This week we talk to Joanne Hamilton about her art and her work. She can be contacted via her Facebook page – see link below – or on the CAPtabase – CAP’s Community Artists online, interactive database – comartspartner.org/captabase/
Can you recall your first artistic experience?
My first artistic experience is probably not the fondest of memories. I recall being in Primary School and being told my drawings were not good enough and constantly having to make use of the rubber…..so much so that I probably rubbed a few holes into my homework book. However as I grew up and got further on in school, Art actually turned out to be my best subject and came up tops in my A-Level grades. I loved being creative and using my hands. I also became very involved in the school plays and somehow over the years I turned from hiding behind others in shyness to performing as the green wicked witch in Macbeth.
What motivates you to continue with your artistic activities now?
In my teens I went to watch a few live television programmes and loved watching all the crew behind the scenes thinking that one day I would love to be doing something similar. My interest in performing arts, creativity and tv production led me to study Media Studies in 2002 with a specific focus on video production.
My main area of work now is video production alongside some photography. After University and some months of travelling I decided I wanted to use my skills to enable charitable and Christian organisations access to use film in order to raise awareness of their projects which they otherwise couldn’t afford to pay big companies for. This is how I started up my video production company SlingSHOT Creations.
I always had an interest in youth work and came across the opportunity to combine my video production and youth work skills in facilitating film-making workshops for community groups in 2010 for a local media company. It was exciting for me to see how the arts could be used to engage young people, enable discussion around sensitive issues and give them a voice. As coordinator of ‘This is Me’ the digital arts strand of Community Arts Partnership I continue to see the impact that this type of work has on all ages.
It’s really the positive impact that video production can have that motivates me to continue in what I do and the fact that I love it also helps.
How would you describe the work that you are doing now?
I like to keep myself busy and all over the place with my work. I currently have three jobs – I have my own video production company SlingSHOT Creations, co-ordinate the digital arts projects for Community Arts Partnership and work as a film and photography workshop facilitator for BNL Productions. I love the diversity of working for myself and also getting to be part of other teams, producing, filming, facilitating and on rainy days sitting in editing. Lately I have started to do crazy photo booths at events and weddings, which have brought me lots of fun and laughter. I am also getting to see the North and South of Ireland as I go out filming for various clients in all sorts of locations. My work has also enabled me to go on various mission trips to film and has brought me to places such as South America and New York.
Are there any barriers which stifle your ability to pursue your career in the arts?
Can’t really think of any right now.
You are a community artist – how did your activities in local communities come about?
I set up my business in 2008 but wasn’t full time so had been looking for something as a filler. A friend of mine actually suggested I applied for a job as a workshop facilitator in a BNL Production. This work was mainly to be working with youth groups and having just completed my OCN Level II in youth work I thought this was the perfect opportunity. I was delighted to get the post. It was at this point I first really started using the arts to engage with community groups. A typical program with a group consists of about 6 weeks of workshops, once a week. A lot of the work is issue based. They will get trained in using filming and sound equipment, scripting, storyboarding and then will film and act in their own short films. It was great to see how this enabled young people to express themselves and discuss sensitive issues in a relaxed and enjoyable manner. It gives me a buzz to see people develop in various ways over a series of workshops and to see confidence grow.
Have you any experiences with Community Arts Partnership – if so could you say a little bit about them
I have been working with Community Arts Partnership since December 2011. It is super to be part of a really supportive and creative team. As coordinator of ‘This Is Me’ (digital arts strand) I get to see the groups of all ages across the community engage in and benefit from working in the arts. It’s a privilege to be part of the team making the arts more accessible across communities in Northern Ireland.
Joanne’s work can be seen here – www.facebook.com/jo.slingshotcreations