Aaron Laux is an artist who makes 100% of his income from his art—a rarity in the profession. In this episode, Aaron and podcast host Daniel DiGriz discuss Aaron’s business model and the Business Accelerator Program. A recent graduate of the fellowship’s first year, Aaron explains how he expanded his business to explore and utilize more avenues of sale. Listen to the 45-minute episode for Aaron’s ideas on the new and emerging art world models that favor working artists.
On Accelerator and Business Development
- “Being able to wear two different hats and switch back and forth between different ways of thinking—it’s something that I wasn’t doing when I was young; I was more focused on the art and the adventure.”
- “What’s been great about this whole process is creating a momentum which involves all of the Fellows, and the ongoing evolution of business concepts.”
- “My goals have evolved. I was at a transition point, and Accelerator pointed me in the direction of other avenues of sale and different approaches; from working with galleries, to commissions, to e-commerce.”
- “I realized I can revisit this project I was working on six years ago—to build a solar photovoltaic sculpture that’s functional, but also aesthetically beautiful—I have the skills I need to create this project and make an Investment-Grade Proposal to find commission or investors for it.”
- “The Accelerator program has broadened my mind to how my art is relevant and how I can make money from it.”
New Models in the Arts
- “There are ways to give clients more choices, to commission art that they want.”
- “Collectors aren’t buying the same way that they used to; they’re not buying at shows, but we’re seeing new art fairs and a status quo in terms of how fairs are run. If organizers employed a shared-risk approach, I think we’d see much more creativity in how these shows are put together.”
- “I do like the concept of Community Supported Art Projects generally, in that putting up initial funds could help create a steady cash flow for artists.”
- “Being able to talk directly with your potential clients is huge; I’ve learned a lot by starting out with art fairs, but fairs that share the risk more evenly offer a model that’s more artist-friendly.”
On Keeping Perspective as a Working Artist
- “Surviving as an artist is a big deal. I’ve definitely felt like I’ve had to quit at moments, but with tenacity and support of loved ones, something always comes up.”
- “The world of corporate and public art commissions is very competitive—before, I wasn’t even playing the game—now I’m in the game.”
- “It’s been an evolution to be a professional artist, and it’s taken me a long time to get here….I’m coming around to really seeing this as not only what I do, but my lifestyle and my income.”
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