Being a founder of a company can be an all-consuming passion. It’s not the sort of job that lets you clock off at 5pm to go bowling or to book a series of writing classes to flex those overworked creative muscles.
So how do founders of successful companies – usually highly creative and motivated people – choose to wind down? We asked some of our favourite founders and discovered that they had some unusual pastimes to escape the mayhem of pitching, funding, testing and launching.
First up, we speak to Caitlin Winner who, as well as being Co-Founder and CPO of Amen also finds the time to create a series of oil paintings, some of which are inspired by her adopted hometown of Berlin. And they’re really rather good.
Hi Caitlin. We stumbled on these on your blog – how long have you been painting and how often do you paint?
I started taking night and weekend painting courses in Boston after I graduated from college in 2006. Boston has a lot of art schools that offer extra curricular classes, not to mention some really amazing painters. Since living in Berlin I’ve been painting more on my own at a pace of about one painting a week.
You’re super-busy with Amen right now, why is it important to make time for this?
The process is important. It’s a way to get out of my own thoughts – a transcendence of sorts. Besides that, I really like making things, starting from nothing and ending with something new.
What or who inspires you?
The impressionists Cezanne, Gauguin and Bonnard. The masterful whites of Degas. The fleshy figures of Lucian Freud. Georgio Morandi’s bottles. Everything painted by Antonio Lopez Garcia and Lennart Anderson. The thick palette knife paintings by my friend David Kelley. Also, the orange-red roofs in Berlin [see below], the blue hour, the poetry of Wallace Stevens and the writing of Charles Hawthorne.
Why is it important to flex creative muscle as well as concentrate on main work?
Painting is a nice analogue counterpoint to the digital day-to-day at Amen. Though, I’d say both are creative endeavors and both are hard work.
Next week – find out which founder has an unhealthy obsession with Berlin doorways…