My Creative Life
Ross Neil: pioneering filmmakers, abstract expressionism and model villages
VCCP Blue's ECD shares some of the things that keep his brain ticking over
28 September 2023
The films of Pressburger & Powell 1939 - 1957
The original prototype creative team; Emerich Pressburger and Michael Powell. This creative power house went under the name The Archers, why don’t we do that today? Make creative teams a brand in their own right.
These guys though; it's rare for there to be such total originality. You can always see fingerprints of where things have been borrowed from - colour around the edges of where somebody was inspired. But these two, they made groundbreaking film after film that came from nowhere - there was nothing before them to steal from.
From The Red Shoes to Black Narsisus to A Matter Of Life And Death - every film was packed with original vision. Charles and Rays Eames, Christopher Nolan and others have borrowed from The Archers. Even Stanley Kubrick openly ‘hommaged’ their work in 2001. If you have the inclination, look for their five point creative manifesto - it's still relevant today.
One of the great British modern painters. I was always drawn to his mastery of deconstructing an image just to get to the parts that excite; the form, the colour, the edges.
I actually went to the Royal Academy of Arts to study my Masters - just so I could be tutored by Victor. I met him once and we had a lovely chat about how as an abstract painter you are always haunted by the horizon line. How you “always have to run from that horizon line”. He passed away, like some Jedi master in my first year there.
He was a legend, a true link to the beginnings of all modern art. His work is now sold in John Lewis, politely framed and made small enough for flats in Clapham. I suppose in some way, its a sign he’s still relevant, he’s become more powerful than I could have ever imagined.
Bekonscot Model Village and Railway
Sometimes the most creative and therefore inspiring things defy explanation. To ask ‘why?’ is like drawing the butchers cleaver on the golden goose. Don’t kill the magic. Just enjoy it.
The model village in Beaconsfeild is one such oddity. It is such a wonderful, magical place; a snap shot of a fictional Britain, cobbled together from real life villages and towns. Bekonscot itself is a sausage made up from the off cuts of Beaconsfield and Ascot. It could have been Assfield. For my 47th birthday my wife arranged for me to drive the model train - and it really was The. Best. Day. Ever.