I have played guitar and bass on-and-off since I was sixteen, and although I certainly do not consider myself a particularly-talented musician, music had provided me with many unique experiences and opportunities.
I often argue that the prior skills I have found most transferable to my Ph.D are those acquired from self-managing and performing in a rock band. Good grades and proven competency in analytical thinking are pre-requisites for postgraduate research, but are insufficient for being a successful, independent researcher. If you can convince six 20-something-year-old men to show up to band prac on time, the rest comes far easier.
Filming a music video for my former band on the Newcastle (Australia) foreshore, October 2010.
In my most recent band (2010-11), I performed alongside many famous names in rock music, including Kee Marcello (former guitarist for Europe), The Party Boyz (Angry Anderson et al.), Electric Horse (formerly Sunk Loto) and Jericco. In addition, we defeated over 500 bands from across Australia and New Zealand to win the Australasian Final of the 2010 Global Battle of the Bands – the world’s largest live, original music contest.
Every Ph.D student requires a cliché geeky hobby. In my case, it is modelling and painting Warhammer/WH40k miniatures. I also enjoy experimenting with new-and-crazy ways of painting my models, and hopefully I will have the chance to upload some examples over the next couple of years.
Painting is a great escape from research. It affords me the rare opportunity to invest as much time and effort into tiny details as I want. “Paint-or-perish” is yet to gain traction, thankfully.
Warhammer 40k Ulthwe Eldar Wave Serpent, November 2013. 1st place Victorian Painting Masters (Melbourne heat) 2013 “Large Model” category. Body (black/grey) is airbrushed, bone highlights shaded entirely with oil paints and gold details painted with “Rub’n Buff” wax (used for restoring antiques).
I am a huge fan of fantasy and science fiction literature, and I do not care to admit how profound of an impact this has on my research foci.
Visiting the Hobbiton movie set, December 2012.