This year, I want to increase my creative output. I want to experiment, make mistakes, improve and evolve. The following creatives have helped me with that in the past and they're worth keeping an eye out for in 2017.
There's an element of bias in this selection but I don't really care. RKZ is a very good friend of mine and a staple follow on every social media platform. A fantastic photographer, musician and thought provoker, he has definitely made me consider my own creations. I still need to get a photoshoot done (when I'm not Grade A broke!)
I'm simply in awe every time I see a new project from Arkotype, the "passion project" of graphic designer Dan Clarke. His brand of video games-related work breathes new life into a lot of material with iconic status of its own, from Pokémon to Legend of Zelda. As someone who pursued a career in graphic design, this would have been my go-to place for inspiration and in some ways it is now.
3) Alex Stewart
I went through a rough period in the middle of 2015 and during that time, I took to writing to take my mind off things. I remember reading Alex Stewart's Moneyball series on The Set Pieces where he took Bristol City on Football Manager and rode them to glory in Europe with a sustainable financial strategy based on the books Moneyball, Soccernomics and The Numbers Game. I nicked his idea for Championship Manager and he retweeted the articles and that's how I started using my current Twitter account. Aside form that, Alex is a brilliant writer and television broadcaster, following in the footsteps of his father Alastair Stewart (who was a childhood hero of mine thanks to Police! Camera! Action!).
4) Liam Wong
I love media that looks like other media - drawings that look like photographs and vice versa. Liam Wong toes the line between photography and painting with his 'Tokyo Nights' (TO:KY:OO) project. Keeping a minimal colour palette, his lighting effects give the impression of impeccable illustration and lead you to ask whether you're looking at a fantastic drawing or a brilliant photograph. He was recently named in Forbes' 30 Under 30 list if you needed any more evidence of his high credentials.
I have to thank my good friend Stephanie Vaughn for the conection. It's no secret that people of colour are disenfranchised in the tech world, despite their incredible innovations. Jer'Maine is a software engineer, photographer, designer and creator of DatCode, a blog and group for black coders to engage and share their work. Apart from being a brilliant coder and man of tech himself, the group has been an awesome way to a marginalised group to collect their thoughts and become better coders, people and representatives in a discipline that ignores their efforts on a grander scale.
6) Nguyen Le
Roger Federer fans unite! I stumbled upon Nguyen Le while browsing on Dribbble and I was immediately drawn to a personal project dedicated to my favourite tennis player. His attention to detail and minimalist style spoke to me and I've been following his work ever since. He runs a design course which I would happily join (again, if I wasn't poor.) In terms of art/design direction, Le is the man you should be paying attention to in 2017.
7) KUMA GOLD
I can't speak highly enough of KUMA, particularly for the fact he has made trap music audible for me. His production style is close to my own in some ways and I think that's where I feel the kinship so strongly. Of course, he is much better than me which helps when I want to be improve myself and while I think he deserves a lot more recognition or even a deal, you know what? A deal might taint the output - not because I think he would falter (NEVER that) but I've seen major-ish deals sour free creativity. He is embarking on a world trip and that will only further his creativity and produce even better music. I can't wait.
8) The Music Snobs
It's been a while since their last episode but nobody does music critique better than The Music Snobs. I feel honoured to be in contact with the team - Arthur, Isaac, Snoop and Jehan - and welcome every opportunity for a conversation about our favourite artists. Their opinions don't always align with mine but I have a great respect for them and their articulation is second to none. Forget all those publications telling you what you should think about music and just listen to these guys and who they recommend for the craft.