One of my New Years resolutions has been to support more artists.
Creating the Diana Calendar 2013 last year really made me incredibly grateful. It was a success thanks to many of you and wonderful people all over the world putting their support and buying what turned out to be a beautiful set of 12 printed portraits. Amazing and I have you all to thank.
As I set out to buy my next journal I started thinking about how much I was actually putting into finding someone who had worked incredibly hard on a brand, a design and a fabulous innovative journal and I had to realise as I jumped on the tube to central London: not much.
I have so many talented, brilliant amazing friends and we all talk about being an artist now, how little funding there is and the over saturated market in our respective European capital cities, but what kind of world are we creating for ourselves to live in?
I suppose I thought there was nothing that I could really do apart from be loud and proud about the significance of creativity, but when actually examining my daily life I was a bit disappointed with how little of it was geared towards supporting the arts. And by this I mean silly things, like where I bought my last purse: 5 years ago, Primark £1. Where did I get my friends last present from: Muji. A little splurge now and then on the high street is OK, being connected to popular culture is of course great, but I realised I hadn’t fully explored the wonders of buying something from another artist. I had not been putting back into the artist community what I hoped to get out of it.
Successful, artisan-led leather goods brand Ascoli produce beautiful designed leather bags and accessories.
I talked to a few of my artist friends about this and a few topics came up like being jealous of fellow artists and not wanting to support the enemy creeping into some of our subconsciousness and not needing what some artists have to offer. I was surprised as if it really is just jealousy we need to get over it because we’re all in this together. With not wanting what some artists have to offer, there will come a time when you need something and there will also be products that will never be of an enticingly hig enough quality, but that happens in every market and I’m talking about the artistic geniuses that live and breath among us. There will come a time when you say “I need a purse”, “I need a present for my sister”, “I need a diary”, “I need etc”. And instead of heading down to the high street have a browse on Etsy, google handmade goods and fairs in your area, find artists at Spitalfields market on a Sunday, go to a crowd-funding platform, like Kickstarter, and browse the freebies you get if they raise all the money.
Ever since the success of the Diana Calendar 2013 and strangers all over the world buying these 12 prints and knowing how much effort and care went into it with the wonderful portrait subjects and the printing team over at Angel and of course the absolute LOVE I put into the design through to the photographs themselves I have felt that I would love to buy something similar from other artists. How amazing would that be to know my journal was designed with that much care, or that my next holiday, staying the night in some eco-treehouse project I found on Kickstarter.com had helped to build a better environment.
I know that expenses play a big part in what you can give back but it is like buying Organic or Fairtrade, now there is a new label to add to that: Artist. Also if more people support artists you might start earning more, who knows? What goes around, comes around.
Here are some of the things that I have recently funded online or bought from an artist that I have needed and could have bought more commercially but decided to support innovation:
Scratch are a company that produce ‘nail wraps focused on good design and made by your favorite designers, nail artists and illustrators’. They have a great campaign going over on Kickstarter. I have pledged and am eagerly awaiting a few pairs to give to a friend who loves this sort of thing to as a birthday present. Her nails will be unique and I will have backed a great project.
Another crowd-funded project, As You Read is a new digital distribution service for readers and writers of fiction. Their aim is to introduce a ‘pay as you go’ mechanic, where readers pay for what they read as they read it.
I like writing, I like good writing and I like reading things that are being written now, however it’s not always my cup of tea. I think paying for what you read is a great way to give incentive to people to read new things online by passing the control on to the reader. My life would be better if this came out and I’m supporting change.
Etsy supply artists’ work and the website is really well designed. Here are a few things I’m coveting at the moment. I’m looking for a purse, anyone know any good designers/artisans? Leave their name in the comment section below! I’d love to check them out.
Street sellers I like the ones by the Seine in Paris when I go (I once found this lady who made everything imaginable from 1950s advertisements) and also Spitalfields in London is wonderful for new artists on Sunday I have been told.
My photograph of Uma Kangai’s collection.
Also checking out graduate fashion shows or new designers collections: you’ll meet great new designers there as well. When I worked for the London Clothes Show I bought the most amazing jumper from an up-and-coming designer. It was so different to anything else out there and was a one-off. Not that much more expensive than high street as well–I say, why wouldn’t you support an artist?
I’d love to hear all about you guys and the amazing things you are producing. I know some of you are creative geniuses (yes I do check out your blogs), so leave your links to what you have to offer, be it a Kickstarter project of your own, a new blog you want to build a following for or moon-boots, down in the comments section below or if you are feeling a bit shy send them in an email to me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll check them out. Or maybe you have a friend or find you are dyeing to share! I really believe we can create our own eco-system as artists if we start supporting one another.
Happy hunting. Trust me it’s worth going that little bit further to support something and someone truly incredible…