creative arrogance

We have spent a lot of time thinking about the business aspects of creativity. Like many of you, I still feel weird thinking about my work in terms of value measured by money/income. Why is this?

I know for me it is partly because of my education, many academic artists I encountered on the path to my degree never spoke about money. Of course they partly supported themselves with their teaching activities, just as I do now, but they also sold art, their work, and never once mentioned that. In art school I learned that art & money don’t mix! But of course they must!

This is further reinforced by the glamour of the starving artist mystique. Artists enjoy suffering for their art, it is a rite of passage, if you aren’t hungry you are doing it wrong! Well that was all well and good when I was single. I lived frugally, I was OK with nothing. But then I had children. My kids didn’t sign up for that lifestyle and it wasn’t fair to them. I had to learn how to translate my creativity into income, and to do that I entered the coporate world, I got a job! I worked as a typesetter and graphic designer for many years, with some breaks when I went to school. In the beginning I felt like I was selling out, pimping out my creativity on business cards and logo designs. It took me a long time to realize it was OK to make money doing something I was good at that came easily to me.

So for a long time I have lived in two worlds, my studio and the office. Many of you are doing the same thing. In the beginning it was a bit like being behind enemy lines, the business culture has its own language and culture, I had to learn those things to function there, and I am smart, so I could and did!! I have always been a morning person, I like to get up and get going, so getting up to go to work wasn’t hard for me. I don’t sleep much, so I could work late in my studio too, because like most people I often hit my creative stride late at night. I made it work because I needed it to work.

I am mentioning all of this because as usual, my web surfing this week has turned up a theme… art & money. First I want to share this link, from an artist who has come up with a great marketing scheme to pay her rent! She is also getting a lot of flack from other artists for being gimmicky, but a girl’s gotta pay her rent! What do you think?

The second is another TED video, this one about the communication barrier between the art world and the business world. It’s about 20 minutes long so hang in there, and the pie chart on creativity is worth the duration! I am guilty at times of crarrogance, how about you?

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About dryadart

An artist struggling to balance art, teaching and family in suburban America. View all posts by dryadart

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