Every artist is a brand.
I’m listening to Seth Godin on Tim Ferriss’s Four Hour Week Podcast, a podcast recommended by fellow local Sydney photographer Alexander Kesselaar – it’s a two-hour chat with one of the most popular marketing minds in the world.
Early in the chat Seth talks about “Knowing the Artist” and tells the story of the Dafen Oil Painting village in China’s Guangdong province that produces 60% of the total global volume of reproduction of artworks for mass market – according to this article from the UK’s Daily Telegraph the average sales price is 6o pounds.
“No-one becomes an artist to get rich” says a photo caption, to avoid starvation these painters opt for reproducing mass copies to a mostly non-discerning audience. Where else does this apply?
I’ve played in a cover band for many years – there’s more local gigs. The audience we play to, in the venues we play, want to hear Fleetwood Mac and Jo Cocker covers more than any original verse and composition. Mates Sam Shinazzi, Jimmy Stacks and brother-in-law Justin write and perform originals – less work (until they are famous) but much more creativity. For the band the customer want is to dance and sing along and not marvel in unknown and untested creative pursuits – the band’s differentiation the power to entertain and engage but limited opportunity for creative growth.
Like a fast food restaurant, product creation for mass consumption. Is it compromising your creativity for the cash or maybe the driver is bringing pleasure to others? Can you do both?