Did you start reading this article by throwing up a little in the back of your throat? Perhaps you’re looking forward to an argument with the capitalist swine who would make such a statement.
Either way, you’re in the right place!
Since I’m both a capitalist (of sorts) and 100% convinced I’m right about the statement headlining this article, this should be interesting.
Here’s why making money is literally the only way to make art…
Last week I fired off a post about my plans to undertake a study of the seemingly magical abilities of ultra-successful entrepreneurs to transform the world for the better. Posting this candid outline of my mission got a lot of feedback.
The most unexpected (but common) question I was asked was “but what about the artists?”
How did creative folks fit into the social-change-through-entrepreneurialism model that I was devising? Is art important… and can in change the world for the better?
All fantastic questions, none of which I’m all that qualified to answer.
I’m an appreciator of art. A spectator. From a safe distance. You don’t want to see what happens when I get hold of crayons.
I do know one thing for sure though. Art, like social-entrepreneurialism, is something that only happens when the science of wealth is mastered first.
Yep, it’s actually impossible to make art if you’re not already wealthy. If you want to be an artist and make an impact through your work, your first goal should be money. Entrepreneurialism, it just so happens, is the best way to make that happen by the way.
Art needs wealth to be created. It’s a fact. The evidence has been around us for millennia, in both our psychology and our history as a species.
Take a journey back in time to the world’s first recorded artists – the Cro-Magnon stone age humans hanging out in what is now europe, some thirty five thousand years ago.
For a long time, scientists hypothesized that a sudden development in cave art was a result of profound evolutionary and cognitive development. In english, it was assumed that our brains got bigger and suddenly we started painting!
That theory feels right doesn’t it? It fuels our hopes that art is a form of higher consciousness realized.
However, in reality, there is another reason that a huge amount of cave art sprang into existence at a particular point in our pre-history.
Hunting. We got good at it.
The dating of prehistoric artifacts reveals two radical changes that occurred in our history, simultaneously. The first was an explosion in art – cave painting, beads etc. The second was a revolution in the tools of the hunt.
Prehistoric man figured out how to make lighter, faster and sharper spears. We sussed out arrows and all manner of pointy sticks for taking down woolly mammoths.
With the advent of this new weaponry, our ancestors got seriously good at hunting. Archeological digs reveal mass mammoth graves – these were slaughter houses. The remains of prehistoric man’s excess food.
For the first time in history, people were rich.
An excess of food was exactly what prehistoric folks needed to take a well deserved break. For the first time ever, cave people contemplated the blank canvas of their cave walls… probably while picking their teeth after a fine mammoth steak meal.
Art is a creative endeavor built on a solid foundation of excess, comfortable wealth.
Like our ancestors, we’re only capable of producing art when we are the beneficiaries of this same basic wealth. We’re not talking Porsches and first class flight lounges here – we’re talking about a transcendence of our basic needs.
Give a human the following:
- A full belly
- Spare time
- Confidence that the good times will keep on coming
… and chances are, art will happen!
Rob a human of any of those things and the art-making will cease as they spring into action to fulfill these basic needs.
These days artists find the wealth they need to produce their art through financial support from the government, family, friends, patrons, jobs and entrepreneurialism. Every art producer, by definition, has access to the wealth they need to produce their art.
Entrepreneurial represents the evolutionary peak of personal income generation. Creating a successful business is the fastest (perhaps only) road to personal wealth and freedom.
Logic (or perhaps just common sense) thus forces us to ask: What happens when an artist has more wealth?
Is the acceleration of an individual’s skill as an artist directly connected to their wealth?
Would we have more (and better) cave paintings if early man had figured out how to freeze dry mammoth steaks for later?
Would you be making more (or better) art if you had mastered the art of business?
(No seriously, I want answers to these questions. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment.)