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Life & Work with Jonathan du Cille

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jonathan du Cille.

Hi Jonathan, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
Today I live in Burbank, California. Once upon a time, not only was living here a dream but having any kind of career in my passion was also just something I used to daydream about. But all things begin with a thought and I had a lot of them. Eventually, I couldn’t let this dream of mine slip by without at least trying to put something out there just for fun, my mind wouldn’t let me rest. About seven years ago in 2013 is where it all began. I was about to end high school and was contemplating what to do after. Summer was coming up and I had all this extra energy and flow of creative ideas. I gathered a few of my friends and decided to start a YouTube channel making funny videos in sunny Kingston, Jamaica. Honestly, I had my own personal reasons too, as I realized I had a lot of social anxiety and wanted to “force myself out there”. That was honestly the most fun I ever had. It wasn’t about money, fame or attention, just a group of guys having fun and coming up with creative ideas. The thing is no one but me wanted to put the videos together and basically run production for our little show, so learned everything I can about video editing and motion graphics that I could wrap my head around. To my surprise, I was actually not that bad at it. I started to explore making other kinds of videos, exploring more software and things like 3D animation, 3D art and pushing to see how far I could go with my crappy laptop and subpar $ 200 Sony Handycam. I was still in High school with one more year to go and every chance I got, I dedicated to this newfound love for art and storytelling. The YouTube Channel started to gain traction and I also started to gain attention from other peers with a creative and entrepreneurial mindset. It was like I was sleeping my whole life until I found these creative outlets. I started a separate venture with my friend Shaquille ‘riquez’ Comrie to provide unique video production services to clients as well as to come up with our own creative films. We called it “The Skyroom Studios”.

I couldn’t get enough! Of course up until this point, most of the creative things I did was just for fun or exposure and the pressure was on about what to do with my life at the end of high school. I knew what the answer was BUT being in a 3rd world country at the time and having parents with a limited mindset they somehow managed to convince me that I was wasting my time trying to make a living out of art and creativity. My sprouting wings were clipped, I had no mentors or people that looked like me and also coming from my situation of deprivation to tell me that I could do it. I Accepted defeat and worked my way into Howard University in Washington DC with a partial scholarship to eventually move on to being a dentist. I mean, it’s practical right? I changed my undergraduate major about three times looking for that spark of joy I had while creating in high school but couldn’t find it. I resorted to making videos and motion graphic pieces for fun while on campus and started to gain attention from other students due to the quality of my work and the love that I put into it. I looked for every opportunity to shine, for free or cheap. I ended up working with DJs and other entrepreneurial minds on campus, got a few paid gigs but nothing to say that I could make a decent living from it. My parent’s words kept floating around in my head and I was creating the reality of failure because I didn’t believe. Every negative comment about my work was one more nail in the coffin, no matter how much I had progressed. Eventually, things got hectic with school and I laid my passion to rest. A part of me died, but I never stopped paying attention and keeping my ears open.

Eventually, I graduated and was planning the next phase of my education for dental school. But the closer I got to that is the more angry and out of place I felt. I got a job as a medical assistant to rack up medical hours to help with my dental school application. By this time, I now had a green card and was living with my family in New York. I needed some joy in my life and wanted to start creating again. I didn’t really know anyone or have any camera equipment or even know where to start. All I had was my gaming laptop and a head full of backed up ideas. So I looked for all the old footage I could find of unfinished projects and got to work. The hunger slowly started to creep in again. Without much connection or equipment, I decided to dive deeper into 3D art and animation. This was a slightly steep learning curve but I didn’t need anyone but myself and my ideas. With this newfound freedom to create I started to unleash so many pent up ideas since 2018 till now, I was addicted. I sacrificed weekends, I got up early before work, I dived in as soon as I came home I started going to meetups to meet more creatives, I would watch tutorials and listen to podcasts with my dinner. I was a maniac and my family couldn’t understand. A world of possibilities started to open up in my mind and something strange happened. I started believing in myself! I took the risk to upgrade my computer with what little savings I had. I started seeking guidance from people in the field of motion design/ animation and 3D art in any way I could. My dream was coming alive again and I needed to fan the flame. I would DM top artists on Instagram, email studios, look for every bit of information I could find. I was becoming Unafraid of success. I started to get client work again. Things started small and at low prices, some clients were bad and I had a lot of frustration and still do to this day.

After a while, I decided to go part-time on my job and take a risk as a freelancer mid 2019. Things went well for a bit but then slow subsided. I had no idea what I was doing. As a visual artist, things can be really tough and by no means am I the most persistent or consistent, I’ve had so many periods of anxiety and depression over the last two years but I’m still here and still going, somehow closer to my goals than I ever was before and I still have no idea what I’m doing lol but every time I take a risk and put the work in the universe rewards. It’s often hard and the path is unclear but somehow opportunities come up when I least expect. During the middle of the 2020 covid 19 pandemic, I decided it was time to take the next step and move to Los Angeles, California with VERY limited funds. All because it just felt right against all logic. Immediately after moving, a few projects fell in my lap, it wasn’t easy but I found the time and put the work in. I landed a job and an apartment after a couple of months and now I’m here, still standing. I could not plan this! All I could do was believe and work hard and pray/manifest, so I did.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Not easy at all haha! Not knowing where to turn or who to trust has been some of my biggest problems or what to even spend time on, as once we spend the time it’s gone. But the thing is, the time will be spent regardless. This might sound morbid, but I remind myself often that one day sooner or later, I’m going to die. So better to try and fail than to sit with your talent.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I’m a 3D artist, motion designer and pretty much do anything video-related. I now gravitate toward working within the music industry. This includes but is not limited to music videos, visuals for songs, VJing and visuals for shows, Album covers, general artwork and will soon dive deeper into virtual reality, augmented reality, projection mapping and other immersive experiences. I’m most proud of every step I took and continue to take as they all build on top of the other and involves me facing my fears.

What does success mean to you?
I think success is finding the freedom to live life on your own terms and go after the things laid on your mind.

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