Every creative has their varied sources of inspiration. For Dylan Wiehan—our latest STALKR filmmaker addition—the picturesque Palate Family Farm is both his home and a constant creative playground where inspiration is endless. We had a moment to chat with him. Here’s what he had to say:
Tell us a bit about Palate Family Farm.
Palate Family Farm is a property in Central Victoria, Australia where I live with my wife, Priya, and daughter, Olive. We moved here in 2016 and have been converting it into a small vegetable farm. At this point it isn’t a commercial operation but just a really nice place to live, surrounded by dramatic landscapes and beautiful wildlife.
How does life on the farm impact your creative process?
The natural world has always been my main source of inspiration and living in way that is so connected to the land, seasons and weather is pretty fantastic for me. I love it here. Even though it is quiet and the landscapes around us are mostly empty there’s always something going on. Whether it’s a group of magpies (Australian bird) singing to the moon or a sunset that throws pink light across the forest, I find I’m always getting my camera out to capture something.
Does living with the land make you view film in a different light?
When I lived in the city I used to make regular filmmaking trips into the country and chase special moments in the natural world. I did this for a decade and on some of those trips I captured images I believed were truly special and others it felt like I couldn’t quite grasp it. Living the way we do here I notice that those special moments are so common. My hunger to chase light or cloud formations or wildlife is overwhelmed. I could literally film the beauty of this place all day! It’s so magical. So I think living on the land has taught me to let go of that hunger and drive. I no longer chase moments so much, I let them come to me. I still run frantically into the studio to get my camera some times but more often I just enjoy watching whatever is passing by and trust that there’ll be another moment just as beautiful soon.
What does your environment add to your creative endeavors that traditional city living lacks?
In Australia there is a lot of space. Where we live there is almost endless space. We have one neighbor 500m away but other than that there is no one for kilometers in every direction around us. The land is empty and I can walk from our front door into the wilderness for hours. It’s a big culture shock from the intimacy of city life. I notice that the privacy that comes with that space helps free up my creativity. I don’t have to worry about upsetting the neighbors if I want to play really horrible guitar at 1am. Haha! Feeling free is very important to me, it means I feel capable of really exploring any creative ideas that evolve without distraction or limitations.
Where do you feel the most inspired?
On the property beside ours there’s an old abandoned house in the forest. It’s quite creepy. But if you walk past it you quickly come to the end of the forest and can look down a slight hill to an uninterrupted westerly view, where the sun sets. This point marks the end of The Great Diving Range, the mountains that line the east coast of Australia. Beyond this point the land flattens and eventually becomes the Outback, a gigantic desert. Almost every evening at this spot there is a dramatic sunset. The golden light streams through the trees around the abandoned house towards our property and I feel like it is calling me. When I listen to that call I usually take my camera with me and film the amazing views, surrounded by silence and old dead trees. It’s a wonderful mixture of intense beauty and mild creepiness that keeps me on my toes. I love that spot and am looking forward to capturing it’s different lights in years to come.