Our collaboration with superstar photographer Ron Timehin.
In May 2018 Ron met Graff.io’s Andy and Steve at LCB Depot here in Leicester for an interview. They gave Ron a tour of The Cultural Quarter and checked out the Graffiti legacy of the Bring the Paint festival. Then it was back to Graff.io Arts HQ where Ron filmed us printing and framing some of his outstanding photographic works for his upcoming release.
A conversation between Graff.io Arts Creative Director; Andy Harper and Ron Timehin at LCB, Leicester, May 2018.
Following your Dreams
Andy Harper: Instagram has been a huge success for you. Would you agree that with the increase in the reach of social media channels now anyone can make it big without requiring huge commercial support?
Ron Timehin: Now I’ve got the platform and the opportunity to really excel without having to go through the traditional channels. One of the things that one of my friends told me, which I though was brilliant was, that its become popular to be able to follow your dreams. And I fully agree with that.
Yeah, its never seemed more prevalent, that you can achieve anything that you want, that your heart desires. I think going back to previous generations it was almost like the accepted thing to just get a job, work down the mine and do that for the rest of your life because you’re under privileged and and that’s just the way it was.
Well I think one thing that transcends any field that you’re in is that you have to work hard, no matter what it is.
But it’s more of a reality now that kids can do what they want. I also hear that some younger people now, that when they actually get out into the real world and they go into their first jobs it’s a huge culture shock. They dream of being bloggers, being creatives. Are we not also creating too many false hopes for young people? What do you think?
And so yes it’s not false hope but I think that the younger generation really do need to realise that if you want to succeed, especially in the creative world then you do need to work hard and be passionate about what you’re doing. Yes, it’s easier but in some ways its harder.
I think that once you’ve got that in your mind, then, yeah, anything’s possible.
So we’ve maybe got some young creatives reading or watching this. Any top advice for them apart from working hard?
Work smart. Work hard but work smart. There’s no point investing hours of your time into something that isn’t going to be fruitful in the long run. If you have a goal in mind. Then work out a plan to do that and be strategic about what you’re putting time and effort into. That, hours of work and building up your network.
A lot of the jobs that I get offered are through people that I know or through people that I’ve been referred to. Something that people should realise is that this stuff is online. You need to have a tangible contact. You have to get to know these people in order to be successful in the social media space.
Lurking on Social Networks
That’s interesting. One thing I’m really keen to know from you. So you’ve made your success and fortune through Instagram. How much time do you actually spend lurking and you know, procrastinate on social networks versus working?
Yeah, getting the balance between working and social media life. It’s tricky.
Previously, I spent hours, I mean countless hours shooting content, creating content. Oh my gosh. You know, I’d try to go out and shoot every every single day of the week that I could. Every day i’d be on the platform, engaging with people, connecting with my followers.
But now as my career has changed a little i’m doing a lot more work commercially for brands. So it’s a lot harder to focus that time and attention on social media content because I have to make a living. You have to assess it yourself. Make sure you are doing both.
Its all about Mood
Do you actually post manually on Insta now or do you use any automation tools?
Not all all. I do know people that do. For lots of little things like scheduling posts. I don’t schedule posts. So, I have an archive of images that i’ve shot. Depending on how i’m feeling, what my mood is or what I want to say then I’ll cater my post for that.
Getting Organised and Feed OCD
Okay! So, any top tools for working smartly? or to organise yourself better?
So, for social media there’s only one app that I use all the time and it’s only to get a visual representation of what my feed will look like after i’ve posted my image. I have a thing that I like to call Feed OCD where I don’t like certain colours being next to each other. I have an app called Preview to display my images next to each other, to get an idea of how it works visually- to check that my brand is consistent.
How will Changing Technology Impact the Arts?
So tech’s growing exponentially. You’ll have seen it throughout your lifetime. What’s the next wave for tech? Where do you think it’s going to go for the arts?
It’s strange, the next step for tech in the arts is more integration between the two. I’m seeing a lot of incredibly creative things happening within the print and digital space with the way that they are combining. Even virtual or augmented reality being incorporated into print. Stuff like that is very exciting to me.
Video is going to soar. It’s massive now but it’s going to take off more within the next few years. I think if you can incorporate anything visually strong, animated or video into your body of work, then do that!
Lots of Puzzles
Are there any cutting edge project that’s you’re working on that are incorporating any new tech?
At the moment i’m pushing my own video skills. A lot of my time has been spent on photography so i’m trying to learn videography as a craft. I’m also working within the documentary space and the print space really. I’m mixing the two and getting the content rounded as a whole as one big project really. Lots of puzzles to put together.
The Foggy Series
Interesting. Okay, so tell us about your range with Graff.io. How did this edition come about, The Foggy Series?
I mean The Foggy Series with Graff.io is exciting. One thing I love is when is when you work with a company or with other creatives that get the same vision as you and they understand what you’re all about. Also I feel the best way it works is when it’s natural and that’s the way it’s worked with Graff.io.
So we came into orbit through a mutual friend but it was so natural, unplanned and the way we got on was just perfect. We decided to explore that. Funnily enough Graff.io saw some of my images and created some mock-up prints. That before we even met I believe. When I saw them, I was like, oh, that’s mine! You gave me a couple of stellar, stellar quality prints that I then used in some of my campaign work for clients such Samsung.
I’m really excited about this project moving forward because there’s lots of ways that we could collaborate, not just in print but across the digital space.
It’s Just Stunning
Yeah, it’s fantastic! What did you think to the quality of the framed prints?
Stellar! I’ve worked with a printer before and the standard was no where near. Graff.io’s were just next level. Everything. The materials you use, even the glass, imported from Italy. Museum grade paper, it’s just stunning.
Watch this Space
Yeah, brilliant! Ideas for the future? Collaborations? I guess we have to watch this space. Can you ever in-visage your work being remixed? Collabs with other artists?
Yeah, definitely. Graff.io’s got a lot of different artists on it’s roster. The work that they are producing inspires me. So yeah, it would be a great to maybe do a collaboration with some of these artists. Yeah, let’s see what we can do!
Excellent. So yeah, watch this space. Thank you so much. Cheers Ron.
The Foggy Series is a stunning selection of prints of Ron’s shots of London in heavy fog. Available exclusively on graff.io arts now.