A lot of multipotentialites are artists. It’s actually pretty rare to meet one that isn’t versed in at least one artistic medium. Some multipods view their art as a hobby, while others seek to elevate it to an income stream or even to their primary source of work.
If you are going to make money with your art, then how do your other passions fit into the mix? You don’t want to be just another session musician or freelance illustrator, you want to be the musician who gives speeches and travels or the holistic illustrator who teaches entrepreneurship classes and creates creativity zines for their community.
Over the next two weeks, we’re going to meet some inspiring multipotentialites who have based much of their work around their art, and yet have found ways of integrating their other passions into the mix.
Meet Mark Powers
Mark isn’t your typical drummer. Instead of deriving his income from some combination of performing and teaching, as many professional musicians do. Mark injected this approach with a few of his other passions, namely technology, anthropology, philanthropy, lifestyle design, and travel. What resulted is a business that can be run from anywhere, and that provides Mark with numerous outlets for his creativity.
Mark teaches percussion, not only in person, but online, using video conferencing applications like Skype. This means that the reach of his business extends beyond his physical location and he is able to get students from all over the world. It also means that he can teach someone who lives in the US, while roaming the globe. This is exactly what Mark did in 2011, when he flew to Uganda to record youth choirs and local village musicians. The resulting album, Amaloboozi (which means “voices” in the Luganda language) can be purchased through his website, and all proceeds go to directly benefit organizations doing humanitarian work in those regions.
In addition to his teaching and philanthropic work, Mark also creates digital guides with names like Grooves on the Go and Djammin’. These guides are meant for percussionists as well as teachers, and can be bought and downloaded directly from his site. Mark runs percussion workshops at schools, community centers and in corporate settings, and of course he still performs live with various musicians.
While a non-multipotentialite might find this lifestyle to be overwhelming, Mark loves it. His work allows him to lead a rich, multifaceted life, and with all of the different projects and formats that he morphs between, he rarely gets bored.
How Mark Does It
To the untrained eye, Mark’s business might seem narrow, focused squarely on percussion. However, percussion is actually the lens that allows him to explore many of his other passions and curiosities.
When Mark speaks at a TEDx event, he is using percussion to help the audience feel connected. When running workshops at schools across the country, Mark is helping teenagers boost their self-esteem. When drumming alongside African musicians, Mark is bridging the gaps between cultures and languages.
Percussion is Mark’s way of seeing and interacting with the world. It may not seem like an overarching theme in the classic sense, but it is just that- the thing that brings his many passions together.
Do you have an artistic medium that you could use as a lens to explore your many interests?
If you haven’t already, be sure to download The Overarching Theme Kit. It’s free and it includes a number of examples and exercises to help you craft that umbrella theme that will allow you to integrate your many passions into your work.
Emilie Wapnick is the Founder and Creative Director at Puttylike, where she helps multipotentialites integrate ALL of their interests into their lives. Unable to settle on one path herself, Emilie studied music, art, film production and law, graduating from the Law Faculty at McGill University. She is an occasional rock star, a paleo-friendly eater and a wannabe
scientist carpenter. Learn more about Emilie here.