"Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art." - Andy Warhol
I was recently interviewed for an article profiling successful artists. The interviewer asked, “What are the biggest mistakes that you see artists making in planning their careers?”
That was easy to answer. The biggest mistake that I see an artist making early, and sometimes too late, is that they do not recognize and or respect the fact that they are “in business”. It's not a career!
Artists are not sure how to even start to be savvy entrepreneurs.
They are trying, often without much success, to follow a prescribed career model of working solely with art galleries and keeping their fingers crossed that one day that this tired formula will work.
The problem is that this scarcity and permission based model does not work 99.9% of the time.
And if it does, too many art galleries fold. Those are not good odds and this does not make for sound risk management.
Part of this mindset is ingrained by a cultural stereotype that artists should not, or could not, be concerned with money and business.
I can’t tell you how much I hear this disrespectful crap. So I purposely have my full title on my business cards and the footer of my emails, “Ann Rea, Artist, CEO, Ann Rea, Inc.”
One of my favorite quotes by Oscar Wilde is "When bankers get together they talk about art. When artists get together, they talk about money."
The good news is that there’s a lot of money changing hands in the art industry, and artists can get their piece of the pie.
I’ll remind artists that I consult with that no one is going to “discover” them, no one is coming to save them.
But once an artist recognizes, respects, and embraces their business, we’re ready to work together.
And those artists who I work with have surprised and delighted me with the leaps of progress that they make.
And they even inspire me to up my game, to dream bigger, make a plan, and move into planned action.