Make Art. Not War.

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The Artistic Business- Part II

Artists and Entrepreneurs have very parallel problems. Real Artists and Entrepreneurs just want to work. And both want to sell their work. Is any Art real art without someone there to appreciate it? (I wax philosophical.) Whatever your definition of real art, it is certain that real art must be shared, or the whole world misses out. And eventually someone has to like it enough to buy it, or the Artist will not be able to continue to do what they desire to do. 

Let’s imagine the world of ideas as a circle. Let the center of the circle represent commodity ideas. If each idea is a dot, the center of the circle is filled with a high concentration of dots. It is almost black. It represents ideas that are easily copied, where supply is large, and value is low. As we move toward the outside of the circle, the dots become scarce. The outer edge is where innovation is found. Each dot now represents something highly original, highly valuable, and scarce. In this area, ideas that are so cutting-edge that they may not be understood by the general population at all, and the audience for such ideas is hard to find.

Drawing a conclusion from this imaginary visual, (pun fully intended!), is that the more your push your business to the outside of the circle, the more valuable your idea will be. The challenge for Artists and Entrepreneurs alike, is to find the balance: not so different it cannot be sold, and not so common it cannot be valued.

According to Wikipedia, Paul Gauguin’s painting “When Will You Marry” tops the current list of the world’s most valuable paintings. If the outer edge of our circle represents this kind of uniqueness, then the center of the circle would represent the millions of postcards of this same painting, sold for $2.00 each in museums all around the world. Yes, even this painting can be commoditized. The current owner paid almost $300,000,000.00 for the painting just this year. True beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. In this case, true value is in the eye of the billionaire. Few could afford to add such a painting to their collection. (Even if you had the means to buy it, you would also have to afford the armed guards!)

One of the best strategies for entrepreneurs to add value to their offerings is by pushing their product toward the outside of the circle–making itan Original–with a capital O. Believe it or not, your best strategy for getting ahead of the competition is not lowering your price. It lies in creating better Art. Alas, it is also one of the most difficult things to accomplish. Perhaps you are in an industry that is so congested with competition you can barely get your big toe in the market. How can anyone dream up new ways of doing things that have not already been dreamed up? Take a trip to your local art museum. Each Artist uses the same raw materials that many other artists have used, and yet has created something that no one else has created, and transforms a few dollars of those same raw materials into something extremely valuable. No two paintings are alike, even if their subject matter is exactly the same. The best thing about the strategy of creating better Art is that you decide the style, what medium you wish to use, and just how far out you want to go. Another plus? Your competitors can become your friends because you are doing something completely different.

Real creativity is born of constraint. There is no other kind. Think this is tough? Sure. Let the pressure of competition form you and bring out the Artist in you.

Make art. Not war.

Stay tuned for more articles in the series “The Artistic Business”, all this month.