FYI: This post contains a few affilliate links, but is NOT a sponsored post.
I hear a lot of talk about how people can't afford to buy art. And it's not just art-- it's services too.
I get it. I can't really, either, at this point in my life. I give out my email in exchange for a free quilt pattern without hesitation. I rely on sales and coupons; and I always have a million suggestions for when my husband asks what I want on my birthday.
If you're anything like me, you probably have a bunch of stuff saved from your favorite makers + content creators onto your "someday" list or a "hints" board on pinterest-- here's mine. And before you say it... no, it's not about consumerism and accumulating material things. Well, maybe, to an extent, because we as a culture always want what's new and flashy. But, we also love admiring work. Take a look at your instagram feed. How many artists do you follow? How many of those have you supported financially? It's okay if it's only one or two-- If you had the ability, you'd buy more art. I know, me too.
There's a few ways artists can make passive income (such as affiliate marketing), but not many. Artist residencies don't always pay anymore, magazine features only pay a few hundred dollars (if that), and affilliate marketing relies solely on rampant consumerism.
IMAGINE how much more free content would be in your life if the makers and content creators you love could rely on at least a small income every month. Five dollars from one person, one dollar from another person, fifty dollars from that one asshole that actually got a good job and paid off his student debt. It adds up, to at least be enough to take the stress off of making things just to turn a profit. WHAT IF you contribute a few dollars to an artist and they send you a free pdf printable of their work? A lot cheaper than buying a print, right? That's one way to look at it, if you're a cheapo or just really broke (again, yeah, like me).
Well... have you heard of Patreon.com?
Here's another way to think of Patreon. When you're walking down the street and you hear a band playing on the sidewalk or a solo busker, and you stop to listen for a few minutes... you give them a tip, right? A few crumpled bills and linty dimes that you basically forgot were in your pocket anyway.
Donating to makers + content creators on Patreon frees up a little bit of their time so that they can focus on marketing their work or doing things that don't guarantee a profit. Things that help them grow as an individual and artist, and yes, sometimes that includes sending out a freebie here and there. (hey have you ever thought of viewing someone's website portfolio or instagram feed as a freebie?? Because it is. 100%. Curating an social feed is a lot of work and planning. It feels good to deliver amazing content to thousands of people, but, that is time (and theoretically money) that could be spent elsewhere, and social media can only take an artist so far.
Another note... Don't cheap out on artists. Don't copy their work. Don't buy a look-alike from a corporate giant (like this damn embroidery at target). Just don't. Don't assume that because you follow them on social media or even donate a few dollars here and there that you're entitled to something... you may get some perks with becoming a patron, but that's missing the point entirely.
There's an embroidery by Yes Stitch Yes that I love: it says, "jerking it to your mentions won't get the work done". But, we do it anyway, because most of us are fighting tooth and nail and using all of our resources to try to scrape by. So it goes.... or not, if more people knew about Patreon! (also go check out Yes Stitch Yes on Etsy, and follow her instagram, Lauren Singleton's work is so rad).
Here's a quick tutorial on how to use Patreon:
And if you're interested, click here for the nitty-gritty about pledging to someone (an artist/content creator) on patreon.
I bet you're already paying for a few services that support artists in the entertainment industry like netflix and spotify. What's a few more dollars? You'll feel good about yourself and the artist will thank you.
other artists to look into:
Libs Elliott, modern quilter
And you can find my Patreon here.
Another way you can support my creative process is subscribing to Make Modern magazine. I can't disclose any details right now, but I'm working on a project for their July issue! Click here or here to subscribe.
Tell me in the comments: What are your favorite ways to support artists?
If there's anything you'd like to add to this subject, I will be doing a follow-up post in a few weeks. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your experience with patreon, pros/cons of fundraising on patreon, and anything else you want to mention-- or if you're on patreon, I'd love to share your page.