We’re starting a series of personal profiles focused on inspiration, creativity, respect and integrity, four values at the heart of The Inspiration Room. To get the ball rolling I’m putting out there my response to the questions I’m asking others to answer. Read on for reflections on Bill Viola, raw nature, Terry Pratchett, and the MTV Video Music Awards.
What’s been a pivotal moment of inspiration that’s guided you in your work?
The lights went on in a big way for me during the Bill Viola Interactive Exhibition at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 1999. As I walked through the 15 room-sized video installations (as in Passage above) I found myself deeply connecting with the themes of life and death, transition, waiting, celebration and interruption. Everything I experienced connected with my recent reading of Victor Turner’s work on ritual, theatre, liminality and social drama. I came away with an awareness of the power of visual art and a renewed commitment to visually inspiring communication.
How do you refresh your sense of creativity?
Writing up the stories of creative work from around the world is a constant stimulus for me. But I notice that even that task can become mundane without emotional reward. So I remove myself from my normal setting, going offline for days and rediscovering the insights provided by other media. I find spending time away from the city reenergises me – helping me connect again with the raw energy of the environment. I keep my eyes open for effects provided by natural juxtaposition, the placement of two elements together to produce an unexpected result. Here’s one of those I discovered outside a hotel in Childers, Queensland, Australia, during a road trip this last weekend. The street light above my parked car provided a reflective effect that I’d never dreamed of before.
Whose work do you admire?
As a writer I recognise Terry Pratchett for his wit, insight and capacity to tell a compelling story with characters that his readers care about. Terry’s satirical skills are demonstrated most powerfully in his Discworld series of novels, revealing the unhinged madness that lurks behind the most well meaning movement or institution. Sadly Terry has been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Here’s Terry talking about the Discworld series for himself.
Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube (HD)
When do you find yourself consciously seeking to stick to your values – whether they be artistic or moral values?
I think first of the tension I hold as editor of The Inspiration Room when guiding the content, tone and pace of the stories being rolled out here. My four guiding values here are inspiration, creativity, respect and integrity. It is tempting to write for the sake of increased readership at the cost of quality. There are times when it would be easy to cynically write off the creative work I see. I struggle the most with the challenge of covering the music videos that are voted as popular in the MTV Music Video awards, some of which have little artistic merit when compared with work by less popular artists.