CREATIVE CHAT CAFE: Using Art and Culture in the Entrepreneurial World to Optimize Business Endeavors
In this episode of Creative Chat Cafe, Zef and Sondra host Dr. Ivan Tirado and Elinor Slomba, two entrepreneurs thriving in the world of art and culture. The two discuss the connections between their world of art and culture and how they incorporate it into their businesses. In addition, in celebration of Father’s Day this June, we ask our guests what advice they would give to fathers based on the work that they do.
About Our Guests:
Dr. Ivan Tirado, founder of The Art of Ivan Tirado LLC, has multiple degrees including a bachelors’ degree in Humanities in Liberal Arts, a M.Ed. in Instructional Technology, a Ph.D. in Education in Instructional Design, and most recently a Ph.D. in Education in Instructional Design for Online Learning. He utilizes these degrees through teaching others, as well as creating his own art which has been exhibited around the world.
Elinor Slomba is the founder of Arts Interstices, which makes it easier for people in various domains to talk to artists, understand their work, and implement more creative ways of working. Along with this, she offers creativity training workshops, curated art exhibits, and more in start-up and tech communities. She also coaches artists and creative entrepreneurs in Agile project management.
Some Key Points of Discussion in this Episode:
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Table of Contents (click on the minute timeline for the specific content):
00:04 - Greetings and show info.
02:10 - Dr. Ivan Tirado - The Art of Ivan Tirado.
03:43 - Using art as a tool in character development.
07:20 - Pay attention to the the "environmental responses" to enhance your personal development.
09:56 - How to use "environmental responses" to discover your story and purpose.
13:18 - Overcoming judgmental responses and how to manage them.
18:00 - Overcoming cultural and psychological beliefs - a father's perspective.
22:20 - Show recap.
23:30 - How Elinor and Ivan met.
27:13 - ELINOR: How it all started - the journey into the world of art and entrepreneurship.
28:37 - Social enterprises / projects supporting the artists and creative entrepreneurs.
30:26 - The importance of "disconnecting to connect."
34:37 - Being "indifferent " in business.
36:19 - Answering a question about book publication.
38:54 - "The spaces in between."
40:56 - Happy Father's Day and how our father's have inspired us all!
54:21 - Let's get connected and contact information.
So I had to make a switch in my mind and go, “well, maybe I cannot be an actor, but I can be a comedian.” Which led to me to start doing comedy for many years in school and when I went into college, I started working as a radio announcer. I started doing comedy on radio and end p doing stand up comedy for 14 years. So if we are not aware of the responses from the environment, we might misinterpret what is going on. And in many cases, that’s what happens to people. They are not aware of those environmental responses and they try to follow a path that is not theirs.
SONDRA: Yeah, I mean so many people have had similar experiences to you when they get up on stage and they forget their lines and everyone laughs at them. And that’s it. They’re never getting in front of anyone ever again.
DR. TIRADO: It can be an opportunity to discover something else.
SONDRA: Absolutely. But it takes a certain mindset. I’d like to ask you while we’re on this subject, do you think that mindset is something you were just born with to turn such a negative experience into something positive or was that something that was kind of cultivated within you because of your environment?
DR. TIRADO: Well as far as the concept of cognitive theory, what we think of ourselves is a combination of environmental responses, our cognitive advantages, the way that we interpret symbols, and our behavior. When we are in an environment that is not prepared us to risk and take chances and that supports that kind of behavior, we are gonna find out that many people didn’t do what they wanted to do because of those environmental responses. And this starts way before you are born because the baby can perceive the environmental response. The baby can tell if he is accepted or not even before he is out. Then when he is out, there is a direct contact with this environment and he can perceive that support; he can perceive the love. And interestingly, for many of us, the welcome that we got to this world, was a smack in the butt…I have seen people at the sculpting and painting parties that we host that they go from “I can’t do it” to “I made it myself.”
SONDRA: Okay, so...this month is Father’s Day coming up on June 21st. So I just want to ask you, what is it do you see through what you have seen through your work and your personal beliefs in culture and psychology, are really good tips you can give to dads to really encourage positive behavior?
DR. TIRADO: Well I’ll give you an example of my dad. When I was applying to college, I was applying for civil engineering and he said, “why?” And I said, “Because I have good grades and in school they say if you have good grades you can be a doctor or an engineer” and he said, “I know that, but you love art. If you do anything different, you’re gonna be miserable.”
In our society, we also have the problem of the absentee dad and that is creating, if you look at statistics, it it scary. All of the things of not having the dad at home or not having an active participation of the dad at home is what doing to society. So as fathers, we need to take responsibility to guiding our kids based on their talents, not ours, based on their interests. And also based on what they feel more comfortable with because that is what they are going to pursue. If we try to force them to be something else, they are not going to be happy and they are going to let us know that they are not happy. So my advice to parents is assert your kids, know your kids, guide them into what they really like the most. If they don’t have the talent for something, you don’t have to frustrate them by telling them, just guide them. Say, “Listen, I don’t think this is your talent, but I think this one is.” And that is something that is missing.
ZEF: So the word is guide! Not show, or tell. Guide.
SONDRA: So our next guest is Elinor Slomba. She is an agility coach, art curator, and founder of Art Interstices. Her company makes it easier for people in various domains to talk to artists, understand their work, and implement more creative ways of working. So please help me welcome the second guest on our show, Elinor Slomba! Just like Iván, please give us your short bio. What drives you? Give us the spiel!
ELINOR: Well, I’m not an artist, but I love artists. I always knew I wanted to be involved somehow in the arts. So I found that rule as kind of a clue function in helping to sustain and support the arts. So my background is in arts management and I’m interested in how arts and culture can strengthen and empower groups, how groups can find sustenance and meaning by working directly with artists and tapping into artists’ intelligence and their ways of working and their models. So the clients I work with range from museums, software companies, individual artists come for coaching sometimes, and also cultural agencies and economic development agencies that are looking at that creative space. For decades, the art has been told to be more businesslike, but now business really needs to be more artful to compete so people are looking at how to do that.
ZEF: I’m kind of very happy we have both you and Dr. Tirado on the same call because you actually know each other and you actually referred us to Dr. Tirado and I think we’re blessed to have you both today, so thank you for joining us! So tell me a little bit Elinor, how did you and Dr. Tirado meet?
ELINOR: Well I tend to spot artists who are attuned to the business world and topics going on in business. I find that a lot of big themes like complexity or remoteness, and when we really look, there are artists already there thinking about that and Iván is one of those. What he just described about being responsive to environmental stimuli and using that to make decisions, that’s the agile mindset and people are trying to learn this all around the world so they can be more productive and artists are already there! We met at a gallery…and listening to him, I knew that other people would really want to listen to him.
ZEF: So coming from your background, how did you use your experience to become an entrepreneur yourself and help others through the world of art? Because that mix of entrepreneurship and art and culture, it’s a good mix. Like you said, the business world now needs to be more creative so tell me more about that.
ELINOR: Sure. Right after college, I got into arts administration and for about 15 years, I did grant writing and fundraising in pretty traditional ways. Cultivating relationships with foundations, government funders…and inside those organizations I functioned mostly as a facilitator trying to bring the right people into the conversations…so all those pieces will line up correctly. What I found was that across many mediums, people were stressed and there was competition between fewer resources…so it started to feel like fighting for crumbs, so I thought I rather build bakeries!
SONDRA: Alright, are we ready to talk about dads? Because I’m really excited about that. So we’d like to ask our guests a little bit about their dads. I know that we’ve collected some pictures so Dr. Tirado you are up!
DR. TIRADO: My father I always see him as my hero. He’s the kind of guy that he can build anything. And his knowledge on how to create things helped me sometimes in the process because I’m trying to figure out something that is normal in the world of art and I know there is a better way and I’m trying to look for it and he gives me all kinds of hints. My father is the kind of guy where he can go out and see something and he knows how to build it. He learned how to create his own outfits because he asked his mom how to use the machine and by the end of the year, he was wearing a full suit and shirt by his own hands. My dad is the catalyst to also help me get better at what I was good at. In my mom’s eyes, I am the perfect child. My dad was the one pushing me to get better.
ZEF: I love how you shared the fact that your dad really knows your talents and encouraged you to do better. You don’t see that in many relationships of children and their parents. Elinor, let’s listen to your story about your dad!
ELINOR: That’s my father sailing; one of the things I’ve always loved to do with my dad. He’s a real gentleman. There’s one quick story that I don’t remember, but my mother said when she was ready to go to the hospital, she had her bag packed by the door and she said, “Come on, I’m ready to go!” and he said, “Wait a second!” and he left her there in the car because he had to go inside and put a tie on because he wanted to wear a tie when he had me.
ZEF: That’s a cute one! That’s awesome.
ELINOR: Also, in college, when I studied he really respected where my interests wanted to lead and that would be my advice for fathers. Don’t be so concerned if the educational path looks like it’s non-linear and you can’t quite picture what they’re gonna end up doing one day for money because there are many, many viable careers that haven’t even been invented yet. And he gave me that trust.
ZEF: I love that! And kudos to your father. What about you, Sondra?
SONDRA: I love my dad. So, my dad taught me two really important things. 1. Always keep learning. He’s an academic through and through. He never has stopped learning. He was keeping bees for a while on that property and he had to stop because he was too allergic. You can’t tell, but he doesn’t have much hair on top of his head and a bee just landed on him and he started to go into shock. And he was really sad that he couldn’t keep his bees anymore because he’s so fascinated by the bee society that it was an opportunity for him to just keep learning more.
I appreciate that he’s always looking to expand his mind. But more than anything, he has always taught me to pick your battles. And that it’s okay to stand strong when necessary, but it’s also okay to back down and back down in a way with grace. One kind of funny story about how non-confrontational he is that there was a time when he was younger that he was in a marina and some guy came up behind him and he tried to rob him. And instead of acting tough and brave, he pretended he was blind. That was his instinct to be like “what? Who is there?” And the guy was like “I’m not gonna rob a blind person” and walked away. But I really admired that! I really just appreciate that there’s a way to get out of a situation that you don’t have to prove yourself to people you don’t know, you should only put that effort into people that are meaningful to you and do it with an elegant grace. I’m always learning great, great lessons from that man.
ZEF: My dad, who is no longer with us, but two things he taught me as I grew up is patience and persistence. This man... talk about patience. He became an entrepreneur and even though his business failed, he kept on going. He said you can never go wrong until you learn your lessons and make it right. And at the time it didn’t make sense, but now I can see that in myself. Talk about patience; I’m doing a business that deals with technology. If I don’t have patience, it’s just so hard to do it. As an entrepreneur, I’ve been challenged everyday and I think learning that lesson from him, seeing him in action as a great example I think is what kept me going...I’m very thankful for my dad…Papa, you raised me well!
Thank you for sharing your dads with us today, folks!
Thoughts and Tips: