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Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career Paperback – March 11, 2014


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (March 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1477817387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1477817384
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Elizabeth Hyde Stevens created the Muppets, Mickey, and Money research course at Boston University. Her analysis of Jim Henson’s career has appeared online at The Awl, The Millions, Electric Literature, and Rolling Stone. In 2011, her essay “Weekend at Kermie’s” was viewed over 160,000 times. Called “a long, brilliant thinkpiece" on Twitter, it was praised by Internet curators Brain Pickings, Mother Jones, Longreads, Longform, Wired, IMDB, IFC, Reader’s Digest, and Kurt Loder. Stevens attended public school in North Andover, Massachusetts, and went on to study art semiotics at Brown University and creative writing at the Brooklyn College MFA program. She is a member of the Brooklyn writers’ collective The Kilgore Trout Home for Wayward Writers and teaches fiction at Gotham Writers’ Workshop. Her writing has earned the Himan Brown Award and the Somerville Arts Council Fellowship for Literature. Everything she knows about business she learned from watching Sesame Street.


More About the Author

Elizabeth Hyde Stevens created the Muppets, Mickey, and Money research course at Boston University. Her analysis of Jim Henson's career has appeared online at The Awl, The Millions, Electric Literature, and Rolling Stone. In 2011, her essay "Weekend at Kermie's" was viewed over 160,000 times. Called "a long, brilliant thinkpiece" on Twitter, it was praised by Internet curators Brain Pickings, Mother Jones, Longreads, Longform, Wired, IMDB, IFC, Reader's Digest, and Kurt Loder. Stevens attended public school in North Andover, Massachusetts, and went on to study art semiotics at Brown University and creative writing at the Brooklyn College MFA program. She is a member of the Brooklyn writers' collective The Kilgore Trout Home for Wayward Writers and teaches fiction at Gotham Writers' Workshop. Her writing has earned the Himan Brown Award and the Somerville Arts Council Fellowship for Literature. Everything she knows about business she learned from watching Sesame Street.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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The book will leave you feeling like you can do that, too.
Barbara R. Saunders
This book is perfect for anyone who wants to understand how one pursues a creative dream and reaps the benefits of sharing their artistic efforts with the world.
Ryan
What a delight to read Ms. Steven's first installment in her series on the life of Jim Henson, entrepreneur!
Cristina Kennedy

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Cristina Kennedy on September 17, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a delight to read Ms. Steven's first installment in her series on the life of Jim Henson, entrepreneur! I will certainly be tuning in for the next episode based on this insightful and meticulously researched introduction into the unseen life of Jim Henson. I love that I grew up with the Muppets and their creator, but have never thought about his life in the context of his struggle and ultimate success in finding a balance between capitalism and creativity.

Ms. Stevens reminds us that this iconic artistic genius was also a businessman, in fact started out doing commercials. But he didn't lose his integrity... how did he do that? Well I won't give away too much, except she starts with toys and I want to know more.

Is Ms. Hyde Stevens related to Lewis Hyde? She shows the same insightful eloquence as Mr. Hyde in is his great book, The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World, and if they are not blood relatives, then they are certainly kindred spirits in laying out the artist's dilemma and posing elegant (and entertaining) solutions.

I thank Elizabeth Stevens for her gift to the struggling artist in all of us. We all strive to balance our real world needs with the desire to be unique and creative. I can't wait to read the next episode of this intriguing series.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barbara R. Saunders on December 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Two competing, discouraging messages dominate the conversation about how to make a living while making art. The first: “Keep your day job.” Do your art on the side (whatever that means) and hope that someday, somehow, something will take off. The second: Rush to monetize whatever it is you do; turn your art into a business. The life of Muppet creator Jim Henson provides an alternative example. The author patiently illustrates the reality of how artists are “different,” why neither of those two mainstream messages work for us. Rather than aiming to earn more money in order to work less, artists ultimately pursue money in order to work more — to fund our projects and to minimize the distractions and time constraints that paid work introduces into our lives.

Henson put it front-and-center. He worked hard and constantly. He combined business and friendship. He did not relegate his art to his “free” time or subject it prematurely to a world where its worth was equivalent to its price. Once given life, his characters and creations reflected dual value. To audiences they were priceless gifts; to business men, sources for generating money. Copyrights in hand, Henson could enter the world of business on its own terms without compromising himself. The book will leave you feeling like you can do that, too.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Wythe on September 30, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
One of the true joys of readership is encountering a genre totally anew--especially a familiar or an underestimated one. In Make Art Make Money, Elizabeth Stevens delivers a virtuosic double punch: She provides a biography-driven history of Jim Henson's rise to eminency among American wonder-makers in the 1970s, and she reinvents the "self-help" book beautifully. Make Art Make Money is a delightful Muppet-fest disguised as a smart book about the gritty how-tos of the business of art.

Stevens's voice remains funny without edging into manic hero worship. Her take on Henson's genius is perfectly in tune with our time, somehow never sacrificing history for glibness. This makes the fact that hers is, in many ways, a book about how her hipster/Great-Recession generation can succeed in the business world all the more surprising and enjoying. Via Henson, history becomes fun (and fuzzy); business becomes less intimidating and more creative: Stevens tells us she is offering "ten Muppety lessons" on how to make a buck without sacrificing that aspect of art that makes it art--its quality of gift.

Surely, many artists and businesspeople would benefit from meditating upon Kermit for a few hours, but this book will strike a particular chord with those writers, painters, sculptors, designers, puppeteers, etc. who essentially don't want to make money, who view money as a sign of diminishing creative returns.

For them especially, Stevens's careful investigation of Henson's leaps from plateau to plateau (commercial toil, nonprofit success, toy production, brand empire, Hollywood) will entail a convincing counter-narrative: Some artist is going to sell your kids toys. Some artist is going to design children's shows.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jo-Ann Castano on September 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
For artists, a book rich with Henson's history we can identify with. Take a journey "way back and forward" into his creative process, thoughts and projects. The book also becomes a reflective business advisor for artists, a possible blueprint to achieving creative freedom while making money. A YouTube search of the references the author, Elizabeth Hyde Stevens mentions, adds to its rich reading experience. i.e. Henson's early art film, "TIME PIECE" [...] . All worth reading to become familiar with Jim Henson's early life and work including production of his coffee commercials. [...] The first chapter helps identify and humanize a merchandizing icon as artist. The creative industries rule in the Henson's world.
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