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Obiekwe Okolo or simply Obi, has lived in D.C. for nearly 5 years by way of San Antonio, TX . Okolo is amongst the ranks of photographers, designers, and creatives who are transforming Washington’s creative scene. We caught up with him to gauge his perspective on work/life balance and covering ones many blind spots.

Most people aren’t from D.C. Where are you from and what DC neighborhood do you live in now?

“I’m from San Antonio TX, and currently living in D.C.’s Brookland neighborhood. I have been in D.C. for 5 years and love Brookland. In a lot of ways, it’s the perfect D.C. neighborhood. It still has a real grit to it and feels like the city.”

Dew Drop Inn is my favorite bar in the city. Primrose has become one of my favorite restaurants in the city–shout out to Sebastian, Frank, and Britt. There’s always something happening nearby; but on the nights I wanna sit and be a homebody I can do it in peace.”

What do you do for money and what do you do for your soul?

“I’ve been a freelance creative director for about 2 years now, and am currently working on forming my own agency cuz I’ve grown to the point where I can no longer support clients on my own. It’s exciting, but it’s also a tad bit terrifying.”

“I’m fortunate enough to have made a life where my hustle is my passion.”

Why are you passionate about your occupation or side hustle?

“Design is a language all of humanity speaks. But it takes a certain few with the skill set to translate. I love being able to create that translation for people.”

Obi Okolo

On Covering Your Blind Spots

How do you currently juggle all of the priorities in your life?

“I’m just barely juggling. I use apps like Monday, the Google suite of software, Movie Pass, and Moment.”

“If there’s any tip, it’s be real with yourself about what you are and aren’t good at. Project management and time management are my blind spots. I don’t make excuses for them. I lean into them and free myself up to work on them. Also, I surround myself with people who are better than me at those things.”

Everyone wants to be around people who are better/smarter/faster. But how do you actually find those people and make those connections?

D.C. has incredibly diverse, formidable, and accessible creative communities– like Freelance DC and blank– and I’m so grateful I get to be a part of them. That’s where I find most of my mentors and professional big brothers and sisters.

When you’re not working, where can we find you?

“Drinking a scotch, whisky, or coffee. In my kitchen. At Union Market. Or Maketto. Or The Line Hotel. Working with and mentoring high school boys through a local youth ministry.”

Photography by Daniel Wellington, Courtesy of Obi Okolo

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