The similarities may surprise you:
These two lists are side by side at the bottom of this piece so I can make two points:
1. It’s okay to be an artist with business goals.
Both Jon Westenberg and Ben Hardy are taking a lot of flack lately to go along with their Medium fame (here are Exhibit A and Exhibit B, respectively). Maybe it’s deserved, maybe it isn’t. I’m not sure. Only they know where their hearts are. Maybe they don’t even consider themselves artists while the rest of us do.
There are several artists with business sense. You may have heard of these:
- Steven King
- Spike Lee
- James Altucher
- James Cameron
- George Lucas
It’s safe to say the world is impacted by these people because of their talent AND their business sense.
2. It’s NOT okay for the conception of art to be driven by business goals
What matters is the source of the spark.
If you are an aspiring artist trying to identify what is already popular and gain a career based on that, you will always be behind the curve. Always. It’s the nature of being a follower.
The artist is never behind the curve and, in fact, is probably unaware a curve even exists, choosing to spend her time instead on that squiggly line she just found in the corner.
J.K. Rowling didn’t think “Boy, you know what I think would be a smashing best-seller? A 12-year-old with who runs around saying Latin-rooted words and waving a stick!”
No, she wrote was her in her heart. The idea came first, not the market.
The businessman who follows trends ends up wealthy.
But the artist who follows trends ends up empty.
And of course I have no shame in adding this below — if you liked this post, you’ll probably like me, and you can find more of me at toddbrison.com (or in dozens of articles I’ve written on Medium)
If you didn’t, of course, please feel free to rant in the responses below :)