The problem with trying to do “art” (or write, or sell crafts, or anything related) as a business is there is a kind of inherent selfishness to it. You want to create something YOU like. You want to make money doing something YOU enjoy. You want to enjoy what you do and have people give you money for that! How self-centered. Who do you think you are, anyway?
But the business advice you hear over and over is “Find out what people want, then make it for them.” A good business all about them--the customer/consumer. You love painting polar bears in blizzards? Thats great, but what if everyone wants nice green landscapes? Do you paint what you want and stay poor, or do you paint what people want and hate your work, but make money? Thats an oversimplification, but that's the “starving artist’s dilemma”. (I just coined that phrase. I can do that if I want to. Right?)(This is also the core of the rivalry between Fine Artists and Illustrators, but we’re not opening that can of worms right now. Well, not directly at least.)
So, there is this paradox--on the one hand “staying true” to your art/story/style/vision/whatever, on the other hand, creating something that people actually want and will give money for.
There are more layers to this Paradox, though.
They say that when you start creating what you think people want, it loses that “spark”, and then nobody wants to buy it. When you love what you do, people can tell, and thats what they pay money for.
When what you love making also happens to be something people want.
So, whats a creator to do? Keep creating your own stuff according to your own desires and vision, even if it might not be what people want? Or try to find out what people want, and then create it, with the risk that it will lose its appeal due to your “heart “ not being in the work?
As usual, I think the answer is somewhere in-between. Neither extreme is going to find much success, I believe. I know of no easy formula for finding that medium though.
(Seriously though. I want to know.)
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