What are your thoughts on getting a college degree that’s not related to art?
My art teacher in high school told me I’d get laughed out of art college. So I was like, Okay, fine, I guess I won’t go to art college. Which was actually good because I have a liberal arts degree to fall back on that I used for ten years while I built my art business.
I wanted to get a business degree because it’s something you could, no matter what in life, utilize. So I got a marketing degree around 2005 and it’s something that I still use to this day.
My MBA, my work ethic and some of the different jobs I’ve done really separate me and help me succeed. The business degree is very beneficial when it comes to organizing, figuring out business terms, what I have to look out for and strategies.
When I first started trying to figure out how to do art full time and what I wanted to strive to do in the art world, I stepped back and said, Okay, what do I envision myself as? And sort of tried to put together an artist business plan, saying, Okay, this is the artist I want to be, let me figure out five other artists I like and see what they’re doing. Let me see some of the strategies they’re using, the market they’re targeting or that they’re in, let me figure out the platform they’re on, cherry pick some of that stuff from all these different artists that I like based off of what I want to be in this art world.
All of that stuff is Business School 101, especially when it comes to the MBA strategy stuff. Are you a loss leader, are you a boutique, are you high-end? Because the same artist who shows in museums and sells for millions is not the same artist who will hang work in a coffee shop. So it’s kind of like, Okay, this is who I want to be and this is the route I have to take to get to where I want to be. I took pieces from all of the stuff I learned in business school and sort of applied it to the art world. . . .
I know a lot of artists who went the art school route and they focused mainly on the conceptual and theory sides of art. Sometimes they aren’t prepared to figure out how to make it [as full-time artists], especially in a world that’s changing all the time and where you have corporations getting involved.
I’d say it was beneficial for me that I focused on business first and then dove into the art afterwards.