I didn’t choose the Diff life, Cardiff chose me.
Why am I here? I’m always here. For better or worse, I live here and I’ll probably die here.

Cardiff’s got a number of different images. But in recent times the creative classes have been on the up. I’m proud and always eager to scratch myself a small niche in the world of what is known as Creative Cardiff. There are more and more people freelancing, claiming their time for their own uses and saying- “yeah, I can make that money- I don’t need a boss skimming off the top.” I’m not entirely freelance at the moment, but I know so many people who are. It’s definitely a way of life round here. There’s not only the thriving advertising business, the hot-desking tech hubs for freelance entrepreneurs and gleaming agency offices. There’s a real culture brewing, of ‘zines and punk gigs, of protest movements and student media. Everyone does a bit of side-hustling, whether it’s photography for Buzz Mag, poetry for Lucent, travel writing for Silky Way or youth culture at our project, the Sprout.

incare 1

I was very lucky to get really stuck in to said student media at Cardiff University, and after graduation worked at a design agency- CR Design. Soon after that I was accepted onto an apprenticeship at ProMo-Cymru, a social enterprise which works with charities to improve their digital communications. I work with groups of young people to create content strategies championing their communities and causes- right now, we’re working in one of Wales’ most deprived towns, Ebbw Vale, to produce content about the famed Ebbw Vale Institute. In my occasional spare time, I run a website dedicated to UK comics journalism, an emerging form of storytelling, with a very Google-friendly name: Draws for Thought. Here again I’m looking to champion causes and movements which are otherwise rarely seen.

invacare picture

All this said, I do like Cardiff, but there are many other places I’d love to see. I spent a summer writing for small publications and my own blog at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I loved every minute, but was bankrupt when I got back to Wales! I love going to meetings by bike, so would love to stay a while in the Netherlands’ great cycle friendly cities, or perhaps trendy Copenhagen.

I’ve done a fair bit of work on campaigns for massive companies whilst at CR Design, and I’ve had almost a whole year now working for the good causes championed by ProMo-Cymru.

theatre music poster
theatre poster

But I think possibly one of the things I’m most proud of is something I did for free- a simple poster for Blackwood’s Musical Theatre Society. As a small town 20 miles north of the city, often places like Blackwood are left out of the creative evolution. But the play in question, a staging of  iddler on the Roof, was delivering West End style quality- so I wanted to deliver something the likes of VCCP, where I did my London work experience, would be proud of. A simple line from a song, a simple stock image and striking white-on-black motifs did it- and the play was sold out.

I’m not saying it was down to my poster alone, but the poster was a real morale boost for the cast, who worked even harder to make the production the best it could be. That’s the true power of great design and great copy.

So there you have it- a big city slicker, but I never forget where I’ve come from.