Beyond Small Talk



“It seems that the more you try to fit in, the more you feel like an outsider, watching the ‘normal people’ as they go about their automatic existences. For every time you say club passwords like “Have a nice day” and “Weather’s awful today, eh?”, you yearn inside to say forbidden things like “Tell me something that makes you cry” or “What do you think deja vu is for?”. Face it, you even want to talk to that girl in the elevator. But what if that girl in the elevator (and the balding man who walks past your cubicle at work) are thinking the same thing? Who knows what you might learn from taking a chance on conversation with a stranger? Everyone carries a piece of the puzzle”.



Everybody you meet can be interesting, if you allow them an opportunity to be. Our culture dictates that conversation beyond a certain level of depth with strangers to be forbidden, considered weird, and even offensive. To have a meaningful conversation in public is a taboo. Beyond Small Talk is an attempt to break that taboo; to give a platform for the celebration of ordinary people, and to understand what might unify us all beneath our autobiographical conditioning.


I’m a 26 year old illustrator living in Newcastle, UK, and I’m looking for participants who are happy to engage in conversation that would be deemed conventionally inappropriate with a stranger!

We would sit down in a coffee shop somewhere in Newcastle, and have a conversation for up to 60 minutes with no restrictions on content. The conversation would be recorded on an audio device and later transcribed, with the possibility of being potentially released as a podcast. Your photograph would also be taken.

From the photograph, I would then produce an illustration of you, which will be published online (and potentially in print) alongside the transcription of the audio. This media would form a larger body of content, which collectively would form the results of ‘Beyond Small Talk’.


I want to meet people of all ages, ethnicity, religions/beliefs, upbringings, sexuality, financial backgrounds, employment statuses, health statuses – basically everyone! The greater the diversity, the richer the results.

Conversation topics might range from your understanding of the meaning of life, or your opinion on drugs and alcohol, to what memory or thought you have that fills you with fear, love, or gratitude. All that is required is the ability to engage in an open-hearted conversation without fear of judgement.


As an immediate pay-off, i’ll buy you a tea/coffee to have while we chat!

If you feel comfortable having the conversation released online, then i’ll produce the illustration which i will then give to you in both original and digital format.

Any information you might want to promote (such as personal websites for businesses or artistic pursuits etc.) could also be included in each format that Beyond Small Talk evolves to take.


If you’re interested in being involved then thank you!

Please email me (address provided below)  with the subject line as your name and ‘BEYOND SMALL TALK’, and include a little information about your self that your happy to disclose (at minimum your age and working/studying situation, so i can get a balanced range of individuals).

Please also include a portrait-style photograph of your self that you feel best represents how you perceive your identity (This ensures that the illustration produced is based on an image you are comfortable with, should you not want your photograph taken on the day!). From there we can arrange a suitable time/coffee shop to meet in, and advance accordingly.






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