FRANK SOLOMON - Professional Surfer

“I grew up on the beach and my dad was always into surfing and lifesaving. Obviously you want to do what your old man does. I just got more and more comfortable in progressively bigger waves. When I finished college I thought I would give it a go so I went to California to surf mavericks and10 years later I got the opportunity to do it full time.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I was going to be paid to go surfing. It never seemed attainable, so when I signed with Hurley international it was a big deal as a kid from a small town in Africa. It was pretty rad. All the big surf brands have a team, they sponsor people and use their riders as a marketing tool. The best thing about it is that I have my own time. In this day and age is pretty special to be able to do whatever you want everyday. The worst thing is I have too much time and there is not much structure or routine so it can be hard to stay motivated.

It is amazing being out there with only a handful of people in the world, but it is dangerous and people do die. The feeling when you are out there is of facing your fears and facing death - it’s the highest form of adrenaline. It is also  a pretty special feeling when you are drinking a beer in the bar after having surfed 100 foot waves. 

I have been surfing since as long as I have memories so I cant imagine a life without surfing. My dad is 72 and he is still surfing, it is more of a lifestyle than a sport and I will always be a surfer. If i won the lottery I would probably still be doing the same thing. 

There are people doing amazing things in the world for the environment and for underprivileged people that are way more inspiring than people that are going to just ride waves for a living. ”

AMY SAUNDERS - Entertainer, curator, provocateur

“My work is constantly changing and increasingly at odds with the ability to survive. I got into it accidentally, discovered the concept swordswallowing and, as an oral gal, knew I had to learn how. So taught myself. Everything came from that decision. Life and work are so intertwined there is no difference betwixt. This makes having a ‘real life’ somewhat impossible. A day is writing and exercise in the morning. More admin than I can handle in the afternoon, gigging at night. With touring this can change, but tends to be the way to stay sane. I love facilitating peoples good times. I see myself (and all performers) as being a part of the hospitality business. ‘we’re here for you!’ The stresses are that it is TOO MUCH to do for one person so I am constantly wearing about 9 hats and doing about 17 jobs. ”

LIONEL SMIT - Sculptor and painter

“My father is a sculptor, so growing up I was confronted with the idea of creating - this was a big influence for me. I’ve been working professionally since leaving school in 2001. 

My work is mostly based around figurative art and portraiture. I focus on the idea of identity and explore different gene pools and races - which I find quite fascinating. I use a combination of techniques. I use abstract and naturalistic qualities - and have them merge in a way.

I get to the studio in the morning, which starts off with a staff meeting in order to prioritise and do the day’s planning. I guess it sounds strange for a creative to plan his day, but in this case, I have exhibitions planned two years ahead, and therefore have to work to a schedule to make sure I meet deadlines. On a creative level though, what I create is completely up to me. The rest of my day comprises of moving between the various disciplines, such as painting, sculpting and print making.

I think what people don’t realise is, that any creative person that wants to succeed, ends up working harder than usual and also has constant tight deadlines and financial pressure. But once I am in front of a piece of clay or canvas, everything seems to fade away and it helps me escape all those stressors. It all becomes worth it, and you are reminded about why you love what has now become your job.”

BENDINI - Anatomical Wonder

“I first started juggling when I was 10 when my parents were given some juggling balls as an anniversary gift. I really slowly taught myself to juggle over a couple of years. I first started practicing more regularly after seeing a contact juggler at a local festival, this led to me going to Cambridge Community Circus where I met Rubber Paul a local contortionist / yoga teacher. I then started stretching a lot and this interest in the more unusual aspects of the human body and performing led onto learning sword swallowing and the such.

I’ve been stretching and training off and on for 15 or so years but performing professionally for maybe 4 or 5. I do a mix of circus and sideshow performance with clowning.

Most of my time is probably spent creating todo lists and then not doing them! I usually end up spending lots of time training, creating new shows or doing admin / promotion. There isn’t really an average week 

I think like most people that do this I love performing and the people you meet. The freedom of being self employed is great but the admin less so.”

PED ROSSITER - Metal Recycler

“I always wanted to be into metal and crushing metal but I have done several jobs. Worked on a pig farm, driving, worked in a cheeses factory. My father done it before me. He just put a few cars in the corner and was breaking cars and in ’95 when i took over i went more into the metal side of recycling. 

In a day I will oversee everything that’s going on, cut a few engines out and do a bit of metal generally. My sons cut vehicles and use the crushing machine. When they were kids they were always here and driving the machines. They are very keen to take it on when I retire.

The highlights are when the sun is shining and the stresses I suppose is all the red tape we have to get about - risk assessments - the health and safety side, environmental.

Summer is the best time of all in this job. Winter is a bit depressing - wet and cold with dark nights. I will be retired at 55 - which means I will wake up and do what I want to do. I won’t give up work - that’s impossible but I won’t be doing this - I will do something else.”

OLIVER BARNETT - Botanical artist

“My work now charts an ever-shifting perception of place within the land and our relationship to the organic world. The images I make intend to offer tools to connect to a collective perception of the fragile magic of the environment and find new ways to enjoy, share and preserve the natural habitats that sustain and nourish life.

My daily work life varies according to whether I have a particular project on the go. An average day consists of a morning spent communicating with galleries/clients, specific image tweaking or visiting my printer/framer. Either this or out in the field catching morning light with my camera, looking for locations and foraging for subjects. Afternoons are mostly for outdoor activities with my children after school. Evenings I am often in my studio office composing and creating…

Spending time in the wild, looking for subjects is a great pleasure and to an extent relieves the stresses that modern life sends our way!  For me being outside fills me with gratitude - it is never an aimless pursuit. It is my hope that this approach creates a platform for my children to feel the same way. Doing what we love holds immense value, and encourages others to discover their own joy through their work. ”

LYNNE INGRAM - Bee keeper

“I have been a beekeeper for almost 40 years. Originally from Somerset, I had gone to London to study, and when I came back bought a house with some land. I embraced self-sufficiency and along with keeping animals and growing veg, a couple of beehives seemed a natural addition. From a hobby with a couple of hives in the garden, it has now grown into a business that supplies honey and candles to shops, farmers markets and holiday businesses.

Bee keeping depends on the weather and the seasons. During the winter the bees are clustered together in the hive, and don’t normally go out. Apart from checking periodically that they have enough food to keep them going all winter - and if needed managing any varroa mite problem - they don’t need regular attention. This is the time for repairing equipment, extracting honey, and preparing for the next season. Once the season starts in April, regular inspections of the bees start. On sunny warm days I will be checking colonies to make sure the queen is present and laying, checking the health of a colony, and making sure they aren’t making preparations for swarming. I may be rearing new queens or moving the bees to new places so that they can work on a particular crop. This means moving them in the evening or early morning when the bees aren’t flying. On cold or rainy days there are always other jobs to do like preparing, bottling and labelling honey, or making deliveries.

Last year I lost over half of my bees to pesticide poisoning which was absolutely devastating so this year I am building up the number of colonies I have again. Bees are under threat at the moment – not only from pesticides and viruses, but also exotic pests from abroad like Asian hornets or Small Hive Beetle.

I usually work the bees on my own, and find the quiet focus of being with the bees a really meditative experience. 

Bees are totally amazing creatures, and I can’t help but be fascinated by them. Each colony is an efficient super-organism where every bee works for the good of the whole colony. They are really important for our world – let’s not lose them.”

LOULOU D’VIL - Burlesque performer

“As a child I wanted to be a vet because I have always loved animals. After that I wanted to be a rockstar.

I found burlesque kind of by accident. I saw this magazine story of Dita Von Teese in 2007 and got really interested in the art form. I took part of the very first burlesque event in Helsinki in 2008 (on new comer’s night) and fell in love. Very soon I was traveling around Europe and then the world. It demanded lot of work (still does) but has been worth of all the struggle. 

My job is my lifestyle and my lifestyle is my job. I can’t really separate them. As an artist & entrepreneur I work 24/7. Every day is different - it’s nonstop. It’s training, rehearsals, sewing, traveling, updating the website, trying to find new show songs, choreographing, drawing, writing etc. I’m designing costumes & new show ideas all the time, and I rehearse new skills. 

I’m used to taking care of everything by myself so I also take care of all business things -  bookings, show arrangements, marketing, social media, branding and photoshoot planning. We have two club nights here in Vegas and those take lot of our time too. 

In my work I get to be as creative as I want to, meet new people and to travel. I’m also learning constantly. It is hard to find a balance between work & free time. One day I would like to see myself as an artistic producer and have parties like Andy Warhol had!”

THOMAS CHIPPERFEILD - Lion and tiger trainer

“Like every kid I wanted to do loads of different things but I wanted to be and animal trainer more than anything else. My parents were animal trainers both wild and domestic. 

I began working with wild animals when I took over from my dad in my teenage year. I trained for a very long time and when I was 18 I started working in the ring with the big cats

My average day involves getting up, having a bite to eat - cleaning out the animals, changing their water and  letting them into their enclosures. All in all it takes just under an hour. The animals stay out for the day get fed outside. Towards the end of the day the animals get put away to bed where it nice and warm in their night dens. Then the cycle starts all over again. 

Everything I do has to revolve around my animals - they have to come first. I don’t really have a set routine for myself because it all has to work around the animals needs at any give time. If i get the chance I will go out to pick up some shopping or do other essential things but nearly all the time now I am stuck with the animals. 

Working with animals always has a high degree of stress and worry because you have a lot of sentient things is your care as your responsibility. They have to come first regardless. Asides from being our bread and butter they are members of the family. The worst thing that can happen - but always does - is you lose an animal. It is a natural part of this life because humans live so long compared to every other species. 

The best thing about my job is working with beings that are so honest - you always know where you are with animals, they don’t really operate under false pretences. It is an extraordinary and fulfilling thing to build a bridge between the world we live in and the world animals live in. 

I grew up in Ireland and worked there my whole life so a career highlight was returning to the Uk and working in England in front of a live audience. Another highlight would be starting to work with the animals for the media including television shows.

It is very difficult to communicate with people who disagree with what I do because their viewpoint is purely ideological and there is no rational basis for it. The science is on our side with regards to animal welfare. Anytime that you try and strike up conversation with people with an opposing point of view it is not acknowledged because it breaks their world view. 

To be able to understand what I do and why I do it is a very difficult thing for anyone that doesn’t do it. It has to be experienced to be understood. There is not much I can say apart from there is no more fulfilling way of life as far as I am concerned. 

I imagine myself continuing doing this in the future, maybe working with more species. I would also like to get involved with zoos down the line.”

Lovely Article by Dodo Magazine on OMO

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