By Barney Davey
Reprised and re-edited from a blog post published on Absolute Arts in December 2006
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every artist was first an amateur.”
If you examine any professional artist who paid the bills from their creative output in his or her lifetime, you’ll find each of them more than made peace with making commerce, they embraced it. Most were or are salespeople in their own right. Not necessarily the quintessential back slapping variety, but at least someone who could be counted on to explain the work in a compelling fashion even if it meant getting out of their introspective comfort zone for a time. A few may have had family, friends or management to take on the marketing duties for them, but most were involved in the process of getting their art to market.
It’s no different for actors or writers. Part of the gig is press junkets, media exposure, book signings, author parties, etc. While fun and glamorous to a point, they are wearisome, repetitive and time-consuming tasks each necessary to help generate enthusiasm for the work. In other words, to get people to buy. If no one talks up the book or movie, no one is going to see it. To get the early adopters on board, you have to beat the bush.
To some, there is shame in embracing commerce because to them it violates the quaint overrated sappy notion of the starving artist. To my mind, starving is a bleak situation that cannot possibly help the creative process… lead eating mad geniuses aside. That doesn’t mean a well fed artist can’t be hungry. Virtually every “known” artist got that way in part by being hungry. But it was not hunger for food; their hunger was for recognition and validation. Ambition is what fuels such hunger. Consider that a well fed successful artist can do worlds of good with celebrity and money. What is wrong with that?
Someone emailed me recently (November 2006) to say they had seen a quote from my book, How to Profit from the Art Print Market, posted on blog penned by artist, EC (Lisa) Stewart, aka Creative Goddess. Lisa’s post is apropos for this blog as well:Continue reading