James Hackett is a Fashion Designer and Illustrator. We love the wide and diverse range of his work. We think he is a Crayon through and through.
How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
For me creativity usually involves thinking differently or problem solving. I guess you can be a creative problem solver so I would probably go with something like that.
How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?
I would like to believe I learned to be creative. I had to figure out a good or interesting way to do things that would give me an advantage whenever I believed I was at a disadvantage. So I watched, I learned and I guess I got better at it.
When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
Yes. I was encouraged from a very young age, my bigger brother is also a good artist and he taught me a few things. I grew up watching him paint, and then through secondary school etc., I just kept working. My father would have preferred to have a better path for me, but eventually everyone got behind it and supported what I do.
What is your standard for evaluating your own creative work and the works of other people? Do you think that monetary rewards can be compatible with creativity in general? Are monetary rewards relevant to your own work?
Money is important at some level just because it is currency. For me however, I put more weight into doing work that feels like I have grown. It is not always apparent but when I know I have completed something challenging or at the edge of my last good work I think I am going somewhere.
Do you think your own perception and evaluation of your creative endeavors are influenced by the views of other people? What role do you think the culture that you live in plays in your creative efforts?
You know sometimes it is. I try not to let it be my only guide, but we have people we look up to and appreciate and you value their comments on your stuff as a sort of guide. I have learned though, to be self-critical. Finding a healthy balance of those two are crucial to your creative development.
What do you do when you experience a creative block?
This I have learned to manage really well. Just get some rest! Taking a break really helps. Just do stuff that is unrelated to anything that involves your work. Because I am a curious person, I read, I go exploring in the real world and elsewhere, playing video games and just trying new things or connect with people. All these things factor in to handling creative block.
How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
Depends on what I am doing. I can use fashion as an example - there is a process that you can use to develop your ideas and it is pretty straightforward. It may seem like there is nothing creative about it because of how you can follow this process. It usually involves a series of questions. If this is my idea, what do I want to say about it? How do I execute it? What do I need? Who is going to be wearing this, where and why? Where is she going? So just answering those and executing your process takes all the mystery out of it and you get going. There is room to be flexible and you can add your own spontaneous flair.
Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?
When I am on my game I sleep early, wake early and work for a few hours before most people wake up. I try as much as I can to keep abreast with culture and entertain myself as much as I can with one eye on research so I always have material to work with.
Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?
Two things stay with me always. I like to mix things up whether it is mixed media or mixed patterns and textures and I enjoy telling stories. That goes through everything I do.
What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
Spending 4 years doing Fashion when I was just starting a serious career in Graphic Design. It was tough for the last two years trying to study and make a living at the same time. However I have a much wider palette to work from now.
Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
My mother. She is a constant reminder of making the best of what you have while not losing your soul.
Do you believe that it is important to be accepted by others as being creative or is just doing what you love to do enough to justify your work? Explain.
I think it is important to have confidence in your conviction. If you get to that point where you are comfortable everything else fades away.
Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
Sometimes. When you put a lot of weight in what the person doing the rejection says it can affect you. I have managed to find ways of working around that by revisiting why I wanted to do what I wanted to and staying true to it. Learning to take good criticism helps you to keep what you need and cast out what you don't.
Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?
No. Onward, upward, forward.
Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt?
Everyday. And yet, everyday I think my work is awesome too, so, haha!
What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?
I am proud of what I have managed to put together with Lush Kingdom. I keep challenging myself so that constantly changes. I think the body of work I have been doing since I have graduated encourages me to grow.
Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see (name drop) that you would like to Mentor?
I am not sure if I have directly mentored anyone, I have had people be inspired by what I do which is a very strange, humbling feeling because I still feel like I am figuring this out. I do get the mentoring experience though, through WE DOES DRAW sometimes and my job as a lecturer.
To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
Nothing pretty to say, but just maintain your focus and work, connect, work, learn, work, work, work.
What would you most like to be remembered for?
If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?