Fuelling our creative mojo

There’s something about the sound of ripping gaffer’s tape that transports me to a different place. Or the smell of sawdust. Or the feeling of hemp rope sliding between my palms. In my regular “nine to five” workweek, it’s rare that I get the chance to experience these sensations that I’ve spent half of my life loving dearly. I, more often than not, sit at a desk in front of a very expensive computer feverishly clicking my mouse and hitting the escape key with exasperation. And I continue sitting in front of the computer until it’s past sunset. No room for sawdust in that scenario, as one may expect.

However, my love for lighting design came from a theatrical background, and the physical act of creating a scene excites me. In my most recent endeavor to get my hands dirty, I volunteered to help a friend make a music video. That probably sounds pretty glamorous, but about 20 of us were crammed into a studio off of Brick Lane, trying not to hit each other as actors were dressed, props were spiked, coloramas were flown in (that’s probably too elegant a term for cheap craft paper), and gels were clothes-pinned onto spotlights.

Music Video Shoot Finding Inspiration Lighting Design Blog Nulty Photo: Xingyu ChaiPhoto Credit Xingu Chai

I got to chat a bit with the team between scenes and was blown away by the different backgrounds of the people around me. The director of photography said that film is something that he stumbled into. He is a theatrical designer by profession, but has begun to travel to find inspiration for his day-to-day in capturing intimate moments on film. Our props mistress is a freelance costume designer—seems pretty reasonable, right?—with a background in computer science. The pianist in the band is breaking her way into the fashion industry when she’s not absolutely killing it on the ivory.

Behind Scenes Makeup Music Video Inspiration Lighting Design Blog Nulty (Photo: Xingyu Chai)Photo Credit Xingu Chai

And they were all there for the same purpose; they were so taken with this piece of music that they set apart their Tuesday to create something amazing. I left the studio feeling like a new person. I felt inspired for the rest of the week just from being around other artists that love to create. And then I began to wonder, what about the people that I surround myself with? What do they do to feel inspired and empowered?

A friend of mine from university who works in lighting also fills her days with music. She works freelance, doing tours and corporate events and anything exciting that gets thrown her way. Her day-to-day is not­ day-to-day. But in her free time, she designs concerts. And she goes to gigs; lots of them. She says that by immersing herself in the massive music scene in Nashville, she becomes more thoughtful about the next concert she’ll help create. And find new bands to crush on, which we can all appreciate in our own way.

Here at our office, Bojana roams museums looking at not only the art and artifacts, but also the architecture and lighting scheme. “It’s interesting,” she notes, “to see different artwork and how it interacts with light, or how light is represented… so altogether it can be quite relaxing and inspiring.”

Walking Park Outdoor Mood Creative Inspiration Lighting Design Blog NultyBut not everyone needs light to get motivated. Dan Blaker has taken it upon himself to embrace the discomfort of new experiences, or reappraising old opinions. It’s important, he said, to give things that you remember not liking another shot. One way, you might surprise yourself that your tastes have changed and really love it. Or you’ve established “no, this isn’t for me“ and move on to the next thing. Caroline takes walks in a park near her house on the weekends; “it clears my head for the week and also inspires my moods.”

To be short and sweet about it, find joy in everything that you do. Find what you love, (or what excites you, or what levels your head), in every shape that it comes in: and go do something about it.

Blog post by Kael Gillam

Banner Photo by Jack Young on Unsplash