PERSIST | PERSEVERE | BELIEVE: Bob Diercksmeier, Artist & Owner of RJD Creative

Michelle Micalizzi, Artist
All Rights Reserved

My muse this week is Bob Diercksmeier, Artist & Owner of RJD Creative. Thankfully, I am not loading the interviews from this series onto YouTube because the night I interviewed Bob we both look pretty exhausted.  Bob had been working till 2 AM painting and up early to get his children off the school, and I was working on yet another 15-hour work day having been up and working since 4 AM.

THIS is entrepreneur life AND it is the life of a working artist REALLY looks like.  Bob and I share this in common. We are business owners AND we are working artists. Art is Business and Business is Art for both of us. This is the common theme for most creatives. We double dip. We save the world by day and paint it by night. When everyone else is out playing on the weekends we are in our studios diving in.  We have to burn the candle at both ends because we have no choice because there is both a burning desire in us to make art AND the necessity to make a living.

What Bob and I do not have in common is that he is a Father of two and a husband.  I chose not to have children and not to be in relationship. I honestly have no idea how business owners who are also artists do the kid thing.  I can understand the relationship thing. I have seen some folks get lucky and find a partner like Bob has found in his wife who understands that to be with an artist, it is almost like sharing them with another woman/man because Artists get truly lost in their work. Art is indeed a love affair. Some partners are jealous of the work like they would be of a lover because when we are making art we are fully immersed in THAT world and gone from you for extended periods of time. It takes a special person to not want to compete with that phenomenon but I know it exists when I see Bob and his wife together. She is a commercial artist herself so she gets “it.”

The thing that impresses me about Bob is that he is a man’s man who has raised his family on the fruits of his creativity since day one. He has always been a creative as a branding expert, a commercial illustrator, a web designer and a painter – he literally feeds his family with his creativity.

As far as I am concerned Bob is a hero. He is an artist hero!  Not only because he has found a way to do “it” but for how overtly he loves his wife and children. To see evidence of this fact, all one has  to do is watch them interact from across the room. This man is not only a brilliant creative, an incredibly brave hard worker but most importantly, he is an absolute gentle-man. I love it when I get to be around a man like Bob.  He gives me faith that sweet gentleness and brute strength can coexist in a man.


1. Make A Life

Bob came out of art school with a degree in illustration and in spite of his internship with a Illustrator rep and a deep understanding of the illustration business, he struggled like we all do to find work. He did what many of us do – he went to work for an agency and he worked his way up to Art Director. He did what he had to do. He converted to commercial design, branding and web design, and when about the grown-up task of making a living and in the process, he has carved out a fine life for himself and his family.

2. Trial by Fire

Bob and I also have another thing in common. Initially we are entrepreneurs by force not by choice. Work was not given to us on a silver platter. We were not blessed with an easy cushy ride. We had to put our big girl panties and boxers on and walk through our fears about making a living because we simply had no other choice. We learned how to be business people by trial by fire. There are many great business people like Bob and I who have had no choice but to just figure it out. When those voices come up that say, “Can I really pull this off?” We know the answer is irrelevant. We just know we simply must make it happen. Bob simply states “You are the person. You have to make it happen.”  Yes, when we look for the responsible party we have turned around and looked behind us and then around us and accepted that there is no one standing to delegate the baton to. We are the person for the job and we get to figure it out while being fired at!

3. Go After the Work You Want to Do

Bob has been at this race for a while and he has learned, as many of us do, how painful it is to take on work that is not appropriate just to feed the kids. But alas the kids still need to be fed, so he knows if he is going to make it, he has to go after the work that he wants to do and work with people that he wants to work with. He has to go make that happen because the opposite is just too painful. All us crazy entrepreneur types learn this lesson eventually. It makes perfect sense to not find work you enjoy when you are the only one making the decisions. We both know that it is good business to find work that interests you so you are not stuck with work that does not interest you and drains the living life out of you.

4. It’s a Juggling Act

As an Artist and a business man, a father and a husband, Bob is always juggling. When I interviewed Derek Herndon in the second AoFDB, the concept of spinning plates came to mind. However, with Bob the idea of a juggler is a very powerful image. Bob is playing double duty with his work as an artist and a business owner.  He is flipping back and forth between controlled commercial creativity and free form fine art creativity. There is a difference in how one’s creativity manifests in these two areas. Internally, the drive to make the work is for sure very different. 

5. Believe | Persevere   | Persist  

Bob described the difference between perseverance and persistence in a way that really made me smile. They are the same skill set but they are very different things.  Bob says that perseverance is having steadfast focus on the prize and relentlessly keeping your eye on your end goal despite difficulty.  Persistence is obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition while remaining open to alternative solutions and not falling prey to tunnel vision.  He resolutely states that, “When people say no, keep calling until they say don’t ever call me again!” This lethal combination of perseverance and persistence is a powerful tool in everysuccessful person’s tool chest! Ironically, this powerful combination continues to give us evidence that we are worthy of the belief we have in ourselves.  As a result, we become our own self-feeding fire.

Thank you so much Bob for double dipping and helping me to build the Fearless Auction site on a whim. You definitely went way above your call of duty and I am very grateful as will the many charities be that benefit from your work. Thank you for taking the time out to be one of the Fearless 7 and for all that you do!


The juggler in this image is not just juggling – he is juggling in the dark with candles burning at both ends. The irony here is that the candles are providing light in the darkness.  As entrepreneurs, the work is what truly drives us. Even if it is difficult at times we persist, preserver and believe and our life is illuminated by the results.


AoFDB IV – The Gratitude Series

Carstens Fine Art Gallery

November 15, 2018

6-9 PM

7077 Main St., #5
Scottsdale, AZ 85251


CHARITY:  The Phoenix Art Museum

In this gratitude series, the paintings are gifts to the featured business owners
and the sketches are for sale to the public and online at the 
Fearless Art Works eGallery.  

Both the original work and the sketches will be on view for the opening.

25% of the proceeds from the sketches & 10% of profit
from print, retail & illustrated book sales
will benefit the  Phoenix Art Museum.


Entrepreneurs and inspiring stories of all kinds are FEARLESSLY DELIVER’s muse and focus.  As an artist, a business woman and a visual journalist Michelle Micalizzi paints with a purpose. The FEARLESS ART PROJECTS are collaborative social practice art engagements that connect art + business + community.

THE ART OF FEARLESSLY DOING BUSINESS (AoFDB) is an unprecedented and unique social practice project that celebrates the fearless entrepreneurial spirit by highlighting the stories of unique and fearless business leaders.Ten percent of all retails sales are donated to an art or business related charity every. 

AoFDB IV features seven fearless entrepreneurs that have gone over and beyond their call of duty partnering with me on past four fearless art projects in one form or another.  

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