“Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” ― Andy Warhol
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Andy Warhol may be one of the most famous artists of the last century. He is well known even among people who know nothing about art. His work and influence on the art world have endured well beyond his death.
That is why we must follow his example. While many artists shun the idea of making money, Warhol embraced it.
He was one of the originators of pop art. He not only created paintings of celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, he became a celebrity himself.
Warhol did not believe making money from his work was evil. He used money as a tool to spread his ideas.
He did not shun working. He worked hard to make sure his art and ideas reached the largest audience possible.
He did not hate business like most artists do. He turned himself and his work into a business. He used business as a way to continue making art. He used it as a way to make sure everyone noticed what he was doing.
If you have been struggling with the idea of making art for money or turning your art into a business, you may want to reconsider. If you don’t make money from your art or have a good business plan for selling your art, you will have a hard time turning your art into a career.
But don’t take my word for it. Look at the words of Andy Warhol, one of the most successful commercial artists to ever live. He did not take himself or his art too seriously. He used art to make a statement about society while also living life on his own terms.
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Kent Sanders has lived a life full of creativity ever since he was young, but it never occurred to him that he could make a living from his creativity. When Kent was young, he separated his love of creativity from his love of religion. It never occurred to him that he could combine those two interests.
After working in the ministry for a few years, he decided he wanted to go back to school to teach. He wanted to challenge himself by doing something new.
While finishing up his master’s degree, a realization dawned on him. He realized he could combine his two passions for art and religion. So he became a professor at a religious college where has taught everything from technology, to art, and film.
In this episode, Kent talks about why breaks are important, some of the biggest things holding us back, and changing our mindsets about money.
“If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” – Michelangelo
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Many of us have this funny expectation of people we consider experts or people we consider successful. We believe their talent is inherent. We believe they were born with a special gift. We believe we will never reach their status no matter how hard we try.
This way of thinking can be dangerous to our aspirations as artists. It ignores all the hard work people put into achieving mastery. It assumes that we can never achieve mastery no matter how hard we work. It assumes that we are born with or without talent. It assumes that talent can’t be developed over time.
While these ideas may have a sliver of truth to them, they are usually unhelpful. They force us to settle for good enough or they force us to quit.
I can assure you of one thing: no one was born a master at their craft. Everyone started as a beginner. Every master had to work hard to become the best.
If you want to be the best, you have to work hard. There is no shortcut to becoming great at something. It takes, time, dedication, and yes, some talent, to achieve mastery.
So before you start envying the masters, know what it takes to get there. Know that it requires sacrifice. Know that it takes time. Know that it will be a difficult road. Know that to become the next Michelangelo, you have to be willing to put in the work.
Photo by Luis Brizzante
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Bob Baker has always been determined to make a living from his creative career. He started off his career by creating a music publication from scratch, with no prior experience. He didn’t let his lack of experience prevent him from achieving his goals. He just experimented with different ideas until he made it work.
Since that first publication he has expanded his interests well beyond a local music magazine. He has dabbled with writing, painting, and creating courses for aspiring artists. He even got into stand-up and improv comedy.
Bob has not let the starving artist mentality prevent him from making a career out of his creativity. In fact, he has thrived as an artist and creative.
In this episode, Bob talks about doing things that interest you, why you need to be persistent, and what separates successful artists from unsuccessful artists.
Kym Dolcimascolo got a degree in photography and film making but didn’t follow that path once she graduated from school. Instead she became a computer engineer and worked her way up the career ladder.
After working for a while in the corporate world, she decided she had had enough. So, she set herself up to leave her corporate job and started a web design company.
This career move allowed her to work with people who embraced creativity, and eventually led her into coaching for artists and creatives.
In this episode Kym talks about creating plans, why you should know your audience, and how artists can change the world.
Austin Kleon | ISBN: 076117897X & 978-0761178972 | Rating: 10/10
Austin Kleon’s incredible book Steal Like an Artist paved the way for his equally good Show Your Work! In Steal Like an Artist, Austin showed us how we could pull inspiration from everything around us. It gave us 10 examples of how we can be more creative as artists and creatives.
Show Your Work! is more of a companion book than a sequel to Steal Like an Artist. It explains why creatives need to show their work if they want to be “discovered.” In it, Kleon gives 10 examples of how we can share our creativity to grow an audience of passionate fans.
The reason you should read this along side Steal Like an Artist is, while Steal tells you how to boost your creativity, Show Your Work tells you how to share it. Both elements are necessary for living the optimum creative life.
If you start sharing your work from the beginning, there’s a timeline of your progress as an artist. There’s proof of your growth as an artist and everything it took to get to where you are.
It’s a way for fans to connect with you more deeply as you discover your own creative expression. It acts as a living creative journal of your progress.
With all that being said, here are my thoughts on each section of the book:
Marcella Chamorro’s creative journey hasn’t been a straight line. Her career path didn’t reveal itself to her until well after she graduated from college. In fact, she took multiple detours including working at a non-profit, getting her masters degree, and starting a web design business, all before finding her true calling.
She only recognized her true calling of writing, photography, and technology after running her web design business. Through these mediums she is able to help people tap into the serenity and enjoyment they crave.
In this episode, Marcella talks about letting go of your ego, getting into creative flow, and becoming more mindful.
Charlotte Eriksson grew up in a house where athletics were emphasized. The arts weren’t celebrated and you weren’t supposed to express your feelings. Her family didn’t grow up listening to music, so she didn’t really discover it until she was 16 years old. That’s when a friend introduced her music that touched her life.
From that moment on, she knew she wanted to be a musician. She knew she wanted to spend her life creating that same magical feeling for other people. And at the age of 18 Charlotte moved to London to pursue her dream. Since that moment, she has released several albums, toured all over Europe, and has published three books.
In this episode, Charlotte talks about facing obstacles, knowing yourself and your fans, and the importance of knowing your why.
“The only man who never makes a mistake is the man who never does anything.” ― Theodore Roosevelt
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I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life. Have you?
I’m not saying this because I am proud of my mistakes. I’m not, but I will tell you what I am proud of.
I’m proud of taking chances. I’m proud of bouncing back from failures. I’m proud of continuing to experiment despite the setbacks. I’m proud that I can say I tried.
If you’ve been paying attention to all the talking heads in the startup and business world, you might believe failure is a good thing. I can tell you this much: failure sucks. Failure does not make you better at business. Failure does not pay the bills. Failure is demoralizing. Even so, the truth is failure is inevitable.
If you want to achieve something great, you will also face failure. It’s not because you are dumb. It’s not because you don’t deserve it. It’s not because you aren’t special.
It’s because you don’t know what you are doing. None of us do when we begin our journeys.
It also doesn’t matter how much you follow an expert’s suggestions. You will still encounter failure. You will make mistakes. You will find obstacles all along the way.
The good news is, you will learn from your mistakes. You will learn what to do and what not to do. You will make tweaks to your process. You will adapt and change until you discover what works for you.
That is why we must embrace experimentation. We must embrace taking action despite the fact that we will run over speed bumps along the way. We must be willing to embrace the unknown.
If we don’t, we will never achieve anything. If you want to go through life without any blemishes on your record, you might as well give up now because the only people who don’t make mistakes are those who don’t do anything.
Photo by Pach Brothers
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We’re willing to fall because we’ve learned how to rise. – @BreneBrown (Brené Brown)
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Do you let the fear of failure prevent you from succeeding? Are you unwilling to take risks because you are afraid of the results? Do you stand by while it feels like everyone around you is doing so well?
If you said yes to any of the questions above, you are not alone. We all have these thoughts. We are all afraid of failure. We are all scared of taking risks. We all feel inadequate when we compare ourselves to others. These are all normal feelings.
So how do you find success while these thoughts plague your mind? The answer is simple, but not easy. You have to go on despite your fears. You have to take risks knowing you might fail. You have to stop comparing yourself to others.
Success is a funny thing. In school, there is only one right answer. We make sure kids know when they’ve gotten an answer wrong. Red ink is abundant. We make students feel like a failure if they get anything below a B. It’s no wonder we’re all afraid of failing.
In the world after college, everything changes. People no longer expect us to find the one right answer. We are expected to experiment and figure things out for ourselves. We have to re-calibrate the way we approach problem solving.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned while trying to build my website and audience, it’s that there is no right answer. If your ideas succeed more than 50% of the time, you are doing an incredible job. That same score would flunk you out of school.
One of the most important lessons you can learn is that failure is not the end of the world. Failure teaches us lessons that success never could: It teaches us how to be resilient. It teaches us how to learn from our mistakes. It teaches us how to experiment and test things out for ourselves. It teaches us how to make it in the world as creators.
As artists and creatives, we must be willing to fall. It’s going to happen. A lot. So get used to it. The most important thing is that you learn how to rise too. You shouldn’t strive for failure, but it comes with the territory. The only way you will learn that lesson is if you are willing to try.
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