Collaborative Collage With Donna O’Hanlon

“I am a bit of a dreamer with an active imagination and I needed an outlet for my ideas.”

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Glasgow based artist, Donna O’Hanlon landed herself the dream job title of ‘photographer’ at one of the UK’s biggest high street shoe retailers and although her creative career is off to a flying start she has no plans of letting herself get carried away with ridiculous aims: “I’m kind of a realist when it comes to my career goals – I work hard, expect little and any success is a huge bonus.”

Donna first gained enthusiasm for image making whilst working in darkrooms at her secondary school. However, it was only in 2013 that she decided to go for her degree and commit to a career in photography: “I would say really think about whether you’re dedicated enough to pursue a long term career in a creative field because it’s hard work and there is no guarantee at the end of it that you’ll get a job.” Furthermore, discussing what keeps her so engaged with her chosen discipline, Donna mentions the extremely relevant topic of mental health: “I think that my passion for photography and image making in some part comes from my issues with mental illness – producing creative work is an excellent distraction from the ‘noise’. It’s no coincidence that mental illness is prevalent in the creative industries.”

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Studying at City Of Glasgow College and then on to The University of the West of Scotland, she has successfully got her foot in the door of the industry and when asked what is the key to landing your first real gig as a fully trained professional we were thrown back with the word that will always haunt you as a creative, ‘networking’. She explains that it is vital to get as many people as possible to see your work because you never know when a job can pop up. With that in mind she also goes on; “It’s important to keep working and improving/adding to your skills. Even if you sometimes feel as though finding a job is an uphill struggle, it’s important to keep the momentum going through your work.” And we say a hell yeah to that statement.

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