Nicholas Maxwell is a Designer, Animator, Director and Business Owner at bigshinypixel. Bursting with energy (or is it ADD?) shared his 20 shades with us. We're still trying to catch our breath!
1. How do you define creativity and what does it mean to you?
Creativity is our natural ability to imagine and then act on it, oft times left in infancy by the system. It's nurtured when we chose to think outside the system or "outside the box". I'm lucky enough that I get to exercise my imagination, my creativity in a field I really love; art, animation and design.
2. How much of your creative ability do you think is innate? Or is your creativity a skill that you have developed?
Probably about 5% is innate with my alleged ADD an all. But mostly it was a concerted effort to move in the direction of the arts, that and a pretty decent environment where I could at least do art without being very discouraged.
3. When did you realize that you wanted to express your creativity? Was it encouraged by others (e.g., parents)?
The Family I was fortunate to grow up around were dabblers in art and I was lucky enough to be caught up in the apex of their creativity. My uncles and aunts, and my grandfather. My grandfather, who is a really creative person himself, did carvings and art; he even worked for the newspaper back in the day in advertising. So really ever since I could remember.
My Mom and Stepdad, like most parents wanted me to be good in the regular science subjects so it wasn’t exactly lauded per se. But they did not discourage me either. I had sketchpads, and pencils enough to get me through.
Taking Art as a subject after terribly failing accounts was the best thing I could have done, and so I had my adequate supply of art materials ^_^ Most of the persons I've met, met me as an artist.
4. 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?
For the most part, my work has to look good. I usually look up to standards of those in the top of my field like say blockbuster movies, award winning art, and all the great classics. Not to forget great design principles of course.While money helps me to live a comfortable life, my artwork is not tied to money, neither is the passion I have day in and day out. It is important to understand how currency works. And to value one's self accordingly.
5. 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?
For the most part, I've developed a pretty strong vision of what I would like to see artistically in my work. That being said, I’m usually open to suggestions and opinions. Doesn't mean I'll always act on them, but I take it into consideration.
I'm very appreciative of my culture, but most things I do, don't always reflect my culture unless specifically designing for a "cultural thing". While a fair bit of my local upbringing finds its way into my work, a large bit of it is influenced by US & Foreign standards, which isn't a bad thing. Within certain circles I can see our young country gaining strides in representing more of a local vibe.
6. What do you do when you experience a creative block?
See other Artist's work. Go outside. Visit the sea. Read self help, inspirational books. Play Games. Watch Anime. Eat. Listen to music. Movies. Mostly step away - for perspective, but my mind is usually still on solving that creative problem.
7. How do you make the leap from a "Spark" in your head to the action you produce?
I'm a list writer. And there's usually a process to follow in creating animation. So mostly thumbnail sketches. If any images pop into my head, I make sure and get them recorded early, and then make lists. Breaking down things to do and elements that are needed. From there it's a matter of time, iterations, and seeing if what you had in your head looks good on screen.
8. Do you have any special rituals that you do in order to achieve your creative goals?
Not particularly, but I do get rather exited at the start of a new project. And I try to take a rest and relaxation session if I can at the end.
9. Has your creativity changed stylistically as you have matured? If it has changed, please explain how?
I've become more confident in different areas of my design as I learn more about my craft. Unfortunately I don't have a particular style of design per se. But I do tend to approach projects with much more gusto with my continuous acquiring of skills and experience.
10. What has been the greatest sacrifice that you have made for your craft?
Sleep. Social Life.
11. Who or what has helped you to persevere and not quit?
Me. Never Give Up.
12. 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.
Humans are social creatures, so this is important. But to persevere is to be human, so willpower and discipline comes before the approval of others.The combination of the two can make greatness flourish.
13. Has rejection ever affected your creative process? Explain.
Yes it has. I've always worked harder in the face of rejection. It is an important part of moving forward, growing and learning.
14. Looking at what you have created in the past, would you change anything today? Why or why not?
Why yes, I would like to revisit some past projects with new skills and understanding, especially those that were time limited. Others, I'm quite happy with.
15. Have you ever doubted your talent? If so, how did you work through your doubt? I have done so many times, I've overcome my doubts with training and trying over and over again.
16. What piece of work are you most proud of? Why?
I honestly have a body of work I’m really happy with. Picking one is impossible for me right now, because of the hard work and sleepless nights I’ve put into them. Even some kinda crappy ones I’m proud of, because of the learning I gained from them ^_^
17. Have you helped or mentored anyone else? Is there someone that you see (name drop) that you would like to Mentor?
I try to keep an atmosphere of learning around me. I've helped people freely wherever I go, although not in a formal training setting. I have not mentored anyone per se but I have offered guidance. And I plan to do so en masse at some point.
18. To a young Creative emerging in your field, what advice would you impart unto them?
Just like a subject, always keep learning and practicing to get better. Put out as much content as you can and then some. Use the internet, its free. Always compare your work to the best of your peers globally, not in your classroom. Join forums. Ask for feedback. And keep putting out work.
19. What would you most like to be remembered for?
If I had a magical wish, I would like people to be kind to your fellow man. Do unto others, as you would have them do onto you. I hope this would be my legacy.
20. If you were a crayon, what would be the name of your colour?