I’m in the business of giving pleasure. Sensual and uplifting pleasures…..
But, it is a business at the end of the day, and at the end of the working month I need to know what I’ve earnt and how I can pay my bills in exactly the same way as the butcher, theÂ baker and the candlestick maker do.Â So, to that end, I have made contact with a high flying business woman, to see if she can help me to move my art on to the next step. Now, she might be used to advising lawyers, accountants and office managers, but money and cash flows still affect artists as much as people who sit in expensive suitsÂ behind desks. Its just that I’m not sure, at this stage, if the business can work in the same way. Can artists do a cash flow forecast in the same sort of way? I suppose the answer to that is, to make sure it does! Chase the sale, search out the orders, and offer a good product so that people want to buy it. It is a business like any other, even if some people don’t consider it as such. I’m still pissed off at the comment I got the other week from a guy whose acquaintance I have known a number of years who said “Yes, but its not a PROPER job is it?” about being an artist. Oww, I flared at that one! “Yes it effing well is!!!” was my response. (And that was the polite version!) Perhaps he thinks I sit at the bottom of the garden under a floppy sunhat, painting poppies and tabby kittens with smiling faces, to sell for Â£5 at church jumble sales twice a year. The fact that I read books and magazines to help me focus on the products most days, read regular internet articles to help me search out the best way of doing things, go on art workshops nine times a year to help me improve my techniques and range of skills, the fact that I spent hours working on my website, blog, twitter account, and Facebook to promote myself to the world. The fact that I’m on the bloody computer at twenty past eleven on a Monday night, and most people are probably asleep in bed, or certainly doing more relaxed things (in bed or out of it!) than I currently am. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not that much of a work-aholic, I do have time off, I do relaxing, fun, exciting things with my wide circle of friends. But, I’m also looking out for opportunities too. So, yesterday, when I saw before me a large expanse of empty walls, in a place that most definitely has a large message to put across to the people who walk through its doors, I went up to the manager and asked if I could have a chat with him. He took one look at me and instantly agreed, and we sat in a quiet corner, out of earshot of anyone else, I firmly shook his hand, and I introduced myself as we sat opposite each other over the table. I told him what I did, I told him the sort of art I painted, I told him where I had exhibited, I told him I was good at what I did, I told him I was unusual in what I did, I told him what he needed on his walls, and he nodded in total agreement, I told him that I could paint many different subjects, in many different ways, I told him that whatever message he wanted to get across to the people who walked through his doors, I could paint it for him. He asked how much. I said it depended on what he wanted, and suggested he looked at my website to see what I could do. I said that I could instantly think of three types of ways of him paying me to have my art on the walls, and quickly named what they were. He said that he had to consider his cash flow, and I nodded in agreement and said “You’re a business man, and I’m a business woman, I understand that!” and we agreed that he would look at my website, and get back to me. He handed me his business card, and I handed him mine. We shook hands, and smiled as we parted.
That was a business meeting, and it didn’t matter that it was a Sunday, at the weekend, that I was supposed to be relaxing, and having a day off.
None of that mattered, because as a self employed person you have to work when the work is available. You have to look for opportunities all the time, and take them when they arise.
But, I would love that job, to decorate those walls. It would be the most perfect place for me. But, only if the price is right. For the manager, and for me. cos we’re both in business, after all !