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Paul Sparkes

image Paul Sparkes courtesy Enthuse

“I love the murals that adorn our city. They add so much colour and creativity to a city that celebrates it’s rebirth. I love walking around and discovering new works I didn’t know existed and appreciating the artistic diversity of our city.”

How would you describe what you do?

A producer, director, camera operator, editor and musician who loves to tell great stories through video productions or music.

What was your most recent project?

Apart from videos for regular corporate clients my most recent major project has been as co-producer, editor , and 2nd camera for the television documentary series “The Truck Files – a New Zealand Story,” which played on Prime last year. This documented the entire history of New Zealand’s transport industry, was funded through private sponsorship, and was well received.

What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?

Probably my time at TVNZ telling the stories of Ōtautahi Christchurch’s resilience and courage after the devastating earthquakes here. Working on the edge of the city’s redzone out of portacoms and winnebagoes with a dedicated team, to bring New Zealand the latest information, while also dealing with the loss of colleagues, damaged homes and our city, was a privilege.

What is essential for creatives to have in their life?

Belief in what you do matters to so many people. The rewards may not always show in your bank balance but are certainly a tangible commodity in what makes everyone’s life have meaning. If you ask anyone what special memories they have it’s always a concert they’ve been to, a special movie, a picture drawn and given by a child, a song that was playing when you met that special person, a poem penned during a difficult time… art is meaningful in so many ways so hold on to that belief that what you do is important.

What inspires you about Ōtautahi?

It’s resilience and courage to bounce back and be even better despite recent tragedies. To create something new and find beauty in rebuilding.

He aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata he tangata he tangata.

What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?

Don’t accept that when someone says “that can never happen”, to something you’re passionate about. Make it happen, find a way, and follow that creative drive. Often it is only once the naysayers see the finished work that they truly understand and can see your vision.

What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?

That the monetary value of an artist’s work is worth less than that of a tradesman or businessman. There have been thousands of hours in perfecting what I do both as a video producer and musician but people continually expect you to jump at an opportunity to work for them for next to nothing. Yes we love what we do, and often that’s to our detriment when we want to share that love, but we all still have the day to day expenses of paying the bills and looking after our families.

Which Christchurch artists do you most admire?

There are too many to name but I admire all those that are dedicated to their craft and creativity and make things happen in our city.

What artwork/piece of music/performance has taken your breath away?

As a performer and producer I have always been inspired by the genius of the great artists of the world however in the mid 90’s there was a moment that did take my breath away. Rob Mayes from Failsafe Records asked me to be part of the team to help capture the bands on his Avalanche compilation. I produced a couple of videos and edited all the bands clips but it was the live concert at the old Cinerama Youth Centre that really blew me away. Local bands Pumpkinhead, Loves Ugly Children, Lurch, 147 Swordfish and Supertanker all took to the stage and each were at the peaks of their powers creating a perfect storm easily as great as any international acts I’d seen. It was a night where all the stars aligned and showed what potential this city has to be truly exceptional.

What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?

That when TVNZ became a broadcaster rather than a producer of programmes that all our local talent should’ve banded together to create a strong production base in Canterbury. There was a huge pool of talent that could’ve created a strong industry here rather than centralising the majority of it  to Auckland. A better understanding of how the then fledgling NZonAir funding platform worked would’ve been invaluable. It is great to see now such a strong resurgence from the south.

What’s your favourite hidden secret in Ōtautahi?

It’s hardly a secret as they take up the whole sides of buildings but I love the murals that adorn our city. They add so much colour and creativity to a city that celebrates it’s rebirth. I love walking around and discovering new works I didn’t know existed and appreciating the artistic diversity of our city.

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