Tell us who you are and what you do!
My name’s Jeff Hagood and I go under the moniker “DoomCloud” for my freelance work. I am many things, haha. First and foremost a cinematographer/videographer, digital artist/illustrator, photographer, graphic designer and amateur animator. I say first and foremost videographer because though drawing was my original skill, I’ve always had creative ideas and everything I drew were concepts to movies and cartoons that I visualized in my head. Drawing was simply a way of putting my ideas down sort of like notes. I’ve always wanted to be a filmmaker.
As a kid, I was very introverted. I didn’t go out much. My environment as far as my hometown and later on Little Rock didn’t shape me as much as the things I enjoyed to watch. My father was/is a huge influencer because he’s the reason I ever took interest in things such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, LOTR, etc. He’s as much of a film buff as I am and he recognized my desire to create my own comic book stories and ideas. A lot of my childhood centered around watching cartoons and movies; they shaped my imagination. Drawing has always been second nature. In high school I got my first digital camera, a simple point and shoot. I started off just by shooting random funny videos with my friends. An old friend of mine began shooting shorts with me and we called ourselves MJ Productions (Marquis and Jeff). A couple of my videos reached around 50,000 views but I realized the humor was very dull and mainly centered around just foul language with no substance. I abandoned doing funny videos after starting college, but then a year later after transferring to UALR (The University of Arkansas at Little Rock) I suddenly felt the urge to get into more serious filming. Friends of mine were/are local music artists and we planned on me getting a DSLR and to shoot professional-looking music videos. After months of researching how to use DSLRs and saving up, I bought a Canon t2i and shot my first music video a week later. I am currently working on a degree centered around graphic design but I’ve gained most of my experience and knowledge by doing freelance work on the side.
What is the inspiration for your work?
It’s hard to sum up my inspirations. As far as film I look up to many filmmakers such as Steven Speilberg, Zack Snyder, Guillermo Del Toro, etc. With my animation work my biggest inspiration is Tim Burton and cartoons such as Courage the Cowardly dog and the Stop-motion animation studio called Laika that is known for movies such as Paranorman and Coraline. The older I’ve become, the more I tend to veer more towards dark and emotional themes. All of my personal non-commissioned creative work tends to have a sort of weird or dark vibe with a vivid display of emotion, I simply love being weird.
What would you say to prevent an upcoming artist from making the same mistakes you have made?
Never doubt yourself. I started college as an interior design major simply because I never thought I could make money as an artist. That was quite frankly one of the dumbest things I could ever think. It shouldn’t even be all about the money. I want to be successful while doing what I love. If you have the skills, there’s no reason you shouldn’t pursue your dreams and even if you aren’t that skilled yet, always work on perfecting your craft. That’s what I do every day.
What obstacles have you faced as a Black Artist/Business Owner?
It’s hard to say whether it was because I’m black, but I’ve recently attempted to land jobs as a graphic designer so that I can escape the retail world with no luck so far. I’m not officially a business owner yet. A lot of employers may see a guy with a huge fro as “unprofessional”, to them I say oh well. But honestly as a freelance artist, I don’t believe my skin has held me back yet. People don’t see me, they see my art. My art has yet to label me as a “Black artist”. Quite frankly, I’d rather not be known as a black artist. I say this because I shouldn’t be viewed as exceptional simply because of my skin. My skin doesn’t hinder my abilities. I’m not a special case because of my blackness. We are capable of great things just as anyone else. I want to be an artist of my own merit. Not just a Black one.