Posted 23 May 2023
Mention Shane Sutherland
Interview by Lyla Maeve

“My community are my influence”: Meet producer and visual artist, Shane Sutherland

Creative producer and visual artist Shane Sutherland spins many plates. As well as their artistic practice – where they immerse viewers in 3D and virtual art – they also work as an assistant at art gallery 198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, and recently wrapped up a period as a producer at the Arebyte Gallery. Graduating from London College of Communication’s photography course in 2021, they recently had their short film, Osupa, shown at the BFI in conjunction with youth culture festival Tour De Moon. Here, Shane tells us about the importance of notebooks to their practice, and how social media isn’t the only way to get noticed.

Shane Sutherland

Shane Sutherland

Job Title

Creative Producer and Visual Artist



Selected Clients

198 Contemporary Arts and Learning, Arebyte Gallery

Place of Study

BA Photography, London College of Communication (2018–2021)


Social Media


What I do

How would you describe what you do?
I’d describe myself primarily as a visual artist who also works in production and curation. My work as a producer is very structured and usually in the aid of others, whereas my artistic and curatorial practice is more free-forming and with myself in mind. I’m quite lucky to work across these, as they all flow quite well together at the moment.

What are the main influences and inspirations behind your work?
In my practice, my culture and community are my largest influence. When I create, it’s always with myself and them in mind.

Trailer for Shane’s film, Osupa

Would you say you need any specific training for what you do?
You can train in various ways to do what I do, but I feel that nothing can teach you faster than real-world application and creating the work you want to see. A lot of my experience comes from saying “yes” to projects and opportunities, which have, in turn, led me to learn a new skill or find my next opportunity.

Skills that I think are useful for working across disciplines like [mine] are organisation, good time management, people skills, patience and perseverance – but they aren’t must-haves!

“A lot of my experience comes from saying yes to projects and opportunities which have, in turn, led me to learn a new skill or find my next opportunity.”

Shane sutherland artist creativelivesinprogress FILM STILL OSUPA 1 png FILM STILLOSUPA 2

Stills from Shane’s film, Osupa

Shane sutherland artist creativelivesinprogress FILM STILL OSUPA 1

What’s been your favourite project to work on from the past year, and why?
In my creative practice, my favourite project from the last year has to be my short film Osupa, which I had the pleasure of screening across the UK with [youth arts festival] Tour De Moon and as part of the London Short Film Festival at the BFI. This was the first film commission I’ve directed and produced, so it’s been really incredible to carry the project from concept to screen.

How I got here

What was your journey like when you were first starting out? Did you find your feet quickly?
Starting out for me is always scary because even with my proven experience, I still doubt my capabilities and feel pangs of imposter syndrome. I’m still finding my feet.

Sometimes the balance of disciplines can shift in favour of the one that provides the most for me financially, which tends to take the joy away from creating. But there’s still a lot I want to do – my journey is just beginning.

“Starting out for me is always scary because even with my proven experience, I still doubt my capabilities and feel pangs of imposter syndrome.”

How did you go about landing your first clients?
Luckily, once I graduated I’d already had interest from my university [London College of Communication]’s collection in acquiring some work that I'd created. But, due to some technicalities, they ended up commissioning new work from me. I then proceeded to apply for new projects, opportunities and grants, which led me to producing new commissions.

My most rewarding clients and commissions have been those I’ve been really passionate about and where I felt most confident in my capabilities.

Pan-A-DNA, 2021
Pan-A-DNA, 2021

What would you say has been your biggest challenge along the way?
Some of my biggest challenges have arisen from imposter syndrome and doubting my own capabilities. I would also say finding time for myself has been a real challenge. There’s an intricate balance at play, juggling a few things the way I do – I sometimes forget to nurture my own creative practice and completely halt on research and seeking inspiration.

If you could pick three things that you’ve found useful or inspiring to your work, what would they be and why?
Music is a massive inspiration to me, usually when I start working on a project. I’ve already started a new playlist for it and continue adding to it, up until it takes on its final form.

Something I’ve found super-useful is just having a few notebooks on the go. I tend to have at least two: one with work notes and one with inspiration and ideas. I also tend to create a reading list in the latter.

I also find the people I surround myself with inspiring. Without a great support system, I wouldn’t feel emboldened to keep creating and producing more work.

Shane sutherland artist creativelivesinprogress Self Portrait 2019

Self-Portrait (2019)

Shane sutherland artist creativelivesinprogress Owin 2020

Owin (2020)

How important would you say social media and self-promotion are to your work?
Self-promotion is great for getting your work out there and getting people and yourself to understand what it is you do. I don’t think social media is the only way of doing this; it’s dependent on what you want to do, and I think it's important to move away from putting that pressure on yourself.

In any format though, I think speaking about your work in the places you want it to be experienced and seen is great for yourself and others to hear. Whether that’s galleries, community spaces or private collections, it’s important to envision and manifest that space for your work.

My preferred form of self-promotion is through my website. I’m constantly shifting and changing it to reflect the work I’m making; I’ve had two versions of my website, but currently I love having the ability to create a really interesting and engaging online space for my work.

Shane sutherland artist creativelivesinprogress O I Ori Heads 2021

Stills from Shane’s video project, O.I.

Shane sutherland artist creativelivesinprogress WEBPAGE O I 2021

Shane sutherland artist creativelivesinprogress WEBPAGE O I 2021 1

Have there been any courses, programmes or access schemes you would recommend to get into your sector?
When looking for jobs and opportunities my go to is Run the Check, Arts Council England’s Arts Jobs listings or directly approaching groups and organisations I’m eager to work with. I’m always on the lookout for my next role, project or commission, even when I have something lined up – it’s always handy as a creative to have back-ups!

My advice

What’s the best career-related advice you’ve ever received?
Two pieces of career advice I love are to “fake it till you make it” and to always look into and research whoever it is you want to work with. People always appreciate when you’re eager and interested [in their work].

What advice would you give someone looking to get into similar work?
I think my main piece of advice would be to have confidence in your ability. Half of being a good fit for the role you want is being sure of your ability; even if you’re projecting confidence, you’re halfway there.

Mention Shane Sutherland
Interview by Lyla Maeve