Hello again

It’s been 3 years since I last posted here. I think I stopped after the short film The Reinvention of Normal about me came out. I got inundated with requests for interviews and to do interesting projects and to give talks about my thoughts on creativity. That was all great but it meant that I no longer had the time and space to write things here. One of those requests was an invite to be a guest on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Here’s a video of the last part but I was on for about 7 minutes and showed 7 other things. I should write a post about it one day.

Since last I posted I’ve started a worldwide children’s project called Little Inventors, spoke at the UN, and been made an Honorary Doctorate in Art and Design at my home town University of Sunderland.

When I’m busy it keeps my mind in the normal day to day, but I need to get my thoughts outside of that place to find interesting ideas. So I’m going to return to this blog to use it as a sort of diary for me and place to share new ideas, big or small.

I began this blog in 2009 while living in Berlin for a few months and it changed my life. At the time, I was searching for some direction, not sure what I was doing or what I should be doing.

I’d gone through the best creative education I could have hoped for including an intense 2 years at the Royal College of Art in 2002. I learned a lot at the RCA but I lost myself a little when surrounded by famous designer tutors all giving advice and me testing myself to see if I could apply my imagination to the various design briefs we were set. Then I had a few years working with a friend I’d met on the course, we were called Mosley meets Wilcox. We did some interesting work including collaborating with a famous photographer Mick Rock designing some objects inspired by his photos of Bowie, Blondie and Lou Reed. Then from 2006 I went solo and drifted along, not sure as to what I should do.

I was interested in things that didn’t fit neatly in the design or art world at that time so I couldn’t rely on the support of the art gallery system, but I also wasn’t interested in designing things for mass production. I just didn’t know where my work fitted in the world or how to show it, and so I sat about not doing much.

I lived in London but decided to visit Berlin for a few months for a change of perspective and to try to sort my head out. I visited Gorlitzer park and sat watching some old punk rockers playing golf and frisbee each day. I had some sketchbooks of ideas that I’d always talked about putting together as a book but never quite got around to it. Boredom is a great motivator and I had the idea, while sitting in the park, to start a blog called Variations on Normal. I uploaded 7 invention idea drawings and it got picked up by a big website called digg.com. Suddenly I had people commenting on my work. I’d found a way to show my work and it motivated me to keep adding more ideas and things took off from there.

I think the thing I’ve learned is that if you want to find a direction in life then it is best to just get on with doing it, not thinking about doing it. The process of doing things gets the train moving and it can take you to unexpected places.

Street post between legs problem

Street post striding

Berlin seems to have an unusually high amount of street posts. Whenever I walk down a street and approach one of these street posts I am always tempted to see if I can just walk straight at it, with the post passing between my legs. I try not to break my stride but the split second before I arrive at the post I hesitate, my heart beat increases as I become unsure that the pole will pass under me without hurting me. This is a problem that I set about solving in my latest idea to create a device that gauges the height of the oncoming pole, compares it to the height of my inner leg and indicates to me if it is safe to walk over it or not.

Non-smash glass bottles

Non-smash glass beer bottle

I was walking down a street in Kreuzberg and noticed there seemed to be a lot of smashed bottles on the ground. I mentioned this to my German friend Christian and he said ‘Yes there is a lot of gravity in Berlin’. He meant to say there is a lot of graffiti in Berlin but miss-pronounced it.
I told him that I thought he said the reason there were lots of smashed bottles on the ground was due to excessive gravity in Berlin and we laughed. I took a photo of a smashed bottle and came up with a solution to the problem as pictured.

Chocolatey finger biscuits

Chocolatey finger biscuits

Like all Englishmen I enjoy a nice cup of tea at 4pm each day.  One of the joys of tea drinking is dunking a chocolate biscuits (cookies) in it. I’m refering to those lovely plain biscuits that have melted chocolate on top. I like the way the chocolate melts on contact with the tea but I don’t like how it gets all over your fingers when you hold it. Here is a solution that came out of a chat with Richard Shed and Thorsten van Elten at, yet again, a pub. (c) 2009 Dominic Wilcox

The greatest moments of my life: #37

I’m currently living in Berlin for a couple of months in an area called Kreuzberg. It’s very laid back and everything seems slower than London. Within this relaxed pace I’m appreciating the small things in life. Here is a short video of something I enjoyed doing today, one of those little, special moments. Some people may know what I mean, others won’t.