Art is constantly reinventing itself. A potter friend of mine, Adriana Christianson recently shared an article on her Artist’s Facebook page, ‘The Death of the Artist and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur’, by William Deresiewicz.
It’s a good article that talks about the changing shape of the artist over the centuries; from apprentice craftsman, to artisan, to solitary genius, to the artist as creative entrepreneur. Andy Warhol was perhaps the supreme businessman artist, the notion of the artist as creative entrepreneur is hardly a new thing, however, the article resonates with many artists today and particularly with those who are not only makers but are also the promoters and salespeople of the works they create.
“…Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.” Andy Warhol from THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again)
There’s a good discussion on the nature of Art that raises questions about its future in an age of social media. For me, social media has opened up opportunities to talk to other makers that might never have happened otherwise. I have discussions on Facebook and Instagram with potters around the world about problems we’re having with glazes, we share prized recipes for porcelain casting slip and personal stories too. There are benefits for the maker but Deresiewicz warns of a kind of dumbing down of Art. What do you think? Has the democratisation of creativity and taste on social media made everyone an artist? Is it increasingly difficult for artists to make authentic works if they’re immersed in an online culture of being ‘liked’ and followed? Deresiewicz fears that artists will spend more time looking over their shoulders creating work that is eager to please, that is more like entertainment and less like art.
Andy Warhol: I think everybody should like everybody.
Gene Swenson: Is that what Pop Art is all about?
Andy Warhol: Yes, it’s liking things.
Do you think it’s possible to be an artist who is fully engaged with thousands of followers on social media and make art that does not seek to please? I’d love to know your thoughts or experiences.
And in the spirit of the creative entrepreneur, I’m running a series of workshops in my studio from April to June (did you see what I did there? I’m being a creative entrepreneur right now) that touch on some of these ideas and pressures facing artists. You’ll meet some inspiring writers, artists and craftspeople who are negotiating their way through the interwebs and yet still manage to make good art while they make a living.