The road to becoming an established creative can be filled with surprise, doubt, and unease, but OQ’s Chloe Keogan has successfully transitioned her passion for photography and graphic design into her full-time career.
We sat down with Chloe — self-professed ‘dreamer’, one of OQ’s talented photographers, longtime in-house stylist and former social media manager — to delve into her creative journey. What makes her tick? How is she mastering her craft? How does she find comfort and inspiration in her fellow OQ colleagues? Well...
Can you tell us how you found yourself working at OQ?
Back in March 2015, I came to Canada from Ireland. I already knew the company's original photographer, Kim Kimberlin (@kimkimberlin), as we met during my brief stint living in San Francisco in the summer of 2012. I was in Canada less than two weeks before she shot me a Facebook message asking if I needed a job — and the rest is history.
You wear many hats in the creative world, what drew you to photography and graphic design?
I taught myself photography by accident. I was studying computer engineering at Trinity College Dublin and found myself taking pictures, rather than working on my lab reports or coding projects. I’ve always been a dreamer and that student who stared out the window in my own little world.I learned backwards, taking terrible quality images from my point-and-shoot camera and running them through simple PC editing software and photoshop to try and make the end product somewhat decent. My love of art gave me that passion for photography, which I definitely attribute to my father, who was an artist himself.
After throwing engineering to the wind, my pull to graphic design came from working in an advertising agency after college as an art direction intern.
What motivated you to go back to school and pursue it as a full time career?
spent years learning photography and photoshop on my own, but lacked the professional finesse other established creatives had to do it full-time. Also, being a terrible business woman held me back considerably. It took me years to become a self-taught photographer through watching YouTube tutorials and I felt the intensive graphic design course at the British Columbia Institute of Technology is what I needed to get me to where I wanted to go, covering Illustrator and InDesign. I wanted to be a well rounded creative now - not years from now.
Where/who/what do you draw creative inspiration from?
My deep inspiration comes from my dad, who was such a passionate artist himself. He was a civil engineer by trade, but I remember being mesmerized as a child as he hand drew blueprints for every building, bridge and project he worked on. My mother too was a natural creative, so I was brought up surrounded by art, design, music and dance. Now, I draw inspiration from design websites like My Modern Met, iGANANT, AdAge, Dribbble, Behance, Pinterest and of course the many talented creatives on Instagram.
"I threw five years of college out the window and went for it. I haven't looked back since."
When did you realize your passion could become your occupation?
It was probably when I was searching for developer jobs at the end of college and came across In the Company of Huskies, a digital advertising agency in Dublin, where I ended up interning. Their website was so well designed and I remember thinking, “THIS is the company I want to work for!“ I had messed up an interview with Bank of America, which turned out to be the best screw up I ever made. I found Huskies Agency through the Developer position they had on the company website and under it I saw a position for Creative Intern. I threw five years of college out the window and went for it. I haven't looked back since.
How would you say you embody the OQ value of personal creativity?
I think all of us who work at OQ are personally creative. I’ve been inspired everyday to learn and grow my skillset just by working with this team. My first year in Canada was quite challenging, causing me to lose a lot of my creative passion, but collaborating with this growing team of amazing people has reignited my passion. Together, we’re creating the OQ story.
To being yourself! Chloe, you rock! Click HERE to shop the creative's must-have frame the 'Chloe'.