Tag Archive - Business

Art, Paintball & Widgets

Not sure how exactly I came to have this epiphany while playing paintball but – I realized that selling art is simply another type of business. It’s not different than dry cleaning, selling advertising services or Belgian chocolate.  It’s 90% business and 10% art. I think because I saw so many successful couples tag team the art business, I always figured it was 50% art and 50% business.  But it’s not.

This realization started to creep up on me over the previous few weeks.  First there was a post by an artist who’s wife manages his career stating that it was 90% business and 10% art.  I was really surprised by this – given his full time crack marketing and sales team/ aka his wife.  And while I did agree with that – and think “oh good, I have been feeling bad that I’m not at my easel 50% of the time, maybe I’m on par with everyone else.”  I didn’t really get the deeper meaning of this.

I could basically be selling widgets.  Yes, high end, niche widgets, but widgets just the same.  This fact didn’t fully sink in until ANOTHER artist said he was spending 90% of his time at his desk and only 10% of his time out in the field behind his camera.  I was like – “yeah, I spend my entire day doing business.  It’s like I’m back in the corporate world, doing what I did then, only now I work for myself.” And he agreed.

So there I was, two years into being an artist full time and I finally got it.  I am selling widgets.  Art is a just another business.  I know that takes some of the fun out of it.  But it also all of a sudden makes it fit nicely into everyone’s business processes and models.  Where before I had been going along with the “conventional” artist wisdom that says art is not a square peg in a square hole.  Well, I hate to break it to you, but it is.  We are not the exception.  And this is a GOOD thing. It means life is much easier for us when we look at selling art from this viewpoint.

Yes it’s still precious.  Yes, unlike a traditional widget, it’s personal.  And yes, it costs more than a paperclip widget. But probably costs less than a real expensive watch widget.  So when we start to think about it in sheer business/ product terms – Wow – possibility opens up like never before. And all of a sudden the hard become simple.

What do you think?