“Money makes the world go ‘round.”
We’ve all heard this, right?! Well, when it comes to the art world people act as if this statement isn’t true. Money is talked about in a taboo fashion. At times, the word “sell out” can even be synonyms with the word "money." But being in the art world for almost 7 years now, I know that that sort of thinking is very shortsighted and somewhat immature.
I’m not saying that money can’t corrupt people or compromise the integrity of some art/artists… But in reality, art is no different than any other social structure or industry we as humans subscribe to. It’s no different from the food industry or the academic field in the sense that it needs to be paid for!
People say, “No, you should create art for the love not the money!” And to that I say, “why not both?” Whether we like it or not, it takes money to produce art and to accomplish art-driven initiatives.
Don’t get me wrong, I create therapeutically and for the sole purpose of letting my creative juices flow; but when it comes to highlighting artists and getting ideas and philosophies to the mases in artistic forms - someone has to pay for it.
For example, it takes money to fund art programs in schools; the upkeep of buildings in which art is housed takes money. If you are a full time artist, it takes money to pay your bills, buy art supplies, and feed yourself.
Instead of us continuing this immature conversation. I would like to have a more progressive conversation about relevant topics such as: fair compensations for artists working on art projects, the vitality of artists acquiring real estate (for residential and commercial use), the importance of equity in our industry, and how to properly file your taxes as an artist (ya know, the simple things).
Money is not the enemy. What is done with the money and who the money goes to are WAY more important to talk about than the money itself. Money is always going to play a part in art. It always has and it always will. It is more important for us to push the conversation forward and make sure the money and resources go to the places we find value in.
And for all of the artists reading this… Selling artwork and selling out are two VERY different things.