Blog 4: Learning from the failure of art start-ups

What does it look like: drawing by computer or by hand?

What would you think if artworks were only digital these days?

Without question, the computer is a very nice tool and it gives us a lot of inspiration for portrait drawings. But then why don't we offer digital products of portrait drawings?

The attempts to found a successful start-up.

My first start-up: my own interpretation of famous works

In my youth I loved famous works like ABC, XYZ..., or more precisely, interpreted them independently and sold them at a reasonable price. It started as a passion, but with the first sale I made and silvered more drawings and was able to stay afloat until the second entrance exam. Unfortunately, the start-up failed afterwards.

My second start-up: digital repainting!

I noticed that there are many competitors who don't need to draw themselves. They made it easy and just printed paintings at a very reasonable price. I really wanted to ride the wave and founded my second start-up. I used various software to edit and print the images, but here too I was unsuccessful.

The third start-up: pioneer of memes*

At some point an old friend came to me and said: “You’re an artist, can’t you digitally integrate my face into a famous work?” I completed the assignment and it was so good that many of his friends also gave me various assignments. Among other things, I was supposed to digitally draw your faces into animals, company advertising or logos. At the beginning it was really interesting and new territory for me and I was quite successful, but gradually it became very boring because I basically kept doing the same thing. For me this model had no future and in my eyes it was not real art.

Only a short time later there were already a lot of competitors who massively depressed the market price, so I failed this time too without having a cent left in my pocket.

Difficult time at university

During the second, third and fourth start-ups I was still studying and many more obstacles came my way that didn't make it any easier for me. For example, I had to pay extremely high tuition fees and other costs such as computer fees and model materials. There are little to no funding opportunities in Vietnam. All students must cover their own costs. After two years of studying, I received a reminder from the university to pay the tuition fees. If I don't pay this, I would be expelled.

Signpost back to the original art

With a sad mood, I strolled into Hanoi's Old Quarter, the area where many artists work on the street and interact with tourists. There I saw an elderly artist drawing a picture of a deceased dog for his visitor. He looked very balanced and content. I also noticed how he made many visitors happy with his drawings. The biggest thing you get back is the joy on their faces and that expression is priceless. The reward for the effort and hard work comes with sharing the message. The old man was right and most likely painting was enough for him to make a living from. I remembered the picture of the lost dog that I drew for my friend and how happy it made her.

Fourth start-up: - Original artwork - with real emotions

Together with my friend Hoa I made another attempt and this time it was relatively successful! The money we earned from portrait drawing got us through the final, strenuous years of university until we graduated. We then founded a small company in Vietnam that specialized in painting portraits of people and animals. We were able to set ourselves apart from our competitors because we were able to create a work of art from many people or templates and create new works from old templates. After we left for Germany, our sisters stayed behind to take over the company in Vietnam. In the next blog you will find out how things went for us in Germany, stay tuned.

For me, painting by hand is more important than painting with a computer. What is your opinion on this subject? Drawing with a pencil or mouse? Copy or creativity? Please feel free to write us a message.

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