Metallica played in the background and I was nervous, legs crossed, trembling and shaking with anxiety. “Master of Puppets” is definitely not the best song to precede the first interview one ever conducts. I tapped my pen on my notebook compulsively to the rhythm of the song, while waiting for him to come. To me, he represented freedom and was the impersonation of creativity itself. The way he thought, talked and created was amazing and the ease with which ideas came to him, the way inspiration poured from his mind through his veins and was released from his body through movement, words and art was a mystery that I had to uncover.
The idea of talking to him for
20 24 minutes (he corrected me after reading my draft) and being able to ask anything I wanted about his life and creative process was a dream I have had for the past 7 years.
He was – at the same time – my greatest source of inspiration and my greatest creation.
He was my muse: my son, Noah.
He came into my office, sat down and rolled his chair around without even acknowledging my presence. He had that innate confidence of someone who has a secret and isn’t sure if he’s willing to share. He looked at me from the corner of his eyes every time the chair gave a full turn.
“May we begin?”, I said. He jumped from his chair, ran towards me, jumped into my arms and gave me a big hug. The interview had begun.
Such an important person always has a full schedule, with many activities and many different people involved, so I had always been curious to know with whom he liked to talk the most. “With you,” he said, “about what we’re going to do on the weekend.”
The simplicity and honesty of his words mirrored the sober-blooded nature of his soul. He was a natural philosopher and artist and the best place he found he could express his artistic endowment was at the park. “I have fun there. I sing and make up songs and always pretend that I’m giving a show,” he said.
His creations were always filled with nuances of style, rhythm and words of other artists that he admired. When I asked him which was his favorite style of music and artists, he told me he loved pop music and pop bands such as Queen, The Beatles, Metallica, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry and Beyoncé. The references were endless and as eclectic as his own work.
Spongebob Squarepants and The Amazing World of Gumball were the cinematographic works of art that most influenced his thinking and creative process. They helped to bring humor and ease into everything he did.
Recently, he had seen La La Land, loved it, and was very distraught with the whole Warren Beatty/Faye Dunaway thing that happened at the Oscars, when the movie lost the award for Best Picture to Moonlight. He had spent the past 5 months listening to La La Land’s soundtrack every day, learning the words, the sounds, the rhythm, the production, the voices, trying to suck as much inspiration as he could. And the dancing. Ah… the dancing. He created his own choreography for every song. In my opinion, his was better than the movie’s.
He loved to dance. “I like it because it’s cool. I can dance anywhere. If there isn’t any music, I sing one in my head,” he told me, “And I create all of my moves. They’re all mine.”
He is also a prominent visual artist, though for some reason unbeknownst to me he has not invested in it as much as in his other activities. “I like to create. I draw a lot of monsters,” he said, “But what I like to draw most is you and me and a tree.” I was humbled that he was inspired by me. We admired each other with the same intensity and eagerness.
To me, curiosity is what makes our creative neurons get to work. Wondering about things, asking questions, seeing problems in our daily life, it makes us come up with answers and solutions that might not have seemed possible or likely before. I wanted to know from him where he thought his creativity came from. He said, “It’s like, you know, when someone is talking about giraffes and I always wanted to know the length of the giraffe’s neck. So, I get curious and I draw giraffes because they’re my favorite animais. I draw huuuuuge necks.”
The end of our much-anticipated conversation was near, so I switched subjects to talk about his most recent work.
We had partnered up a few months ago to create a Youtube channel for him, where he could share his thoughts, talk about movies and TV series, and talk about his daily life. I wanted to know how he felt about being a youtuber and what it was like to make videos. “When I’m recording, it looks like I’m talking to myself, but I’m really looking at a camera and talking to all the people who are on YouTube,” he said. When I questioned him about the challenges of being a successful youtuber, he said, “You just look at the camera and before you know it, you’re famous.”
He was tired and I had a lot to think about and was eager to begin writing about the milestone insights we had uncovered in our talk, so we finished our interview with a hug and a kiss. I thanked him and he asked if he could have some tapioca ice cream. I said he could if he answered one more question. He agreed, reluctantly. I said, “What would you ask if you could have the answer to any of the world’s greatest mysteries?”
He said, “I would ask: how long is the neck of a giraffe?”