This is a piece I wrote last fall, but didn't find a clear place for it in the world of education and design. I'm putting it out because I thin k its an interesting insight, and because putting it out there i sin the spirit of this post.
Not people who make money from art. At least not primarily. It's people who make art, and make it in a way that entrepreneurs make business. It seems funny to write that, because people 'just make' art. At least, that's how we grow up, and people didn't 'just make' business growing up. But the way that the art-trepreneurs make their work is a great parallel to entrepreneurs.
I've been listening to the Nerdist podcasts by Chris Hardwick lately. He talks with various performers about the need to just make stuff and put it out into the world. Actors, comedians, musicians; they all benefit from putting their work out, and they all are surrounded by people who tell them why it is inadequate. Not funny enough. Won't hit with the right demographic. Can't monetize. Art has become a big business, and success in art is often framed by that big business. But the people that run that business aren't interested in the art, they are interested in exploiting it for profit. That sounds harsh, and in some cases it is. But the reality is that the business of art is business and not art. (How few words can I put in a sentence?)
Hardwick didn't fit in this world. He was offbeat. A bit of a nerd, if his podcast's name wasn't a clue. One day, he just started putting things out to people directly, without the machine of the big Hollywood business. He started small: an hour long chat about life and current events with two of his friends on Superbowl Sunday. Then it grew to interviewing people he knew who were interesting, and now he is booked as a regular part of the 'social media' strategy for new releases. The key in this is that the internet allowed him to connect directly with the audience that was right for him. Others have done the same. Kevin Smith rejected the studios in promoting his 2012 film Red State. Neil Gaiman spoke about getting stuff out to people in a recent (and spectacular) graduation speech.
How is this like entrepreneurship? These folks knew what they wanted and either side-stepped the system or blew a hole right through it. They weren't motivated by the bottom line, but instead motivated by how they could effect the world around them. They went straight to the target instead of asking questions of others. They faced rejection. Not the idea of rejection, but failure after failure. This is what's at the core of entrepreneurship - stepping outside of a system that both supports and constrains in order to
Art and entrepreneurship are a lot alike, and its not about artists being entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are artists rather than economic agents.