Ch01.B02 Crushing hard
by Nick Cain
Have you ever had an artistic crush?
Yes, it’s like the romantic version when you were twelve years old, only it’s specifically crushing on a person for their artistic abilities rather than having them make your heart race by the way they look at you in gym class.
And just like the teenage fancies of my youth, l used to be quite shy in revealing my artistic crushes.
I recently watched street artist Banksy in his documentary Exit Through The Gift Shop. It followed the journey of a shy French documentary filmmaker turned graffiti-artist, Mr Brainwash. I use the term “documentary filmmaker” lightly, as the fact that you carry a camera around whilst admiring the work of great graffiti artists doesn’t mean you’ll be able to turn the footage into anything comprehensible. But what it did do for Mr Brainwash was give him a set of experiences and knowledge that allowed him to know what he did like when he became an artist himself.
Everyone wants to be unique and sometimes this type of adoration can have people crying unoriginality. The idea of unoriginality as an artist is death and you can see why people might keep their inspiration to themselves for fear of such a label.
As mentioned, until a few years ago I was very shy to share my artistic crushes.
Jake Gyllenhaal was a massive influence on me as a young actor. I watched his work intently and often marvelled at his ability to bring such wonderfully detailed and entertaining portrayals of characters to movies such as Donnie Darko. I wanted to know how he did it.
Any acting craft tidbits or preparation techniques that he shared in interviews and on DVD extras l lovingly absorbed and they became a part of my process and the way l approached my work. At times, l felt somehow guilty for poaching the ideas, like l had somehow hijacked poor Jake’s craft and made it mine. In fact, looking back now l probably had in some form – but I’m not ashamed.
I love the idea of being an inspiration collector, the idea that l have a little backpack on and in it I collect the sum of all my artistic fancies and experiences. Without even knowing it, l mould the backpack of goodies into this unique beast that makes up the artist writing this blog for you to read today.
And that’s nothing to be ashamed of.