It was 1993. I was a rookie newspaper reporter for The Daily Tribune in Royal Oak, Michigan.
(Yes, go on. Take a break and do the math. JobJenny is THAT old. Now stop it. And come back.)
Rookie reporter. Me. I was given what I thought to be the world's coolest assignment, and that was to interview musician Darden Smith, who was busily promoting his latest album, "Little Victories."
I nervously dialed the phone at my appointed time, swallowed the 16 frogs in my throat, and proceeded to have a very nice conversation with this friendly Texan (best known for the song "Loving Arms,"if you don't already know this.)
He said something that has stuck with me for 17 years.
In talking about his love of music and how important it is to him to be an artist, he admitted that it's also very important to MONETIZE your passion. His exact line:
"Art for the sake of art is certainly noble. But you can't eat an artburger."
You cannot eat an artburger.
Can't show up at the Safeway cash register and hand over a cheery drawing in exchange for a cart full of groceries.
Can't send your latest blog post to Comcast and ask them to kindly use it as legal tender for your cable bill.
Can't fund your daughter's college using that song in your heart as currency.
So for those who cannot imagine a career centered around anything BUT your passion, or your art?
Doesn't it make just too much sense to pull out the stops figuring out how you can monetize that passion?
(answer = yes.)
I see a lot of fine artists that flail around indefinitely. They KNOW they're producing some amazing stuff. But they have ZERO clue on how to convert this awesomeness into greenbacks. Zero.
And eventually they get frustrated, resign themselves to a soul-sucking j-o-b, and push the artistry into the "hobby at best" category.
If you're good at something, and you love it, and you're quite certain others will embrace it, too?
Then start studying other artists who are making it happen. Stop dreaming about "what if...?" and start planning.
Who cares if it's small scale (at first)??
I guarantee you, the moment you exchange your art -- whether it's a painting, or a piece of jewelry, a song, or a story -- for little green pieces of paper?
You will begin to see that your noble pastime? Can actually be a viable revenue stream.
And multiple revenue streams never hurt anyone.