Enterprise Lessons from Frazer Irving

Had the privilege of attending my first Creative Networks event at Leeds College of Art.  Frazer Irving – a wonderful illustrator talked about his career – from which I took the following:

  1. the seeds of your (your clients) future are often sown early – go back to the early years to see if the basis for an enterprise were sown then
  2. just because it sells does not mean it is good – heroin is not better than tofu – even if it does shift more units – selling stuff is not the be all and all – truth and beauty matter too
  3. provoke, invoke, evoke – apparently John Lennon said that – not a bad JD for an enterprise coach either
  4. 5 years of crappy jobs and being on the dole – being on the dole were the ‘happy days’
  5. ‘ideas burning on the inside’
  6. managers/editors can leave you with tears streaming down your face and your soul ripped out and thrown on the floor
  7. the bad times provide the fuel and drive to allow the good
  8. an incessant streak of optimism helps – on being rejected by judges in a portrait competition Frazer chose to believe it was because he wasn’t important – ‘although it might have been because, then, I wasn’t very good’
  9. it takes a lot of time, training, passion and life experience to really master your subject
  10. great technology combined with great passion and skills produce remarkable, beautiful and important results
  11. sometimes you need someone to say ‘chin up – you will be alright’
  12. sometimes when your art is ripped off it gets you great new gigs – life-changing breaks…
  13. be a slave to the muse – let the story dictate the style – if the story is trivial don’t expect to get great results
  14. it is really about finding out who you are and what you can become – enterprise is about the emergence of identity – the process of becoming…
  15. treat me as a ‘pencil monkey’ and you will get mediocrity
  16. in the comic world a lot of bad product is there because of poor management – comics and every other industry on the planet – management is perfectly designed to get the results it gets
  17. if it is bad it is (nearly always) because the managers/editors have put the wrong people on the job
  18. if you have recruited the wrong people then forcing them to compromise WILL lead to mediocrity
  19. recruit great talent carefully and then trust it to deliver on its own terms – not yours
  20. when your hobby becomes your job – you get another hobby
  21. musicians jam and sometimes the results are great – what is the jamming equivalent for you?
  22. be careful about your reputation – one person saying you might not hit a deadline in a public forum can be a killer
  23. sometimes it is best not to claim the credit for all your ideas
  24. it really is full of ups and downs – but you come out of the downs with even more resources – psychological and technical if not financial

This was a great networking event – convivial atmosphere – great facilities – good food – great speakers and good management.

If only all networking opportunities were this good!

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