May
29

The Arts and Creativity in Business

Fast Company just released their 100 most creative people in business list. What can we learn about the arts and creativity in business from this list? Here are a few things I learned:

Out of 100 individuals selected 22 artists ( or those from what is considered classic artistic disciplines) made the list– leaving the remaining 78 of the most creative people in business working very creatively without artistry. While the arts are often thought of as being highly creative, artists represent only 26% of Fast Company’s top 50 and 22% of the entire list. What does this say about the arts and its role in business? Are we not creative enough to impact business or are we not trained and skilled enough in the areas of business to make an impact?

Of the 26% in the top 50, all of these artists have developed a multi disciplinary approach to their art, using more than one artistic skill set, while intertwining business skill sets into the vision of what their art can produce.

Creative writing is the single most common unifying skill amongst the most creative artists in business and a couple of academics made the list!

Each of these artists have taken all of their passions in life and exploited them to their fullest in their careers.

The list includes 5 artists, 4 from fashion, film and music, 3 writers and 2 chefs.

5 Artists #22, 55, 70, 86 94
4 from Fashion #13, 24, 42, 92
4 from Film #14, 21, 31, 60
4 from Music #36, 47, 69, 83
3 Writers #10, 40 and 41
2 Chefs #44, 73

# 10, James Schamus, Chief executive officer, Focus Features
Perhaps the only person in Hollywood who can rival Meryl Streep’s versatility is James Schamus. In addition to being a CEO, he’s a veteran screenwriter, Columbia University film professor, producer, marketer, distributor, and sometime composer. “There’s nobody else like him in the entire industry,” says Bill Mechanic, former chairman of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment. “For a writer of his caliber to choose to be an executive is completely abnormal.” Schamus, 49, cofounded Focus in 2002. Known for its sophisticated and daring film slate, Focus produced Oscar winners Milk and Lost in Translation. Coming soon: Taking Woodstock, Schamus’s latest screenplay for director Ang Lee. — by Chuck Salter

Website:http://www.filminfocus.com/focusfeatures/

#13, Stella McCartney, Fashion designer
According to her boss, PPR CEO François-Henri Pinault, fashion designer and Beatle progeny Stella McCartney is the new face of responsible luxury. “Stella has set the bar,” he told Britain’s Sunday Times. Across the pond, the Natural Resources Defense Council honored her this spring for her “outstanding environmental leadership.” McCartney, 38, a PETA pet, uses no leather or fur; her skin-care line and ready-to-wear collection are both organic. Lest this sound too hair shirt to be stylish, consider Women’s Wear Daily’s review of the designer’s latest fall collection: “McCartney’s biker jacket in ‘nonleather sheen cupro’ can vroom with the best of them, and her thigh-high boots, in silk knits and perforated faux, strut the killer instinct she can live with.” — by Linda Tischler

Website: http://www.stellamccartney.com/

#14, JJ Abrams, Founder, Bad Robot Productions
J.J. Abrams warps Time at will. Past, present, and future coexist as a kind of fluid that cannot be contained. The camera jumps back and forth in time. Characters age and grow younger again. Time itself accelerates, then slows. “It’s intriguing to play with exactly when you learn elements in a story,” says the Emmy-winning writer-director-producer, referring to Lost, his biggest hit on the small screen. “It engages audience members in a puzzle where they begin to question everything. It makes them look for clues in what they’re watching in a way traditional narrative doesn’t.”

Website: http://www.badrobot.com/

#21,Tyler Perry,Owner, Tyler Perry Studios
He writes, directs, produces, acts, and scores — Tyler Perry controls an entertainment empire and moneymaking machine that includes the hit show Tyler Perry’s House of Payne and movies featuring his alter-ego Madea, a jumbo, no-nonsense granny with a knack for physical comedy. Perry’s creative impulse was forged in the crucible of personal pain. Channeling years of abuse by his father into writing plays with beautifully rendered characters, Perry bested homelessness and despair to transform black urban theater (pejoratively called the “chitlin’ circuit”), and expanded his audience as quickly as he released hit movies. His seven films, which rarely cost more than $20 million, have grossed upward of $300 million combined — four of them opened at No. 1 — and sold 25 million DVDs. And last October, he made history, opening the first black-owned film studio in the United States. — by Ellen McGirt

Website: http://www.tylerperry.com/

#22, Damien Hirst, Artist
Hate him or loathe him, Damien Hirst is an artistic and business provocateur. Who else could render a photo of Bill Gates standing in front of his own famous work (The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living) and turn it into a painting that sells for more than half a million dollars? Bill With Shark is a shrewd bit of philosophical and capitalist commentary: the once-voracious, aging Gates catching his own reflection and contemplating the work’s title. Of course, the deeper reveal came to the art world when Hirst sold this and other works at Sotheby’s last September for nearly $200 million, cutting out the middleman and raising the real possibility of the death of the art dealer. — by Mark Borden

Website: http://www.damienhirst.com/

#24, Jil Sander, Designer, creative director, Uniqlo
The high-fashion/mass-marketing movement seems to be reaching a new phase with Jil Sander’s new project: The German designer, who became famous for her luxurious if minimalist couture, has signed on as the creative director for Japanese retailer Uniqlo. Sander, who sold her namesake label in 2004, took on the clothing chain as her first consulting client, and then agreed to oversee its fall and winter collections — possibly including one of her own design. — by Abha Bhattarai

Website:http://www.jilsander.com/

#31,Hayao Miyazaki, Cofounder, Studio Ghibli
When Pixar’s animators need inspiration, they watch Hayao Miyazaki’s movies. The giant of anime has been elevating cartoons into epic cinematic events for more than two decades, with fantastic, award-winning films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away. The writer-director’s stories are mostly hand-drawn, with strong female characters and morally ambiguous plotlines that make his work a harder sell than, say, Shrek 10 would be. But this summer, Miyazaki may finally get his commercial due in the U.S. with Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea. Disney/Pixar creative chief John Lasseter worked with megaproducers Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy to build a stellar voice cast (Tina Fey, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson) and to secure Miyazaki his widest U.S.-theater release yet. — by Jennifer Vilaga

Website: http://www.studioghibli.net/

#36, Pharrell Williams, Musician
Pharrell Williams knows it all starts with a beat — he got his start on the snare drum in his high-school marching band back in Virginia Beach, Virginia. As half of the production duo known as the Neptunes, he has helped everyone from Britney Spears to Justin Timberlake to Madonna to the Hives find time on the charts. Williams also fronts the funk-rock band N.E.R.D., produces a clothing line called Billionaire Boys Club, hawks a line of shoes under the Ice Cream Footwear brand, and designed sunglasses and jewelry for Louis Vuitton. Most recently, Limelight, an updated version of Fame that he created with film director McG, was picked up by ABC. Tapping Williams’s own beat, the show is loosely based on his performing-arts experience in high school. — by Mark Borden

Website: http://bbcicecream.com/blog/

#40, Neil Gaiman, Author, screenwriter
“Writing is, like death, a lonely business,” according to Neil Gaiman. But the prolific wordsmith has made it a bit less so, building a global community of fans of all ages and in many media, including comic books (Sandman), novels (American Gods), TV (the BBC’s Neverwhere), and a children’s novella turned 3-D movie (Coraline). In January, Gaiman won the Newbery Medal, kiddie lit’s top honor, for The Graveyard Book, the enchanting, daringly dark tale of an orphan protected by the long-dead residents of a cemetery. Gaiman also blogs at neilgaiman.com, discussing everything from his computer setup to his success. “I liked the idea of a world in which I could feed my family by making things up and writing them down,” he wrote recently. “[But] I’m not quite sure how it happened.” — by Danielle Sacks

Website: http://www.neilgaiman.com/

#41, Maurice Sendak, Writer, illustrator, producer
The extraordinary Maurice Sendak has sold millions of copies of Where the Wild Things Are (1963) and In the Night Kitchen (1970); most recently, he collaborated with Tony Kushner on Brundibar (the book debuted in 2003, the play in 2006). Sendak, now 80, has designed operas, won myriad honors, spawned everything from stuffed monsters to lunch boxes, and inspired generations of dreamy kids. In October, the Wild Things feature film will premiere. An improbably hip, moodily gorgeous affair, it’s being brought to the screen by a formidable team: director Spike Jonze; screenwriter Dave Eggers; stars Catherine Keener, Mark Ruffalo, and James Gandolfini; and Arcade Fire and Karen O (of Yeah Yeah Yeahs), who are providing music. Let the wild rumpus begin! — Anya Kamenetz

Website: http://www.harpercollinschildrens.com/HarperChildrens/Kids/A…

#42, Marc Jacobs, Fashion designer, LVMH
Marc Jacobs has “made fashion hip, but not inaccessibly hip,” says Vogue editor Anna Wintour. Accessibly hip enough for him to build a $5 billion empire within LVMH that delights both the moneyed elite and the allowance-driven economy (his junk-store concept — $11 flip-flops, $55 rubber totes — is still thriving in the retail slump). Jacobs’s knack for forecasting trends (this fall, neon and ’80s nostalgia), anointing muses (hola, Anne Hathaway), and playing the media keep him in the spotlight. But it’s his endless inspiration that drives sales. “It’s very organic. We say, ‘Let’s make this happen and see what the reaction is,’ ” Jacobs says. “It’s not like a creative person sits down with a mathematician. That’s a hard thing for a lot of businesspeople to understand.” — by Mark Borden

Website: http://www.marcjacobs.com/

#44, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Chef
In this era of celebrity chefs and haute cuisine gone less haute, Alsace-born Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the rare talent who has grown his empire without resorting to the indignity of slapping his face on a frying pan or frozen pizza. He already has 18 restaurants — eight of them in New York, including Vong and his flagship Jean Georges, which has three Michelin stars — and for a sense of the size of his plate, consider that Spice Market alone rakes in about $15 million a year in revenue. His unprecedented partnership with Starwood Hotels has given the cuisinier license to unleash his creativity — and trademark Asian flavors — in 50 new restaurants over the next five years. That’s still not enough for him: “If I could have my dream,” he has said, “I would open a new restaurant every month.” — by Kate Rockwood

Website: http://www.jean-georges.com/

#47, A.R. Rahman, Composer
You might know A.R. Rahman as the Oscar-winning composer behind Slumdog Millionaire’s “Jai Ho,” which has been downloaded more than 100,000 times on iTunes and was re-recorded as a hit collaboration with the Pussycat Dolls. But Rahman has been writing Bollywood hits since 1992. His soundtracks have reshaped Indian pop, adding influences from jazz, reggae, and Western classical music, and have sold more than 100 million copies. Rahman also created the musical Bombay Dreams and has been testing new forms of music distribution; through a tie-up with Nokia, he recently released an album just for the company’s music-phone users in India. — by Dan Macsai

Website: http://www.arrahman.com/

#55, Gregg Gillis, Mashup artist
Gregg Gillis, 27, is the first truly postmodern rock star. The ex-biomedical engineer layers unlicensed song samples and “performs” them live, with him and his laptop center stage. Last year, he released his fourth album, Feed the Animals, online, using Radiohead’s pay-what-you-want model. So artful are his mashups — Feed the Animals’ 300-plus samples include unlikely pairings such as Nine Inch Nails and Kelly Clarkson, and David Bowie and 2 Live Crew — that even the notoriously litigious record labels have offered their ultimate compliment: silence. — by Jennifer Vilaga

#60, Josh Schwartz,Television producer, writer
Josh Schwartz has made his name chronicling the young, pretty, and privileged on TV, first with The O.C., then with Gossip Girl. But after his Girl found unexpected success online — new episodes routinely top iTunes’ most-downloaded chart — Schwartz, 32, pitched his latest beautiful brainchild, “Rockville CA,” to TheWB.com as a series of five-minute Webisodes. “Kids are going to college with laptops, not TVs,” says the former USC frat boy. “I figured, Why not?” Not that he’s swearing off old media: His as-yet-untitled Gossip Girl spin-off debuts this fall on the CW, and he’s directing a new film version of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City. — by Dan Macsai

#69,Dave Stewart, Musician and record producer
You may know Dave Stewart as the Eurythmics cofounder and a singer’s songwriter — he’s written hits for Tom Petty, Celine Dion, and No Doubt. But it’s the rest of his CV that’s unexpectedly impressive. He started the consulting company DeepStew with Deepak Chopra, acts as U.S. creative director for the Law Firm ad group, serves as president of entertainment for fashion designer Christian Audigier’s brand-management unit, and is an official Change Agent for Nokia. “I’m willing to receive a smaller percentage and relinquish control, as long as the idea goes into the minds of a brilliant company,” he says. “I’m not going to run out of creativity or ideas, so I don’t hang on to stuff for dear life. If you’re terrified to release control, nothing gets made!” — by Mark Borden

#70, Brian Donnelly (KAWS), Artist and Designer
Brian Donnelly has been compared to Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, both of whom straddled the divide between street and institutional art. But Donnelly has arguably surpassed them with his one-man empire. Business at his Tokyo-based company OriginalFake, created as an outlet for his art and related merchandise, is thriving. During his February L.A. gallery show — just his second solo exhibition ever — the line to enter snaked seven blocks; Lance Armstrong bought the biggest painting. The guy who just a few years ago was hiding in bushes to evade anti-graffiti officers is now being courted by megabrands that want his signature graphic treatment on their products. Mostly, he’d rather not. “I only like to work with companies that are part of my life already,” says Donnelly, who has said yes to Marc Jacobs, Nike, and Levi’s. — by Jana Meier

Website: http://www.davestewart.com/

#73, Dan Barber, Executive chef and co-owner, Blue Hill restaurants
“Manhattan’s answer to the Farmer in the Dell,” as Dan Barber was called by a New York Times restaurant critic, is more than the foodies’ latest locavore darling. The driving spirit behind the two Blue Hill restaurants, Barber, 39, is a passionate advocate for regional farm networks. They’re the answer, he says, to big agriculture’s economic and ecological abuses. A 2009 James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Chef, he practices what he preaches on his own family’s farm and at the Stone Barns Center, a not-for-profit that promotes sustainable agri-culture. One of his trademark dishes is This Morning’s Farm Egg, with hen broth and root vegetables — tasty proof that the farm-to-table movement is not just high-end menuspeak. — by Linda Tischler

Website: http://www.bluehillfarm.com/

#83,Brian Eno, Musician
Brain Eno, the father of ambient music, is still in the vanguard. Take his recent collaboration with David Byrne. Byrne wrote lyrics in New York to the instrumental tracks Eno had sent from Lon-don. Then they prereleased the album, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, online. Now he’s curating a lights-and-music festival in Australia that includes his own light show projected on the Sydney Opera House. — by Genevieve Knapp

Website: http://www.enoshop.co.uk/

#86, Cai Guo-Qiang, Artist
When not drawing — and detonating — pictures made from gunpowder or staging massive outdoor “explosion events” like the fireworks at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Cai Guo-Qiang is busy breaking records. His 14 gunpowder pieces sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong in 2007 for $9.5 million, an all-time auction high for contemporary Chinese art. He’s the first Chinese artist to snag a Venice Biennale award and the first living artist to have a solo show in a state-operated Chinese museum. The seven white sedans he suspended from the ceiling at the Guggenheim in New York last year left the art world chattering about American car culture. — by Kate Rockwood

Website: http://www.caiguoqiang.com/

#92, Simon Collins, Dean of fashion, Parsons
After 20 years in the industry, Simon Collins is grooming the next wave of Tom Fords to be as prepared for the boardroom as they are for the run-way. In less than one year, he has devised a new model for his 1,300 students to collab-orate with companies such as Ellen Tracy, Henri Bendel, and Gap. Collins, 41, who began his career as a bespoke tailor in London, designed for Ralph Lauren, Ermenegildo Zegna, Reebok, and Nike, and spent a brief spell opening a New York design office for Wal-Mart. Now he aims to trans-form Parsons — which produces some 70% of the designers on Seventh Avenue — into the breeding ground for the first generation of sustainability-minded designers. “If we taught our students it’s all about red, they’d go into their careers thinking it’s all about red,” Collins says. “Hopefully we can do that with sustainability.” — by Danielle Sacks

Website: http://www.parsons.edu/faculty_and_staff/faculty_details.asp…

#94, Kevin Adams, Lighting designer
Kevin Adams is on the leading edge of the post-incandescent age on Broadway, exploiting the potential of CFL bulbs, fluorescent tubes, glass and flex neon, and the latest LED technology. His work for Spring Awakening — brilliant white light for the 19th-century play’s scenes and saturated color from what he calls “electric objects” for the songs — won him a Tony in 2007. He picked up a second Tony in 2008 for The 39 Steps. Another Adams hit: a fabulous wall of light for the musical Passing Strange. One admirer said it looked “like Mark Rothko meets Japanese pop.” Adams also lit the current revival of Hair. — by B. Martin

Website: http://www.ambermylar.com/

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