Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Favorite Parts of a Tom Luckey Interview

Connecticut’s WNPR radio show did two interviews on their Where We Live show. The first part was about the nature of children’s play and the need for time outdoors and playing on playgrounds. That segued into a discussion of how playscapes are being built in Connecticut which are handicap accessible and that are made safe in many different ways for children with all kinds of different disabilities to play on them.

The second part of the show was an interview with a playscape designer named Tom Luckey who creates interesting and visually amazing playscapes. (Click on the link to find the interview page which has a photo of one of the playscapes, I just can’t describe it for you in words.)

You can listen to a podcast recording of the interview by linking from this page.

The two different parts of the show are recorded in two different podcasts. This blog post links to the Tom Luckey interview, Part Two. Tom Luckey works and resides in East Haven, Connecticut.

I especially appreciated these parts of the interview and I decided to quote my favorite parts here. Luckey was an artist and a playscape designer before he became wheelchair bound and paralyzed and he continues his work after the accident as well. What I liked was the discussion of how the accident and his resulting disability led him to ‘reinvent’ himself in his personal life. I also liked what he said about finding a way to make a living doing what you love.

Quote (5:43):

TL: About a year and a half ago, I fell and am now paralyzed from the neck down. So, there is a whole dimension to my life that is going on completely apart from my work, and that actually takes up more time than my work. There is a lot of profit in that because a lot of the things that I neglected because I was so busy, I now am sort of going back over and picking up pieces that I’d never known existed before that are now becoming a big part of my life. My wife and I are kind of re-inventing our marriage, and that is pretty exciting. And in lots of ways, it is much closer to the stuff that really means something in life, although my work is really important to me.

Interviewer: Do you think you would have been able to reinvent yourself in this way, if this accident had not happened, is this something that you woud have done on your own or does this have to be kind of forced upon you in some way.

TL: No, I would never have done this on my own. This was like full stop, re-start in a whole new direction. And for the most part, I think it has actually been a better direction. It sounds crazy, to be completely paralyzed and sort of thinking, array, it is not like that. I mean, in a sense, as we get older we get more paralyzed, as our joints give out and our muscles get weaker, and eventually we die. This has been a real shock and a true kind of awakening.

Interviewer: (paraphrased) As you move forward…how is it changing the work and the creativity that you bring to your work?

TL: He goes on to say that he now works with his son and his major work is creating and designing and he no longer works with the installation part of the projects and makes a comment that he gets to do the fun creating part and someone else has to worry about how to duplicate that in real life during the installation process.


At about 11:15 into the interview, he is asked about someone who has a vision about doing something creative but doesn’t think they can make a living at it.

Tom Luckey replies: I’ve got the exact answer. Don’t stop, work your way along the wall until you find the little crack in it that you can fit yourself through. There is a wall in the world around the sort of the secret garden that you need to get into to make a living and to have an audience and be fulfilled, and you have to work your way along that wall. There are really no shortcuts. Because I think you really need to learn the lessons of the garden that you are trying to get into, which is really just where you can do what you want to do and get paid for it. You learn it by working your way along that wall and you have to do that. And don’t stop. If you just get it in your head that you are nto going to stop, then eventually you will get there, and it takes a long time.


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2 comments:

ZONTA CLUB OF NEW ROCHELLE AREA #1 DISTRICT #3 CLUB # 61 said...

I have enjoyed one of Luckey's playscapes. My daughter, who was 4 or 5 at the time, was unsure. What I love about the structure is that it is so sculptural, and womb-like. My daughter made her way along the structure, slowly gaining an awareness of her abilities, and how to be apart from me. It was a small step, and an important one, and it happened on a Luckey climbing sculpture.

bigtreesmallax@juno.com

Josh Haden said...

awesome post.