Pop Art Questions Convention, You Can Too

Wednesday night I stepped out of my usual routine to attend a lecture by Dr. Robert S. Mattison, curator of the current Andy Warhol special exhibition at the Allentown Art Museum. What I can tell you for sure is that doing things you don’t usually get to do can do wonders for your passion, inspiration, perspective, and even your business. Not to mention it is like giving your energy level a little juice!

As a super achieving academic, I never got to take any of the art history type classes that my fellow attendees were reminiscing about on Wednesday night. After all, these courses weren’t “practical” and certainly there was no time in my over-achieving schedule to fit in such “fluff”. Since then, I’ve enjoyed numerous museums around the world, though I would not call myself an art buff by any stretch of the imagination. I experience art from my gut and have little in my head in the way of facts, theory or academic discourse to go on. This is in contrast to many other areas of my life which is why I think I had so much damn fun!

The special event was held at The Edge Restaurant in Bethlehem, PA and I heard about it through a colleague of mine who bills herself as “The Idea Lady”. If you ever need business ideas or PR help, she’s the one you want helping you. I share this because it illustrates the power of connections whether it is business, pleasure, or simply needing a helping hand. And, it is not having connections for connection sake. It is my philosophy that it pays to meet people with similar tastes and standards, people you genuinely enjoy spending time and having a conversation with. The restaurant and their Andy Warhol themed event were unbelievable. As a total foodie and wine/drinks kind of person, I can be hard to please. This place far surpassed my expectations and it only fueled my inspiration from the evening even more. Once again, a reminder that the little things do matter.

Like I said before, I am not well-versed in any artist’s work. The closest I get to knowledgeable is with a few well-known names, specifically photographers. While I have seen some of Andy Warhol’s work in person, and the common images we’re all familiar with (the soup can, Marilyn Monroe, etc.), it was my first introduction to a lecture that put all the pieces together. One of the most impact full points the curator shared had to do with the Marilyn pieces. Marilyn Monroe was of course a beautiful actress that personified Hollywood glamour. The media made her into a larger than life icon and goddess and in many ways destroyed her. In Warhol’s work (his portrait of Marilyn) he pushes colors that takes the beautiful and makes it almost grotesque. If not grotesque, it is at the very least outside the lines of realism and convention. Thus, as in much of his work he challenges preconceived notions of art and pop culture.

You can check out even more about Andy Warhol at Artsy’s site.

So what does this have to do with you, your business, and your personal life? It offers you the opportunity to consider acting “as if” you were an artist at times within your life, especially those times when your life is feeling stale and your business is not booming as you’d like. Try this challenge on for size:

Choose a famous artist you like, or maybe just adopt a dreamy mindset of what you think an artist-type would do. Then, spend a few hours, a day, maybe even a whole week and see your life or business through her eyes. Move and feel like an artist might. Question convention and question the things you do out of habit because that’s the way you’ve always done them (or someone told you that you should do it that way). See how it feels and what ideas pop into your head. Journal a bit and see what connections and creative possibilities open up for you.

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