It has been a crazy past few weeks since my last post, and I am glad to finally be sharing a bit of it with you.
So, firstly, it does appear that I was perhaps counting my chickens a bit early in my last post as the job that I thought that I was mostly guaranteed, did end up falling through. I am sad that I will not be joining a company that I respect, but I am also trying to see it as a positive opportunity to reassess what I’m doing. Though I am still looking for a full-time position to help pay my bills, I feel that I need to reassess my art business and how I can make more of a living through my creative endeavors. I am so grateful for all of the people that support me and my art and my heart sings with joy every time a comment is left on an image on social media or I get a message from someone that I’ve never met saying how much they love my work and look forward to seeing it online.
I have thought many times about starting a Kickstarter campaign or doing something similar on one of those crowdfunding type sites and I’ve always hesitated because it focuses too much on just accomplishing a single goal. However my work is continual and the projects that I’m working on intertwine in so many ways but can also be quite separate that I think it would be very hard to set a useful or understandable goal.
It was brought to my attention that there is a new platform which has recently started and which has some pretty amazing artists already using great effect, including musician and writer Amanda Palmer who had also successfully used Kickstarter to produce an album when she left her record label. I was intrigued because it has a very different, but perhaps more traditional mindset in supporting the arts.
The platform is called Patreon and the principle is that artists generally tend to produce continually and often are hindered by finances from producing as much as they would like. Traditional patrons of artists and musicians would offer them a monthly stipend in order to have access to the artist in ways that others would not. They would benefit from the artists work either directly or by association and the artist would produce work for them and also be able to create the works that they themselves were passionate about. Patreon takes this concept and modernizes it. Patrons can donate per creation or monthly amounts as low as one dollar and will have access to the artist in different ways, from the viewing of exclusive content, gifts of prints or postcards, video content, behind the scenes, tutorials, and so much more, with each artist creating their own set of rewards and offering different types of access based on the amount of financial support.
So, after doing my own research, I’ve decided to give this idea a shot. My social media content and all the images I create will still be available to see for free. However, because I know a lot of people that enjoy seeing my work can’t necessarily afford to buy it and can’t necessarily afford to hire me to create work for them, I want to offer a different way for people who enjoy my work and feel that it adds something to their own lives, their own way to be a part of how I create and offer them a way to help me create more.
I’ve been in the middle of this Archetype Project for the last year, and I thought when I began it last January that I would be much further along by now. My end goal is to create a book with at least 25 images and hopefully to be able to coordinate a gallery show of all of the images. The main problem that I have run into, however, was that I wasn’t getting enough paying clients or prints sales to buy supplies for all the wardrobe, sets and props I make. I couldn’t afford the insurance that would give me access to locations that require it, and I couldn’t afford to rent lighting and lenses that would take the work to the next level. It has slowed down the process which has been incredibly frustrating; I have concepts swirling in my mind and no way to bring them to life to the degree that they deserve.
Beyond the Archetype Project I am obsessed with creating images in the old methods, such as by using Wet Plate techniques to create tintypes and ambrotypes; I love my Polaroid and Holga and the images that film produces which require so little post-production; and I am starting to explore the realm of video to add another element to my creative madness. All of these areas of my work would be able to expand as well.
So, what it comes down to, is that while I don’t need the best equipment, wardrobe, sets, locations, etc, even the wardrobe I rent, or thrift or create takes money, sets and props can be made inexpensively and items reused for different purposes again and again, but the base elements still cost. I estimated that each Archetype image I create has cost me between $200 and $500, between all of these elements, and its not sustainable, which makes me fear for the future of the project and my work. This is where Patreon and my patrons will come in. By donating monthly, even just a dollar, it will help me to bring all of the parts of these images together so I can bring the idea to fruition. The money will help me to pay for business costs, and studio rental, supplies and wardrobe, and, if there is enough, I will be able to pay the wonderful people that donate their time to help me bring these images to life, which would be the most wonderful thing I can imagine.
So, if you dig my work, if it brings any hint of enjoyment to your life, if you look forward to seeing new images pop up in your social media feed, then please consider a small donation through Patreon. If all the people that love my work donated a dollar each month, I would be able to produce and share so much more!
That being said, of course, I will have some more time for commissions, so if that is something you are interested in, please email artanddiscordstudios (at) gmail.com
And to conclude, here is a fun spring-inspired beauty image I shot last month with the always amazing Lyndsay Simon from Makeup by Lyndsay, Nathan Prescott who can be found at Trephin Salon in Boston, and beautiful Salina Jade, who is represented by Maggie, Inc.