What unites all human endeavours is the act of creative exploration. The innate desire to explore, experiment and discover is central to our humanity. We are all seekers, driven to disrupt, deepen our knowledge and chart unknown possibilities. We thrive when we embrace the unexpected, and our biggest asset is a free and open mind.
Here, we investigate the act of creative exploration through the eyes of a diverse group of practitioners, capturing the personal experiences of their curiosity-fuelled adventures. We step inside their worlds discover how exploration drives innovation and creative evolution.
Scarlett Hooft Graafland
For, Dutch artist Scarlett Hooft Graafland travel has been the catalyst for creative exploration in her art practice. Since her first project in 2004, she has been on expeditions to some of the worlds most desolate and barren landscapes, living amongst some of the most isolated communities, from Inuit’s in the arctic to the salt deserts in Bolivia. Her process involves spending long periods of time in these places, getting to know the communities she photographs and their surrounding, slowly revealing the way human cultures are in imperfect symbiosis with nature, in a world where difference is being steadily bulldozed by a global culture of sameness. “I try and make universal works. All of these experiences with different cultures enrich you, and I love being surrounded by people who think in a totally different way.”
Dan Tobin Smith
For photographer and filmmaker Dan Tobin Smith, science and engineering drive innovation in his practice. His work defies categorisation, and much of his approach revolves around temporary structures, complex layers of set manipulated in space and light. His approach is highly experimental, every detail is explored and highly refined, even when he is working with highly volatile materials “When we work with explosives, we try and attempt to control something very violent. Refining the charge to achieve the exact effect you want, but you need to trial it 50 times to get it right. It’s not easy, but I enjoy the resistance and challenge.”
Artist Thirza Schaap’s who creative journey shifted after an ordinary walk on the beach shortly after moving to Cape Town. ” I would walk my dog and find all this plastic rubbish washing up on the beach. It shocked me; the sheer volume of it was overwhelming. Every day it was different, and it started to haunt me. I was driven to do something with this material to show my friends and the world what was happening.” This transformative experience unleashed a whole new area of creative exploration inspired by the environment and her ultimate drive to create change.
Sharing my personal experience and how this has shaped and informed my life was crucial. The change didn’t come overnight, I started being more conscious about what I buy and how things are packaged, and over time it starts to seep into choices throughout your life. ‘Plastic Ocean’ is a manifestation of my creative journey and the impact it has had on me. It’s not easy to change, but I hope the images encourage people to do what they can. If we all contribute, then we can start to make some serious change. I can honestly say this project has changed my work and life.
“I come from a small suburb of Vilnius in Lithuanian. Living in such a remote and non-creative area, I went through phases of loving it and hating it and wanting to escape. The appearance of the Internet radically changed everything; it unleashed a new era of creative exploration. At eleven years old, no one showed us how to use it; we just started exploring and seeking all it could offer. As my career developed, my main inspiration continues to be the Internet and meme culture. What fascinates me about it is that it’s a reflection of this collective mind. Memes are concentrated humour reflections of global issues, things that people are concerned about, or issues people are talking about but extrapolated in a singular visual read. My work is a response to these issues in a playful and humorous way, gently drawing people’s attention to the issues.