Why London Is an Ever-Growing Hub of Opportunity for Young Creatives Like HAM the Illustrator
London gets a lot of bad press as a city. It’s expensive, overcrowded, and unsafe. The trains don’t run on time, people are unfriendly. The complaints go on.
On the one hand, it’s facing economic uncertainty due to the Brexit result. And, on the other hand, the looming threat of terrorism, which has made itself felt with both the London Bridge and Westminster attacks.
But, despite all of this, London remains, as a rapper, illustrator and producer, HAM the Illustrator describes it: “A hub of opportunity”. He, like many other creatives on the come-up, recognises what a great place the city is for those who want to work hard and put themselves out-there.
“Your dreams don’t just happen in London. You need to self-develop.” he argues.
Self-development, in the modern sense of the word, often means going it on your own. With 68% of Britain’s entrepreneurs residing in the capital, it’s no surprise that people travel far and wide to make it here. In HAM’s case, he’s had to cross water to achieve his goals.
Beginning life in Namibia, he’s a man of academic roots, raised by two parents who fought multiple causes to make him the person that he is today. His father was an Oxford graduate, who went on to pursue a career in humanitarian journalism, while his mother was forced to freedom fight under apartheid rule. Influenced by his surroundings, HAM made it his mission to become successful, dabbling in rap, art, photography, videography, and eventually settling on British soil.
Arriving in London at the age 18, he initially started out as a freelance graphic designer, before later moving on to photography with a magazine called the The Guestlist Network. Videography came next – HAM was fortunate enough to be made Channel Presenter for the publication, along the way interviewing big names like Pendulum, Public Enemy and Andy C. This he combined with an active involvement in beat-making.
Nowadays recognised as a multi-media storyteller, he’s well and truly taken London by the horns in making it his home.
“People come from all over to make it here” he says. “You just need to be brave enough to get up and say hi to it.”
HAM is one of several artists contributing to our much-awaited 2pac Changes – Art exhibition on the 23rd September. His concentration areas include illustration, graphic design, music production, composition and architectural 3D design. While his submissions for the big day remain under wraps, his style is very much very distinctive, even if it is wide-ranging.