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Meet John O’Callaghan of OC Studios in North County, Leucadia

Today we’d like to introduce you to John O’Callaghan.

John, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I grew up just outside of New York City, on Long Island. Some buddies and I would always take the train into the city for punk and hardcore shows and I’d be fascinated by all of the different letter styles of the graffiti on the city walls. That, with a combination of interest in capturing surfing on photo and video, got me interested in art. The graffiti pulled me in a graphic design direction, and the surf pulled me in the photo and video direction.

After high school, I went to the School of Visual Arts in NYC where I studied design. I came from a blue collar family, so I put myself through art school by working as a mechanic and rigger at the crane company where my father worked in the city. Half the time I was an artist, the other half a grease monkey. It still kind of plays that way now.

Years later, that education in design would combine with my love for capturing moments in the surf when I designed SOLOSHOT with a group of guys I was living within the Dominican Republic. After a couple of years of working with my partners at SOLOSHOT, I moved on to work as a creative director at an agency. After that, about three years ago, I moved on to start my own.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It hasn’t been the smoothest of roads, but the bumpy ones are always more fun anyway! I’ve never had a huge direction or goal of what I’ve wanted to do with my creative abilities. I have always moved in and out of interest in different fields, whether it be design, film, photo, editing, etc., but being creative for a living is something I never would have dreamed of as a kid.

After I left SOLOSHOT I bought a van, built it out in my driveway in Leucadia, and drove to Alaska. Those roads are super bumpy by the way. When I got back, I had nothing to my name, besides the now beat up van, and was living in a garage when I got the job as Creative Director at STN Digital. Sometimes you have to fully hit reset and start from scratch to see where your interests and talents can take you.

Please tell us about your business.
The majority of my business is now in filming and editing. That ends up being a mixture of video editing mixed in with motion graphics to create several deliverables for my clients. In the last six months, we have created multiple marketing campaigns, social media content catalogs, produced and co-directed the ISA World Surfing Games in Japan, continued to work on a big wave documentary on the North Shore, created a couple branding packages, shot and fulfilled a 50 print custom order of in water surf photographs for an office build out and built a website or two.

It’s all a bit different day by.

We specialize in being able to adapt to my client’s needs. Staying on brand with the look and feel that my clients expect and getting the job done. We work fast, which has been a strong suit of ours and that benefits us as it allows us to take on a lot of different work throughout the year, which keeps it interesting.

I am most proud of the adaptability. It’s still a young(ish) company, only three years or so, so I don’t say no often. It has become our Achilles heel as of late, but it’s enabled me to figure out different creative ways to accomplish what our clients are looking for.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I wish to move more into long form pieces that not only interest me but can also have a positive impact on society. This digital age of constant content at your fingertips is starting to wear on me. I feel as though no one has the time to appreciate a 15 second Instagram ad, and after all of the hard work that is put into it, it’s a bit disheartening. I want to work on projects with purpose. Putting my talents to good use.

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 5165281287
  • Email:
  • Instagram: johntocallaghan

Image Credit:
HEADSHOT: Bane Visnjic @banevis

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