Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Fruits of Our Labor

We work.

We inherit.

Or we amass a great fortune.

Who benefits from our efforts? And how much? I am looking closely this week at return on investment. What? An artist talking about ROI's? Yes. As I mentioned yesterday, my path is strewn with obstacles, normal ones everyone has, and particular ones caused by a natural disaster. So ROI's are very important to me. Every resource, every cent, every bit of time is important to me. Some of those obstacles are boulders, some are pebbles, but they are all in need of clearing.

So just like any CEO, I marshal my resources and efforts where I hope they are most effective. Art is a long lead time business. I need excellent returns on my time and money. Simple. I will find the percentage, the number that works for me for the upcoming projects and go after it. That's what I do. And I do this away from any efforts in the studio. They stay separate and rightly so.

"Well, that's cool and all Jan, but what does it have to do with fruit?", you ask.

"Well, what kind of fruit are we after, and who gets to nibble our fruit?", I reply."

The fruits of our labors are another resource that multiplies if we let them. So where do we use them? Do we stockpile them for later or use them along the way to feed the pipeline? Depends, doesn't it?
The fruits of our labor are our return on investment. They come in many forms. Some are totally unexpected pleasures. Some are on our wish lists. Some are hard earned. Consider them all.

We're after tangibles in that ROI, but we are also after quality of life returns on our investments of self, especially in the creative fields. Some returns are not exactly quantifiable in the conventional sense. What am I after with the new site I am going to launch? What do I need and want from the new series of paintings? Am I going to write a book for dollars or for peace of mind? What fruits am I after each day as I do whatever it is that I do? How much do I need to charge for what piece of work? These are all valid questions that artists deal with just like anybody else. Plus we have those questions to answer about keeping our artistry alive and well too. We have muses to feed and they can get rather picky. One of mine apparently wants to go to Barcelona. My bank account says, not likely at this time. She's kind of pushy though, so we probably will hear from her again. But what if, I consider Barcelona + ROI ? Changes possibilities a bit doesn't it?

Art as a profession doesn't just happen. Art and money mentioned in the same sentence makes some people apoplectic. But art requires money and resources. It also requires a return whether in large portion or small. So it is something I consider regularly when outlining new projects or when considering critical mass overall. It is an actionable part of a plan. Money and art. Art and money. Kind of like saying naked, naked, naked. It is what you make it. What values you assign it.

I want my dreams. I want quality of life. Part of that return, even if stated in dollars, or percentages, is really about the benefits of those dollars and cents. How much? How much more? What will get me there? I am after a number, a percent, but I am really after so much more. We could call it survival, or triumph, or maybe it's name is Barcelona, but thriving is what I am after. Not gonna settle for less than that. So today and a little bit this week as I head back to the painting, I am after numbers so my actions get me the fruit I need and want so much. And I'll share...


ParisBreakfasts said...

Oh my favorite subject!!!
now I just need to find a comfy chair to sit in and peruse this at leisure...
Well lately every post is a fav subject...There's a good book here for sure!

Janice C. Cartier said...

Good, good. :)

And I am munching those fruits from this morning's photo shoot. Phew, it is hot outside here. Now where was I I? Percents and the pursuit of painting...

ParisBreakfasts said...

A Barcelona bite here:

Janice C. Cartier said...

I saw that NYT too ! Yummy.

Words For Hire said...

Janice, so many people struggle with this concept confusing effort with results. Every moment is packed with activity but it's not thoughtful action, just mindless motion. We can all do well to work the numbers. Great post!

Janice C. Cartier said...

Karen- I am flattered. No small compliment coming from someone as talented as yourself. The numbers are important, like setting a compass is important. The journey , the effort, needs to be right for us, the whole of us...not just a result or an score keeper.