It related to a business idea that I've been toying with for some time.
You see, a lot of my friends are artists. Some of the write, some of them make visual art, some of them make music. Any or all of them could very well have a web site at which they sell the products of their art. Individually, however, they are likely lost in the great sea that is the Internet. Difficult to find and difficult to stand out from the crowd.
My thought for a business would be to act as a kind of gallery owner or curator, collecting the best stuff by the best artists and packaging it pleasantly for people to find and buy. I would take a small cut of the sales for my efforts and pass the majority on to the artists. In addition, I'd act as coach for the artists in building up a following to bring them closer to their 1,000 True Fans.
While I don't expect that many of them would get 1,000 True Fans, taking even small steps in that direction could be useful to them. Ctein, for example, built on the idea I'd discussed with him to turn it into about a third of his income last year. Not enough to live on, but enough to make a significant contribution towards his continuing to make his art.
So on to the metaphor:
Art is honey. Artists, like bees, make art by taking in what's around them and turning it into something special. They do this naturally, without any intervention from others necessary. Like bees, they will make enough to sustain themselves through lean times if they are able and will even make more than necessary.
A beekeeper, or at least a wise one, lets the bees do their thing with as little interference as possible. He provides a safe environment for their work and ample space to store their product. At the end of the summer, the beekeeper collects the surplus honey, leaving enough for the bees to survive the winter so they can begin again in the spring.
A beekeeper might move a hive to a place where the bees will have access to particular resources or where they might provide a service to others as part of their work. He will also package and market the honey he acquires from the bees, making a living for himself.
So I'm thinking that I might want to be a beekeeper, or to step back out of the metaphor, an artist-keeper. Not quite a patron, not quite an editor. Someone that cultivates an environment for artists to do their artistic thing, makes sure they are well-cared for and takes a little honey for himself.
I welcome your thoughts on this.