Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Artist Entrepreneur

photo by Mike Chaves

To my mind to succeed as an artist, one must also be an entrepreneur. It's miserable if one ends up poor and unwell with the talent that Van Gogh possessed. That makes for good tragedy post-humously but not a happy life. Yet, it seems to me as though the dominant patterns in the brain which serves one out into society as an artist, inhibits the calculating business/sales/ administartive/ auditing mind that one needs to be successful. Therefore artists wait to be discovered and managed, which is very good when that happens and one finds really good managers, agents, etc. But many artists have enough skill and talent to be successful not necessarily to become celebrities but to make as good a living as any other profession. In a place like Canada it's great that there are grants and available in the absence of royal patronage. It would be nice to have patronage too:) Here's what I'm thinking: Many artists have figured things out in their community. They may know how to produce themselves and put on a show from concept to advertising and marketing. But they can only do this in their own neck of the woods where they have had to find the entrepreunerial edge. They may have an extensive list of people who have watched them grow who may come to see their work. Why don't such artists who may be wearing down their own audience with this overexposed act (within their own community), connect with others from different parts of the province and host, produce and market them in their home community in exchange for similar favours from the visiting artist. In essence an intercity network of co artists. Recently I watched the East York Choir in performance and they were wonderful in their communtiy. But after all this practice they perform once and that's it unless someone could host them elsewhere and run the business of it where they cannot. In lieu of agents and managers, how could this happen? In Africa we say "hand come, hand go". In Canada we say: "you scratch my back and I scratch yours". Imagine that there were associations formed in this manner, the mid level artist could potentially get really busy and the emerging artsist would know the value of working to establish themselves within their own community. Artist Entrepreneurs need to think this way to connect to a bigger world. We know that in our day Van Gogh would have fared better, wouldn't he?

On this note I hereby create my intercity network of Artist Entrepreneurs. You may register with me so long as you are a performing artist, don't live in Guelph and have succesfully put on shows seating at least 250 people :)

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