Gabriel Barcia-Colombo is an American video artist, best known for creating living video installation pieces of “miniature people” encased inside ordinary objects such as suitcases and blenders. He attended the USC School of Cinema-Television and is currently a Professor of Media Arts at New York University. In 2008, he was awarded the NYFA grant for video. In 2012, he was made a TED fellow. Gabriel is also the grandson of Spanish Poet and writer José Rubia Barcia.
I Am Driven By | I am driven by the need to express creative thoughts and emotions through visual art. Often these come to be in the form of questions. I’m interested in changing the way we look at memory. How do new technologies make it easier to remember or forget? How will this affect the way we perceive the world? Are we obsessed with categorizing and chronicling personal memories in the form of social media or is this a healthy obsession? These are the questions I’m interested in exploring with my work.
The Difference Between Good And Great | Their level of interest in what they are doing and the amount of time they spend doing it. A good recipe for success is: ﬁnd something you really like doing and do it until you fall asleep every day. A good recipe for failure is: get worried about lots of things so that you can’t focus on doing the job you actually enjoy and then proceed never to sleep at night.
A Key Talent | This is as much of a step-by-step piece of DIY advice as you can manage. As a visual artist I think it’s particularly useful to create without too much self-censorship. Not every idea is going to be golden, but there is an interesting iterative process in working across mediums and with ideas that are varied yet unique. Rather than focusing on your one masterpiece I think it’s important to play, to experiment with lots of different techniques until that moment where something truly speaks to you. This can be applied to almost any ﬁeld. Experimentation and play will unlock new ideas and innovation in a way that focus groups and business meetings never will.
The Characteristics Of Success | I think I am determined, hardworking, playful, goofy, creative, critical and unafraid. It’s a strange combination that doesn’t always work well in my personal life but for getting things done it works very well.
How I Use My Mind | I use my mind as a catalogue of ideas and visual imagery. I’m constantly collecting images and ideas and keep a long running list of things I want to accomplish that I will repeat and add to over time. Sort of like a surreal buffet in my mind that is constantly open for business. 6. What are the most important lessons you have learnt so far, in your career or life journey? This could be anything from very simple small lessons, too much larger bigger lessons. Fight hard for the things you actually care about and let the other things come and go. Everyone is basically trying to succeed so treat other people with optimism and empathy. Realize that everything will go horribly wrong at some point so that when it does you can say to yourself “Oh right this is that time when everything is going horribly wrong.” Also realize that at some point everything will be going amazingly well so you can say to yourself “Oh I should celebrate this time when everything is great!” Be critical of yourself to a point but also know when to relax and enjoy the ride. 7. How do you deal with self-doubt, fear or negativity? Can you share a time in which you either doubted yourself the most or had great fear, yet faced up to them and conquered them? I have dealt with self-doubt, fear and negativity. These are all mostly emotions people use to prevent themselves from trying new things or creating new ideas. While they can be important in situations
where you are being chased by a bear or didn’t turn off your stove while leaving the house, in general they are very useless and distracting emotions. It’s much more useful to try and focus on creating new ideas that will replace the doubt and fear. Inevitably someone is going to judge you or you will be afraid of something, but as long as you are being true to yourself and a productive creative thinker then you can be conﬁdent as you chase the bear into your house to turn off your stove for you.
Resources I Use To Stay Inspired | Surround yourself with people who challenge you. Everyone has a different level of comfort but it’s important not to be too comfortable in life or else you risk becoming a slug. Challenge yourself by exposing yourself to new things you might think you hate. If you dislike the outdoors, spend a week in nature. If you dislike the city, drive a taxi cab for a week. You might learn something new from an uncomfortable experience and I guarantee you wont leave without even the smallest new outlook on life. if you listen to the same music or watch the same movies or eat the same food over and over again you are basically letting complacency and quite frankly insanity into your life. 9. What are your dreams, ambitions, plans or goals that you would still like to achieve? I’d like to create an art project in the depths of the ocean and one in outer space. 10. What do you believe is the meaning of life? I think the meaning of life is pretty different for everyone. For me, the meaning of life is to make you say or think “What is that?! I never thought of something like that? What do you think it means? I feel confused and unsafe and yet strangely intrigued. I want to see more.” If I can achieve that, I think I’ll feel pretty good about life.
Advice On Building Wealth | Why do you want to grow rich and build wealth? Why does it mean so much to you to grow rich? Is something missing from your life? Do you think money will buy the life you dream of? Maybe you should focus on doing something that you love instead of purely for the sake of money. Maybe the money will come to you if you do a really good job and stop worrying so much about how to make money. Work hard at what you do and be sensitive to the needs of others and do something that makes a difference in the world.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I hope that through my teaching and work I will have inspired people to think about life differently, to challenge the rules, to play and to work as hard as they can to achieve a dream no matter how crazy or ridiculous that dream may be.