Creative inspiration: Gerry Hopkinson, co-founder, Unity
My life would have been very different if I hadn’t heard of Charles and Ray Eames. Also they fill in nicely for all of architecture and design, which has been a huge inspiration to me. They believed in good design for everyone and in making buildings work for humans rather than the Modernist obsessions of material worship and straight lines. And they were fun and cool and kind and infinitely curious about the world.
Everyone from Samuel Johnson to Kate Moss has been inspired and intrigued by its crooked alleys, private clubs, bars and myriad distractions. It’s a place of indolence, excess, tragedy, and of course debauchery, but also of industry, wit, craft and brilliance. It’s like creative radium. I may not remember all the conversations I’ve had there over the years, but the ones I do remember serve me well.
3. Abraham Maslow.
He was quite simply the guy who opened my eyes to what it means to be human and why seeing the positive in people is a good plan. He understood the full spectrum of human needs and emotions but didn’t dwell in the darkness, preferring the light and the pursuit of happiness. Unity would be a different place without Mr Abe Maslow; I would not have trusted my ideas and the beautiful instincts of my co-founder Nik Govier.
4. The West Coast.
I’m from Vancouver on the West Coast of Canada, but it’s more a state of mind than a place. It’s about freedom, it’s about leaving all that uptight, East Coast shit behind, it’s about getting lost and exploring. It’s about focusing on things that other people miss and staying with them long after people move on. Frank Gehry, Ice Cube, Ed Ruscha, Joan Didion, Brian Wilson, Raymond Carver – I salute you.
The covers of those old orange beauties are incredibly hip and instantly atmospheric and of course the insides are full of goodness too. My real education was self-directed and came from books. Penguins were best because they fitted in my pocket, could be picked up for a pittance and came from a man who took on the prudes and censors and gave everyone access to a world of ideas.
It’s what humans do really well. We evolved to do it. It’s good for our limbic system, it’s good for our heart and it’s good for our head. I walk at least 5k a day, but ideally ten. When we started Unity we had lots of time and little money so we walked between meetings – and we had a lot of great ideas. Whenever I’m stuck on a brief, I take it for a walk.
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