The artist as a micro-business

It recently dawned on me that our local artists could profit from the experience of thousands of micro business owners who have harnessed technology to reach and interest prospective customers.

I am using the term "artists" to include artists, sculptors, musicians, and artisans of every persuasion who create beauty which evokes an emotion in the hearer or beholder.

Here are two concepts you might want to consider:

Art is the creation of an emotional impact, whatever the medium used.

Business, on the other hand, is the art of exchanging goods or services with a customer for money, support, or viable exchange of some kind.

Marrying art and business is a difficult task and is successfully achieved only by individuals who understand both.

Skilled artists who do not have a business orientation may only be
able to achieve economic viability when they have access to galleries
and other retail outlets which handle the tasks of promotion and sales
for them.

Artists who sell their wares at craft shows and wine festivals
quickly learn that the commission paid to galleries and retailers is
quite reasonable when compared to the cost and effort of selling
directly.

On the other hand, competent artists with studio showrooms have the
eternal problem of attracting customers to their often isolated rural
locations.

After observing successful and unsuccessful artists for the past
four years, I see that some traits and behaviors seem to lead to viable
businesses and I feel that these behaviors can be learned without
compromising artistic integrity.

To give you some food for thought, an artistic micro business has a
built-in advantage over almost every other form of small business. It
is unique in that it is generally newsworthy on several levels because
of its entertainment value.

I will expand on this theme in future posts because I feel strongly
that a strong and healthy artistic community can infuse new life into
the local and regional economy.

You might want to read some of my earlier posts
about the importance of micro businesses and how they work. I would
hope that the idea of artist as a micro-business owner might inspire
some of you who are artists to look at yourselves as a brand and even
explore the idea of what marketing is all about.

It isn’t all that complicated, as you will see. Stay tuned. 🙂

This entry was posted in Artists and their art, Basic Business Concepts, Micro-Business, Possibly Helpful Advice. Bookmark the permalink.

0 Responses to The artist as a micro-business

  1. Now all you need to do is to build a big building with movable walls and get a gallery going.

    You have put your finger on what the problem with art and business is.

    They are mutually exclusive.

    This is a good thing in terms of the artistry, bad in the case of starving artists as being a whole class.

    Case in point, when was the last time you heard kids on a playground saying that they wanted to grow up to be a rock star, but they had to finish business school first?

    Now with the cost of promotion on a worldwide scale available for the price of a blog, there is a window of opportunity to get local artists global attention, and hopefully enough money so they can continue being just artists.

  2. Carl says:

    Hmmm… I am reminded of the Family Ties (?)episode where Micheal J Fox tries to convince his sister Mallory’s artistic boyfriend to generate copies of his art to make big money… didn’t work.

    I have an artistic side that is hostiley incompatible with my business side. Call it fluid rigidity, or windy stillness, or arid humidity.

    I think the artist/agent relationship needs to be a COO/CEO relationship. The artist manages the product, the CEO the sales.

    I think there is the rare breed that can do both. But I think matching up pairs that excel in a symbiotic relationship will make a happier “synergy”…

  3. Sean Pecor says:

    I think Carl hit the nail on the head. Although the same holds true with most small business. Usually a successful vehicle has just the right ingredients; the powerful engine of a creative soul, the comfortable seats of a salesperson, the beautiful body contours of a marketing director, the headlights and steering wheel of a visionary. Sometimes one person can bring the entire vehicle to the table but usually has a few screws loose here and there. Not that I know anyone like that. No sir.

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