What inspires you? Where do you find your creativity? Questions that every creative has a different answer for. I for one find inspiration and creativity not in the weirdest places, but at the weirdest times. It may sound like every blog post of the past decade to say ‘carry a notepad with you at all times to record your best ideas’ but that’s exactly what I do. Even those ideas at 4am or those during a play have a page to call home. It’s a basic move and not one ready for the digital age (my notes for this article are written in it, not Evernote for example) but then, Guillermo Del Toro has a house.
In the past week, I was lucky enough to experience Guillermo Del Toro’s inspiration for his stories; his Bleak House. It’s a living notepad full of what makes his films so special. In his own words, Del Toro uses his Bleak House “To find beauty in the profane. To elevate the banal. To be moved by genre.” And everything in the house is "vital for storytelling”. It’s Del Toro’s storytelling that sets him apart from other directors and regardless of film genre, have the ability to keep surprising.
At Home with Monsters is the touring exhibit that gives you a taste of what influences Del Toro. From the Medieval era to contemporary culture, and his particular obsession with horror, fantasy and the rich heritage of the Victorian era, the Bleak House experience covers all of Del Toro’s grey brain cells. Bleak House is divided up into 13 libraries with each one working as a research area. There’s a freaks room where a collection of mannequins and busts from the original Tod Browning film live and my favourite, a rain room, a room where Del Toro has used his VFX expertise to create a room so melancholic it helps him relax and write. All these libraries help inspire his work, with some influencers being more obvious than others. Take some his recent films for example:
The masterpiece that is Pacific Rim (fight me) is inspired by Del Toro’s love of Evangelion and the comic books of his youth; an influence that expands deeper than just Hellboy and Blade. The nightmarish ‘Pale Man’ from Pan’s Labyrinth was influenced by the underside of certain breeds of sharks, a creature both fearful in the ocean and now, on the face of a fictional evil. Del Toro has created his monsters from physical inspiration yet his manifestations are inspiring the future of monsters; the Pale Man has been cited as a direct influence on The Slender Man.
Del Toro’s Creative Space is an impressive environment in which to work in so the question is, what’s your creative space? What inspires your best work? Is it the lighting in your study room or a particular desk that supports your unique brand of spreading out. Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter using the hashtag #GlugSpaces.
Find out more about The Bleak House
Here are some photos I took from the AGO exhibit.