I Am A Creative: Benjamin Opoku “We are built to excel in our talents & skills”
Benjamin “D’Benj” Opoku is a model, actor, host/presenter and freelance creative consultant. He recently graduated from De Montford University with a degree in Business Studies specialising in Economics. He shares how he manages the various creative hats he wears, some exciting projects he is working on and more.
What does being a creative mean to you?
To me, being a creative means that you create an original idea in your mind and turn this into a reality. Whether it be a process, product or service.
Was this the career path you always envisioned for yourself?
Definitely not. As you can see by the course I studied in university, it is completely off the course of life that I imagined for myself. It wasn’t until I experienced certain creative opportunities in university that I realised it was a passion I had to pursue.
How did you manage your studies with all the other things you were involved in?
I actually found this extremely difficult. Due to it being a newly found passion, it deterred me from spending time on my studies as I just wanted to create. I eventually decided to wait until I graduated before I would immerse myself in the projects I wanted to do. However, what I did do was spend much time planning my ideas so that when the time/opportunities came, I would be ready to launch straight away.
Now that you are done with university, how do you manage your different crafts?
As they are all involved in each other, it’s not a difficult task to merge the different crafts. A lot of the time this makes my work easier as it allows me to draw ideas from different projects and come up with something new and different. The most effective way I find to do this is to write ideas down as soon as they come to me and as descriptively as possible. Those moments of inspiration are like gold dust.
Have your life experiences and/or background had any effect on the work you do?
Yes, without a doubt. I’m a person that draws my inspiration from people and situations around me. In my opinion the best times of creativity arise from situations that you have a deep insight into. As a British-born Ghanaian, I believe my cultural and religious background has had a huge impact on my attitude towards work and life. Without these, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today.
What has been your biggest challenge thus far?
I’d say my biggest challenge so far is probably finding a balance between my different fields of work. I’m the type of person that totally immerses themselves into a project, so when there are times of high demand from different projects I find it challenging to stay on track. Although, this is also what I love about it, I enjoy the feeling of bouncing from one project to another, it keeps my ideas fresh and exciting.
Many people have the view that creatives are lazy, when in fact the work can be extremely demanding.
Are there any projects you are currently working on?
Yes, quite a few! At the moment, I am in the process of developing my own fashion label, along with my involvement in my established brand Drummer Boy Clothing (www.drummerboyclothing.com). We are currently working on our AW17 collections for both.
My team at VIVA LIVE are also preparing our next events for our Viva Foundation creative entrepreneurship workshops, as well as our annual independence events.
I’m also going to be performing in my first theatre production on the 9th September at the Shaw theatre in Kings cross. It’s a musical play with the aim to break the stigma within Afro/Caribbean society. You can find it by searching #EATheMusical on Instagram and Twitter.
What is the main message you aim to convey through your craft?
I want people to be able to see that they shouldn’t fear stepping into whatever their passion may be. We are all built to excel in our talents and skills, so they shouldn’t let the standards of others and norms of society stop them.
What is one misconception that people have about being a creative?
That it’s not hard work and demanding. I think many people have the view that creatives are lazy and can afford to only work when they’re bothered. When in fact it can be extremely demanding and tiring since you’re always working on an idea.
What impact does your faith in Jesus Christ have on what you do?
A huge amount. It encompasses the roles and jobs I take on. It also makes me very conscious of how the projects I get involved in influence others.
‘I am a creative’ series aims to challenge the pre-conceived idea of being a ‘creative’ through various content and interviews with young talented individuals. We showcase the different ways that creativity can be expressed whilst promoting and celebrating what creatives are doing. We discuss topics affecting young creatives and challenge people to identify and express the creative nature within them even in unconventional and counter cultural ways.
If you would like to provide content for this series, please contact us via email (email@example.com) or on social media.