Business Skills for Artists

Business skills are the skills of enterprise and making money

You realize that there is production and sales.

Then you realize that, like, production has always been distributed amongst many people. Rare is there an artisan that grows their own trees, mulches and makes their own paper, their own ink, and then creates their own art. And frames their own work.

They would focus on, well, on the art.

Occassionally, they might benefit from learning more about the qualities of paper, ink, and framing. But only insomuch as it serves the art and the creation of art.

One that is an artist would make art, rather than become a paper maker.

Now, the clarification is that I believe an artistic approach may be taken with "non-traditional" arts. Like you could have master paper maker and making paper is their art. Or a master ink maker. People that make food, that teach, can have an art(*).

Sales, similarly, has many stages, although less clear.
There are things like branding, marketing, sales, creating a funnel, and others. All of these things are different potential pieces, like how you can have different media and tools for making a painting, taking and processing a photograph, or playing a piece of music.

There is an expertise to each of these as well.

And similarly to what I said before, these things can be approached from an artistic perspective as well.

Now, a clarification. When I mention an 'artistic approach' it implies a 'non-artistic' approach. Not sure what to call it, but maybe like a mechanistic approach, though at this point in history it seems that machine learning is taking place, it does discredit machines. Capitalistic approach seems closer, but it does somehow try to separate capital from art, and this practice is not what we are talking about. It is more when maybe capitalism overtakes art in an endeavor. An artistic approach, to me, means something like focusing on the 'art itself'...which to me means like focusing on the communication of energy, experience, perspective and production of emotion in another person. Non-artistic is not just 'making money' focused, it is basically, anything except the art. These include 'just getting something done', 'low quality', 'uninspired' work. Basically a lack of effort towards quality.

Now a third clarification, restrictions are important though. An artist can take something like time constraints and use it. A time constraint, instead of being a path towards mediocrity, can be an inspiration. Although art takes time, sometimes playing with the variable of time (really fast, really slow) produces interesting artistic results or experiences. It may not be the best piece, but it may be a piece of a satisfying piece later on.

A step.

Which brings me back to money and business. The business of art is a sticky thing. One threatens to overtake the other. But they can also work in harmony. People that photography do personally fulfilling artistic projects, humanitarian projects, and commercial projects. Renaissance masters painted portraits, and produced stunning work, but also some of those portraits paid bills. Just because something makes money, does not mean that it is unartistic.

What is the answer then?

It depends on the focus. The intent. The balance.

Production of art depends on the artist. Production of paper depends on the paper maker. Sales depends on the seller.

An artist definintely can do both themselves, but artists are humans too. There is a capacity limit. Sales is another skill to learn, a valuable one to know an understand, and business is an encapsulation of that.

So, really, it is up to a person. It is not an all or nothing affair. It is a common partnership, but one that is based on choice. There are many sole proprietors that make it how they want and it is fantastic, there are failed partnerships, there are failed sole proprietorships, and there are beautiful partnerships. Being in partnership and having it be beautiful is more based on the execution and the alignment of vision and values, than it is on the nature of a partnership itself.

Admittedly, there are two different focuses. One on sales and one on art. There have to be. But they do not have to overshadow each other, they can add expertise to one another. For some reason, the idea of generosity comes to mind, as an antithesis to greed. Maybe that is a clearer definition of the spirit that I am describing with I talk about an 'artistic' approach, maybe what I mean is a more generous approach.

One that is not based on only ego and selfishness, but a greater good, increased positivity, and quality production of good in the world.

There is a person I read about who runs a popular website and they were asked about why they only monetize one portion of the website. They replied that they have more than enough money, and instead of accumulating wealth and then distributing it later like Bill Gates or any other capitalist, they would rather pay some of it out directly and now to people, by not monetizing things that they could. Kind of reminds me of the lady who sells papayas, who was selling super cheap fruit they would discard. Giving things away for free, while still looking out for the business, probably increases the positive interactions in the world and also increases the business.

I guess that is what I mean when I describe production and sales, art and business, enriching each other, harmoniously.

() There is even an art to racing and sport.
) The website is craigslist. They could monetize other aspects of the site and people would still use it, but chose not to. Kind of like how some businesses give discounts to schools or educational use...although those seem like weird programs too, so I don't want to endorse something I do not know too much about.