Let’s consider your work what you do to pay the bills, what earns you money and your art whatever you do to relax, to express yourself, your hobby, your passion. Anything from gardening and cooking to collecting something or playing an instrument etc.
The big question is:
Are they two different things?
Do they have to be two different things or can/should I aim for earning money doing what I love/my art?
I have already discussed a few thoughts regarding this in the earlier post “Following your passion – and what’s wrong with that” where I suggested the idea to keep them separate and here is why I did so in more detail.
Here is my advice: Keep your art what it is – your love, your passion, your self expression, your church.
Do not let it be spoiled by anything and the least by money!
Keep it sacred to be able to practice it completely free from anything.
The only purpose of your art should be to satisfy you and no one else, to get you in flow, in joy, in touch with the universe.
Is it bad to earn money with your art?
Hell no! It is great if you can do that but what is important to keep in mind:
Making money with your art, should never be a goal, should never be the purpose of it.
The only purpose of your art should be practicing your art and enjoying it.
Let me give you my very own example.
I am a DJ.
Over the last years I have built a quite professional little home studio in one corner of our house, those are my sacred 5 sqm. :)
This is a teenage dream coming true for me as I got involved with DJing and completely fell in love with it in my teens, but I never got further than a few practice sessions and a few “gigs” on school parties etc. on rented gear as I could not afford my own.(Related post coming up, keep your eyes open – there is an important story to tell). But now as grown man I am finally there and enjoy every moment behind decks lost in my music.
However I do it only for myself and have absolutely no intention to make it a career and I keep it like that completely consciously.
Did I think about pushing it to a next level and find a way to earn money with DJing and music. Oh sure I did…That would be great right? I could do what I love all day, every day and even get paid for it. I also started a project that was pointing in this direction, but I shut it down here is why:
I realized that if I decide to go down that road I not only “can” do what I love every day but I “have to” no matter if I feel like it or not, If I feel inspired or creative that day or that given hour…I realized that with making a career out of DJing, all the responsibility, all the stress (of having to make money with it) comes with it and more importantly one more thing: rationality.
I would need to think about it as a business, make rational, well justified decisions e.g. on what gear to buy which makes sense and has a rational ROI etc. which would just kill the whole purpose my art, – would lose my freedom to:
Now I have this all, I can play whatever music I want, I can mix it however I want, I can make mistakes and learn from them just for the purpose of learning itself but no other “consequence”.
A good example for my “artistic freedom” is my gear.
I have almost the most impractical, most sensitive, most complex setup a DJ can play on nowadays. Without going into too much details – based it is based on vinyl turntabels and bunch of other gadgets to make the whole thing work. There are tons of cheaper, more simple, more practical solutions for “bedroom” DJs like me. But I playing on turntables is a dream come true for me, and I am free to make this choice as I do not have to fulfill any other criteria (eg. ROI of the gear, portability or whatever). I only have only one rule regarding buying new gear – as long as I can afford it of course :) – I have to fall in love with it.
When I am playing music and getting lost in it, I am truly free, in the moment, in flow, this is my meditation, my recharge, my joy and I am grateful every time, every minute I can play, or even just when I look at my gear during the day that I have the possibility to play – I would never let anything spoil that. And money would be the last I would let stand between my music and me.
The only purpose I ever want to play is to the joy of myself – and if possible to the joy of others. E.g. I have set up a page on mixcloud.com to publish my mixes, but I have no intention of building any following or make money with it. It is just for myself to be able to listen back to my mixes conveniently on any device and to share with my friends.
I also would love a little house party with my closest friends in our garden, but no more than that.
This approach is sooooooo liberating believe me!
But what if you happen to be able to make money with your art?
I have two ideas for you to keep the money coming, but keeping your art “untouchable”.
The best you can do is e.g. to do something related to your art for living, but keep your art pure. E.g. if you love to paint, and also can sell your paintings for money – open your own/work at an gallery.
Keep the gallery your work – and your painting your art.
2. Accept that you are an artist now and commit to it no matter what it brings. This is higher level for sure, but possible.
This means you accept being an artist as a form of living and you have to love the whole package, no matter what happens. Enjoy the good times, and if there are ever any difficulties: accept them as part of the package, not get stressed about it and just keep on doing your art no matter what.
What is your art?
Did you ever think of making a career out of it? Maybe you already did.
How much do the above ideas resonate with you?
Let me know!