How would you describe what you do?
By trade, I’m a journalist and producer. By passion, I’m a writer.
What was your most recent project?
I’m currently working on the Virtual Arts Office as a content creator and curator. But aside from that I’m working on a memoir. I always have several projects on the go at one time.
What project have you worked on that you’re the most proud of?
Having my first book published was a pretty major milestone for me. Also, being a contributor to a literary site in the U.S called The Nervous Breakdown was a real breakthrough for me in a personal sense. In terms of paid work – I’m proud of being given the Arts Reporter role when I worked at TVNZ, and for helping to increase listenership across the shows I produced when I was at Radio New Zealand.
What is essential for creatives to have in their life?
Encouragement of others. Helpful feedback. As a writer, it’s essential for me to be able to read other writer’s work. It inspires me and, to be honest, it helps spark a healthy dose of competitive spirit which can give me motivation. Materially though, it’s essential for me to have a quiet place to work and a notebook on hand at all times.
What inspires you about Ōtautahi?
I’m always inspired by the depth of creativity in Ōtautahi. The fact that this city has produced so many radical thinkers and artists. From Kate Sheppard to Pacific Underground to the amazing music scene and visual arts scenes, it’s truly an astonishing place for nurturing creative spirits.
What piece of advice about your creative work has served you well?
Always back up your work! But other than that, the best advice I have read was from Truman Capote who said when writing, he always left a sentence half-finished so that he could pick up where he left off the very next morning.
What’s the biggest misconception about your creative work?
The biggest misconception is that you get paid properly, or in many cases, paid at all. Writers certainly don’t write for the financial reward (unless you’re Stephen King). I think there is a desperate need to educate people about copyright and in this multimedia age we live in, explain to people why it’s not okay to illegally download videos, books or images. I think the other thing that people get wrong, is they think writing is like a hobby. It’s not. It’s an art form like anything else and the hours spent toiling over the right word and expressing your inner most thoughts or exposing your demons can be pretty exhausting.
What Christchurch artists do you most admire?
There are so many, but if pushed, I’d have to say Dennis Glover, for having the courage to start a publishing press (Caxton) which went on to publish some of Aotearoa’s finest writers and poets. The WORD Christchurch team for each year putting on this country’s best literary festival in my opinion.
What artwork has taken your breath away?
The Siegesuele in Berlin (The Victory Column). From the moment I first saw it in the opening shots of Wim Wenders Faraway, So Close, I fell in love with it. The second piece is a work by Czech sculptor David Cerny –who outraged the entire European Union with a large form sculpture called ‘Entropa.’ I managed to see this on a visit to the Czech Republic, but it’s not easy to find as its hidden away in a science museum in a small town. The story of how it came to be and the ensuing outrage is worth reading about.
What do you wish you’d have known about creative work when you were younger?
I wish I’d known that creative work wasn’t just about being a performer or a painter or a musician. I wish I’d understood that you can have a career in the arts without needing to be a practitioner of an art form. I was terrible at art, but I loved it, and if I’d known I could have had a job as a curator, then I probably would have paid more attention in my art history class.