Respect the battles.
“Creativity is inspiration coupled with initiative. Acting on our creativity is an act of faith.” How much do you rely on ‘divine intervention’ to create? Do you feel you control your creativity or does your creativity control you?
I used to think that creativity was a natural gift – that people either have it or not. While there may be a measure of truth in this way of thinking, life has also taught me that creative talent is nothing without perseverance, hard work and passion. Normally, when we are confronted with a great book, film, painting or song, we more often than not overlook the amount of work, the hours spent, the sleepless nights that have gone into the creation of these works that we love. The initial spark (or ‘divine intervention’ if you will, though I am an atheist myself!) that ignites and sets the process of artistic creation in motion is often only that: a spark. This spark, if it is to be transformed into something solid and meaningful, will by necessity require a huge amount of dedication and devotion, geniuses included, otherwise it will vanish into this air as if it had never existed. Of course, the spark is the trigger of the creative process, and as such indispensable and perhaps uncontrollable. But to my mind it is the investment one puts into that spark that will ultimately determine the merit, impact and quality of the resulting work.
“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” How much of your creative process is a battle with power? Do you find the end result empowering?
In a word, yes. I always find the end result empowering and deeply satisfying even though I do not enjoy the whole process and many times regret having started it because it can consume you and trying to find a balance between how much energy should be spent on this process is always tricky. Following on from my previous answer, the battle with creativity is always an arduous one because it means labour, because it requires patience and devotion, because it asks for you to be on top of it all the time. The most frustrating thing is that there is no recipe to follow to be creative and you never know how long it will take you to finish something that you started. But it is also important to respect the time that it takes to complete something and the battles you will doubtless confront in its making, because these battles mean you are actually confronting yourself, questioning yourself and attempting to surpass yourself. And this is extremely important if you want your work to reflect your inner truth.
“When you breath into fear it becomes adventure.” What was one of your most terrifying/rewarding experiences?
The most terrifying experience I can recall to date is the first lecture I ever gave. I was 28 years old and suddenly found myself in a university auditorium with a group of 50 English-speaking students looking intently at me. The fact that I was teaching in English, and thus not in my native language, was something that decidedly shook my confidence as I feared I would not be understood or that I would not be able to express myself with the same eloquence I would in my native language. But perhaps what was most intimidating was being the centre of attention, the point at which all those pubescent eyes converged, which made me so self-conscious, hyper-aware, and indeed, vulnerable. It was all so quick and at the end I could hardly remember what I had been saying for an hour. But somehow I must have enjoyed it a little bit for, five years on, I am doing exactly the same thing. It does get easier but the rush of adrenaline is always there, and so is the sense of relief at the end. Sometimes, not always, I will be able to sense the excitement and enjoyment in a student’s eyes, and this is certainly the most rewarding bit, the moment when I will think to myself: “I love this shit”.