells the story of the history of gay rights but through one couples 60 year relationship. I’m currently also developing a doc about economic inequality in Wales and the effect that it is having on the younger generation. That’s the joy of working on docs in Cardiff. You will work across such a diverse range of subjects because it’s a smallish industry with a high turnover of content.

What’s it like being a creative in Cardiff?

Cardiff is the best to be a creative in. It’s small enough to recognize and get to know people, but also big enough that ideas and people are always changing. All it takes is a coffee meeting or a chance meeting at a party to get your next project rolling. Cardiff is a small city with a small amount of people working within it, turning out high amounts of content, means that you get the opportunity to work across multiple projects, because producers will normally call on you again and again if they know you are dependable. I guess this could be seen as being a bit savage but it makes me want to work harder to get that good reputation, so that I’m asked to work on these projects.

Have you seen the growth in the creative economy in Cardiff over the years?

There’s been huge changes with Cardiff and the film industry, I think there’s around seventy film production companies now along with the BBC in Cardiff. Documentary is having such a moment too, a lot of the content you are watching on BBC, Channel 4 and online has been created, filmed or edited in Cardiff because it’s gaining such a reputation. Just this Summer we had productions such as Brave New World, His Dark Materials and Sex Education all being filmed in the area and it adds to a really exciting atmosphere in the industry.

How do you feel the youth is playing a part in revolutionizing film and the creative industry in Cardiff?

I think youth, now more than ever, have brought in diversity in representation. We aren’t just seeing documentaries or films about old white men anymore; we are seeing stories from different age groups and cultures. I feel like when it comes to the creative industries, a lot of sectors are always chasing the approval of a younger generation, to ensure they are still relevant. This is especially true of the film industry, but with a younger generation now demanding better representation, we are seeing such honest and diverse work being created. In Cardiff I feel that the response to this has been that production companies are being set up by younger people. If you don’t see the work you want to see on the screen or online, then make it yourself.

What advice would you give young people thinking about going into this industry?

Honestly, I’ve learnt that common sense and kindness will take you far in this industry. Work hard and just absorb and be ready to learn. I see a lot of people trying to swagger into the industry claiming to already be experts, it’s the biggest mistake. You need to be curious and brave, especially when it comes to finding stories. I will also say that when starting out people will absolutely love you if you can make a good cup of tea.

“You need to be curious and brave especially when it comes to finding stories. I will also say that when starting out people will absolutely love you if you can make a good cup of tea.”

Anna winstone

Charlotte Coulthard is a 23 year old stylist and fashion photographer from Barry, Wales, killing the vintage resale game. Creator of the top seller Depop platform, Essiistore, Charlotte has moved on to become a community leader and overall badass creative, helping reform the sustainable fashion game.

Charlotte Coulthard

What about fashion drives your passion?

I originally specialised in Styling and Buying but recently I’ve found a real love for fashion photography. I’ve loved fashion from a very young age, I love being able to express myself through my clothing. My favourite thing about fashion is how creative you can be in this industry! There is so much freedom to do whatever you want.

Tell me about Essiistore?

Essiistore is a Depop platform I created, that resells vintage clothing. The best best way To describe Essii’s vibe is a Bratz Dolls heaven! Since starting Essii a year ago I’m so pleased with how far it’s come! I’ve done a number of exciting collaborations with Depop and Essii also has a concession in Flamingo vintage! It’s so great to be able to collaborate with other vintage brands! I’ve also had the pleasure of working with so many lovely ladies who have modelled for Essii. The main ethos of Essii is that I use regular girls who have full time jobs or are currently studying, who then model for me in their down time. By using these girls we steer away from the stereotypical look of models used by the bigger brands.

Tell me about your involvement with Depop ?

Over the past year since creating Essii, I’ve been able to take part in so many amazing opportunities with Depop! After 5 months of being on Depop I was asked to become a community leader. Community leaders are there to run events to help sellers in our community come together and give advice on how they can help their platform get to the next level! We also have 1-2-1 phone calls with new sellers who are looking for some advice off Depop’s top sellers! I’ve also been on panels at Depop events to talk about how I started Essii and my creative process while shooting and picking my stock! This was a super surreal moment for me! And the most amazing thing I’ve been able to be a part of so far has been the Selfridges x Depop collaboration! I was approached by Depop and they asked me if I’d like to represent them in their collaboration with Selfridges!

What do you feel the fashion industry needs to improve on and do you see yourself working to change these things?

I think the fashion industry really needs to improve on its sustainability, but I can see there’s has been a big improvement already. It’s really important now for bigger brands to aim to make these changes, because at the minute they aren’t setting a great example! This is why I’m so happy to be selling second hand items on Depop and helping make a change to the fashion industry!

What’s it like being a creative in Cardiff?

I think it’s great being a creative in Cardiff, because there are so many people to collaborate with and loads businesses that are happy to get young creatives involved! It’s so motivating being a creative in Cardiff because there are so many of us from musicians to hair stylists! I moved to Southampton for university in 2014 and since I’ve been back I can most definitely say I’ve seen a huge rise in opportunities for young creatives, so many musicians & brands from Cardiff I’ve seen blow up since I left and I think this motivates everyone else to believe in doing what they love!

How do you feel young people are changing the world when it comes to fashion?

I think young people aren’t just about the quality of clothes anymore; we care about where the materials have come from, who made it and what conditions they were made in! In recent years the fashion industry has been exposed for how bad it is for the environment and also how many human rights issues have been caused in the making of garments! This has pushed so many brands to change & adapt to more ethical & sustainable practices. This is also why I think vintage shops & Depop are now creating such a big impact on how young people are staying as sustainable as possible! We’re such a lucky generation because we have so much amazing technology around now that allows us to educate ourselves and ensure that we are making all the right decisions to help make this world a better & more sustainable. I’m so happy to be a part of this amazing & positive movement!

What advice would you give young people thinking of going into this industry?

I’d say just go for it! Try and assist as many people as you can, or if it’s a business you want to start like selling on Depop there’s no better time to start than now! Don’t be afraid to get your name out there!

We’re such a lucky generation because we have so much amazing technology around now that allows us to educate ourselves and ensure that we are making all the right decisions to help make this world a better & more sustainable.

charlotte coulthard

Douvelle19 aka Elliot Brussalis, is a 24-year-old DJ and music producer from Newport, living in Cardiff. At just 15 years old, he began producing the music for Welsh rock/grime band Astroid Boys, selling out tours, playing festivals and signing to Music for Nations (Sony). Now solo, following the bands disassembling, Douvelle19 has successfully launched his own event night, ‘Locally Sauced’, as well as turning out fresh new music. Stay tuned and keep an eye out.

Douvelle19

What does music mean to you and what kind of music do you produce?

It’s like a warm swimming pool, fun, relaxing, tiring, exciting, dangerous. Can easily drown if you’re not careful, but I’m a strong swimmer so we good. I generally produce dance music. I love sampling vocals and writing music to them. I think my stuff is emotive, moody, fun. I think my sound carries regardless of genre.

Where does the name Douvelle19 come from?

Everyone has called me Dell since I was about 13, so it’s a take on that. All the boys have numerous nick names for each other, this was just one of mine. The 19 comes from my postcode in Newport – NP19, where I spent all my time growing up. Everyone from that post code reps it hard.

Tell me about working with Astroid boys and some of your other past projects?

Some of my fondest memories and learning experiences, and similarly some of the most stressful times of my life. I wrote 2 successful EP’s & an album, thrived in an independent band structure and worked under a major label by the time I was 21. I released music underneath the alias ‘dellux’ on a couple record labels too.

What are your opinions on the music industry today?

Music labels are just trying to make their artists look independent now, so if you can release your art independently and organically, that’s the way. Some people need the direction of a label, some people get limited by it, I was the latter. It’s circumstantial for sure.

What kind of role do you feel the youth are playing in revolutionizing society through music?

The same happens every couple of years, it’s an ongoing cycle. No movement more relevant than the last, and none more important than the next.

Tell me about ‘Locally Sauced’?

It’s a night that I run, where everything from the line up to the artwork is done involving people from the local scene. The last one that I put on was a night filled with my friends, I even had people travel over 10 hours on a coach! It was a brilliant experience that I’m really proud of.

What’s it like being a creative in Cardiff?

Yeah it’s alright, I’m just like anyone else to be honest, I mean, there is a healthy scene here, my boys night ‘rotary club’ is getting more and more popular which is so good to see. If I’m talking about this from a standpoint of being from Newport, Cardiff offers the accessibility to a creative outlet. It has opportunity. It has a scene. You can find a venue, put a show on and people will come and see you. With the student population being so high in Cardiff as well, it births a contagious creative competitive energy, that can help motivate you. I use the scene to see the stuff that’s being created, the thing that I like and that I don’t like, which then helps me to gauge what I want to do and what I want to be a part of. It helps feed my creativity.

Do you see a growth in the creativity in the city?

I’ve been coming down to Cardiff, with the boys from the band since I was 15, so I’ve always felt part of the scene. Over those 9 years I feel like the scene has ebbed and flowed. Sometimes its popping and there’s just so much happening and you think ‘wow what an amazing place to be, so much wholesome talent and creativity’ but sometimes it lulls and there’s not many new things going on.

It’s like a warm swimming pool, fun, relaxing, tiring, exciting, dangerous. You can easily drown if you’re not careful, but I’m a strong swimmer

douvelle19

Reid Allen is a 24 year old photographer from the town of High Wycombe, near London, currently based in Cardiff. In June of this year, Reid released his first photobook ‘Yallah’, an honest and moving documentation of the community in the occupied Westbank of Palestine, through the lens of skateboarding.

Published in 2019, ‘Yallah’, brings to life a side of Palestine that is masked by it’s strife and often overlooked by the rest of the world.

Reid Allan

How would you describe your style of photography?

I shoot a variety of stuff, but mostly portrait-orientated photographs and some skateboard photography. What interests me mostly is people and people in their environments. I like shooting as natural as possible, without much of a set-up.

Tell me about your latest project and book, ‘Yallah’?

So I went to Palestine last year volunteering with a skateboard charity, teaching kids to skate in a village out there. I knew beforehand that I wanted to do a project, but it ended up being a 100–and-something page photobook! I spent months designing it, fundraised the print using a kickstarter, then got 200 copies printed at Abbey Books in Cardiff. ‘Yallah’ documents the people of the occupied West Bank, through the lens of skateboarding.

Why did you choose to shoot in film?

I’d say it’s largely preference and partly stubbornness (hah). I never got on with photography when I had an DSLR in school, mostly because I hated post-production. I really got into film through its ability to capture a raw moment with a real authenticity. And I guess I just love the grain!

What’s it like being a creative in Cardiff?

The Cardiff creative scene is great in the sense that it’s tight knit and pretty small so people support each other and spur each other on. Some people are doing really great stuff, few names like Nick Wotton and yourself in the photography game, the Klatch collective in terms of art, and musically, Private World have just got a sick record deal. On the other hand, because it’s so small and reliant on the same people for things to happen, it stagnates a lot – nothing innovative or groundbreaking comes about very often.

Have you seen a growth in the creative economy over the years?

I’m probably not the best person to speak to about this to be honest, as I don’t often take paid creative jobs. I work a 9-5 outside of the creative world and try to maintain my own work outside of my day job/on trips etc. That said, I don’t think there has been a massive growth; in terms of industry. I still think creatives consistently don’t get paid properly, struggle for work or end up travelling elsewhere (London being the obvious, Bristol, Manchester etc.) for work.

How do you feel the youth is playing a part in revolutionizing photography and visual arts?

It’s a double-edged sword in my opinion. You have young people that have fought to keep print media alive across various arts and photography areas, which is brilliant and another new print publication is popping up every week. But on the other hand, young people have largely driven a change in consumption of visual art that’s led to the instantly-there-instantly-forgotten instagram era. In my opinion, two very different, polarised mentalities are battling it out: those who want to hold and cherish a photograph or piece of art, and those who will happily click a button and keep scrolling.

Sarah McCreadie, is a 27-year-old poet from Cardiff, bringing attention and light to the topics that need it, through her incredible talent of rhyme and verse. Doing bits with BBC and ITV, as well as supporting other artists at sold out shows and performing at her own gigs throughout the UK, she is easily a force to be reckoned with.

Sarah McCreadie

 Tell me about your work?

I’m a poet – so I write and perform my work at gigs, make videos and go into schools and workshop with kids, using poetry to help them to express themselves. I started out by taking part in a project by BBC 1Xtra called Words First, who were looking to develop young poets. Since then I’ve released poetry videos via the online platform BBC sesh and was a resident at the Roundhouse Theatre in London. I was recently commissioned by ITV to write a piece commemorating 20 years of Pride Cymru, which was a massive honour. It was important to me to create something that was provocative and a protest – which is what Pride always should be.

What do you aim to make your audience feel through your poetry?

I always want to make the audience feel something – be it empowering them or giving them a rhythm to nod their heads to. I want people to have a nice as hell time and also maybe cry.

What’s it like being a creative in Cardiff?

The Cardiff creative community is great in that it’s so supportive and everyone knows each other but on the downside, there are less opportunities in certain areas. There is a focus on booking bands still, when I’d say Cardiff’s biggest and most active scene is made up of all the MCs and rappers. Starting out, I was going over to Bristol as there is this huge poetry scene there. I really need to start my own poetry night here instead of moaning about it.

Have you seen a growth in the creative economy over the years?

There is definitely a growth in the appetite for creative arts in Cardiff but that is coupled with a lack of support from those in power. The closure of beloved venues is shit.

Do you believe that a growing creative economy is a good thing for Cardiff?

Definitely. Cardiff is a city with so much identity, so much energy and excitement. It deserves it.

How do you feel the youth in Cardiff is playing a role in the growth of the creative economy?

Cardiff’s youth are in a fever to go to gigs, create art, make music, to just express themselves. There is a proper appetite here for using your voice and supporting others who do so.

What advice would you give young people thinking about going into this industry?

If you’re thinking about getting up on a stage with your poetry, search up a local open mic and just go for it. Then just keep at it, keep going and going and keep practicing. It’s a lovely way to express yourself. I want people to have a nice as hell time, and also maybe cry.

Cardiff’s youth are in a fever to go to gigs, create art, make music, to just express themselves. There is a proper appetite here for using your voice and supporting others who do so.

sarah McCreadie

Words and images by Arhantika Rebello

Categories: Feature

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s