I learned how to paint from my father in our apartment in Ozone Park, Queens. It is one of my earliest memories. He would paint these watercolor landscapes, which were based on his childhood, growing up on a farm in Croatia and I would try to copy them with my little three-year-old hands.
These works invariably had mountains, a river, a small wooden bridge and sheep. I believe it was this early exposure to creativity and art that fed my life-long pursuit to express myself. My life has been a series of pursuits, maxing out on one creative love and then pursuing another all in the name of hoping to find my life’s purpose, as though I had just one, and once I found it, there would be this orgasmic epiphany akin to what Michael Angelo must have felt, right? Right?
But the thing about creativity and self-expression, and life really, is that it needs to keep growing and changing. In grade school I loved writing and drawing and made these adorable little picture books. In High School I played guitar and took up oil painting. When I first went to the School of Visual Arts in New York for my undergrad, I thought I would be a painter. Soon, what I thought was logic, stepped in. I thought that if I became a painter I would not be able to support myself, so I sort of settled on Graphic Design.
Well, that isn’t the whole story; I also didn’t connect to the abstract art that was really hot at the time. I liked doing still-life paintings and nude studies from a model so I created the story that my art would not be appreciated since it was so traditional. What was popular at the time was more simple and abstract, like Jim Dine’s iconic pop art. I thought the art I was seeing out there was cool, but it just wasn’t me. I thought that at twenty years old, I had already missed the boat because my work was more traditional and wasn’t similar to what I imagined other people wanted.
My paintings didn’t match up to the majority of art I was seeing in the Art Magazines, and, frankly I didn’t know any better. I was old enough to see the cycle of trends. And the idea of standing in the truth of what I believed was beautiful was terribly frightening to me.
I learned about the Dadaists and the concept of “art for the masses” and there was something I really loved about that idea and I saw how Graphic Design was the easier softer way. I thought I was being like the Dadaists, but let’s face it; I wasn’t starting or even part of any political art movement. I was a suburban girl looking to make a buck and get out of my parents’ house.
Graphic Design was calling me like a pint of Haagen-Dazs after a break up. I put my paintbrushes away and launched a very successful career as a graphic designer working in magazines. I used to feel bad about not pursuing the life of a fine artist. But really graphic design is perfect for me. I do believe in art for the masses. I believe beauty is available to us all. I am not an art snob! Well, not totally ;-).
And now I do feel like I am part of a political movement. Being an entrepreneur and harnessing the power of the internet is still frontier territory. I know it might not seem like it is since the market has gotten so populated, but there are still millions of people all over the world that are not fully "on-line" and they will be coming in the next few years. In a lot of ways this is the perfect time to be an entrepreneur online.
What part of your creative entrepreneurial journey are you downgrading or making less than “perfect”? What if you could look at it a different way? What if it’s all perfect? Everything you have done is exactly as it should have been. Cool right?