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Hey Artsters!

I’m really excited I’ll be *seeing* you, starting Monday, Sep 10th (8PM Eastern) for the “How to Live as an Artist” class series. (I’ll send out call-in details closer to the date.)

Speaking of living as an artist, I’m just about to head out to the Burning Man festival for over 10 days–in my opinion the greatest arts experience available anywhere on the planet at this time. So I’ll be coming back into the class series re-inspired and re-invigorated creatively.

In the meantime, I’d like to give you some suggestions and resources to consider before the class. Absolutely none of this is mandatory, but the more of the following material you can absorb before the class, the more perspective you’ll have on the class and the more you can hit the ground running.

Since a good portion of the class is about how your artistic longings intersect with your ability to generate financial resources, we’re going to spend some time talking about how you, as an artist, relate (or don’t relate) to already existing wealth structures in America.

The myth of the isolated artist, totally removed from bourgeois society, is exactly that, a myth. Even the most “stick it to the man” artists have always had wealthy collectors and patrons supporting them.

In this class, we’re going to talk not about how to find wealthy people as patrons (handout-givers) to your art projects. That’s old-school, in my opinion, and that model is dying.

Rather, we’re going to talk about how you as an artist can also develop business value and consulting *around* your art, which fund your art projects. We’re going to talk about becoming your *own* patron.

However, *that* is still going to require some kind of conscious, empowered, and integrity-based relationship to wealth structures of America, and the wealthy people who inhabit them.

On this front, I highly recommend reading these two books:

Marketing to the Affluent by Dan Kennedy, and

Networking With the Affluent, by Thomas Stanley

Both of these books significantly re-jiggered the way I think about relating to wealthy people. The result was, I started knowing more wealthy people. And the result of that was I started having more opportunity to create value and do business with them. Which meant, more wealth flowing into my life, allowing me to be my own arts patron. All of this is available to you as well.

In the course, I’ve promised you a new way to think about marketing yourself and your art as a creative *brand*. There hasn’t been much out there written on this topic, for artists, that I think is worth much, but there have been a few things.

I highly recommend:

Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod, and

Damn Good Advice (For People With Talent) by George Lois. (Lois is an original “Mad Men,” ad man, not an “artist” in the way we probably think of the term- but his ideas about the intersection of creativity and commerce are spot on, in my opinion.)

These are starting points- all I’ll be sharing in the class is based on my own experience and real-world street-testing, not on books.

There are as many definitions of “art” as there are artists (x10 for all the people who *think* they are artists, and want to be artists, and want to opine on art, which is a whole other can of worms, etc etc.)

I have absolutely no claim to Absolute Truth on the matter, and it’s not important that you agree with my view, because the point of this course is not to debate abstract definitions and philosophy–it’s to give you new ways of thinking about your career which will create tangible results for you.

Nonetheless, I think it will be useful if you have a bit of background on how I think of “art” and “artists.”

To me, it’s not about medium at all (painter, writer, musician, photographer, writer, etc.) It’s about a particular relationship to the rest of society–one of, as that great artist Bob Marley sang, is always seeking to “stir it up.”

(BTW, for a gut-wrenching documentary about a legendary artist who combined art with spirituality, politics, protest, with a shrewd sense of how to operate within existing power structures while still challenging them, I highly recommend watching that documentary linked above–one of the most moving pieces of film I’ve ever seen.)

Here are some terms that, for me, are highly related to how I think about art. (Again, it’s not crucial you agree with the way I view things here–these are meant to be suggestive only. It is a beginning of dialogue, not the Word from on high….)

Trickster

Crazy wisdom

Shamanism

For no-nonsense, down-to-earth support about the realities of living an artists life *before* you’re rich and famous–i.e., for most artists–I highly recommend Art & Fear by David Bales and Ted Orland.

None of these materials mentioned above are “textbooks” for the course–everything will be 100% original from my brain, soul and experience. (So if none of the material above speaks to you, no worries–this course is not really based on any of these materials.)

Nonetheless, the more time you peruse and think about some/any/all of the materials above, the more I think you’ll hit the ground running when we start on September 10th.

Finally, if you read/watch just three things out of this whole list before the class starts, please read/watch:

–> My Forbes article “The Paradoxical Secret of Obsession-Worthy Branding,”

–> Chapter 1 of my book The Education of Millionaires – How to Make Your Work Meaningful and Your Meaning Work: Or, How to Make a Difference in the World Without Going Broke” –

–> Watch the Bryan Franklin video clip about paradox here

I’ll be completely off the grid at Burning Man until Sep 4th- and can answer any logistical questions you have about the course then when I return.

Can’t wait to see you on Monday, Sep. 10th!

To Art & Success,

–Michael