12 Dec Patronize Me. Please.
Though a living cannot be made from art, art makes life worth living.
— John Sloan
John Sloan was starving when he said what he said, so you have to forgive him. It is possible to make a living from art—and a decent one, at that. I know several artists who do.
But the majority of artists—myself included—depend for survival on OPM.
Openhanded Patrons’ Money.
Worth describes artists’ patrons as “people with resources who can do more to nurture great talent than just purchasing their work.”
An artist’s patron is a buddy, a booster and an undemanding sugar daddy who powers the artist’s “professional trajectory” (in my case, the patron is my darling wife Ann).
An artist’s patron is never simply “in it for the money,” Worth insists (although I’m not sure about Ann). “Although getting in on the ground floor of an emerging artist’s career can be a lucrative financial investment, it is universally accepted that the raison d’etre for patronization has to be passion, not profits.”
In fact, patrons who appear only profit-minded are considered “mercenaries”—and shunned in collecting circles.
“Doing things that help to elevate an artist’s career—that’s what true patronage is,” a professional art advisor told Worth.
Patronage can take many forms, besides buying an artist’s works; purchasing and donating that artist’s work to a museum; purchasing and donating the work to a charity for auction; introducing the artist to other collectors and connoisseurs; hosting meet-the-artist dinner parties and informal gatherings; providing the artist a free studio, guest house, or “retreat;” paying the artist’s rent or direct expenses; or managing a crowdfunding site for the artist.
As you can see, artists’ patrons have a ton of options.