Meet Steve McCarthy, the illustrator/artist/bearded gentleman responsible for the ‘Discovered’ mural on our ground floor. In 2019, we invited Steve for a 3-month residency at The Tara Building, which culminated in this work – which reflects the curiosity and adventure at the heart of creative work and creative spaces.
This week, we caught up with Steve to find out how the past year has been for him. We also got some great advice for other creatives working in these unexpected and unusual circumstances.
Why do you do what you do?
The answer to this question changes often, but I think that’s because drawing for offers answers and insights, there’s a deep sense of calm and self-affirmation that comes from making a thing, whether it be a complex advertising campaign or sandwich they’re both creative acts, and it just feels good to solve those little problems, it’s addictive.
How has covid impacted your approach to your work?
My productivity dropped to zero, I just had no will to get things done, I found myself feeling too aware of being sedentary, of not moving from place to place. Time management has always been incredibly difficult for me regardless, and time made no sense last year.
I had a “careful what you wish for” moment when suddenly I was under no pressure to deliver things on time, which I’d always struggled with, as I can’t seem to force myself to think of art as work, to me it is its own thing, with its own needs, like tending to a garden, treating each plant uniquely.
When I’m faced with a new project, my instinct is to let the project dictate what it needs, but this is not how the real world works, and mostly it demands you think of artwork like a task that must be completed, rather than some kind of magical creative garden that I get to frolic in.
My experience of lockdown was profound in that I began to understand that efficiency and client needs weren’t any threat to my own creativity, suddenly time and deadlines weren’t as vital, and I began to miss it, the collaboration.
Any tips for people struggling from creative block during isolation?
You want various flavours and textures. Like sweet/salty or having meat, veg, some grains, some green, maybe some zesty slaw in there. With this mindset making work becomes intuitive again, rather than goal-based.
What are you working on right now?
If you had one piece of cheesy life advice to give, what would it be?
Worrying is not preparation.