The business aspects of art

In early September, Dean Terry blogged about a conversation over lunch with an entrepreneurial friend. His post details how certain intrinsic business aspects of the art world are ignored by art schools and artists.

It’s clear where he’s coming from: “The denial is wrapped up in the whole mentality of being a modern or contemporary artist. Get your MFA, work some crap gig, and live in a dirty, dangerous urban environment, preferably an industrial park.” This is an extension, of sorts, of the unspoken “artist as genius” mentality in our society today. Apply any sort of external requirement or even suggestion to the artistic genius, and you inhibit the artist’s ability to freely create the glorious works which will only be produced in an isolated environment.

My own art school experience seems a little more balanced than what Terry presents. As an art student at the University of Nebraska, I was required to take a “professional” course detailing aspects of life as an artist outside of the studio. I don’t remember how much of what his blog talks about that we actually covered in the class, but it was still a step in the right direction. Further, I remember at least three conversations in studio classes with our professors about the nature of making a living at your art — which were very helpful.

Nonetheless, Terry’s point is well taken.


About pcNielsen
Paul Nielsen founded The Aesthetic Elevator late in 2005. He owns a piece of paper, located somewhere in his house (not on the wall), stating that he earned a B.F.A. from the University of Nebraska around about 2001. While there, he studied studied architecture, graphic design and ceramics, graduating with a degree in studio art. Paul presently serves as communications manager for a small non-profit doing their print design and marketing. He spends as much time sculpting in his studio as possible — which is not nearly enough. Visit his website at

One Response to The business aspects of art

  1. Pingback: MFA vs. artist « The Aesthetic Elevator

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