The Business of Art

I'm a writer and I've often witnessed other creatives jumping back and forth across an imaginary line. On one side (written in invisible ink!) it reads Art and the other side it reads Commerce. A hardy few will straddle that line and keep a foot firmly on either side. But not many. 

What is Art?

According to

The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.    

That's a pretty broad brush and I'd argue that writing, photography, music, singing, crochet and a whole lot of other endeavours also fit the category. I especially like ...expression or application of human creative skill and imagination. If it involves those three elements - creativity, skill and imagination - it's art. End of discussion. It might be good art or bad, comforting, uplifting, challenging or even baffling. Art doesn't require permission or explanation or approval. It just is.

And Commerce?

Commerce is pretty self-explanatory. Something either pays or it doesn't. But if art doesn't pay, that's no reflection on its artistic merit. Many artists didn't make a bean in their lifetime. Take it from me, commercial success in the arts is an alchemy that relies on so many things - what you make, who sees it, timing, context (how it affects people, what else is happening in the creative sphere and the wider world), and that old bugbear of creative people the world over: luck. 

You can't control most of those factors. You have to create art - that's the core of it. After that, you can advertise, try and get an exhibition or representation, find a gallery, promote online. All that and more. It may help you reach your dream of living and working purely as an artist (whatever that means to you), but it won't affect you being an artist - that comes from within. It's as primal as breathing.

A foot in each camp

I write thrillers. Genre fiction like mine (e.g. thrillers, crime fiction of fantasy) doesn't usually win any literary prizes unless it's a genre specific prize. But a book is still art, right, even if it's a spy story? FLASHPOINT, my fifth thriller, was published recently and I am happy to create 'art' that sells. The way I see it, whether it's a book or a postcard or a crocheted button, we should embrace our creativity. And if we can earn a few bob from it as well, so much the better! 




This is Standpoint, where Thomas Bladen's journey into the world of espionage began.



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