Do you have an artist in your life? A writer, photographer,crafter, jewelry maker, potter, painter, dancer, musician? Grouping everyone in the above categories together, there’s one thing we can say: Artists express themselves through their art.
This doesn’t mean it’s entirely reasonable to say “Love me love my art.” After all there’s a lot of crappy art out there, and some stuff that is not to everyone’s taste, or is just plain weird). but it is reasonable to say “Love me, look at my art.”
Listen to your artist’s song, look at their photographs, read the book they wrote even if you don’t usually read post modern horror fiction or free-form poetry. I don’t mean that you have to go to every open mic show your friend plays in or read a 7,000 page magnum opus. But check it out, okay?
Better yet, buy something. Yes, BUY it. Don’t ask for a free copy. An author has to buy books from a publisher. CDs cost money to make. No, your purchase of a $10 CD is not going to make a huge financial difference in the long run, but believe me, the offer is appreciated. The artist is ALWAYS free to say, “Oh, let me just give you one.” But let THEM make the decision.
Books are available in bookstores or through Amazon. ANY book published by ANY real publisher can be ordered by a bookstore, and almost all are available on Amazon. So don’t tell an author you “don’t know how to find their book.” Now you do.
If appropriate, buy books, art, pottery, CDs, jewelry, and the like as gifts for your friends. I’ve had the pleasure of asking a jewelry maker to make a necklace in my mom’s favorite colors and then being able to tell her it was made just for her.
TELL the artist when you have bought six copies of her children’s book for your nieces and nephews. Get them to sign it for you. These little gestures mean a lot. Again, this isn’t about money; it’s about support, and validating what your friends do. Think of it as the equivalent of them coming to your kid’s piano recital or birthday party or sending a wedding gift.
Attend a performance or two. A fledgling artist’s ability to attract an audience means the difference between that person getting another gig and not getting another gig. Bring some friends along, and if there is food and drink available , buy some.
If you enjoy your friend’s art, talk it up with your friends. Put a song on Facebook, link to one of their articles, let people know when they will be playing, use their gig as a time to meet up with other friends. if you write for a website or have a website with a related topic, post a link or a blurb or even a whole post about it.
Does your artist friend teach (music, painting, photography) ? Do you know people with kids? Be a matchmaker, if it’s appropriate.
Introduce the writer you know to the other writer you know. Or to the editor you know. introduce the photographer to the graphic designer.
Buy local, buy handmade! Every time you buy a creative product – A CD, a book, an artwork, a photo, a hand-made puppet, a wool scarf, or a simple little sock puppet — you are supporting an artist somewhere.
Do you have any more suggestions for how to support your fellow artists? Stories about how someone supported you? Post in the comments box below.