Make a big difference to The Big Idea.

Help us tell the most creative stories.

Become a supporter

Nine Rules by David McCracken

David McCracken
David McCracken, Diminish and Ascend, 2014. Courtesy the artist and SCAPE.
David McCracken, Diminish and Ascend, 2014. Courtesy the artist and SCAPE.
David McCracken, Massive Vessel, 2015. Courtesy the artist.
David McCracken digs deep to surface 9 random pieces of wistful, yet profound advice. What else would you expect from a creative known for his passion for elevating the humble?



Eternal Intelligence

Gather skills... the more the better... they are the vocabulary of your practice and are never forgotten... equipment comes and goes but skills are eternal... watch people who have learned to do a lot with a little... it is intelligence at work.


No 9-5

Never forget the horror of the working week...  a passionless occupation turns your life into an endless soviet era corridor relieved by the occasional doors of weekends and paltry statutory holidays... possibly feigned illness... it’s not an option, gaze into the abyss and banish it forever.


Profound Sound

Listen to the music of Stephen Merrit because  anyone who comes up with lines like this deserves your attention  

‘If I was the grand canyon, I’d echo everything that you say’


The work is an affirmation

No-one can really give you approval... you already know... the work is an affirmation, have the courage of your convictions even if you have to go down in flames...

'Massive Vessel', 2015, Headlands Sculpture on the Gulf, Waiheke Island. Courtesy the artist.

Alternative management techniques

Don’t be afraid to drink... alright, not while driving. Some of the pivotal points of my life were only managed with liquor! Admittedly, there were hideous humiliations too…


Your taste horoscope

Taste’ is a straightjacket... and just too expensive. It’s an ever-tightening noose that will squeeze the life out of everything eventually... it’s only possible to be completely tasteful by crushing the child within... life is messy and so are you... always have been actually so abandon that beautiful zen, it’s not for you...


Do babies

Have children... this is the greatest thing... and forget the exhaustion and impatience you felt at other people's toddlers – it’s different when they’re your own... their potential will dwarf your achievements and their courage is breathtaking... it will usher you into the eternal story of the parent, humanity’s greatest achievement... it is also a great motivator... you know no fear until you have watched your bank balance plunging to the sound of crying infants...


Work like a b...

There is no time to waste and you have much to do... comfort cannot be saved, or even remembered so ignore the discomfort and stop dicking around and get into it...


No time for conceit

There but for the grace of god go I... whatever your successes, whatever your achievements luck was a major factor... a hair’s breadth either way and you may be homeless and hungry... there’s no time for conceit... just get straight on with the next thing.

'Diminish and Ascend', 2014, Christchurch. Courtesy the artist and SCAPE Public Art Trust.

David McCracken’s sculptures elevate humble objects into memorable artefacts. His works have won several NZ art awards, and have been included in outdoor exhibitions including Headland Sculpture on the Gulf, Shapeshifter and Sculpture in the Gardens.
SCAPE Public Art is fundraising to keep David McCracken's seemingly infinite staircase sculpture Diminish and Ascend (2014 - present; pictured above) as a permanent piece of beauty, inspiration and optical illusion for locals and visitors to Christchurch - you can support their campaign here.


Written by

The Big Idea Editor

7 May 2019

The Big Idea Editor