I’ve been ignoring my booklist for several weeks now, largely because I’ve read most of the items on the list that I own, and the remaining titles are all 700 pages long. On top of that, I’ve been discovering some truly wonderful books that tie in well with my process of creative immersion that I wasn’t aware of when I started this project. So I’m going to break my own rules and write about some of the new titles I’ve discovered recently.
The first off-the-list title is The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer. It was recommended to me by my wonderful creative collaborator Alexis, who runs the site Wild Imaginarium, when I switched from my day job to freelancing.
Amanda Palmer is an indie musician, writer, performer, and all around crazy person that I thoroughly approve of. Her book digs into her experiences with making a living by creating all kinds of wonderful art. From working as a street performer to being the first musician to run a seven figure Kickstarter campaign, to becoming one of the major pioneers of Patreon, she has excelled in generating interest in her projects from a wide, supportive fan base. She openly discusses her successes and struggles with asking for help with her endeavors, examining the exchange of creative work for money and support. She discusses how this transaction is vastly different from begging, and why it’s difficult for many artists’ egos to accept this fact.
I’ve become more comfortable identifying myself primarily as an artist this year, but I’m still working on accepting the social and economic value of my work. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that because creative work is enjoyable, it is personal and extracurricular. This overlooks that the art fulfills real valuable, human needs, that it is the content that brings people together, and gathers audiences in to websites, to coffee shops, to galleries, stadiums, and bookstores. The creative process drives industries of every scope and scale, and it takes bold artists to step out, acknowledge their value, and ask for the support from their communities to fund their work. Supporting art is not a one-way exchange, but a transaction in exchange for an experience, a new product, or a stronger community.
This definitely sounds like I’m building up to the point where I ask for money, or pass the hat around. But I’m not going to ask for money. Not yet. I’m developing a Patreon campaign to fund some larger long-term creative projects, like this site, but I need to be sure that I have the time and momentum to deliver my end of the deal in exchange for support. In the meanwhile, consider giving back by making your own awesome, creative, independent art and sharing it with your community.