Artists and Entrepreneurs – Strange Bedfellows?

office artworkWhen I first met my wife, she laughed at the thought of going out with me.  She couldn’t imagine that we’d have anything in common.

You see, she’s an artist and I’m an entrepreneur. But after some diligent wooing (more on persistence below!), I eventually convinced her that I was worth a shot. We’re now married, and we’ve both discovered that we’re actually a lot more alike than either of us had thought.

Although we’ve chosen very different mediums for our work, at our core, we’re both creators – and we talk often about how we have surprisingly similar, heart-wrenching, creative processes.



In the business world, entrepreneurship emerges when an individual takes an inspired, fresh look at the world around us and wonders if they can improve it.  For me, the start of TurningArt came when I was staring at the many empty walls of my new apartment.  At that moment, the initial idea was born, and I then moved quickly down the rabbit hole of creativity and problem-solving in a hazy search towards defining a new solution to the problem that I saw in front of me.

In a similar way, new artwork emerges when an artist, influenced by her environment and experiences, is inspired to share an insight or tell a story. My wife painted chairs for a long time, as a representative story-telling device about her restrictions from severe childhood asthma.

The final product will be different, but the process starts at a very similar place.



The next step is to bring that idea to life.

Once I decided to jump in and build TurningArt, my life became a whirlwind of planning, execution and reaction. As a simple example, I laid out a detailed plan of exactly what needed to happen before we could launch the beginnings of the service over two and half months.  Did it go to plan?  Absolutely not.  But we found our way to the goal line and launched on time.

Although a well-executed idea can often look effortless and sometimes even pre-ordained, the reality is that the process of taking a new idea from creation to realization is deliberate, painstaking, and often all-consuming.  I’ve watched my wife undergo this same experience in her own way. She’ll sketch, outline, test colors and patterns, even throw out canvases and start again before arriving at a work that truly expresses her vision. 

But although the path forward is constantly evolving, the seed of that original idea remains constant.



Finally, as entrepreneurs and artists travel that winding path towards success, we invariably face setbacks.  When engaged in something as risky and undefined as the realization of a completely new idea, those setbacks can be large and frequent.

I’ve now founded four different companies, and have had multiple near-death experiences with each – sometimes twice in one day!

My wife and I discuss this often, and what we’ve come to agree upon is that the key to managing failure is understanding that it is an inevitable part of the creative process.  You must set your expectations appropriately, and when the days are darkest, lean heavily on the passion and conviction that put you on this path in the first place.

Talking with my wife over these past few years has really helped me realize the many similarities between entrepreneurs and artists, and brought me to regularly find inspiration for my work in the artwork that surrounded me. It also ultimately drove me to create TurningArt – a turnkey service that makes it easy for businesses to get art that will inspire their employees, and even easier to switch it out with new pieces when they need fresh inspiration most. If you’d like to learn more about our process, click here.

Please share stories of your own creative process. I’d love to hear them.

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