10 episodes

Creativity. It’s as mysterious and elusive to humans as love. We stalk it. We crave it. We try to bring it out in ourselves. 
Every creative work you’ve ever loved has a hero’s journey behind it. Whether it’s a book or a building. A movie, a mural, a musical. It starts with a spark. Then: Endless iteration. Inevitable setbacks. Magical people who appear to help. And the breakthrough idea — that takes on a life all its own. 
On Spark & Fire, for the first time ever, you’ll hear what was happening in the mind of a creator as they brought their iconic work to life. But this isn’t an interview show. It’s a story — told entirely in the artist's own words — against the backdrop of originally composed music of the prepared piano. 
In Season One, you’ll hear from Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project, director Rian Johnson on making Knives Out, Isabel Allende on The House of the Spirits, Kemp Powers on Pixar’s Soul, architect Thomas Heatherwick on The Vessel, choreographer Bill T. Jones on Afterwardsness, book designer Chip Kidd on the cover of Jurassic Park, executive producer Kamilah Forbes of the Apollo Theatre, Susan Orlean on The Orchid Thief and more.
With host June Cohen — cofounder of WaitWhat, former executive producer of TED Talks and co-host of the TED conference — in her first hosting role since TED.
What really happens on the road to success? You’re about to find out. Let these epic stories spark your own creative journey. 
Spark & Fire is a WaitWhat original series in exclusive partnership with Skillshare.
www.sparkandfire.com

Spark & Fire: Epic Creative Storie‪s‬ WaitWhat

    • Arts
    • 4.6 • 237 Ratings

Creativity. It’s as mysterious and elusive to humans as love. We stalk it. We crave it. We try to bring it out in ourselves. 
Every creative work you’ve ever loved has a hero’s journey behind it. Whether it’s a book or a building. A movie, a mural, a musical. It starts with a spark. Then: Endless iteration. Inevitable setbacks. Magical people who appear to help. And the breakthrough idea — that takes on a life all its own. 
On Spark & Fire, for the first time ever, you’ll hear what was happening in the mind of a creator as they brought their iconic work to life. But this isn’t an interview show. It’s a story — told entirely in the artist's own words — against the backdrop of originally composed music of the prepared piano. 
In Season One, you’ll hear from Yo-Yo Ma on the Silk Road Project, director Rian Johnson on making Knives Out, Isabel Allende on The House of the Spirits, Kemp Powers on Pixar’s Soul, architect Thomas Heatherwick on The Vessel, choreographer Bill T. Jones on Afterwardsness, book designer Chip Kidd on the cover of Jurassic Park, executive producer Kamilah Forbes of the Apollo Theatre, Susan Orlean on The Orchid Thief and more.
With host June Cohen — cofounder of WaitWhat, former executive producer of TED Talks and co-host of the TED conference — in her first hosting role since TED.
What really happens on the road to success? You’re about to find out. Let these epic stories spark your own creative journey. 
Spark & Fire is a WaitWhat original series in exclusive partnership with Skillshare.
www.sparkandfire.com

    Tell us: Who are you? And join us on Clubhouse every Wednesday

    Tell us: Who are you? And join us on Clubhouse every Wednesday

    Spark & Fire is on intermission, returning May 4. Until then, we have 2 invitations for you:

    1. Tell us who you are! If you have time right now – take our survey: sparkandfire.com/survey. It works great on a phone. We’re curious about your own creative practice and how we can support that with what we do!

    2. Starting April 7, join us on the Clubhouse app every Wednesday at 4pm in the Creativity Club. You’ll hear from guests and advisors of the show as we dig into the creative life. On April 7, join our advisor George Kembel of Stanford’s d.school, who will share exercises and stories to give you a creative boost. And on April 14 – photographer Stephen Wilkes!

    We'll be back May 4 with brand-new episodes -- leading off with a very appropriate guest. Listen to this short clip to find out who.

    • 1 min
    How to build your creative vision: Photographer Stephen Wilkes on the 2021 Inauguration Photo

    How to build your creative vision: Photographer Stephen Wilkes on the 2021 Inauguration Photo

    Making art is a distillation of all your life experiences – from the half-remembered images from your childhood to your fascination with what's happening around you right now. Photographer Stephen Wilkes developed his signature Day to Night images to share his passion for how time passes – and soon found that they also helped him explore everything else that interested him: nature, city life, even politics. Learn the backstory behind his famous photo of the 2021 Inauguration as he explains how he developed his signature style – and where to start as you develop your own.

    Legendary photographer Stephen Wilkes is known for his Day to Night photo series as well as his pioneering images of Ellis Island. Learn more about him at stephenwilkes.com – and listen to his beautiful Meditative Story, “What’s vital is right in front of me.“

    See images from this episode and a full transcript at sparkandfire.com/daytonight

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    • 32 min
    How to move a big idea forward: Apollo Theater’s Kamilah Forbes on “Between the World and Me”

    How to move a big idea forward: Apollo Theater’s Kamilah Forbes on “Between the World and Me”

    "I want to make this into theater, in a way that’s never been done before." When Kamilah Forbes first reads "Between the World and Me," by her friend Ta-Nehisi Coates, she's moved, shaken, gutted by its truth and beauty. She dreams of presenting it at Harlem's Apollo Theater, a legendary space for Black art and excellence. First step: convince Ta-Nehisi. Spark & Fire follows the journey from book to stage to HBO – during a pandemic – in a story of collaboration and trust, joy and challenge.

    Kamilah Forbes is the executive producer at the Apollo Theater, where she produced the legendary staging of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me. In her diverse body of work, Forbes is noted for having a strong commitment to the development of creative works by, for, and about the Hip-Hop Generation. Follow @ApolloTheater on Instagram.

    Follow along (with transcript and amazing photos) at https://sparkandfire.com/apollo

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    • 36 min
    How do you create? Start with play. Thomas Heatherwick on designing “Vessel”

    How do you create? Start with play. Thomas Heatherwick on designing “Vessel”

    How do you change the creative brief? You start with play. The designer Thomas Heatherwick was asked to create a monumental public work for the plaza of vast new development in the heart of Manhattan. The expected route would be to copy what’s worked before on other plazas in other cities – a statue, a fountain. But Heatherwick knew he had to push past what was expected. Spark & Fire follows the journey of “Vessel,” a massive piece of public art, from its roots in traditional Indian forms, to its sophisticated construction and multi-year assembly, to its reception by the public – a complicated story that is still unfolding. It’s a story of creative bravery, play, and persistence – at the drawing board and in the meeting room.

    Thomas Heatherwick is the principal of Heatherwick Studio, based in central London. The studio is known equally for bravura projects like the Seed Cathedral, Vessel, and the new Little Island over the Hudson, and for thoughtful, human-scaled commercial and residential developments small and large, like the delightful, award-winning Maggie’s Leeds.

    Follow along (with transcript and amazing photos) at https://sparkandfire.com/vessel

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    • 35 min
    How to turn crisis into art: Choreographer Bill T. Jones on “Afterwardsness," his pandemic masterpiece

    How to turn crisis into art: Choreographer Bill T. Jones on “Afterwardsness," his pandemic masterpiece

    When faced with a crisis, how do you move forward? Sometimes, you look backward first. It’s March 2020, and legendary choreographer Bill T. Jones is weeks away from a world premiere, when his company is forced into lockdown. All seems lost. But what comes next paves the way for a transcendent performance at the Park Avenue Armory called “Afterwardsness” — one of the only large-scale performances held anywhere during the pandemic. On Spark & Fire, the larger-than-life Bill T. Jones tells this powerful story of creative grit, love of art and reckoning with legacy — in his own fierce, fiery, funny words. He’s joined at times by his Associate Artistic Director, Janet Wong, and together they offer inspiration and ideas to fuel your own creative journey.

    In 1982, Bill T. Jones co-founded the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company with his partner Arnie Zane. Jones is the company’s artistic director and choreographer; he’s also won two Tony awards for work on Broadway. He is a 1994 MacArthur Fellow and was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2013. Follow on Instagram at @billtjonesarniezaneco

    Follow along (with transcript and amazing photos) at https://sparkandfire.com/billtjones/

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    • 42 min
    How to keep your family stories alive: Isabel Allende on “The House of the Spirits”

    How to keep your family stories alive: Isabel Allende on “The House of the Spirits”

    How do you write the stories of your life? Any time, any place, any order. Isabel Allende was 39, and a refugee from her native Chile, when she started writing a letter to her dying grandfather — recounting the family stories he'd told her – of love, loss, memory, magic. This letter evolved into her first novel, the beloved epic "The House of the Spirits.” With her trademark warmth and wit, Isabel shares how she found the time and space to write as she rebuilt her life – and how her 500-page typed manuscript, heavy with correction fluid and coffee stains, found its way to the agent in Madrid who made it an instant international sensation. Throughout the story — told entirely in Isabel's brilliantly chosen words — you'll hear never-before-told details about her creative process and journey, including ideas on story structure and writing rituals; first readers and family politics — all of which can fuel your own story-telling.

    A novelist, storyteller and social activist, Isabel Allende is the author of The House of the Spirits and Eva Luna among many other novels; her nonfiction works include the powerful double autobiography Paula. Follow her at @IsabelAllende

    Follow along (transcript and amazing photos) at https://sparkandfire.com/isabelallende/

    Subscribe to the Spark & Fire weekly newsletter for images, stories and creative prompts: http://eepurl.com/hkmyMr

    • 36 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
237 Ratings

237 Ratings

Lanceinokc ,

Window to Wonderful

Thank you for inviting so many awesome storytellers and creating a format that allows them to give life to their own stories. June Cohen is the perfect host. Everyone of the episodes has helped me relaize something different about my own creative journey. Simply wonderful!

PRY_GG ,

Thank You

Thank you for introducing us to people, we would not know about If it wasn’t for this podcast. I’m finding my own creativity from it, while enjoying the learning that comes with thanks to your Podcast. Please keep it up!

Paige lulu ,

Auditory Art

A thorough exploration of the senses and their interaction with art and the artist. Very engaging guests; exceptional editing and amazing journeys in each episode.

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