If You Like It, Grab It… How to Be a Good Patron

Posted: December 20, 2017 in books, Thoughts on art ministry and life
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I know my title probably sounds a little off, but work with me. If you are a fan of an artist, you need to support them. You need to buy their work, support their offers, participate in their projects and promote them. No this is not a personal plea, just something I’ve been wrestling with as I close out the year, probably somewhat influenced by having just read Jeff Goins’ Real Artists Don’t Starve.

You see there are people who have this idea that artist have to suffer and struggle for their art. This simply isn’t the case, but it perpetuates the starving artist myth and many people, including artists for some ungodly reason, buy into. Here’s the thing, everything in the world has a cost, so the best way to insure that your favorite artists will continue to create is to support their work. Let me illustrate this with a personal example.


















I published the above eight adult coloring books last year. Do you know how many I published this year? ZERO. Why the dramatic drop off? Did it stop being fun? No! I really enjoyed making them. The illustrations were really fun to do and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. The thing is everything has a cost. In this case, the cost was time. Now for the most part I drew these while doing other things like watching TV, etc., but there is a serious time investment even so and all the time I spend creating these was time I could not devote to something else. The reception these received made me question the wisdom of continuing. These books were not advancing my life mission in any way, so this year I devoted my time to other things. Now had the books sold, they would have financed more ministry and I probably would have continued. I didn’t publish these books just so I could say, “Hey I published 8 books!” I published them for the purpose of advancing my work and mission.

You might look at the above statements and conclude that I am only in it for the money. I can assure you that is not the case. To paraphrase Jeff Goins, the purpose of making art is to be able to keep making art. That is why we need to be good patrons. If we want our favorite creatives to be able to continue creating, we need to support their current efforts, both with our resources and our participation.

Likewise, my fellow creatives, your work has value and if you want to keep being able to make it, there has got to be some benefit from it. Do not undervalue your work. Remember everything has a cost, it might be money, it might be time, it might be opportunity, but everything has a cost. The workman is worth his hire.

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