When Garrett met Eno

Designer Malcolm Garrett sits down with Brian Eno to discuss creative process, collaboration, the role of imagination and whether Eno thinks like a designer

I listened again recently to Brian Eno’s Radio 6 John Peel Lecture, where he expressed the idea that art can be summarised as “what you don’t have to do”. It led me to reconsider my own thoughts about creative freedom. Even before I really knew what the word design meant, I somehow understood why I don’t consider myself an artist, because what I do will always be informed by something that I have to do, and I am therefore a designer.

I’ve always been interested in art but was unsure about it. Faced with a blank sheet of paper, the blank sheet of paper usually stays blank. And the idea of art in a gallery never really excited me. I was more attracted to the ways I could embrace anti-art. My work needed to have a purpose, even if it was just to challenge other perceptions of art.