As some readers of this journal might remember, back in August of 2011, I went to Worldcon and fell in love with an artist called SJ "Sooj" Tucker
. She had just released an album called "Mischief" that was everything I wanted and needed at that time, from silliness to romance to heartbreak.
Sometime later in 2011, Sooj asked if her listeners would pretty please pay for her accompanying cello friend Betsy to come with her to ... I think it was PhilCon. She did a Kickstarter campaign and promised us new music every month via e-mail and of course her everlasting thanks if we sent Betsy to PA over Thanksgiving. Sooj had all the money she needed within a week.
In 2012, her full band (including Betsy and Alexander) asked us to send them on a European Tour, or at least to the UK. Through another Kickstarter campaign, they raised over $11,000 in under a month. That was enough money for them to complete their entire hoped-for tour, including Germany. Back when the campaign hit $10k, we got a cute little video link of Sooj and Betsy whooping it up and yelling thank you over and over again. Just today, as promised in the Kickstarter campaign, came the "Thank you" video naming everyone who was a mid-tier contributor. (Top contributors got personalized, individual-email thank-you videos.)
I admit hearing my name read out by people of whom I'm a fan gives me a thrill. I'd be lying to say otherwise. But what also gives me a thrill is that we can expect music, and music videos, and inspiration from these artists. My life (and that of some of my friends) would be a poorer place if Sooj were working as an office clerk, or Alexander spend his days as a mechanic, and neither of them offered up their music to the world.
Achaosofkittens is of a similar mindset, I think, especially when it comes to visual art. Without putting words in his journal, I would just point to the original artwork we have on our walls and the ones we have given to others. We have purchased at least seven original paintings and sketches from R. Wayt Smith
at Faire, four of which we've kept and three that we've gifted to YouveBeenPixied and our niece and nephew. When we are at cons, we try to purchase originals rather than prints to both promote the author and know we have the best representation of their work. (Compare originals to prints sometime. The difference is amazing, and not always in a good way.)
We both purchase and promote Sihaya Designs
jewelry because of her valuable contribution to physical artistic expression as much as because she is a friend. (If her artistic endeavors were crap, we wouldn't be bragging about their source and giving them as gifts, now, would we?) She is an artist trying to survive as an artist. It would be a crying shame if she had to go back to office work and give up the beautiful studio she has built.
The list of how I try to support good artists can go on. I buy handmade pots at New York Sheep and Wool. I buy handmade bookmarks off of Etsy from Naamah_Darling to keep her in pony paint supplies. It doesn't excuse my Amazon habit, but it does point out that there are unique and beautiful things in the world that I cannot buy from a mass-market online retailer. There are unique and beautiful people in the world who I want to, and can, support with my interest and money.
I have nowhere near enough money to be an Italian noble of old, who had minstrels and poets on retainer at the castle. But I can spend money here and there to sponsor the arts, and to encourage the people whose work I respect and enjoy to continue to be artists. I believe that our society needs its artists of all kinds, and so I support them when and how I can.
I encourage and hope that my friends can do the same.