Think about a world without art. I'm not just talking about my photography, but I mean, ANY art. How bland would life be? No music to listen to, to cheer us up, to accompany us on long drives, to play in the background while we work. No books to read for enjoyment. Heck- no books to read, period, as typesetting itself is considered an art form. No paintings on walls. No portraits of family or friends. No awe-inspiring landscape photographs. No jewelry to adorn our necks, fingers, or ears.
Art is EVERYWHERE in our society. The packages of food we buy- those were designed by someone who studied art. Book covers, album covers, informational posters on walls, all designed by artists. Musicians are artists, from the most famous performers to the first grader learning on a recorder.
Art, for some reason, is often overlooked as a serious profession, however. Some consider it a hobby, a pastime, or passing interest. And for some, it is. Nothing wrong with that. But others, yes, like me, elevate art to something more. They take their passion and make it a profession. They make art almost daily. They teach others how to make art. They encourage others. In doing so, hopefully they bring some beauty to the world, or, more importantly, bring some awareness to societal issues.
I've had many people tell me they wished they could afford one of my prints. And I realize, my work isn't cheap. It's not cheap for me to make and thus not cheap to purchase. But there are many ways you can support your favorite living artists even without buying a print. You can support artists, people like me, who followed their passion to become good at their art, and strive to make their living doing what they love, what they are good at, even if you never purchase their work. I'll list a few ways how:
1. Purchase Their Work
Ok, we'll get this one out of the way right away. The easiest, most direct way to support your favorite artists is to purchase their work. Sales enable artists to reinvest the earnings directly back into creating new work. Painters can buy new canvases, sculptors more material, photographers can plan more trips to photograph or invest in upgrading their equipment.
If you're a fan of any photographers that MAY mean purchasing a print. But it doesn't have to be a print. You may not know this, because I don't bring it up often, but at Pixels.com, I offer many of my images on products such as jigsaw puzzles, coffee mugs, beach towels, and more. I also offer prints that are priced a bit less than here on my official website. Why is it less? I'll explain more in another journal entry, but ultimately, my offerings here are printed by master printers who produce the highest quality on museum-grade materials. Pixels.com does a nice job, but it's not museum-quality.
If you have a painter you follow, chances are their originals are expensive. Heck, it's one of a kind and canvases and paint and brushes aren't cheap! But did you know many painters sell reproductions of their work? It won't be the original painting, but it will still be that same beautiful scene, printed by a gicleé printer. Reproductions are normally a fraction of the cost of an original, and every bit as beautiful. And they still support the artist.
2. Share Their Work on Social Media, With Links
Chances are, you first came across me and my work on Facebook or Instagram. Did you know that sharing my work, or any other artist's work that you follow, helps the artist reach more people who might also enjoy their work? And if you're not in a position to make a purchase, someone else who sees it might be.
When I began to really focus on my work as a photographer, I asked my family to share my posted images on Facebook. My mom and my little brother have both done so religiously for me, thankfully. And people I've never met and never knew began messaging me, and many have purchased a print at some point.
As an artist, it simply comes down to getting as many eyes as possible to see what I do. Not everyone will like it. But chances are some will. So if you don't mind hitting that "Share" button once in a while, it's a great way to help spread the word.
Also, if you're really interested in what I or another artist does, don't wait for the algorithms used by social media sites to show it to you. Bookmark our pages and make it a point to visit often. We love hearing from you!
3. Follow Us on Social Media or Join Our Mailing Lists
You probably already follow me on Facebook or Instagram, but if you don't, it's a great way to see what we're working on. I try to share work often on both platforms, and often with a little behind-the-scenes story of how the photograph I'm sharing came about. So if you're on either platform, search out those artists whose work you enjoy and give us a follow!
If social media isn't your thing, I do similar things in my email newsletters. I send them around once a week, detailing the stories behind my photos, sharing new work, and, once in a great while, I'll let you know I'm having a sale.
4. Tell Your Friends About The Artist
Don't keep your favorite artists a secret! Tell your friends about our work. Forward them our newsletters. This kind of works in tandem with number two above, sharing our work on social media, but in this case, I mean word-of-mouth, face-to-face interactions. Did you know that 80% of art sales come from referrals? That's a lot. That's the power of your word to your friends.
As a 4A to this item, if you have purchased a print from the artist, share a testimonial with them that they can use on their website.
5. Host an Art Show
Do you have an artist you like? Or just like art in general? Do you own or manage a public space? Host an art show! Again, being an artist is all about visibility and getting the work seen. Offering up your walls to showcase an artist or artists is a big help. I personally know some businesses who rotate artists every month or so. This gives them fresh decor, offers their customers a reason to return on a regular basis besides the business itself, and gives the artist an avenue to reach new people. Win-win!
Bonus Item: Show Up For Their Shows
If you know an artist showing locally, go to their exhibit and see the work. For instance, I'll be showing at the Maine Photographers Showcase from April 1st to May 5th at the Boothbay Region Art Foundation. I'd love to see you there! But if you're not local, there may be art shows nearer to you with artists you know. It's always work checking out! And it makes the artist feel good that you supported their work.