23 May 2019

Shannon Downey Answers 12 Questions Relating to the Creative Process


What is the creative process and how does it define us?

In this ongoing Q&A series, 12 simple questions are posed to people across different industries to reveal what it means to be creative, whatever your vocation.

Answering the questions this time is artist, activist, craftivist,  Shannon Downey – AKA Badass Cross Stitch.





C O N C I O U S N E S S




In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am a community mobilizer disguised as a fiber artist.


What’s your creative process; how do you get stuff done?


Most of my creative inspiration comes from a deep exploration of the systems that we create as humans as well as my attempts at deconstructing the impact that the unspoken systems have on me and have on others - patriarchy, white supremacy, capitalism… you know… the light stuff.

This means a lot of reading, talking to people, listening, observing, and writing. And then, of course, stitching and writing and writing and drawing and stitching and thinking and meditating and stitching and thinking and writing (in no particular order).


Everyone works differently. When did you become aware that your creative process is your own?


I have a very clear memory of this. I was a child, and a friend and I were coloring pages to enter into a coloring contest at our local grocery store. It involved an elephant and I remember coloring a perfect gray elephant. I looked over and my friend had colored a polka-dot elephant. I remember being horrified and asking why she did that – that is NOT what elephants look like. She told me that no one wins a coloring contest by coloring a plain old elephant. The only way to win is to make it wacky. The judges love wacky. I thought she was bananas. She won. I learned so many lessons through that coloring contest.


When are you most creative?


When I’m most outraged.


Can you be creative in a vacuum or do you need outside influences to help?

Both.





E X I S T E N T I A L I S M




Did you seek being a creative or did creativity find you?

I’ve always been creative, but I did not seek it. I just layered it into everything I did and eventually it became the thing I do the most. But I think everyone is creative. They express it and apply it in the ways that make sense to them and their lives.


Do you think your background has had an effect on your creativity?

Absolutely. I was raised in an Irish Catholic community in Boston. I was raised deep in the Catholic church… like capital D… Deep. I was raised in a patriarchy within a patriarchy! It was white. It was homophobic (I’m queer). It was secretive. It was built on shame and subservience. I was an agitator in that world. The minute I could leave it I did, and I’ve spent the last 23 years unlearning, unprogramming, relearning, exploring, listening and eventually creating - in response to my childhood.


Have you ever struggled with creativity?

Definitely, but it only happens when I’m not happy with my choices.

I ran a digital marketing company for 10 years that I started in Chicago. Around year 8, I lost all creativity. I was really unhappy because I was connected to a device 24/7 because of my work. That is actually when I started stitching. I found a pattern that made me laugh on Etsy (it was of Captain Picard) and I remembered that I learned to cross stitch in 5th grade. It was a whim. I bought it and stitched it that weekend and I immediately felt better. I had actual creative ideas that next week. I realized my digital/analog balance was so far off balance that I couldn’t find my creativity. So I sought digital/analog balance with vengeance. A year and half later I closed up shop and freed myself of my digital chains in service to the liberation of my creativity!





D I S R U P T I O N




Is there any one person, thought or thing that’s changed the way you think?

My mom. As I mentioned I was deep in Catholicism as a child and I remember wearing a tiny anti-abortion lapel pin home which was given to me at school. My mom asked me about it and I went on some sort of rant about how abortion was murder and it should never be allowed to happen… because that is what I learned to say. My mom paused and asked me if I thought that a woman who was raped should have to have that baby. In that moment (I think I was in third grade) I realized that I needed to start asking questions. When my mom disrupted my thinking with a simple question – but one that rocked the foundation of the argument – I knew something was wrong with how I was being taught. I started asking MILLIONS of questions about everything. I took nothing at face value after that. It changed everything about the way I think about everything.


Do you have one piece of advice for anyone starting out as a creative?

You are already creative. You don’t need training in how to be creative. GO. DO. SHIT.





R E F L E C T I O N




Do you think creativity has defined you?

I’m undefinable.


What would you like to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?

This is what I want to be doing. If I want to be doing something else, I’ll do that. I have reinvented my life more times than I can count in my journey to be where I am right now.






T H A N K   Y O U




Photo credit: Gloria Araya

14 May 2019

David Jury Answers 12 Questions Relating to the Creative Process


What is the creative process and how does it define us?

In this ongoing Q&A series, 12 simple questions are posed to people across different industries to reveal what it means to be creative, whatever your vocation.

Answering the questions this time is author and typographic enquirer, David Jury.





C O N C I O U S N E S S




In a nutshell, what do you do?

‘In a nutshell’ I write, print and publish.

I write about printing and the various kind of people who have used print, both commercially and creatively. This material is in book form (which I invariably also design) and also appears as articles/papers for inclusion in magazines. I also have a studio in which I print my own limited edition books by hand under the name Fox Ash Press, and undertake commissions for ‘fine art printing’, creating limited edition prints for artists attached to art galleries such as Flowers and the V&A.


What’s your creative process; how do you get stuff done?


Nothing I do occurs in isolation. Things happen because of something seen or said. The prime reason I still teach (one day a week teaching ‘Typographic Enquiry’ on the MA Typography course at Cambridge) is for the contact I get with students. I realise that this is a selfish activity, but it is one that also benefits the students. Indeed, seeking ideas and knowledge makes you a far more interesting person for the student to communicate with. 

How I do things: I have a studio that is separate from my house. The smell of ink on entering immediately puts me in a different frame of mind. I print using letterpress equipment – essentially metal and wood type and a proofing press. It is often an apparently ‘messy’ space but seeing tools and papers on surfaces – usually ‘work in progress’ and often rejected sheets on the floor – is always a huge visual stimulus on entry. Indeed, seeing work in progress is often the spark that ignites the next project. However, I do tidy the studio when a major project is finished and a new one must begin.

Digital technology only encroaches into my ‘limited edition’ print work in a peripheral way: laser cut large wood letters and, of course, as a standard means of communication. However, for writing and work for mainstream publishers my laptop computer is essential and is with me at all times. I write in the morning until around mid-day and then work on printing projects in the afternoon. Evenings are usually reading and writing. If I am commissioned to write a book I always insist that I design it too. The two should be inextricably linked – and all the better for it.


Everyone works differently. When did you become aware that your creative process is your own?


I’m not at all sure that my way of doing things is ‘my own’, but I am aware that the equipment I have (and particularly my proofing press) has forced me to seek out projects that I would not have done if it had continued working as it should! In other words, I have adapted my projects and my working processes to suit my tools and materials. But I think this is a pretty natural way to progress. The range of work I undertake is broad: mainstream publishing, to fine press books, to fine art printing – and I want this to continue because each supports and invigorates the other.


When are you most creative?


See ‘What’s your creative process’.


Can you be creative in a vacuum or do you need outside influences to help?

Instead of ‘influence’ I would say ‘stimuli’. Art galleries and cinema play a huge role as well as books (lots of them) and television (not so much). But yes, outside stimuli is vital – not as a crutch (as the question ‘…to help’ suggests) but to keep ideas developing. I imagine a ‘fine artist’ being able to work quite independent of the world around them (although all the artists I have met have been avid foragers of information and other people’s ideas) but if you are interested in mass communication, as I am, you are sure to be eager to meet and greet whatever is going on around you.






E X I S T E N T I A L I S M




Did you seek being a creative or did creativity find you?

I have always been creative, never worried about having different opinions and was always drawn to others who sought alternative routes. Going to art school was the easiest and most natural decision of my life.


Do you think your background has had an effect on your creativity?

Yes, but I’m not sure how. Having a working class background made going to art school quite a leap of faith for my parents, but never once suggested they had any doubts in my decision. But once in I made very sure I was ‘successful’.


Have you ever struggled with creativity?

No – at least not in the sense that it ever crossed my mind that creativity was anything other than a wonderful and positive activity. I feel lucky and privileged to have been able to spend too much time involved in it. Struggling to find the right way of saying something – in words or visually – is often difficult. And, by the way, ‘writing’ and ‘visualising’ are remarkably close activities although, finally, I find writing to be the more difficult.





D I S R U P T I O N




Is there any one person, thought or thing that’s changed the way you think?

Camus’ The Outsider – beware, other people’s perception of what you are doing can be quite different from your own. I’m also pretty sure I got onto my BA course in graphic design (in 1968) because I talked to the interview panel about Camus’ idea of reality and how it impacted on the evils of mass communication! I wanted to be a troublemaker when I was 18 and they obviously thought it would be fun to have me along.


Do you have one piece of advice for anyone starting out as a creative?

Be flexible in thinking, stoic in making.





R E F L E C T I O N




Do you think creativity has defined you?

Yes, it surely has (and does) because it’s the way I define myself.


What would you like to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?

Where I am now is genuinely where I have always wanted to be. Lucky? Certainly focused.






T H A N K   Y O U






09 April 2019

Steven Olsen Answers 12 Questions Relating to the Creative Process


What is the creative process and how does it define us?

In this ongoing Q&A series, 12 simple questions are posed to people across different industries to reveal what it means to be creative, whatever your vocation.

Answering the questions this time is product designer, Steven Olsen.





C O N C I O U S N E S S




In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am a product designer, designing luminaires and getting them into production. In my spare time I have also tried to design the ‘holy-grail’ of mountain biking: A belt-drive mountain bike which has a gearbox with no external gears – perfect for what I call #greatbritishweather.


What’s your creative process; how do you get stuff done?


I was taught at a Bauhaus Design School, whose methods are still relevant today – ‘Form follows function’. My process involves research, conceptualisation, prototyping and testing, refinement, production drawings and manufacture.

The most creative parts are the concept and refinement stages, however there is some to-and-fro at each stage to get things correct. It’s all about understanding the material and the relevant process needed.


Everyone works differently. When did you become aware that your creative process is your own?


It can be nurtured through the Bauhaus ‘thought process’ in design training. At 15 years old I was aware that drawing was an important part of the design process and realised that I could draw something and then get it made in a different way.

Materials and processes have changed and got cheaper, so all of this gets put into the mix when designing something. For example, although 3D printing has been around for over 25 years, in the last five years the cost of printing small parts has come down significantly. This factor has definitely effected my process.


When are you most creative?


In the morning, after some coffee or a bike ride. There is nothing nicer than sitting down with a piece of paper and sketching out a solution or a detail to a construction problem.


Can you be creative in a vacuum or do you need outside influences to help?

I can turn it on and off. Sometimes thinking about it subconsciously can resolve a problem.






E X I S T E N T I A L I S M




Did you seek being a creative or did creativity find you?

It found me. I discovered that I was able to draw better than most kids when I was 10 years old, so that lead me to pursuing a creative career.


Do you think your background has had an effect on your creativity?

Not really. I was encouraged to draw, but I also enjoyed drawing.


Have you ever struggled with creativity?

I struggle to choose the correct conceptual path and often have to follow several or go back, trying to rethink something or stripping an idea back to its basic or fundamental needs. ‘Do I need this feature, or do I want this feature?’ Again, that Bauhaus teaching: Form follows function – the stripping and shaping of a product back to how it is going to be principally used. By doing this, you will create a product that transcends fashion and ultimately have a long lifecycle.





D I S R U P T I O N




Is there any one person, thought or thing that’s changed the way you think?

Marc Newson has some designs that look simple but are extremely well conceived, with no visible fixings and an uncomplicated future aesthetic. Although slightly retro in styling, he has an interesting approach.


Do you have one piece of advice for anyone starting out as a creative?

Draw and keep a notebook with you. You never know when you will have an idea.





R E F L E C T I O N




Do you think creativity has defined you?

Yes, I think it has taught me to challenge everything. Ask questions. Is there a better way to make something?


What would you like to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?

Designing bikes to pay the bills and make living off. Or travelling the world by bicycle?






T H A N K   Y O U







20 March 2019

Esther Cox Answers 12 Questions Relating to the Creative Process

What is the creative process and how does it define us?

In this ongoing Q&A series, 12 simple questions are posed to people across different industries to reveal what it means to be creative, whatever your vocation.

Answering the questions this time is textile designer and illustrator, Esther Cox.





C O N C I O U S N E S S




In a nutshell, what do you do?

Professionally I create patterns for fashion textiles and interiors, and illustrations for posters, books and packaging. Personally I explore the human instinct for decoration and pattern through painting and collage. They overlap, feeding and confusing each other.


What’s your creative process; how do you get stuff done?


Look. Procrastinate. Play. Arrive at an outcome somehow… In practice this means visual research, drawing and collaging elements. Scanning into software and reworking and colouring digitally. The hand element defines my ideas, shapes and textures, the digital element allows me to turn those ideas into a cohesive repeat or composition. Colour is vital in what I do, and working digitally allows me to play with countless combinations. Mostly I know it is 'done' when I can't see any significant changes to make.


Everyone works differently. When did you become aware that your creative process is your own?


I think my process has largely been built out of trying to find a way to do things that I didn't know how to do. From a place of not thinking I could do things I've managed to create my own visual language and way of making. It has taken me years to unlearn a lot of things from art school that didn't make sense to me.

My first ever client was surprised by the way I presented my colour palette as a little pattern of intersecting shapes to show how they would be combined. I've since seen people use a list of Pantones or a pie chart (yawn).

I still find it difficult to produce roughs for clients. I work in an intuitive way and don't have a finished idea in my head. Offering a pencil sketch to a client doesn't give a very satisfactory indication of what the end result might be. I find it difficult to articulate it, so I am asking a lot from clients to trust in my peculiar process.


When are you most creative?


Usually when there is a deadline looming and I should be focusing on that. New ideas often start to present themselves then. Work begets work I suppose. A blank page and free time is actually stultifying. It's not the best system for a freelancer...


Can you be creative in a vacuum or do you need outside influences to help?

I spend a lot of time looking. Whether that is books, magazines, exhibitions, the Internet or the wall. As a textile designer I have to be aware of trends, but I feel the danger of getting caught up in them. So after my research is done, I tidy it all away and start work without too much reference material. It's the only way to retain your identity.

The thought of sharing a studio horrifies me slightly. I enjoy the solitude at work so my mind can wander or focus as it needs. But there is a great energy and joy in working with a client who is prepared to trust in you and have a free exchange of ideas. It's how I make my best work and I wish there were more of those creative relationships.






E X I S T E N T I A L I S M




Did you seek being a creative or did creativity find you?

I'm not aware of a time without creativity. It has always ebbed and flowed, and it took me a long time to figure out (and still am) how I could use it professionally. I think it is born of a sense of unease, of not fitting, and feeling outside of things. I'm a keen observer so I've gathered a lot of information over the years. Creativity is a way of using and making sense of that I think.


Do you think your background has had an effect on your creativity?

Certainly. My parents/grandparents are/were creative in different ways. I don't think it was ever intended as a career for me, but as a child I was always given things to make/sew/draw as a means of keeping me quiet and occupied. And it still does.


Have you ever struggled with creativity?

Most days. But the challenge is an exciting one. Howard Hodgkin, one of our great modern painters, is reputed to have said 'I hate painting'. That makes absolute sense to me.





D I S R U P T I O N




Is there any one person, thought or thing that’s changed the way you think?

I struggle to answer this question as there are many things, not one definitive one. My mum had a French art book when I was younger on Raoul Dufy and I would pour over the pictures even though I couldn't read it. I have my own copy now and I still look at it with awe and envy. Books have always been a way in for me.

Otherwise I can only really say that when I was choosing my A-levels at school I was told that Art wasn't a proper subject and I should choose something else. Which probably cemented my choice to pursue it.


Do you have one piece of advice for anyone starting out as a creative?

I try not to give advice. It's there to be ignored isn't it? I'd only say persevere. The path will not be linear and there is almost certainly more than one to follow. It is doubtful you will ever feel you have 'arrived'. But therein lies the excitement and drive and keeps you creative.





R E F L E C T I O N




Do you think creativity has defined you?

Yes. I'm a peculiar bird and sitting in an office in a suit, listening to people talk about 'thinking outside the box' would have killed me long ago.


What would you like to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?

I've done lots of things as the creative life is not always a financially secure one. But I was quite adamant as a child I was going to be an interior designer, so maybe that. I dallied with the idea of textile conservation once too. It still fascinates me, but I might have lost the patience for it, and I certainly don't have the science for it.






T H A N K   Y O U





22 February 2019

Will Mabbitt Answers 12 Questions Relating to the Creative Process


What is the creative process? How does it differ from person to person? And what are the similarities? Can it even be defined? If so, to what end?

Taking my own fascination for process and repetition, I thought I'd attempt to answer those questions by simply, asking more questions. Questions on what creativity means to different people from across a wide spectrum of vocations, designed to reveal what the binding elements look like; to extrapolate the gold dust in the glue that holds creative process together. At least, that's the big idea.

From designers to artists to chefs to musicians to writers to programmers (and quite possibly anyone in-between) 12 simple questions are posed to see what creativity means to them and to glean insight into how these individuals are inspired, work, and produce their craft.

Although thoroughly tempting to dissect the results, as part of my own process I'll be letting the subject's answers speak for themselves. A Q&A. No more, no less.

Answering the questions this time: children's author, Will Mabbitt.





C O N C I O U S N E S S




In a nutshell, what do you do?

I make up stories.


What’s your creative process; how do you get stuff done?


I alternate between hard work and daydreaming.


Everyone works differently. When did you become aware that your creative process is your own?


I think i developed daydreaming abilities in childhood but it’s taken me years to learn the hard work part. It didn’t come naturally.


When are you most creative?


When I’m happy.


Can you be creative in a vacuum or do you need outside influences to help?

I prefer to work alone, but I'm always looking outward for ideas and inspiration.





E X I S T E N T I A L I S M




Did you seek being a creative or did creativity find you?

I think everybody is creative. I was lucky to find a way I could express myself.


Do you think your background has had an effect on your creativity?

Ideas, jokes, books and art were celebrated in my family. Having said that no-one ever told me I could do any of those things for a living. I definitely left school thinking that doing 'art' of any sort would be a waste of time.


Have you ever struggled with creativity?

Only happiness.





D I S R U P T I O N




Is there any one person, thought or thing that’s changed the way you think?

Yes. I was writing as a hobby and mainly in secret until I saw a postcard of Austin Kleon's book Steal like an Artist. It was a list of rules. Rule 6 was 'The Secret: Do good work and share it with people'. Until then I hadn't even considered showing people my writing. Getting some very basic feedback from others made me better, quicker, and eventually lead to my first book being published.


Do you have one piece of advice for anyone starting out as a creative?

Ideas are great but it's bringing them into existence that will make you happy.





R E F L E C T I O N




Do you think creativity has defined you?

I think it defines everyone.


What would you like to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?

I'd like to be a talent scout for picture book artists (if that job actually exists). I see so many illustrators on Instagram that I think could make amazing picture books, but either haven't been given the chance, or haven't thought to give it a try.






T H A N K   Y O U




14 February 2019

Ismini Samanidou Answers 12 Questions Relating to the Creative Process

What is the creative process? How does it differ from person to person? And what are the similarities? Can it even be defined? If so, to what end?

Taking my own fascination for process and repetition, I thought I'd attempt to answer those questions by simply, asking more questions. Questions on what creativity means to different people from across a wide spectrum of vocations, designed to reveal what the binding elements look like; to extrapolate the gold dust in the glue that holds creative process together. At least, that's the big idea.

From designers to artists to chefs to musicians to writers to programmers (and quite possibly anyone in-between) 12 simple questions are posed to see what creativity means to them and to glean insight into how these individuals are inspired, work, and produce their craft.

Although thoroughly tempting to dissect the results, as part of my own process I'll be letting the subject's answers speak for themselves. A Q&A. No more, no less.

Answering the questions this time is artist, Ismini Samanidou.





C O N C I O U S N E S S




In a nutshell, what do you do?

I am an artist and designer working with weaving, drawing and photography. I work on one-off pieces for exhibitions and site specific commissions, design textiles for industry and collaborate with other artists or designers. I used to teach more than I do now which I really miss. I also travel whenever I get a chance!


What’s your creative process; how do you get stuff done?


I do a lot of hand weaving, I also work on photography, and drawing and, depending on the project, may do a lot of design work on the computer too. A big chunk of it though is outside the studio, meeting people, writing emails etc. etc. etc.


Everyone works differently. When did you become aware that your creative process is your own?


I was pretty single minded and determined when I was a student so I think quite early.


When are you most creative?


When I am left alone to play without pressing deadlines and toddler tantrums, and able to focus on one thing at a time. Also on the train looking out the window my mind seems to wander and work ideas through.


Can you be creative in a vacuum or do you need outside influences to help?

Both: I need outside influences and then to be left in a vacuum for a while to make sense of them all.





E X I S T E N T I A L I S M




Did you seek being a creative or did creativity find you?

I think it found me. I always thought I would be a vet growing up. Photography captured my imagination and made me look and see, and weaving grounded me and made me ask so many questions about making and the world.


Do you think your background has had an effect on your creativity?

Yes definitely, I didn't grow up in a creative household and it takes me a while to throw myself into creativity today. It's not the most intuitive thing which is why I am so drawn to the process based work with weaving where math, planning and a methodology is a big part of the creative process.


Have you ever struggled with creativity?

Every minute every day!





D I S R U P T I O N




Is there any one person, thought or thing that’s changed the way you think?

I love the quote from Anni Albers 'You can go anywhere from anywhere' about the importance of experimentation and play and not worrying too much about the outcome, but enjoying the process of making. Also it reminds me that everything is connected.


Do you have one piece of advice for anyone starting out as a creative?

You need to be ready to stomach the creative lows and blocks along the way.





R E F L E C T I O N




Do you think creativity has defined you?

Something has given me a fire in my belly to keep working as an independent artist and designer, but I don't know if it is creativity as such. Good question. Need to keep thinking about it.


What would you like to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?

On a bad day I want to have a 'proper' job with well defined hours and a stable income every month, or that I should have stuck to the original plan and become a vet. Generally I would like to work more outside the studio on people projects: with schools, with the community close and far, and with projects in other countries looking at weaving and how this brings people together and changes values in the world.






T H A N K   Y O U




Photo credit: Gary Allson

08 February 2019

Matthew Coy Answers 12 Questions Relating to the Creative Process


Matthew Coy
What is the creative process? How does it differ from person to person? And what are the similarities? Can it even be defined? If so, to what end?

Taking my own fascination for process and repetition, I thought I'd attempt to answer those questions by simply, asking more questions. Questions on what creativity means to different people from across a wide spectrum of vocations, designed to reveal what the binding elements look like; to extrapolate the gold dust in the glue that holds creative process together. At least, that's the big idea.

From designers to artists to chefs to musicians to writers to programmers (and quite possibly anyone in-between) 12 simple questions are posed to see what creativity means to them and to glean insight into how these individuals are inspired, work, and produce their craft.

Although thoroughly tempting to dissect the results, as part of my own process I'll be letting the subject's answers speak for themselves. A Q&A. No more, no less.

First up in this series: musician, Matthew Coy.





C O N C I O U S N E S S




In a nutshell, what do you do?

For fun: a musician, beat maker, sound designer, synth hobbyist, drummer, DJ, and producer. For a job I teach music technology to children in a pupil referral unit (kids that don't quite fit the mould in a mainstream school setting).


What’s your creative process; how do you get stuff done?


In my work setting I am very productive, writing various different styles of music (mainly UK drill and trap). This is done by students saying they want to make a song in the style of an artist they like at the time. This creative process is very rapid and usually creates a good soundalike track in half an hour. I use this to wow the students and show them how they can make music they like.

A lot of inspiration comes from the students playing the midi control/keyboards badly then me finding the best bits of random sounds and notes that I can loop and turn into a decent track. I may do this process up to eight times a day. I love the idea that people who can’t play any instruments are able to turn these random untrained sounds into something special.


Everyone works differently. When did you become aware that your creative process is your own?


When I used to drum for many different bands and musicians, each creative process had a different way of working. After a while I tapped into how other musicians work together. I’ve also had the pleasure of working with other electronic musicians whose approaches are totally different to mine. For example, they may start with a beat and build around that, whereas my way of working begins by finding a simple sound or noise and letting that dictate how a composition progresses, with the drums written to the sound and style of the music. I put this down to drumming in a band where an idea or song is presented to me to which I come up with drum patterns and sounds to compliment the vibe.


When are you most creative?


I’m most creative at work because I have to be, even if I'm not feeling creative at the time. The pressure of getting my students to see the value of music makes me want to show them that it can be done.


Can you be creative in a vacuum or do you need outside influences to help?

I get excited when my missus and daughter say that they’ll be staying a couple of nights at her parents’ house. I have loads of grand ideas of what music I would like to make in this little window of opportunity. But when it comes to them going away and I'm home alone, I lose all creative drive and I’m usually not very inspired. I have too much freedom. On reflection I like the hustle and bustle of my home and I think that is actually what inspires me to write. Alone I tend to procrastinate but working with other musicians makes me focus a lot more and inspires me to better myself.





E X I S T E N T I A L I S M




Did you seek being a creative or did creativity find you?

I think creativity found me, I've always been creative, whether it’s art, design, photography or music. It’s the only thing that seems ‘normal’ in my life.


Do you think your background has had an effect on your creativity?

Probably yes. My father is a musician and a retired art teacher, my mum was a keen photographer and we had a darkroom in our house. I grew up going to lots of gigs that my dad would play at - lots of folk festivals. So being around all that has had a positive impact on my life and allowed me to explore different avenues of creativity.


Have you ever struggled with creativity?

Yeah, usually at the weekend when I've been writing beats at work all week and struggle to focus on my own stuff. In the past, if I've been really busy at work – lots of band practices and gigs, all with different bands over a period of months – I'd usually say that “I've blown a musical gasket”. But I’ve learnt to accept that this happens. And when it does, I don’t try to force any creativity as the results are usually a bit rubbish. It’s after a long period I usually get the feeling that I'm ready to pick up my tools again.

For me, the best bit of being creative is not all about the finished product, it’s the joy of the process of starting something new. That’s what keeps me going and that’s why I never finish stuff. Because the initial joy of creating has turned into a different beast.





D I S R U P T I O N




Is there any one person, thought or thing that’s changed the way you think?

Bob Ross and YouTube and all the special musicians that I’ve had the pleasure to musically bond with over the years.


Do you have one piece of advice for anyone starting out as a creative?

Make mistakes. I tell this to my students a lot – that it’s all about making mistakes. So much creativity can come from random mistakes.





R E F L E C T I O N




Do you think creativity has defined you?

I believe it has shaped who I am. It’s made me chase my dreams of doing a creative job that about 15 years ago I could never have imagined that I could or would be doing. It's definitely been my goal to be a random knob twiddler/beat maker, although I did dream to be an international superstar. But that didn't happen! At least I'm still making beats for a living and hopefully inspiring less fortunate kids that they too can have fun being creative.


What would you like to do if you weren’t doing what you do now?

To concentrate on my own music more but this will be an ongoing mission. Failing that, something involving a surf board and snorkel.






T H A N K   Y O U





Photo credit: Seth Carnill