After a summer vacation and some less fun issues (now completely resolved!) that unfortunately coincided with the very busy start of a new semester, I am back at work on my collection of essays on the relationship between artists, money, and entrepreneurial action. The seventh essay in the collection explores what entrepreneurship means to artists, develops several case studies that illustrate these entrepreneurial principles, and then describes and analyzes several resourcefulness strategies artists employ to enable them to thrive including the development of the “portfolio career” and web-enabled patronage. As in the past, I’ll dribble some teasers out one paragraph at a time, admittedly to incite interest in the project, but also to collect feedback from you, Creative Infrastructure‘s readers. Here’s this week’s entry:
The very term “entrepreneurship” is distasteful to many artists (and other people) for its neoliberal and/or brashly capitalist implications both historically and recently. Nevertheless, asking artists what the term means for their practice supports the perspective taken throughout these essays: for artists, entrepreneurship means directly connecting their creative work to other people, their audience. Of the forty artists who participated in a Tremaine Foundation phone survey, the plurality (nine of the forty) indicated that being an entrepreneurial artist means connecting their work with other people, while an additional three said it means keeping the buyer in mind and two others noted it means making their work accessible. Only seven said “thinking about yourself as a business” is what it means to be an entrepreneurial artist. Although I note that overall the survey was not analyzed for statistically significant correlations, those seven as a whole are younger than the rest of the group, which may indicate a shift in thinking among artists who have been exposed to arts entrepreneurship as a concept earlier in their careers. Such artists, unlike artists of earlier generations, have been, at minimum, introduced to the idea that being an independent artist means being a sole proprietor of a business, even when generating revenue is not the motivation for the creative activity of the artist.
Because I mentioned that summer vacation, I offer some eye candy: