682. What It Means to Have the Heart and Soul of an Artist
“I just fell in love with the color and the light, and the idea that something came from my mind, through my heart and out my fingertips, and crafted something.”
Gordon Huether is a public artist who has created public art installations for universities, hospitals, recreation centers, civic buildings, libraries, museums, airports, transportation centers, parking garages, and private corporations throughout the world. He has completed more than 250 art commissions over the course of his 30-plus-year career. In addition, his work has been exhibited at museums and galleries, and is represented in private collections throughout the United States and Europe. A team of administrators, highly skilled fabricators and technicians support the process from initial design development through final installation. Gordon Huether Studio is located in a 15,000 square foot facility in Napa, CA.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Although he felt he had the heart of an artist from an early age, it was during an unsettled time in his teens when his talents became tangible. “My father gave me a box of colored glass and a pattern of a parrot. With ten thumbs, I made my first stained glass window on his kitchen table.” After that, he made a second and a third, and was off on an artistic path, working with glass. “I just fell in love with the color and the light, and the idea that something came from my mind, through my heart and out my fingertips, and crafted something.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
In his mid-20s, Gordon discovered, “It was just too cumbersome to launch a career as an artist in Germany. So, I came home to California and continued my work in glass, working for some studios. Then, finally, I just quit my job and started my own studio in my garage. I put a work table in there, a few sheets of glass and a sandblasting booth, and started hustling, looking for commissions.” His first big break came with a $50,000 project for Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, working in collaboration with a design team.
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“Looking back on my decision to quit my job and open my own studio, I can see there’s some naiveté in doing that, and quite a bit of courage. In hindsight, I can’t believe I did it! Honestly, at that time, I didn’t think I was very talented at all. I was more ambitious than talented, more clever than talented, more of a hustler than talented. I just was determined that was what I was going to do. I now know, from my own personal story, that the early years of pain and struggle turned out to be a benefit, not a hindrance.”
Steps to Success from Gordon Huether
1. Reading and thinking are two good places to start. There is so much wisdom and guidance available in books.
2, Focus on what you can add to society with your talents. Then believe that the money will follow.
3. Build your support system that allows you to totally embrace the creativity that’s called for, if you want to take on enormous projects.
4. Accept the responsibility for doing what you know you are supposed to do. Recognize your responsibility to express your talents and move forward.
On His Bookshelf
The Road Less Traveled and Beyond: Spiritual Growth in an Age of Anxiety, by M. Scott Peck
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
The Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
Aztec, by Gary Jennings
Connecting With Gordon Huether
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