The Artist-preneur


by Jessica Hill, Graphic and Web Design for the EC

Over the years, I called myself many things; designer, painter, illustrator, artist...but never "entrepreneur."

Yes, even more serious artwork. 

A few months after I started working at the Entrepreneur Center, I asked Michael Burcham how he managed to put together such a great team. (Seriously, we all work so well together it borders on freaky). And I will always remember Michael's answer. He said "I hire entrepreneurs." I immediately said "But I'm not an entrepreneur. " His reply was "Yes. You are."

A very serious t-shirt I designed.

Of course, that got me thinking... was I REALLY an entrepreneur?! Why had it never occurred to me to call myself one?! There are just SO many similarities: Both artists and entrepreneurs bring into the world richly valued ideas and items that did not exist before. Both have to learn how to take rejection and keep fighting. (At one point I had an honest to God wall if rejection letters from galleries). Both artists and entrepreneurs are passionate about their work, they can thrive under constraints, we are all taking a vision that lived in our own mind, and actualizing it into reality through our work.

Like art, true innovation has the potential to make our lives better. It is where complexity meets with elegant solutions. It offers a unique sense of accomplishment by mixing risk taking with vulnerability. 

Perhaps as both artists and entrepreneurs continue to coexist and evolve, the thing to remember is this: new ideas of worth will only come to those who allow space and time to develop new ideas. I think it's one of the reasons I feel like I've grown so much as a designer since I started working at the Entrepreneur Center. It's the kind of environment that truly values the creative process. I'm surrounded every day by people who support me and challenge me.

Andy Warhol knew it all along: "Good business is the best art."