I shared a series of interesting emails with a marketing student of mine recently discussing the clash between pure creativity and the reality of cash flow. It's a netty but necessary issue that touches each of us, be we full time carrer artists or those who create solely for personal fullfilment. Interestingly, I think it's a multi-faceted issue that has no simple answer.
In my marketing classes I tell my particpants that part of the creative journey is to discover what their personal need and style is - you have to form a a business based on both who you are, what you desire from the business in the final outcome. That's clear. What's less clear is how much your muse will rule each day, session, hour - and how much cash flow will affect your creative choices.
Do you choose to create ONLY what clients respond to, what markets well? Do you work with clients who desire a great deal of input in your art as you create a pieces(s) for them? Or do you remain aloof, choosing to create by 'following only your own heart?' As the market of self representing and gallery represented artist grows, as the number of shows and festivals increases it's a question that each artist will find they must consider.
Is there a 'correct' answer? I don't think so. Each life, each muse, each fiscal reality and desired outcome is different for each artist. And to further complicate the issue, at various times the reality can and often does alter, meaning that the weight you give to creativity/muse vs financial recompense can change throughout the years of your creative journey......
No, there's no simple answer. But if you can establish what your goals and needs are as you create your works, it certainly gives you a bit of roadmap to guide you!