I have a strong feeling that I don’t want to make money with my art. My art making comes from a form of passion, joy and spontaneity. And when I would force it to create a stable income for myself, I’m afraid this pressure would destroy all of that.
| “Making money is not that hard, don’t place a burden on your precious art.” – Elizabeth Gilbert
But of course I realise that making a living from making art has upsides as well. If I would be able to make a living with it, it would create more time and space for my artistic practice. However, I also feel like I don’t want to spend 100% of my working time on making art. I feel like I also want to give something to society and people in a more direct way. Health has always been a topic of interest for me. This explains why I have done a bachelor’s degree in Lifestyle Informatics, where the main theme was about the use of technology to support (a) human life. But it also explains why the body is such an important aspect in my current artistic and musical practice.
In my professional career I will start aiming for a mixture between making money with art and making money with other projects on the side that relate to my artistic practice very closely. To be more precise, in other projects on the side I want to apply the same principal of translating body movement into sound, just like in my artistic practice. I think that especially in health care, this ‘invention’ of mine could be very valuable and a beautiful addition to people in need. I suspect that my installation, where people can make music with intuitive body gestures, could encourage people to bring more movement into their daily life. From children to elderly, from the sick to the healthy.
In order to prepare for this step, I started giving two presentations about this installation, from my position as a student I took a baby step into the real working life. I presented at the Prins Claus Conservatory and at the UMCG hospital, both in Groningen. Both presenter slides are included at the end of this document. Only the presentation at the UMCG hospital was recorded on video, and I included the video file.
The first presentation was at the Kenniskring Lifelong Learning in Music of the Prins Claus Conservatory in Groningen. I immediately realised that this is a very different context than that I’m used to, even though I work with music every day. When I finished the presentation, I felt like they were very critical on the musical part. “I don’t think the notes are correct”, one woman said. Coming from an fine art environment, I’m more used to criticism about the setup and the visual elements. They also had ideas about making this a tool for people who want to learn very basic musical knowledge and feeling, such as rhythm.
Their comments were also very much directed towards business potential. They thought it would be a shame if the idea of this intuitive musical instrument would stay with only me as an artist. They see it happen all the time: beautiful innovations appear, but are not made public. They thought that if I would really want to make a difference, I should make it so that many people can enjoy it. And a good way to do that is to make it a commercial product that people can buy. People within the Hanze could help me with this. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. Something accessible as this for for example elderly could be so valuable. My reaction towards that was somewhat hesitant: “But I can make a difference too by displaying this installations in art events, festivals and performances, right?” In a way it makes me enthusiastic to make a product out of this, because it could be a good way to make a living next to my artistic practice. But in another way I’m afraid it takes the magic away. So I’m not sure yet if I want to do that.
The second presentation was at the UMCG hospital in Groningen for a group of health care professionals that work in the hospital. I was so surprised that Monique Taverne from Wenckebach Institute was helping me very thoroughly with the preparations of the presentation. She was also very enthusiastic about my installation and saw much potential, with which she offered to help me if I want to professionalise it. I realised that I adjusted my slides according to the new environment. I left out the musical highlights and talked more about the healthcare potential that I saw for this installation. Monique Taverne already told me that after this presentation it could happen that some people will be very interested to apply this in their health care area. And this time after the presentation, I had even more enthusiastic reactions. They saw much potential for the children department, or physiotherapy. And Monique sent me a list of people that would like to work together. I immediately realised that if I could do projects in the hospital next to my artistic practice, it would be perfect! Money-wise, but also because of the fact that I would be doing something directly for people. However, due to my graduation I had to tell a lot of interested people that I am not yet available to start projects. So from september onwards I will start contacting them again and see what’s possible. But I have trust in that this could be a very interesting addition to the start of my professional career.
After the presentation, we made a short video, summarising my presentation: