About three years ago, the director of the UC Berkeley career center read a profile of me written by the business editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and invited me to be part of a panel discussion for recent art degree graduates and alumni. Once again I encountered such strangely conflicting opinions about the commerce of fine art, just really weird biases and stupid and tedious stereotypes.
The panel was composed of a successful print maker, a painter, a tenured UC Berkeley art professor of painting, me, and someone else. When the moderator came to the professor to ask his esteemed opinion on the matter of making a living as a fine artist, his general very long-winded response was to “just make art and do not worry about money.”
To my delight, my print making co-panelist dropped an f-bomb and said “F*! that, people are buying art”. “You said it sister!” I replied. And easy for you to say Mr. Tenured professor, who’ll never be fired, even though his instruction is completely irresponsible garbage. “Don’t worry about it?!” So should they not worry about food or shelter either? Good grief! The ones who seem to be less concerned with money are usually the ones who have plenty of it or who know that ultimately they have a financial back up. Go figure.
I heard this strange disdain for the commerce of art just last week. I was interviewing marketing consultants to help me craft a new marketing piece and I was met with “you seem to be much more interested in the marketing of art than the making of art.” “Ah, nooo. I’m very interested in the making of art, but if I want to keep doing that I have to market it. And ah, aren’t you a marketing consultant?” I didn’t hire him.
What the heck is this twisted and hypocritical conflict about money and art? Musicians seem to suffer less from this. Why is that?
Please! Making art and well-being requires money. So let’s make more money!