Friday, October 17, 2014

New Metrics Needed

"Do what you love and the money will follow." ~ Marsha Sinetar

I dislike this quote. It simplifies a very complex equation into a convenient sound bite. 

The first problem is the assumption that a creative individual wants money and their passion to be intertwined. It's a nice thought, but money changes everything. Just ask Michelangelo. Do you think the Sistine Chapel would have been painted if Pope Julius II hadn't commissioned it? He was a sculptor, not a painter. But that is what happens when money changes hands. 

Second it presumes that success and money are synonymous. In an age when the arts and crafts are barely supported by the establishment we need to find a measure of success other than money. In the world of Instagram and Flickr where success is seen in terms of likes, followers and comments is this really enough of a metric? I don't know, but I doubt it

I was showing my photography to a new contact the other day and their immediate response was "I hope you're making money off of those!" I know he meant this as a compliment, but I couldn't help being annoyed with a world that equates success with money.

So in the absence of a large benefactor like The Church, Big Inc or a wealthy patron we need to look for another way to measure an artists success (or failure). In a world that does not value photography or photographers with money, we need to develop new metrics; whether they be rooted in social media or preferably the real world.

~ xxsjc

How do you measure the success of your passion? 

I never went into the air thinking I would lose. 


  1. Beautiful shot.

    Maybe we ask too much questions.

    In a completely different language and a different context the discussion was raging if art should have a ROI. Not the royal one as in the French kings (although royalty has been a big sponsor of the arts in the past) but the big Inc. one as in Return On Investment.

    The statement was made that art is not a business with the objective of making money.
    That art was about the creation, the inner drive to create and produce, regardless if there was any ROI and that the artist needs to create, break boundaries and explore, regardless of the audience approvals and likes.

    I may not completely agree with the other side of the balance, and believe that one of the ultimate recognitions is someone willing to pay for your work to hang it on the wall (hanging it is one step, getting paid for it a next) yet we should not turn our art into a pure craft to meet our audience approvals and seek that ROI only.

    There needs to be more in our work than getting the cash to buy candles for a romantic dinner.
    There needs to be artistic freedom to create and explore the artistic drive.
    Not just to meet the sponsor, mecenas or the conditioned audience.

    Curious what others think about ART needing to have a ROI.

    For sure food for thought for a next post.

    1. I think that it is pretty clear by the responses to this post that ROI in terms of intangibles is about as good as it gets. We should all be happy with our lot as the "starving artist".

      I agree that art serves a greater good than just the wallet. But just look at the response by musicians when the bottom fell out of their world. Are we supposed to tell touring musicians that they should be happy with the cheers of their fans and a few t-shirt sales? That their real mission is to break boundaries and explore, money be damned?

      I think artists, craftsmen and musicians have been sold a bill of goods. That what we do is too precious to be a mere commodity and we should create art for the greater good for no money. When in reality it is the establishment that should know that they should pay for what they value which includes the arts. If they want artists to flourish they need to support the arts in all it facets by actually buying art for their walls, to wear, to use, to read, to listen too.

      Because in the world we live in money is the ONLY measure of success and failure that any one pays attention too.

      Of course pigs will fly before this ever happens so I will have to content myself with likes, comments and an occasional person willing to put one of my pieces on their wall.