For Sam Furness, Brixton is a source of inspiration that never runs dry
Inspiration is a potent elixir. It’s the thing that grabs us by the collar, elevates us out of our everyday mindsets and gives us the strength and clarity of mind to solve problems or realise new and fantastic things. It’s the platform on which great original ideas are built – and it can often be difficult to come by.
Brixton is and has been a magnet for creative people of all ages and backgrounds for many years and has an earned reputation as one of London’s independent, creative hubs.
You only need to step out of the Tube station to be swept up in its energy. It’s loud, it’s vibrant, and it doesn’t stop. It’s exciting. The area has cultivated a community of passionate doers and makers that feel like Brixton in some way represents them and their creativity, myself being one of them.
In 2016 I set myself a year-long creative challenge to discover more of the ways we express ourselves. I set a theme for each calendar month (in something I didn’t know all too much about) and learnt/did absolutely everything I could to do with it, with an aim to do or create something unique with my findings by the end of each month. The project was called 12×16. More info at 12by16.tumblr.com.
It was an extremely creative and productive year where I constantly bombarded myself with new stimulus, to gain inspiration, with which to construct ideas, and I learnt that inspiration can come in many forms – perhaps any form.
One source of inspiration, that for me never seemed to run dry, was the energy of Brixton. The people, the spaces, the architecture, the history, the sounds … it just kept giving – and it was all right on my doorstep.
I believe great original ideas are created in the tension between existing notions in your imagination and new external influences. The mixture of known and unknown or old and new is what ignites the inspirational thought process to work out how they can collaborate and ultimately create one new thing or concept.
This is exactly why I believe that Brixton is an inherently inspiring place – because it is home to so many different types of people and places – old and new. The opportunities to discover or be influenced by new things come thick and fast.
A couple of examples … You have the magnetising atmosphere and beauty of Brockwell Park. A place that exists perfectly between urban life and a green, community focused ideal; which means it’s just removed enough from the pace of city life to feel like an escape, but just close enough to still feel London’s energy.
Windrush Square, the epicentre. It swirls with variety. Skaters, buskers, long-time locals, new-time locals and it plays stage to any number of gatherings, protests, parties and markets. It’s consistently representative of all manner of people and points of view.
Last year’s Brixton Design Trail was a joy to behold (and be part of – I created an interactive origami installation at Pop Brixton). The whole thing was a colourful mixture of local creatives lighting their fuses at the same time, and with a tremendous bang, reminding people that independent spirit, creativity, passion and inspired thinking is alive and well in Brixton. Long may that continue to be the case.
Thank you Brixton – not just for the inspiration – but for the ideas.
Follow me for more creative projects. Instagram/Twitter: @S_Furness_