We visited Auckland again for Semi-Permanent. My favourite speaker was Ian Wharton author of ‘Spark for the fire’ and creative director at AQKA. Their motto is - ‘Avoiding the beaten path, seeking terrain unexplored’. His presentation focused on the need for creative people to practice ‘Youthful Thinking’. He discussed how all design should be useful, useable but most of all delightful. He believes relying on experience can limit creative output as it can too quickly dismiss unusual ideas. He spoke about embracing intuition and ridiculous whims as a means to expand creative potential. Youthful thinking can also be practiced through embracing curiosity, being playful, pursuing change and new disciplines, following ones passion and not fearing failure. He encouraged everyone not to limit their creativity through inaction. I took it to mean that its easy to overthink ideas; it can be better to express them through the physical act of creation and exploration.
Abbot Miller author of ‘Design and Content’ and partner at Pentagram spoke about how design is a way of interpreting and representing context. He believes that designers are mediators; immersing themselves into new worlds with each project, using the structure of design to communicate content. He believes in the need for ravenous curiosity, design that’s driven by ideas, and that the only way to do it is to do it.
M/M Paris spoke. Their work was some of the most beautiful, expressive and indulgent I’ve ever seen. They are so prolific too; they pursue the creative life with vigour. They talked about how every image should act as a handshake, an introduction, a greeting, a conversation starter, drawing the audience in through layers of meaning. They concluded by stating that the act of drawing sits between the seen and the unseen. ‘Just like an ant walking on the edge of the visible’.
Other notable speakers included: Mike Mizrahi, he believes in establishing visceral connections with your audience with whatever tools you have available to you. Tiffany Bozic, is an illustrator of beautiful unnaturally-natural histories. When asked what the future held for her she said ‘I want it to be a mystery’. I like the idea that some things remain unknown or unexplained, mystery is good for a curious mind. Matt Willey is a graphic designer who likes to bring a sense of the poetic to creativity. His redesign of the Independent newspaper was intelligent, beautiful and inspiring. Nat Cheshire, the architect responsible for the 2014 House of year and much of the Britomart redevelopment talked about how passion, ambition and handwork makes great design.