First of all, who is Anna Wintour? She is best known for your role as the editor and chief of the fashion magazine Vogue and later as the artistic director for the entire Condé Nast suite of magazines. She is the daughter of Charles Wintour, the editor of the London Evening Standard newspaper.
Amy Odell has written an interesting biography on Anna's life which I found thought-provoking. Being the editor and chief of Vogue magazine is more than simply fashion curating. It includes creating opportunities for up-and-coming designers to be seen, to monitor and encourage connections between influential people, to understand the ongoing political environment, knowing how publishing fits into that mix, and being of service to non-profit fundraising events for meaningful causes.
How does Anna do it all? She focuses her attention on the things that need her and she eliminates everything else. Including the pleasantries as she greets people in the hallways of her offices. Her demeanor has been criticized as chilly. She rarely gives compliments and can control the room of staff with a simple look. No one wants to be on the bad side of Anna as she is the most influential figure in the fashion industry.
As I build my career, focus is one of the things that I repeatedly question. What do I focus on? Is it what I want to focus on? Does this bring me a benefit- spiritually, mentally, financially, emotionally, etc. Now I recall saying to my Mom, many years ago, "Do what makes you happy because you are trading a day of your life for it." It was sage advice for her and for me as I mature.
Prior to this fine art career, my creativity had been all over the place, for years.
Whew. It was a lot.
In 2020, when I went full time into my art career, I soon realized that this career was going to take all my attention. My other creative activities would have to pivot to make room for that. The transition was a bit unsettling because I was so used to being super busy. As a result, I filled my art career with all kinds of projects. Teaching students all over North America and the UK online, producing PDF materials to teach from, creating videos, starting a Youtube channel, creating groups on Facebook, etc. I simply replaced my previous busyness with a new form of busyness.
Focus is an essential part of actually being effective and what we are doing. Now I'm focusing exclusively on producing great paintings and selling those paintings directly to clients.
Back to Anna. Being a leader in the fashion industry comes with its own set of controversy. Ego's that get bent out of shape, opinions about editorial decisions, casting the cover personalities that may not be widely supported. Through all the controversy Anna, outwardly, was not fazed. She knew why she was making the decisions she was making, and she knew that others may not agree. She didn't try to please everyone, rather, she stuck to her vision for Vogue and the fashion industry that has led her through her 40 year career.
Having an opinion may not be popular and it may not please everyone. That is not the point. When an artist is making decisions about anything to do with their art, it's important to have an opinion. Just this morning I sent an email to a fellow artist talking about safeguarding those preferences. She is having a show and wants to provide food, specific food, because it matches her vision for the event. The atmosphere that we create when we present our art influences how people experience what we have created.
I have been asked over the years to produce art that is outside my preference. It could be a different subject/style, or a variety of flower that I don't want to spend time with. It's been important to decide, or rather listen to what my soul wants to create versus trying to please everyone. This is creative integrity for me. Might not be popular all the time with others, and that's not my main motivation. Yes, it feels good when people appreciate my work, and that is not the first thing I consider when I'm beginning a new creative project.
Back to Anna. She has her hair trimmed every few days; she regularly plays tennis to stay fit, and dresses for her job, often opting for heels with her polished outfits.
Now I work from home, often not seeing anyone other than my family. Is my hair always styled - no. Do I sometimes paint in my jammies all day - yes. Does it change my experience - sometimes.
One thing Anna safeguards is that Vogue is a brand and with her at the head of it, she makes sure she dresses to represent that brand.
My art is also a brand. I have a style unlike any other artist. I'm going to consider how I'm presenting myself and my brand of art in all my interactions.
Anna Wintour has been a guiding leader in the fashion industry, the go to person to discuss all things fashion. Designers have relied on her opinion to help them guide their careers. Her life's work is iconic. I enjoyed reading the book and learning more about her and her empire. I may never have several million dollars to spend on an event, yet I'm inspired to think about events and my art in a new way.
I hope you have enjoyed this blog post. Leave me a comment below and let me know your thoughts. If you'd like to see my work you can go to my website. The button below will take you there.