26 October 2020
Danny Pearson was sworn in as Victoria's Minister for Creative Industries on 29 September 2020. He has served in the Victorian Parliament since 2014 and is the State Member for Essendon.
He is also the Assistant Treasurer, Minister for Government Services and Minister for Regulatory Reform.
What is your earliest arts memory?
I remember visiting the NGV for the Russian masterpiece exhibition almost 40 years ago. It was such an immersive experience and as a lover of both art and history – it was completely captivating.
What is your favourite work of art/song/video game/film/book, and why?
It is difficult to narrow down my favourite work of art. My love of art has evolved and changed over the years.
The work of McCubbin and Roberts is close to my heart. Growing up, my parents often mentioned their works and their iconic Australian landscape works are imprinted in my mind.
The artwork from the French Revolution also comes to mind. I think Delacroix’s painting of Napoleon Crossing the Alps is incredibly striking.
I also have fond memories of being a Uni student and going on a road trip with friends and my now wife to see the Surrealist exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia in 1993.
My all-time favourite song would have to be Flame Trees by Cold Chisel. Into My Arms by Nick Cave will always have a special place as it was played at my wedding.
My love of gaming all started with Commodore 64. My brother and I played it so much, the powerpacks would burn up. We couldn’t get enough of it. I love playing Mario carts with my kids as well as Clash of Clans.
Like many people, I have always loved The Shawshank Redemption. When I was younger, I loved the grittiness of Dogs in Space. During the recession of the early 1990s, I remember watching Spotswood, which seemed to give hope in an uncertain time.
When I was younger, reading the classics like War and Peace, Les Miserables and Darkness at Noon had a significant influence on me. In recent years, I have enjoyed reading the Narrow Road to the Deep North, The Book Thief, The Lightkeepers Wife. I also read a fair amount of non-fiction and found Ron Chernow’s book on Alexander Hamilton enthralling.
What was the first music gig, theatre show or other live performance you attended? Or your most memorable/transformative?
Midnight Oil, Melbourne Park, 1990.
Do you have any creative pursuits or hidden creative talents?
I’m always looking for new and inventive ways to cook for my five children, in the hope they actually eat their dinner!
Why does creativity matter?
This is such an important question. I believe that creativity helps to give meaning to our lives. It helps us to make sense of the world and to think about how the world can be better and richer. I believe in constant and continual improvement, both as individuals and as a society and creativity and innovation are fundamental to this.
What does being Victoria’s Minister for Creative Industries mean to you, and why is it important?
I am so incredibly fortunate to be the Minister for Creative Industries and I am lucky to have the opportunity to work with some amazing people who are as talented as they are hard-working. I want to be an effective advocate and the sector’s Great Enabler and I am excited about the Creative Industries role in guiding and shaping our identity as a city, as a state and a nation.
You served on the Melbourne Fringe Board from 2003 to 2006. What did you learn from that experience?
I learnt so much during my time on the Melbourne Fringe Board, but the main take outs were to think differently, to appreciate the richness of diverse opinions and the complete dedication so many artists have to their craft.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing Victoria’s creative industries?
My key priority is to getting artists back to work and harness the strength of the sector to help us rebuild to be even stronger. I think that creative industries can play a really important role in shaping our national and cultural identity in a post-COVID world.
What opportunities lie ahead for Victoria’s creative industries?
The opportunities are endless as we reshape our community post-COVID - never have we been so reliant on the creative sector than we are today. Just imagine what the last few months would have been like without creative industries? The sector has brought us light and meaning in a bleak and uncertain time.
Why is Victoria the Creative State?
We are the Creative State because we are home to some of the most talented and cutting-edge creators in the world with our arts institutions leading the way on the global stage. Victoria is home to so many diverse nationalities and cultures. Our ability to embrace diversity has been a great strength and this has underpinned the Creative State.