Monday, February 27, 2012

The Business of Art: Are you a risk taker?

An entrepreneur is one who is willing to take risks in order to make a profit. It is also one who is enterprising, ie. marked by imagination, initiative, and a readiness to undertake new projects. (source: The Free Dictionary by Farlex)

Are we risk takers with our creativity? Do we risk a bold stroke and miles of canvass, or do we tinker with a timid line and remain stingy with one piece of paper at a time? This could be a clue to how we are in the business of our art as well.

Jim Hart has an interesting article, What If...Artists Were Trained as Entrepreneurs?, posted on The gist of his essay is that higher education doesn't prepare artists to make a living and that they should introduce more business courses in school. This isn't big news for most of us, nor does it help the majority of us already employed as artists. He also does not address the historically proven approach of learning under a mentor or in an atelier, which are all but extinct in this country. But whether or not you agree with the educational part, Hart does make some interesting points about artists taking an entrepreneurial approach to their careers:
Entrepreneurs look for potential gaps or opportunities within the market. If a market is over-saturated, it is probably not the best place to be to be setting up shop, as one will have to compete with sizable odds and obstacles. More competition, more risk and the less likelihood of success. However, if one chooses an alternate path to the typical (of New York and Los Angeles) and, instead, looks to markets where there are sizable cultural gaps or interests under represented (potential audience), artists have the opportunity to fill such a gap and create a niche, which can dramatically increase the artists’ chances of making a living.
What steps could you be taking --what risks could you assume-- to be more entrepreneurial in the marketing and business side of your art, as well as your creative processes? I'm not suggesting we "sell out" for a profit...but rather that we create a bold vision.

What opportunities might be found (or found missing) in your immediate communities or in neighboring cities, or even distant lands that may be a possible market for your work?

What moves might you have to take to be more entrepreneurial--a risk taker--in your business of art?

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