When we think about the word “art”, we think about painters, designers, musicians and movie makers. Entrepreneurship and art are usually considered as two different things.
But give it a deep thought. What is art really about?
An artist has something on his mind, and he is going to do certain tasks to manifest it in the real world. Isn’t that the definition of art? Art is all about the he expression or application of human creative skill and imagination.
A musician imagines a music pattern in his mind and he is manifests it using musical instruments. A painter dreams of a visual image and she brings it to life using colours, canvas and paintbrush.
Kids are Born Artists
Art comes naturally to kids. When we were kids, we were fascinated about the world around us. A piece of pencil and paper was enough to keep us engaged. We would imagine a stick figure, draw it on paper and derive happiness from it.
A simple drawing was exciting because we could see the power of our imagination manifesting into reality. That was a new experience for us, because we didn’t know we had those powers.
When our brains are just developing, we imagine simple things and manifest simple things. As our brain grows in complexity, we as artists want to take up bigger challenges.
Every time an artist manifests a piece of art from imagination to reality, there is a rush of dopamine in the brain. That rush is the same rush that a kid gets when it plays with creative toys.
Kids are very excited to make a small toy house with building blocks, making shapes with dough or colouring on a piece of paper gives happiness. The happiness comes from the fun of manifesting imagination.
A kid is not as much focused on what the world thinks about his art as much as the fun of manifestation. Kids might show what they made to their parents and siblings, but as soon as they make something, they move on to create more art. It’s about the fun, not the fame.
Refusing to Grow Up
As we grow up, we are taught that art doesn’t pay. We are told to stop having fun with expressing our imagination. We are told to work hard, accept certain things that are not pleasant and do what the world expects of us.
Some people listen to such advice and stop becoming artists. But some people refuse to grow up.
Some of us are still addicted to that rush of manifestation. Some of us continue to be kids throughout our lives. We are called artists.
As adults who cannot stop doing art, we are looking for bigger challenges and deeper rush. There is no excitement with pencil and paper anymore because we know that if we wanted to draw something simple, we can actually do it. There is no fun in doing predictable things. The thrill of art lies in the risk of not getting the reality as we imagined.
Art is exciting because there is an element of uncertainty in it. An artist thinks something very complex inside his head but he is not sure if we can convert that thought into reality as it is. And he gives it a try anyway.
The uncertainty of the ability to manifest the imagination is the most painful aspect of being an artist. And that uncertainty is also what excites the artist. The uncertainty keeps the artist alive.
When the imagination takes expression as expected, there is pleasure. The artist imagined and manifested something that one other human on this planet has done before. Some people just want to live a human life in God mode. Artists want to create new things, at all costs. Artists go to great lengths and sometimes even risk their lives for art.
The Tools of an Artist
An artist is always challenged by the limitation of the tools and instruments he has at his disposal. And that’s what contributes to the uncertainty. If everything was predictable & possible, art wouldn’t exist.
Art is always about pushing the boundaries of reality. There is no art in inventing the wheel anymore, it has been already done. The first time it is done, it is art. Then it stops becoming art.
We are in the best of human times. We have every luxury we need. Life is comfortable. But you have people like dreaming about going to Mars.
Art is about imagination and possible future reality, not about reality in the present moment. Imagination always lies beyond the edge of reality, else it is not imagination, its just memory. And that’s why an artist is always limited by the tools available to express the imagination.
An architect could have dreamed about a specific type of structure but he cannot bring it to reality with 100% accuracy. The architect wouldn’t dream about building a structure that can be made, because that wouldn’t be art.
Some artists wait for technology and tools to improve. Some can’t. The artists who cannot wait for things to change are called entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs go to the extent of pushing technology to an extent where the imagination can be converted into reality. They are pushing the boundaries of reality. They are taking on a mission that’s impossible.
Higher the difficulty in manifestation, higher is the kick when it manifests itself. That’s why as we grow up as artists we like to take on bigger challenges in manifestation. We dream more complex things and work harder to manifest them into reality.
Business Vs. Entrepreneurship
All artists in this world are looking for a high. A kick. A rush. A feeling that you get the moment when your dream actually turns into reality. We are creating something which didn’t exist before.
That’s why entrepreneurship is very much about art, but doing “business” isn’t. There are many people who just want to be business owners. Doing business and being an entrepreneur are two different things.
When you do a commercial activity just to make some money, like opening up a grocery story, there is no art in it. Entrepreneurship has nothing to do with predictable business models.
Business and entrepreneurship are as different as painting Mona Lisa vs. printing a copy of Mona Lisa.
If all you want to make is some money without working 9-5 in a job, a business that is going to give a descent ROI on return is all you need. But do not call yourself an entrepreneur when you are just executing a proven business model.
Entrepreneurs Create the Tools They Need
An innovator/entrepreneur invents the tools he needs to convert his imagination into reality. A guitarist playing music on his guitar is an artist. George Beauchamp who invented guitar is an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs need a complex set of tools to express their imagination. The set of tools they need involves people, data, technology and creative breakthroughs.
Entrepreneurship is the most complex form of art there is. When Elon Musk dreams about going to Mars, he knows that he needs to build a business model, which will enable him to hire intelligent engineers, which will enable him to build the technology required to go to Mars.
When entrepreneurs get closer to their goals, the feeling is no different than an artist getting a rush with every stroke of the paint brush. Because with every stroke, his imagination is a bit more closer to reality.
An idea or a thought that flashes in the brain is the seed of art. The more energy that you give to that idea, the more it grows. It grows to a point where it becomes reality.
Here’s an analogy you won’t forget.
You can imagine the simplest unit of the idea as a single pixel. A single pixel doesn’t have much information. But as you increase the resolution of the idea by adding more pixels to it, it starts taking a life of its own.
I love to call this process de-pixelating.
The more you think about the idea, the simplest form of idea (a single pixel) starts gathering more ideas, facts and opinion around it.
The image de-pixelates and goes higher in resolution, letting you see more clearly. You keep de-pixelating it to an extent where the single thought (pixel) becomes something of infinite resolution: the reality itself.
You can now touch and feel what once existed as an idea in its most simplest form.
Every piece of technology you have around you was once an idea in the creators mind. The creator is the artist who manifested it.
Entrepreneurship has all the ingredients of a form of art. But it is a lot difficult to convert ideas into reality because the tools are complex and sometimes the tools do not exist. That’s why Entrepreneurship is the most mature form of art.
Art for the Sake of Art
The satisfaction of expressing one’s imagination is more pleasurable than the fortune and fame that art often comes with great art.
A startup venture might bring in millions or billions for the founder, but the founder has already got what he wanted… the kick from actually creating what he imagined up long back.
That’s why many entrepreneurs who get insanely rich after an exit do not buy an island and retire. They startup again. Because it was never about the external rewards, its about that kick.
I hope you got a new perspective on entrepreneurship with this post. What do you think?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.