We talk to Timba Smits about how he organised the Kaleidoscope International Creative Festival in London, and offer you the chance to win a pair of tickets to attend
This November a new creative festival is launching in London. Organised by illustrator and designer Timba Smits, Kaleidoscope will include talents from the worlds of art, design, illustration, animation and photography, and it takes place at the Barbican Centre from Saturday 24 to Wednesday 28 November.
...or win a pair of tickets!
To celebrate the announcement of the event, we've got two Two-Day General Conference Pass tickets to give away. Plus, you'll get a festival goodie bag, wristband, and the official book. To enter, simply follow @ComputerArts and @KaleidoscopeICF and send a tweet containing the hashtag #CAxKaleidoscope to both accounts.
The competition closes at 12 noon UK time on Thursday 4 October, and shortly afterwards we'll be choosing the winner. This is a prize worth £200!
For a taste of what you can expect from Kaleidoscope, read our interview with Timba Smits below. The talented Australian creative was in the middle of ogranising this event last year when he was attacked and stabbed on a London bus after standing up for other passengers who were being abused by thugs. As he explains, it caused him to rethink the event, and his career...
Computer Arts (CA): Kaleidoscope has some talent attending, but there are a lot of creative events around. What did you want to achieve with this one, what will set it apart, what did you feel the scene really needed?
Timba Smits (TS): "You're right, there are a lot of creative events starting to appear, and every one is different in their own unique way, but we couldn't help but notice that a sense of detail was missing from the scene. Kaleidoscope is more than a creative event. It aims to dig deeper and speak from the heart - no fabrication, just a raw event that explains tried and tested recipes for success both in work and life.
"It's the type of event where you will see artists talk honestly about their failures/mistakes as well as their successes, proving that often it's a hard road. It's a Creative Conference that talks not only about the work of top artists but more openly and directly about their personal views on social change, life experiences and their views on how creativity can improve the world. It's less about presentations of finished work and studio photos but more about the nitty gritty process of what it takes to be truly great at something whilst remaining true to yourself."
CA: Tell us a bit about how the project's all come together - how long has it taken, what's been challenging, who's involved...
TS: "I've been working on the project for almost three years now. The initial idea was to launch in November 2011, but after a horrendous knife attack which left me hospitalised it was paused, and in early 2012 I called on some help to get this project up and running. I joined forces with two good friends and fellow designers Greg Beer, the creative director of Very Nearly Almost magazine, and Gordon 'Flash' Shaw, to launch Kaleidoscope in late November 2012. There's been plenty of challenges.
"The biggest have been overcoming relentless life hurdles. You wouldn't believe it but in the space of the last 12 months I've been stabbed, Greg became a dad and Gordon was diagnosed with a brain tumor – three massive life-changing experiences so there is no doubt about it that Kaleidoscope is a true testament itself to hard work and staying tough."
CA: You were very heroic on that bus, attacked and badly injured. As part of Kaleidoscope you want to do something to engage people who might be heading down the road those who stabbed you had taken. What will the community aspect of the project entail?
TS: "Since my knife attack a year ago, Kaleidoscope has also become an important platform to engage with young people from all walks of life, not only creative design students but disadvantaged young adults, like the type of kids that attacked me, to prove that no matter how much money you have in your bank account, the colour of your skin or where you live, that as long as you have a talent, a dream or a goal that anything is possible. So I formed the Cut-It-Out Project – Kaleidoscope's social sidekick. Through Cut-It-Out, I will be sponsoring over 200 disadvantaged young adults selected from various parts of London to attend the Kaleidoscope Conference, participate in workshops and attend exhibitions in an attempt to turn their lives around and prove that your economic or social status should not act as a barrier to realising your dreams."
CA: What are you most excited about regarding Kaleidoscope?
TS: "Seeing people leave with a smile on their face. Watching them skip away with a renewed feeling that anything is possible. I'm excited about the chance to interact with people on a large scale and discuss the important Kaleidoscope/Cut-It-Out ideal of working together to create a more socially conscious creative industry and a brighter, more opportunistic world for young people."
And what stuff have you been working on in your illustration/design practice lately?
TS: "Nothing outside of Kaleidoscope. Since my attack, I've temporarily lost any sense of purpose for what I was working on or how I was working before, except for Kaleidoscope of course, which is even more inspiring to me now than it was before. In a lot of ways, like Austin Powers, I've lost my Mojo, baby... a little. It's been really hard dealing with this but I'm making some big changes in my work/life balance right now starting with Kaleidoscope and the Cut-It-Out Project. All I can say is when my Mojo does come back, expect an all-new version of Timba Smits."