The importance of skills in art and in life

A hundred miles against the wall

“Well, let’s go ahead and start our own art business then.”, I finally encouraged my wife after giving her a motivational speech on why we should start a business (for more about our story, check : “Our story, Our why”).

After biting her nails for a while, she agreed to my idea. 

“But I’m nervous. What do we do next?”

With all the confidence in the world, I explained to her the next steps:

"It’s simple. We open our online store using a servicer company. Make the art. Post it on social media. And sell it. That’s about it.”

I think we, well… I offended the Cosmos, because it made us crash against reality like a car crashing against a wall at a hundred miles per hour. 

Soon we realized starting a business, in particular an art business, was not going to be as simple as I made it look.

It was a very humbling period.

I did have in fact a very accurate idea on the theoretical knowledge regarding the things we needed to use and do in order to start and run our own art business. 

There was a problem, though: all the information I had was theoretical, not practical. 

Therefore, there was a gap between what I thought the experience of running an art business was going to be, and what the experience actually was in reality.

Although the theoretical knowledge helped us with researching, decision-making and planning, we needed to learn many other practical knowledge, in other words, skills.

And unless we learned those skills, meaning, a way to go from an idea to reality, the idea of starting a business was going to be just that: an idea, soon a memory, later a regret. 

The discovery

Among the skills we needed to acquire were: website desing, email marketing, social media marketing, advertising, time management, artistic skills, inventory management, blogging, photo and video editing, woodworking, communication skills, budgeting…

We both got very overwhelmed by the amount of things that we needed to do, not just dream and talk about, which admittedly it’s way easier. 

As I said earlier: it was a humbling period.

At first glance, all of those skills seemed either impossible to learn, or simply very hard to. 

On a positive note, it was doable. And that’s all we needed to know: that it could be done.

As we went through this skill acquiring phase (which definitely will be an on-going process), I started to understand more and more about the importance of having practical knowledge, skills, “under your belt”.

For someone like me who had always put all his effort into theoretical or abstract knowledge (another way of saying that I am at heart a bookworm), this was a huge discovery. 

Having skills “under your belt” is basically like going to the construction site (life)  knowing what are the steps to complete the job and the importance of it (theoretical knowledge) and being armed with the tools and equipment (skills) to get the job done.

By contrast, I would have been the construction worker who got to the construction site confident in that at least I knew what needed to be done, but without any tools or equipment to actually complete the job…  I would have been a joke. 

Now, to my surprise, the best discovery I made about learning new skills, was how to become a great manipulator. 

Manipulating reality

The fabric of  the objective reality doesn’t need you in order to function properly. It functions very well regardless of your existence or what you think about it. 

On our part, you and I are bound to follow, even grumbling, the mechanisms which rule the world as it is. 

Our only “defense” we humans have against the natural course of events, is our free will. 

Unlike other animals, for good or bad, this give you a higher or lesser degree of freedom to decide what to do about the objective reality. 

You don’t have to do anything about it, if you don’t want to. 

But, not doing anything basically makes you a speck of dust carried out by the wind to… well, wherever the natural course of events takes you.

I can only see someone complaining about life and why nothing seems to go his or her way. 

An unfortunate self-proclaimed victim. 

On the other hand, if you decide to influence the objective reality in order to fulfill any particular need or desire, you would need to acquire a skill or set of skills, because wishing and planning alone won’t make any difference.

That “know-how to” knowledge you will acquire will allow you to manipulate the fabric of objective reality, even if just a little, in favor of personal gains, or that of others.

In that sense, manipulating reality through specific skills is a way in which you could conciliate the inner world of needs and desires (subjective) with the outside world (objective).

Manipulating reality through skills will help you become less of a victim and more of a master.

Conclusion

There is nothing more frustrating for an artist than to see how a wonderful artistic idea they had slips away into the Valley of the Forgotten because of a lack of skills, or dominion over it, to carry out that artistic idea onto a canvas, sculpture, novel, etc. 

In such circumstances, either the artist look for another lower idea that matches his low skill, polish his current set of skills, or lie to themselves they actually didn’t want to create that artistic idea in the first place. 

Is my wish that if you have an idea or a dream, but lack the skills to fulfill it by manipulating reality, please, don’t lower your standards or lie to yourself. 

Put the time and the effort to develop and polish the skills required to make your idea or your dreams a reality, so they don’t become today a memory, later a regret.

I concluded that if knowledge is the mind, then skills are the hands. And both are vital to each other in business, art, and life in general. 

 

PS. If you want to see the artistic ideas my wife and I have been working on, click here.



Author: Jason Berberena

Visual artist, writer, and co-founder of Kreation Artzone

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