Art and Money

In order to create art on a regular basis, one must secure a way to fund this lifestyle. —Either the artist must find a job, individuals, or institutions who are able and willing to support them, or they need to be able to support themselves by selling their work. —Nobody should expect an artist to sacrifice a normal quality of life in order to produce their work, though many artists choose this avenue because of their dedication to their passion and their disdain for spending their energy in other directions.

Regardless of the means of acquiring money, money and artistic creation are inseparably connected. It is entirely up to the artist as an individual as to wether or not they will change their motives for creating art from intrinsic to extrinsic.

Only the artist can determine what their motives really are. Is either right or wrong? I don’t believe so. Ultimately, it is the artist that will pay the price with their time and resources, as to what “fulfilling their artistic purpose” looks like. If their motives move solely to making money with their art, and they do so, does that not fulfill their motive? Who are we to determine wether or not either approach is more worthy than the other?

The idea that an artist who finds success financially with their work is anymore less of an artist than one who does not is flawed. —In our capitalistic economy, money follows influence. If a piece of art influences people, it is likely to be desired because of its inherent value which is directly related to its ability to move someone on an emotional level. If a piece of art doesn’t influence others, its value is inherently less.

Art is meant to be shared with others, and to influence others, period. I don’t know any artist who feels otherwise. If an artist doesn’t care to receive any sort of recognition for their work, or doesn’t care to influence anyone with it, then the work will not be shared, and therefore remain uninfluential. If that is an artist’s goal, that is entirely up to the artist, but it appears from an outsider’s perspective, to be an entirely selfish or narcissistic motive. —There may be many of these artists who have this viewpoint, but we as the public will never know them as artists, because we never cross paths with their work.

Therefore, in order for art to be valuable, it must be influential. The more influential, the more likely an artist is to find monetary success with their work. And, therefore an artist who makes a living with their art, deserves it, because their success is directly related to the influence they have made with it, and to their dedication to doing so.

(Mark McKenna – Feb 19, 2020)