• Ngaio Simmons

Creative Placemaking

One of the most fascinating things to me about artists is that we all go to some place when we’re creating. I don’t mean a literal place although some folks might need to switch locations every time they make something, and some art forms require that, like pottery or glassblowing. I’m talking about that one place, or several places, that artists go to in their heads when engaging with their chosen medium. Like, where does the novelist go when hunching deeper and deeper into the keyboard? Which place is pushing the painter to put these specific colors and strokes on the canvas? What place does the carver sit in when smoothing out the grooves of the whakairo? I don’t expect anyone to tell me where and, I’m sure if asked, a lot of us perhaps just couldn’t say exactly where we go. Some folks may have literal or figurative places they create as havens for art and maybe it is a feeling for some others. The point being is that artists have a mode they enter into. It is within this world and may certainly be influenced heavily by this world but it is a mode entirely separate from it as well. Creativity is cool like that.

I can’t help but wonder about this when watching the teams filming and the actors playing out their parts. I feel like their worlds are a lot more busy and involved when doing all of this. I wonder what they have in their heads: how different does it look to the one we’re in? Is it more colorful or is it completely in black and white? What do the characters look like in the writer’s head and how close are the actors to that image? What would their voices be like if you had control over that? This process is especially interesting to me because filmmaking is several things at once: sound, image, movement, world-building, and making sure all of that somehow gets as close as possible to what the writer and director have in their heads when thinking of the film. It isn’t drawing, painting, sculpting, or the imagination of a reader making the image. It is the film crew giving you what they see in their heads directly. This can still be up for interpretation by the audience, of course, as can all art. I just find it fascinating and wonder a lot about the nuts and bolts that make up the filmmaker’s mind when in the filmmaking process.

Every one of these teams has something brewing that started off as a sensation. A semblance of shapes, colors, sounds, and smells. Throughout the past few weeks, they whittled away at it and are approaching a final piece that will somehow resemble what they were brainstorming about all that time ago. What a phenomenon: to gaze directly at something that looks a lot like a thing you only just imagined once. Literally looking at it.


It’s a cool thing these folks are doing. I feel really lucky to share a space with all that magic.