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Purpose and making money from art?

It seems a popular idea that you can do what you love and the money will follow.

I’m not certain that it’s actually true.

I do know that I love most of what I do for a living. I also know that I’m very glad to not have commercialised any of the things that I do which I call hobbies (improv, art, my instagram feed).

Here are some wise artists I’ve been listening to recently

  • Austin Kleon, author of my favourite book about self-promotion for artists, Show your Work, talks about it being ok to have a hobby that isn’t a “side project”. That you don’t have to sell your art work on etsy to legitimise it, in this talk
  • Dave Pasquesi (improviser of TJ and Dave fame) says in ep 24 of the Hoomans podcast

What you do for your art and what you do for your money are not the same thing. They’re not supposed to be the same thing. Otherwise you end up resenting them both”

  • Seth Godin, marketer and thought leader, says in a post on owning a small bookshop which has since disappeared

Commercializing the thing that doesn’t lend itself to making a profit merely makes you sad

  • Morten Hansen talks about purpose in this podcast (fast forward to around 26 minutes)
  • Dan Pink (When, Whole New Mind, Drive) on the podcast what you will learn quotes research that showed chefs at a cafeteria who saw the people who will eat what they cook cooked better food than those who didn’t. He talks about this as

small ‘p’ purpose

I’m really worried when people tell me that the only way they can fulfill their big p Purpose is by doing their thing in their way (e.g. teaching everyone to improvise, getting everyone to paint or draw every day). There’s many ways to express your Purpose in life. If you can only find one path to it, then maybe you need to interpret what you’re doing.

What’s the Purpose (or purpose) of what you’re doing?

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