This post was going to be about preparing for a licensing deal, to go along with my launch of Artistic License. But when I found myself saying something much more useful (and perhaps a teensy bit profound?) to someone asking about the course, I knew I wasn’t going to write about working in a series and knowing where you want your work to be seen and yada yada yada. (All important stuff, sure, but not like this.)
I find that people are drawn to assume that if they make money from an art form it’s considered “selling out”. And the more money they make, the worse of a sell out they are. Though this surprisingly isn’t people’s perception of others who have made it big. No one thinks George Clooney is a sell out. No one thinks Beyonce is a sell out. No one thinks Georgia O’Keefe was a sell out. We all know they’re just doing their thing and people like it so money happens to flow.
But Sell Outs Exist
The thing that makes someone a sell out is when they change how they do their art form or what the result is solely because they want to make more money.
So now that we’ve cleared up the fact the you aren’t a sell out just because you want to feed your family, keep a roof over your head, and maybe occasionally enjoy some of the finer things in life… let’s move on to what I told this woman – we’ll call her Petunia for the sake of not revealing her identity.
Petunia is “not 30-something anymore” and “finally in her old age”. And up until now, hasn’t done much to show others her art. But she has realized that she has experiences and knowledge and wisdom that needs to be seen and heard in the world. She’s finally ready to share it with many, many people. And licensing could be the way to do it.
So I told Petunia:
Artists have this point of view that is so unique to each one of them and that can bring insight and emotions and even transformation to people who see it. When we let our introversion (or our fears of rejection) get the best of us, we are truly depriving people of these possibilities. And isn’t it worth the uncomfortableness and the fear if you change just one person’s life for the better because they saw a particular piece of your art? I’m giving you a huge, virtual pat on the back for stepping up to the plate and saying what you need to say so that the people who need to hear it finally can.
See, we think that we’re being selfish and selling out by putting our work into the world for profit. But what we’re really doing is showing people that what we have to say is worth saying. No one would pay attention if it were free. We often assign value to things mostly based on the actual monetary value and so is the case with art for most people. If you want people to stop and listen to what your art is saying to them, you’ve got to tell them it’s worth listening to! Hiding it in your studio doesn’t tell them your art is worth listening to. Hanging it in that cruddy cafe with a $100 price tag doesn’t tell them your art is worth listening to. Giving it away to friends and family because you’re afraid of what people will say if you charged your loved ones? Doesn’t tell them your art is worth listening to.
How to Get Them to Pay Attention
The more you show your work in the world, with the atmosphere it deserves (including the price), the better chance you have that people will pay attention to what you’re saying – and the better chance you’ll have to affect them in massive, transformative ways. If part of the reason you make art is to make the world a better place, it’s time to take the art as seriously as you take the mission.
One way you can do this? Licensing.
With the right licensing deal, you can get your work seen by thousands of people in a way that says “this art matters”. Hundreds (or thousands!) of people could buy your art on, say, a mug. And those people start their day with your art, bringing them happiness and comfort where there was stress before. Or it could be turned into a repeat pattern and printed on a dress. And hundreds of people could feel more confident and interesting and worthwhile to be around just because they’re wearing your dress.
Licensing isn’t a way to sell out (though you will make money at it). It’s a way to dive deeper into your craft, to say what you need to say and have people LISTEN, to change more lives.
If you’re ready to learn how to get your first licensing deal, Artistic License is on mega-sale until Monday because I don’t want you putting it off any longer. The world is waiting to hear what you’ve put on the canvas.