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When Phil Hansen’s dedication to his art led to permanent nerve damage and a shaking hand, he turned a limitation into a creative catalyst that took his art to new heights. Hansen’s skillful use of unconventional materials from matches to hamburger grease has attracted the attention of high-end clients such as Disney, the Grammy Awards, and the Rockefeller Foundation. A gifted communicator, his interactive programs have invigorated creative spirits across several corporate sectors.

Hansen is widely known for his videos that document the creation process showing millions that art is action, not just result, and that restrictions can spur innovation rather than constrain it. His messages have resonated with industry and business leaders, leading to invitations to speak at the TED2013 conference, Adobe MAX Creativity Conference, World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and the Million Dollar Round Table. Companies have been stunned by the value, originality, and unity generated by his interactive art workshops, tailored by Hansen to compliment his speeches.

Hansen is the founder of Goodbye-Art Academy, providing high quality and free art education videos to teachers and students everywhere. His work has been featured on the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, the Rachael Ray Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, Glamour and many more media outlets.

Full Profile

Internationally Recognized Multimedia Artist, Author, and Innovator

Referred to by his fans as “the Artist for the People”, Phil Hansen is an internationally recognized multimedia artist, speaker, author and innovator — at the forefront of bringing art to a wider audience. Crashing irreverently through conventional boundaries, Phil works at the intersection of traditional art, electronic media, offbeat materials, and interactive experiences. He is most widely known for his meta-art, videos that document the creation process (sometimes even through destruction), showing millions that art is action, not just result.

Hansen’s work also extends deeply into traditional media with features on the Discovery Channel, Good Morning America, the Rachael Ray Show, Last Call with Carson Daly, Glamour and many more. His work is sought-after by many influential clients including the Grammy Awards, Disney, Skype, Mazda and the Rockefeller Foundation.

For the tens of millions who have seen Phil’s art on TV and online, it’s hard to imagine that his artistic journey nearly came to an end when a tremor developed in his drawing hand. In exploring new ways to create art, Phil discovered that by embracing his shake, limitations could become the passageway to creativity.

His inspirational story was first shared on the TED stage to a standing ovation, and then shared around the world including on PBS, BBC and CCTV. Now, Phil’s ability to draw parallels to the business setting has won him followers among industry and business leaders, leading to invitations to speak at the TED2013 conference, Adobe MAX Creativity Conference, World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates, and the Million Dollar Round Table.

Clients have raved that: “Phil’s message of self-reinvention and the power of transforming adversity into opportunity is one that translates well across audiences—regardless of the industry.”

At the request of some of his speaking clients, Phil has designed a unique art experience beyond the talk. Companies who are seeking an unforgettable interactive experience for their audience are absolutely stunned by its originality, value and effect.

Besides speaking and doing art, Phil is an advocate for advancing art education. He’s the author of Tattoo a Banana, a guide to exploring creativity through art with everyday materials. And he’s the founder of Goodbye-Art Academy, providing high quality and free art education videos to teachers and students everywhere.

Phil Hansen ON Speaking Back to top


When we rethink our beliefs about limitations, there are many ways to get to where we want to go.

SPEAKING.COM: What do you want people to learn/take away from your presentations?

HANSEN: I want people to leave with a better understanding of how they can succeed no matter what roadblocks, challenges, or problems stand in front of them. I hope my story reflects that when we rethink our beliefs about limitations, there are many ways to get to where we want to go. And if we can embrace limitations as part of the process to transformation, an amazing thing happens: our innate creative abilities become activated and we tap into resources beyond what we imagined possible. These are life-changing concepts I want to share with people. It’s liberating.

SPEAKING.COM: What kind of special prep work do you do prior to an event? How do you prepare for your speaking engagements?

HANSEN: Prior to an event, I always work with the client to find out what particular limitations or challenges they are facing. It’s such a huge part of why I’m brought in, and I like to maximize my time with the group to really address the key situations they are embroiled in.

Often times, clients will ask me to lead their audience with an art creation: the Art of Collaboration. I’ve brought anywhere from 50 to 2000 attendees together to create a piece of art which they keep as a reminder of the role they all play in working towards a ‘bigger picture.’ Literally and figuratively. Figuring out how to make this work with different sized audiences has been an interesting and fun challenge for me; the prep work varies a bit depending on the size of the group. It’s one of the most rewarding things because it’s such a unique way to engage the audience in a manner that really empowers them.

SPEAKING.COM: Have you had any particularly memorable speaking engagements / unusual situations arise while on the road?

HANSEN: A couple of weeks ago, I led a group of healthcare executives in the Art of Collaboration. Usually, I shoot a video to document their creation for the reveal. Unfortunately, this time I couldn’t produce a video because my computer and camera wouldn’t communicate. As I had to quickly think of an alternative solution 30 minutes before the reveal, I met a guy in the lobby who told me how much he enjoyed my talk but the hard part is always being motivated later. He wished there was a reminder.

That became the spark to a solution. I decided to gift every attendee an 8x10 framed photo of the final art piece as a reminder of coming together as a team to do something completely different, and trusting that something would come out of it, which resulted in a beautiful outcome.

I can actually feel the change in the atmosphere from the beginning to the end of a presentation.

SPEAKING.COM: What types of audiences would most benefit from your message?

HANSEN: Facing change and running into complex limitations has been commonplace among most industries. I love to deliver this message to groups who are in need of embracing change and the difficulties they face, and are ready for more creativity/innovation. I can actually feel the change in the atmosphere from the beginning to the end of a presentation; from being weighed down by either a lack of creativity or just a huge obstacle that looms large, to then hear them realize that the limitation they’ve been facing could be an opportunity for success. It’s a noticeable change - one that I hope applies to many areas of life for them.

I particularly love the challenge of presenting on global platforms like Million Dollar Round Table, or my upcoming keynote at Meeting Professionals International. It’s rewarding to see such diverse people come up to tell me how much the talk resonated with them, plus it shows the universality of the message.

Also, groups who put on yearly events are always looking for something different to top what they did in previous years. I get excited about this because I spend a lot of time making my presentation authentic and presenting it in a unique and memorable way.

SPEAKING.COM: What inspired you to start doing speaking engagements?

HANSEN: A few years ago, I was invited to do a TED talk at the annual conference. I quickly came to see how explorative and creative public speaking could be. As I’ve gotten into it, I’ve seen a lot of people who have lost their creativity over the years and this sparked a new passion for me: reminding people that they are creative, and they can use their creativity to transform their work and their lives. I absolutely love the challenges clients often throw back at me, pushing me to find different ways to connect with their attendees!

I think people are engaged because they’re seeing themselves going through the circumstances I’m describing.

SPEAKING.COM: How do you keep your audience engaged and actively listening during your keynotes? Do you use case studies, personal stories and/or in your speeches?

HANSEN: I think the biggest thing that keeps the audience engaged is their ability to relate to my story. When people hear my testimonial, it’s something that could happen to anyone. People tend to apply it right away to their own circumstances, which is great because that’s the whole point.

I also use strong visuals and incorporate art into the experience as metaphors. In some cases I include activities that incorporate audience participation to illustrate certain points. Ultimately though, I think people are engaged because they’re seeing themselves going through the circumstances I’m describing.

SPEAKING.COM: What are some of the successes you've helped clients achieve?

HANSEN: What I hear consistently from clients is the “sticking” power of the message, and that months later, people are saying “We need to embrace the shake!” in meetings.


Phil Hansen Speaker Videos Back to top

Phil Hansen, Artist: TED Talk “Embrace the Shake”


After permanent nerve damage left his dominant hand trembling, artist Phil Hansen was forced to re-examine everything he knew about art. Upon getting a steady paycheck for the first time he visited an art supply store where he splurged on materials only to take them back to his home and stare at them uninspired.

“I realized I was actually paralyzed by all of the choices that I never had before,” he reflected. Phil thought back to his shake and wondered if embracing limitations could actually spur creativity. He went to his local Starbucks, asked for fifty cups, and proceeded to make the most-out-of-the-box art he had produced in years – and for only 80 cents. “It really became a moment of clarification for me,” he states, “that we need to first be limited in order to become limitless.”

Presentation Excerpt


Phil Hansen, Artist: ISTE EdTekTalks


Phil Hansen: The Art of Collaboration How-To Demo



Speeches / Speaking Engagements Back to top


The complexities of running a business today are like creating a work of art: a continuous process of discovery, risk-taking, and adaptation. Phil’s approach to achieving artistic success is not only a natural fit for business but also a necessity for how to adapt to the accelerating pace of change.

Phil has designed a unique art experience beyond the talk. Companies who are seeking an unforgettable interactive experience for their audience are absolutely stunned by its originality, value and effect.

“Embrace the Shake” applies to every aspect of our lives. Phil’s ability to break down a complicated idea and make it relatable to everyday challenges will help you embrace whatever shakes you are facing, big or small, and business or personal. It’s a life-changing lesson.

Embrace the Shake: Transforming Limitations into Opportunities
Like Phil’s art, his empowering message of “Embrace the Shake” defies conventional thinking by approaching limitations as opportunities. We live in an increasingly changing business environment where success depends on "creativity and innovation" as a continuous process. This means we need to fearlessly look in unexpected places for possible solutions. To get there, we have to stop relying on external resources and tap into the most important internal resource, our own creativity.

Along with jaw dropping visuals, Phil’s incredible keynote will surely challenge your team to rethink their approach towards obstacles, discover their new creative capacity, and bring fresh ways of viewing the world, to succeed with the task at hand.

Are you ready to Embrace your Shake?

The Art of Collaboration: An Interactive Art Experience
In addition to his inspiring talk, Artist Phil Hansen designs a hands-on interactive art experience that brings your audience together to create a stunning and unexpected work of art. This fun, engaging and collaborative project furthers the experience of embracing challenges through teamwork, and demonstrates the power of coming together to create something new. Client keeps the final artwork. Note: There is a separate fee to add experience on to the keynote (based on the amount of people participating)



Phil Hansen Speaker Testimonials Back to top

“Phil’s message of self-reinvention and the power of transforming adversity into opportunity is one that translates well across audiences—regardless of the industry. His message inspires, motivates and re-energizes the creative spirit in us all.”
- Ford Motor Company

"A number of years ago at our sales meeting we had a very expensive performance painter present. I can say that the impact of Phil’s talk with the fingerprint art project provided much more impact and value. Being able to connect all employees to a single work of art is absolutely incredible."
- Bethany Quam, General Mills President, Convenience & Foodservice Division

“Phil Hansen offered our sales team an uncommon, uncharacteristic and unexpected twist on traditional meeting presentations. His message was innovative, imaginative, and left us wanting more!” -
-Shawn O’Grady, General Mills President, Sales and Channel Development

"There are really smart speakers, there are really inspirational speakers, and there are really human speakers. Phil is all three. Can’t wait to hear him again!"
- Brian Lewis, CEO, International Society for Technology in Education

“Phil Hansen is a master storyteller and shares his personal journey of challenge and triumph with sensitivity and humor. He is an engaging speaker who can connect with any audience. Phil is also one of the most creative artists I have seen. You never know what he will pick up next to make into a surprising and inspiring work of art.”
- Barbara Shepherd, Director of National Partnerships, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

"Phil will wake up your employees in a way you as a leadership team cannot".
- Lars Dalgaard, Founder of SuccessFactors, Executive Board Member of SAP

“This year we assembled a dozen or so of the most influential executives in healthcare to explore how to best handle the enormous, disruptive wave crashing upon our industry. We wanted an outside perspective that would inspire us to think differently about constraints and inspire us to create entirely new approaches. Phil delivered on both of these fronts and did so with a warmth and humility that touched each of us. I would highly recommend Phil for any group looking for a fresh perspective.”
- Andy Parham, President and CEO, Dātu Health




Exclusive Interview with Phil Hansen

...Creativity is not just coming up with new ideas, but meaningful new ideas.
In this interview, Phil Hansen discusses:
    • Turning limitations into creative inspiration.
    • Dealing with burn out and getting derailed.
    • The link between art education and success.

* Please note that while this speaker’s specific speaking fee falls within the range posted above (for Continental U.S. based events), fees are subject to change. For current fee information or international event fees (which are generally 50-75% more than U.S based event fees), please contact us.

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“Phil’s message of self-reinvention and the power of transforming adversity into opportunity is one that translates well across audiences—regardless of the industry. His message inspires, motivates and re-energizes the creative spirit in us all.”
- Ford Motor Company

"A number of years ago at our sales meeting we had a very expensive performance painter present. I can say that the impact of Phil’s talk with the fingerprint art project provided much more impact and value. Being able to connect all employees to a single work of art is absolutely incredible."
- Bethany Quam, General Mills President, Convenience & Foodservice Division

“Phil Hansen offered our sales team an uncommon, uncharacteristic and unexpected twist on traditional meeting presentations. His message was innovative, imaginative, and left us wanting more!” -
-Shawn O’Grady, General Mills President, Sales and Channel Development

"There are really smart speakers, there are really inspirational speakers, and there are really human speakers. Phil is all three. Can’t wait to hear him again!"
- Brian Lewis, CEO, International Society for Technology in Education

“Phil Hansen is a master storyteller and shares his personal journey of challenge and triumph with sensitivity and humor. He is an engaging speaker who can connect with any audience. Phil is also one of the most creative artists I have seen. You never know what he will pick up next to make into a surprising and inspiring work of art.”
- Barbara Shepherd, Director of National Partnerships, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

"Phil will wake up your employees in a way you as a leadership team cannot".
- Lars Dalgaard, Founder of SuccessFactors, Executive Board Member of SAP

“This year we assembled a dozen or so of the most influential executives in healthcare to explore how to best handle the enormous, disruptive wave crashing upon our industry. We wanted an outside perspective that would inspire us to think differently about constraints and inspire us to create entirely new approaches. Phil delivered on both of these fronts and did so with a warmth and humility that touched each of us. I would highly recommend Phil for any group looking for a fresh perspective.”
- Andy Parham, President and CEO, Dātu Health


Tattoo a Banana: And Other Ways to Turn Anything and Everything Into Art

Entertaining, clever, witty -- Tattoo a Banana is an innovative approach to creativity by internationally recognized artist Phil Hansen. This fun and captivating guide will have you creating art with anything at hand - like a piece of toast, your own fingerprints, or a stack of marshmallows - showing how to develop everyday creativity with offbeat techniques.

Whether you want to jumpstart, rediscover or further your creative pursuits, this book will help you build your creative muscles by experimenting with the unexpected. Once you tattoo a banana, print on marshmallows, or mold a Mona Lisa sugar cookie, you'll definitely be curious about what else is possible!

Embrace the Shake: Transforming Limitations into Opportunities
Like Phil’s art, his empowering message of “Embrace the Shake” defies conventional thinking by approaching limitations as opportunities. We live in an increasingly changing business environment where success depends on "creativity and innovation" as a continuous process. This means we need to fearlessly look in unexpected places for possible solutions. To get there, we have to stop relying on external resources and tap into the most important internal resource, our own creativity.

Along with jaw dropping visuals, Phil’s incredible keynote will surely challenge your team to rethink their approach towards obstacles, discover their new creative capacity, and bring fresh ways of viewing the world, to succeed with the task at hand.

Are you ready to Embrace your Shake?

The Art of Collaboration: An Interactive Art Experience
In addition to his inspiring talk, Artist Phil Hansen designs a hands-on interactive art experience that brings your audience together to create a stunning and unexpected work of art. This fun, engaging and collaborative project furthers the experience of embracing challenges through teamwork, and demonstrates the power of coming together to create something new. Client keeps the final artwork. Note: There is a separate fee to add experience on to the keynote (based on the amount of people participating)


Phil Hansen, Artist: TED Talk “Embrace the Shake”


After permanent nerve damage left his dominant hand trembling, artist Phil Hansen was forced to re-examine everything he knew about art. Upon getting a steady paycheck for the first time he visited an art supply store where he splurged on materials only to take them back to his home and stare at them uninspired.

“I realized I was actually paralyzed by all of the choices that I never had before,” he reflected. Phil thought back to his shake and wondered if embracing limitations could actually spur creativity. He went to his local Starbucks, asked for fifty cups, and proceeded to make the most-out-of-the-box art he had produced in years – and for only 80 cents. “It really became a moment of clarification for me,” he states, “that we need to first be limited in order to become limitless.”

Presentation Excerpt


Phil Hansen, Artist: ISTE EdTekTalks


Phil Hansen: The Art of Collaboration How-To Demo



Turning Limits into Creative Inspiration with Phil Hansen

By Phil Hansen

When Phil Hansen’s dedication to his art led to permanent nerve damage and a shaking hand, he turned a limitation into a creative catalyst that took his art to new heights. Hansen’s skillful use of unconventional materials – from matches to hamburger grease – has attracted the attention of high-end clients such as Disney, the ... more

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