The first rule of Art Club? Don’t talk about how you run Art Club – that is, don’t talk about your risks, your losses and definitely don’t discuss your eccentric shortcuts or the expenditures that ultimately win you a customer base. You probably want to avoid even calling them “customers”, even though that’s precisely what your fans are at the point of sale. Even though they may – if you’ve developed a friendly relationship with them – take pride in their role as buyers of your art.
The mostly-unspoken rule that artists aren’t supposed to talk about their businesses reveals plenty about how we tend to think of “art” and “business” as mutually exclusive – and have double (or even triple) standards about what artists are and are not allowed to say about their money and still be considered artists.
– “Art is a business – and yes, artists have to make difficult, honest business decisions“, Amanda Palmer, 2014
The narrative that “creators should work for the love of it” makes it a financial risk to be seen treating creative projects like a business.
Instead of customers, we have ‘supporters’. You can tell supporters they’re helping you pay rent… but you can’t tell them they’re funding your beach holiday.
You can survive like this, but it’s hard to flourish.
This artificial barrier to financial wellbeing is unhealthy for our community. Treating our businesses the way other entrepreneurs do will, over time, change our culture, making it easier for anyone to live off creative work.