Gambling on the Arts

Art as a whole is something people do not associate with gambling very often. Surely enough, there are paintings of gambling as well as many songs which describe gambling in many different ways, not to mention movies about gambling, yet gambling on the arts seems like something somewhat impossible, right?

Well, wrong, sort of. Gambling on the arts is very, very possible, yet not in the way traditional gambling works.

Here are some stories of people who gambled on art.

Branded for Success – A Theatre Story

Henrik Ibsen was not always the popular playwright as we know him today. The Norwegian was the director of the Christiania Theatre in 1858 but that wasn’t a very lucrative job. He was in a poor financial situation for a nearly 6 years until he decided to go into self-exile, being disappointed in Norway.

Moving to Sorrento, Italy, gave Ibsen perspective, thus came forth Brand, his first critically acclaimed play, notably, one that also brought him financial success. Brand meant fire in Norwegian at that time and it surely did light a fire to his success.

The Philosopher’s Lucky Stone – Literary Success

A single mother on the brink of poverty with clinical depression? These stories are usually not happy endings yet J.K. Rowling made her a very happy one. In 1995, she wrote Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which ended up gaining her a lot of money, yet it wasn’t instantly.

Who knew that writing a seemingly young adult novel, rich in fantasy and everyday life would be so successful? Nobody, that’s why it was a gamble.

Impression, Gamble – A Painter’s Breakthrough

Impressionism was not well received during its inception, especially by critics. Claude Monet was an impressionist, or rather, the impressionist. His work Impression, Sunrise coined the term now known as the art movement impressionism.

Claude, however, was not financially stable. In 1872, he caught a break with the above-mentioned painting, yet still had very little money. Despite impressionism being badly received, he pressed on, some could say, gambled with his life and that of his wife and children. Luckily, during the 1880s, his paintings started selling by the large and he gained a lot of recognition and money.

Following One’s Dream – A Cinematic Plow Through

Christopher Nolan is one of today’s most accomplished directors, yet he wasn’t always as popular, nor known, for that matter. The man had no formal filmmaking education, but rather a degree in English literature.

With a very small budget of 3000 pounds, a crew consisting of his friends who all had full time jobs, a 16mm camera and a black and white film, the movie was shot during the course of an entire year. Every scene in the movie was rehearsed to the point of perfection, as they had to save film stock. The movie’s name is Following, and after a long year of toil, Christopher Nolan got recognized as an up and coming director, with his next movie, Memento, bringing him financial success.

The Wright Moves – Architectonic Excellence

Frank Lloyd Wright was a college dropout, only a year into his studies of civil engineering. He committed to finding a practice to work for and made very little money, about 8 dollars a week, as an assistant to J.L. Silsbee.

After quitting the said job, seeing how Adler & Sullivan were looking for a designer, he decided to apply and promptly got into a long-term deal which propelled his own career, later on. Some risks are worth taking, as Wright’s story proves.

More often than not, gambling can lead to losing money, yet if you’re an artist, things are very different, and gambling on art might just propel you forward.