Art & Business

Art & Business

Dear Friends, 

This week has felt a little different as I celebrated Carsie Blanton's first show in 15 months! Canada is lagging behind the States, but I take encouragement from our friends south of the border. The show was played outside, in front of a couple hundred people who danced and sang along. The audience was as grateful to be there as she and her bandmates were!

That show startled me out of this gentle fog I've been experiencing, and the past days have been dedicated to honing the budgets and updating her business plan now that we actually believe that the 40 shows booked in the next few months are a go.

Before she and I settled in for a budget work session this week, I asked her whether she felt that she was compromising her artistic vision because of my focus on making money. I shared some of the concerns I had discussed last week and my belief that artists were quite capable of wearing two hats - business and art - and switching from one to the other as needed.

She smiled and shared a tool she uses. I thought it was brilliant and was thrilled that she gave me her ok to share it with you.

Art or Business? The Paper Plate Exercise

  • Two paper plates. On one, write "ART" in the centre, and on the other, "BUSINESS"
  • Take each plate and write out all of the things you deal with that are associated with that word. So for "BUSINESS", you might have "contracts", "budgets", "accounting", etc. "ART" might include "songwriting", "recording", "performing", etc.
  • Save your emotions for "ART". Stay cool-headed for "BUSINESS". This is probably the key! So when an email comes in about a gig, for example, Carsie can tell herself "That's business, it's not emotional..."

It's so simple, but it's effective. Having the visual reminder of what is art and what is business- and saving emotional investment for the one and not the other helps internalize the distinction between the two.

From a manager's standpoint, it makes my job so much easier knowing that I don't have to hold back on our business discussions. It also makes it easier on both knowing that emotions are being left at the door for these sessions. The discussion on scenarios and decisions is smoother.

And of course, we do earmark sessions to talk about life, longings and art - where emotions, creativity and dreams are given full reign!

Having both keeps things balanced & healthy.

As someone who's rather visual, I love this exercise and find that it helps me too.
I hope you enjoy it! 

xo Nat

PS. I appreciating getting this tip from Carsie. If you have any tools or tips that work for you, please send me a message at [email protected] :-)


Nathalie Kleinschmit

Article by Nathalie Kleinschmit

Published 16 Jun 2021