I am always looking for new heroes and to discover the oeuvre of artists and designers that I do not yet know about. I love spending time in the library, going straight to the shelves with art and browsing randomly, picking by title, by name, by colour or by cover design, flicking through the pages and drawing, writing or photographing inspiration when I discover something new.
A constant stream of fresh ideas enables me to develop my own practical work and broaden my knowledge of design methods and executions, as well as assisting in my teaching of art and design. I get a great sense of joy and satisfaction from being curious and endeavour to be constantly learning.
I go and visit exhibitions as often as I can to not only look at the artists work, but also to see how the curator presents the work – what story is told, which works are selected and how are they placed? I also look at how the exhibition is promoted, the captions under each work, the catalogue and the way-finding system. There may even be ways to interact with the work, or talks and workshops to learn more about a specific subject.
My relationship with an artist's work is intensified greatly when a connection or understanding is made as a result of discovering something about the artist's life, their own influences, the social or physical space that they were working in etc. For example, Niki de Saint Phalle was very inspired by Gaudi, and that is probably one of the reasons that she worked a lot with broken plates and tiles – an aspect and medium I now associate with the significance of influence.
To see a retrospective in a museum is extremely interesting and very inspiring for me to see how an artist's works are organised and themed and how their story is told. It prompts me to consider our studio's inspiration, to reflect on past work and realise which period we are in now. Are there themes in our current work that have developed over time, or are they new influences? Are we working hard enough to be diverse, surprising and perseverant?
My goal as a designer is to always be developing my work, to constantly be learning new techniques and skills, and ultimately to contribute to better public spaces.