Three Who Inspire Me

When I’m asked about who inspires me creatively the answer is complicated. I come across individuals almost daily (thanks internet) that make me think about things from fresh perspectives. This equips me to approach projects with Jackson Creative’s varied clients in interesting ways and helps makes unique final products. For the purpose of not making this a ridiculously long post I’ll limit my inspirations to three individuals.

First up I’ll cite comedian Bo Burnham.  Burnham has always been a kinetic stand-up performer jumping from one topic to another with often self-deprecating humor and sometimes a bit of song.  With his recent work INSIDE released in May of 2021 on Netflix, Burnham was able to harness his creativity and stitch together a performance of songs & musings that he wrote, performed and edited all while under lockdown due to the 2020 pandemic.  Specifically the myriad of different looks and scenes created by different camera angles and lighting was mind-blowing especially considering they all took place in a little one room workshop at Burnham’s residence.

For my second inspirational figure I’ll choose Wayne Coyne of the band The Flaming Lips.  As the front man for this unconventional rock band from Oklahoma he’s never been afraid to try something new or bizarre.  In 1997 Coyne held a series of concerts in parking lots where he handed out cassette tapes and asked attendees to play them in their car stereos.  He would “conduct” the performances by pointing at various cars at different times and tell them to start/stop their tapes or turn them up louder.  He was so taken with the resulting musical chaos that he put together a 4 CD set album called Zaireeka that let anyone conduct the same experience (as long as you had four separate CD players and friends to operate them).  More recently Coyne turned one of his live concert hallmarks (bopping around the audience in a giant plastic bubble) into a way for his band to perform live shows during the pandemic…audience members were spaced apart from one another and were all in their own giant plastic bubbles.

My third choice is a bit more off the beaten path than the other two but no less inspirational.  It would be a retired journalist who accompanied me and a group of theater students over to Russia when I was in college.  His name was Keith Wood.  Yeah…don’t bother  searching for him on the web – you won’t find anything.  He was a humble guy that was the husband of the drama professor that was simply along for the ride.  So how’s he a creative inspiration? Well while we were in Moscow for two months rehearsing and eventually performing a play complications abounded.  There was the language barrier, navigating the metro, scrounging for art supplies for the set, etc.  Regardless of what would pop up Wood would always smile and say “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”  He explained his mantra to mean when you’re in a challenging situation recognize it, accept it, laugh about it and creatively make the best of it.