Since an early age I have always loved listening to great storytellers; especially authentic life stories. An interest that began listening to my Dad with his adventures as an entrepreneur selling his latest engineering invention’s. This continued into adulthood as a business person listening to the fascinating stories of self made entrepreneurs and professionals.
One of my fondest memories came when I met two distinguished gentlemen in the Hilton Edinburgh one day. For what was supposed to be a brief business meeting- developed into the most insightful and positive three hour’s of my career in business.
One of the many topics we spoke about that day from patents, trademarks to business systems and theories was the immense creative unrealised potential of our great Art Colleges in Scotland. With the ear of an ex-board member of one of Scotland’s leading Art Colleges I raised a question to Norman. Whether our Art Colleges were teaching graduates how to sustain an income and career in the Arts on graduating?
Unlike other Art & Design graduates I had an equal measure of commercial business skills that came from being born and bred into an entrepreneurial family. But what about all that creative talent exiting those Art College gates every year?
Truth is often stranger than Fiction!
Norman shared one brilliant story about the successful Scottish Artist Jack Vettriano.
On Leith Walk in the outskirts of Edinburgh is a small Barbers that Norman regularly visited for many years. Another customer that shared the same barbers was a poor dishevelled undiscovered artist called ‘Jack Vettriano’.
Norman recalled the regular banter and jokes in the barbers about Jack and his unpaid barbers tab and the barber continually commenting that he was promised one of his paintings in exchange for his bill.
Several months past and Norman noticed Jack’s absence and enquired to the barber about Jack, only to be told that he was now living somewhere in the Mediterranean.
Weeks and months passed and then one day as Norman sat in the barbers a new smartly dressed and transformed Jack Vettriano appeared in the barber’s doorway with the money for his unpaid barbers tab. With Norman recounting one of the most important things that Jack said;
”I am now a brand!”
And well the rest is history!
33 years on from graduating from Art College I ask the question. How many creative students graduate with the additional skills to sustain an income and career in their chosen field?
Thank you Norman & Gilbert