Dominic Wilcox: #LiveFearless

Partnership / Jaguar #LiveFearless

#LiveFearless: We speak to Dominic Wilcox about fear and the creative process

One of the most common – but least spoken about – factors creatives have to address is fear, and having the psychological, emotional and physical ways and means to overcome it.

To mark the launch of the new Jaguar F-TYPE Coupé – a car which embodies design fearlessness – we are investigating what role it plays. Over four weeks we’ll be hearing from exciting creatives to find out how fear crops up in their working lives, and how they cope when it does. We have also commissioned each creative to produce a new piece of work that reflects the triumph of fearless design.

But we want you to get involved too. Share the best examples of fearless art or design on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #LiveFearless and you’ll be in with a chance to win a week-long loan of the F-TYPE Coupé and a money-can’t-buy fearless experience. Visit the dedicated LiveFearless site for more information.

Next up is the brilliant Dominic Wilcox who has provided a series of sketches which suggest a few ways in which creatives can leap into the unknown with a bit more confidence…

What role does fear play in your creative process?

I have a love/hate relationship with creative fear. I know deep down If I’m not feeling a little worried about a new project then it means I’ve probably done something similar before and know how it’s going to end. Feeling fear can mean you are out of your comfort zone, but that’s probably where you can be your most creative. When doing new things you have to start trusting your instincts more, you can’t think things through because you have nothing to base your thoughts on.

I think it’s important to start projects before you are certain they’ll work. We procrastinate too much and try to think it all out beforehand. You will find your way by doing stuff rather than by thinking about it for too long.

Tell us about a particular project where you had to overcome doubts or uncertainty. How did you do this? 

I’ve done live performances where I challenge a 3D printer to make the same thing, a sort of Man vs Machine event. I remember being at the V&A with a block of marzipan about to make a model of St Paul’s cathedral against a 3D Printer. At the beginning of the event I was thinking to myself “Why on earth did I come up with this idea, I have no idea how to make St Paul’s out of marzipan and all these people are looking at me expecting something great.’ But then the clock starts and you just have to begin; eventually you work it out and you overcome the challenge.


Dominic Wilcox: #LiveFearless

What’s the most tense you’ve been around a project nearing completion? 

I invited members of the public to contribute sticks to a five day improvised sculpture I made in Milan. I used tape to fasten the sticks to a simple chair and created a sort of giant stick tree growing from the chair. I added so many sticks that on the final day I saw a member of the public touch it and it started to topple over. The only way to stop it collapsing was to run to the centre and sit on the chair. My friend (he designer Demian Conrad) came into the room and saw the look of panic on my face; he left the room and returned with a camera to take a picture.

In design is fear something you should try and ignore or try and meet head on?

Everyone should do whatever they feel makes them most creative. But I think it’s important to stretch yourself and not repeat the same thing over again. We only have one life – what’s the worst that can happen?

Which designers do you admire for being fearless? 

I think Thomas Heatherwick’s Olympic Cauldron was probably the biggest risk I’ve seen that got the biggest reward. Billions watching and you attempt to create a huge, mechanical device. If it had gone wrong then people would never stop talking about it. He is great because he thinks the impossible and then goes ahead and makes it.


Dominic Wilcox: #LiveFearless

What’s the biggest creative leap of faith you’ve ever taken?

Recently I decided to try Improvised Comedy as I wanted to see how I could cope with it creatively. I think improvisation and reacting instinctively gets you to the heart of creativity. It’s a scary place to visit but eventually you start to get more comfortable with it and enjoy the thrill of it. 

I stood on a stage with a fellow performer. An audience member was asked to shout out an imaginary scene location and chose “Zombie clubhouse!” We then had to start acting out this scene, making it up as we went along, listening and reacting to each other. I was nervous before the show and for the first few seconds but then just focussed on the task. It was certainly an adrenaline rush.

Complete this sentence

Creatively speaking, fear is…your friend.

Do you agree with the idea that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself…

No, but I know what it’s getting at.


Dominic Wilcox: Hacked Milan


Dominic Wilcox: Hacked Milan


Dominic Wilcox: Hacked Milan