Updated: Jul 19, 2020
For the past few days, we've been talking around the house about our former selves. The consensus is if we're not cringing at the way we used to think and what we used to value, we're not growing. For my 16 and 19-year-old daughters, their time frame for cringe is 6 months to a year ago. Their crushes and their fashion changes fast because they are growing and changing so quickly. For me, self cringing is a little longer.
For example, I cringe at my self-righteousness about creativity and art back when I was in college. There were business majors, (greed), and then there were art majors, which were selfless and altruistic(cringe). Granted, this was in the '90s when "greed was good" and profit at all costs, environmentally, socially, and morally, was the norm. But back then, I used to think that artists were the only ones that had a right to creativity and if you were majoring in business, your soul was dead.
In my accounting class, when I thought I was going to be a business major, I studied with this kid who had a picture of a Lamborghini, or some other really expensive car, on the inside flap of his HP 480G business calculator. I felt totally out of my league next to this guy. What was wrong with me, I thought. Do I need to be motivated by expensive cars to be legitimate? This was way before I knew the difference between intrinsic and extrinsic.
These days, I wish I had a more open mind about business and entrepreneurs. If I did, I might have had a lot more fun. I've been reading a lot of books and listening to podcasts of late, and my recent stand out author and business creative is Paul Jarvis's book "Company of One". If I had access to this book in undergrad school, I would have folded entrepreneur-thinking into my art practice.
There's so much in this book that artists can benefit from. If for nothing else, just for the appreciation of the intersection of creativity in the arts and business. The sign that a book resonates with me is the same as when I attend a poetry reading or a lecture; my mind races with ideas and imagery.
I won't go into all that the book has to offer except to say in chapter 11, Paul Jarvis advises launching your business quickly, even before you have all the bugs worked out. The myth is that we only get one chance to launch. But Mr. Jarvis argues that it's impossible to have all the answers before you launch and that launching is part of the process of developing a business and it's a way to do research and get feedback from customers quickly.
In my studio, I often postpone decisions because I want to know all the answers before I make a move. Procrastination and delay do not accomplish anything, because once I make a move with the clay, I'm going to iterate, always. So the sooner I "launch" the better, because then I can gather information and apply it. There's no way to know if the shape or the relationship between elements will work until it's in physical form.
Here's a quote from the book, "if you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late. It's ridiculous to believe that every company grows out of every founder fully formed and unchanging idea, especially since most wildly successful companies achieved their place only by course-correcting, changing entirely or iterating their way to greatness".
Carry on my friends and be uncertain, and then create.