Nic Hamilton is a visual artist, working in video and animation with a strong connection to music. He collaborates with record labels and electronic music producers, creating evocative pieces of visual and aural synchronicity and combining the categories of video art and music video. His videos capture experiences of natural and constructed environments.
Nic is also Director at SquintOpera Melbourne, an international creative agency specialising in imagining the future of the built environment through film, installation and illustration. Here are his first five jobs:
1. Cherry Picking
I used to pick cherries in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley and would start at 6am and finish at 3pm. It was hot, boring and hard but paid well for a 15 year old.
2. Petrol Station Attendant
Between the ages of 17 and 20 I worked at Launceston’s only 24hr petrol station wearing serving petrol and polishing the bowsers for the nightmarish couple that ran it. My best moment was filling up a red faced man’s diesel 4WD with petrol and subsequently having to get under the car and drain it while being threatened with a bashing.
3. Foundry Assistant
My Dad ran a commercial foundry fabricating large bronze and aluminium artworks. The work was particularly hot and and dirty. Breaking the massive sand moulds apart after a pour to see the result was always exciting. Then came the clean up, grinding and finishing. Having an insight into the huge amounts of labour and technique behind a cast metal artwork was influential and instilled in me the value of craftsmanship and technical rigour. Perhaps the most boring part of the whole process is when it ends up anaesthetised in a gallery.
I worked as graduate architect for a few years after a 5-year degree, but quickly realised I would have absolutely no say in how anything worked or looked until I was either 50 or practising for myself. As a mild control freak with a disdain of being told what to do this profession didn’t sit well with me. On the plus side, I am now fluent in understanding the language that architects deploy.
5. 3D Artist
I taught myself 3D software and worked freelance to make club flyers, grant presentations for artists, various bad logos and design images for architects. I was working blind at this stage and learning from print books before the internet tutorial explosion. I still love learning new technologies and techniques.
We’ve asked professionals in creative industries what jobs they have had in the past to get their foot through the door (or at least pay the rent). For more in the “My First 5 Jobs” series look here.