Blog / 2015 / Making Art Happen

October 9, 2015

I just reread Hayden Herrera’s biography of Frida Kahlo. Though there’s plenty in this book for both artists and art lovers to enjoy, the thing that really stood out to me this time was that, at some point in her career, a number of Kahlo’s friends were supporting her by sending her money every month.

This isn’t the first time I’ve ever come across a description of this sort of patronage, but it read differently to me this time, because now some of my friends support me that way too. And, until I started accepting help through Patreon, I couldn’t understand what this monthly gift actually means for an artist, not fully anyway. Because it’s much more than just a financial transaction, and the way you know that’s true is that, if it was simply money, every artist would be asking for it.

drawing of a simien fox
Gwenn Seemel
Simien Fox
2015
marker on paper
9 x 6 inches

In fact, the monthly gift stands for something much more important. It means I’m never fully alone in my studio anymore. I’m thinking about my audience in a fresh way, because I’m seeing my work through their eyes and using that perspective to make my work better. This isn’t the easiest way to work—it’s vulnerable and scary, open and really pretty raw—but it is good. Really good.

UPDATE

November 16, 2017

I get more into this whole idea in an article that I orginally wrote for Professional Artist magazine, but that you can read here on my blog.

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