Unless it can be used for marketing, ‘bread and circuses’ entertainment, or to create commodities for the rich, the innate creativity of human beings is actively discouraged by the powers that be (a situation which, I believe, lies at the bedrock of a lot of modern day neurosis). For too long we have witnessed Generation X-Factor, where fame, rather than craft, seems to be the main creative driving force for people who sell their own authentic as they compete in a senseless, but lucrative, race to mediocrity. Thankfully, this emerging generation seems to be keen to build something new.
I first came across GSD (Get Shit Done) in an article in the Doncaster Free Press written by local dynamo Laura Andrew (there would be almost nothing of interest in our ‘local’ — nationally owned by Johnston Press — rag if it were not for Laura). Laura described how Doncaster duo, David Walusimbi and Lewis Russell were hoping to start a creative collective in Doncaster. Their aim is to encourage collaboration between artists and to build a physical space where aspiring youth can come together to get and share advice. I love how the Free Press article says that GSD stands for ‘Get Stuff Done’, Lewis says that the Get Stuff Done version is what he says to his grandma.
Myself and my long-term collaborative partner in art, Rachel Horne, had been in a similar position to David and Lewis. We knew that there was an incredible amount of talent in Doncaster, but the town was seen as a ‘cultural desert’. We created Doncopolitan to prove that this was bullshit: wherever there is human activity there is a wealth of culture… its just not always the banal middle-class shite which the establishment recognises as such.
I invited Lewis and David to Bentley Urban Farm for a quick chat and to offer them use of our new Unbound Arts space. Their inventiveness and enthusiasm was both refreshing and uplifting. I’m really looking forward to some of the stuff they planned while they were here. Here’s how that chat went:
Tell us a little about GSD, what it is, where you are now and where you would like to be if somebody had a magic wand to make it all happen?
GSD is currently a collective of artists and creatives working together to create content to push our ideas, individual creativity and to pursue our goals both common and personal. We believe that collaboration is so important in order to achieve success, as a team is always stronger than standing alone.
We aim to build this into an organisation which promotes a strong sense of community and collaboration. We want to work globally as a label/events/artist management company, our main concentration will be building up communities in which creativity and art is not pursued as often and showcase how much creativity can do for a village, town or city and for the people living there.
Success starts at home, so we aim to build a platform both physical and online which will help people in Doncaster achieve creative freedom and the confidence to pursue the outlets they have. Once we have achieved this we aim to do the same in many other communities.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves, how you met and your music/creative output?
We know each other from being in sixth form, around two years after that we became closer through a mutual friend and since then have been working to build on our own passions and this grew into the collective we are pushing today.
In terms of musical output we collaborate on projects with each other and do our own individual work. David is also a producer and our main sound is influenced by Rap, Grime, R&B and Afrobeats. We like to try and be as diverse as we can by using our different sounds to compliment each other.
What are the problems facing young creatives from working-class areas like Doncaster?
One big problem is budget, especially when young you don’t really have much money to invest in it as you’re not yet financially independent and there hasn’t been a place for people to just go for free and meet like-minded individuals there is very little ‘community’ in that sense.
There are a lot of people who are interested and involved but it’s not centralised, it’s very dotted around. We believe there are quite often niche crowds in many towns like Doncaster so it’s sometimes hard to progress if your genre or art form isn’t widely recognised. We will be working to put on some events in the next few months which will hopefully help add some diversity to this.
What do you think needs to be done to allow people in towns like Doncaster to fully express themselves creatively?
We believe expression is down to the individual, it’s all about proving to people that you are able to thrive by being expressive.
Creativity is all about exploring who you are and for many people, this starts as an outlet and becomes a passion as it did for us. So people must be encouraged to find that outlet and pursue it whether it’s a hobby or not and they must understand that not everything they do has to be in the pursuit of money but being happy.
Our message to other people is to explore yourself and your individuality. Learn about what’s around you, how it makes you feel and how you can make it positive. Take influence.
To make sure everyone’s voice is equal and heard, it’s again down to the individual. People need to understand that it’s important to listen openly as the person speaking may be able to teach you something.
The GSD podcast, where you’ll be able to keep up with the progress of their important project, launches next Friday (25th Sept). You can pre-link to the channel via this link. In the meantime, for more information, offers or support and/or collaboration, or just to keep up with what I think is going to be a very interesting story, you can contact them directly via email at gsdenquires[at]gmail[dot]com.
Interview by Warren Draper
Pic: Blue Boredom (Ben Rees)