We had the good fortune of connecting with Lori Phillips Ed.D. and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lori, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
Don’t give up your day job! Early on in my life, someone gave me some great advice. They said “Never reinvent the wheel, just add to it”.
In other words, each project you are working on, should tie into the other activities in your life. In this way, you are never creating something totally new, you are adding to or improving something you already know. This allows you to use your ideas, work, and energy from one thing to connect to something in another area. For example, I never quit my full time job as a researcher/educator. However, I often use the data to create new ideas for writing, courses, speaking engagements, and art. All of which, I claim independently.
Professionally, I am an arts educator. But I use the knowledge I gain from my work, to remodel rental homes, lead art travel groups, publish films, paint, speak to community groups about culture and collect and sell art. This knowledge and expertise was gathered and paid for by sticking with my “day job” and connecting everything I do……. to all that I do.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
“Art, just like life is a series of decisions. Each decision moves the artist forward, and forms the basis of each new decision the artist will make.” Lori Phillips
As I mentioned before, I believe success is achieved in both art and in life by connecting what you did before to the very next mark or action you make. I use this idea in every part of my life. When I connect two unfamiliar ideas together, I am able to create fresh ideas.
This technique is a
recipe for creative thought and for seeing something in a new way.
The other day, in a classroom of sixteen year old boys, I was teaching the concept of democracy. The teens were not too inspired by this topic. But, how about car motors? I had them discuss everything they knew about carburetors. How do pistons work? What is the role of gas?
Then we all discussed, “What are the pistons of democracy?” Are the people the gas, or are they the steering wheel? How does the motor of democracy work?
In my artwork or in my life, I make a mark. I tend to base my next mark on the connection I can make to the previous mark. In my present artwork I combined my need to sort old family photos and my desire to learn about my ancestors, with my desire to paint. Here is what came out of this!
(Show images of current ancestor paintings)
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In any city that I travel in, I tend to search out the best hole in the wall restaurants and shops. Authentic tourism is a real thing. I define it by, “Any activity that would exist IF a tourist was not part of the picture.”
I believe people travel to learn to read the visual culture of a place. Why have hotel entertainment that is not the best example of the arts of the area. By supporting the services that promote the local aesthetic, the traveler gains and authentic experience while financially supporting the people of the local area. This goes for eating out, entertainment or shopping in any city. Some of the best experiences of any area are the street food or the small locally owned shops where you can really connect with the owner or staff. I find all people are proud of the place in which they have chosen to live their lives.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Dr. John Kofel and Dr. Tom Barlow were the first two leaders I worked under who modeled letting staff do what they do best. They allowed me to be an artist and creative thinker. I felt they respected and honored my differences. They worked the big picture vision of the company and allowed the staff do whatever they were best at. They credited people verbally in front of others and seldom micro-managed. Because of this, people worked extra, pushed themselves, and would do anything to earn their respect.
I learned how to handle people in every area of my life from them.
Focus the light on where individuals shine!