The rode to where I am today has had more twists than I care to remember but maybe that is the nature of passion – to take you wherever it is that you will find it. When you stop following that passion, when you stop following your heart you lose sight of what it was you were doing in the first place, and why. I, like everyone that follows their passion long enough, hope to make some money doing what I love. Thinking I will make a living writing is asking a bit much because there are too many writers and not enough readers anymore. This is not to say though that I cannot some money and have some fun doing what I am doing. Along the way, as I did shows, and did events, and met more people following their passions I realized what a small part money plays in the whole thing. And like I said, you have to make some money if you are going to pursue your passion as more than just a past time. You have to because
1. you need to feel your work is valued, and sadly, money proves out that value and
2. you need to be able to support yourself and have the time, and comfort to make your art, whatever it is.
BUT…just as both those things are important, just as the money side is important it is far more important to give back. It is more important to foster other young artists, and to foster the community that will appreciate and support them. There is more money out there for the arts than we realize, and enough for everyone if we don’t all get greedy and are willing to step back and be artists that give more than we take. We need to be willing to do free shows, to post stories and images out there for people to see. We need to help others and give advice when people need it. We need to put together shows for people that shows them the talent around them. We need to foster the artistic spirit in everyone so that there are more opportunities and more interest. Art is around, always, be it in stories, music, paintings, photos, sculpture work, a hundred things, and we need to open people up to how much art is out there and how much we all need it. This is an era where arts spending is down so we need to do as many free shows as possible to bring people back to art. We need to learn that we don’t have to make money on everything. We need to create an atmosphere where arts are valued and important and the money will come.
So much can be done for so little. You can write a story on a placemat, you can paint on cardboard, you can take photos with a disposable camera, it is the heart behind it all that matters. Just as too often people try to do art shows and look at the costs – well ya need food, and drinks, and bands, and a fancy venue, and a cover charge, and, and, and…- and so much can be done for nothing. Ya know what you need for an art show? A venue and artists and patrons. That is it. The rest is all great but unnecessary. You need to get any venue that will have you, you need artists that are about the art and just want to show their stuff (READ: who are still hungry, as it were), and you need people to come see the art. You can get a boom box or computer for music unless you can find a band who wants to just do a show and is into the exposure more than the money. You can bring your own food or drink. Or not. The big thing is promo, and you have to put your back into it and be creative. You have to put that artistic mind to work because it is about giving back – the artists and to the community by creating an event that fosters the arts and promotes a sense of community. See, ya give back and people will start thinking of you for shows, and you will create partnerships and friendships by giving back that you had never dreamed of, and this will lead you forward. And it is always about moving forward.
It saddens me sometimes to see how much of art and art shows is about money. Money is a part of art but is not art itself. Passion and community are art, and the rest follows, and with that so does the money. I have done more with nothing but passion and the help of friends, lots and lots of friends, and that is what matters and what makes this all possible. Sometimes giving back is the best way to receive, and what better to receive than the passion you put out into the world? What better tribute to art is there than that?