The natural succession from an artist to entrepreneur
A solitary genius, an eccentric being with a soul of a dreamer, a cultural connoisseur, and a visionary for the ages, these are just a few words that have been used to describe an artist. While the images your mind conjures up would most likely be those of maestros like Bach and storytellers like Monet and Shakespeare, for a while now, you would have started to see that definition morph into a modern rendition of its former self.
The artist, as we know it, has evolved. This evolution has extended the definition of artists from being the curators of culture and creativity to individuals who also work, train, trade, and collaborate with a sense of enterprise. Sounds familiar? Well, that’s because it sounds similar to entrepreneurs.
When I think of entrepreneurship, there’s only one line my brain automatically starts to recite -- ‘When you do something you love, you never work a day in your life’. Thinking over this impactful little statement made me realise that those words are basically what artists live by. Unfortunately, decades of conditioning and the need to fit everything within ‘a box’ have separated artists and entrepreneurs into their little corners.
Artist, entrepreneur, and artrepreneur
Coined in the 1800s, an ‘entrepreneur’ has been defined as someone who takes risks, identifying market opportunities, and deploying resources, services, and products to fill holes in the demand and supply ecosystem.
But at the core of that individual is the courage to strike out on your own, imbued with the special ability to create something of value out of a single thought. This is what entrepreneurs and artists have in common.
And the similarities don’t just end there. For an artist, the time, perspective understanding, and technique needed to create a masterpiece, let alone a whole body of work, takes years of persistence. This rings true for any entrepreneur on the path to finding their niche.
Furthermore, the passion and drive it takes to put that work out into the public, tirelessly working to gain the right connections and network to get the recognition it deserves is another feat in itself. This journey from inception to creation to proliferation is at the heart of any entrepreneurial adventure. It’s what has fuelled entrepreneurship since time immemorial.
So then, with half the journey complete, why shouldn’t artists take it through to the last mile and dive headfirst into being masters of their own creative destiny?
Posing as a harbinger of change for this group of artistic talent is the rise of the digital age and the freelance economy. It has taken the typecast ‘starving artist’ and replaced it with professionals who have taken control of their creative economy. Thus was born the ‘Artrepreneur’, an ambitious go-getter taking his or her art to the world.
While art has lent itself to the world of business for decades; opening lines of creativity that have influenced some of the greatest minds of our time, we’re now seeing this line of inspiration flip the other way round as well. In the generation of self-made success, artists have begun to take control of their creative potential and output to drive an environment that nurtures the possibilities of heightened opportunity.
All this means is that artists have now started taking charge of everything post-inception and creation as well.
Being masters of your own creative destiny entails being able to know the value of what you have created and equipping yourself with the necessary skills, tools, and acumen to ensure its evaluation matches the work you’ve put into it.
While business authorities may have been skeptical about the lucrativeness of transforming a passion into a full-time business, if there’s anything an artist is known for, it’s the inherent skill of challenging the status quo. Yet another trait key to the entrepreneurial spirit.
In fact, for artists, irrespective of the domain, the possibilities are endless. Just scroll through your social media feeds and you’ll see artists of all types making a name for themselves by either translating their art into products that can be sold en-masse, through commissioned work or even tutorials and master classes. The more you look into it, you’ll start to realise that all it takes is a leap of faith.
In my opinion, entrepreneurship would be almost second nature to an artist. The only difference being, before, your success as an artist may have been tied to a middle man or the potential of a small group of individuals being able to understand your vision, your art.
However, along with all the challenges that 2020 and the pandemic brought with it, was the potential to seize and master your own fate. Artists were pushed to explore a whole new world of possibilities and opportunities in the digital realms, opening doors to enhanced discoverability to this new generation of creative professionals.
Today the internet and the digital revolution have harnessed the power of globalisation, enabling you as an artist, to find your audience in any pocket of the world.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)