Conversations with Crafty Art: sculpting forward-looking ideas on how to motivate, engage and cater to your talents.
How many of you have a favourite superhero? Raise your hand or even better, leave your thoughts in the comment section. Any film character that you identify with? Name one, but don’t forget to mention a memorable line that changed your calling.
Here at The Inner View, we admire and support those who educate and inspire. For that reason we have reached out to our own superhero, a talented craftsman, to find out how his work animates, emboldens, and motivates people from all walks of life.
What is the meaning of this?
Our experience with businesses across the world taught us that no matter what type of culture you promote, as a considerate employer, you need to find creative ways to reward your best employees. Not only for good work, outstanding achievements, but also for honorary events such as birthdays, anniversaries, or Christmas. The majority keep it simple and get together and whip into shape team events, raise a glass, give a hear-hear, or just say a happy New Year.
There’s nothing wrong with that or with other methods such as voting for the employee/team of the month, shopping vouchers, handwritten thank you notes, office BBQs, or certain perks like leaving a half hour early on Friday. Here are a few options to stir up creativity. In addition to those, we sincerely believe something more inspiring could be baked, not only to reward your staff, but to show them your appreciation and recognition.
In the end, satisfied and engaged employees are an enhancement to any company and would bring in not only positive energy to the workplace but also increase profits and sales. While satisfaction is important to a certain extent it is engagement that makes the difference.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility
You already know all the reasons to reward your staff, so let’s take a moment to explore a new alternative. It’s time to show appreciation for your team and consider the prize.
On that account, we happily introduce the artisan of fantasy characters, creatures and superheroes, all crafted in clay, Mr Sorin Mihai, also known as CraftyArt.
His models are appreciated world-wide and for that reason, we’d love to give you a glimpse into his creative process and personal philosophy.
We also want to bridge his outstanding work with opportunities for your business to act on creative ways to reward your employees, that’ll show your team you care.
The Introduction of Crafty Art
Sorin, thank you so much for agreeing to have this conversation with me. I find your work breathtaking and inspiring. For our readers, perhaps you would like to introduce yourself properly. Who are you?
Hi Cosmin, thank you for the invitation. I really appreciate your thoughts. I’ll just keep it simple, my name is Sorin, I’m 28 years old, and I’m a sculptor. I sculpt characters and creatures in clay.
What’s your story? What made you choose this path?
I’ve always had an inclination towards art since I was a kid. I remember I’ve first started drawing and making dinosaurs out of plasticine when I was 9 years old. I had a fascination with those giant scary creatures and I started making miniature maquettes with different species of dinosaurs. Later on I went to an art high school for three years, but I haven’t pursued art further after that. I certainly didn’t think I could make a career out of it back then.
Most times it’s the things that are right under your nose that are the most elusive, you know? From then on, I decided to pursue sculpture and I’ve stayed on this path ever since.
So, love is the key, indeed. How would you say the environment you grew up influenced you? How should we imagine the conversations at your family’s dinner table?
I was a pretty inquisitive child, I liked to question things from a young age.
I think my parents tried their best to instil good values into me, teach me what they thought was right; they had their expectations about what I ought to do but didn’t really impose anything and they kind of let me be and figure it out for myself.
I am thankful for my upbringing because I believe it has made me more self reliant.
Can you think of how that influenced your current philosophy of life? Do you have one that you live by?
With the risk of sounding cliché, I really believe you should be the change you want to see in the world. I think your life should be your message to the world, and you should always stay true to yourself. Find what you love and makes you happy, and dedicate to that. Life is too short to care about the opinions of others, so be yourself and do whatever you like.
Sculptures, Super Heroes, and Crafty Art
Sorin, I’m really curious, what are you trying to say through your art?
I can’t really say for sure, perhaps I’m trying to get back in touch with my inner child. To be honest, I’m going with the flow doing the characters I like, and focusing on developing the skills I need to convey a better message.
How would you describe your process? Because creativity often means stepping back from standard ways of thinking, breaking out of a structured mindset and exploring new or different concepts and ideas. Could you tell our readers where do you stand on creativity? What about the most innovative work project you’ve ever accomplished?
I see creativity as combining different existing elements in such a way that something entirely new emerges. Therefore, I believe anyone’s most creative project is their own self. I believe we are an amalgam of all the people we’ve met and all the things we’ve experienced and it’s our job to fit in the pieces. To discern what’s good for us and what’s not, and to filter what we incorporate in order to better ourselves constantly. For example, when I was 19 years old I’ve moved to another country, experienced a different culture, learned to speak another language (Swedish), and met a lot of people with different mindsets. Those life experiences helped me see the world differently.
Do you have your own personal heroes? How have they “moulded” your work?
I have many people I look up to in which I admire a quality, and from which I’ve learned something. A few that come to mind are Leonardo DaVinci, Eben Pagan, Tim Ferris, Jordan Peterson, Simon Lee, Viktor Frankl, Jim Carrey, Russel Brand and Jaque Fresco. However, my idealised version of a hero would be Peter Parker, also known as Spider-Man. Peter Parker is just a regular guy who tries to do his best, and suddenly gets this enormous responsibility on his shoulders that he did not ask for. But he doesn’t complain and does the right thing even if that means sacrificing himself for the greater good.
Learning and Hard-Won Clients
At The Inner View, as organisational psychologists, we focus on studying and understanding human behaviour in the workplace. By the same token, we examine personality, attitudes and behaviours. To be honest, we’re really curious and intrigued by all of humanity so for that reason, we wish to set sail and find out more about Crafty Art’s learning mechanisms, business acumen, and emotional savvy.
Sorin, at times we’re all faced with the situation of having to tell a customer or someone close to us No, because we don’t believe that Yes would be the right answer — even though it would be the easy one. Tell me about a time you’ve faced this kind of situation in your line of work.
I think you’ve got to ask yourself what is most important to you? And how would this decision impact you long term? Will it support your highest dreams and aspirations or will it stumble them? Could it act in the benefit or detriment of others?
I remember when a client wanted to commission my work. It was a big project and at the time I needed the money. He wanted me to make an entire line of statues according to his specific directions. It wasn’t quite my niche and I didn’t feel I was the most appropriate person for the job. I would’ve been restrained by many imposed limitations and didn’t have creative freedom. So I had to say No to his offer because I couldn’t sacrifice that time and compromise my values for the sake of financial gain.
As I understand, creative freedom is an important value to you, right? Perhaps you could tell me about a problem that you’ve solved in a unique or unusual way.
In my work I often encounter never before met issues and setbacks that require a new perspective. When I started making collectible statues I needed to have a thorough understanding of human anatomy. Anatomy is one of the most challenging aspects I’ve tackled in my journey as a sculptor so far. Learning it takes patience and a lot of practice to master, so I thought if I’m to learn this effectively, without feeling burned out, I need to make it fun. So I started sculpting one of my favourite childhood superheroes Spider-Man. His poses offer a dynamism of movement that is rarely found in other heroes and makes me push the boundaries of anatomy. The result was I became proficient in anatomy in a couple of months, and in the process I got more exposure because Spider-Man is a well known character.
What impairs your decision-making often?
Over thinking, perfectionism, and conflicting thoughts and emotions.
Can you remember a time when you were able to transform your anxiety or negative feelings into positive emotions and actions that were eventually reflected in your work?
I’ve often felt a certain guilt for wasting time and for being interested in many things and not committing to one objective, but now I realize every experience you have is useful and contributes to who you are as a person. Whenever I have a hard time, am anxious or go through an emotional turmoil, it’s an alarm signal for me, that I’m not doing what I’m supposed to and I’m not on the right track. So that has pushed me to self-actualise more and find my vocation.
Following this example, my first commission work was a 1/6th scale Alien Xenomorph statue. It was the most ambitious project I attempted at the time, and I spent many months working on it. After dealing with many setbacks and frustrations, in the end it came out the way I intended. Then I went on to contact the client but she wasn’t anywhere to be found. For some reason my client had blocked me on all accounts. I felt scammed and unappreciated, but decided not to take it personal or let all my hard work go to waste so I started promoting it on my social platforms.
I even created a video showing the process of painting the statue. It was shared on social media by a big publication and got almost 2 million views. Other videos have now reached 6 million people. After that I got approached by many other clients that were interested in my work to the point I couldn’t keep up with the orders.
Congratulations, it must have felt really good. I reckon you’ve learned a lot since then. Could you tell me about a time when you had to learn something new in a short amount of time? What did you have to learn? How did you learn it?
I believe that in nature in order to survive, we need to be versatile and constantly adapt. It’s like that in our careers as well. I’ve found that if I want to be a sculptor I need to learn a lot of different skills that aren’t necessarily related to sculpting. Besides moulding, casting and painting, an artist needs to know how to promote their art. I’ve had to learn how to promote my brand across different platforms, learn social media practices and strategies, photo and video editing, how to do marketing and sales, interact with clients and deliver results on time.
Career wise, what would you like to achieve in one, five, ten years?
In one year I’d like to continue experimenting with more diverse approaches and styles, find my “voice” as an artist, and discover the thing that makes me unique and sets me apart from others. I also want to learn digital sculpting and start freelancing more, so that I can work remotely and travel the world.
In five years to ten years I want to be working with other likeminded people in the movie and gaming industry to create original character and creature concepts. Once I get there I would try getting into animation.
We’re almost done for today. Tell us about your future projects. What’s next?
I want to start doing more original concept designs. I’d also like to help other people who are interested in learning how to sculpt, for a hobby or more seriously. I know how frustrating it can be in the beginning, so I’ll be working on making a few sculpting tutorials, and soon I’ll start offering 1 on 1 coaching sessions on my Patreon page.
For one of my next projects I’ve partnered up with Yiihuu.com, one of the most popular online learning platforms in China, to create sculpting tutorials. If you want to stay updated keep an eye on my Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
In closing, I’d like to thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and giving us an insight into the life of an artist. We wish you the best of luck with your future projects. We will certainly keep an eye out and stay connected.
Thank you for having me and thank you for your interest in my work. I also appreciate what you’re doing in the field of psychology.
Before you go, do you have a final message to our readers?
Pay attention to what’s meaningful and natural to you in order to find your calling. Oh, and never give up on your dreams.
Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating
We believe that every company needs a strategic reward system that recognises and rewards activity-performance and exceptional behaviours that make a difference. People want to know whether they’re doing good or not, so it’s important to show appreciation.
What are the behaviours you want to reward? Is your strategic reward system driving the right behaviours for your company, as well as your performance goals?
At The Inner View, we investigate the degree to which the right conditions are met for all staff to give their best each day at work. We examine work engagement and employees’ levels of satisfaction against key criteria and provide individual and team-level reports with action plans for improvement. We go further and design engagement promotion programmes for all levels of the organisation.
We believe you can show your team you care by making a small gesture that speaks louder than words. We have teamed up with Crafty Art to bridge his outstanding work with opportunities for your business to act on at least one creative way to reward your employees.
Get in touch with The Inner View to identify the behaviours that are important to your company and increase the importance of recognition and appreciation as integral components of a winning strategic reward system.
Reward and motivate your staff with distinguished collectibles. Truly appreciate your superheroes!
About the author
Cosmin Gabriel Sofron | I/O Psychologist & HR Consultant at The Inner View
Cosmin Gabriel Sofron - I/O Psychologist & HR Consultant - The Inner View | LinkedIn
We integrate behavioural science and evidence-based consulting.