An Artist By Any Other Media.
Last summer after I finished up my last show, Play Play, I came across an announcement for another visual art show. It was a group show. Many people doing several different kinds of work were included. Group shows are always interesting at least for that reason alone. I was caught off guard when I saw they were charging a $10 entry fee. Ten dollars? Who pays to get into a visual arts show? There’s no performance right? I checked the announcement again and saw that there wasn’t. Even though I wasn’t planning to go, I was annoyed.
First I was annoyed at the audacity: Charge for a visual arts show ? Pffffffft!! (Imagine me doing this with a dramatic flick of my hand.) Then I was annoyed with myself: why shouldn’t a visual artist charge to see their work? Musicians do. Dancers do. In various places and spaces they even have tip jars present. Why shouldn’t a visual artist charge for the privilege of seeing their work? I commend these artists for not only banding together to show their work, but also asking to be compensated in a way that visual artists aren’t usually. I can admit when I”m wrong. I was.
Though I’m pretty sure it wasn’t necessarily their aim, but they should also be acknowledged for their efforts to break the wheel.
What’s This “Break the Wheel” Nonsense?
''Break the wheel” is a Game of Thrones reference. Though the show has ended there is still so much that has been learned from it! So good! But I digress. Just in case you’re not into GOT I will spare you a long synopsis of the show by saying the phrase is shorthand for changing a broken, ailing, and corrupt system that benefits only a few. Especially if it isn’t working really. I can definitely say that artists not being compensated for their work but still expected to do it for free and with a flourish is not even a real system at all. It’s not just artists that have to work to break the wheel but anyone who loves art and wants to support the artists who make it.
But It’s Not My Fault, Is It? Actually It Is.
The same society that teaches us that artists should be poor, that artists should be starving, and still have 5 jobs to cobble together an income is the same one that tells us there is no reason to compensate an artist for their work. More often than not we pay to see work in museums. I paid to get into individual shows when I attended Art Basel a couple years ago. Why shouldn’t gallery shows or any other type of show where you see work on the walls or sculpture in the room charge entry? I freely admit I had been brainwashed by the same system. I’d participated in the system that said I don’t need to get paid because I love my work. Shouldn’t we all love our work though (a topic for another day!)?
Though it’s scary, I’ve decided that I am changing the way I think about my work. It’s about to get a little crazy probably. But that’s ok right? We are breaking the wheel!!! I want you to join me for the ride.
I Want You, Yes YOU!
I LOVE MY WORK!!!! Sometimes it’s like being in love and I want to shout it from a rooftop. I want everyone to be a part of it. I want my own art tribe. I want to be able to talk to people about my work. Share what I’m up to! All of the facets of my work and know I’m sharing with my crew, people who care!
Patreon (a site that houses the space where you can support me directly) and creating an opportunity for fans of my work to become a member of my tribe is one way I am working to change things. Fans of my work who want to see me finally finish a project I’ve been working on for the past two years can support me directly and mark my progress on various projects. This is a part of me breaking the wheel. This could be the first step for a lot of us. Take a look at my page here. Become a member of my art tribe.