Jay Firecat And The Pirates Retreat
Jay Firecat was born in France in a family where arts were part of everyday life. He is an artist with incredible stories to tell. He proved not only once that by doing what you what you love anything is possible. Now he is one of the top fire performers- a true magician, object manipulator & master of illusions, an inspiration and the Captain of an amazing community.
It all started when he was 23 years old. In his travelling, he discovered the art of fire twirling and juggling. This became his main passion and profession for the past 17 years. Using a diverse array of equipment, including contact staff, double staff, fire poi, contact ball and buugeng, Jay Firecat became recognised as an international performer & teacher. Since then he has been travelling the world performing in more than 30 countries on 5 continents.
Jay, you have been exploring arts for so many years now! What is your story?
I am a fire performer, object manipulation passionate and I love culture, tradition, nature and travel in general. I discovered fire in Thailand for the New Millennium, in 2000.. I fell in love with the art form and I’ve been doing it ever since. I love it and I’m all about doing the things we love. If one day I’ll fall in love with something else, than I’ll do it. Today I’m teaching, performing and organising events in some of the best places I’ve been to. I’ve been mixing my passion with travelling for the past 17 years. I’ve been in almost 50 countries in all the continents, living over 4 years in India, 2 in Australia, now based in USA.
What an existing adventure! Tell us about your career!
A: What’s your background? Did your career benefit from your education?
Jay: My education has nothing to do with what I do for a living. I discovered the art of fire when I was 23 years old, after I finished my study in electricity and robotics.
A: Who was your first teacher?
Jay: Well, I didn’t really have teachers, more like inspiration along the road. I spent years trying to find tricks in my garden before I met other people who were doing the same things.
A: How often and for how long do you practice?
Jay: I used to practice a lot, almost every day for many years. Now I practice less but with more efficiency. I never push myself to practice, it comes when it comes. Sometimes I’ll practice 5 hours in one day and sometimes I won’t practice for a week. Creativity comes and goes.
A: What do you practice – flow arts, improvisation?!
Jay: I’ve been going through many props since I first started. I always needed diversity, sometimes one doesn’t work and the other one does. I am focusing more on BUUGENG (S staffs) for the past five years.
WATCH JAY FIRECAT LATEST VIDEO LED BUUGENG MANIPULATION
A: Do you get nervous before a performance?
Jay: I always do, at least a little bit… I like it, it’s part of why I like to perform. It feels like a new challenge every time…
A: What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Jay: Business, the more in front of my computer, the less practicing in my garden.
A: How do you handle mistakes during a performance?
Jay: Well, if you’re a professional you have to manage to hide your mistakes. Doesn’t matter how much you practice, art is not a perfect science. It’s better to do less on the big stage but clean.
A: Tell us about a time when things didn’t go the way you wanted.
Jay: When you burn half of your face and have to get in hospital in the middle of nowhere in Thailand at 3am to get 9 stitches on your nose. That’s was a good one.
A: How did your show change over time?
Jay: It’s constantly changing. If I do a solo performance I always built my choreography in many little blocks of tricks. So I can add or remove one whenever I want, so it never gets boring.
A: What do you enjoy most about your work?
Jay: The creative aspect of it.. and being on stage is a very special energy, I love it.
A: What are the top three factors you would attribute to your success?
Jay: Professionalism, community, and craziness.
A: What has been your greatest success?
Jay: Well it’s been many, but I’ll choose my retreat. It brings me closer to my peoples.
A: What are you working on right now? Any new projects?
Jay: New performance, new retreat, just started a new prop…
A: Where will you be in one months’ time?
Jay: At the Pirates Retreat Europe in the Canary Islands.
A: What are some of your personal and/or professional goals for the future?
Jay: Making the new European Retreat successful. So I can do more around the world.
A: What’s your most scary experience? Any near-death experiences?
Jay: Many near-death experiences. A plane crash in Nepal beginning of 2002. Was pretty scary.
A: What superpower would you have and why?
Jay: I already have a few, but I wont tell you, I keep those things secret.
A: When did you last cry?
Jay: Last week, amazing movie, but very sad.
A: When and where did you fall in love for the first time?
Jay: When I was 18 years old, in France, in my home town.
A: Name something you love, and why.
Jay: Life, because it’s amazing.
A: Name something you don’t love, and why.
Jay: Society, because it always seems to take more from the poor and give more to the rich.
A: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Jay: Do what you love, love what you do!
About art, generally
A: What art do you most identify with?
Jay: I can say visual art in general, but I use to play a bit of music before I discovered fire. Music still is very much connected with what I do, just now it’s more in the background as one of the many elements I use to create a show.
A: Who inspires you and why?
Jay: I’ve got inspired by so many people along the way, very hard to name somebody in particular. Basically everything and every one who does things differently than the ordinary world we live in.
A: What’s your favourite type of performance / artwork?
My favourite performances are always the ones that are innovative, mixing visual and physical art with a new concept or approach of what people do in general. I like everything that involves creativity.. I like museums, concerts, as well as architecture..a bit everything.
A: Do you think we can change the world through art?
Jay: For Sure, that’s why I m doing what I m doing. Art is a weapon for peace, it removes people from their normal everyday life.
A: What do you dislike about the art world?
Jay: Competition, many people in certain society or countries take art as a sport. Everything bigger, more numbers, more people, more everything..
A: Where do you search for inspiration?
Jay: Well, I don’t search it, it comes to me. Often people I know or meet. Creativity comes and goes, it requires to be in a certain headspace in order to trigger it… Things are bigger than us, the more we try to control it the less it comes.
A: Is there anything else you want to tell us?
Jay Firecat: Arts in general and especially creativity are part of us whether we want it or not…Creativity manifests itself in the things we love: cooking, singing under the shower 😃 ….the more we follow what we love, the more we become artists … Life is an art form itself and by living it the way we want and not the way they want us to live it, we become artists and inspire others to do the same…
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