VISITING THE MUSES by Artist Michelle Micalizzi | All Rights Reserved |
I just finished reading Gary Keller’s book, The One Thing. Essentially, Keller states that you have to know what your one most important thing is and all your activity has to be to dedicated to that one thing. It made me think – what is my one thing? I combine a lot of different methods and activities in the work that I do both as a visual journalist/artist and a businessperson. It is very hard to drill down to my one bottom line thing – I have spent weeks pondering this idea. What is my real one thing?
I am keenly aware that my one thing appears to have changed dramatically since I started my business, Fearlessly Deliver. Initially it was the business executor side of my business, where as an entrepreneur for hire, I complete projects for business owners. I help business owners to execute projects so they can fear less and do more. This was the message I lead with as I networked, and I still do this work. However, I have come to realize that the project work I do is actually a means to a different end beyond building a consulting business that executes big wow projects.
Here is the reality; every artist has to find a way to make a living while they are building their art business. Some artists are lucky enough to be born into a family with money or marry a person who can fully support them while they grow their art business or better yet get discovered by a savvy gallery owner early in their career. The rest of us have to find a way to keep a roof over our heads until we reach our goals. When I deeply considered my one thing I realized that EVERYTHING I have done to make money from the moment I knew I was an artist till this very moment has been a means to that end. The end for me has always been to make, show and SELL my art.
Yes, you heard me correctly, when I said art business, because art is a business. I know this offends some artists and makes some business people scoff. I get it. Honestly, the artist in me used to be offended at this notion as well. Simultaneously, the businessperson in me did not see how art and business related at all. After thirty years of trying to make a living so that I could eventually make art, I realized that artist’s who do not understand that they are business people potentially starve or never make the art they are built to make, and business owners who lack creativity and passion fail. It is so simple – it kills me that I did not see the balance of these two facts earlier in life.
My father and mother owned bicycle shops when I was growing up. They were retailers who sold bikes and everything associated with bikes. This is a seasonal business so in the winter months, my Dad would fill the blanks in with other business initiatives and products. I grew up in an entrepreneurial think tank. My Dad was always dreaming, planning and working. I have a tremendous amount of respect for my parents. They lived the American dream the hard way, working endless hours to do what had to be done. What slowed me down for many years was not thinking of art like my Dad and Mom regarded bikes. I put art up on a pedestal so high that it paralyzed me. It was not until after years of trying to find a way to make a living and demoralizing the artist in my soul that I remembered not to let my art die within me. I am what Schwinn was to my parent’s bike shop. I am a manufacturer of a retail product! Wow – what a concept.
“I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.”
~ Gary Keller, The ONE Thing
So that brings me back to my one thing – what the hell is my one thing anyway? After a lot of soul searching, taking a look at my business Fearlessly Deliver and the projects I have developed (the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business and the Fearless Pop Ups) and looked at my current and future business executor clients. From this reflection, I have come to a conclusion– my one thing is to create art collectors.
Ultimately, I am on a mission to educate both artists and business people so that they are not in opposition but instead, find a means to blend both the arts community and the business environment so that both thrive. I do this by actively demonstrating that art is business and business is art. I am not just on a mission to create collectors to buy my own art; I am on a mission to create collectors to buy art period especially local art. Because when we spend money on local products, we build a stronger economy especially our local economy, which benefits everyone. My business executor services that manages projects for business owners, is just one of my revenue streams and it keeps me closely in touch with my muse – entrepreneurs. The reason I take on business executor projects is to fund my art and the sale of other’s art. So, my energy this year is devoted to my one thing; and that one thing is to use every single one of my God given skills to create art collectors, which I believe, leads us all to a stronger community and business climate which in turn feeds one another.
“To be financially wealthy you must have a purpose for your life. In other words, without purpose, you’ll never know when you have enough money, and you can never be financially wealthy.”
~ Gary Keller, The ONE Thing
Once I knew what my one thing was, choosing my 2017 Fearless charity became easy as I began the third Art of Fearlessly Doing Business (AoFDB) series. For those of you who are not familiar with the project; there are fifteen paintings in each AoFDB series. The first painting opens the series and announces which charity I will be donating to for each sale. Then I interview thirteen successful business owners (or in some cases business leaders) and I ask them why they started their business and what fears they had to overcome to become fearless. The final painting is a closing statement that talks about my key takeaways from the entire series. The series ends with an art opening where all the pieces can be viewed and the subjects can meet one another.
It is a pretty powerful experience for me because I temporarily step into each subject’s world and put myself in his or her shoes. Any time we get to meet a person or organization and engage with them so that they truly contemplate their story – we are enhanced by that experience immensely. I have always been most interested in real life accounts of both individuals and organizations.
Cause Marketing or cause-related marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.
~ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I plan on giving in advance. Knowing that I am working for something bigger than me has always been a real motivator for me. I know this fact deeply about myself. As a woman who wanted very much to be a mother and chose not to be – leaving a legacy drives me on a cellular level. I also know from my years educating myself as a business person that cause marketing is not only benevolent and the right thing to do; it is SMART business.
An example of when I have experienced this phenomenon is when I owned the Red Clover Salon in Essex Junction, Vermont. Our tag line was “Hair Care with a Mission.” Everything we did was tied to the community in some way. We were on a mission to not just take but to give back to the community that supported us. I held multiple events every month with the purpose of building our community. The photograph above is from an event that we did with the Essex Junction Library that focused on building self-esteem in young women. I had so much fun with those young ladies that day and our stylists. This image recently popped up on my Facebook memory feed and it still makes me happy to see it! In the first year of business we had 1,600 brand new customers, which prompted people to ask me how we did that. And the answer to that is that we stood behind our mission!
I think the need for me to give back comes initially from my parents and then from my formal college education in psychology. Additionally, my years as a social worker in New York City, my time of serving on boards for several organizations, and a deep understanding of the principles of prosperity as a person of faith have all contributed to solidifying this purpose. After all, giving is the reason we are here on this planet. Money is just a tool.
The Arizona Consortium of the Arts was the charity I selected for AoFDB 2015 and 2016. It has been a pleasure to work and get to know founder Elena Thornton better during the process. Elena has become a wonderful friend over the years as a result of the work we have done together. She has an incredibly generous heart. She and her husband, Jim Thornton, have been an invaluable resource to me, on many levels, since I met them several years ago. The consortium’s vision is to establish a multicultural, multidisciplinary arts space/center with an open door policy. Take a look at their website to learn more about what they are up to! Elena is BUSY and I admire her commitment to her vision. I have been blessed and happy to write the checks to her organization because I know that Elena is on a mission and she touches the hearts of everyone she meets. The consortium will continue to be the benefactor of the 2015 and 2016 AoFDB books. I look forward to writing the organization many more checks as a result.
This year I felt that it was time for me to spread the wealth to another organization. Just like I tell many entrepreneur stories, it was time for me to tell another charity’s story and to share with you all why it is so important to give back even before you have the funds to give. Understanding what my one thing was helped me to choose thoughtfully. If my one thing is to create collectors then I must demonstrate why art is not just a smart investment for a collector but is also integral to our progress on this planet. It goes without saying; art of all kind has intrinsic beauty that enriches our lives. What would life be like without visual art, music, theater, literature, or poetry? Life would be boring and sterile. What would our word be like without museums, art galleries, public art, musicians, etc? What would being a tourist be like if we did not have places to go to explore our history on this planet as humans. Art is also very practical. When we rape a country by robbing it of its cultural icons we weaken the society. Hitler was an artist and he knew this fact. This is one of the many reasons why so much art was taken from countries across Europe during WWII. Artists of all kinds use their medium to tell our story as humans. I believe that recording our progress as humans in our museums is essential to our progress as a society.
This is the reason why I have chosen to give a percentage of the proceeds from both the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business and the Fearless Pop Ups to the Contemporary Forum (CF) organization whose mission is “…to promote interest in and understanding of contemporary art at Phoenix Art Museum. CF is dedicated to promoting interest, knowledge and understanding of contemporary art through the acquisition of contemporary art for Phoenix Art Museum, through the sponsorship of exhibitions of contemporary art and through educational programs.”
Anyone who purchases my art or the art of one of the thirty artists I am representing with the Art of Fearlessly Doing business will be helping to buy a piece of contemporary art that hangs on the walls of the largest museum in the South West – the Phoenix Art Museum. As I type those words I get a chill – leaving a legacy of art is a big deal. If you have been following my blog you know that as a young artist in New York City I would sit in front of many paintings and dream. I was so grateful to get to do that. To this day when I see a piece of art of one of my heroes, it brings me to tears. It is one thing to see the work in a modern art book or on the Internet, and quite another to experience the art in person. I just recently had this experience seeing some of Picasso’s and Rivera’s work at the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). I stood before several pieces and fought back tears as I felt my knees get weak beneath me. The art that hangs on the walls of our museums is acquired in a variety of ways. One of those ways has been through the benevolence of individual donors. I am happy to say that this year, WE will be part of that history of benevolence. I am happy to announce that the checks I write this year will be to the Contemporary Forum, which is a support organization for the Phoenix Art Museum. I want you all to get to know this organization and check out current events and exhibits at the Phoenix Art Museum!
I leave you this week with THIS QUESTION:
Do you have a powerful memory of seeing a piece of work in an art museum?
This weeks illustration is in honor of museums everywhere and the individuals and organizations that support them especially the Phoenix Art Museum and the Contemporary Forum. This is a scene from one of the galleries at the Phoenix Art museum. The portraits are of thirteen idea makers or entrepreneurs (light bulbs) who of course are potential donors investing in the advancement of the arts.
2017 FEARLESS CHARITY
The Contemporary Forum
A support Organization for the Phoenix Art Museum
Mission Statement: To promote interest in and understanding of contemporary art at Phoenix Art Museum.
Contemporary Forum is dedicated to promoting interest, knowledge and understanding of contemporary art through the acquisition of contemporary art for Phoenix Art Museum, through the sponsorship of exhibitions of contemporary art and through educational programs.
CF aids area artists through the Arlene and Morton Scult Contemporary Forum Artist Award, given to a mid-career artist, and through the Artists Grants Program, which provides up to seven awards to emerging artists. Since the inception of these programs, CF has provided 183 grants to Arizona artists totaling over $255,000.
CF provides its members with lectures, films, seminars, artists’ studio tours, gallery receptions, architectural tours, private collection tours, and domestic and international travel.
THE ART OF FEARLESSLY DOING BUSINESS III – OPENING
Fearless Art Works at Spanish Village
7211 E Ho Rd, #17
Friday, May 5th
FUTURE EVENTS: Fearless Art 2017 Schedule
SPREAD THE WORD: Event FLYER.
WHAT I AM READING THIS WEEK
Feel free to email me and suggest a book that you have found particularly helpful!
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Michelle Micalizzi is a creative entrepreneur. She balances her businesses mind and creative skills in all that she does not only professionally with her business Fearlessly Deliver as a Visual Journalist, Curator & a Business Executor but in her life. Her strong belief in community and collective engagement lead her to found the Art of Fearlessly Doing Business and Fearless Pop up Projects. Michelle’s latest exciting endeavor the Fearless Art Works is an art gallery and a space for good works of all kind that connects Art + Community + Business! You can work with Fearlessly Deliver by either accepting an invitation to participate in a Fearless Art Project or by applying to be a custom business project execution client.