Today’s artwork is a set of pages in Colleen’s book of artists’ quotations about art. This page incorporates something that hardly ever shows up in my work: my own handwriting. I don’t really love the look of my writing, but I tried several other methods of getting quotes onto this page, and none of them seemed appropriate when combined with duct tape. This worked for me.
This piece is strangely appropriate, because once again, I’m going to talk about art, and Amanda Palmer. I wrote about her book last month. This week, she launched her page on Patreon, to help fund various projects she wants to do. As I’m writing this, folks have pledged over
$16,000 $20,000 for each “thing” she creates: songs, videos, a podcast episode, whatever. I’m one of those folks. I pledged a whopping dollar, because that’s what I can afford right now—and, because my experience with crowd funding has shown me that all those $1 pledges can add up to a mighty mountain of dollars.
Now, I’m sure Amanda launched this thing with her eyes wide open. There’s this tribe of bitter, angry people who follow her around the Internet, peeing on everything she does. Basically, their song goes like this: she’s only famous because she married a famous writer; she has no talent; she’s always sticking her hand out for money; she’s rich, so she has some nerve. As I write this, the editorials are popping up online, and the comments on posts are spewing forth. “Why not support someone who isn’t a celebrity?” was a comment on a Patreon Facebook post. “Isn’t $16,000 for each thing a tad excessive?” How. Dare. She.
Bitter, bitter people.
Here’s the thing: making art is really fucking expensive, and not very lucrative. Most professional artists aren’t Jeff Koons, whose individual works sell for millions of dollars. They’re not even Louis Jover, whose individual pieces sell for up to a thousand dollars each. Most of us have to scrape together a living by any means necessary. It’s tough to make a living from art.
As I’ve told you so often that I’m beginning to get sick of hearing it myself, I have a Patreon page. As of this writing, folks have pledged $170 per month to support me in my creative work. I tell my patrons every month that they’re buying me a week of doing art that I want to do, rather than art to put food on my table. It’s a small amount of money, but it makes a big difference in my monthly schedule. Most of my patrons are people who have followed me from site to site for years. Whenever I do something, these folks show up to support it.
Am I bitter that Amanda Palmer is being paid more money than I will make this year each time she produces something? Nope. She has a massive following online, which she’s worked hard to build. She schleps around the world, playing shows, signing autographs, and talking to the folks who show up for her. She writes books and articles and music that inspire people, myself included. She works hard for every dime her patrons give her, and then some. She plans to spend that money on recording, and podcasting, and making videos for her music, and when done right, none of that comes cheap. Maybe, just maybe, while she’s doing all that, she can not have to worry about how she’s going to pay for it, or even if she can pay for it. Her patrons are offering her $16,000 worth of freedom from worrying about anything but making good music, just like mine buy me a week of making whatever art I want.
So, I am happy for her. I am happy that so many people are willing to give her money in exchange for her art and creativity without worry. I throw my dollar on the pile, and say YES.
Today, I feel hopeful, for all creative souls.