Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Thoughts on Art and Business

I've been wrestling with two lines of thought in the last few days regarding pottery. Should I treat it like art - creating what is inside of me and giving no thought to the money, or should I treat it like a business - creating things that will sell the best. Round Tree Pottery was a business. At Round Tree the more business-minded I became the less creative I was and if I spent too much time creating one-of-kind pieces and new glazes the business would suffer. As an artist my ultimate goal is to create something that has never been seen, bring it out of my spirit and mind into the physical realm. As a businessman my ultimate goal is to make money. An artist must train his hands and learn the limitations and possibilities of the material which he is using. When an artist is first learning - they should copy the masters to learn the proper techniques, I copied lots of drawings when I was learning how to draw and lots of pots when I was learning pottery. But the ultimate goal was to take those skills and do something new.

On the other hand business has lots of grey areas for the purpose of making money. I have a friend whose dad worked for Kohl's finding American designers of purses and shoes and taking their designs to China to copy and reproduce without their permission. That's business and legally they took advantage of another person's hard work and ingenuity and made alot of money from it. But there is no pride in that or self fulfillment or being true to one's self. As an artist the pride and sense of accomplishment comes from the act of creating that new thing. Yet, how many artists or musicians have you seen create something new, make alot of money from it and then just try to create the same thing or repackage it differently just to make more money to maintain the lifestyle that they get use to.

It is an interesting cycle, an artist or musician wants to be creative so they will be famous and make lots of money only to loose the creative edge after being in business and making lots of money. I've seen it over and over again. Now don't get me wrong there is a sense of fulfillment that comes with making good money on a piece of art. But that should not be the goal of an artist. That should be the goal of the businessman. I think the result is that I'm a little of both. But when it really comes down to it -if I was broke or if I was a millionaire I would always find a way to try to create something new - ART. I guess that makes me more of an artist.

1 comment:

  1. well said man....lol I think it's funny how you say in your last sentance that you are an artist more then right below you have "I have pottery for sale on Ebay" LOL.....not critisizing you it just stuck me funny...We have like minds when it comes to this topic. My art is a creative outlet for me to express my ideas and thoughts. It's a cool thing that other people would actually want to "let go" of their earned money to purchanse said artistic creations. There's a sense of pride I think an artist feels when that happens. For me this can either motivate my creative mind or freeze it. Motivate, because it let's me know other people are appreciative enough of my work to want to own it. Freezes it, because it makes me think or feel I should make more to make even more money.
    It IS a balancing act creativity/business therefore if an artist is in business it's the interest in creating that as brought them to the business side.I stand by my creative side in a hard headed sort of way. This in turn effects my business because I don't produce things a lot of times to be sold or even shared. It stays personal with me and I do things as my creative mind sees fit. If I make money or if I don't that's not the focus for me.
    G Mathis

    ps I sell my jugs on Ebay too. :)