Steve Brouwers asks some of the world’s most exciting creatives what creativity means to them
Where are you most creative? Is failure important for the creative process? Does creativity have to create a better world?: In this new book, Brouwers asks the likes of Debbie Milman, Stefan Sagmeister and Shawna X about their life and work.
- Daniel Milroy Maher
- 1 July 2021
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
Due to be released next month, Creatives on Creativity by Steve Brouwers, creative director at Belgian agency Ads&Data, is a look at the creative practices of some of the world’s most exciting thinkers and makers. Among them are renowned figures such as writer and artist Debbie Millman, graphic designers Erik Kessels, Stefan Sagmeister, Paula Scher, and Matt Willey, and rising talents David Uzochukwu, Shawna X, and Tony Gum. Inside, Brouwers sits down with each creative and asks them about their childhood, creative process, inspirations, and biggest fears and failures. Each interview is driven by the same single question that aims to get straight to the heart of the subject: “What is creativity to you?”.
Though not every contacted artist had thoughts to share on the matter – Martin Parr responded to Brouwers' invitation with the following: “There is no real creativity, in my case, so the premise of your book doesn’t work for me. I just wander out and shoot lots of photos, it’s that simple.” – the general response was one of enthusiasm for the topic. All of the 44 featured creatives offer intimate insights into their life, their work, and their way of thinking. Some of the conversations are surprisingly, and refreshingly, simple, while others are revealing and personal and allow the reader to truly get inside the mind of these visionaries.
In the making of this book, Brouwers travelled across continents “by car, boat, train, underground, taxi, and plane” to visit all of the artists where they felt most comfortable – in their homes and studios. The intimacy of these encounters is reflected in the honesty of the conversations that are had. Each of the in-depth profiles is accompanied by an image of the artist taken by Steve’s best friend, photographer Joost Joossen. “It was crucial to me to have my conversations with the artists face to face, as I was on a personal quest, trying to find an answer to the question of how to find your place in the world as a maker and a creative,” writes Steve in the book’s introduction.
What drives each artist to use their imagination, to think, and to create, is also ultimately what drives this book. As a creative director, Brouwers says his time spent perfecting ‘creative compromises’ and ‘meet-me-in-the-middle solutions’ between advertisers and content makers left him feeling as though many ideas hadn’t been “utilised to the fullest”. Along with an ongoing sense of imposter syndrome, this inspired him to find out what his personal heroes think of creativity. “It has been so enriching to talk to so many great minds, who have challenged me — as they will soon challenge you too — with their way of thinking and questioning life and creativity,” he writes “Each conversation has been a gift that I’m happy to finally share with you.”
Creatives on Creativity will be released by Luster Publishing on 7 August 2021.
Steve Brouwers: Creatives on Creativity (Copyright © Steve Brouwers, 2021)
About the Author
Daniel joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in February 2019 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. He graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Journalism in 2015. He is also co-founder and editor of SWIM, an annual art and photography publication.