In today’s world, it would seem that many people believe that art and Entrepreneurialism “just don’t mix”. I’ve heard some artist friends say that putting a price on art devalues the piece. While some entrepreneurs might think that business is all logic and reason, leaving no space for creativity.
The truth is that art and entrepreneurialism are two expressions of one shared desire: to leave a personal imprint and impact on the world. In reality, art and entrepreneurialism are quite complementary and interwoven.
This week on the Unconventional Life show is Clyde P Riddlesbrood. He is the founder of the Riddlesbrood touring theatre company which is known as being one of the most successful and vibrant theatre companies in the New York and New Jersey area. Clydes shares some insight on how he manages to make his art a successful business.
Art first, business second
Most art starts out when we are children with an explosion of colors in a finger paint session. From early years, art is a fantastic way to allow children to explore and experiment with a variety of modalities of self-expression. Whether it’s drawing, dancing, theatre, music or fashion, each starts out as a hobby or a passion before art can become a business.
“And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is, you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way to become a master of something, to be really with it. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is.”
– Allan Watts
Bridging Art and Business
“As we know business is the analytical side of your mind, the money side, the practical side. Artists cherish the subjective, the imaginative and bizarre and perhaps even incoherence. All art means no business, all business means no art.”
Both sides need each other, despite their apparent differences; If only we could meet in the middle, we might find a perfect balance of mind and body, calculation and creativity.
Clyde’s hack for balancing these two areas is to compartmentalize as he states, “Sometimes the art wins. and sometimes the business wins in different realms.”
In Clyde’s experience when it comes to the budget, the business must always win. You can’t be one of these people that say, I’m going to take all my money, and I’m going to get the most beautiful costumes or the best quality paint, and then you do one piece and you’re out of business. “You have to learn first that the budget is God, you must not spend more than you need.”
Receiving money is what takes your hobby and turns it into a business. I understand that selling your art can be intimidating, you put so much time and effort into your art and wait in anticipation when you put your art up for sale, hoping that someone will find your art brilliant and will gladly purchase your piece or attend your show.
In reality, by focusing on sales and marketing you could be able to make art for a really long time and supporting yourself off something you love to do. I think that money is a beautiful reflection and a great energetic exchange that respects the craft.
If you don’t have a large budget you can make up for it with bootstrapping creativity with the currency of time. This not only saves you money but also creates really nuanced and unique pieces.
“My time is the art,” says Clyde. He will sit in his garage and spend three days painting something or will work really hard doing cool sound effects even if it’s only for a moment in the show. Normal businesses value efficiency but Clyde contributes his longevity in the arts to this tactic.
Clyde is giving away a copy of his book “The Greatest Brochure” To be entered to win the giveaway, click here. A winner will be selected next week.