We interviewed Akeim Buck and Omari Swanston-Jeffers about their careers so far and what to expect from their Creative Café on ‘Physical Theatre‘ on Thursday 30th March 2017.
How did you become an artist?
Akeim: It’s only since last year that I got used to saying ‘I’m an artist’. After graduating from Northern Contemporary Dance school I decided that I wouldn’t pursue other careers. It was trial and error for a while, whilst I was studying I tried to do other weekend jobs but they never seemed to work for me, whereas dancing, leading workshops and working with kids seemed to come naturally.
Omari: I’ve always been an artist, but professionally I suppose once I graduated from university and started working. I had work as a runner in tv for a while but during uni I started getting paid for dance and teaching and other skills, since I graduated I’ve been getting more and more paid work.
Who and what inspires you?
Akeim: Bob Marley is one of my biggest inspirations. My mum is an inspiration and then just people and their stories. The work itself inspires me because I try to stay true to it and create new work always trying to compete with myself to be better.
Omari: My biggest inspiration is my grandad, he came from the Caribbean and was able to build up a great family and provide for them and then, when he was older he moved back to the Caribbean and built his own house. My surroundings inspire my art, I look at different artists and different music. I find a lot of inspiration in black/afro-Caribbean culture, but not to the exclusion of other cultures.
What was the proudest moment of your career?
Akeim: Recently a piece I was successful in a grant application, there was an audience member who was a 1st generation Greek who watched the piece 3 times, first when it was just a rough draft, secondly when I posted something online and then most recently the completed piece. He told me that it ‘made him want to do something’, the man made a mix for the people of Aleppo. It showed that we don’t have to shout and scream to be activists, instead we can use our natural skills to do something for others as well as ourselves. I was really proud that it was my work that helped him to get to that place.
Omari: Graduating from Roehampton University with a first-class degree in Creative Writing.
What do you think are the challenges for young artists?
Akeim: Getting people and organisations, to believe in and trust you. Getting Arts Council funding is touch, when you do you feel like you’re a child who is finally get recognition and becoming an adult.
If you want to be seen as a professional and taken seriously you have to know what you want. If you don’t, what other people think of you and want from you will end up defining who you are as an artist. When you get feedback you have to think about what to take on board and what you should leave aside. Ask yourself if it aligns with your vision, and what you want. You are the artist not the art so try not to get to precious about your work or objectify yourself.
Omari: Financially sustaining themselves. It’s important to be a business person as well an artist.
What can we expect from your Creative Café workshop?
Akeim: To build your confidence in devising movement as an actor as well as taking direction and being honest and truthful with the directions you are given.
Omari: Lots of fun, lots of learning and lots of skill and passion.
Where can we find out more?
To find out more about Akeimcheck out the following links:
To find out more about Omari why not check out his sites?