Years ago, Damien Cooper would see friends who were hip hop artists paying good money to companies that would film and produce their music videos.
And so Cooper picked up a camera and began doing it himself. In fact, the local videographer/photographer who worked a 2Chainz and Lil Wayne concert at Oracle Arena is entirely self-taught.
After figuring out he had a talent for the craft, Cooper logged off the social media craze and logged into YouTube instruction videos. He studied them obsessively. He would work at his craft nights and weekends while holding down a nine-to-five bank job.
“I would sit there for hours, buy books on it,” he said. “It snowballed to the point where I was able to charge for the services.”
The result is a top-notch professional who recently launched Monochrome Studios at 4820 Bissell Ave. in Richmond. From the studio, he operates his busines, Damien Donte Media.
The studio is becoming a bastion for local artists looking to rent a well-equipped space or to use Cooper’s services in producing videos, photography and editing, among others.
It’s little surprise that Cooper’s studio would become a hit quickly. He is highly involved in the Richmond, San Pablo and El Sobrante communities.
He has done volunteer work as board member of Salesian and El Sobrante Boys & Girls Clubs and with the San Pablo Economic Development Corp. He has taught local youth how to use a camera and edit photos, urging their creative expression.
Cooper wants to invite the artist community into his studio to foster that creativity.
He says his keys to success have been networking and creating contacts with other professionals in his business. Not just folks that will bring him new clients, but also artists who can help him continue to grow.
“You can’t do everything yourself,” he said.
To access Cooper’s work, visit his Instagram account, YouTube account or Twitter account, among other networks. To request his services or to inquire about renting the studio, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.