Gar nicht so einfach – ein Gespräch über Kreativität, Intention, Prozess und Perfektion

Auf der diesjährigen Typo machen wir getreu dem Motto „Wanderlust“ einen überraschenden Fund: den Umweg. Das unperfekte Moment in den Erfolgsgeschichten der Vortragenden lässt uns aufhorchen. Wir bitten Aoi Yamaguchi, Chris Campe, Dominic Wilcox, Erik Kessels und Peter Breuer auf die Bühne – eine fiktive Gesprächscollage.

von Catharina Dörr und Miriam Kadel

Foto: Gerhard Kassner, Monotype

Foto: Gerhard Kassner, Monotype 2017

Kreativität – eine Frage des Selbstbewusstseins?

Wilcox: Creativity is very much about confidence, self-confidence. (…) As soon as you stop believing in yourself, creatively, you can draw a graph, and the creativity will drop in you as your confidence drops.

Campe: Tatsächlich kenne ich viele Illustratorinnen und Illustratoren, die sich nicht trauen, Schrift zu zeichnen, aus Angst, irgendwas falsch zu machen. Beim Lettering gilt also erst mal – einfach machen was man will. Das ist ja das Schöne. (…) Machen was man will setzt aber eigentlich auch voraus, dass man weiß was man will.

Kessels: Creatives can be quite fueled with mistakes and I think that professionals can also learn about amateurism. (…) An amateur makes also many mistakes so I think this influence is quite good.

Campe: Manchmal hilft es, Sachen einfach souverän zu behaupten – die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass dich jemand in Frage stellt, ist ziemlich gering.

Yamaguchi: Life is energy, a journey of struggles and unexpected happenings (…). It is surviving and striving through the hardships to find who you are and know what you want to become. (…) So japanese calligraphy has taugt me a lot of things about life. To know where to start, when to start and what path to take and where your role is.

Intention – Sinn oder Schwachsinn?

Breuer: Ich glaube, dass Kreativität gleichzeitig über- und unterschätzt wird. Ich glaube, dass Kreativität ein Lernprozess ist, und das allerwichtigste dabei ist die Spielfreude.

Wilcox: Over time we find it more and more difficult because we start to say no! And we say that’s not possible. And we say we don’t have time. And we feel like we’re being watched by other people that we want to impress. So you restrict your ideas and you lose a playful spirit.

Campe: Das Prinzip ist: Schnapsideen raushauen! (…) Gegen Unsicherheiten und Ängste hilft vor allem, Dinge trotzdem zu tun, und immer ein bisschen mehr zu machen, als man sich eigentlich zutraut.

Breuer: Ich glaube, es hilft einfach, seine eigenen Leidenschaften zu kennen, wenn es mal nicht gut läuft.

Campe: Das ganze Nachdenken über Fragen wie „Kann ich das, darf ich das, wer erlaubt mir das“ ist wahrscheinlich Typsache. Das Problem sehen nicht alle. Es gibt bestimmt Leute, die sich nicht so sehr für Regeln interessieren, sondern Dinge einfach tun.

Kessels: I think also very important is that when you think like “this makes totally no sense” when you have an idea – it’s quite good to embrace that. (…) Especially as a creative you have to make an idiot out of yourself at least once a day.

Light takes a break. TYPO Berlin 2017.

Light takes a break. TYPO Berlin 2017.

Prozess – die Angst vor keinem Ergebnis?

Breuer: Wenn ich ein Projekt angehe, was länger dauert, dann muss ich mich fragen, hält mich die Welle auch, wenn es langweilig ist? Wie motiviere ich mich für so eine Langstrecke? Wie kann ich den Sprung von der Idee zur Umsetzung so gestalten, dass dieses Verliebstsein des ersten Augenblickes irgendwie in eine Beziehung mündet?

Campe: „Das wär doch so super” – ist immer die richtige Energie mit der ich neue Sachen machen kann. (…) Und auch die Verunsicherungen aushalten, die es mit sich bringt wenn man kreativ ist. Weil man ja nie so genau weiß, was am Ende dabei herauskommt und was funktioniert. Man weiß, wo man ist, man weiß, wo man hin will, aber man weiß eigentlich den Weg dazwischen nicht.

Wilcox: Sometimes the anticipation of something is better than the actual thing itself.

Breuer: Ich glaube, dass Ideen in der Bewegung entstehen und dass man aus dieser Bewegung einen Schwung mitnehmen kann, der einen dann weitertreibt. Und ich finde, man sollte sich zwischendurch immer von dem Gegenstand, mit dem man sich beschäftigt, lösen. Und dann kommt man vielleicht irgendwann an den Punkt, wo es besser wird.

Yamaguchi: When you actually face one piece of paper in front of you, you’ll find a lot of things about yourself. One blank piece of paper has been nothing to you but all of a sudden it becomes frightening. Because you don’t want to screw it up. You worry about all kinds of stuff. And every writing, every piece is like overcoming this fear. So you eventually become more brave as you get used to it, and I feel like you don’t have to be perfectly brave to begin but you can build yourself to be really brave through the process.

Perfektion – ein Fehler?

Wilcox: Start your project before you’re sure, so don’t wait until you’re 100 percent sure. Start it when you’re about 60 percent confident.

Campe: Aber dieses Gefühl, dass man’s eigentlich nicht wirklich drauf hat und dass es wahrscheinlich bald irgendwer herausfinden wird, und dann wird alles auffliegen – das teilen viele Leute. Ich glaube, das haben vor allem Leute, die zu Perfektionismus neigen (…).

Breuer: Ich glaube, die gute Idee erkennt man nicht an der Selbstverständlichkeit, die sie ausströmt, sondern an der viel überraschenderen Tatsache, dass es irgendwann mal dazu ein Problem gab.

Kessels: We live in a time where like all creative tools are almost close to perfect. The computers make no mistakes, the cameras on our phones, they are very perfect. I mean, we almost need applications to fuck up our own images to make them look authentic again. (…) But this kind of perfection is not really a good starting point for new creativity. I think, especially when you embrace your mistakes in creativity, that is something very good.

Yamaguchi: And there’s no perfect piece. You can always write the same character and it will always look slightly different. And everyone can write the same character and they all look different. (…) So there is no control-Z in my world and that is why every stroke is precious. And imperfection is beauty and it is uniqueness and exactly how we all are.

Chris Campe

Chris Campe

Graphic Designer, Lettering Artist (Hamburg)

Chris Campe studied communications design and cultural studies in Hamburg, Paris and Chicago; she is capable of thinking, writing and designing. Her design office All Things Letters specialises in type and creates everything with letters – books, covers, logos, illustrations, spaces and display windows. Following two books about Hamburg (“Hamburg Alphabet” and “Toller Ort”), her newest book “Handbuch Handlettering” will be published in March 2017.
Dominic Wilcox

Dominic Wilcox

Artist / Designer (London)

Dominic Wilcox works between the worlds of art, design, craft and technology to create innovative, thought provoking and surprising objects. The British artist and designer studied at The Royal College of Art in London, graduating in 2002. He exhibits his work internationally and has been commissioned by brands such as BMW MINI, Kellogg’s and Paul Smith. In 2015 he exhibited at museums such as London’s Design Museum and the V&A museum. After the making of the documentary ‘The Reinvention of Normal’, which follows Wilcox and his work, he was invited to be a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where he showed his ‘Variations on Normal’ ideas. He is now on a mission to inspire the world’s children to become the inventors of our future with his Little inventors project.
aoi_yamaguchi-400

Aoi Yamaguchi

Japanese Calligrapher (San Francisco)

Born and raised in Hokkaido, Japan, Aoi Yamaguchi has been trained to master calligraphy learning under Master Zuiho Sato from the age of 6,  She is a recipient of numerous awards and supreme prizes at competitive public exhibitions.  She also uniquely transforms Japanese calligraphy into physical artistic expression through conceptual performance. She has performed with contemporary dancers, models, and traditional and contemporary musicians all over the world. Currently residing in Berkeley, California, Yamaguchi continues her work on her conceptual calligraphy installations, exhibitions, and performances as she continues to push the boundaries of traditional Eastern classics and contemporary artistic expression. Photo: Tokio Kuniyoshi Photography
Peter Breuer

Peter Breuer

Copywriter (Hamburg)

Peter Breuer studied design and has worked as a copywriter since the early 1990s, attacking subjects such as indwelling catheters, red wine, furniture, meat salads and a few others. Because each new subject brings with it associations that don’t end up as part of the project, and because collecting paper is such a space-saving endeavour, he maintains an archive. For a long time, all it did was grow, but he now uses it as a source.
Erik Kessels

Erik Kessels

Designer, Artist, Curator (Amsterdam)

Born in 1966, lives and works in Amsterdam. Erik Kessels is a Dutch artist, designer and curator with great interest in photography. Erik Kessels is since 1996 Creative Director of communications agency KesselsKramer in Amsterdam and works for national and international clients such as Nike, Diesel, J&B Whisky, Oxfam, Ben, Vitra, Citizen M and The Hans Brinker Budget Hotel. As an artist and photography curator Kessels has published over 50 books of his 're-appropriated' images: Missing Links (1999), The Instant Men (2000), in almost every picture (2001-2015) and Wonder (2006). Since 2000, he has been an editor of the alternative photography magazine Useful Photography. For the DVD art project Loud & Clear he worked together with artists such as Marlene Dumas and Candice Breitz. Kessels writes regular editorials for numerous international magazines. He lectured at the D&AD Presidents Lecture and at several international design conferences such as in Singapore, Goa, NY, Toronto and Bangkok. He has taught at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy (Amsterdam), Écal (Lausanne) and at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture where he curated a celebration of amateurism. Kessels made and curated exhibitions such as Loving Your Pictures, Use me Abuse me, 24HRS of Photos, Album Beauty and Unfinished Father . He als co-curated an exhibition called From Here on together with Martin Parr, Joachim Schmid, Clement Cheroux and Joan Fontuberta. In 2010 Kessels was awarded with the Amsterdam Prize of the Arts, in 2016 nominated for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize and is often seen as the most influential creative of The Netherlands.