We've all had that moment in school when a well intentioned teacher suggested our drawing wasn't good enough since it didn't fit the assignment or a parent asked 'What is that?' of our dinosaur scene or a peer made fun of our artistic choice of figures and their shapes. If you're like me, that moment hit you hard and you've felt vulnerable around making art ever since. At some point 'art' became synonymous with 'beauty.' You may have even decided, 'I'm not an artist,' and haven't drawn since. That moment was probably one of the moments you began to decide 'good' from 'bad' - absolute judgmental categories for each thing that you do. (Categories on a spectrum where only two options exist.)
I've since learned that experiences are not always so black and white, rather there's lots of middle ground and context. I hold workshops to explore how art can best serve many kinds of businesses and work. So often when you bring up the idea of 'art' in a business setting people cringe and instantly become skeptical. Yet, after some time learning techniques to use art and drawing and listening to further their own work, people say, "Wow. That was me [skeptical believing I'm a bad artist. And now that I've reframed the way I think about it, I feel so free!"
Others jump straight into application, "Ooooo. I know the exact conversation at work where I will draw. She [unnamed colleague or boss] is going to love this." Not all art needs to be beautiful and we do ourselves and our colleagues, communities and families a disservice when we only believe in beautiful art. The creative process in itself is a journey worth taking regardless of the outcome - I always learn things along the way.
I invite you to let go of those art scar moments and feel free to use art for business.
Many of us have been holding on to them for years and years. What if you could let go of that insecurity and instead use art as a tool at work or at home? What would it allow you to do? If we use art in a way that's accessible to everyone it just might allow us to connect deeply to each other, our content and our context. I often talk about drawing as a fabulous (and cheap) way to start. All you need is a pen and some paper to go for it! What might come when you let go of the 'good artist' or 'bad artist' label? How can visuals help you work better? Maybe find a learning partner (someone who would be open to the idea that it's not always about creating a beautiful finished product) to see how art can best serve you!
An exercise if you're interested in taking this idea one step further:
Draw out your dream or use drawing to explain a work process to a colleague. Figure out 2 things from your drawing. First, what assumptions did I make in drawing this or what is missing in my explanation? Second, what's one small step forward I want to take today? Third, share it with a supportive colleague or friend.
As always, reach out if you would like a partner or guide for your art exploration!