My Tallest, 22 x 30" / 55.88 x 76.2 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2005
How do you support an artist? Well, duh, you buy something ^o^;
No, seriously, I mean, of course, there’s that obvious way. And believe me (believe all of us painters, sculptors, printmakers and so on), there’s no such thing as ‘too much support’ ^_____^
But there are other forms of support, other ways to show artists that you believe in them and that you want them to keep going, even when the going gets tough. And believe us, again, when we say, the going does get tough—and not just for us, but for the people around us, as well.
So if I may make so bold, I’d say the other forms of support can be just as, if not more, valuable to an artist as the kind you shell out.
I guess there’s some sentiment sprinkled into the murky miasma of my current state of mind, but humour me:
This post goes out to everyone who knows an artist personally, and who’s kind enough to want to support that artist in some way. It also goes out to anyone who may not know an artist personally but admires the work of an artist enough to want to show some support. And it goes out to everyone here on earth who’s ever supported me as an artist <3
1. Molar Support
'So, you liked it, you, really liked it.'
Tirador, Detail, 30 x 22" / 76.2 x 55.88 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2005
No, you read that right ^_^ I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this elsewhere on the jillablog, but I’d always interpreted that intentional x colloquial typo as ‘support that makes you smile so big, your molars are showing’ (think Muppet smile, or when your dog smiles).
This is the kind of support we get when people say they really, really like our work—and you know they’re not just saying it to be polite, or something. I mean, you can tell, right? When they really, truly like it. They tell you what they love about it. They ask you for details about it, what the story behind it is, what you used, what you were thinking about or what you felt while you made it.
However this appreciation is expressed, whether it’s spoken, written or visual (think emojis), sparks from the fire that lit up inside of them after they saw your work (or read your poem or heard you play) ignite in you, too <3
Yay! Now you both have warm fuzzies ^_^*
2. Rainy Day Support
'Don't give up! Don't give up!'
Sinong Macho, 12 x 9" / 30.48 x 22.86 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2009
Sometimes a piece can take ages to complete. Not every painting or drawing is done in a matter of hours (it did take Mikey four years to paint that ceiling), and when progress is slow in showing, it can get a little, you know. Discouraging.
That’s why this kind of support really, personally means so much to me. I really feel that support like this can rival an outright purchase because if it weren’t for you, let’s say, maybe the painting would never have been finished (or at least, taken a lot longer). Like maybe you never bought any of my paintings, but you were there for me when I felt like giving up or when I was second-guessing myself (that can happen a lot while you’re working). So to me, you’d be one of my biggest supporters. And I’d be forever grateful to you <3
You know who you are—thank you <3
3. Technical Support
'Put some Windex on it.'
Selfish!, 18 x 22" / 45.72 x 55.88 cm, Acrylic on Paper, 2014
No, this doesn’t involve talking to a chatbot about why your refund hasn’t come yet; what this does involve is the kind of support you get from someone who genuinely knows, and genuinely wants to help.
For me, supporting artists means helping them make the best work they can, or making it easier for them to work.
So if you give advice, or share technical knowledge about the kind of fixative you use, let’s say, or how to take better pictures of your work—that, for me, is support, and I am very appreciative of it.
This kind of support is usually solicited but even if it's un- (because sometimes, you just don’t know what you don’t know, right?), and is really very kindly meant, I am grateful, all the same.
It also happens, sometimes that people with skills I don’t have (like Photoshop ^__^ or photography ^__^; ) come up to me and offer their help, and more often than not, for free. You guys are the best, the absolute best. ^///^
4. Unwavering Support
'You saw me when I was invisible.'
Auntie Squid, 30 x 22" / 76.2 x 55.88 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2015
There’s a cheesy, ugly duckling movie I (am ashamed to admit I) saw once where the princess (who was now an ex-ugly duckling) said the above quote to the boy she took to the ball.
It’s always nice to get molar support, but when you get it from someone who’s followed your work since the earliest beginnings of your career (or at least, for a long, long time) and is still a fan, now? It’s extra specially, exponentially more special.
5. Show up Support
'Yes, should you need us...'
Genkistars, Detail, 22 x 30" / 55.88 x 76.2 cm, Acrylic on Paper, 2013
Nope, that wasn’t a typo, either. This is when people show up at your exhibit openings (or even during the run after the show’s opened), your artist’s talks, or any of your events. They also show up in your feed, your inboxes, the comments sections, your Viber, your WhatsApp or wherever ^_^
And if anything happens and you need someone to stand up for you (of course, one can always be self-sufficient and stand up for oneself, but it never hurts to have someone in your corner)? They’ll show up even (and especially) in sticky situations, or when no one else will.
6. Ninja Support
Visiting Day, 36 x 48" / 91.44 x 121.92 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2019
You don’t see them, but you know they’re out there—watching. No, I’m not talking about stalkers, lol. I’m talking about the kind of support that isn’t intrusive, or even very expressive. Some people do believe in your work, they may not just be the type to gush over it or anything.
Of course, we welcome the kind of support where they run around with a loudspeaker telling everybody what a genius you are and that they’re missing half their lives if they don’t catch your show or see your latest post.
But the support you get, when, let’s say, you’ve been *in the zone* for weeks on end and, while you are appreciative, you’re just not in the mood for, um. Direct human interaction. That support bides its time and waits for the right moment to offer a quiet, encouraging word, and maybe a brownie or something. ^_^
Or the kind of support that isn’t always there? But is there right when you need it, like when it’s especially quiet, and they’re the only ones there. And then you realise that they were there all along—it’s just maybe you couldn’t hear them because the *rowdier fans with the face paint and the foam fingers* drowned them out.
I have seen you. I knew you were there. The whole time. And I would like to say ‘thank you’ to you, too <3
7. Secondhand Support
'You were nice enough to recommend my mortuary to some of your friends.'
BIRD CHILDREN!, 40 x 40” / 101.6 x 101.6 cm, Acrylic on Canvas, 2019
You know how some people market secondhand stuff as ‘pre-loved’? That applies here, too ^_^
This is when you love an artist’s work so much that you’re willing to recommend that artist to someone else—you loved that artist’s work first, before you got someone else to love it, too.
So even if you don’t buy anything, you’ll get someone else who will, or someone who’ll commission work or engage that artist’s services.
Of course, recommending anybody is sort of like putting yourself on the line—if that artist turns out to be unreliable or the work sucks, you’re the one who did the recommending. That’s why I’ve always especially appreciated this kind of support; it’s like you put yourself out there for me, and I’d do my best to make sure you won’t regret it.
8. Scrupulous Support
'Scruples are money in Russia.'
Tikshaw, 11 x 17" / 27.94 x 43.18cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2011
This sounds weird, but fair treatment has got to be one of the most solid forms of support an artist can receive. When you pay artists a fair price for their work, give them the agreed-upon percentage of what was paid out for it, or give them enough time to work on a commission, then you are truly supporting those artists. You also support them when you respect their copyright or ownership of their work, and ask them for permission, at least, if you should ever want to use their work for anything without actually buying it.
What you’re doing when you do this is helping them do the best work they can, and helping them to get their work out there under fair and equitable circumstances.
You wouldn’t ask them to ‘whip up something real quick’, work for free, or to lower their prices to something that doesn’t compensate them properly for everything they put into the work (and I’m not just talking about materials, either). You wouldn’t hound them (i.e. nag) to make a deadline or pressure them into working on something they didn’t feel comfortable with.
Now that doesn’t sound so very weird, does it? And yet, amazingly, there do seem to be some people who don’t seem to think doing any of those things is weird, at all T_T
Thank you so much for all your support <3
'My friends, I thank you all from my heart for your kind wishes. Would that I could repay them as they deserve.'
Congaloop, 48 x 24" / 121.92 x 60.96 cm, Watercolour on Paper, 2010
I’d like to wrap this up with some shoutouts to some of my biggest x most loyal supporters. I have to mention just some because if I said thank you to all of you, I’d be like that Oscar-winner with 10 pages of names and you’ll wanna shoot me to shut me up ^o^
To all of you and everyone who’s ever bought my work, recommended me, gone to my shows, given me shows, and given me actual and virtual cupcakes (you know what I mean ^_~*)—super, super thank you for all the molar support, the rainy day, technical, unwavering, show up, ninja, secondhand, scrupulous, Superman, Batman, Spider-Man support <3
I can never, ever thank any of you, all of you whether you’re on this list or not, enough—not in a million, jillion years. I truly think God sent you guys to me to help me out.
And since there’s really no way I can pay any of you back, all I can do now really is to try to pay it forward. So if there’s anything I can ever do (no, I can’t get you one of those little, Eiffel tower paperweights ^___^), or if you’re interested in any of the works you see on this page, please let me know.
I don't purport to know everything. Yet if the little I do know can be of any help, you are more than welcome to it.