Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Business of Art

Los Hermanos in Lindon

Thomas Chock

Donna Vazquez, Zach Batty, Michael Kingsley, Jacob Hoehne, Vaughn Armstrong, Tamilisa Wood, Thomas Chock

Art of business and the business of art.

The upstairs room was nice and separate from the rest of the restaurant and helped facilitate a good discussion - and good food goes a long way to putting you in a sociable mindset.

How to balance your creative muse and pay the bills? Is “work for hire” - within the confines of what the client wants - still an art? Or maybe a better question, “does it satisfy my need to create and be artistic?” Perhaps it doesn’t need to be. An accountant may like his job, but he doesn’t expect it to fulfill him in every way. Often I think we’re lucky that we get to do something that can fill more of a need than just a paycheck.

Tamilisa introduced another line of discussion - how to play the “game” of business. At what level do you want to play - peon, worker bee, or executive? From the book she’s reading, it sounds like you have to be sponsored into the next level by someone who is comfortable with you and that feels you can successfully handle working at the higher level.

I can definitely see this dynamic in the corporate ladder, but how does it apply to creative professionals, many of whom are the peon, worker bee, and executive all at the same time?

Clients, colleagues, vendors - can play a role in inviting us up to a new level. Because of a relationship with one person, they might introduce you to a whole new caliber of professionals - or business decision-makers to whom you would otherwise have no access.

There is a real art (or game) to business. I’m beginning to see more and more that it centers on people. My faculty advisor at Syracuse was the General Manager of CBS in New York City. He said that companies don’t make decisions - a person does. Even at that level of business, he noted that huge decisions by an international media company were still made based on an individual and his or her own preferences. I know that it may be oversimplified, but I think the core of it is true. To steal a catch-phrase from Corporate Alliance, “people do business with those they know, like, and trust.”

What are your thoughts? How do you strike a balance?


: : Jacob : :


I mentioned at lunch Richard Florida's writings about how cities' economic success in the future relates to what he calls the rise of "the creative class". Here is a link to some of his speeches and books. Go to:

The articles I remember reading were "Where the Brains Are" and "The University and the Creative Economy".

Very interesting stuff.

PS. It was nice to sit and chat over lunch.
Friday, March 16, 2007 - 05:46 PM

It sounds like a good discussion took place. I wish I could of made it.
Monday, March 19, 2007 - 08:42 AM

Vaughn -
Thanks for the link. It looks like that guy has a lot to say! Pretty interesting stuff. It's amazing where you can get good ideas from - things are so cross-disciplinary.
Monday, March 19, 2007 - 09:54 AM

When Jacob and I first talked about this idea of creating a network of media professionals, one of the things we talked about was the desire to create a place where other creative pros can come together to not feel so alone, especially since there seem to be many creatives that are essentially flying solo.

It was with that in mind that I chose this topic, art of business & business of art, because I hoped we could get a good discussion going about how to balance the desire to create one's art or give one's artistic muse a voice against the need to meet a client's wants, pay the bills, and put food on the table.

I thought our discussion was very provocative, as in it provoked me to lots of different thoughts on a few different topics.

The one thing I took away from this discussion that I find I want to consider in my current line of work is the question of value. Zack Batty made a comment at the lunch that I'm still chewing on, which for me tied the whole conversation together nicely. It was basically about the need to accurately identify the value of what you do, and by doing so, one might be able to find the appropriate balance between one's passion which could be art, and one's desire to be rich (rich in terms of money AND relationships AND etc. etc.).

Regardless, it was a bountiful discussion and I hope those present gained some added insight to their own businesses and their own efforts at achieving success.
Monday, March 19, 2007 - 05:56 PM