What a Famous Artist Taught Me About Business
When I recently started spending time with world-renowned artist, Giovanni DeCunto, never did I expect to learn a thing or two about business.
In fact, I was spending time with him to learn about art; all kinds of art, including his paintings which have attracted celebrity collectors from around the world. He has spent more than 60 years studying art while also creating a name for himself as a global expressionist. His paintings may be found around the world in places like the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institute, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the U.S. Embassy in Hong Kong and in the private art collections of Tony Bennett, Lionel Richie and Tom Cruise, to name a few.
In his effort to teach me about art, he unknowingly painted me a picture of a better future for my companies -- a better way to run my empires. Here's how to run a better business in four simple strokes:
1. Be that good.
One of Giovanni's favorite quotes is that of Leonardo da Vinci -- "Make sure it's so good it doesn't die with you." DeCunto strives for perfection on every canvas. He does not track time when he's painting, because he allows nothing to detract from his sole focus of putting onto canvas what lives within him. For DeCunto, it's not just about making art, it's about making art so good that it will live forever.
In business, good enough should never be an option. A business, like a painting, may live forever if the original creator strives daily for absolute impeccable results.
2. Be disruptive.
Giovanni says that it is impossible to impact any person unless you disrupt or disturb then. We live in a world where communication is coming at us 24-7 from phones, email, text, voice, television and other outlets. If you can't be heard, you cannot create impact. Giovanni says that he aims to create art that disrupts people when they see it, because by doing so, he can get into their head and create an impact, even just for a moment.
So it is true in business. If you want to create traction for your business, you need to get good at stopping people in their tracks, disrupting old behavior and making them think.
3. Finish what you start.
DeCunto says that he has never been able to leave a canvas in an unfinished state. Even if the painting isn't done yet, it looks like it's completed, and an observer could interpret its meaning. He says that the world is full of enough incomplete projects. Most people are great at starting and poor at finishing. He says that whatever your art is, you should learn to get good at finishing it.
What would your business look like if you finished everything you started? After all, your business is a masterpiece too.
4. Be a free-thinker.
Giovanni says that he does his best to avoid watching television or reading media, because too often, it is just a one-sided communication of the facts. He says that his art requires that he be a free-thinker, so he sticks to learning facts by studying history and then creating his own interpretations.
The way this has transcended business for me is that I constantly have my head buried in books and case studies, always trying to find out how someone else would solve the issue at hand. Giovanni has taught me how to better rely on my own intuition and my own past experiences to make solid decisions for the future of my business.
You are more than an entrepreneur -- you are an artist. Create a legacy, disrupt people often, finish what you start, and know that you already have the answers inside of you. Keep on making your art.