It is often said that art doesn’t pay. Yet there are some people who have made real money from the arts. There are people who enjoy very high standards of living, thanks to their artistic talents. Therefore, we have to conclude that art pays – or rather, to be more precise, that art has potential to pay well. In other words, it is possible to earn real money from artistic your talent.
In order to earn real money from your artistic talent, you need to handle the business side of art well.
In order to earn real money from your artistic talent, you will have to apply the talent to come up with the artistic products that people really want. Thus, you always have to start by asking yourself the question as to what exactly the people want. Then that is what you need to produce, consistently: what the people need. Not what you feel like producing. Ultimately, if you produce the artistic products people need, the people in turn won’t have a problem paying for those products. If only artists were to focus on producing what people need – what people are ready to pay for – the controversial question of using tax money to pay artists wouldn’t even arise: because the artists would be getting decent earnings from their works anyway.
In order to earn real money from your artistic talent, you also have to try and cultivate a huge fan base. Once you have a huge fan base, you are regarded as ‘an agent of influence’ – and you stand a chance to be paid handsomely for your influence. Once you are recognized as a real agent of influence, you start getting invitations to (paid) gigs from all corners. On one weekend, you may be called upon to stage an exhibition or a performance at a school somewhere. On another weekend, you may be invited by the local correctional department to stage a performance or an exhibition at the local jailhouse. On yet another weekend, you may get an invitation to entertain a visiting head of state (and his entourage) with your artistic performance… Meanwhile, the money flows in. And you soon realize that art pays, especially if you take the trouble to cultivate a reasonably huge (and passionate) fan base.