Entrepreneur Artist Paints Path to Innovation: Onsite Coverage
LAS VEGAS — Erik Wahl, a former corporate executive, who left the corporate world to reconnect with creativity and art, explained and demonstrated Tuesday to attendees at the American Credit Union Mortgage Association’s annual conference how they can use creativity to spark innovation and improved performance.
Wahl started his presentation by asking the audience at the Encore in Las Vegas if they can draw. When no one raised their hands, he said that was the usual response from most of his audiences. The difference was stark compared to when he would ask the same question at schools where nearly 100% of hands would go up, he said.
Those children have not yet learned to doubt their own creativity and desire to do things that are new and different, Wahl said, recounting how he had loved to draw as a child but was chastised in class for painting an apple pumpkin orange.
“I didn’t pick up a paint brush again until I was over 30 years old,” he said.
During his ACUMA session, he gave a high-energy presentation that used art, music videos and audience participation to drive home the idea that tapping into creativity when confronting business challenges and being willing to take risks and try new things not only make men and women better executives, it also helps them become better people.
Over the course of his presentation, Wahl painted three works of art: a portrait of Abraham Lincoln, a picture of an American eagle and a portrait of Apple Computer founder and former CEO Steve Jobs.
The portrait of Lincoln went to an attendee from Chicago who accepted the invitation to become involved with its creation.
ACUMA is holding a silent auction for the American eagle picture, the association said. Attendees will bid on the painting through a conference app with bids starting at $1,000. ACUMA said it will donate the proceeds to a fund administered by the National Realtors Association to support real estate professionals living in natural disaster zones.
“We have a long history of working to expand Realtor awareness of credit union mortgage programs and we saw this as a unique opportunity to help further that message,” ACUMA President Bob Dorsa said.