The entrepreneurial artist: Case study results (Part III) (2001)

R.J. Preece (ADP)
Creative Business & Entrepreneurship | 22 December 2011
This text is from a guest lecture entitled "Some issues in artwriting and communications, and the context of the entrepreneurial artist" given to senior fine arts program students soon to graduate at London Guildhall University in June 2001. Similar lectures were later given at Goldsmiths College, University of London; Manchester Metropolitan University; Birmingham Institute of Art and Design; a Castlefield Gallery (Manchester, UK) organized festival talk, and at Glasgow School of Art (2001-02).

So, the artist and I banded together, and within the space of 14 months, this is what the artist [as business start-up] has achieved:

Entrepreneurial artist: Case study results

> Five group shows in his country of residence, in three other European countries, and in Australia. These include three group shows with well-known curators
> One solo show which, according to the artist, “taught me a great deal”
> Another show is slated for next year
> Three galleries represent his work now, before not one
> Publication in twelve magazines and newspapers, including a major feature, and a news announcement in a high-profile art magazine
> Sale of four artworks
> Now, despite opportunities for several other group shows, the artist has “no time”
> “An international artist on the rise” according to a regional newspaper

But, in my opinion, most importantly, is not what the artist achieved, but now this artist has choices: choices for shows, choices for representation, even choices for sales— which I certainly had nothing to do with.

And in my opinion, his communications campaign has just begun.

I asked the artist, what is different now, than 14 months ago?

I feel that my position as an artist has changed. I now have a more solid presence, locally and internationally and more press clippings on my CV. My profile has definitely been raised by doing the solo— it made people sit up and take notice of my work and generated a couple of “better” group shows, some international.

But more importantly, by taking things into my own hands, I saw that an active approach pays off.

And with this strategy, this artist will always have choices, because that’s how he has designed his professional practice.

Same artwork as 14 months ago, same studio practice. Same artist.

Did the three-year art business plan work? It looks like it helped. So far, he’s way ahead of his schedule.

Maybe he would have achieved these things without communication strategies. And maybe, in an art-centred view, these procedures are unethical— or even fraudulent.

Or maybe these things should have already happened, and the communications strategy helped some people to realise this, to realise that they should pay attention to this artwork.

Through these procedures, the artist has found people whom he wants to work with, and who want to work with him. For some people, communications comes naturally, or they are selected, or they’re well-liked, or they’re well-placed, or someone does their communications work for them.

For me, I think it’s just connecting people, using a general small business framework, but adapting it to an art context. Connecting professionals who find common ground, who work together to reach mutual, professional goals.