For entrepreneur and artist Maurice Goldberg, the idea of a jungle gym rather than a ladder representing his career journey is more than fitting. After all, it was only six short years ago that he was at the helm of his own financial planning hybrid company, Ark Group.
His beginnings however, were in architecture. Wanting to create something more impactful, Maurice began getting frustrated with his first career choice.
“On one side, I had this personality that just wanted to do gorgeous, exquisite fabulous stuff so I could never be happy not doing that but on the other hand, I wasn’t feeling courageous enough to back myself [to go it alone],” he admits.
So, he quit.
“I thought, ‘I’m never going to be happy doing this,” he said of the ending of his architecture chapter. “I had a mortgage, I studied for six years and I practised for four and a half, so it was like saying goodbye to 11 years of hard work. But inside of me, I was just breaking up and I just was not happy and something inside of me was saying, ‘you’re going to die if you don’t get out of this.’”
Promising himself that he’d scour the weekend classifieds for something that interested him, Maurice applied for jobs in areas he’d “never even heard of,” and stumbled across “this funny thing called financial planning.”
What resulted was his landing of a job, an arduous, anxiety-ridden journey of three months when he thought it wasn’t the position for him and a breakthrough out the other side, where, in less than a year, Maurice managed to hit number three of around 120 in the company for sales.
“[My nan] said, ‘you owe it to yourself to give it three months at 100%,” Maurice says of the advice he received from his grandmother during those early dark days. “And at the end of that three months and you’ve done your best, I back you 100% in any decision you make.
“I think that’s the same with everything in life,” he adds. “When we decide to do something, we’ve got to really give it our best and go as hard as we can for at least three months, just about anything – from a relationship to a new job to anything.”
That decision to push on became the making of his future career in creating the enormously successful Ark Group, where Maurice managed heights of selling $25 million dollars worth of property in just two weeks, when real estate and financial planning were seen to be too opposed industries. Although the company grew to 50 staff members, the Global Financial Crisis hit the business hard with the company going into adminstration and Maurice struggling to “find his value.”
In 2012, he discovered his passion and talent for art.
Now, along with a consulting business, with which Maurice mentors business leaders (and “loves it”), he still keeps an entrepreneurial edge in everything he does, including his recent success in the art world. His current exhibition, Of Beauty Rich and Rare, is the centre point for a wider cultural dialogue of cultural conversations about diversity and inclusion and Maurice takes every opportunity to colour outside the lines.
“As an entrepreneur and an artist, we will keep on trying new things,” he says of the mixing of his creative and entrepreneurial sides. Along with the presentation of his artwork, Maurice created a banquet for visitors to draw them into the art gallery, as well as discussions that focus on the subject matter touched on in his multi-media art pieces.
The artworks themselves are layered both physically (with the most complex of artworks comprising of up to 45 different layers) as socio-political conversation pieces.
The concept for the collection was developed as a result of 16 interviews with prominent Australians – from people like singer Katie Noonan to reporter Indira Naidoo, as well as social researchers and Aboriginal elders – and an artistic representation of the potential societal solutions that arose from the interviews.
“The current exhibition is a response to what is happening in the world with our focus on what is negative, so Brexit and Trump are extraordinary examples of how easy it is for human beings to be focused on the problem and to be motivated by fear,” he explains. “[My collection] is the opposite response to that. My response is – whatever we focus on we will create in our lives, in our businesses, in our relationships and everything. If we focus on fear and challenge, we’ll get more fear and more challenge. If we focus on what we’d love to see in our world, we’ll get what we love to see in our world.”
“It’s about bringing dialogue together with art.”
Of Beauty Rich and Rare is on display at 107Projects, 107 Redfern St, Redfern until Sunday, December 4th.