Does life imitate art or does art imitate life? This is a debate that has been discussed for centuries. Although we may never have the answer to this question, it is interesting to observe the similarities. Here are 50 quotes about art that also apply perfectly to entrepreneurship.
Making Mistakes is a Part of the Job
Making mistakes as an entrepreneur is a part of the job. This is how we learn. Although we want our businesses to be perfect, perfection is impossible. So many entrepreneurs (or aspiring entrepreneurs) never take the leap, launch their product, or even start their businesses because they are waiting for things to be perfect. And this is their downfall.
Entrepreneurship means learning and learning doesn’t happen unless you make some mistakes. Artist understand this too. There is no masterpiece in existence that is perfection. In order to create a masterpiece, an artist must create sketches and make mistakes along the way. Norwegian art icon Edvard Munch is best known for his painting entitled “The Scream”. In 2018 The Munch Museum digitized previously unknown sketches made by Munch of “The Scream”. These sketches show how the idea progressed into a masterpiece.
You cannot be afraid of making mistakes on the way to business success. Think of your path as sketches that you are constantly tweaking in order to finish your masterpiece.
“Have no fear of perfection, you’ll never reach it.” Salvador Dali
“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” Scott Adams
“Do not fear mistakes – there are none.” Miles David
“Go and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make. Good. Art.” ~Neil Gaima
“The artist who aims at perfection in everything achieves it in nothing.” – Eugene Delacroix
One of the many misconceptions about artists is the idea that art is created effortlessly from inspiration. The reality is that great works of art took time and hard work.
“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” Michelangelo
“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso
“Amateurs look for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” – Chuck Close
“You don’t make art out of good intentions”-Gustave Flaubert
“Think eight hours, work two hours.” Mirko Ilic
“The more I work, the more I want to work.” Joan Miro
“Don’t be fooled by success and money. Don’t let anything come between you and your work.” Louise Bourgeois
Persistence and Patience
Crafting art takes patience and persistence. So do building a successful business. Artists understand that a painting or sculpture doesn’t get created overnight. If it were, it would be of little value. This is also true of businesses.
Successful entrepreneurs understand that to create a business that is valuable to others you must be persistent and patient. You cannot expect results overnight and you cannot stop just because you are not yet seeing the results you wanted. When Michelangelo sculpted is masterpiece statue of David, he needed to chip away at the block of stone daily until David was visible.
Treat your business like you are sculpting a statue. Chip away at it daily until you see the results you want.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” Vincent Van Gogh
“Learn diligence before speedy execution”. (Leonardo da Vinci)
“He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year.” (Leonardo da Vinci)
“Genius is eternal patience.” ~ Michelangelo
“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” Andy Warhol
“Creativity takes courage.” – Henri Matisse
“There are no rules to creativity.” – Laura Jaworski
“Creativity Is Allowing Yourself to Make Mistakes. Art Is Knowing Which Ones to Keep”
“When I say artist I mean the one who is building things … some with a brush – some with a shovel – some choose a pen.” ~Jackson Pollock
Much of art is about taking risks. Many artists see themselves as adventurers when crafting their work. In order to produce something unique, they must take risks. Since the very definition of “entrepreneur” is “one who assumes risk, can someone really be an entrepreneur without taking risks? It doesn’t seem like it to me.
“If we go for the easy way, we never change.” – Marina Abramović
“Art is an adventure into an unknown world, which can be explored only by those willing to take risks.” – Mark Rothko
“I have been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I have never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”-Kurt Vonnegut
“Poets and painters have the power to dare, I mean to dare to do whatever they may approve of… -Michelangelo
“I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate. -Vincent van Gogh
The word passion seems to be overused today when talking about something you do. It can range from eager interest in something, to a burning desire for something. When talking about passion from the perspective of art, I would say the latter definition suits the word best.
I would also apply that definition to entrepreneurship. You may have heard time and time again that it is important to do what you love. But having passion as an entrepreneur is more than love; it is a barely controllable desire to succeed and for your business. You must not only love your business so much that you have no problem spending hours working on it. You must also care for it so much that you want it to be the best it can be. Passion creates great art and great businesses.
“Your gifts lie in the place where your values, passions, and strengths meet. Discovering that place is the first step toward sculpting your masterpiece, Your Life.” – Michelangelo
“I had so much fire in me and so many plans.” -Claude Monet
“I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.” -Robert Henri
“You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.” – Georgia O’Keeffe
“Art is not a thing, it is a way.” -Elbert Hubbard
Art is a Skill, and so is Business
Here is a simple misconception; art and creativity are gifts that cannot be learned. This misconception also echoes in the business and entrepreneurship world. Most people think you’ve either got it, or you don’t”. Nothing can be further from the truth. Creativity is a skill that can be learned and so is entrepreneurship.
“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.” -Andy Warhol
“Art doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be meaningful.” -Duane Hanson
Being a Visionary
Creating great art means bringing something into existence that is only currently a thought. Starting a business or launching a new product is the exact same thing. Entrepreneurs need to see and believe that the world needs something that is currently not there.
“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.” – Pablo Picasso
“All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.” -Bob Ross
“An artist is not paid for his labor but for his vision.” – James Whistler
“The idea is there locked inside. All you have to do is remove the excess stone.” -Michelangelo
“Learn the rules like a pro so you can break them like an artist” -Pablo Picasso
“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo
Many great artist during the renaissance started by being apprentices to other masters. Leonardo da Vinci was apprenticed to one of the most successful artists of his day, Andrea di Cione. But even after the time of apprenticeship is over, the great artists continue to learn.
In entrepreneurship the same can be said. We all go to school to learn and some entrepreneurs seek mentors to guide them on their journey. But, those entrepreneurs that reach their goals usually did so because of their willingness to continue learn and grow. Whether that means by reading books, taking courses, networking with those in their industry, or even going to conferences, in order to stay ahead of the competition entrepreneurs must continue to grow and learn.
“Nothing is more apt to deceive us than our own judgement of our work. We derive more benefit from having our faults pointed out by our enemies than from hearing the opinions of friends.”-Leonardo da Vinci
“I am still learning.” -Michelangelo
“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You study, you learn, but you guard the original naiveté.” Henri Matisse
“The artist is always beginning. Any work of art which is not a beginning, an invention, a discovery is of little worth.” -Ezra Pound
“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.” -Edgar Degas
“That painter who has no doubts will achieve little.” -Leonardo da Vinci
Entrepreneurship is all about learning how to solve problems. Unlike being an employee, entrepreneurs are the source of solutions. They must learn to be resourceful, learn to adapt, and understand how to change course if needed. Great artists do this as well. Many artists must learn how to overcome challenges from the outside as well as internal obstacles.
If you hear a voice within you saying, ”You are not a painter,” then by all means paint… and that voice will be silenced. -Vincent van Gogh
One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself. -Leonardo da Vinci
The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.