Just had a very inspiring meeting with an accomplished Dutch sculptor by the name of Ad Haring.
Sadly we had only a few minutes, but he did give me a gem.
See, Ad has been lucky. Basically from the start of his career, he’s had people bringing buyers to him.
Not something that befalls every artist, and he’s aware how fortunate he’s been.
At the same time, it’s not been down to only luck.
He’s also made commissioned pieces, and not just one or two.
When I asked him how that works in terms of true artistic integrity versus selling what a buyer or market wants, he told me something that every artist should take to heart:
“Commissions allow me to buy my freedom”.
Think about that.
Sure you have your own inspiration, and of course you don’t want to sell out.
But you don’t have to.
You can have the best of both worlds: Time to create what really is truly your art, and the money that you can get from creating something that people already told you they want to pay for.
And yes, there’s a sliding scale right in the middle of a gray area.
Some ‘gigs’ might really not interest you, whereas others have enough overlap with your true art to make it worth your while.
But the attitude that I see with a lot of artists, where they flat out refuse to take on any commissions or adapt to what a buyer is wanting to pay for:
Does that really help you?
Should you keep your artistic integrity so high and undiluted that you can’t pay the bills?
Or in other words: Is that really worth it?
Hefty questions, to be sure.
But then, that’s what you get when you go out and have conversations with interesting people.
Which is a lesson in disguise and, if you can’t see what I mean I’ll spell it out for you:
Please, go out and have more conversations.
It’s good for business.
Next, tell me about yourself: what do you do, how do you balance true inspiration with gigs or commissions?
Let me know, I’m curious.