Money Doesn't Cheapen Art

I’m a creative person. You’ve probably been able to infer that from the way that I form my sentences, the opinions I hold, and the fact that I suck at math. I love the feeling of making my dreams a reality. At any given time, when left to my own devices, I find my brain flooded with thoughts about things that I would like to create.

Having a keen business sense in me, most likely instilled by my entrepreneurial father, I also frequently find myself taking these ideas to the next level and thinking about how to profit as well. I consider the entire process to be like a work of art. This is my piece, and the more detailed I get with my work, the closer to finished my masterpiece is. Whether that detail is concerned with improving the idea, or finding a unique way to profit; I consider both elements to be part of the creative process – but there are many artists who would disagree with me.

I feel as though there is an unnecessary separation between art and business that doesn’t really need to be there. Inside of the creative community, doing things with the intention of making money seems to be stigmatized. The idea of selling-out is closely linked to one’s artistic integrity. When is it that we cross the line?

I believe that expecting to profit from your work means that you produce something with a professional capacity. You can still have passion for your work and expect to make money off of it. In fact, if you’re able to sustain yourself off of what you’re passionate about, isn’t that the ultimate dream?

The idea of creating something and receiving compensation for that work is constantly trapped under the shadow of doing something solely for financial gain. Being severely detail-oriented, we artful individuals are natural critics of most anything we perceive with one of our five senses. A lot of us are even borderline cynics.

That’s okay, that means we have an internal set of standards that all things must meet. It teaches us what we like and what we don’t like, but we shouldn’t ever judge another’s work based on whether or not they received monetary gain for that project. There’s a difference between selling-out, and just selling.

Some people believe there are these things called, “fine art,” and, “commercial art.” I think those terms were invented to justify one’s intentions. I don’t believe that one’s body of work should be held under the lens of what medium it occurred in. If your message is beautiful, and your passion is behind it; then people shouldn’t be able to discount your work because you made money from it.

The morning you wake up absent of passion, knowing that what you do that day is going to be purely motivated by financial gain, is the moment you can feel guilty about ever wanting to make money in the first place. But the idea that making art isn’t pure without doing it for free is preposterous. In the age creative leaders at the helm of some of the most lucrative businesses, it’s insane to say that stellar work in any respect is undeserving of profit, or that that profit cheapens the artist’s message.

Finding a way to make people want to pay for the work you do is half the fun of being an artist, and we all deserve to be compensated for doing what we love. You know, so we don’t have to do the things we don’t love. 

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