A few months ago we followed Perth artist Ta-ku through Tokyo as part of 823, a multi-stop artistic residency he devised to unite inspired communities across the globe. With a Melbourne edition of 823 in his sights, we spoke to Ta-ku to find out what drives this relentless pursuit of creative energy. 

“823 is the creative workshop series we've been running since 2016, which is crazy to think about”.

The three day event will showcase work from friends and collaborators, plus some more tactile creative workshops like photo-walks, panel discussions (with speakers like Joe Kay from Soulection and Apple Music) and a studio session with Melbourne musician Thrupence. “Melbourne seems like the most logical next place to host 823, especially seeing that it's such a creative hub and a forward-thinking city... I feel like it's long overdue, and I'm excited about really meeting a lot of the young creatives,” he says. 

As with all events in the series (Perth, Sydney and Tokyo have felt the 823 effect so far), that unification is the essence of its being. “I'm hoping that the fans are able to just come and meet me and have conversations with me." This isn’t just a lofty ideal, it’s a foundational element that has been built into the programming of 823 Melbourne and where he's able to exchange energy with the next generation of artists. "That's one of the things I try and do the most when I have these events is talk to the fans. I don't like using the word fans anyway, but just talking to the people that come and support this event, and seeing why they came, seeing what they're doing in their life, and if there is any way I can help.”

“People can really expect just to meet other creatives. I found one thing that was most heartwarming about the 823 project, especially in Tokyo, was seeing so many people come together and meet each other, and realise how much they had in common. And without that kind of event, there was no way for them to meet each other or to find that common ground.”

And as the fourth workshop in this series, he's picked up a few lessons himself. “The main thing I get from [the attendees] is seeing how hard they work and how talented they are. It definitely comes down to working hard and all of them having their own vision and conviction and staying true to them. There are so many talented people in the world, it's crazy. But I really gravitate towards those who work hard, and those who hustle really hard to get their vision into a place that they want it to. Everyone that we've had for 823 have been those type of people, and I've loved it.”

A Conduit For Creative Energy

823 was also designed to inspire others to release their creativity onto the world, no matter the format. “A lot of people I find are creative, but they keep their ideas to themselves or they work on something for so long that they are somewhat perfectionists and it never sees the light of day." Ta-ku's prodigious output is testament to a more open approach to releasing work, but this is no more than a means to closing the loop on his unique process. "I think the fact that you've put it out there, and you've taken a next step to bringing it to fruition and to a tangible thing, is the most important thing for a creative spirit. To feel fulfilled, accomplished.”

“It takes hard work. I mean, the keyword is work. And there's no way you can be an overnight success, there's no way you can just leave your full-time job without having a back-up plan, or without having a plan in place. Your talent can only take you so far.” 

Showcasing Creativity

Ta-ku is a born collaborator and a member of at least six projects with other artists that we know of, but this relentless drive to share art (not to mention his geographically remote home-city) requires a virtual home. This is where Dropbox comes in. “I've been using Dropbox since 2013… I can't believe how long I've been using it, and how much I use it on a day to day basis. And I'm not saying this because [823 Melbourne] is a Dropbox-powered event, or you know, because we're working with Dropbox, but I use it every single day. From music to photos to planning to conceptualising, to lists. Everything that I've done creatively lives in my Dropbox folders, and everything that I want to do creatively, in the future, lives in my Dropbox Paper folders… I would feel lost without it, because the amount of times I share files or creative ideas with people every day is like, at least 5-10.”

The ability of social media to rapidly spread new and exciting material certainly helped kickstart and grow his career, but this was just one of a multitude of platforms he’s interested in exploring. “[Dropbox] Showcase is the next thing that I'm excited to show my audience about. Taking that brainstorming, or the creative ideas, and putting them on a platform where other people can see it and interact with that off social media. You know, social media has been going a certain way for a long time, and I'm just happy that we can come off that for a little bit and go onto a platform like Dropbox Showcase, and share my work with people and have them comment and interact in a more interesting and substantial way than you would on a YouTube comment section.”

So after Melbourne, what’s next? “(In) 2018, it's too early to say, cause there's so many things I want to achieve, but for me, right now, I really want to write my album, and there's a whole creative process behind that, where I'm using Dropbox Paper and Showcase to help unleash some of that creativity.”

All images courtesy of Ta-ku