The Art of…

The phrase “The Art of…” is everywhere.  It’s used for everything.  As an artist, this inspires me.  Perhaps there is hope for us.

Just google it and see what happens.  You discover the famous book, “The Art of War,” of course.  But you also discover a business that sells high-end products for men called, “the art of shaving.”   There is another site for men, a blog dedicated to uncovering the real virtues of being a man in modern times, called “the art of manliness.”  And you may be surprised to learn that Mariah Carey has been working on an album for sometime called “the art of letting go” that still has no release date.

Keep going.  Folks put the phrase “The Art of…” in front of everything.  We especially like to apply it to our work…no matter what kind of work we do.  The Art of…

  • …Leadership
  • …Public Speaking
  • …Conversation
  • …Computer Programming
  • …Management
  • …Accounting…

Wait.  “Accounting?!?”  Yes.  I stumbled upon a business in Canada called The Art of Accounting.  “C’mon,” you might say.  “There is absolutely no art in accounting!”  Well, that’s what I thought too…until I read their mission statement…”Numbers tell a story.  At The Art of Accounting we specialize in interpreting the financial story for small business owners in order for them to make timely decisions and ultimately achieve their goals.” There it is.  The art.  I feel like it’s important to point out that this business and owned and operated by women.  Of course.

Based on the above mission statement and my short travels through the world wide web, folks clearly get what “art” means.  They use the phrase “The Art of…” when they want their customers to understand that they value telling important stories, making meaning, and making real connections.  “The Art of…” implies that there is a process going on – one that probably includes some struggle and some messiness – but is focused on the end goal of creating something beautiful.

So is there hope?  Does this mean that all of us artists and arts educators are incorrect whenever we complain about how no one understands us and our work?  Does this mean that all sectors of our economy actually know and value and appreciate the power of the arts in their lives and work?  Does this mean that, as artists, we can finally take our true place as wise sage in society and actually start to make a little bit of money for it?  If everybody wants “the art,” then they must also want “the artist.”  Right?


Overcoming Your Fears: Who Will Inspire You Today?

IMG_1733Today is the birthday of my grandfather, Dan Phillips.  He would have been 96.  My grandfather was a kind, loving, and very effective man.  He:

  • Created things – started his career as a chemist
  • Sold things – real estate was his retirement career
  • Competed for things – he was a champion runner who was once an Olypmics hopeful
  • Fought for things – super active in civic life, he was the first black person to serve on the Evanston High School Board where he served for 25 years.

Yesterday, I made some huge proclamations to myself about the goals I am making for the next phase of my life.  So, inevitably, today, I am feeling a lot of fear.  Can I really do what I say am I going to?  What if I don’t have what it takes?  And if I don’t, shouldn’t I just give up now before I, or someone else, gets hurt?

Yesterday, I also read that quote that Cory Booker posted on Facebook via #waywire:


Sometimes those “small people” are simply the voices inside your head, like the ones I woke up with this morning, that are encouraging you to give in to your fears.  So today, I’m very glad that today is my grandfather’s birthday.   This is just the inspiration I need.  As the “really great,” he is the perfect person to remind me that I have everything I need.  I know, from his example as well as my own experience, that I can create and sell and compete and fight for my vision and make all of my goals and my dreams come true.

Who is your inspiration today?  Who is/has been really great in your life who will stand by you in your battle to cast aside the “small people?”