Jeff Goins on Real Artists Don’t Starve, Part 12

In his book, Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, Jeff Goins discusses how we can apply prudent strategies in positioning ourselves for thriving in our chosen field of craft.

These are some of my favorite concepts and takeaways from reading the book.

Chapter 12, Make Money to Make Art

In this chapter, Jeff discusses the relationship between making art and making money. He offers the following key points for us to think about:

  • For many years, the primary economic model for art-making was to facilitate gift exchange. Only recently did we start thinking art was something we could charge money for.
  • Thriving artists know that making money was never the point of making art. The point is to share the gift of art. At the same time, the artists also need to be financially viable. The challenge becomes that money is the mean of making art, but money must never be the master.
  • Creative work is a costly endeavor, both in time and financial resources. The work also requires us to dedicate large amounts of our lives to it without any immediate reward. So when we find breakthroughs to make money, it buys us time and allows us to create more art.
  • For the art form of kamishibai, the candy sales made the art possible. Furthermore, the business of kamishibai showing made the creative side possible. The later generations of artists went on to spread a new form of art called “manga.” The older art form launched an entirely new genre that continues today.
  • Thriving artists know we must make money to make art, but we should not make income generation the only or utmost objective. Money exists, in an artist’s world, to buy her another opportunity to make art. Every chance we can create instead of just scrambling for a living is a win. With time, those wins add up for the side of art-making.

In summary, “The Starving Artist despises the need for money. The Thriving Artist makes money to make art.”