Things Worth More Than Money
If you get money and you know it / take it out your pocket and show it and throw it
— T Pain x Savon
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One of the worst things you can do to an artist, other than steal their work, is ask them to work for free. Certain fields of creativity are more tokenized than valued and the idea is so widespread it can be defeating for a creative on the rise. Artist should get paid for their work. No if, ands, or buts. Creation takes time, energy, focus, diligence, skill, AND MONEY. Artist: Always set a price when you’re approached. Everyone else: Pay the artist you book.

Now that that’s out the way, I want to point out money isn’t always the most lucrative priority for an artist.

Leverage aka Finesse

You need to know how to leverage a non monetary situation into a scenario where you come out with a gain. That gain usually leads to money aka “the bag.” I performed for free for years (which was way too long). Running up and down states, spending my last to get to a gig, do my thing, and leave broker than I was the day before. In the beginning that’s what you have to do. Get your experience up, get your resume up, take what you can get, but always thinking of the bigger picture. In this game, you have to show what you’re worth before you can ask for it.

Relationships aka Networking aka It’s Who You Know

Facts: The relationships I built back when I was doing way too many things for free as an upcoming creative lead to me to money in the future. My first tour wouldn’t have been possible if it wasn’t for a friend I made 4 years prior. I kept in touch with company owners I met when I was in college doing shows for free. They eventually booked me for their events off the strength of our relationship. You’ll only go as far as the people you talk to and if the people you talk to are getting money then eventually you’ll be getting money too.

Brand Awareness aka Let Em Know

Brand awareness can be worth more than money at times. Get yourself a mission statement, a website, a social media account, and tell the world you are out here for hire. How are people going to pay you if no one knows you exist? Also, if you’re an independent creative, business cards and websites are tax deductible. You’ll make your flip at the end of the year anyway. If you are good at what you do and enough people know it, the money will eventually come to you instead of you having to go to it. Word of mouth is still the best marketing tool on the planet. You’d be surprised how much a friendly reference could be worth.

Hustle aka You Don’t Hustle You Don’t Eat aka Make A Flip

One thing more important than money is the ability to make money when there is none. Wherever. Whenever. However. I can’t tell you how to do that. Every creative has their own way that works for them. All I can say is that if you’ve been broke for long enough you will figure out a way to not be broke anymore. If you don’t hustle you don’t eat.

What are your thoughts? Is there anything else you can think of that’s worth more than money? Leave a comment, share, and let’s talk about it on Twitter @savonbartley.


Feel free to comment and share. Let’s continue this conversation on twitterinstagram, or facebook. If you want to get all my blog post, exclusive content, merch, and show dates straight to your front door then you should definitely sign up for my newsletter. You’ll never miss a beat. Let's work together.





 

Savon Bartley
How To Make Art Before You Actually Make It
Flow crazy 730 / you just 650
— Lil Wayne x Savon

 

I’m reading this book (again) called “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. I won it at a raffle in college. Didn’t pay it much mind at first but one day I had a 3 hour gap in in between classes so I cracked it open just to kill some time. Next thing I knew I was late to my 8 o’clock because I read the entire book. I liked the book, not because it was telling me anything I didn’t know, but because it confirmed and gave context to a lot of the creative instincts I was having at the time. I just didn’t know how to put words to it.

I recently reread the book and I laughed because it was still so relevant to where I am with my art. The first chapter sounds a whole lot like my last blog post about how to be original when everything has been done already. The next in this book that I am on is Fake It Till You Make It. Kleon’s interpretation to this is:

“Pretend to be something you’re not until you are.”

“Pretend to be making something until you actually make something.”

This was a very eerie description for me. Especially the second description because that’s exactly what I’ve done in multiple situations. Most recently my Extended Play Tour late last year. I didn’t tell a whole lot of people that I was going on tour because, well, I didn’t even know if I was or not. I didn’t have the money or any shows booked or a passport or a place to stay. But I acted and moved in a way that made it seem like I was without a doubt going to be on tour with a brand new book in 5 months time. Fast forward to 3 days before I was supposed to leave the country to tour in the UK for a month I actually got everything solidified. I wasn’t exactly sure how at the time but I pulled it off. I faked a whole 17 shows in 23 day tour in a country I’ve never been to!

"All the worlds a stage." If you dress the part, talk the talk, walk the walk, and you're convincing, you can seem to be or seem to be doing anything you want and then before you know it...BOOM. You actually become that thing!

Now, I didn’t do it allll by myself. I had some people who believed in me enough to put in a good word for me here and there. I didn’t lie to anyone or cheat anyone of money or an experience. When I “faked” it till I made it to London I really was stepping out on faith. I was walking toward something I didn’t know for sure was there or not. I knew I could do it. I knew it was possible and slowly but surely, through a whole lot of stress and tears, It all became real.

I don’t apply this theory to every area of my life. I don’t think it works well in relationships or all professional settings but when it comes to my art, definitely. When folks ask what I’m working on sometimes I keep it to myself, sometimes I embellish a little, sometimes I flat out say something I’m not even doing at the moment but I want to. You’d be surprised at how many of the things that you put out there that actually come back to you. You never know who you’re talking to and where you’ll be an hour from now.

I challenge you to fake something you are dying to do for 30 days. Bring it up in every conversation. Research it. Go to events or talks. Bring all the positive energy you can to it. Speak it into existence for 30 days and see what happens. 

Get you're copy of Austin Kleon's book Steal Like An Artist (10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative) if you need some help.


Feel free to comment and share. Let’s continue this conversation on twitter, instagram, or facebook. If you want to get all my blog post, exclusive content, merch, and show dates straight to your front door then you should definitely sign up for my newsletter. You’ll never miss a beat. Let's work together.


Savon Bartley
How To Be Original When Everything Has Been Done Already
Better learn, Savon don’t relax stat, ever heard of me / Worldwide Originator, say word to me
— Jaz O x Savon Bartley
Photo Cred: David Hongy

Photo Cred: David Hongy

Creativity has lived long enough to witness every fundamental idea imaginable. In many art forms, it's stated that there's no such thing as being original because everything has been done already. Yet here we are, voice, pen, color, hands spitting in the face of what tells us “you can't.” We continue climbing because it's worth the fall, and that's what keeps us going. Then the question, forcing its hand through the clear ceiling you made for yourself, asks how can I be original if everything has been done already?

Do what's been done already, but do it your way

We live in a time when biting off of someone or something isn't looked down upon when it's done the right way. All the blueprints are laying flush against your eyes. Use and build upon them. The definition of originality is constantly evolving. Add your own personal twist. You might not have been the first to do something but you can be the first to do it your way.

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us
$14.48
By Hanif Abdurraqib
The Crown Ain't Worth Much
$12.69
By Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib

Be the melting pot

A lot of the individuals you call your favorites in whichever craft you've chosen aren't the originals. Most likely they are what happens when you combine multiple traits of people they consider their favorites. The idea is to take what you like from those that came before you, put it in the pot, press it down, shake it up and let it runneth over.

Originality isn't dead. You're alive, which means it is too.


Feel free to comment and share. Let’s continue this conversation on twitter, instagram, or facebook. If you want to get all my blog post, exclusive content, merch, and show dates straight to your front door then you should definitely sign up for my newsletter. You’ll never miss a beat. Let's work together.


Savon Bartley
Is This Too Deep For The Intro?
Listen, if this is too deep for the intro I’ll find another use / but just in case it’s perfect then let me introduce
— Jermaine x Savon

"I have a lot of passions but haven’t come across a word that best describes them all"

My name is Savon Bartley but my mom doesn’t call me that. I was born in Waukegan, IL and grew up in North Chicago for most of my life. Now, I live in New Jersey. Mainly because I don’t want to pay New York taxes. I am my mothers only child and my grandmother's only “grand baby” even though I haven’t been a baby in a long time. I’m the second person and only male in my family with a college degree. I used to get mistaken for Food & Liquor Lupe in high school but now everyone just says I remind them of Bino. They’re pretty much the same person so I guess some things don’t change after high school.

I do what I can to make a living. Most of the time I’m a writer, pen-ing and performing poetry somewhere in the world or a teaching artist helping a 7th grader edit their sestina. Essayist, podcaster (coming soon), curator, actor, coach, social media coordinator, and being cute usually sneak there way in there somewhere in between. I have a lot of passions but haven’t come across a word that best describes them all. For now let’s just call it being a full time artist or a creative or a storyteller. Yeah, I think that fits.

Now that we’re all acquainted, welcome to my blog! I’m so excited you pulled up for this. You would not believe how long I’ve been saying “I’m going to start blogging.” It’s taken me years to get this point but look mama we made it!

bone
$12.75
By Yrsa Daley-Ward
Milk and Honey
$8.99
By Rupi Kaur

As a teaching artist, I tell my students all the time how important it is to document their unique experience in the world from a perspective that only they can provide. At some point all of our stories are going to be told. If we let someone else tell it they are going to get it wrong. We have an obligation to write our own narratives. This blog is my obligation. My story. My honest and candid experiences traveling the world reciting poetry, being a son, reading books, writing books, being black, living, struggling, flourishing, failing, trying again, and again, and again, to one day find the answer to the question “what am I doing with my life?” I’m not sure if there is a calming answer for that. All I know is that I don’t want to be one thing my whole life. Let’s hope that one of us figures out what that means.

"Ideas are constantly rushing through my head and It’s difficult to keep them in one place. This is going to be that place."

On the surface this blog is what most blogs are, an outlet. Ideas are constantly rushing through my head and It’s difficult to keep them in one place. This is going to be that place. It’s also practice, a journey, portfolio, advice column, gallery, tour guide, and newsletter. I’m going to spill all the beans on what I’m working on, who I’m listening to, what I’m reading, how I’m making a living as an artist, everything!

I want this blog to be more than just keeping up with things that I’m doing. I want this space to be a resource for millennials and artist trying better themselves and eat off their craft. I’ve been pretty blessed to have accomplished certain things in my life when it comes to my art and often times my contemporaries, or my students, will ask “ How did you do that?” Real talk, it’s a long story. Sometimes it’s not. Either way I’m going to tell you everything I know in this here blog. I don’t believe in withholding information out of fear someone else will take money out of your pocket. There’s enough money for everyone. I’m going to eat no matter what. You should be able to provide for yours too and I’d love to see both of us glow up together.

I don’t want to be too long winded here so I’m going to wrap this one up and get to getting on some more projects I want to show you but i’m just really excited that this is finally happening! Feel free to comment and share. Let’s continue this conversation on twitter, instagram, or facebook. If you want to get all my blog post, exclusive content, and show dates straight to your front door then you should definitely sign up for my newsletter. You’ll never miss a beat and you get free stuff too. I’ll holla *Martin Voice*

Photo Cred: David Hong


Feel free to comment and share. Let’s continue this conversation on twitter, instagram, or facebook. If you want to get all my blog post, exclusive content, merch, and show dates straight to your front door then you should definitely sign up for my newsletter. You’ll never miss a beat. Let's work together.


Savon Bartley