Hansen: Think inside the box

‘What I thought was the ultimate limitation was the ultimate liberation.’

June 20, 2019

When artist Phil Hansen learned he had permanent nerve damage in his dominant hand, he thought his art career was over.

His chosen medium, pointillism, requires a steady hand to apply small dots that become a larger picture. Hansen’s hand shook to the point that he couldn’t draw a straight line.

But after a doctor suggested that he “embrace the shake,” Hansen viewed the creative process in a new light.

Now, he creates a variety of traditional art, electronic media, interactive experiences, and destructive work, which Hansen calls “goodbye art.”

“I found that limitations expanded my artistic horizons and creativity,” says Hansen, who addressed the 2019 America’s Credit Union Conference Thursday at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida. “What I thought was the ultimate limitation was the ultimate liberation.”

Now he limits himself intentionally, a practice Hansen calls “thinking inside the box.”

In fact, he believes having too many options can limit creativity.

Hansen says it’s important to distinguish between limitations put in our way and self-limiting beliefs, which are self-imposed.

“When we’re confronted with a challenge, our success depends on the constant ability to shift how we see those challenges,” he says. “When we shift our perspective, we get an entirely different picture.

“As you imagine what the future holds, imagine what you could do if you embraced the limitations in front of you.”

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