The Multipotentialite painting explores the emotional reaction of multi-passionate people when they are asked to select a niche and the inner conflicts that ensue.
As a multi-passionate person myself (sometimes interchangeably called multipotentialite, scanner, renaissance person, or polymath, even though these are not the same) I’ve been told on many occasions and in many different ways that I need to specialize in order to be successful.
That’s a horrible advice to give to people like us.
I describe why in detail on I Paint Ideas™ Podcast – The Multipotentialite episode.
In this painting, I wanted to capture the moment when a multipotentialite – someone who is exceptional at more than one thing – is faced with a choice of selecting one of their talents and leaving the rest behind.
On one hand — if she follows the path of choosing just one talent to focus on, she runs the risk of feeling broken and incomplete. Like looking at yourself in a shattered mirror where none of the pieces fully connect. On the other hand — she can abandon searching for that one thing to focus on and try to find a way to integrate herself into a unique expression of her to present to the world, which runs the risk of not fitting in anywhere and being totally misunderstood.
So she’s in this no-win situation — a Kobayashi Maru.
What you see in the painting is her frozen at this moment, And you see her sitting there, very emotional. There are many blues and many different colors to symbolize these emotions; it’s very turbulent, which is her state of mind… She is nude, representing her vulnerability… She’s hunched over, she’s looking down, and her forehead is on her forearm. She’s depressed and frustrated because as smart and talented as she is, she cannot figure out which way to go.
Daeu Angert. The Multipotentialite. Diary Collection. 2020. Oil on canvass. 60 x 48 inches.
In the painting, you can see those shards of mirror reflecting pieces of her. You can see the yellow of her elbow reflected in different places. You can see her legs echoing. You can see the shards of glass going into her back to symbolize the pain she is going through and suggest that she doesn’t know what is hurting her — what the real problem is. The new question the painting poses is, “where does she go from here”?
Even if we finally choose one thing to go with — we feel incomplete. Feeling incomplete causes us to change to the next one because the first — we know now — wasn’t right. And off we go — spiraling down into an abyss of another no-win situation that we are uniquely unqualified to rescue ourselves from.
As I was going through making the painting, I distilled what I did for myself to help me figure out my “one thing” as a polymath and codify a new approach for people like me to:
- Embrace and use their multitude of talents uniquely and expansively,
- Integrate all their abilities, interests, expertise, etc. to work in concert with one another towards all their goals, and
- Feel whole, and stay open to possibilities without the overwhelm.
You can download it for free here.
I love how this came about in the continuation of the creative process. A random video on Instagram inspires artwork that inspires an entirely new way of solving one of the most common problems: picking a niche for multi-passionate entrepreneurs. Creativity never stops.
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