Fascinating first chapter of a book about Jim Henson and how he mixed art with capitalism:
The dance involves art and money, but not at the same time. In the first stage, it is paramount that the artist “reserves a protected gift-sphere in which the art is created.” He keeps money out of it. But in the next two phases, they can dance. The way I see it, Hyde’s dance steps go a little something like this:
1. Make art.
2. Make art make money.
3. Make money make art.
It is the last step that turns this dance into a waltz—something cyclical so that the money is not the real end. Truly, for Jim Henson, money was a fuel that fed art.
This so succinctly sums up how I’ve approached Infinity Softworks the past two years. We are about to release what I consider our art, Equals, but it doesn’t make money yet. So we’ve used our craft to make money. Contract work fills in the gaps. Hopefully over time, our increased skills and Equals itself will generate money, allowing us to make more art.
I grew up poor. At one point we were on food stamps. I never understood the relationship between art and money. In my early life I saw money as a corrupting evil. Over the last dozen or so years, though, my opinion has changed. Now I see it as an ends to a means, where the means is my ability to make more art.