TBI Q&A: Philip Patston

Philip Patston
In the latest TBI 10th Birthday QnA, to humbly honour our past and present contributors, we catch-up with Philip Patston and find out how he's labelling himself these days.


Never one to shy away from labels, whilst challenging them, Philip Patston introduced himself as 'questionably gay, disabled, vegetarian, Kiwi comedian, consultant, creative/social entrepreneur' in his first blog about the "collide of creativity and diversity and what happens at the point of impact?"

Philip's path collided with The Big Idea via Art Venture, the Diversityworks Trust and the Momentum 09 International Disability Arts Symposium, which included a keynote by Sir Ken Robinson on 'educational, commercial and cultural organisations considering diversity, creativity and the nature of ability into the future'.

Philip enjoyed a good vent on his Creative Collide blog on The Big Idea, but more importantly wanted to spark conversations, which he continues to do on multiple forums. Currently you can find him on twitter @philippatston and he blogs regularly at www.philippatston.com

He recently released a music video (below), and wowed crowds at TEDxAuckland on 'decaying labels', while wowing himself on the instant connections and conversations on social media.

In this TBI 10th Birthday QnA, to humbly honour our past and present contributors, Philip starts it off with his current title/label....

Name/title: Philip Patston, Untitled

During what hours of the day do you feel most inspired?

Usually early in the morning or late at night, but inspiration can strike at any time.

How would a good friend describe your aesthetic or style?

Casual, low-key, simple.

What aspect of your creative practice gives you the biggest thrill?

Having an idea, realising it's executable and seeing change happening a a result of the execution as well as the outcome.

How does your environment affect your work?

I need to feel peaceful, relaxed and uncluttered to be productive.

Do you like to look at the big picture or focus on the details?

The huge landscape, perhaps even the whole wall (someone likened me to Nietzsche once).

What's your number one business tip for surviving (and thriving) in the creative industries?

Do something else that will actually make you money.

Which of your projects to date has given you the most satisfaction?

My latest music video for a song called As Love Draws Near

Who or what has inspired you recently?

Seth Godin's latest blog post: 'Hurrying almost always makes it take longer. If you don't have time to do it right, how you will find time to do it over? PS stalling is even worse than hurrying.

Tell us a bit about your background.

You may recognise me from my ten-year career as a comedian and entertainer. I’m not as committed to comedy as I used to be, but it was a great way to get known. l began my career as a counsellor and social worker. Over the past 15 years I've combined working with people, entertaining and running a consulting business to create innovative ways to work with diversity, creativity and change.

I am an alumni of both the New Zealand Social Entrepreneur Fellowship (2007-09) and the Arts Regional Trust ArtVenture programme for creative entrepreneurs (2007). In 2012 I am doing the Leadership New Zealand programme. I have chapters published about me in How Communities Heal and by me in Why are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots.

Tell us a bit about your recent and upcoming projects.

Check out www.diversityworks.org.nz and www.facebook.com/philippatston.entertainment

If you could go back and choose a completely different career path to the one you've chosen, what would it be?

A barista.

What place is always with you, wherever you go?


What's the best way to listen to music, and why?

While you're doing something else because you achieve two things at once.

You are given a piece of string, a stick and some fabric. What do you make?

Er, a mess.

What's the best stress relief advice you've ever been given?

Be in the now – you're always ok. And say no more often.

What’s great about today?

It's Friday and I'm going to Rufus Wainwright in concert tonight.

What’s your big idea for 2013?

To stop having big ideas for a while.
* * * The Big Idea 10th Birthday Questions * * *

What does The Big Idea mean to you?

It's a creative space that never closes.

What changes have you noticed in comedy in the past 10 years?

It's not as funny as it used to be.

What are some of the opportunities and challenges for the next decade?

Recognising that the monetary system is obsolete and causes most if not all of society's problems – and then we try and throw money to solve them and wonder why we fail.

Understanding the depth and impact of our creativity as humans.

Decaying the parts of ourselves that can help cultivate new growth.

Banning reality TV.

Written by

The Big Idea Editor

14 Nov 2012

The Big Idea Editor Cathy Aronson is a journalist, photo journalist and digital editor.

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