Digital painting exercise.

OK, so I’m a bit of a Photoshop laggard. Been dabbling at the edges for years but never really got ‘into it’. So this year I have decided to improve my skills a bit. I’m nearing completion of a piece of work I have had on the drawing board for nearly a year. As I say; still needs a bit of work but I’m quite pleased so far.

A collection of illustrations

For the past couple of months, I have been working on a major learning and development project; Art in Strategic Thinking. I’m now looking at the marketing side of things and decided to create my own illustrations; well I am a qualified illustrator. Here is a series of images I created to illustrate the principle artistic endeavours within the AiST program.

How might you benefit from another viewpoint?

Being a leader requires you to choose a particular view of your organisation.

When was the last time you considered your viewpoint or invited others to showcase theirs?

Using perspective enables you to choose the best vantage so that when you view the same data and information from different positions, a different picture will emerge. And what insights might become obscured?

How will you choose and secure the best position from which you and your team can view the most important insights for your strategic intent?

Perespective Poster A4 01

Is there another way to view your organisation?

When you look at a picture how do you classify the work? What you do is based on existing knowledge.

Is the way you see your organisation; your existing perceptual framework: appropriate? How do you know?

By engaging in creative endeavours your organisation can unleash the potential of your team and conceive new ideas.

Changing the way that something is perceived can develop reflective practice so that your organisation can embrace an uncertain future.

Classification Poster A4 01a

Art or Illustration

For as long as I can remember I have been a visual, creative individual. The most significant anchoring experience in my childhood was the exhibiting of my representation of a phrase from The Ancient Mariner; Like a painted ship upon a painted ocean. I was eight years old.

It seemed natural that I would go to art college and after a foundation year, experimenting with all manner of media, I majored in Technical Illustration.

Fast forward a few decades and a dilemma which had occasionally bothered me, emerged regarding the categorisation of two-dimensional visual creative disciplines and their resulting works (outputs); art or illustration.

Research into the meaning of the words and reading around the subject of aesthetics; including Art as Experience by John Dewey is challenging me to formulate a distinction between the two disciplines.

So far, my thinking is as follows:

Art is:

The self-directed act of an individual to express themselves and embody substance (tangible or intangible) in an aesthetic form.

Art is about unrestricted self-expression. The artist will create a work through the appropriate use of media in a form that will provide an aesthetic experience for the observer through one or more of the senses. The output of the work may be the representation of an actual scene or object in the case of landscape or still life. The output might also be a representation of a mood, emotion or other non-material expression such as love, growth, isolation. Subject to taste a work of art will induce a feeling within the observer; they may even experience wonder.

Illustration is:

The directed act of an individual to symbolise substance (tangible or intangible) in an agreeable form.

Illustration is about the fulfillment of a brief to represent the narrative of a commissioner. The output of the activity may be the accurate reproduction of an object or the abstract representation of a theme. The creator and the commissioner are not expecting to provide an aesthetic experience for the observer. The observer may or may not like the work but the objective is to convey the narrative only. Irrespective of taste an illustration will convey the narrative to the observer devoid of aesthetic intent.

The above two definitions and explanations are ‘works in progress’ as I dig deeper into the visual representation of substance (both tangible and intangible).

Question (rhetorical); is the following a ‘work of art’ or an ‘illustration’.

Is your organisation being blinded?

Is your organisation being blinded by too much data, information, and insights?

Without data, information, and insights you cannot plan. However, too much can pose a challenge.

Just like highlights blind an artist or photographer, the shadows may hide important shapes and texture.

What might be the consequences if you and your team filter out the most abundant and most obvious data?

Could you get a better picture of your organisation by shining a light towards the teams and departments that are less prevalent at expressing their ideas or suggestions?

AiST is a program that provides you and your team with an introduction to an additional way of thinking about your organisation that could enable you to outsmart your more conventional competitors.

Light and Shade Poster A4 01b

What colour is your organisation?

Colour is often used by artists to represent emotion and a mix of colours can change what is perceived.

Colour used within an organisational context is a valuable method of seeing a difference in people and teams.

All staff can provide your strategy team with data, information and or insights that have value when (what is perceived is) in line with the strategic objectives of your organisation.

How do you see yourself, your team or your organisation? And how can you be aware that your view is not ‘coloured’ by others?

AiST is a program that provides you and your team with an introduction to an additional way of thinking about your organisation that could enable you to outsmart your more conventional competitors.

Colour Poster A4 01b

I am today what I experienced yesterday.

Each of us assimilates into himself something of the values and meanings contained in past experience. But we do so in differing degrees and at differing levels of selfhood. Some things sink deep, others stay on the surface and are easily displaced. The old poets traditionally invoked the muse of Memory as something wholly outside themselves – outside their present conscious selves. The invocation is a tribute to the power of what is most deep-lying and therefore the furthest below consciousness, in determination of the present self and of what it has to say. It is not true that we “forget” or drop into unconsciousness only alien and disagreeable things. It is even more true that the things which we have most completely made a part of ourselves, that we have assimilated to compose our personality and not merely retained as incidents, cease to have a separate conscious existence. Some occasions, be it what it may, stirs the personality that has been thus formed. Then, comes the need for expression. What is expressed will be neither the past events that have exercised their shaping influence nor yet the literal existing occasion. It will be, in the degree of its spontaneity, an intimate union of the features of the present existence with the values that past experience have incorporated in personality. Immediacy and individuality, the traits that mark concrete existence, come from the present occasion; meaning, substance, content, from what is embedded in the self from the past.

Art as Experience. John Dewey, 2005. pp74.
Art_as_Experience  This  entry in Wikipedia needs updating.