Examples of Artists Turned Artrepreneurs

Famous artists of all kinds are using business to bring their art to the next level.

Artrepreneurship isn’t a new concept, it’s just more accepted now than ever before. Let’s take a look at some artrepreneurial pioneers who have proven how important it is to use both art and business to help share your vision with the world.

Andy Warhol

Photograph of Andy Warhol in Moderna Museet, Stockholm, before the opening of his retrospective exhibition. Brillo boxes are seen in the background. Sourced from Wikimedia Commons.

“Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol is known for bringing concepts of capitalism into his famous pop art, as is seen in his Moderna Museet exhibition or his most famous Campbell’s Soups paintings. As a self-declared “business-artist” in the 1960’s, Warhol created a whole new perspective of artrepreneurship that was still yet to be popular or even well-accepted in the art community. To Warhol, building a business and using it to spread his art was a form of art in of itself. To others, using business as a tool was considered “selling out.”

Andy Warhol mass-printed his work and sold it to people across the world, bringing his art to those would have never been able to see it. Using his own warehouse factory created a lot of controversy around Warhol’s name, but helped him gain notice and cash that he otherwise would have never seen. As the idea of artpreneurship becomes more and more popular in the 21st century, do you think Warhol’s experience would be the same, should he have been a modern-day business-artist?

Warhol paved the way for artists to start taking control of their own distribution and utilizing business to share and create their work.

David Bowie

Graphic image of David Bowie. Image by heisan from Pixabay

David Bowie pursued many creative entrepreneurial endeavors during his career. His interest and innovative use of technology led him to successful, and some not-so-successful, artrepreneurship attempts including a “cybercast” concert in 1997 that was ahead of his time. As the first musician to sell a song online, Bowie was known for using technology to monetize his work.

Bowie was always looking for entrepreneurial opportunities, and even launched his own Internet Service Provider in 1998. Although the project wasn’t a huge success, his risk-taking in the realm of business earned him credibility in the entrepreneurial space. In the early 2000’s, Bowie often spoke of a day when artists and musicians would no longer need labels, because they would have full control of their work and it’s distribution, made possible by business.

David Bowie has been credited as a visionary not only because of his music, but because of how he used business to share it.

George Lucas

George Lucas, Photo by Wally Fong/AP Images

Creator of the Star Wars empire and Indiana Jones series, George Lucas is a true artrepreneur. Lucas not only broke into an industry that was saturated with Hollywood-born individuals, but he created a company that would later be sold to Disney for $4.6 billion dollars. The base of this deal came from the beautiful synchronization of art and business that was Lucas Films. Lucas’ imaginative, ground-breaking concepts and top-notch execution would have never been realized without his entrepreneurial spirit and strategic business decisions when forming his company and working with others to fund his projects. Although his concepts would later be considered as some of the best feature-length films ever produced, they did not originally help him gain his empire. It was Lucas’ use of business that helped him share his art with the world, so that it could be recognized in the way it is today.

A huge inspiration for myself and my team, George Lucas is one of the most interesting artrepreneurs to study–and one of the most successful.

Artrepreneurship has increased in popularity from the time of Warhol to the time of Lucas, and continues to grow in it’s importance. In the 21st century, artists have more and more resources to help them take control of their artwork, its distribution, and their own brands. Congratulations on finding your way to this article, because it means that you’re asking the right questions about how to use art and business together to help you share your vision with the world. You’re ahead of the herd, if you start building your creative business and brand now.

Follow Artrepreneurship – where ‘art’ and ‘entrepreneurship’ meet to get all the information you need to start your artrepreneurial journey!

Peace, Kayla