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Big Ideas

Beautiful/Decay: Disciplined Artistry

Amir H. Fallah, founder of Beautiful/Decay magazine, opines on the art of scheduling and avoiding the twin dangers of procrastination and daydreaming.


Amir H. Fallah is the creative director and founder of Beautiful/Decay, a publication with humble roots as a 3,000 copy, black-and-white distribution covering underground art, design, fashion and culture. Since its inception in 1996, the magazine has blossomed, now boasting a 45,000 copy circulation, a clothing line and and online store. Amir took some time to tell Behance about his daily routines, his passions as an artist and the importance of time management.

Like many entrepreneurially-spirited artists, finding a balance between profitability and creativity is a tremendous battle. “The greatest frustration I deal with is how to balance creative freedom and running a profitable business. Sometimes there is something that we want to do creatively that may have a negative effect on the business. There has to be balance and compromise on both sides, or you will fail. So far, with Beautiful/Decay, we have done a fantastic job of allowing ourselves ample creative freedom while staying profitable.”Amir knows that following ones instincts are often key in the success of a project. “I’ve found that trusting your gut instincts will serve you well. Every time I don’t follow my gut on a project it comes back to haunt me. If something seems like too good to be true, it probably is.” He also appreciated and feeds off the drive of artists who lack work experience but possess the drive to achieve. “I find the most inspiration in artists and designers that are just starting out. They are still young, hungry, and are not deterred by the huge hurdles in front of them. Working with artists and designers that have this drive helps me remember why I started Beautiful/Decay.”

Every time I don’t follow my gut on a project it comes back to haunt me. If something seems like too good to be true, it probably is.

Recognizing the dangers of procrastination, he avoids them at all costs. “Many people sit around and procrastinate. They have a laundry list of why they can’t do something, when the only thing that is holding them back is themselves. I don’t let much get in my way. I’m hungry to succeed in all endeavors, so if I want something, I sit down and think of what the most effective way to get it is.”Finding focus and drive to achieve those goals is hardly an issue for Amir. “I recently heard a great line that relates to this. “Dreamers just dream but people who set goals achieve.” It’s a bit cheesy but it’s true. I have no interest in just daydreaming about something I want. You have to go out there and figure out how to get it.” He also sees the payoff in elbow grease. “The best piece of advice I can give anyone is to work hard. It’s easy to talk the talk and then not produce anything when push comes to shove. Nine out of ten times hard work trumps skill and talent. I know a lot of talented individuals that are not doing much with their lives. You can’t expect success to just fall into your lap. You have to earn it with lots of hard work.”

Scheduling and discipline is the basis for his success, and allows him to keep his art and his publication as his top priorities. “Organization and time management is a key ingredient in anyone’s life that is or wants to be successful. You can’t be a success and have a chaotic lifestyle. A great example of good time management is my efforts to balance Beautiful/Decay and my personal artwork. After trying to paint during the weekends, or in my spare time, I realized that if I wanted to have a real art career and run Beautiful/Decay I would have to make time in my schedule to paint every day. Since I can’t just take a day off to paint I came up with a weekly schedule [which maps out my daily activities between the hours of 7am and 11pm]. It’s not the most glamorous schedule but by doing so I can do two things I love: work on Beautiful/Decay and make art.”

Comments (3)
  • cyesergio

    This article is SO applicable to me. I might have to print this out, and get this tatood on my right hand! Thanks Behance!

  • andreirobu

    Real talk. Very nice interview. Respect.

  • Joe

    Amazing article, this is very inspiring and has helped me look at my own life, my chaotic life.

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