Are Art and Money the Same Thing?

I used to think that we could abolish money in the future as part of some Star Trek style Utopia. Now I’m not so sure. I think if we didn’t have money, we’d invent it as it’s so useful in comparing and transferring value to one another. As far as we can tell, we’re the only animal to have a system of currency. We’re also the only animal to have art. The two, money and art, may have not evolved together but may be more closely related than we think.

If you have created a piece of art, you have created something of value greater than the raw materials the art is constructed from. So the painting you have created is worth something and has a value in the same way that a note of currency has value and is worth something. Both can be exchanged for something else of equivalent value.

This is interesting as during the Renaissance, when magnificent works of art were created and revered then and now as masterpieces, those works were created because of an entrepreneurial spirit and the beginning of the system of capital which drove cultural and intellectual changes. A painter or sculpturer’s reputation was based on his ability to arouse commercial interest in his work, through direct payment, commission or sponsorship and not through any abstract criteria of artistic merit. The same principles apply today, but are not understood or taught correctly to many of todays potentially great artists. That is why so many artists, be they painters, actors, dancers or musicians remain poor.

Think about it. If a piece of ‘art’ has no value, it is not deemed proper art. Perhaps a problem is that so many of today’s up-and-coming artists find money ‘offensive’. That is why they are poor. They wait around to be ‘spotted’ or ‘discovered’. But in an age of abundance that is filled with so many works, there is very little chance of that happening. Van Gough was ‘discovered’ 11 years after he had died penniless.

A great artist realises that he or she has the potential to literally print money by creating value almost out of thin air from their talents and raw materials. The same criteria must apply that applies to all business: potential customers must be convinced that your creations have value. Money and art are part of the same thing after all.

Have a look at this poem called ‘But is it Art?

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