Business vs. Art

By | July 11, 2010

I’ve been wondering to myself recently if business and art are almost polar opposites. Much of the time, especially for start-ups, business is focused on following demand. What you want to do isn’t important, you simply do whatever it is other people want. In my opinion, art is usually the opposite of this. Art is created because the artist feels a need to create and express something inside themselves. Art is created for its own sake, and is done regardless or even in spite of what other people think about it. I think this is where the sparks fly when business and art attempt to mix. Business people (at least my stereotype of them) typically don’t understand art. A majority of the population doesn’t understand art either, but instead prefer the familiar, which to an artist means unoriginal. So when a business person talks to an artist, all they can see is “Why don’t you create this kind of art which is already popular? We could make so much money that way.” But to an artist, that is a prison (though I’d dare say most non-artists have difficulty understanding that idea). An artist is likely pushing a boundary or trying something new. So from an artist’s perspective, business is just a way of attempting to make what they’re doing practical, or in other words, provide for the costs of making the art.

This is why there is so little money in art. Most people don’t understand it and therefore don’t value it. Of course you may be thinking about the musicians and movies stars who make millions. I argue that there is a difference between art and entertainment. Entertainment is highly valued in our culture, and most of the highly paid “artists” are really entertainers more than artists. I suppose it depends on how you define art. I think of art as being a creative and often original expression. Pop art is more about recycling what has already been done and just sort of going through the motions without really doing anything new.

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