The business and art worlds often think that they don’t have a lot in common. Business people are supposed to be clear headed individuals who don’t have much time for dilly dallying. They like to get the job done in the most efficient manner possible and are always thinking of new ways in which to make money. Artists on the other hand are supposed to be a dreamy lot. They are not concerned with the trappings of the material world and can often be found daydreaming about the next project that they’d like to create. Such stereotypes may have held weight at one point in time, but this is no longer the case.

Businesses have long used video conferencing solutions to help communicate with colleagues in different locations. The technology is available at varying different levels of quality though, so they know the importance of calling in professional audio visual suppliers when there is a particularly important meeting or presentation to be held. However, the art world is also beginning to take advantage of audio visual solutions. What’s more, some artists are showing a great head for business, whereas businesses are using art to make their services more appealing to customers.

Liz West is an artist from Manchester who has used one of her hobbies to help fund her lifestyle as a freelance creative practitioner. The ardent Spice Girls fan is listed in the Guinness World Book of Records as having the largest collection of Spice Girls memorabilia in the world. She also has a growing reputation as a contemporary artist thanks to her arrangements of lights in precise, pleasing patterns and her collections of objects bathed in bright, bold hues.

West used her Spice Girls collection to help as a financial boost to start her career. By lending her collection to museums, film crews, and events, the artist was able to make a living without getting part time work. She says:

“Because I was given that financial boost to start with, my art practice has been able to roll and roll. Now I’m able to fund my art practice through my art. I don’t have to work in Starbucks part-time. A lot of artists do have to work part-time, and I think that would kill any creativity for me. It really would.”

West says she is not worried about her Spice Girls obsession undermining her reputation as an artist. Indeed, her ability to turn her Spice Girls passion into money is something that can be admired in both the business and art worlds.

“It’s completely in keeping with my personality. And because I’ve got such a passion for it, I win people over with that passion. It’s not just about T-shirts and dollies. As a serious artist, this is my career. I want to be nominated for the Turner Prize. If you look at other artists, there are quite a few that have quirky collections out there and haven’t hidden them. I don’t have a problem with it.”

Sarah Makinson is an arts graduate and small business owner who contributes to a number of business and consumer sites. Read some of her latest thoughts at Project Audio Visual.