The Practical Creative
Fire, Clay & Ice - How the artist CASSILS works with risk

Fire, Clay & Ice - How the artist CASSILS works with risk

June 4, 2020

CASSILS is a visual artist working in live performance, film, sound, sculpture and photography. They have achieved international recognition for a rigorous engagement with the body as a form of social sculpture – So what does this look like in practice?

It means creating powerful works of art across a host of media, often with a strong performative element; this includes undergoing a gruelling physical transformation to gain 23 pounds of muscle in 23 weeks, or saving all their urine for 200 days, or being set on fire by a stunt team. And we dig into the meaning behind each of these in the interview.

Each of Cassils artworks is rooted in deep conceptual, often political, explorations. And although they often involve a degree of risk, they are never reckless – a distinction Cassils is very clear to make.

Some of the topics we covered in this conversation include:

  • The rigorous approach applied to creating new pieces of work

  • Responding to prompts: how they’ve created work in response to both commissions and emerging cultural and political events

  • How they think about risk, and why it’s become a feature in their work

  • Why performing live in front of an audience has been integral to many their pieces

And we finish with a brilliant Creative Challenge that really asks us to consider the power of our skills as artist, and how we choose to use it.

I started the conversation by jumping straight in and asking Cassils for some context on how they navigate the process of taking an idea into a completed work. Please enjoy.

Ceramicist Kate Malone, MBE, on developing creative confidence and crystalline knowledge

Ceramicist Kate Malone, MBE, on developing creative confidence and crystalline knowledge

May 28, 2020

This conversation is with Kate Malone, one of the UK’s leading ceramic artists with an illustrious career spanning thirty years. Her work is inspired by the joy and optimism of Nature, and often features large, hand-made pieces inspired by fruit, nuts, berries and pumpkins.

Much of her work is coloured by the addition of crystalline glazes, and she is renowned for her research and experimentation in this area. And we dig into in the episode.

Her exuberant work has won her an array of commissions and collaborations, including major public art projects. Kate was awarded an MBE in 2019 for services to ceramic art.

Some of the topics we cover in this conversation include:

  • Managing risk and uncertainty both in her studio based practice, as well as when undertaking ambitious public art projects

  • Developing confidence as a maker and finding your own artistic voice

  • How she thinks about selling her work in an elite marketplace

And we finish with an absolutely brilliant creative challenge to apply to your own practice.

So please enjoy this energizing and thought provoking conversation.

Painting in Freefall - my conversation with artist and skydiver Michelle Nirumandrad

Painting in Freefall - my conversation with artist and skydiver Michelle Nirumandrad

May 21, 2020

In this episode I’m speaking with skydiver and artist Michelle Nirumandrad who collaborates with the wind on a concept called ‘Captured Sky’. What this looks like in practice is Michelle literally jumping out of airplanes with paint and canvas, and collaborating with the sky as she falls, to create striking artworks that literally ‘capture the sky.’

In this conversation we cover a host of topics about her practice including:

  • How she first conceived of working this way

  • The incredible technical and creative challenges that arose, and she is continuing to grapple with

  • How she re-purposes her waste materials to create more artworks

And a fantastic creative challenge at the end.

So please enjoy this inspiring and exhilarating conversation!

Creature performer and artist Jeremiah Krage on the many challenges of bringing non-human characters to life

Creature performer and artist Jeremiah Krage on the many challenges of bringing non-human characters to life

November 4, 2019

In this episode, the tables have been turned, and I am on the other side of the microphone!

In the last series of the podcast, I interviewed Magnus Goransson, Design Director at LEGO’s Creative Play Lab. After our conversation, Magnus reached out and offered to interview me in return – specifically about my performance work.

One of my many roles as a creative is being a creature performer. I trained as an actor and I specialise in bringing non-human characters to life. One of the most well-known of these was Tinky Winky from Teletubbies. And as you’ll hear, this struck a chord with Magnus, who was intrigued to know more.

Some of the topics we cover in our conversation include:

- how I discovered the world of creature performance

- my early training and how it continues to influence my work today

- how that training overlaps with how designers work

- how I use physical constraints to inform the creative process

- we talk about some of the unique challenges of this line of work

- and we compare notes on a few practical tips for creatives

 

Please enjoy this slightly different episode of The Practical Creative!

Season 3 “Power of Play” Wrap Up

Season 3 “Power of Play” Wrap Up

May 5, 2019

In this wrap up episode, I recap all my guests in the season exploring the power of play, and highlight some of the key strategies and takeaways that anyone can use to incorporate more play into their lives and creative practice.

LEGO’s Magnus Goransson on Playing as Adults and Maintaining your Creative Spark

LEGO’s Magnus Goransson on Playing as Adults and Maintaining your Creative Spark

May 1, 2019

Magnus works at LEGO as Design Director in the Creative Play Lab – where he works with teams to design and develop toys of the future. His work is informed by a huge and constantly growing body of research conducted by LEGO into both how, and why, children play. And in this conversation, we cover a range of topics including:

 

- how LEGO fosters a culture of play amongst it’s employees (and this is really fun)

- the benefits of working in teams to prevent and overcome blocks

- the reality of designing products for a major corporation, particularly as a creative person, and how this can lead to burnout

- why adults prefer to have ‘hobbies’ rather than admit to ‘playing’

- we also talk about how Magnus managed to find alternative outlets for his own creativity as he moved from being a hands-on designer to a director – and this was fascinating

 

And as always, we finish with a challenge to really ‘engulf yourself in play’.

 

So please enjoy!

Artist Sandy Brown on the Power of Making with an Empty Mind

Artist Sandy Brown on the Power of Making with an Empty Mind

April 14, 2019

Sandy is an award winning artist whose work appears in collections around the globe. Her work is the result of a fierce commitment to a spontaneous and intuitive process. In fact, you’ll hear the phrases ‘letting go’, ‘being in the here and now’ and ‘empty mind’ several times in this interview. Working across media, including ceramics, painting, installation and sculpture, Sandy’s work is always bold, energetic, and hugely life-affirming.

This conversation was recorded at her home in the seaside village of Appledore, Devon, in the UK, where Sandy also has her studio and exhibition space. Some of the topics we cover include:

- key moments that helped her to define her intuitive approach

- how Sandy cultivates a state of ‘not knowing’ when creating her work

- the value of trusting intuition and allowing your body to lead your creative process

- dealing with uncertainty, fear, and not liking your work

- the importance of ‘letting go’ and saying yes

And what drives her to consistently take on new and bigger challenges.

This was a delightful conversation with one of the bravest artists I know. Sandy’s commitment to, and trust in, the act of letting go, of not knowing – is as challenging as it is inspiring. Please enjoy.

A Play Date for Practical Creatives

A Play Date for Practical Creatives

April 7, 2019

A brief, interim episode and catchup!  Checking in with you, recapping some of the creative challenges from my guests, and a book recommendation to improve your 'inner dialogue'.

Catch up on all my previous guests either here, or at thepracticalcreative.life

Dr. Mike Rucker on living a deliberate life (and having fun along the way)

Dr. Mike Rucker on living a deliberate life (and having fun along the way)

March 31, 2019

Mike is an author, an entrepreneur, and he also conducts research into workplace wellness. So what does this mean, and how does it fit into the theme of play? Mike has created some fantastic tools for measuring and assessing how you spend your time – in order to live a more deliberate life – and this includes simple things you can start doing today to put more fun into your life.

Some of the topics we cover include:

- why a ‘balanced life’ is a fallacy

- we explore Mike’s Play Model, which offers a helpful vocabulary for categorizing different activities in your life

- using a time log to really focus on how you’re spending your time, and where you might be able to, as Mike puts it, “sprinkle a little more fun into your life”

- how to be more proactive and avoid waiting for pain to move you into action

- how Mike uses long-term goal setting to create the life he wants now, and in the future (and ensuring that he has fun along the way).

Plus, Mike leaves us with a challenge to take some of the ideas in this conversation and apply them to your own life, by examining how you spend the 168 hours of your week.

If you’ve ever heard the saying that “life is about the journey, and not the destination” and wondered how to have more fun along the journey, there are definitely some ideas in this conversation that will be of interest.

Playing in different worlds with puppeteer and sci-fi author Mary Robinette Kowal

Playing in different worlds with puppeteer and sci-fi author Mary Robinette Kowal

March 24, 2019

Mary Robinette is a puppeteer, audiobook narrator, science fiction author, and she is no stranger to winning awards. One of her short stories won a Hugo award, she won the Campbell award for Best New Writer, and one of her novels was nominated for a Nebula – all of which are a big deal in the science fiction and fantasy genre. But her list of accomplishments goes on, with Mary Robinette also winning two UNIMA awards for her work in puppetry.

I was delighted to get the opportunity to talk to Mary Robinette about her work; particularly as she has found success in what appear to be two very different worlds – although she disagrees, and you’ll hear why.

Some of the topics we cover include:

- the importance of ‘doodling’ and how she uses it to get out of feeling ‘stuck’

- managing depression as a creative, and still getting work done

- the importance of valuing your own taste

And a wonderful writing challenge to encourage you to ‘cross pollinate.’

This was an intriguing, and surprisingly frank, conversation that covered a wide range of topics and offers an insight into two fascinating, creative worlds.

Play this podcast on Podbean App