27 September 2019

You’re Beautiful Wonkiness: A talk by Steve Chapman

We’ve all been told it’s good to step out of our comfort zone, right? Do we do it? Sometimes? Never? Not as often as we’d like? Not as often as our crazy friends and colleagues might suggest?

Steve Chapman, a self-proclaimed artist and philosopher, has stepped out of his comfort zone, full time. He recently came to Bristol to do a talk all about embracing your ‘wonkiness’ and encouraging weirdness in creativity. James went along and brought back some brilliant insights… 


Steve is fascinated by the societal trap that causes us to operate somewhere between who we naturally are and who we aspire to be, which he says doesn’t appease either of those things – we are never who we really are or who we want to be.

‘You’re Beautiful Wonkiness’ is a brilliant talk, designed to help people move into a space that allows them to create a disturbance (for good) with their creative work.

My biggest takeaways from the talk were Steve’s list to achieving ‘wonkiness’.


  1. Dance with your demons, Tai chi with self-doubt

Embrace your inner critic. Talk to it. Get to know it. Find out how it works. Use it as a source of inspiration to do great things, in spite of what it thinks of your ideas.


  1. Find your sweet spot of discomfort

Operate in a space that gives you just enough comfort and confidence to create a disturbance, but not too much psychological stress to scare you off your experiment. Create a world of just enoughness.


  1. Hang out with weirdos

Mix with people who are a different way up to you. People who are wonky, but not in the same way. 


  1. Get your own list

All of this isn’t gospel. Find out what works for you. Everyone is different.


During the talk, Steve highlighted some of the experiments on his path to Wonkiness:

Silent podcast


Free art installation


Imperfect portraits



Steve is a great presenter who distils his ideas into truly inspiring soundbites. I’d always considered most of my creative thoughts to be little weird, but Steve’s talk has given that weirdness an identity, and I feel like a fully-fledged advocate of wonkiness.

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”

Hunter S. Thompson

If you want to hear more about how James is embracing his own ‘wonkiness’, give him a shout, he’s always keen for a chat on creativity and stepping out of his comfort zone. 

Post image source: Steve Chapman, https://canscorpionssmoke.com/ 

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