There was a time when no parent wanted their child to go to school to get a liberal arts degree. The phrase “starving artist” was all too prevalent and too often a reality. The business world also had little to no use for those with degrees that were viewed as being gained through far less rigorous course material and standards than those obtained in the fields of business or science. All that is changing, however, as the business world is beginning to recognize the invaluable contributions that the art world has to offer, particularly in the arena of tech.
From marketing and design to graphic arts to even conceptual artists that are building the framework for the next great tech advancements, artists are finding their place in the business world and the business world is flexing to accommodate them. One of the hindrances to the business and art worlds working well together is the innate nature of art and creativity. Where the business world has in the past prided itself on rigid schedules and the ability to produce exact numbers and projects on demand, the creative world works on a much less rigid schedule that doesn’t always produce on demand.
Yes, artists often have deadlines just like anyone else, but artists often need time for ideas to percolate, to toy with a variety of different thoughts, ideas and designs before being able to land on the one that is going to take them in the right direction. For this reason, there is also a very fine line (if any) between art and science. The majority of scientists are drawn to science because of what there is to discover more than because of what is known. So even “hard” fields like math and science require creative thinking.
The atom wasn’t discovered by hard science but by creative thinking that wasn’t limited by what is, but instead thought about what was possible. Later, the atom was further split and a whole new micro-microscopic world discovered by those who chose not to be limited by those that told them the atom was as small as it got. The best coders are also artists that are constantly seeking to create new, elegant and efficient algorithms the same way sculptors and painters are constantly seeking to push past the boundaries of what is currently considered to be “art.”
For this reason, business and art are actually a natural fit for each other and the lines between the two are slowly blurring. For instance, entrepreneurs with art degrees like Clay Alexander are becoming hugely successful in the business world by putting their design skills to work inventing new products for businesses and marketers to sell. Thanks to the internet and global competition, there has never been a time when giant corporations have been under greater pressure to create products that people genuinely want and connect with, which all starts with how the product looks.
This has created a huge market for designers and artists who understand weight, balance, design and aesthetics that allow them to create both products and packaging that are appealing enough right from the first view that people want to pick it up and try it – or even better yet, buy it. There has probably never been a better time for artists to become hugely successful, not just as artists but as business people.