It is easy to romanticize the image of the “starving artist.” But there is no intrinsic value in failure. Just as there is no intrinsic anathema in success.
If you choose to sell what you make, then for the sake of all things worth swearing by, don’t believe for a minute that doing so makes you a sellout. Some art sells. Some doesn’t. Making art with a broad appeal is an art-form in and of itself. Every person I know who writes music that hits “the charts” is a hard-working, disciplined artist who is not only diligent, but expert in their craft. Their work sells is because they created it to sell, which is exceedingly difficult to do. Very few people can do it well. And let’s be honest about the things we make that end up on the other side of that equation; most of the art that doesn’t is just bad. It may be tempting to think that “the masses are asses” who don’t recognize greatness because they “don’t get what a real artist is doing.” But that’s rarely the case. Most of the time, listeners, readers and viewers see plenty about what the artist is doing. They just don’t connect with it. They don’t want it in their eyes, ears and minds.
This is an excerpt from my book Title Pending, which is available now.