Artists have long battled with the dream-crushing truism of life which is – you need money to survive. Unless you have a hefty trust fund backing you or you randomly become “independently wealthy” (we’re all waiting for that malpractice suit in the sky, or that unknown rich uncle to die) the basic fact is you need a plan to sustain yourself financially in order to create your art.
The model for making money through art has gone through many differences throughout time, and currently it is going through a profound transition. This has led to the rise of the ARTrepreneur.
An ARTrepreneur is someone with creative talent and has a dream to turn their passion into their profit. Artists are realizing that their creative goals work the same as the self-sufficient entrepreneur.
Photo Credit: US8
ARTrepreneurs realize they can sustain their artistic ambitions by DIYing the production, marketing and selling. Most entrepreneurs have a goal to grow a business and make money, but for many artists money isn’t the driving factor. It’s their passion that keeps them painting, writing, designing, or making music. The ARTrepreneur recognizes that their talents have value and people are willing to pay for it. The goal is to do what they love doing while making a profit.
No More Gatekeepers
The Atlantic published a much blogged about article touting the birth of the creative entrepreneur. The article commented on a shift in the art-business model.
The structure to artistic success used to be that you would need to be anointed by some insider in the scene. You were dependent on their help, which they would offer as long as there was a way for them to make money off your talent. In short, the gate-keepers of the industry were the ones in the control. The audience and artists alike were captive to their interests. In recent decades, it’s become more and more difficult for artists to realize their dream. How did this change?
Funding of arts programs in public schools is decreasing. The rate of art participation is on the decline. The establishment that has been the support of the art scene is dying off. For those artists with ambition and innate self-reliance, that is awesome!
People are Corporations
So you may have heard about the landmark Supreme court decision that stated that corporations were people. May not be so great for our political landscape, but they nailed it when it comes to tapping into the current wave of brand marketing. The line between marketing your business and yourself as a commodity has merged in a unique way.
The overthrow of the gate-keepers has much to do with the rise of ecommerce and social media. The reason the gate-keepers had control of the industry was they had access to all the resources, the networking, the promotion machine, the keys to production. That is no longer the case.
The Internet enables you to promote, sell, and deliver directly to the user, and to do so in ways that allow you to compete with corporations and institutions, which previously had a virtual monopoly on marketing and distribution.
Art and business share one essential common fact – in order to prosper you have to be seen. In order to be seen, you have to go to where the people are. Once you realize that the best way to connect with your customer base, through whatever social media channels, then you have the opportunity to engage them directly. The latest model of social media marketing is still shifting and finding its way, and there are still kinks being worked out. But the fact remains, the ability to profit off your artistic talents has become democratized.
Creative entrepreneurship is spawning its own institutional structure—online marketplaces, self-publishing platforms, nonprofit incubators, collaborative spaces – but the fundamental relationship remains creator-to-customer, with creators handling every aspect of the transaction.
What Dropshipping’s Got to do With It
Shopify is a great platform for ARTrepreneurs to get started selling online with ease and simplicity. The total value of sales produced on the Shopify platform more than double from a year ago, hitting $2.8 billion in 2015’s 4th quarter. Through Shopify, artists are able to sell products with their own designs.
The yin to Shopify’s yang is dropshipping. Dropshipping is how ARTrepreneurs are able to outsource the manufacturing and delivery of the products they want to sell. The key is finding a dropshipper with an extensive product catalog of quality-made items for you to add to your store. The rest is you simply uploading your original art and photos as designwork.
Kanye West - ARTrepreneur
On Kayne West’s latest album he states, “I’d told ya’ll I needed was the infrastructure.” His sneakers routinely sell out immediately after launching. Think what you want about Kanye West, he’s the perfect example for the success of an ARTrepreneur. He believed in his talent, and realized the model in which artists make money in the music business was crumbling. He ventured out into another passion of his - design and fashion - and now he is able to use both as a platform for his own brand - which is being Kanye West.
Today’s young creators are constructing a multiplicity of artistic identities. You’re a musician and a photographer and a poet; a storyteller and a dancer and a designer — a multiplatform artist. The point is versatility. Like any good business, you try to diversify.
Technology has democratized the creative model. Through social media, ecommerce and dropshipping, ARTrepreneurs can market, sell, and ship everywhere across the globe. You got into art in order to share your vision and creative ideas with the world. Now you have control over making that happen.
Are you a budding ARTrepreneur? We can integrate our dropshipping platform with whatever your needs are, with our Shopify App, or our widget that can integrate with your own website. Simply get started by creating an account, and our dedicated partner support team will do everything we can to help you support your artistic dreams.