The Short Version:
Hi, I’m tobias tinker, a Canadian-born musician, composer, and writer. I live in Berlin, Germany. Fearless Creativity! is my blog. I’m not actually fearless, but I fake it pretty well. I live to create, and help others do the same.
The Long Version:
While I don’t claim to be 100% fearless or creative all the time – let alone both – I’ve had kind of an interesting run of it and am here to tell the tale, and share what I’ve learned along the way. Quite possibly you’re wondering what I might have done to qualify me for this, so here goes:
I’m a musician. I’ve been on stage thousands of times, for audiences ranging from a tiny handful to several hundred thousand (for the historic re-opening of Germany’s Brandenburg Gate in 2003). I’ve played in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theatres, churches, circus tents, beerhalls, outdoor stages of all shapes and sizes, hotels (including the ‘most luxurious hotel in the world‘ – a 4-month stint playing 200 meters over the Arabian Gulf), the engine room of a converted barge, and one of the biggest cruise ships in the world.
I’ve played everything from Corelli to CCR – rock, funk, blues, new age, baroque, opera, swing, standards jazz, hard bop, ballads, modern jazz, freejazz, chanson, balkan, klezmer, irish folk, ‘worldbeat’, disco, techno, house… I hate to say ‘you name it’ but you pretty much can. I played in an Egyptian belly-dance troupe for a while. You get the picture.
I also ran away to join the circus, which is what led to our relocation to Germany. In case you were wondering…
My modus operandi during most of this time has been simple: if the phone rings and an interesting opportunity presents itself I say Yes, I can do that, no problem. Then I put down the phone and figure out how to pull it off, or at least have a half-decent go of it. It strikes me that it’s more interesting to try and possibly fail than to hold back and wonder what might have happened, so I try to keep myself on the former path as much as possible.
In this spirit, in 1999 I initiated a long-term (and ongoing) series of solo improvised piano performances called the ‘continuum‘ concerts. ‘Improvised’ in this case means fully, completely improvised – I walk onstage with no idea what I will play at all, and look for a friendly note or three. Whatever comes out first becomes the basis for the journeys that follow, which usually draw on jazz, classical and New Age influences. Some of them get recorded and released as albums – click here to listen and learn more.
I’ve also had some success as a soundtrack composer – most notably with my score to the online cult classic ‘animated comic epic’, Broken Saints. We won an audience award at Sundance, and eventually released a 4-disc collector’s edition DVD which sold nearly 100,000 copies internationally (with distribution by Fox Home Video). Following that, I scored animated prologues for a couple of major motion pictures: Hellboy II and I Am Legend. I’ve also scored a few short films and documentaries, and written for dance and multi-disciplinary performance art.
Finally, manifesting my lifelong love of the written word, I have begun a project that brings together music and literature into a multimedia ‘novel in words, sounds and images’: Symmetricity. Set in Berlin, it’s about music, and creativity, and family, and the way the brain works, and the nature of self and reality. This foray into an entirely new art form at this stage in my career is as Fearlessly Creative as anything I’ve ever done. It’s free to read, listen or watch – so please check it out!
All of this experience, then, forms the backdrop for this blog and frames the questions and explorations that will define it. I hope you’ll bring your own experience and perspective to the table and join me in discussing and developing the ideas that come to the surface as we go along. Thanks for reading and have a fascinating day!