The art of defining the “purpose of being inspired by art”: a path for young creators

Today the “Raison d’Être” of companies has become an important subject for most of them and is the subject of in-depth research and study.

The HBR (Harvard Business Review) released a special issue on this subject in April 2022, this is just one example of the endless stream of abundant literature on this subject. All the writings agree on the need to deal with this question within the framework of a real reflection and not to make it a communication exercise. The essence of the statement which focuses on the underlying motive that pushes the organization to offer a product linked to a higher purpose. This approach was popularized by the public figure Simon Sinek with his “golden circle” who explained very well why it was essential for companies to make explicit the why of their action rather than their products and methods.

Companies offer all kinds of products and services with a view to creating value and gain. Seen from a distance, one can have the impression that a very large majority of them are purely competitors and only fight on the ground of process efficiency and cost optimization to maximize profits, growth and ensure sustainability.

But if this model of fierce competition with winners and losers persists, that the means of countless organizations seem unbeatable, there are new companies that exist or are created with a completely different spirit. A spirit of responsible contribution to the protection of the planet, respect for employees and the proposal of a product experience for customers that is beneficial to them.

If the intentions are good, it is nevertheless sometimes difficult to maintain them in the long term; for example, the banality of products exposes them to competition and the law of the best market. So where do you look for inspiration? Who manages to win this challenge?

I think it can be interesting to study the approach of artists who are small individual companies but with an extremely clear and solid reason for being that allows them to go through the time of a life course with sufficient success so that their work survives and inspires them…

When they are deeply committed to a path of creation, a thought process eventually unfolds – crystallizes – so to speak, in a sensitive form – very identifiable and unique in its kind.

Take the case of a well-known visual artist like Andy Warhol. The contribution of the artist, the “sense of the process” could and can escape many people, even an immense number of people, but the fact remains that the style of the artist crossed the time to the point of making it almost a trademark. In his case, literally with his “Factory” he promoted advertising culture to the rank of art through the remultiplication of a pattern repeated and treated mainly by lithography and a palette of acidulous and showy colors.

What he offered to the very public, from the individual on the street to the media star, is the dream of an iconization for each and all. Glorifying the mundane he predicted to the world that in the future everyone would be “famous for 15 minutes”[1]. He gave a poetic dimension to cheap Campbell’s tin cans, raised the daisy to the rank of masterpiece, launched the fashion for quadruple portraits and sketched the principles of an art that we find today diverted worldwide in element of “contemporary” pop decoration on so many t-shirts and mugs…

Whether we find his work interesting or not, artistic, or not, he has nevertheless left a considerable mark and produced a unique body of work that has shaken up many conservatisms.

“An artist is someone who creates things that people don’t need but for some reason thinks it would be a good idea to bring to them. »

This formula is provocative, but I see in it the truth of the artist convinced that by developing his specificity and freeing himself from standards he was able to develop an entire economy and a production of objects that have enchanted millions of people.

His pieces turned into an “oeuvre” and his inventiveness served him as a strategy.

I think it is potentially interesting for companies concerned with defining their “raison d’être” to scan the art world in search of an artist whose work and approach might “talk” to their founder. Because at the origin of the process of creating the company there is a desire and an idea riveted to the heart of its creator who will share them with conviction with other people whom he will involve in the adventure. Imagining your business as the creation of a work of art that will form an increasingly structured whole to give birth to a style and a work, can become a way of thinking and projecting yourself into the future. The risk to run? get off with an artistic excursion. And the profit? a new way of considering the desire to undertake in the name of a personal conviction in one’s unique talent for imagining, doing, and concretizing.

[1] “In the future, everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” Andy Warhol. In a Time Magazine article from 1967 and the following year he created a globalized version of his famous quote “In the future, everybody will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” »