Why Your Work Should be Art?

Aaron McHugh

I have a fierce commitment to the belief that our Work is our Art.

What we do and most especially how we do it can either be stiff robotic toil or deeply human and poetic.

By pouring our heart, soul and passion into our Work it becomes Art.

Your not an Artist if…

Sadly, Work is simply toil for most people.  I believe there are two converging elements that make this reality occur.

Required ingredients (external factors):

#1 Take one part bad Work Environment with a double heaping of Bad Leadership.

That alone can make it tough to view your Work as your Art.

You instead are stuck watching the clock, trying to keep your head low and out of harms way.

Attitude is your contribution

There is an equal part ingredient that you add, Attitude (internal factor).

#2 Heaping portions of bad interpretations and blame

-They made me feel this way.

-They don’t inspire me.

-I am not excited about what I do.

“Art is not a gene or a specific talent.”

Seth Godin says it very well in his new book The Icarus Deception. Taken from the Amazon expert.

What are you afraid of?  The old rules: Play it safe. Stay in your comfort zone. Find an institution, a job, a set of rules to stick to. Keep your head down. Don’t fly too close to the sun.The new truth: It’s better to be sorry than safe. You need to fly higher than ever.

In his bravest and most challenging book yet, Seth Godin shows how we can thrive in an econ­omy that rewards art, not compliance. He explains why true innovators focus on trust, remarkabil­ity, leadership, and stories that spread. And he makes a passionate argument for why you should be treating your work as art.

Art is not a gene or a specific talent. It’s an attitude, available to anyone who has a vision that others don’t, and the guts to do something about it. Steve Jobs was an artist. So were Henry Ford and Martin Luther King Jr.

To work like an artist means investing in the things that scale: creativity, emotional labor, and grit. The path of the artist isn’t for the faint of heart—but Godin shows why it’s your only chance to stand up, stand out, and make a difference.

The time to seize new ground and work without a map is now. So what are you going to do?

Start making Art and stop making excuses.


  • Kickstarter campaign where The Icarus Deception was funded.  Watch the video. 
  • Mike Field-Artist turned clothing line creator merging Sport, Life and Art together.  Podcast to follow.

8 thoughts on “Why Your Work Should be Art?

  1. Aaron, my favorite piece was, “Art is not a gene or a specific talent. It’s an attitude.” My father is an artist, his studio is stacked to the ceiling with boxes of drawings, and concepts; his shop is riddled with creations. Growing up as an apprentice to him, that’s been the biggest thing I’ve learned from him – That the artist is the one who chooses to always see, to take the time to perceive what others overlook. That’s an attitude – a way of looking at the world.

    I wrote a post on this a few years back called Skateboarding with One Leg. It’s on an abandoned blog project at http://www.100in100.com/54-skateboarding-with-one-leg/

  2. Aaron isn’t that piece perfect-Art is not a gene. I would have said otherwise for so many years because like your father I am not a painter nor crafty with a sketch pad. “the artist is the one who chooses to always see” That truly is an attitude. Thanks for adding this. going to read your blog post now.

  3. You’re so right, Aaron. So many people toil away at something and never get around to creating art. It’s like they were created to be drones on the factory floor, never wanting to impact the world with the gifts they’ve been given. Sadly, most of them die with those gifts still in them.

    1. Justin I am wondering if we will see a shift in how craftsmanship will be valued. E.g. movies these days are largely CGI, will the old 8M handheld or black & white craftsman artist be re-engaged as our society gets weary of mass production? Keep going.

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