How to Become a Rich & Famous Artist | ARTiculations

How to Become a Rich & Famous Artist | ARTiculations


What do you picture when thinking of the life
of Michelangelo? Most people see a sad, impoverished artist,
dressed in old ragged clothing, struggling to make ends meet. Michelangelo led a pretty frugal life and
always did complain about being short on money. So for centuries people believed this. His story helps to confirm a common assumption
about artists, that most of them starve throughout their lives, and some don’t achieve success until after their death. But that story is a myth. In his 2002 book “The Wealth of Michelangelo,”
art historian Rab Hatfield revealed a discovery indicating that when Michelangelo died at
age 89, he left an estate worth an equivalent of around 47 million dollars today. That fortune wasn’t due to a late-life success either, apparently he had been paid well throughout his life. For instance, when he worked as chief architect
of the Laurentian Library in Florence, he was paid an equivalent of $600,000 a year. The reality is, while Michelangelo was great
artist, he was an even better businessman. When he was starting out, Michelangelo sought
apprenticeship under the Renaissance master Domenico Ghirlandaio. At this time, art apprentices were not paid,
with some even paying to work for their masters. Michelangelo however, demanded to be paid. This attitude would set the tone for Michelangelo’s
whole career. While studying under Ghirlandaio, Michelangelo
not only learned the craft of art making, he also learned what it’s like to run a
studio, manage apprentices and correspond with patrons. Michelangelo also cultivated a network of
supporters by befriending influential individuals and established art patrons. This didn’t happen over night. Like the long years it took to master painting
and sculpting, developing strong professional relationships also involved many years of
hardwork. When he made money, Michelangelo invested
it into land and property, which not only secured his financial future, but also provided
the means for him to further grow his artistic practice. Of course, being a starving artist was myth
that Michelangelo himself helped to perpetuate. But ironically, his success pretty much redefined
what it means to be an artist. Before Michelangelo’s time, in most of European
society, artists were craftspeople who were not very highly regarded. Michelangelo helped to usher in an era where
artists can have prosperous careers, and be recognized as important historical figures. The story that is most often associated with
French Impressionists of the late 19th century is also a tale of rejection and poverty. And while it is true that most impressionists
struggled financially early in their careers, their story is an example of how collaboration
and a strong community can build successful careers despite being in a system that worked
against them. Artists like Claude Monet, Frédéric Bazille,
Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Camille Pissaro first became friends with each other
in art school in Paris. These young artist all shared a vision of
breaking out of the traditional confines of Classical art. However, their avant garde styles were dismissed
by most galleries and academic institutions. But it was their tight knit friendships that
would serve as the foundation for each other’s eventual success. The artists would paint together, hold group
shows, promote each other’s work, help financially support each other, and recruit other artists
into their circle. Many of them would eventually achieve phenomenal
success by the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For instance, in 1912 Monet earned 369,000
francs selling his works when the average Parisian labourer only made around 1000 francs
a year. The impressionists demonstrated that when
the network you want to be apart of doesn’t want you, sometimes you just need to build
your own. But of course, you don’t do this alone. Even though the idealized stereotype of the
creative genius is someone alone in a cabin in the middle of the woods. Historically some of the biggest breakthroughs,
whether in art or science, were not achieved by a lone genius, but by small groups of people
collaborating with each other. Throughout most of her life, Georgia O’Keeffe
was portrayed as a lone recluse living out in the desert of New Mexico. But the reality is that in addition to being
a very prolific and hardworking artist, O’Keeffe was also really good at making and maintaining
connection within the art world. Early in her career, O’Keeffe would visit
established New York galleries to familiarize herself with the art scene. She kept in touch with her network of friends
from Art School, including her friend and former classmate Anita Pollitzer. In 1916 she sent some of her work to Pollitzer,
who then showed them to Alfred Stieglitz, a well established photographer and art dealer
in New York at the time. Stieglitz, being impressed with her work,
decided to exhibit them in his gallery, helping to bring O’Keeffe’s works to the attention
of a wider, international audience. Even after moving out to New Mexico, O’Keeffe
continued to maintain friendships with other artists, such as befriending photographer
Ansel Adams, which led to a lifelong friendship where they supported each other’s work and
inspired each other to create. In 1940, TIME Magazine described O’Keeffe
as the “least commercial artist in the US.” Which was really odd since O’Keeffe often
took up commercial commissions. Early her career, she designed ads for fashion
companies in Chicago. Even after becoming a famous artist, O’Keeffe
continued to do commissions such as painting murals at New York’s Radio City Music Hall,
and painting a pineapple for Dole in 1938 to be used in an ad campaign. But many people are uncomfortable with associating
art with making money. They think artists shouldn’t “sell out.” Artists should make art for the art’s sake. But I think they’re looking it all backwards. Most genuine artists are not making art in
order to make money, they’re making money so they can make more art. This symbiotic relationship between art and
commerce have always existed. And it’s through the collision of these
two worlds that opportunities were able to present themselves time and time again. Today, these opportunities are more abundant
than ever. Is every aspiring artist going to become a
millionaire like Michelangelo? Of course not. But it’s more possible than ever to build
a sustainable and fulfilling creative career. Thus, I think it’s time for us to stop clinging
onto the misguided myth that artists can’t be successful. It’s time for us to stop discouraging our
children from pursuing creative careers. And it’s time to embrace the reality that
real artists don’t starve. Thanks for watching everyone! This video was inspired by the book “Real
Artist Don’t Starve” written by Jeff Goins. I highly encourage everyone to read this book. There are endless fascinating tales of artist,
musicians, writers and other creative individuals building their successes throughout history
and today. And right now, as a special offer for you
guys, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial of Audible, where you’ll get access to two
free audiobooks. Personally I love listening to Audiobooks
during my hour long commute in the morning. And since Audible has the world’s largest
collection of audiobooks, I pretty much never run out of books to listen to. So check out the link in the description below. And if you want to stay up to date on more
videos about art and design, then don’t forget to hit the subscribe button right over
here and I’ll see you guys next time! *snap!*

38 thoughts on “How to Become a Rich & Famous Artist | ARTiculations”

  • To be successful in Art world you need three things:
    1. To work 8 hours daily.
    2. To have many talent.
    3. To have good luck.
    With these three things you will become a rich and famous artist. But you need the three things together. If you have only two of them, you will not get succes. 🙂

  • Is the idea of Michelangelo being a starving artist a common one? I don't think anyone who's been to Florence or Rome could believe it. Especially Rome, that city is basically shaped by that man.

  • Michaelangelo was a goddamn rock star in his day. Who the hell thought he was a lonely, impoverished, starving artist?

  • I don't want to earn by painting…I want to famous which types of drawing should I learn….portraits,scenaries or what else

  • I don't think artists starve..most of them won't get rich, yes, but I guess depending on how "crafty" and responsible an artist is with his/her finances and how they could make connections with the right people, they could possibly break even (with their sales), live a relatively decent lifestyle and still manage to purchase materials to continue doing their art as long as they can.

    P.S.: That reminds me, maybe this is why I'm not an artist. I would fit that stereotype to a T. I'm not really personable, I only have a few friends and I prefer people to just leave me alone to do art instead of spending time making connections and selling my art to other people lol

  • What happened to the Stone Ages where you can just murder people better than you and become the best by default?

  • You need to spell out the relationship between artists and the patron. You need rich people in your lives…and they need to be generous.

  • Beautiful moral in your video. Great collection of history as well, thank you! Even Keith haring and Basquiat, Warhol and Madonna were close friends who found mega success through art. Beautiful.

  • The problem with capitalism and art ist that the incentive for profit often destroys art.
    This is the most obvious in hollywood and the tripple A gaming industry, were many movies and games are just soulless commodities instead of artworks.
    The ressistance against this alienating experience shows itself in meme culture.
    By seizing copyrighted material to repurpose it in short lived inside jokes, meme culture flips the relation of consumer and producer on it's head!
    No company can just create and sell memes, memes are always a shared experience, if one tries to monopolize or copyright a meme, they will never succede and the joke would always be on them, therefor memes are the true art movement, the true opposition, the true counter revolution!

  • Michaelangelo was a better businessman than artist? Is that some kind of joke that I am not getting? Or just silly hyperbole?

  • I disagree with the basic idea that this video wants to share, however there are some others that I agree with, here are my coments on this:

    I agree that the work of an artist needs to be sold, needs some retribution. The market (in a wide definition) is the materialization of human relationships and a basic human thing, even though it need some regulation (More or less acording your political ideas).
    But she presents an outlook where everyone hates the idea (in a very basic way) of getting pay for your work or being influenced by a market. And she presents this view only to oppose it with the one that it's never really said but is the main idea of the video: that the market or the community or the hegemonic or trendy narrative is the main guiding axis to be follow when it comes to making art.

    And I think this idea remains when she talks about the groups thing, again opposing it whit some really superficial stereotype that no one uses today (except her).
    For the impressionist group to have not only success but a certain coherence, they first had to organize themselves around certain ideas and certain artistic approaches. Hearing her words it's almost like the only important thing is the groups and the market, when the real critical posture has been not to reject the market but not to be overwhelmed by it.
    That "myth" about the starving artist isn't that real. Look at some really famous figures like Picasso, Dalí, Warhol, Velázquez, Titian, Rafael and Michelangelo of course. All of them famous and rich.

    Finally I want to say that I find the idea that Michelangelo was a better negotiator than an artist repulsive.

  • "Real" artist don't starve is also bullshit as an actual fact. Some do , some don't. If you aren't able to support yourself 100% with your art it doesn't mean you aren't an artist or lacking talent.

  • This seems to be lacking any economic explanations for an artist's livelihood. We had artists in the video from before capitalism to 20th century artists when artwork is used to avoid taxes. We also had the decline of all sorts of craftsmen with industrialisation, so this avenue for artists has shrunk dramatically. Digital platforms have opened up lots of ways to put your work out there, but it also created a model where artists have to make things for free for years and incur all the risk in hopes people will buy from them. It has never been worse for artists.

  • Actually, That's not a myth "Most of dem starve throughout their lives and sum don't even achieve success till after they are dead''…Sometimes people don't become known till after they r dead or old; Take a look at some successful people know 2day such as Oprah Winfrey, Dwayne Rock Johnson and So On.

  • The video never delivered on its promise, it just said ‘be sure to make money’ and didn’t offer a single how to

  • Real artists do starve, they also get rich and they also get just enough to survive. It's a very stupid and disrespectful thing to say real artists don't starve because they do and I know a lot of them.

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