Our Meeting House friend, musician, and artist, Bill Wurtzel, is proof that doing what you love is the key to a good life. He shows us that trying new things and learning about what makes you happy is the key to discovering your passion, which can ultimately lead to other newfound passions and opportunities you never expected.
Bill’s innate artistic skills were apparent early and he has followed his creative passions for art and music throughout his life. (Interest in the arts is a value we share with Bill.) Bill picked up the guitar at age 9 playing country music in his parents’ saloon. He soon became a child performer on radio and TV. Bill was also a good artist, attended art school and had a career as an award-winning art director, graphic designer and advertising creative director. He won over 200 awards including several Worlds’ Best TV Commercials.
Bill studied jazz and classical guitar, and by night he played with bands like the Count Basie Countsmen. In 1989 he quit his job as the Executive Creative Director of Ketchum/NY to follow the call of music. He became an in-demand guitarist performing worldwide with many jazz legends. (You can hear Bill every Wednesday, 2-3 pm at the American Folk Art Museum.)
When the NYT wrote about Bill’s jazz career, the interviewer discovered another of Bill’s passions. He would create hilarious, healthy breakfasts for his wife, Claire, and photograph them. So, in addition to the jazz article, Bill’s food art photos and story were a separate feature on the front page of the New York Times Online. Immediately, his email was flooded with fans and publishers looking to further his pastime hobby. Now, Bill and Claire have authored 2 books, “Funny Food”, a Best Children’s Book of 2012; and “Funny Food Made Easy”. They also conduct workshops in schools, museums and events that make it fun for children and families to learn about nutrition.
What began as just fun, turned into an unexpected success. The motivation was not profit; it was the joy of creating art and making his wife smile. Bill shows us that good can come from sticking to your passions.
Not all of us find our passions immediately but it’s important to figure out what excites us and makes us want to learn more. Following your passion can open doors you never imagined and can be the catalyst for more opportunities to come. So stay curious, try new things, ask questions, and keep driving towards what makes your heart sing.