Name: Alan Claude

Age: 50

Title: Owner

Company: Alan Claude Inc., Farmingdale


About: Publisher of travel posters and motivational prints for businesses.

What’s your biggest challenge right now?

Organizing priorities and not having interruptions. Time is limited and tasks are many. I have to recenter to realize what is the most important thing I can do today, and what’s the most effective thing I can do today.

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?

I have one quote: Do what you can where you are with what you have. That’s Teddy Roosevelt. There are a lot of limitations. You might think you need more money or more of (anything), but you have to do with what you have.

You have to hustle and get the ball rolling and not wait for things to come to you. When I started doing the prints initially, the first six lighthouses, I was doing graphic design and doing this in whatever time I had. And whatever time I had, I allotted it, I used it. It took me two and a half years to do to the first six lighthouses.

How do you foster creativity in yourself?

You have to define yourself. You become what you think about. If you think of yourself as a creative person, then you think creatively.

It’s be-think-do.

I have always done creative things. I had a gift shop when I lived in San Francisco and I did creative things, I did my own cards. Then I got into graphic design, I met my wife and we went into business together. We moved to Maine in 2003. We did graphic design and now I do my own art.

The great challenge is to top yourself and make it interesting. This is the time of year when I start to create my new calendar. It’s the 80-20 rule. Less than 20 percent of the time I am making art. The rest of the time is keeping the business going.

You have to put in the effort (to be creative), get a lot of stuff in front of you. You can be inspired by other people. I have looked at pictures I have taken, I look at vintage poster books. There is so much to look at online, to see what others have done.

You have to have the vision first: be-think-do. Have the vision and thinking behind the vision, and the doing is to do it.

What’s your biggest fear?

It’s not drawing, not creating art. What I don’t like about it is that this is me not doing what I am supposed to be doing. I don’t have a huge budget to have four people to do all the things I don’t want to do. I had one employee full-time for three years, but she moved to Santa Monica. We have a part-time employee, and my wife does the bookkeeping.

2007 is when I started with my prints. I enjoy talking about it and meeting people and selling stuff. There’s a lot of stuff you have to do that takes away your time from creating new art. I know intellectually what I am supposed to do: close the door and put the do-not-disturb sign on the door.

You just have to do the thing you are supposed to do.

How do you differentiate yourself in the marketplace?

You have to be yourself. You can look at what other people have done. We all have a voice and different colors to show. But with your vision, you have to shine your own light. Nobody likes a copycat. Originality is the best way to shine a light.

People tend to be too self-conscious about what other people think. Not everybody is going to be happy with you.

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