The Artist Otherwise Known as an Entrepreneur

The Artist Otherwise Known as an Entrepreneur

Wax figure of the famous Picasso from Madame Tussauds, Siam Discovery, Bangkok.

This story appears in the 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

We’re all artists. That doesn’t mean we’re all Picassos with paintbrushes, mind you. But we all have the capacity to create something unique: music, paintings, buildings, sculpture, books, logos, iPhones, businesses.

I know this creative spark is a cornerstone to entrepreneurship (along with drive, talent and balls of steel). But not everyone agrees. Every once in a while, I find myself arguing with someone from some corporation or educational institution about what entrepreneurship is and what it means to our culture. This is their recurring response: “Entrepreneurship means you are the sole proprietor of a business, or you are a business owner assuming risk -- nothing more.”

No, actually, sir or madam, that’s wrong. Entrepreneurship means creating something never imagined before, born from a passion that wouldn’t be stopped. It’s in our DNA to figure out how to solve problems. And thank God for that because it’s how we’re going to survive as a species.

Entrepreneurship requires people who recognize blank canvases as opportunity. What sets them apart is the innate curiosity and boldness to throw paint on that white space and see what happens. Even if it sucks, having the guts to do it is what matters.

Of course it’s hard. Failure is expected. But man, it is a hell of lot more fun than simply owning and running a business. And when it works, the rewards are magnificent. This month we profile two very different versions of entrepreneurial creativity. Our cover story on the Hanson brothers -- yes, the boy band from the 1990s -- and their evolution from pop-culture phenoms to savvy entrepreneurs who dabble in music, festivals and craft beer, says it all.

But we also wanted to show another side of this ingenuity. As we are all painfully aware, we are in the midst of the bloviating, flatulent season that is a tenet of American society: the election year. Politics is a tough racket, which is why we decided to take a look at people brave enough to turn it into a business plan. Brigade (“Politics Pays. But Does Civics?” pg. 24) is a mobile app that aims to build a social network for the politically inclined and to drive citizens from talking about political issues to doing something about them.

We hope reading this issue inspires you to look for your next blank canvas and start throwing paint. And along the way, understand that you’ll pick up some rules of the game. But don’t worry; you’re learning them so you can then break them and make something wholly new, per Pablo Picasso.