I really admire artists that can turn their passion into a viable living, and feel I should bow down to the few artists around that become fabulously wealthy from doing what they love.
Even though Andy Warhol‘s art never really excited me very much, I admired his business skills. He’s easily in my top 10 most interesting artists list.
I probably admire good business artists so much because of the lack of business skills I have as an artist. It’s a challenging thing to commercialize something that can often be quite personal or intimate, but it has to be done. Once the painting leaves the easel, it becomes a product that needs marketing, promotion, and a price.
“I had reservations about making art a business, but I got over it.” Mary Boone
Anyway, an article in the Times online newspaper was talking about how art appreciates in value. It mentioned the contemporary British artist Damien Hirst and how his accountant claims the artist is worth about 100 million pounds (roughly $175 million USD). That’s quite an impressive figure and I can understand how he would get to that number as he’s often breaking auction records and being featured in art publications worldwide.
But what I did find surprising is that the American artist Thomas Kinkade, or the “painter of light” is possibly more cashed up than Damien Hirst! In the year 2000 his company made $140 million from selling his prints and posters.
I had previously just thought of Kinkade as a painter of fluffy patriotic scenes that can sometimes make me wonder what would posses someone to hang such a thing on the wall. After checking him out online, I’ve changed my mind about the man completely.
The man is more pop than Andy Warhol. I still think his paintings are way too patriotic and sickeningly pretty, but he is creating the work he likes and is making truck loads of cash doing it.
Check out his official website and the Thomas Kinkade Company website. If Warhol was still around, I believe his website would function in a similar way.
His online gallery is set up to SELL. He has everything from golf gear with the Kinkade name stamped all over it, through to Thomas Kinkade silk scarves.
Not every artist could pull off a similar online system, and many wouldn’t want to, but every artist could learn something from the way Thomas Kinkade sells himself online.