Multidisciplinary artist Ta-ku discusses inspiration, creativity and generative AI
Australian-based, multi-disciplinary artist Ta-ku is drawing inspiration from his Māori, Scottish and Filipino heritage to leave an imprint on the creative industry. With a journey that started with a passion for storytelling, Ta-ku rose to prominence for his beat-making. But this was just the starting block for crafting his artistic domain.
Taking that storytelling gene, Ta-ku pursued his hunger for creativity through a range of projects from creative direction, photography and videography to design, business and fashion. Now, he’s the curator of a rapidly expanding creative empire.
Ahead of the release of his new album, we spoke with Ta-ku about the experiences that shape his work and discussed his thoughts on the future of creativity with innovations like generative AI on the rise.
Headshot created using Adobe Express
You're a recording artist, photographer and creative director. Tell us how you got to where you are today?
I was just a high school dropout with a short attention span. I didn't really want to be a creative when I was younger because I didn't really think it was possible.
In my early 20’s I wanted to be a DJ and then failed, so I picked up making beats. I made terrible beats for about 5 years, but I stuck to it and really started to develop my own voice and style. That was the turning point. I became obsessed with creativity and was so focussed on experimenting and seeing how far I could push myself.
That led to picking up a camera when I used to tour for my music, and then I fell in love with the art of photography too. That then trickled over into a holistic approach to visuals and creative direction.
What has been the biggest moment in your creative career so far?
I think playing and selling out two shows in one night at the Sydney Opera House. I definitely didn’t deserve that. Seeing so many people resonate with your art is something else.
Tell us about your favourite piece of work to date. What inspired you?
My upcoming debut album Songs To Come Home To. It’s a warm welcome and an invitation for all of us to reflect on our own journey and take a nostalgic glance back at the experiences and choices that have shaped us. A sonic and visual journey that evokes a sense of peace, gratitude & appreciation.
It’s inspired by the familiar feeling that 'home' has always given us.
The creative space is constantly evolving. What do you find most exciting about the future of creativity?
There is no limit. We just keep pushing it. That is so exciting to me - I hate feeling restricted or having a ceiling. I want to keep learning new things every day. I prefer that than doing the same old thing day in and day out.
How does generative AI play a part in your work today?
I use generative AI in every aspect of my visual work. Whether that be at the start of an idea, or as a way to evolve an idea. It gives me so much more flexibility and time! Most importantly, it gives me creative freedom. It’s such a beautiful tool that helps aid my creative workflow.
What do you think the biggest potential of generative AI is for creatives like yourself in the future?
To me, it’s the way it helps us birth ideas. Sometimes the starting point is always the hardest. When we are so inspired, we may know how we want something to look, or what it should feel like, but it can take some time to get there. With Gen AI - it’s instant. It’s reactive and helps you articulate something in an instant. So powerful!
What tips do you have for aspiring creators?
Keep learning and be open to try new things. Things don't happen overnight, but you can definitely go to sleep each day knowing you learnt something new and use it in your creative workflow. To me as an artist, that’s a huge win.
Find more creative inspiration or learn more about generative AI at Adobe MAX 2023.