Baz Luhrmann: Creativity Is A Sickness

Baz Luhrmann: Creativity Is A Sickness

Australian movie director Baz Luhrmann wowed the crowd at Adobe Max in Los Angeles this week where he said that for him creativity was a sickness and that his creative work was some sort of way to “assuage some sort of mental problem”.

David Hovenden
Posted by David Hovenden

Exhibiting many symptoms of his self-diagnosed mental problem, Luhrmann had the crowd in stitches for much of his 40 minute address, which like his movies jumped all over the place and was full of movement and playfulness, while Adobe’s CMO Ann Lewnes attempted to wrangle him back into his seat.

He urged the 7000-strong crowd to not wait for permission before embarking on a project and that there is no one process or procedure to follow for any project, and that you just needed to start.

Luhrmann also referred to Adobe’s flagship product PhotoShop as the electronic collage machine, saying that his academy award winning film, stage and interior designing wife Catherine Martin was an unstoppable wizard on the machine.

On how he chose his projects, which currently include a new TV series on the birth of hip-hop in New York in the 1970s, he said that it came down to something becoming an obsession.

“Of all the things I could do, what’s the one thing I need to do? Will it feed my own life? Once I’m over that part the research begins,” he said.

He also acknowledged that his films were polarizing and that the criticism he received still hurt.

“The critical fall out is pretty much the same for all my films. It’s not just mild disappointment, it’s like I’ve committed a violent heinous crime against a personal family member.”

He also described his films like babies that grew up with him, but that they were “like baby seals and there were a lot of people out there who wanted to club them to death as soon as they were born”.

But don’t just take our word for it, if you’ve got a spare 40 minutes watch the video for a good laugh and pinch of inspiration.

Still here? Really not doing much work today are you? Well then watch the full two hours of keynote speakers from Day 2 including the fabulous Maira Kalman, Humans of New York’s Brandon Stanton and the ever so slightly weird, but wonderful nonetheless Elle Luna. People paid $US1500 to see this stuff so it’s definitely worth a look.