My dad’s birthday is tomorrow, March 31. If he was alive he would have been 106 today. He passed away in 1980.
My dad was an artist, a photographer, a musician, and an entrepreneur. He loved fishing and hunting. He also loved fixing sports cars.
I never gave him the chance to teach me to draw, paint or carve. I was too busy playing baseball, basketball and football. He tried to teach me to play the piano, but I wouldn’t practice so he gave up.
When I was a teenager, my dad frequently towed home sports cars that he repaired in our garage and resold. I remember the first car was a green Jaguar XK 120. He frequently tried to get me to work on the cars with him. I tried, but I got bored quickly and went back to playing baseball.
Looking back now, I can say that while I was passionate about playing baseball, hunting, fishing and working on cars together are father-son experiences we could have shared for a lifetime. I missed an opportunity.
Even though I never gave him the chance to teach me to be an artist, I believe he unknowingly taught me about art and drawing in a way that made me a better lawyer and that is the point I want for you to get from this post.
- Art is made by a human being.
- Art is created to have an impact, to change someone else.
- Art is a gift. You can sell the souvenir, the canvas, the recording… but the idea itself is free, and the generosity is a critical part of making art.
Daniel Pink, in his book A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, describes taking a week long drawing class and being taught that drawing is about seeing relationships between positive space and negative space, light and shadow, angles and proportions.
In a blog posted a few years ago, Pencil as a Power Tool Daniel Pink talked about drawing again. He said drawing:
is a terrific way to develop the aptitude of Symphony, the ability to put together seemingly unrelated pieces to create something new.
I believe my dad taught me to see things others did not see. I had a unique interest in anticipating what might impact my clients. I believe I had the aptitude of Symphony. Lawyers I coach have heard me suggest many times to:
- Identify a client problem, opportunity or change before the client does
- Create a remarkable solution
- Give it away
That is what making art as a lawyer is all about. If you are not making art, consider taking a drawing class or a photography class and focus on relationships of things to other things. Then, diligently read business news and industry publications.
Are you making art as a lawyer? If your father is still alive, what experiences are you sharing?