What is your practice?
Engineer, physicist, futures trader, film-maker, pyrotechnician, race car driver and philosopher.
How did you first start and why?
Every project I enter starts with an idea and some inspiration. Coffee helps. An idea that drives you to loose sleep is the best motivator.
What keeps you going?
The desire to see an idea realised really motivates me. Some projects cause me to want to put the idea to bed. These projects are often over budget and running much longer than expected. In the arts, there will always be a lack of funding, a looming deadline or the need for outside skills. Finding people that don’t flake can be really rough, but seeing the project to completion will often make such efforts feel worthwhile.
What are your creative outlets?
Shooting films. Writing. Performing live. Fixing broken equipment. Occasionally playing poker.
What Props did you bring to the shoot? Why?
Stage props from my circus and live show days, including fire. These items were an intricate part of my life for many years, and even though I rarely perform anymore, they still hold a special place in my heart.
Antique electrical equipment that I have repaired or upgraded. I often feel like I have accomplished something, just by upgrading a piece of 100 year old tech. Getting such things to function gives me great joy, even if the market is small or nonexistent.
Race gear and trophies are a symbol of my more adventurous spirit. I am not a competitive person, but when behind the wheel of an off road race car, throwing dirt in the air, I feel alive. There is no better feeling in the world than working for months on a race car and then passing one of your competitors on the race course…. except putting together a fireworks show and getting to press that first button – and having it work.
What is the hardest thing about your practice?
Financials. Finding funding is a challenge. Doing all of the necessary paperwork, taxes, insurance, government requirements and such. Any time you need a license for something, you have to jump through a lot of government hoops to get it. Once you have it, it can be expensive to maintain those qualifications. Even having a late model road car can cost so much that it damages your budget.
Scraping together funding sucks. I tell people, “I’m a whore, not a slut.” It means that as I get older, I am more interested in getting paid a fair value for my work. Artists often need to follow the idea, “Cash up front. No kissing.” It works for hookers.
What has been the most significant moment for you creatively so far?
Finishing a project or show. There is always some down time after, where your mind gets to process the insanity that you just endured. In the moment, it is hard to look at what you are working on in a broader context. It is only when the brain has time to process it that you might realise the enormity of your efforts.
What motivates you?
It doesn’t take long before the mundanity of normal life makes you go stir-crazy, and start hunting for something interesting to work on. Once you find that project, the process creates its own momentum that pulls you along. It creates blinders to everything else in your life, which become mere distractions to the thing you are creating.
If money were no object, what would you do?
Buy gold… or start a hedge fund. I would really like to create a crypto-currency backed by tangible gold but right now I don’t have the funding or contacts.
If I won the lottery, I’d defiantly start racing cars more. Racing is expensive and addictive.
If I had access to project funding, I’d be doing a feature film or TV show. However, finding the market for those pursuits has challenged me greatly… and still frustrates.
What are you currently working on / what’s coming up for you?
I am shopping a couple of scripts. I have a few ideas for TV and movies that I’d like to sell… and would even produce, given the right budget.
I also have a race coming up. I am still building the race car but that always seem to be the case until the race is upon me.
What does Create or Die mean to you?
What is life if we are not trying to create greatness? Is a mundane life even worth living?
The process of creation and achievement will always be more uplifting than any drug, alcohol, or comfortable situation.
Without trying to create something great, life would just be a depressing and repetitious tedium devoid of meaning.
~ Shot by Chrissie Hall / Interview by Deb Morgan, as part of Create or Die’s 100 Pictures | 100 Stories Series ~