Why It’s Never Been a Better Time for Artists


Why it's never been a better time to be an artistDid you know that right now we're living in an incredible era of growth for artists, writers, musicians, dancers, actors, playwrights, and creative types of all kinds?

Did you know that this is only the beginning of the online and offline revolution for creators and talents of every type?

Why?  How?

Over the last three to four years, jobs and employment worldwide have seen a meltdown and restructuring of unprecedented  proportions.  The U.S. Department of Labor Statistics has struggled to predict accurately the job trends of the next few years.  While technological opportunities will continue to exist, the outlook is bleak for people already in those fields who cannot embrace and move with the upcoming changes.

"The world will never be happy until all men have the souls of artists."                                                                -  Auguste Rodin

Universally, people are expressing more interest in spiritual matters, which are fundamentally linked to the arts.

There is an explosion of opportunities for healers, dreamers, and creative types of all kinds.  Seventeen of the thirty fastest-growing jobs in the next decade are for healers--and I don't just mean physicians and registered nurses.  The need for counseling therapists (which includes art therapists of all kinds) will grow dramatically as people entering the second half of their lives confront depression and major life changes.

Baby Boomers and Millionaires Abound

As baby boomers have approached middle age, enjoying higher education levels and more disposable income, the proportion of boomers who go to a concert, a play, or an art museum at least once a year has risen from 41 percent in 1992 to 63 percent in 2005.

5,000 new millionaires are now made in the United States every year.  These growing ranks of the "new wealthy" have an appetite for the finer, more expensive things in life.  They spend lavishly on creating priceless family heirlooms, such as family and individual portraits (oil portraits and photographs).  They even spend lavishly to create portraits of their pets, sailboats, and homes around the world.  They purchase expensive works of art to announce to the world that they "have arrived." They routinely attend and purchase the most expensive front-row seating at ballets, stage plays, operas, concerts, and other entertainment venues.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the demand for writers, artists, and entertainers will increase 24 percent over the next decade, with a total of 772,000 new jobs in those fields.  If you are gifted in telling a good story, writing a good book, painting or taking a portrait, making a sculpture, acting in a play, or listening with compassion, there will be opportunities for you.

The Shift from Left-Brain to Right-Brain Jobs

We are seeing a diminishing of value place on left-brain skills--analytical, calculating, and detailed.  We've learned that computer processes, accounting and financial analysis, database functions, and even medical diagnoses can be done by someone on the other side of the world, while we are sleeping, and for a whole lot less money than is required here.

You know what's growing in value in the United States?  Right-brain qualities, such as empathy, creativity, artistic skill, adeptness at building relationships, the ability to find joy in oneself and elicit joy in others, the desire to find purpose in life and help others do the same.

Today the defining skills of the last ten years--the left-brain skills that launched us into the Information Age--are no longer sufficient.  Any job that depends on routine--that can be broken down into a series of repeated steps--is at risk.  Jobs that deal in facts and systems may have been readily available, but they are easy to duplicate in China and India.

What is beginning to be more valuable is the ability to give those facts human meaning--to add empathy and caring, to provide emotional and spiritual impact.   Those right-brain capabilities our culture once thought frivolous will increasingly determine who flourishes and who flounders.

Candle in the Wind?

Let me give you an example.  One hundred years ago electric lighting was rare; people used candles for evening light.  Today light bulbs are cheap, and we're moving toward using compact fluorescent bulbs that last seven years.Why it's never been a better time to be an artist

Light bulbs are everywhere, commonplace, no big deal.  And candles are long since forgotten, right?  Wrong!

In the United States alone, candles are a $2.4-billion-a-year industry.  There is no logical need for candles.  So why is their use growing?  Because we have a growing desire for beauty and transcendence--qualities that go beyond cold, hard technology.

Why Artists Will Almost Certainly Thrive and Prosper in the Coming Decade

If you provide beauty and help people have experiences and feelings that go beyond the drudgery of day-to-day existence, you can thrive and become wealthy in the process.

In this article, I have not produced an exhaustive list of new opportunities.  But these examples give a quick look at how changes always bring the seeds of new opportunities.  As you define your own unique skills, you will also see creative applications that match the emerging trends.

Change is inevitable. Our choice is not whether change will occur but, simply, how we will respond.   We can choose to wring our hands as victims, convinced opportunities are disappearing or we can use our awesome creativity to see where new opportunities are appearing and new paths are opening.

Each of us has been given unique skills, abilities, personality traits, values, dreams, and passions.  As we examine them, we may be surprised at how these "soft" skills can help us become true leaders in industry, entertainment, and humanitarian efforts around the world.

We should be at the forefront not only as innovators and inventors but also as dreamers and creators.  If we create individual paths destined by individual purpose and mission, we arm ourselves against corporate downsizing.   We will seize the opportunities and lead the way to higher levels of fulfillment, income, and benefits for those around us.


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This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Barbara

    Question: how does one charge for what is essentially an ephemeral product or service? Where that product or service literally only has value in the eye of the beholder? How do I say to someone, yeah, they charge $10 an hour and I charge $25, but I’m much, much better at it than they are?

    1. Gary Bolyer

      Hi Barbara,
      I’ve written several articles that deal with charging what you’re worth. If you charge what you’re worth, there will always be customers and clients who will see the value you are providing and will pay your higher price. Please check out my other blog posts about pricing your work and art services. “The Artist Who Loved to Help Too Much” is a good one. And another one, “Pricing Your Paintings: Stay Out of the Bargain Basement” is another good one. Thanks again for your comments.

    1. Gary Bolyer


  2. Paula Christen

    Thanks for the Monday morning inspiration Gary! Good to remind us that our art and skills add to the world. I believe the money to purchase is out there – it just changes pockets frequently!
    Wishing you a great 2013!

    1. Gary Bolyer

      Hi Paula,
      Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your comments. I think there is a lot of good news out there about the economy and the future for artists everywhere. Thanks again.

  3. Mia Lane

    I appreciate hearing a positive spin on the selling of art… we artists tend to focus on the immediate sale, (or lack thereof) in our own local community and make hasty judgements on the whole world of art out there. Spending a lot of time alone in the studio can create myopic vision I’ve found!

  4. Alina Oswald

    Happy New Year! I have to say, I enjoy this blog very much and find it enlightening. Thanks Gary for offering us a glimpse at the brighter side of art… business. Creating art is one thing. Art business is something quite complex, but we need to be able to wrap our minds around it. And that’s what I get to learn through this blog, and also through the Smart Art Marketing emails.


    1. Gary Bolyer

      Hi Alina,
      Thanks for writing. Glad you’re enjoying the blog and the Smart Art Marketing newsletter. I look forward to hearing more from you in the future. Thanks again, Gary

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