Tag Archives: art

Are These The Right Things?

I am a member of a Facebook group called New Business : Next Steps, run by Ann Hawkins and Ed Goodman, authors of an excellent book by the same name. Ann often bookends our working week with some good questions about what we’d like to achieve, and how we’re getting on.

Lately I’ve been feeling lost, and somewhat withdrawn. These are things that happen from time to time, that’s life, etcetera. I’m no complaining, just acknowledging. When I feel like this, I tend to withdraw from responding to Ann’s questions too. Lately I’ve been nurturing a bias for action, so today, I chose to reply to this prompt from Ann:

Check in Friday: What was the most useful thing you did this week that made a difference to your business?

Here’s how I replied.

  • Wrote 4,000 words towards my book.
  • Asked people in my network for help with some questions to provoke more content for the book.
  • Kicked off plans for a Berlin/London art meets work mini tour.
  • Made a conscious effort to stream my thinking and to do stuff, it’s been far too messy lately.
  • Wrote a farewell email to a group I’ve been working with.
  • Attended the quarterly business review of a partnership I joined a few months ago. Doing this helped me see first hand and in more detail, the exciting work we can do together.
  • Shared a video of my talk about the art and soul of better work from this year’s All About People event.
  • Made what I think is a lovely piece of art for my weekly local free art drop.

Clearly I cheated, this is not the most useful thing I did this week, it is several useful things. Are they the right things? Who knows, and what they are, is evidence that in among the doubt, I am taking action. Thank you for the prompt, Ann.

In case you are interested, here is the art work I mentioned, and the video of the Art and Soul of Better Work talk.

Winged Heart II

Have a lovely weekend.

 

The Art of The Possible : Working Out Loud

A story about showing your work, adapting your work, and being open to the possibilities.

I recently wrote about the art of the possible, and how analog tools (pencils, paintbrushes etc) still have powerful relevance in a digital world. I wasn’t suggesting that one is somehow better than the other, rather that both matter. An analog, artistic inquiry of our work can be a very powerful thing. Equally, lots of the work I love to do is generated through connections initially made online, and then nurtured in real life, and the idea of working out loud, something I love to practice, is made simpler thanks to the digital spaces we inhabit. Analog and digital. Both matter.

Last year, my friend Neil Usher kindly agreed to give me some feedback when I was compiling some information about my work to share with people interested in hiring me. Part of this work was a series of visual images, which I gathered together using the haikudeck presentation tool.


What Goes Around – Principles of Work 

The simplicity of the deck worked well enough, and Neil suggested that I could make it stand out more by creating another version. ‘Use your own stuff – not stock photo type images’, Neil offered. I took the idea on board and began what became a long process of drawing, tracing, and colouring my own version of the slides.

Though the general idea remains the same – there is a big difference between the two pieces of work. The second one is better. It’s me, showing my work, and what you can expect of me. I’m grateful to Neil for the suggestion.

I figured that was it. The work was done, things move on, and I was wrong. Crystal Miller, another friend in my network spotted my hand made slides and asked if I would consider drawing a set for one of her clients, who was seeking a visual representation for some values/principles. We talked, agreed the creative basis of the project, and some general terms, then I got on with it. Part of the deal was that I could represent these ideas as I saw fit. At first, I struggled to get going with such an open remit. Would the work be liked? That question quickly took me to all the usual ‘I’m not good enough’ places we experience, particularly when doing something new. My client was very supportive and though I wobbled a few times – the work began to flow. In time, a series of 16 images emerged.

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I learned a lot from this process. Some days the pens moved freely, some days not. At times when I got stuck, I asked for help, and I got it. Ideas, nudges, confidence – many things came from asking. At times I practiced the art of ‘it’s good enough, move on’. And at times, I redid images completely. Trying to balance satisfaction with deadlines can become an interesting tangle, and what emerged is a body of work the client is really pleased with. So am I.

Importantly, if I hadn’t responded to Neil’s suggestion, if I hadn’t been open to the possibilities, and if I hadn’t worked out loud, we wouldn’t be looking at these pictures now. And if I can work like this, you can too.

The Art of Wellbeing : Passing Strangers

We were talking, passing strangers
Moments caught across an empty room
Wasted whispers, faded secrets
Quickly passes, time goes, time goes by too soon – Passing Strangers : Ultravox

The Art of Wellbeing

We gathered together, a group of curious people, many of us meeting for the first, and only time. We talked in response to the question ‘What does wellbeing mean to you?’. We shared our thoughts, verbally, drawn, and written. There was an incredible openness among the group – we talked frankly and kindly about illness and death, as well as joy, art and good health too. Here are some snippets of our conversation, and some drawings too, reproduced anonymously, with the kind permission of the group.

What does wellbeing mean to you?

An inquiry – it will lead to more questions.
Being here, in this lovely place, sharing.
Working with anxiety – health – mood.
Is it wellbeing, or being well? The latter feels more active, less corporatised.
Creating (art) helps you feel well.
Craft and creativity – in flow.
Healing.
Sharing is part of wellbeing.
Wellbeing is moving – fulfilment – progress.
Sharing feelings with strangers.
See the clock, want to beat the clock
London – it’s too much. Great to visit – wouldn’t want to live here.
Lines/strands – and where they take us.
Seeking to extrapolate that which cannot be extrapolated.

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One hour later, as quickly as we had gathered, we dispersed. Lots of smiles, lots of handshakes, lots of thanks, and goodbyes.

We were talking, passing strangers
Moments caught across an empty room
Wasted whispers, faded secrets
Quickly passes, time goes, time goes by too soon

I spent yesterday afternoon working in The Reading Room at The Wellcome Collection, a wonderful place in London which describes itself as ‘the free destination for the incurably curious’. The Wellcome Collection runs an Open Platform series of events, and kindly accepted my proposal for this pop up Art of Wellbeing workshop. Anyone can apply to run one of these sessions, I thoroughly recommend you give it a try.

Acknowledgements

The staff at The Wellcome Collection looked after me and the group really well, making it really easy for me to facilitate an excellent conversation and much more. Thank you to them, and to Valerie and Nick in particular. Thank you to Kev Wyke who spotted the opportunity to work at The Wellcome Collection and flagged it to me. Thank you to everyone who came and took part so wholeheartedly.