I watched a TED Talk a few months ago by a music artist named Amanda Palmer. She blew my mind with her story about asking. Basically, her band left their label after being unhappy with the way shiz went down and she crowdfunded their music with astonishing results. She’s not alone in this method. The art world is changing. Traditional methods of selling aren’t fitting everyone anymore. As a visual artist, the idea of putting together a gallery show stresses me out to the max. Not that I won’t ever do one, but why can’t I just sell online to people who connect with my work?
I’ve been frustrated lately. If you read this blog much, you’ll have detected that. The reentry of art into my life has brought much more than paint and canvas with it. It’s brought a passion and an insight into life as a whole and who I am as a person. It mirrors my fears and my passions. And as much as I’m able, I like to share that with you. It’s why I started making the videos and showing my progression through a piece. And through that, I’ve been connecting with you in ways that I never expected. That is the part that lights a fire in me. I feel like something is happening here. Something worth exploring.
But I’m at a point where I have to ask for help. And damn, that’s hard. Because as it stands, painting isn’t my “business,” so it technically falls into the category of “hobby.” Which means I have limited funds for supplies, etc. And that scares me. Because even I can see, with my skewed view of myself, that I am supposed to be doing this. It feels too right. It connects with too many people.
In her talk, Amanda Palmer says something like: asking makes you vulnerable. Artists don’t want to ask. There is fear in asking. But the very act of asking connects you to your audience. I don’t see asking as a risk, I see it as trust. Ask, without shame. When we really see each other, we want to help each other.
So, I’m going to try a little experiment. I’ve selected a sampling of my work and made a Pay What You Want shop. It’s at the top of my site, in the menu. This is me, asking you to support my art however you can. All I ask is that you take care of your shipping in addition to what you can or are willing to pay. More details are on the shop page, as to how that works.
Too many of you have lamented over a piece of art that I made, connected with it but couldn’t afford it. I hate that. I’ve been there. And based on what I’ve read, the PWYW pricing model can really work for stuff like this. I know it’s untraditional. But when have you EVER known me to do things the traditional way?
The other thing is this: in order for this to work, I need MOAR PEEPLE to know about my work. Sharing is caring, you guys. If you believe in my work, and are inspired by my story, get the word out. If you’ve connected with one of my paintings and want to buy it, but can’t afford to pay much, FINE! Just get that bad boy on your wall, enjoy it and take a pic to share with your people online. And the thing about karma pricing is that maybe you can’t afford much now, but later you can pay more for another piece. The idea is that is all works out in the end. Let’s get this thing going.
I’m excited. And a little bit scared. But usually when I’m scared of something, it means I should just do it. So, this is me, jumping in and saying, “I trust you.”
See the shop here
p.s. I really want to find a way to use my art to help end the stigma against mental illness. For now, I am going to donate 10% of my earnings from this shop to various non profit organizations geared to raise awareness for mental health. Mainly Broken Light Collective and The Benny Fund, for now.