Why does having business background knowledge matter in the creative industry?

Hi everyone!

How's business? Hope it's going well.

With the current Covid 19 situation, business hasn't been going great for the creative mindsets out there. If you are like me, you might share the sentiments while also dreadfully trying to maintain your client traffic, hoping someone would drop a DM or e-mail by now. This makes online marketing and searching for warm leads effectively more crucial than ever. Considering, the art sector was voted to be the top non-essential job in Singapore on Sundays Time which has caused lots of misinterpretation.

(Source : Shutterstock)

But hey, art is not dead or worthless and neither did they mean that. If we were to refer to the Maslow hierarchy of needs, what is fundamental here is psychological needs. It was probably both a logical and instinctive decision made for what would be crucial for survival. For this scenario, we can see that the majority prioritize the health and F&B sectors which falls under the basis of the pyramid hierarchy of psychological needs and safety needs respectively. Therefore, art is not dead or worthless, we just need to settle our basic psychological needs like food, and well being first but one may say Art is food for thoughts!

(Source: Shutterchock)

Personally, with or without Covid 19, the business aspect of my artistic journey has always been an essential part of my career growth. The art scene itself is not a lonesome journey, there is a network to build and connections to make. Art is all about making connections, not just about the artist but also the audience. Art is not just about the making but also the thinking, the idea, and most importantly it should be open for discourse and that is where the audience comes in and the community is built.

I have to admit, the idea of business used to bore me and I couldn't care less about it. The idea of putting myself out there would have my mind clouded with “what if this' ' and “what if that”; a bunch of doubts. However, I soon realised that it is due to the fact that I was unsure of how exactly to do that. This was the case until I joined TheMeetUpSG (TMUSG) where I found the bridge between Art & Business and it really pushed me to step out of my comfort zone.

While schooling, I was privileged to be given the opportunity to assist in directing TMUSG's creative directions and helped in realising its brand identity, designing marketing collaterals, as well as overseeing the creative processes in order to achieve the ideal concepts. Alongside that, I had also gained lots of useful insights into the business world and how it has always played an important role in sustaining the established brands in various competitive fields. My life has changed very drastically from having no serious commitments besides school to hustling both, going through lots of challenges but with a very rewarding outcome. Learning the “how-tos” really has helped in clarifying some of the doubts and boosted my confidence to take more risks.

I believe that skills are not that without strategies. It is always good to stay open to try new things as it makes me see the power of possessing the knowledge and skills from both sides. As a recent ambitious creative post graduate, I believe that exploring beyond my sphere of discipline should not be out of the question if I wish to stand out as it is a competitive field and originality is always in question.

Over the years, I have developed both my creative and entrepreneurial aspects and applied these skills onto my personal life as well. Besides providing a training ground to have the taste of the real world for my creative development, TMUSG also offered me a platform to train myself holistically. The experience has really benefited me in several ways as an artist. There has been a noticeable improvement ever since I had applied the business and entrepreneurship knowledge onto my personal life such as taking priorities seriously and managing my time better, sharpening my problem solving skills, building relations, networking skills and enhancing my planning and logistic management.

Before that, I used to question "What does business have anything to do with my creative process or skills?" It is the structure, the strategies, the blueprint, the bridge of efficiency that connect your world to others' world where you can make a living out of it. It is like the Wiki-how to or the YouTube tutorial videos you watch that shows you the way. Thus, I believe that it is what will help to sustain and harness my assets in fulfilling my personal brand vision and mission that is recognisable and impressionable as an independent artist.

Vincent Van Gogh is a legend, but while he was alive, he only managed to sell 1 painting. Indeed, Van Gogh deserves better, but back then there was no fan-cam, memes or social media to help boost him to go viral. It was a shame, but that does not make his art any less valuable, the value was just recognised much later but not too late for me to be fanatic of and I am grateful for that. Thus, remember to support your local artists and entrepreneurs, or better artrepreneurs! Art is not dead, there is just a lot of unrecognised unfulfilled potential in the market. After finding your niche, remember to always marry it with your strategies.

Yours truly,

Mai Chin

The Non Essential Essential Club