Reflections on art and leadership

I use my art to reflect an artist and a senior manager in the financial services industry. I notice that the deeper I understand myself the more I succeed to impact others; in both art and work.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Plan 2013 Step 1 - Evaluating 2012

When looking at my own objectives it is funny to observe that I wrote them down in a small booklet, but did not spend lots of time writing updates. Guess it tells me to not over-engineer this evaluation, as it does not give lots of energy.
Still, good maybe to structure my evaluation in the way it would b done in a business and leadership context.
Key elements there are:
- Clear guiding image of the target (direction) - I would call it Beatrice (the guiding image that helped  Dante overcome his challenges in La Divina Comedia)
- Defining scope
- Exploring the way to the target

I. High level view of 2012 plans

1. Beatrice
The key elements of focus for myself had been:
- developing my insight into myself
- improve understanding of art
- starting to understand the way the art world works, and define how I would like to deal with marketing

2. Scope
I had focused mainly on learning, experimenting and describing my journey.
Actual marketing and expositions cam on a second priority, as i feel I still have a lot to develop as an artist.
And as I am not a full time artist I need to focus.

3. Exploring
Elements I had planned:
- continuous feeding of my conscious and subconscious with art, drawing, etc
- writing on my blogs to capture experiences, ideas and insights
- develop a consistent web-presentation: forcing myself to structure my own thoughts and ensure my ideas and artworks are easily accessible.
- explore selling through internet

II. Key observations
- website has been restructured, and the many blogs have been set up. I have not been able to keep them updated as planned - idea was a weekly article.
- website has played a key role in being found by New York galleries. Mainly after the article about my parchment objects on my blog I received the actual invitations from 2 New York galleries.
It all started with the art works I made as a commission for collectors Mr and Mrs Maas
I made 2 parchment objects called 1. Scapegoat and 2. Sacrifice
- the blog has helped me to be more concrete and document my ideas and concepts.
- The  Art Burshy cartoon published at has proved to be very close to myself, and helps me to express some less conventional views in form of humor. It also proved to be relatively easy to maintain (except a period of some 10 weeks).
- web visitors have raised to a level of around 2000 monthly visitors for the 3 websites by end of December, in combination with the many articles about my New York exhibition.
- key drivers of page visitors:
   > weekly content published
   > distributing articles through facebook, twitter. And some that have a business-focus to LinkedIn
- when being approached by Agora Gallery I decided to still go for an exhibition, although it had not been the focus.
- I started an interview with Frederik Beerbaum, and this brought quite some insight already. Want to to follow this up in 2013, probably during summer holidays.
- I have tried to discuss purpose of art with several artists. Many of them couldn't care less. I discovered that many of the questions I have raised are not 'popular' and only a handful artists were actually interested, and then were able to help me develop my views.
- I did the Barcelona exhibit and visited the Amsterdam equivalent. Conclusions of these exhibits:
  >> these events draw a lot of random visitors, not many interested in art (nor in buying)
  >> if you just have paintings you are lost in the chaos and massive amount of other artists
  >> quality of art, in sense of skill|concept richness|emotional charge is generally very limited
  So for me, if I will participate again I will make something that stands out more, is maybe more bizar/screaming/shocking
- I have concluded that by now I have lots of art works, several have been sold, but quite some remaining. I feel that initially I had a focus on 'creating', producing almost from a desire to be present. Now I see that actually the quantity has been useful to train and develop my skills. I feel that in coming time I want to focus more on exceptional art.
Basically this imples a move from 'quantity' to 'quality'.

III Shifts in thinking
The things that seem to differ now when looking back, and might change the focus of working:
1. From quantity to quality
Spending more time to research on subjects, study ancient techniques, take time for prototyping, rethink concepts or combine them to deepen the impact they have.
2. Keep focusing on content of writing
Although last year websites helped to market my art, I still feel primarily I should use the blog to explore and express ideas. Not to watch too often at the number of page visits.
3. Keep developing Art Burhsy cartoon
The Art Burshy cartoon is a nice way to spontaneously express controversial ideas, and stimulate myself and others to think. Also I would like to explore this year if there is a way to achieve publishing it in paper, magazine or so.
4. Take time to explore of the purpose of art (in general and for myself).
Finding more backgrounds and historic views of art and philosophy, and how this impacts myself as an artists.
Work on the interviews with Frederik Beerbaum and identify some key topics for exploration.
See if I can take part in a contest/concours that forces me to deepen my concepts, yet still achieving aesthetically appealing art works.

The parchment art works Scapegoat and Sacrifice are an example of target concepts
where I did more research and
where I feel I achieved a combination of a very rich concept and an aesthetically appealing object.

So far evaluation of 2012, ready for the next step to define my plans for 2013.
Pushing myself to write that for next week, as we are mid February already...

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