Photo of me taken at the Museum of American Finance at the exhibit "The Fed at 100."
Banner photo taken by me of the exterior of the New York Stock Exchange.
"Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.
Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art."
- Andy Warhol
Hi, my name is Donald Yi George and I am currently an Accounting major working towards my AS in Accounting from LaGuardia Community College. I graduated with a BFA in Communication Arts & Design from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2001 and an MA in Illustration from the Fashion Institute of Technology in 2010. For most of my life, my primary interest was being an artist, though I've come to realize how essential business skills are in being successful and I am now developing my interest in finance.
My interest in business
My interest in business started with its intersection with art during my deep study of the career of Andy Warhol. Andy Warhol was the most highly paid commercial artist in New York City and became the most successful and most important fine artist of the second half the 20th century. In addition, he founded Interview magazine and managed the Velvet Underground. He was very open about his interest in business, a subject that was largely neglected in my art school education and my personal experience.
Several years after graduation and after having worked in graphic design and in restaurants, I quit my job and started my own art business. It was pretty reckless now that I look back on it, considering I had very little money, few customers and only a few shows lined up. I taught myself the basics of bookkeeping and sales and basically broke even for several months, at which point I started to run out of money and nearly starved.
I found a roommate to cut my rent expenses and asked my former employer for help in letting me work so I could get enough money to move and take a graphic design job in a nearby city.
I started reading the Wall Street Journal around 2005 and soon it was to change the trajectory of my life. I was working at a weekly newspaper in Charlottesville, Virginia and we had a newsstand where we sold the Wall St. Journal. I would read unsold copies of the paper and found it to be a revelation. Sometime later, a former WSJ employee worked with us as a part-time art director and the idea of working there became a possibility. Months later, I applied for a graphic artist position at the WSJ, rode the bus to NYC for an interview and then, almost as if by magic, was hired. There, one of the best perks was getting a free copy of the WSJ daily! My literacy in business grew and I experienced the Financial Crisis from a front row seat.
I began taking continuing education classes in business: including Starting a Small Business, Financial Accounting, Intro to Business, Legal Basics for Business Start-Ups, the Power of Negotiation and Project Management.
I also participated in the NY State Self Employment Assistance Program (SEAP). After graduating with my Master's, I tried to start a career as a freelance illustrator, which was actually less successful than my first foray as a painter, but at least now I was better at money management and didn’t almost starve. I felt my business skills were my weak point and so I decided to pursue a formal, structured business education and I was happy to be accepted at LaGuardia Community College.
A new start at LaGuardia
Several years after moving to NYC, I reconnected with an old college friend who had completed his sex change. He had gone through so much to become the person he wanted to be and that really inspired me to pursue significant change in my own life. Since starting to take business classes at LaGuardia my mind is completely blown on a regular basis. My understanding of the business world has grown exponentially and I’ve only taken four classes so far!
I really enjoy accounting, because it makes business quantifiable, real and analyzable. At VCU, I had a strong interest in literary analysis and accounting appeals to me in a similar way. I have worked on the creative side in graphic design and I have worked as a sushi chef. I know how things are made and presented to the public, but I want to know how the business side of things work. How do the numbers work out?
I also believe that since accounting is “the language of business,” it would provide the strongest foundation for me while I figure what exactly in business I want to do.
Initially, I liked the idea of public accounting and doing independent audits because of the opportunity to work with a variety of businesses. Though, as I learn more about business and about myself, I am leaning towards finance. I intend to complete my AS in accounting and then transfer to a 4 year college to study accounting, finance and economics.
Taking time to reflect
Reflecting on my classes and on myself has been one of the most valuable benefits of ePortfolio and is one of the reasons why I so strongly believe in it. I don’t think I did enough reflection as an undergraduate the first time around. I was successful in my classes, in my art and in my work, but I was not very clear about my goals beyond graduation. I knew I wanted to be an artist, but I didn’t really think through the implications of it fully, I didn’t research it enough and I didn’t have a plan or strategy that I was committed to.
As I went through the process of initially creating my ePortfolio during my first year seminar course, I spent a lot of time focusing on my educational and career goals in a structured and explicit way. I’ve never really done that before nor had anyone to guide me in that way. I also took several diagnostic tests that helped me inventory my strengths and interests. I can get so caught up in whatever I’m into that it’s easy for me to lose sight of who I am and what I want to work towards. It takes a conscious effort to make time to reflect when there seem to be so many demands on my attention. Eportfolio is like a guiding hand, a wise advisor, the part of myself that is looking out for my best interests.