Worried about income
 
by Robert Genn

November 3, 2009

Dear Rodney,Yesterday, James Harris of New Lenox, IL, USA, wrote, "I've always dabbled in 
art, but now I'm looking to make the transition to my dream of being an 
artist. It's been said that your income will never be larger than the average 
of the income of your five closest friends. If this is true and I do believe 
it is, how do we as artists develop a mastermind group to challenge us, hold 
us accountable, and see our income increase? I believe the income is a 
bi-product of hard work, setting goals, networking and associations. Does this 
group need to be made up totally of artists? Does it need to be in person or 
could this be a virtual group?"
 
Thanks, James. I've never heard of such a thing as not making more than your 
five best friends. Sounds like nonsense to me. The wonderful thing about fine 
art, as opposed to more pedestrian businesses, is that the making of art is 
already perceived to be valuable--not like the making of donuts, hamburgers or 
hangnail clippers (and other practical widgets). Given time, a properly run 
life in art can build to such outrageous monetary levels you have to slap 
yourself hard to contain your hubris.

As a matter of fact, all this worry about income misses the point. You are 
right about hard work, setting goals and networking, but other things are of 
equal importance, including proficiency, efficiency, and purposeful 
exploration.

Any amount of actuarial income-projection does not stand a chance against the 
singular development of a unique creative style and direction you can get 
into, live inside of, and enjoy daily. When this happens, the coinage is 
automatically shaken from the money tree.

Evolved work attracts the attention of others in the position to share. 
Talented in their own way, proper art dealers will go to work for you daily 
and make your dreams possible. You can do what you want, even go golfing, with 
your other friends, virtual or real, poor or wealthy.

Regarding those who challenge and hold you accountable, only one friend is 
needed for this job. He must be a person with a lot of character. He is 
yourself. You may find him critical or cranky at times, but he means well. 
Leave your other friends to keep track of themselves. They're probably too 
self-occupied to worry about you, anyway.

Best regards,

Robert

PS: "If you have anything really valuable to contribute to the world it will 
come through the expression of your own personality, that single spark of 
divinity that sets you off and makes you different from every other living 
creature." (Bruce Barton)

Esoterica: The more I study the successes of self-actualized artists, the more 
I come to understand how they value themselves. People with a decent amount 
of self-esteem tend to find quality within their work and within their lives. 
It's this trust of the universe that leads to great art, great fortune and 
great happiness. "Deal with yourself as an individual, worthy of respect and 
make everyone else deal with you the same way." (Nikki Giovanni)