FROM THE GOLD COAST, Australia, to Berlin, Germany, point out anywhere in between on a map and chances are this guy has been there or swum in it. Nick, yet another multi-talented, hard working individual, takes some time out to share a little of his very interesting, active life – one he refuses to waste a moment of.
Always yearning to learn and discover new things. It’s no wonder he’s always a little restless. His energy is intoxicating and speaks for itself – so, have a read over the thoughts of an inspiring writer, photographer, wave rider, traveller, dj, project manager, curator, BBall player and shoe collector. It goes on, but you get the idea!
Let’s start from the beginning: what did you want to do when you were growing up?
I was never one of those people whom had a really concrete idea of what I imagined myself doing. Once I discovered riding waves I had aspirations of doing that for a living, at least for a while. I don’t imagine I’m the first, or will be the last. I was a bit of a drifter until my mid-twenties. I came out of uni feeling very much a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. As cliché as it might be, it wasn’t until I was overseas, out of my comfort zone and on my own, that I felt an intrinsic pull towards something I enjoyed – writing. What’s funny is that in my graduating high school year book, my twin brother had written that his “dream job” would be Editor of Riptide Bodyboarding Magazine. Pretty classic that it’s what I ended up doing almost ten years later. I guess he was always more of a dreamer than me.
What did you end up doing, all grown up?
Not sure that I’m “all grown up” just yet, given that I see myself as a boy, not yet a man, in many respects. From 2004 until 2010 I worked as the Editor of Riptide Bodyboarding Magazine, which afforded me the privilege of writing about something that I love for a living. Can’t ask for more than that I reckon. Paid work has involved everything from feature writing and project management to DJing and taking photos.
Has it been a big challenge making a living out of creative writing?
In many ways it has been a big challenge. But when you intrinsically love what you do, most of the low points tend to fade into obscurity. And even more so in hindsight. Highlights include the amount of travel I have been able to pass off as work and the incredible people that I’ve met and had the pleasure of working with; so many friends for life all over the world. Low points mostly revolved around advertising and advertisers. It almost always detracts from the creative process, but the low points don’t even hold a candle to the highlights.
Who is top of your list with other creative writers?
I’m not sure I could narrow down anyone on top of my list. Maybe it’s because my interest lies in communication as a whole, rather than only the written word? I love how words/pictures/design/ light/sound all influence communication. When I first read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road I remember it making a huge impression on me and I like the way Jonothan Safran Foer constructs narrative. Proportionately I spend more time reading books than I do magazines, which guides the writing I aspire to.
I do find my writing inspiration in odd places though. Quotes from photographers taken from photo books. Lyrics that inspire and communicate in an abstract/metaphorical/non-literal kind of way.
I’ve never been much of blogger, nor a blog scourer in terms of creative writing, although I enjoyed “All Men are Liars” for a while by Sam De Brito. Vice TV’s Epicly Later’d is a site I hit on the reg too. Vaughan Blakey is probably one of my favourite magazine writers. Reading his work is like having a conversation with a good mate. I’m also a sucker for the visuals in the better fashion mags. Faves that spring to mind are Man About Town, Lodown, Smith Journal, Monster Children, Fantastic Man and Another Man. So many men…
How did photography become one of your creative outlets?
I think being a magazine editor is a great way to learn, as you see from a different perspective what makes a good photo – what you want from an image, what compositional and technical details are required – before you’ve even picked up a camera. Despite being interested, I never had the discipline/time/inclination to learn my way around a real camera. Since the floodgate opened though (maybe 2010) it’s been amazing. I see the process of making great images as a secret society of sorts. There is always so much to learn. It’s truly my constant curiosity and interest at the moment. I also feel blessed to be surrounded by some people whom I believe to be truly great image-makers already. It’s freaking inspiring. In a simplified sense, I aspire to creating pictures with my words, and pictures that are beyond words.
So, what is it about basketball and kicks that you love?
Basketball was the last sport I played seriously before I discovered the ocean in my early teens. Maybe that’s what made it so rad when I rediscovered it years later; a sense of nostalgia perhaps? The NBA glory days of Jordan, Bird and Magic. I remember my first sneakers being a pair of New Balance James Worthy High-Tops. They were white, yellow and purple (he played for the Lakers) with the biggest, puffy, foam tongue. Then I scored a pair of black Jordan IVs. Now they were things of beauty to behold. Favourites now tend to differ from week to week, but my most prized possession is probably a pair of all-white, Jordan III re-releases. They’re so shiny and white, and still in the box. I don’t even know if I’ll ever wear ’em.
Your space is a part of Rabbit + Cocoon – who or what is Rabbit + Cocoon?
To quote their website, “Rabbit + Cocoon is an artist-run creative industries precinct on the Gold Coast”. I guess it’s an arts hub of sorts; a collective of creative cats all down to promote (and be an active part of) a more vibrant and sustainable arts community. The rent is subsidized, so that’s a big plus. Overall though, it’s simply rad to be surrounded by likeminded and creative individuals.
You spent a bit of time over in Berlin; what were you doing there?
I’ve had love for Berlin since I first travelled there back in 2003 and lived there in 2010. Damn, I miss the place just talking about it… Spätkauf beers, pong in the park, flying around the city on pushies. My twin brother was living and working there, another of my best mates was running his own restaurant and
bar, and another friend was running a bike tour company (all Aussie ex-pats). I hadn’t spent much time with my identical DNA for a few years and I had a bunch of great mates scattered around Europe, so it was a base for more Euro travel. Berlin can be pretty hedonistic. I guess that’s part of its charm and my time there was no different. I did some writing work for Lodown Magazine, which is based in Kreutzberg and I got on really well with the Editor, Sven Fortmann; such a fine gentleman. To be honest I didn’t want to come home at the time…
Berlin. Gold Coast. What does the Goldy have that you can’t live without? And what does Berlin have that you’re struggling to live without?
The weather is probably the biggest factor for me being on the GC. I’m such a Captain Activity. It’s sort of my sanity. I imagine I might be a drunken, tortured vagabond if kept indoors, or in the cold for too long. Come to think of it, maybe that could add to my artistic credibility? Other Goldy gold includes a great group of close pals, a lady born and bred on the GC, and beachside living. Berlin’s awesomeness is harder to put into words. Liberal? Creative? Cultural? I love that place.
I’m off to Tasmania for the first time. I’m hoping to shoot a series of landscape-based images on a Hassleblad Xpan, and maybe a collection of portrait stuff as well. Of course time will be equally split between eating/drinking/shooting…
Edited by: Angharad Jones