When I was 11 years old my mother recognized that my younger brother and I had more than an interest in art, but also had a real growing talent, so she found us an art teacher to work with us after school. And unbeknownst to me this art teacher would change not only the course of how I approached my own artwork, but how I would approach business as a professional.
On our first day the art teacher pulled out a book titled, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Betty Edwards. Today, this book is a benchmark for many in how they learn to draw and create art in a realistic form. Lucky for us, our teacher utilized Betty’s book as her cornerstone for tutoring young aspiring artists.
For the next few weeks we mostly reviewed the book and did short drawing exercises, and then one day it hit my brother and I – it’s about really SEEING, and thus it was all about drawing the negative space, and not the object itself to create the positive result.
It’s the moment you can accept and then leverage the difference between your left and right side of the brain that is when your artwork really starts to take shape, literally and figuratively. Meaning the right side of your brain is where you see the things around you as space and shapes. Then the key is to realize it’s not about drawing the shape, but the space that surrounds the shape.
By nature most of us make the same mistake of drawing what we “think” a nose or eye looks like as opposed to what we are literally seeing. Some of the best examples of this is when you review the before and after drawings in Betty’s book. Some of it is difficult because you need to get comfortable with drawing nothing, but once you do, you end up drawing everything at the same time. In essence it’s the emptiness that forms the shape and that experience you see in creating the moment and in turn you produce a more accurate depiction.
Needless to say once my brother and I got comfortable with this approach our artwork really took off and today I have taken to the art form of writing with light “photography” and creative direction at brands and agencies, where my brother is/has been a lead visual designer for major festivals – Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, Coachella and several others.
But what was most interesting was when it all came flooding back a few years ago… I was living in New York and realized the lesson of drawing negative space could be applied to the business world. From that moment I kept track of when there were obstacles in making business decisions there could be a different approach in turning those obstacles into opportunity.
So, when I launched Coalition Space my focus was to create at least one service dedicated to this train of thought and thus the BluePrint model was born. The following is the three step process of BluePrint, which leverages the practices of using the right side of one’s brain…
1. Discovery: Finding the unknown areas of business “emptiness” and defining it within the brand’s landscape
2. Opportunity: Determining areas of weakness “negative space” and turning them into areas of new business growth
3. Application: Taking the areas of new business growth “space to shape” and creating a road map to activate opportunity
Recently we launched the BluePrint model with a client and the result was transformational for them and has set the path for more business in the future by presenting their current obstacles in a positive light as new opportunities to grow the business in 2015.