Western societies tend to dissociate artists, and their work, from business. Art is in fact a creational state that comes from emotions, so if an artist is concentrating on selling while creating, this could prove to be very hard to navigate. Nonetheless, nowadays we are long past the ages when artists were a very small niche which depended on rich patreons. This brought many fruits, mainly the independence of art creation which has been a gigantic win for societies everywhere, for it has brought deep cultural change and development. In order to maintain this, artists must remain independent.

Their freedom is, however, very hard to obtain nowadays. As we’ve seen in previous articles, both in the USA or in the EU, most contemporary artists live in a precarious situation. We’ve seen that their income is way lower compared to average and that, in fact, less than 10% of art graduates end up earning enough money from their art to live exclusively off it. We’ve also understood many of the factors that influence this, such as the centralization of the market or the fact that art is used as a financial commodity. This inflates the prices of some pieces, concentrating capital in very small circles, instead of distributing it. Another of the reasons for this to happen is because, in Western higher education, most academic curriculums and syllabus do not include any business education. This has become a major handicap for contemporary artists because, as statistics show, most of them are self-employed.

Artists as entrepreneurs

In fact, an artist is 3.6 times more likely to be self-employed than the average population. In the USA, if only 9% of all workers are self-employed, this reality represents more than 35% of all working artists. So, what does this say about them? While we tend to dissociate artists from business, we’re actually facing one of the most entrepreneurial sectors of our economies. With the very few tools and aides that they’re offered, more than one third of working artists manage to make a living for themselves, out of their artistic work, without depending on anyone else.

Besides the challenges that original creation carries, the effort it demands and the vulnerability most artists expose in their art, a contemporary artist must also know how to manage their wallet. While buying the materials they need, they must take into account their cost when selling the piece. If the materials used are too expensive, this will raise the cost of the art, which might make it more difficult to sell, depending on the target public. Simultaneously, they must manage their time because this will also impact the selling price of their pieces. All of this while having to face fixed costs related to their working space. In addition, artists are also responsible for their image, brand or marketing. It is incredible to achieve total liberty of creation, while managing costs in order to make your art affordable to your target audience. But if you do so, and you don’t know how to showcase your work, all those efforts might be wasted. Most artists have to manage their social media, do networking and search for exhibition spaces in order to get themselves out there, and in consequence boost their chances of success.

Artistic entrepreneurship

Taking all of this into consideration, aren’t we facing some of the most entrepreneurial individuals in our societies? An artist is a creator, an accountant, a salesperson and a marketing specialist, all at the same time. This demands a tremendous effort from these resilient characters, whose working time ends up being split between business and creation, sometimes evenly. In art2act, we offer the tools artists need to achieve this with unparalleled efficiency. From a social media tracker, to a project management helper or a pool of networking opportunities, we support them in the professionalization of their work-flow, so they can focus their time and efforts in their main activity: creating.