Nat Bradley - Bold Journey Interview
Here is a link to my interview in Bold Journey.
I discuss the topic “Keeping Your Creativity Alive“.
For convenience, I have also included the text below.
Meet Nat Bradley
We were lucky to catch up with Nat Bradley recently and have shared our conversation below.
Nat , appreciate you making time for us and sharing your wisdom with the community. So many of us go through similar pain points throughout our journeys and so hearing about how others overcame obstacles can be helpful. One of those struggles is keeping creativity alive despite all the stresses, challenges and problems we might be dealing with. How do you keep your creativity alive?
I’m frequently asked about the sources of my inspiration and whether I ever experience creative blocks. First, I must express my deep passion for art, experimentation, discovery, and expression. When you are really in love with something, it is easy to stay interested.
I have learned to focus on the creative process rather than fixating on the end result. For an artist, I think it is crucial to concentrate on the act of creation and the processes involved in realizing the various ideas that arrive. Overemphasizing the beginning or end of a project can potentially impede or completely halt the creative flow. When starting a new work, it is important to have some type of intention, it can be a low resolution idea or even just a feeling or impulse. For people who are new to making art, I suggest creating a random mark—something to activate the creative process. However, even with the random mark, I believe it is important to execute it with vigor and energy. One action cues the next action. Through this process “mistakes” become self-correcting.
Too much use of intellect can be the killer of creativity. I work from intuition for at least 90 percent of the process. I let ideas flow naturally and I work quick so that I avoid judgment. In the final 10 percent, I introduce intellect and judgment. It’s essential to recognize that the intellectual mind, skill, and creativity are distinct elements.
To sustain creativity, in addition to emphasizing the creative process, I set aside dedicated time for experimentation. This involves exploring new materials, potential ideas, acquiring new skills, or adopting a fresh perspective. Here are a few examples:
Reworking Old Material:
Engage in the act of reduction by removing extraneous elements and focus on the most interesting parts of older, unsatisfactory work. Be brutal in your decisions. Chop it to bits if need be. I do this with visual, audio, and text.
Assemble the remaining elements from the reduction stage to create a collage, experimenting with the juxtaposition of different elements and media. Place things next to each other to look for interesting relationships. You can even mix and match media, try words with images, sounds with words, keep going and make a recording of each variation you like by taking a photo, audio, or video. What was once rejected may now have a second chance at a new life.
Additionally, I recommend incorporating elements of chance through games:
Games of Chance:
Assign numbers and letters to various possibilities (e.g., color types and brush types), draw randomly from each category, and set a timer to create something within a specified timeframe. This introduces an element of surprise to the creative process.
There are numerous games of this nature, and many can be tailored to suit individual preferences. Personally, I have developed my own experimentation games, which prove invaluable in facilitating a fresh perspective on my work.
Thanks, so before we move on maybe you can share a bit more about yourself?
I am a video artist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, sound designer, writer, and visual artist/painter. I started out the first few decades of my artistic life primarily as a guitarist, participating in numerous live shows across various bands. Concurrently, I worked as a professional live sound/studio engineer.
Over the last 15 years, my artistic focus has evolved towards video art, digital art, and painting. During this period, I’ve also contributed sound designs to professional composers in the movie, commercial, and game industries.
I’ve produced two independent experimental short films, titled “SubConController” and “Something So Unnatural,” available for viewing on both YouTube and my website www.natbradley.com.
In 2023, my original videos, alongside collaborative works, garnered positive reception at art events in New York City, Connecticut, and Germany.
Currently, I’m immersed in the creation of the film “Remote Viewing Sessions.” This project takes the form of a series of 90-second episodes released weekly on Instagram and YouTube. Upon completion of the series, these episodes will be compiled into a cohesive short film. I handle all aspects of its creation, including animations, musical compositions, sound design, scripting, character voices, and the incorporation of stock footage, text-to-voice programs, and some minimal use of AI image generators.
There is so much advice out there about all the different skills and qualities folks need to develop in order to succeed in today’s highly competitive environment and often it can feel overwhelming. So, if we had to break it down to just the three that matter most, which three skills or qualities would you focus on?
1. Fall in love with the process, not the end result. If you genuinely love what you are doing and focus on the process, the end result will naturally follow.
2. Less intellect, more intuition.
It’s easy to become entangled in overthinking. Excessive analysis and constant second-guessing can impede creative flow. Trust your intuition more and avoid getting bogged down in your own thoughts.
3. Keep going with full belief and never stop.
Maintain unwavering belief in yourself and the process. Consistent effort, day after day, week after week, year after year, is crucial. Persistence over time is what yields results.
What would you advise – going all in on your strengths or investing on areas where you aren’t as strong to be more well-rounded?
This is an interesting question. I believe it is crucial to fully embrace and maximize one’s strengths. Every individual possesses innate preferences and quirks that contribute to their uniqueness. It’s important to amplify these strengths to their maximum potential.
Sometimes there are skills needed to achieve specific goals. While collaboration and/or hiring individuals with complementary skills would be ideal, practical constraints such as location, budget, or circumstances may sometimes limit such partnerships. In these situations, it may become necessary to acquire new skills that don’t come naturally. The key is to determine the minimum level of skill or knowledge required to achieve the desired outcome. Time is a valuable consideration, and investing more time than necessary in learning can be inefficient. If acquiring a particular skill seems impractical, creativity becomes crucial in finding new ways to work within those limitations. Although this might initially seem like compromising your vision, many groundbreaking works in art, music, and video have emerged by pushing the boundaries of limitations.