Imagination changes the world

'So be wise, because the world needs more wisdom. And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.

And now go, and make amazing, glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.'

I had managed to sneak into the front row of at an event held at East London's newest and wonderful arts venue, Evolutionary Arts Hackney. And standing on the stage almost right before me, was the author Neil Gaiman, reading out his now renowned speech, 'Make Good Art'.

With his trademark black clothes and wild, slightly greying hair, he had a rock-star presence. The audience around me were sparkling with awe, thrilled to be in the room with him, and yet his demeanour was humble and gentle.

Behind him, sitting at a little desk, was illustrator Chris Riddell, scribbling away beneath a camera that was beaming his work onto a large screen, illustrating Gaiman's words. He drew with a black pencil, sharpened to a long point with a blade. His strokes on the page had the assured confidence of a person who never stops drawing, who has a comfortable relationship with his art.

The two have collaborated, and created a book called
Art Matters, Because Your Imagination Can Change The World.

Like, wow.

And so, we were gathered to hear them both talk about these ideas.

Sitting there in the soft gloom of the grand, crumbling auditorium, I was filled with a magical hum of excitement. It felt like we were all part of a little rebel army, intent on shining light into darkness, through the wonder of art in all its forms.

Yes my friends – you can change the world.