May 25

[INSPIRATION] Jean Luc Godard on stories

Such a great reminder to not be bound by rules and traditional forms. Play with it. Beyond Godard, modern cinema has so many great examples of it  – like Memento by Christopher Nolan, Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino or Rashomon by Akira Kurosawa – and contemporary television shows like True Detective and Westworld thrive on non-linear storylines.

May 20

[VISUAL ART] Red Guinness

One more from my sketchbooks at the turn of the millennium. This may have been an idea I was toying with as a fake ad campaign for our arty, satirical website artlick.com, or perhaps it was just a little gag for my own amusement. Either way, something about the simplicity and silliness of it still really appeals to me. In this day and age of craft beers, it almost feels like something that could happen.

May 19

[VISUAL ART] My American Hand

Another one from my sketchbooks around the year 2001 or 2002. This one was drawn during a pretty politically charged and sensitive time in America, and I had just lived through the September 11th terrorist attacks, so was undoubtedly influenced by that. But at the same time it feels kind of jokey and irreverent, which also seems to fit. I remember having a notion of doing a series of these with different body parts and culminating in a full lifesize outline of a person.

May 18

[VISUAL ART] Colouring pencils

I went through a phase of sketching and drawing quite a lot from around 2000 to 2003. Painting and drawing were never a creative pursuit I considered myself particularly adept at, which actually meant it felt very freeing to simply doodle and paint without any consideration of an audience or indeed expectation. I have very fond memories of this time and the drawing above feels representative of some of the earliest stuff I was drawing.

May 9

[WRITING] Poetry from newspaper clippings

One great creative way to stimulate ideas and spark new writing is this classic technique of cutting out different words and phrases from newspapers and magazines. Then arranging them, and glueing them, into fresh sentences on the page. For whatever reason, they always seem to get to the heart of things and tap into my mind in a really unique way. They end up becoming these really beautiful, random pieces of art too.

May 9

[INSPIRATION] What is creativity?

The Dublin based artist Vicky Knysh recently released this short film about creativity, where she interviewed different creatives from varying disciplines here in Ireland. A lovely little snapshot of the creative process and what makes artists tick. I also recommend checking out her website Minushka, which features some of her gorgeous illustrations and artwork.

May 5

[INSPIRATION] Ira Glass on Storytelling

So much of the creative process is about crafting a good story that resonates and reverberates with your audience. The art of storytelling is something we have been raised with since we were kids – almost every one of us had someone who read to us at night before we went to sleep – and when it is done well, there is nothing quite as spellbinding. And that sits deep within us.

The quote above is from Ira Glass, host of the highly regarded podcast and National Public Radio show This American Life, which chronicles stories large and small from all walks of life. Of the many radio shows and podcasts out there, This American Life is perhaps among the greatest at weaving a tale that draws you in. Ira’s quote really sticks with me, because the simplicity of what he is saying is also absolutely true.

And I think it applies not just to writing, but can equally be applied to other creative forms where the narrative is placed at the heart of it, and draws the audience in, and takes them on that train.

The quote actually comes from a longer extended interview with Ira Glass ,where he goes deeper on the art of good storytelling, and I strongly recommend listening to it below. It’s full of nuggets on storytelling and the creative process.

May 1

[VISUAL ART] Point Break 2; Point Break 3; Point Break 4

As I mentioned before, back in the late 90s when I lived in New York, myself and my dear friends Dave, Jenn and I were intrigued by the burgeoning playground of the Internet. We were creative and wanted to do something online with that energy, so we built a site called artlick.com (no longer active alas) and it became home to our many creative flights of fancy and whimsy. I recently came across the content again and I was so happy to see how inventive some of it was, and equally how naive other stuff was.

I wonder if Facebook and Twitter had existed the way they do now, if the site would have garnered a following of some sort. Instead it became an online portfolio of jokes, animations, artwork and whimsy, that now resides only in the Internet Archive online.

This particular project is a personal favourite that stemmed from our obsession with the classic action film Point Break, where we imagined a series of increasingly ludicrous sequels to the Keanu Reeves & Patrick Swayze classic movie (leaning heavily on our theory that all faltering sequel series ultimately have to end in space!).

Dave’s creative graphic design skills and zeal conjured up these gorgeous posters, billboards, internet ads and soundtrack album covers that are really fun, but still hold a certain reverence for the source material. From what I recall we sought out several open source photos from NASA and government websites. Back then, the internet was a little bit harder to navigate, but I remember the joy of finding these beautiful images and knowing that we could use them as we wished.

The more I stare at these images, I really wish these sequels had been made rather than the recent shoddy remake. And in some parallel universe, perhaps they have been.

At one point I even think myself and Dave started writing a spec script for a Point Break sequel that began 10 years after the conclusion of the original movie. The idea was something to do with Keanu Reeves’ character Johnny Utah going to a skydiving school in Utah. And Swayze showed up there in some guise, very much alive.

But now that Swayze is no longer with us, that movie will never materialise alas. Also, the fact that we never wrote more than the first 12 minutes of the movie, will also make it difficult for the film to ever be made.

I still reckon the original Point Break is a stone cold classic, and I have a lot of fondness for it. For that reason these creations feel both nostalgic and silly at the same time. Let me now what you think of them.

“Surfing’s the source, can change your life!”