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Bob Baker on Following Your Curiosity, Being Persistent, and Finding Success as an Artist – Cracking Creativity Episode 69

Bob Baker has always been determined to make a living from his creative career. He started off his career by creating a music publication from scratch, with no prior experience. He didn’t let his lack of experience prevent him from achieving his goals. He just experimented with different ideas until he made it work.

Since that first publication he has expanded his interests well beyond a local music magazine. He has dabbled with writing, painting, and creating courses for aspiring artists. He even got into stand-up and improv comedy.

Bob has not let the starving artist mentality prevent him from making a career out of his creativity. In fact, he has thrived as an artist and creative.

In this episode, Bob talks about doing things that interest you, why you need to be persistent, and what separates successful artists from unsuccessful artists.

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Miranda Aisling on the Importance of Experimentation, Curiosity’s Role in Creativity, and the Importance of Art – Cracking Creativity Episode 51

Miranda Aisling found her passion at a very young age. She went to college at the age of 14, and by her junior year of college, two things gave her a clear direction in life. The first was deciding to open up an art center. The second was a trip to El Salvador that changed her life. In this episode, learn about her work as an artist, community builder, and creator of Miranda’s Hearth, the first Community Art Hotel.

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Talent vs. Curiosity – Albert Einstein Quote Art

“I have no special talents, I am just passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein

Print available on Society6.

We are taught that talent is everything. Only virtuosos will be able to fill a concert hall. Prodigies are held up to an impossible standard by the rest of society. What if that didn’t have to be the case?

Talent only plays a small roll in our ability to be successful Click To Tweet

Luckily for all of us, talent only plays a small roll in our ability to be successful. Have you ever wondered what happened to those child prodigies when they grew up? Some grow up and live up to those lofty expectations. Others go on to lead a life like most people. What differentiates those who succeed and those who don’t?

You must possess some combination of talent, grit, passion and curiosity to succeed Click To Tweet

If you are a child who is amazing at playing the piano, but have not desire to do so, will you continue to play? Probably not. You must possess some combination of talent, grit, passion and curiosity to succeed.

Reach back into that childlike curiosity and learn from the world Click To Tweet

As artists, you must be a student of the world. Find out what makes you tick, and pursue that without abandon. Reach back into that childlike curiosity and learn from the world. Question things. Experiment. Don’t give up.

Talent without passion and curiosity is meaningless Click To Tweet

Talent without passion and curiosity is meaningless. Stop worrying about how much talent you have, and let your passion and curiosity guide you.

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Photo by ApertureVintage

Nick Gray on Turning Your Hobby Into a Business, Standing Out in a Crowded Market, and Being a Leader – Cracking Creativity Episode 92

Nick Gray is the founder of Museum Hack, a twist on the traditional museum experience. The funny thing about Nick is, he used to hate museums. That is until he went on a date that forever changed his life.

During a snowy day in NYC, a girl brought him to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and showed him artifacts, furniture, and other interesting things in the museum. This changed Nick’s perception of what a museum tour could be. That’s when he started frequenting the MET, and learned to love museums.

The first time Nick charged for a museum tour, he even tried to give money back to the people who took it. He had so much fun with the tour that he thought he shouldn’t charge people for it.

“The first tour that I actually charged money for, it was a Sunday morning tour at 11 in the morning, and I was like ‘Alright I’ll just see if I can charge money. I’ll charge them $20. See if they come.’ And everyone gave me their cash, and I gave them the tour. And I had so much fun Kevin, I had so much fun, that at the end of the tour, I think I freaked everybody out because I gave them all of their money back. And they were like ‘Why are you giving us… is this Candid Camera or something?’ and I was like “No, I had so much fun. It feels dirty for me to take your money, to do something that I love, something that I’m having so much fun with.’ So for me that was the first time I experimented, but it didn’t really go so well.”

Before Nick started Musuem Hack he was a salesman of flat screen monitors. But the success of his initial tours, and the experience he gained as a salesman, allowed him to turn his passion project into a business.

“What I think is special about what I’ve done with Museum Hack that your listeners might find fascinating, is that I took something that was a passion project, something that I just did for a hobby, for fun, and I was able to convert it and make it into a business. And my time selling these screens really taught me the importance of marketing and sales and dollar value of creating premium experiences. So for me that was really helpful.”

The thing that makes Museum Hack different from other museum tours is what Nick likes to dub the 3 G’s. While most other tours are zigging, Museum Hack is zagging.

“The three Gs. These are the three things that makes Museum Hack completely different from most museum tours. Three Gs. Number one, guides. Number two, games. and number three gossip. So it’s the tour guides that are so engaging, that are actors and educators, and science teachers, and musicians who write their own tours who are so special. That’s the guides. The games means that the tours are so fast paced. They’re ultra fast paced. They’re two to three times as fast as most museum tours. And we also do selfie challenges. We takes shots of espresso or drink some wine. And then the gossip, that’s the juicy back story. The cool stuff about the art that we like to talk about.”

Instead of trying to find people who are knowledgeable in history and museums, Nick hires guides who are good with people. Anyone can learn about art, but not everyone is good at connecting with people.

“The number one thing we look for is someone’s ability to be a good host. How is their body language? How comfortable to they make people? Do they make us laugh? That’s the most important thing. It’s not about their knowledge. It’s not about how much they know about the art history. It’s about how do they make the guests feel. Because that’s what we’re trying to do, right? We’re trying to make people comfortable and we’re trying to get them to warm up inside the space. So that’s really what we hire for first and foremost. And then we can teach them about the art. We can teach them about the museum… We hire folks that are really good with people.”

He also gives his guides the freedom to create their own tours. When you are building something yourself, you become passionate about it. So, Nick gives them the freedom to come up with their own tours and write their own scripts.

“We think that having our tour guides write their own tours is so powerful because the guests and the visitors can hear that excitement and that passion, and you can hear me talk right now, right? I’m excited. I’m pumped up. I’m jazzed to talk about my business with you, and that’s because I’m not going off a script. No one is telling me what to do. Our tour guides have to be the same way, so we let them explore the whole museum, come up with their own tours, stuff that they’re excited about and they write their own scripts.”

One would think that competing with instant gratification culture would be a detriment to Museum Hack, but it isn’t. Nick tells his guides to embrace people’s attention spans and work it into their tours.

“We’re dealing with an increasingly ADD generation. These are people that are like me that are on their phones every two or three minutes. I mean, it’s not just millenials. It’s people of all ages that have a short attention span, and we try to teach our museum friends ways to engage with that type of audience. Make it personal. Keep it fast. Don’t be afraid of smart phones. Encourage people to take selfies and pictures. Things like that.”

In a world where museums can seem stale and uninteresting, Nick has captured people’s imaginations. That sort of innovation requires curiosity, risks, and failures, and that’s exactly what he has done with Museum Hack.

“Figuring out like you did, people who have that curiosity, and people who are willing to troubleshoot and make failures, and I’m guessing the podcast hasn’t been perfect since day one, would that be a correct assumption?… That willingness to make mistakes and resourcefulness to figure things out. Those are two key things we look for.”

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Brett Michael Innes on Adapting to Your Situation, the Power of Mentorship, and Not Giving it to Fear – Cracking Creativity Episode 84

Brett Michael Innes didn’t know if he would ever fulfill his dream of becoming a film maker. As a teenager, he knew he wanted to make movies but there were a few things that stood in the way of him accomplishing his dream.

During that time, his family went into debt, so he couldn’t afford to go to film school. He also had to work at a call center just to support himself.

After some introspective thinking, Brett decided he wanted to pursue his dream of film making. So he worked a year at the call center so he could afford to go to film school. With the help of his parents and a scholarship, he was able to finish with a degree in film production.

Although Brett wanted to major in directing, he was forced to get his degree in film production. This ended up being a stroke of luck because this experience with production helped him land a contract with M-Net, the HBO of South Africa.

With the help of M-Net, Brett was able to work on his novel, Rachel Weeping, and his movie Sink, at the same time. Both the novel and movie were met with critical acclaim, which has allowed him to continue work doing the thing he loves, making films

In this episode Brett talks about adapting to your situation, why mentorship is powerful, and not letting fear get the best of you.

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Melissa Dinwiddie on Being Happy, Making Time for Creativity, and Sharing Your Work – Cracking Creativity Episode 76

Melissa Dinwiddie spent much of her life thinking she wasn’t an artist. Even though she loved doing creative things, and her parents encouraged her to become an artist, she still chose to take a different path. She was intimidated by all the people who drew better than her, so she stopped making art for 15 years.

Even a stint as a dance student at Julliard, a prestigious performing arts school, didn’t convince her to stick with her creative inclinations. Instead, she went to school for cultural studies and even attempted to get her PhD.

While trying to fill out her PhD application, she was filled with fear. Her body was telling her something wasn’t right. It was telling her to be more creative.

This integral moment in her life brought her back to creativity. It led her to create a business around designing ketubahs, and eventually led her to creating her blog Living a Creative Life.

In this episode Melissa talks about being happy with your self and your work, making time for your goals and creativity, and sharing your work without expectations, among many other things.

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Amy Oestreicher on Being a Detourist, Being More Capable Than We Think, and Taking Risks – Cracking Creativity Episode 72

Amy Oestreicher thought she had her life all figured out. Ever since she was young, she felt she was born to perform. She was all set to go to college for musical theater when medical complications derailed everything.

During her senior year of high school Amy started having stomach pains. When she went into surgery to fix it, her stomach shot out of her body and she went into a coma for months. She spent years and many surgeries in hospitals trying to reach some semblance of normalcy.

During this trying time, Amy turned to creativity to help keep her busy. She started painting and she even developed her own one person play based on all of her troubles and overcoming adversity.

With one play in the books, and another on the way, Amy is the prime example of what it means to persevere.

In this episode, Amy talks about being a detourist, being more capable than we think we are, and how our creativity benefits from taking small risks.

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Cassia Cogger on Being Open to New Ideas, Avoiding Complacency, Being Consistent, and the Art of Simplification – Cracking Creativity Episode 71

Cassia Cogger has created art ever since she was young. In middle school she won a national contest for a laundry detergent brand. And unlike most artists, she began selling her art early in life.

After college, Cassia abandoned her artistic pursuits and got a job as an editor at a trade magazine. It was during this time that Cassia realized she wanted to become a full-time artist. So she picked up a few odd jobs to support her painting business.

Before her daughter was born, Cassia was featured in a magazine as a rising star in water color. But after her daughter’s birth, she stopped painting as frequently.

It wasn’t until after her second child was born that Cassia got serious about art again. The same art magazine wanted to follow up with her to see what she had done in the past five years. This was the call to action she needed to get serious about art again.

In this episode, Cassia talks about why we need to be open to new ideas, the importance of avoiding complacency and being consistent, and the art of simplification, among many other things.

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“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michelangelo Quote Art

“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michelangelo

Buy this print from Storenvy

Many of us have this funny expectation of people we consider experts or people we consider successful. We believe their talent is inherent. We believe they were born with a special gift. We believe we will never reach their status no matter how hard we try.

This way of thinking can be dangerous to our aspirations as artists. It ignores all the hard work people put into achieving mastery. It assumes that we can never achieve mastery no matter how hard we work. It assumes that we are born with or without talent. It assumes that talent can’t be developed over time.

While these ideas may have a sliver of truth to them, they are usually unhelpful. They force us to settle for good enough or they force us to quit.

No one was born a master at their craft Click To Tweet

I can assure you of one thing: no one was born a master at their craft. Everyone started as a beginner. Every master had to work hard to become the best.

If you want to be the best, you have to work hard. There is no shortcut to becoming great at something. It takes, time, dedication, and yes, some talent, to achieve mastery.

Before you start envying the masters, know what it takes to get there Click To Tweet

So before you start envying the masters, know what it takes to get there. Know that it requires sacrifice. Know that it takes time. Know that it will be a difficult road. Know that to become the next Michelangelo, you have to be willing to put in the work.

Photo by Luis Brizzante

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Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon Book Review & Highlights

Show Your Work!

Austin Kleon | ISBN: 076117897X & 978-0761178972 | Rating: 10/10

Austin Kleon’s incredible book Steal Like an Artist paved the way for his equally good Show Your Work! In Steal Like an Artist, Austin showed us how we could pull inspiration from everything around us. It gave us 10 examples of how we can be more creative as artists and creatives.

Show Your Work! is more of a companion book than a sequel to Steal Like an Artist. It explains why creatives need to show their work if they want to be “discovered.” In it, Kleon gives 10 examples of how we can share our creativity to grow an audience of passionate fans.

The reason you should read this along side Steal Like an Artist is, while Steal tells you how to boost your creativity, Show Your Work tells you how to share it. Both elements are necessary for living the optimum creative life.

If you start sharing your work from the beginning, there’s a timeline of your progress as an artist. There’s proof of your growth as an artist and everything it took to get to where you are.

It’s a way for fans to connect with you more deeply as you discover your own creative expression. It acts as a living creative journal of your progress.

With all that being said, here are my thoughts on each section of the book:

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