With some businesses, everything has to work first time, straight out of gate, or else it’s considered a flop and everybody loses their shirt. The movie business is like that. Restaurants, too (Here’s a very painful but compelling example of what I’m talking about).
In the art business, that single-role-of-dice approach is simply not going to work. As an artist, you’re going to try dozens and dozens of different things over time- different approaches, different job titles- mostly stumbling blindly forward, until one day you find something that clicks.
That’s how it’s done. It might take your five years. It might take you twenty. Nobody knows. No guarantees.
The only guarantee (which isn’t saying much)… is you.
i.e. You keep on working, you keep on learning, you keep your options open, you keep your sorry ass on the straight and narrow in the meantime.
But to let it all be decided by a single throw of the dice is beyond stupid. Life doesn’t work that way.
I once had this artist friend, a Hispanic dude who was very quick to call other artists out for being a “sell-out”.
The slightest whiff of “commercial” and boy, that was you on his permanent shit list. Then he’d drop you like a stone.
What funny is that over the years he became the poster boy for that politically correct, identity politics crap (and it is “crap”) the museums and the Academy love so much these days. And because he was a minority from the wrong side of the tracks (which he would never let anyone forget, not for second), he fast tracked into that world of slippery words and dead meanings. He played the part. He was a “natural”.
Now if that ain’t a “sell-out”, I don’t know what is. But I doubt he’d notice the irony.