Let’s play a game. Imagine a magic genie appeared and offered you the two following choices. The one you choose determines your fate. If you had the option to make one of the following choices, which would you choose?
1. As an artist, your work, in your lifetime, will not be appreciated and you will struggle greatly, making many sacrifices. But, your art will live on after your death and you will become posthumously famous and well known for the next 400 years.
2. You live a sustainable lifestyle in the arts. You are able to make a living and you work very often. However, during your life, you never reach any significant note of fame or mass appreciation. Following your death, your efforts in artistry are forgotten.
Play the game and make a choice.
Many artists I know choose number one. I respect their passion, but want to shake them by the shoulders and tell them about what else life has to offer. I personally think that a path of constant and rarely given a break type of struggle…is no lifestyle I would want to live. Minus the getting famous after you die part, many artists live the starving lifestyle, right now. They are in a seemingly unbreakable pattern of hand to mouth existence. Opportunities do come up on occasion, but their gross income at the end of the year, is still below the national poverty line. They spend more time at their survival jobs (using their limited life energies), which inhibits their ability to spend more time on their art. The only way for these individuals to ever break the cycle is to “win the fame lottery” and suddenly start working in a sustainable fashion and indefinitely OR to break the cycle themselves by getting off of the path and beginning the process of creating their own.
More artists I speak with say that they would prefer to be number two. They do not crave immortality. They do not hunger for stardom. They would rather work and often. They want to have a nice living and the resources to do interesting things and go interesting places in life.
Can you work in this lifetime and have your work carry on in your absence (read demise)? Of course. People do and have lived that life and if something has been done before, it can be done again.
Do you have a desire to live in fame after your death? If so, where does that stem from, within you? What is your motivation? Next question: Can a middle ground be found?
Entrepreneurial Arts Training, such as is offered at Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, can help some individuals hit the goal of a sustainable lifestyle and income in the arts.
Crave being thought of as Innovative? Do you have a desire for fame? Entrepreneurial training, such as The Hart Technique, will increase your odds.
I am deeply passionate about entrepreneurial arts training, as I believe it can help people realize a combination of these goals. One increases their chances of developing a sustainable income via such an approach, as well as their odds of having greater regularity in their work opportunities. How? Graduates of our system often have more opportunities, as they are creating them for themselves. Work begets more work. Said differently, “The more you work, the greater likelihood you have of working more”. Simultaneously, when one is able to work with a certain degree of volume, the chances of that individual making a name for themselves increases, dramatically.
Jim Hart is the founder of Austin Conservatory of Professional Arts, a full-time training program in Entrepreneurial Arts technique, teaching artists how to make a living in the arts. Hart has also founded The International Theatre Academy Norway and The Hart Technique.