If you are a visual artist, you are most likely, the sole proprietor of your business. 

 

Whether it’s a sideline gig or a full time concern, if you’re providing goods or services in exchange for payment, you are running a business.  If you started that enterprise yourself, whether operating from a giant studio or the corner of your bedroom, you are also an entrepreneur.

 

Put another way, as an artist, your primary intent with your business is to “employ” yourself by transforming your talents into income-producing activity. 

 

Success at the business depends on the artist’s singular ability to sustain and nourish a continuous cycle of creativity and understand how to secure, direct, adapt and apply that expertise to each new endeavor.

 

This is good news, because being continuously creative is what every artist strives for.  It is the primary path to discovery and innovation and without it the chances to reveal and express something original is greatly diminished.

GOOD NEWS

Why is it that talented artists, who are never satisfied by the middle path or the safe journey when it comes to their art, mistrust those same instincts, and in many cases, those fully chartered maps, as credible blue-prints for career advancement and entrepreneurial actions? How else would an artist, or an entrepreneur, accomplish what they do?  How else, as an artist, are you expected to disturb markets, “thrive on chaos” and challenge large established ideas and businesses?

 

The tougher news is that a successful artist knows that they can’t leave this to someone else.  In the end, an artist’s career, their future opportunities and the way they have chosen to live their life in art requires the kind of hard, unrelenting work, risk, and intelligence that only the artist themselves can bring to the table.  No one has as much to gain, or as much to lose.

 

The reason strategic thinking skills is so important and defining a characteristic of the successful artist, as it is for the creative entrepreneur,  is that you need them in order to view the “big picture”, just like you need tactical and practical thinking skills in order to assess the “as is” situation.  

 

A strategic mindset helps you determine what resources will be needed to ensure your success and where to invest your time and money wisely. Having a realistic view of where you are in the scheme of your own desires is a required part of being in charge. 

 

Together, strategic and innovative skills balance the needs of the present and the immediate future in a way that helps artists prepare for the challenges and opportunities these different periods bring.

STRAIGHT NEWS

tougher news

more good    NEWS

 

"I am a creative and entrepreneurial catalyst that develops an artist’s original and embryonic concept(s) into a business.  My approach depends on expanding an artist's frame of reference into cross-functional strategies, which widens the understanding of an artist and their work, raises their visibility,  and creates opportunities for targeted markets to engage, support and buy what the artist is putting out into the world.   

 

When your business has an artist in the room (yourself or others) the need for self-expression shapes and defines the content, products and services of your operation long before market and consumer motivations come to play.  In short, the passion for the art comes first and the business of marketing the supply follows.

 

I understand the management and operational challenges in stewarding both passion and sales, have the skills to assess and establish real expectations, and the practical tools and talents to implement both a vision and a plan.  "

 

- David Kent   

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VIDEO INTRO    >

Artists today get it:  If you’re not taking care of your business, your business is not being taken care of.

 

True creative freedom, the ability to start from scratch and bring into being something that was not there before,  depends on an artist’s personal ability to incessantly see new ways of doing things with little concern for how difficult they might be or whether the resources to accomplish them are available.  No one struggles with this on behalf of the artist.  No one learns from doing but the artist..

Here’s the straight news.  As an artist, you are in a competition, and it is a long-term and cumulative competition to always be at your best, your boldest, and you’re most audacious.  It is a competition to stay credible, visible, and new.  Once you start to get behind it takes more and more effort to catch up.  When you are not on the radar you are not in the fight.  

 

But the competition is also not with yourself, or with anyone else, including the artist on the corner.  Your competition is indifference.

 

The reality is that people do not have to do anything about art; collectors and Gallerists included.  Unlike a 24 hour coupon for a free haircut, or a final cancellation notice for cable, art requires a personal context in order to be useful.

 

In other words, when you promote your art you really have to give people a powerful and engaging reason to listen.  And more than just listen.  You need people to commit time and ultimately immerse themselves in the encounter.  You need it to have the kind of authority that comes from stepping out with your art and declaring its importance.

 

Art, after all, is news, and great art is powerful enough to keep being news each time it is encountered on its own terms.  When an artist’s work is, as they often believe, unique and new, and their approach and ideas based on original insights and patterns of awareness, news is being made.  If there is discovery taking place, news is being made.  If there are credible, new truths being proposed, it is news.

 

This is a commanding advantage artists have in the marketplace of ideas and services: the value of what they do, and did, can remain viable and applicable for generations.  It does not need repairs, replacement parts or upgrades to remain applicable and even older inventory can be refreshed and compelling.

 

If you develop a broad cross-functional expertise, no new idea will be wasted. It will immediately connect with the existing knowledge and will inspire you, energize you, and encourage your entrepreneurial creativity.

 

I can help you do this.

90 seconds

In the same spirit, artists take risks, not for the sake of risk, but because they understand how it forces them to rethink and challenge the basic structure of what they believe and practice; how it opens new doors.

 

Artistic “systems” of thought and construction, which can range from the purely empirical to the holistic and manic, are generated and renewed with experimental fervor and testing.  The most abstract concepts find  expression in precise and clear sequences.

 

Artist's work things through from the ground up, deconstruct, reconstruct and analyze the results of different applications.  They require creative environments to succeed, and are often remarkable at adapting quickly and productively to what may interfere with their creativeness.

 

Put another way:  Artists know that inspired results require inspiration, as much as it requires an ordered awareness and understanding.

 

Successful artists grasp the reciprocal benefit of developing a strategy around their own creative visions. Securing a consistent and serious creative environment depends on setting and achieving the goals that are unique and meaningful to the artist.

 

A good plan creates higher levels of motivation and excitement, while the effective implementation of the plan is the true determining factor as to whether or not the work of being creative succeeds.

FINALLY, GOOD NEWS AGAIN!

My creative approach for any venture follows a trusted template.  Every project starts with one artist (or artists), me, and a blank page – no preconceptions.  Early on, I am interested in the grounds an artist stands on and how it impacts the work, the making of the work, and the artist’s perceived intentions regarding both.

 

The approach permits me to pull an artist out from beneath the footprint of historical or canonical definitions and focus on what is exclusively new about the artist-creator and the particular ways they imagine, renew, risk, and construct their creative assets.  Further, it allows me to think about an artist’s art as work, problem solving, experimentation, innovation, and inquiry. 

 

From a business perspective, getting a realistic view of an artist’s circumstances and leaning into the objectives and goals that started the whole business to begin with is the next critical part of any start.  Typically, it is also what most artists, like most business owners, have lost sight of struggling with the day-to-day challenges of running an operation, where distractions abound; everything is a crisis, and the urgent runs rough shod over the important. 

 

If an artist's knowledge, even of themselves, is functionally focused on their art-making only, they may be open to new ideas related to their artistic expertise, but are likely to miss all other learning and innovation opportunities.

 

Matching an artist’s goals with their current actions and long-term objectives is one of the foundations of my approach and like every good entrepreneurial strategy it both widens the understanding of an artist and their work and helps ascertain market opportunities.

 

I help the artist flesh-out and manage these concepts as they apply to the subject of running a successful small business and as the picture of their business starts to emerge, the nuts and bolts of a plan are established, including budgets, deadlines, and a task-oriented breakdown of responsibilities and commitments.

Ask an artist who is their competition and most of the time you get an uncertain look, or a disdainful one, and answers like: “I’m not competing with anyone.  I’m only competing with myself.” Occasionally, an artist will mention a market, audience, gallery or even another artist as their competition. Regardless of the particular answer, the great majority of artists believe competition is a benign concern, or a force outside their control.

TOUGH NEWS

WHAT AILS YOU?

The Obituary Pages are filled with artists who thought and intended but waited too long.

 

Creativity is only a day dream without action. Lots of talented, sensitive people have great imaginations and are regularly unlocking hidden, undiscovered thoughts and ideas that lie within, and without. 

 

What separates the artist, and the entrepreneur, from the rest is the ability to innovate, to take the idea and make it work in practice. This, of course, is why it is such a great struggle to be a successful artist or entrepreneur:  Life isn’t fair. 

 

The tough news is it’s hard to break down barriers.  Innovative concepts and radical ideas are never easy to sell.  Indeed, the more innovative, daring and new, the more obstacles the status quo will erect in your way.  Artists, just like entrepreneurs, have to show up every day and persevere in markets where acceptance comes slowly.  Seeing something through to the end and not being satisfied until all of it is accomplished takes discipline, expertise, and great will. 

 

Being an Artist, is part passion, part vision, part necessity, part love, and as only working artists appreciate, a very hard and lonely job nearly all the remaining times.   Every day, an artist needs to search for change, respond to it, and see it as healthy.  Doing new things, or doing old things in new ways, are how artists exploit change as an opening for new beginnings and a different creative outcome.

 

Despite these learned or self-taught lessons artists still have a difficult time jump starting what can be a temperamental artistic engine.  Too many artists waste time just trying to figure out how to begin a day of work and where to focus their efforts and energies. 

 

Instead of fighting what feels like a battle between creative and rational personalities, successful artists learn to work in partnership with the moodiness of their muse. 

 

Instead of exerting energy looking to solve all the possible problems that arise from this mix they choose to build something of recognized value around the opportunities they perceive.

 

Other artists face a different set of challenges and find themselves helplessly reliant on conventional strategies that have them running races they don’t really want to run, let alone win.  Sure, having a gallery show now and then is a worthwhile investment in yourself, but that job won’t always be there; and by nature, a creative maker will still be looking for another “mountain to climb” when it’s over. 

Being an Artist, is part passion, part vision, part necessity, part love, and as only working artists appreciate, a very hard and lonely job nearly all the remaining times.   Every day, an artist needs to search for change, respond to it, and see it as healthy.  Doing new things, or doing old things in new ways, are how artists exploit change as an opening for new beginnings and a different creative outcome.

 

Despite these learned or self-taught lessons artists still have a difficult time jump starting what can be a temperamental artistic engine.  Too many artists waste time just trying to figure out how to begin a day of work and where to focus their efforts and energies. 

 

Instead of fighting what feels like a battle between creative and rational personalities, successful artists learn to work in partnership with the moodiness of their muse. 

 

Instead of exerting energy looking to solve all the possible problems that arise from this mix they choose to build something of recognized value around the opportunities they perceive.

 

Other artists face a different set of challenges and find themselves helplessly reliant on conventional strategies that have them running races they don’t really want to run, let alone win.  Sure, having a gallery show now and then is a worthwhile investment in yourself, but that job won’t always be there; and by nature, a creative maker will still be looking for another “mountain to climb” when it’s over. 

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What does your business do well?  

 

What are you really good at?

 

Who will pay for it?

 

A conversation like this with me can show you where your next opportunities are and it can transform your existing inspiration and content into the first step to a new and more profitable outcome. Just talking can give you a better reality and help you creep out of whatever tunnel you're in.  

 

I use a cross-functional approach that transforms your creative inspiration into a strategic and entrepreneurial venture.

"It is easy to feel overwhelmed.  It is normal to worry that any time or money spent looking for something outside one’s existing frame of reference will be at the expense of something else not getting done.  I understand this completely.  The simple fact is that the mind can accept only those ideas that relate to existing knowledge.  It tends to reject everything else."  

The work of being creative is a highly satisfying experience for the artist.  It is what initially draws them in to a life and career in art and then sustains them by becoming an occupation and pursuit artists themselves describe as being: "What can't be lived without."  

 

The "big picture" view of success does not include working for someone else because it would feel all wrong and be all wrong. What artist could become all the things they can be, want to be, and continually try and redefine, if someone else owned the agenda?  The artist's doing must be their own.

 

Luckily, as the sole proprietor, an artist wears all the hats. They are the boss and the “money”.   Artists can set their own work objectives, dictate which measures of success are most important, and pursue the career and areas of interest that they are passionate about.  

 

As a job, being an artist suits an artist's spirit of independence and they're instinctive desire to move on to the next thing.  Unlike 80% of employed workers recently surveyed by the New York Times, artists believe their job as an artist does, in fact, give them: regular time for creative thinking; opportunities to do what they most enjoy; a level of meaning and significance in their work; occasions for learning, chances to do what they do best; comfort in truly being oneself; and an overall positive energy in their approach to work.

 

The best news for artists, however, is that they come to play in the marketplace with tremendous inherent advantages.  Whether they call themselves creative entrepreneurs or not,  working artists are regularly and intuitively developing and practicing what entrepreneurs teach are fundamental values any successful innovator must learn.  

 

Take for example how artists, like successful entrepreneurs, know that creating opportunities is a better strategy than just trying to solve problems. Errors, obstacles, limited resources and unexpected failures don’t stop an artist.  To the contrary, artists embrace mistakes and unexpected results because, when seized upon, promising new possibilities do emerge. 

ART AS APPLICATION

artist in the room consultants, inc 
david@artistintheroom.com

305.923.3712