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So many people are selling out, which means the market is huge. Art makes money. Many people devalue it because any kid can pull out a piece of paper and some crayons to draw something to put on the refrigerator. Because people devalue art, many artists devalue their own artwork. It’s kind of nuts, but it’s common.
I call it the creep of devaluation. You get people who can do something but because it’s not commonly accepted or thought of to be really cool or similar to what others are doing, some don’t pay attention to it. You hear comments like, “This isn’t art. It’s not really a way to make a living. This isn’t what you should be doing. This isn’t a job for a grown person.”
Essentially, what you can do to set your inner artist on fire is to get over yourself. What makes an artist produce is discipline. Artists often treat the process like it is so esoteric. They treat making money like it’s a bad thing. There is no nobility in poverty.
If you want to create something that is very artsy-fartsy, go for it. If your talent allows you to do something that makes money, you do that and also you do the artsy-fartsy projects you enjoy. You do both.
I write some really creepy books. There is some stuff I’m working on right now that I don’t even know if it’s going to go. But I am not Boo Boo the Fool saying, “Yes, the world’s going to want that.” I know I like it. I’ve enjoyed writing it. I’m having fun, but I know the storage auction book is going to pay the bills, or the Craigslist or the YouTube book. You see where I’m going with this? I like writing crazy stuff and dreaming things up. But the reality is you’re an adult and you have an obligation to support yourself. You need money.
There are many brilliant artists that can be brilliant business people but because mentally they believe there’s something wrong with business or money, they suffer financially. They believe if they get rich, they’ve sold out. They act like money cheapens their soul.
Where does this type of thinking come from? There is this notion that life should be fair. I take my cues from the animal kingdom. When I was little I used to watch Jacques Cousteau explore nautical life and watch the Animal Kingdom. In Animal Kingdom, you’d watch this lioness chase down the antelopes. If the antelope was eating its Wheaties, it would outrun the lion. But, if he the antelope stumbled, he became dinner. That is the real world.
I am a firm believer that you deserve what you kill. You get to keep what you kill. You deserve what you earn. This entitlement notion we’ve got where people feel like they should have great lives just because they are breathing is really a falsehood. This all creeps into the mindset of an artist.
Many artists just want to make art. They don’t want to get caught up in the business side. It is so hard for them to grasp the business aspects. What they don’t understand is that when you grasp the business side, you can gain more time to put into your art.
Let’s just talk about me. Say I wrote the novels that I’m working on part-time. I wouldn’t be talking to you. I would not have the time to make videos. I would be frustrated as an artist.
This is the thing that gets to you as an artist, whether you are a writer, a singer, you make jewelry or clothing. If no one is reading or listening to your shit or buying it, then you get depressed. You asked yourself, “What am I doing this for?”
Sometimes artists are lucky and they put out work that the public loves. Not everyone is that lucky or talented. Other artists will have to go out into society and ask what they want, then write the book or make the art based on the public’s appetite.
I was fortunate when I started with YouTube. I knew that people would like storage auctions. I knew they would because it is like a modern-day treasure hunt. It wasn’t my first choice though. I wanted to write a book first.
Being in the storage auction business made me a realist. It made me understand that you’ve got to sell to succeed. It was a process of determination to figure out the best price. You had to sell it in the appropriate place to get the most money. Everything doesn’t sell the same way in the same place. There are certain things that work on YouTube but they don’t work on Facebook. Other items sell on Twitter, but not on Facebook or YouTube.
In nature, there is disparity. There’s resource disparity. There is intellectual disparity. Still, many people think life should be fair. I am not caught up in the fairness argument. If we live in a system of inefficiencies, then I can take advantage of these inefficiencies and put myself where I want to be in terms of wealth and freedom. You can do the same thing.
Many are trying to crank down the system and make it fair for everybody. It is really an exercise in futility. There are many people who are perfectly happy not doing shit with their life. There are many people happy just getting by. If that’s what they want and they’re not a burden on society, have at it.
With artists, even urban artists, many gravitate toward the “poor thing.” When I joined my writer’s group like four years ago, I noticed if you wrote fast and sold a lot, you were considered a hack. They believed there was some merit in actually cutting your wrist and bleeding on the page.
The money is not coming until you clear the poverty mindset out of your head. Many artists don’ think they deserve money. They hope someone will just show up and see how magnificent their work is and give them money. If they did a little marketing, a lot of artists could support themselves.
Tribalism will make people do things that just don’t make financial sense because they don’t want to disappoint the tribe. They act like they’re betraying the tribe by being successful. There is this common belief that artists should be poor.
If you want to be an artist, make room for your art. If an hour a day is all you can do, your stuff will get done. You’ll start to develop a collection. This is all about determination.
Once you make more money, you’ll have more time to experiment. Everything is not going to be a home run. Sometimes you’re going to strike out. Other times you’re going to get base hits. That’s why I put out so much of my art. Hustling is my art.
If you are an artist, you can make an incredible amount of money on the Internet. It’s just going to keep growing. Understand that everybody is not online yet. There’s so much potential.
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