Should artists embrace tunnel vision thinking?

Tunnel vision is generally perceived as negative. However, for this writer, the positives (namely, a laser-like focus) can be a good thing – especially for artists and other creatives. Here’s why.

Artists like to consider themselves able to do any and everything regarding their creative expression. However, this is not necessarily the best approach – particularly when said artistic pursuits are also an avenue for business activity and earning money. In this regard, it is perhaps better for artists to take a more focused, tunnel vision type approach to their art-business pursuits. This is true regardless of the kind of art that an artist specialises in. Here’s why.

Once art is being consumed by others (i.e. is being created for more than hobbyist expressions), it is important to have common themes, or signatures, that allow your audience to readily recognise and connect with your work. Truth is, producing artistic products and works as a hobby or for sheer enjoyment, is very different from doing so for profit or commercial business. For the latter, there are other stakeholders such as audiences or investors to consider.

Tunnel vision helps artists capitalise on target audience

In any good business, understanding your target market and how to segment the same plays a critical role in profitability and success. Doing so means narrowing one’s focus to effectively meet the needs of the target segments. By successfully focusing on meeting the market needs of their most invested demographic or market segments (while allowing them to fully express themselves creatively), artists can:

  • Maximise the success and reach of their work

On the surface, it is easy to think that dabbling in a little of everything will help to expand the reach of one’s art. However, having hands in several pots is not necessarily a good thing. At best one will only be able to skim the surface of each and not really benefit fully from the contents or its depth. Through focusing on one or two pots, however, artists can really get to the meat of the matter and fully explore the possibilities.

Furthermore, limiting oneself creatively to one or two pots is not as much of a limitation as many think. For starters, the target market the proverbial pot represents can be vast. It all boils down to the size of the pot and what it contains. Artists should, therefore, consider their markets and focus carefully on how they can target different segments of the same, exploring the fullness of their creative works within that framework including steadily growing their audience and increasing profits.

  • Create a brand that can stand the test of time and build a profitable career from creating art they love

By adopting ‘tunnel vision’ and focusing on a target market or niche, an artist can develop a brand that is consistent and reliable. Yes, consistency and reliability are important even in creative expression. Audiences want to know they can continue to count on high-quality products. Therefore, as artists create a consistent and focused product and continue to build an audience from their niche, they set the foundation for building a career that will serve them (profitably) for years to come.


Instead of thinking boundaries, structures, or framework are only there to define what it is you cannot do as an artist, think of them as opportunities. Structures also define what the possibilities are.  Creative does not equal no framework. This simple shift in thought process can allow and artist to really get creative and come up with new and unique work that innovatively uses the elements of the framework they must work within.





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Kei Dubb
Kerri-Anne "Kei Dubb" Walker is a multilingual jazz-fusion musician, writer, and arts and culture management technopreneur. An astute business woman skilled both in the business and practice of the arts and entertainment, Kerri-Anne is the owner and face of Kei Dubb which manages her music entertainment and art/culture business management products and services through subsidiary trademarks and service marks.

As a consultant, Kerri-Anne inspires and equips performing and visual artists to quickly create a business blueprint designed to help them profit from their art without sacrificing artistic integrity. As an entertainer, she rocks stages and is known both for her unique sound and for hosting exclusive concert events.

Other passions include seeing to the development of cultural policy designed to support new creative industries business models and stimulate growth at the microeconomic and macroeconomic levels in developing Caribbean nations, long conversations over dinner and wine, and endless days at the beach.

Be sure to connect with Kerri-Anne all over social media at @keidubbnujazz.