arts and pop culture | April 15, 2013

Talent Alone Won't Make You A Successful Artist: Molly Crabapple In Fast Co.

"There’s this idea that it’s great to be a poor artist," art speaker Molly Crabapple scoffs in a new article in Fast Company. "It’s bullshit." Crabapple is an artist, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, activist, and founder of Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School. While it took a lot of work to get where she is today—and she hasn't taken it easy after making a name for herself, either—Crabapple is no longer living the life of the so-called starving artist. This is a testament not only to her undeniable talent, but to her keen business sense and eye for financial opportunity. Crabapple's newest project, Shell Game, is what she describes as a "love letter" to the global financial meltdown. One of the pieces was inspired by a Matt Taibbi article on Goldman Sachs. The exhibit is set to open this month in New York.

It's important to remember that talent doesn't always correlate directly to financial success. There's often much more to the equation than just being good at what you do. Letting people believe that success in the art world is based solely on talent is a "really damaging lie to feed people," she says, because it implies those who aren't making money aren't talented. Here is some advice she gives struggling artists (which she also discusses in her keynotes) on how to translate their talents into a paycheck:

1) Be opportunistic: Seize every opportunity that you can, and always keep an eye out for new ways to sell your art. "I’ve always looked at the world looking for blank spaces that could have a drawing on them," she says, "and then thought that drawing should be mine,"

2) Form bonds: "Build friendships with people that you respect in a variety of fields," she tells Fast Company. "My friendships with journalists and activists and performers have been some of the most fruitful, creatively inspiring, and just personally nourishing things that I have."

3) Be skeptical of authority: "The powers that be have, in general, no interest in helping people," she says. "When you’re dealing with power, you have to look out for yourself rather than pleasing them, because to power, you’re only a functional cog."

4) Get ready to suffer: "Being a working artist isn’t scalable," she says in the interview. "It’s not something where you can offer an easy, three-step 'follow this program and fame, and riches will be yours.' It’s actually this incredibly hard, bloody path that takes tons of luck, tons of randomness, and tons of toughness to get through."

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celebrities | April 14, 2013