When I was in my 20s I had a very negative view of business, particularly as it applies to the arts. When I was young there was a mentality that successful artists and musicians were only successful because they sold out to some corporate sponsorship, that making money was equivalent to a lack of integrity. As an adult artist with a house and family, I think quite the opposite:
1. we need money just to survive
2. we need money to create and promote our art
3. all art needs sponsorship and has always needed it
4. when we have an audience, they are our customers as creators
I won’t deny that the influx of a lot of cash can dilute good ideas, lead to simple things being over-produced, and get the accountants too involved in the creative process. But without money and without an audience we’re making cheap art that goes in the closet with the rest of our dreams quitting a soul-sucking day job.
A great book on the subject is “How to Feed a Starving Artist” by photographer Dan duChemin. It’s slightly unnerving in the start- basically the first piece of advice is “get out of debt by declaring bankruptcy.” Or, alternatively, eating and living cheaper, renegotiating down debt, doing whatever it takes. After these strategies are in place, Dan goes on to describe establishing “passive income” sources and the various means a photographer- or artist- can make money off their craft, and how to make that money grow through creative investments. The more business-minded I’ve become, the more I see the creativity and imagination put into play with finances. Creativity in anything- diet, lifestyle, business, news- can be as inspiring as creativity in the arts.