Thus spake an artist friend the other day.
And while I commend the integrity of the statement, I do have my doubts.
Before I go on, do note that I have little authority to issue an opinion on the matter, given that I’m not a professional artist myself.
But here goes anyway, less pontifically than normal.
To start with, there’s the question ‘when creating WHAT?’
If, say, you design T-Shirts, or postcards, or you’re a portrait artist on the street, then obviously you want to sell them.
Which logically means you’ll need to ask yourself if people will want to buy it.
But actually, the more I think about this, the more I disagree with my friend.
Here’s the deal: it all comes down to your own integrity as an artist.
And to me that means that choosing to make something that you know buyers will pick up isn’t necessarily wrong.
Or think of it like this: You make art for the love of it.
And you sell it for the money.
Anything wrong with that?
Anything wrong with making something you know will sell?
You tell me.
But, it’s a narrow line to tread.
It’s a very small step to commercialising or selling out.
And the idea of ‘I’m not selling out – I’m buying in’ doesn’t hold water, in my opinion.
Sure, it’s smart to ‘do more of what works’.
But should you become formulaic, start repeating the same tricks just because you know it sells?
I really don’t know.
Probably not, unless you want to turn your art into a personality-less company.
So today, I’m handing over the question to you.
Is creation while thinking about sales or buyers ‘allowed’?
Also published on Medium.