Although I’d like to consider myself an artist from time to time, the truth is the vast majority of my time is spent working with my “left-brain”. Spreadsheets, reports, and client meetings fill most of my days, with only snippets of my creative side slipping into my work from time to time.This doesn’t stop me from interacting with people who focus more on the art side of things, such as musicians, artists, writers, and crafters, but it does require me switch things up a bit.
When I’m around artists, I immediately notice a different type of discussion taking place. People tend to be a little more interested in exploring topics more fully, without necessarily having a stated goal or to try to reach a consensus. This is actually pretty awesome.
Most people tend to give up on a viewpoint for the sake of reaching that consensus, but when working with artists, that consensus is not always the main goal, if there could be one at all. You can hold on to your viewpoint and discuss it further, and perhaps explore it more in depth than you would in other situations. You can build on it and shape it, like you would clay for example, and take from the discussion what you will.
The other major change I make when working with artists is to push myself out of my comfort zone, even if just a little. The reason I do this is because if all I want to talk about are the things I have in common with an artist, then our interactions can become a bit limited. As you can imagine, while we all have something in common with someone else, that list of commonalities is rather small between a strategy consultant and a painter. Focusing on branching out and learning about something new opens that world up.
What better way to broaden your horizons than to start asking about something you have absolutely no idea about? I’ve also found artists to be very open to discussing their interests, knowing very well that I’m not familiar with what they’re talking about, but that I am willing to learn.
For people who might feel that they aren’t particularly equipped to be a part of an artist community, I would encourage you to take a second look. Just because you don’t speak in colors and brushes or rhythms and keys, doesn’t mean you can’t have a great conversation. Not to mention, plenty of artists have more than one dimension, might actually be interested in what you have to say!