"I relish seeking out and finding individuals living extraordinary lives, sometimes through very ordinary means and methods."
Jeremy Worstman is a big-hearted, brave creative leader. Splitting time between the Melbourne office of The Jacky Winter Group and the artist's retreat he established just outside the city in the Dandenong Ranges, Jeremy traverses the intersections between art, commerce and technology while keeping people, connectivity and compassion front and center.
Tell us a little about your current work - what do you do, and what inspires you to do it?
At the heart of my professional and creative practice is running the day to day operation of The Jacky Winter Group, a creative production and representation studio with offices in Melbourne and New York. Prior to that I was a founding member of Is Not Magazine, and ran the editorial design practice, Chase & Galley. Branching out from that, I also direct our bricks and mortar gallery, Lamington Drive and associated retail space and publishing enterprises, as well as our luxury guesthouse and artist residency in the Dandenong Ranges, Jacky Winter Gardens. I am also the current Melbourne Chapter host for Creative Mornings, and have established the Field Trip and JWGYTB creative conferences, while occasionally consulting for individuals, companies, and brands. I am inspired by the intersections and collisions between art, commerce, technology, and spirituality, and thrive through connecting creative people and businesses with opportunities to flourish.
How does your work enrich your life or the lives of others?
Our business and processes shepherd thousands of visual briefs from concept to completion, hopefully making the world a better looking place in some small way. Throughout everything we do, myself and my team actively develop, employ, and refine keen senses of empathy, compassion, and kindness in all our interactions, and hope to set positive examples in our industry and beyond to show that you can be successful in business and art, and also be a good person at the same time.
Can you share a recent project you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?
Around twelve months ago we established Jacky Winter Gardens, a luxury guesthouse and retreat near my home in the Dandenong Ranges. In addition to being a physical platform to showcase the artists we represent through the agency, we also donate the property for one week every month for creative professionals looking for a space to start, develop, or finish, a commercially-driven project or commission.
What was the pivot point that set you on your current path?
When I was thirteen, my father sent me to a lecture by Edward Tufte, a design professor at Yale who taught data visualisation. It was intended as a 'semi-punishment' for an earlier misdeed, but it was a transformative experience. In his lecture, Tufte demonstrated how a clumsy design by engineers caused a vital piece of information to be misinterpreted and was, therefore, potentially to blame for the explosion of the Challenger spacecraft. In this instant, it became clear to me that images had the power to change minds and shape events, and I immediately felt a sense of purpose and direction in my life which had confirmed my earlier inclinations.
What advice would you give to others to identify and embrace those moments of action?
In most cases we probably don't know they are emerging until it's too late, so the best thing you can do is set up the conditions as favourably as possible so that you do. The best way is to try and make as many opportunities for collision and randomness to enter your life. Recognise and find your inherent sense of curiosity, and just follow it around for a while.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s going through their own transformation?
I think advice or any kind of direct input is counterintuitive to the process. The best thing you can do is not to listen to it, but rather have enough trust in your own feedback process to ensure that you will self-correct or regulate matters when and if needed, and simply move forward.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration in shaping your career? Are you creating your own path or being guided by a mentor?
I don't have any formal guidance at the moment, however, I am incredibly inspired by many individuals both inside and outside my niche industry. From web developers and architects to spiritual teachers and craftspeople, I relish seeking out and finding individuals living extraordinary lives, sometimes through very ordinary means and methods.
Where in the world would you describe as the place that speaks to you - your soul place?
I don't think that place, if it exists, is anywhere in this physical world. In the meantime, I quite like it where I am.
If you could do anything, what in the world would you want to do next?
Open a restaurant or some other hospitality-led business. There's something slightly primal about just catering to peoples basic needs like food, and the whole idea of creating a small community through a purely physical need, and sitting down across from someone face to face and talking that just seems very satisfactory at this moment in history.
All images used with permission from Jeremy Worstman.