Abstract Art Factory

My Inspirations, Part 1 of 8

I haven't been speaking for long enough to have an annual routine. But so far, in the tail end of the year it seems like I don't have a lot to do, creatively. I have to talk at the conferences I've been accepted to, which usually entails some tweaks and retouching of the work I've already done, but I'm rarely creating or drawing stuff from scratch. And as much as my partner really wishes I'd be working on improvements to the house, I find myself getting antsy.

So I decided to work on something that would mean something to me, and hopefully help me out in the next year. I started by building up a list of people that have inspired me in some way - that have taught me a lesson about the world, or about myself, and that have encouraged me from afar. Now kind of by definition, these can't be people I know... for them to take the form I need them to, they need to exist as a kind of archetype, as a mythical exemplar of a concept, like the Platonic ideal of the Thing. So if you're not on the list, don't feel bad - all but two of them are dead.
The list of people who I know who've inspired me, helped me, or encouraged me is huge, and I should pay them proper tribute at some point. But this isn't that.

Once I had my list, the goal was to draw a portrait of each. I'll eventually get them printed on photo paper in small format and put them into a frame of some kind I can use as a centering point before I speak, to remind myself why I do it. But I also figured that as I go, I should post them here, along with why they're on the list and some of the lessons I learned from them. So without further ado, here's number one on the list (which is in no particular order).

W. Edwards Deming



Quotes I Love

  • "All anyone asks for is a chance to work with pride."
  • "Whenever there is fear, you will get wrong figures."
  • "Learning is not compulsory... neither is survival."

What They Taught Me

W. Edwards Deming has taught a lot of people a lot of things, but the big thing he taught me was that it is okay to strive for quality in my work - that it is acceptable to challenge the system that produces something if that system could be improved, or if it forces me to work in a way that compromises myself or my own output.

Why They Inspire Me

Deming inspires me to improve. To view the world around me as systems which operate regardless of my participation in them, but which I can change through my participation. He inspires me to look for the good, to measure that which I want to improve, to step back and gather understanding, and to experiment instead of hypothesizing. He inspires me to consider people as an integral part of the systems I see - people who have their own thoughts, feelings, drives, and goals.

So that's 1 of 8 done! Here's hoping I can get the rest done before the end of the year.