A Week in the Life of Eric Jordan, Futurist & Creative Director
Crunch time. My week begins with a round of 3D print concepts for a popular wireless technology conference in Canada that is quickly approaching. I have 6 days to design over 20 large-format printed signs that will be seen by all the major tech companies in the industry. The pressure is on. Living in the far reaches of the planet in New Zealand, I know I’ll never see the final printed works.
After a few hours of laying out concepts in Cinema 4D, I set up a batch render. My wife Rachel and I head to the harbor in Paihia, a small sleepy beach town in the Bay of Islands. A glass of local New Zealand wine overlooking the blue waters helps me recharge my creative batteries. The beaches here all look like impossible matte paintings, so it’s hard not to be inspired.
I end my day sketching & reading chapters from “The Concise Mastery” (Robert Greene) and “Synchronicity” (C. G. Jung) at a nearby sailboat harbor just before the sun begins to set. This is my cherished de-stressor when I am working on a tight deadline.
The family is asleep and the homestead is quiet aside from the birds that make their homes in the trees around the property. I take advantage of the silence to work through some footage editing for a commercial I’m directing. Early mornings are the best time for productivity, before my son wakes up and demands all my attention for himself.
I take a break from video editing and head to town. While searching for paint supplies at one of the local shops, I come across a small wooden geometric puzzle, similar to a shape I’ve seen in a new book I’ve been studying: “Quadrivium: The Four Classical Liberal Arts of Number, Geometry, Music, & Cosmology”. It’s a stellated dodecahedron. I chalk it up to synchronicity and bring it home. My son Evan can’t put it down.
After editing footage for a few more hours, I take a break to help Rachel in the orchard. The best time to work in the garden is after the intense New Zealand sun goes down. Grapes are growing high on our trellises, making our place feel a bit like a villa in the Mediterranean. We’re experimenting with permaculture.... learning from the locals. So far most of the property is edible. My wife Rachel is an amazing organic gardener, and she’s planted over 100 different fruit trees so far. Our son picks fresh fruit from them each morning. Aside from pursuing my love of design, growing all our own food is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done in my life.
I set a goal for myself to finish 5 or 6 designs for the print project I’m directing. I’m rendering large format prints that will be hanging on the sides of buildings, so I’m giving the Cinema 4D renderer a run for it’s money. My wife makes amazing natural energy teas from plants we grow on the property.... and they’ll help me push well into the night to make sure everything renders properly.
The clock hits 4 am and I know I could keep going another hour, but I force myself to close down Photoshop. I can already hear the birds singing to one another as the sky starts becoming a warm pink outside the windows of my studio. The skies in the New Zealand are crystal clear and the morning clouds are like picture perfect cut-outs.... like from a children’s book.
I force myself to get an early start and communicate with clients about the projects that are underway. This morning I’m testing a mobile website I’m developing, while my client in the states is ready to turn in for the evening. When you live this far from the rest of civilization, you’re almost always working on a different time-clock from the rest of the planet. Due to the time-zone, everything feels like it’s far in the future. My days sometimes feel like a blur trying to maintain an idea of what time it is in various parts of the world, with various deadlines approaching in each.
We have two hammocks on the property, and they are exactly what you need after burning the midnight oil.
I fall asleep in the hammock listening to a discussion by Jay Dyer (Jay’s Analysis) about metaphysics on my headphones and reading “The Sync Book”. I can only fall asleep listening to talk radio or lectures now for some reason. I feel like I’m missing out on important knowledge that can be gained if I don’t have my headphones on. Too much to learn, and not enough time.
I’ve completed several designs for the wireless conference this afternoon. I’m bouncing back and forth between Photoshop, Cinema 4D, and InDesign. I fire off as many as I can to the printer in Canada once they are complete, so they can go into production for the upcoming event.
My son wakes me up to check the mailbox. Our morning ritual is to walk the property together and check the mail, feeding the chickens as we pass their pen. Today a Tarot Deck has arrived from the states, something I ordered as part of my current studies on esoteric symbolism and archetypes. My wife cautions me about the energy of the Tarot and we resolve to leave it unopened. It sits on the shelf, with the Magician on the cover staring at me through plastic wrapping while I work.
I need to wrap up the rest of the signage I’m designing today in order to get it off to the printer. After some organic coffee, I think I may make the deadline. I hope.
From my studio windows I can see that a local tree crew has finishing cutting down a large line of trees on the boundary of the property, to let more sunlight down on the orchard. We can see clear across our neighbor’s orchard now and it’s quite the view. New Zealand trees are majestic and otherworldly, hovering like something from a Dr. Seuss book.
Sketch time. I like to devote a bit of time to sketching in the evenings. It helps me unwind and go inward. My favorite sketch spot is a local restaurant called the Pear Tree, which overlooks a small sailboat harbor and several families of ducks that swim and play in a shallow waterfall. It’s a very peaceful spot, especially at night with the sound of the water on the rocks. I sketch abstract Japanese neon signs and skylines for an hour while listening to a lecture on Natural Law by Mark Passio in my headphones.
I tend to begin to slow down toward the end of the week. After a bit of mobile testing and tying up a few loose ends with clients, I do a bit of work on some audio tracks. Music is another love of mine, and I want to make more room in my life for it. I’ve managed to piece together a large array of modular synthesizers and midi equipment over the years that allows me to be pretty creative in Ableton Live, which I use to write all my tracks. The great thing about living in rural New Zealand is the distance between neighbors. I don’t have any problems turning the studio monitor speakers up, LOUD. It’s a good thing Rachel loves electronic music.
Summer is almost over in the southern hemisphere, so my son and I take advantage of the warm day and go for a swim. First we brave the chilly waters of a local swimming hole just a few minutes from our place, then we retreat to the warmer temperatures of the pool at home.
He’s a natural in the water and much more brave than I was at his age. Growing up in New Zealand I have a feeling he’ll grow to learn all sorts of skills I can’t even anticipate. This is the childhood I wanted him to have...outside, close to nature, on the landscape.
Saturdays are my personal design days. Today, I'm doing a bit of collaborative work with artists Thomas Ackermann and Kevin Blanch for the "Post Ignorance Project". I dedicate a lot of my free time to working with anti-nuclear activists in various countries to call attention to the dangers of nuclear radiation in the environment.
Being a father, I know my son has a fragile future with the state of the environment as it is today, and so this work has become very important for me. The least I can do is to carve out time in my schedule to fight for the future of my son, and for everyone else for that matter.
Nuclear is a pretty heavy topic, and so I try to remember to turn my gaze up to the top of my monitor where a quote from Frank Herbert's "Dune" sits, printed neatly in bold Helvetica type: “Fear is the Mind Killer”. Isn't it so?
Rachel and I have lunch in the harbor down in Paihia and watch the glass bottom boats come in. The water is especially beautiful today and the sailboats are out in force. We make a promise to one another that we’ll learn to sail as soon as possible. One cannot live in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand and not know how to sail. That would be a travesty of the highest order.
My son helps me put the last finishing touches of craft glue on a laser-cut Rhombicuboctahedron, a 3D sacred geometry kit we received in the mail weeks prior. Sacred geometry plays a big role in my newer work, and having a 3D form of it sitting on my desk keeps the energy flowing in my studio space.
Although my son is only four, he has taken quite a liking to sacred geometry. He calls it “beautiful”. I have to agree.
My Sundays are very quiet, usually spent watching movies, reading, or just absorbing bits of knowledge via YouTube. I spend the day watching lectures and interviews with writer & futurist William Gibson. In his latest talk with Concordia University, he predicts that “media fasting” will become more popular in the future.... that the need to find solitude, to be in the moment, will increase.
I find myself nodding and agreeing. I close my laptop.
I take my son down to the waterway where the ducks play in the waterfall and the sailboats dock near the inlet.
We watch the sun go down over the harbor, and I remember all over again why we’re in beautiful New Zealand.