The Care and Feeding of Creatives

If you’ve spent any time reading my blog, you know I’m a cheerleader for the things I love. When I find some creative work that captivates me, I want to shout it to the world.

But I make my recommendations knowing that what interests me may not appeal to others. One of the fantastic things about all artistic endeavors is their subjectivity. I may love something that others hate. Or you may rave about a creative work that I simply don’t understand. Fortunately, the world is wide enough for a multitude of visions.

One universal thing is that creative people need to know we love their work. We have a lot of ways we can show that love.

Andi Cumbo-Floyd recently shared a post about ways to support writers you love.

Building from her suggestions, I’d like to mention ways we can support other artists, not just writers. We can buy tickets for their films and watch their TV shows faithfully. We can attend gallery shows and concerts. We can purchase their books, albums, photographs, or paintings from legitimate retailers.

(Please, for the love of whatever you hold to be holy, DO NOT use downloading sites to access pirated copies of ANY media. Support artists by purchasing their work. If you can’t afford to buy it, then borrow it at your local library. Don’t be an asshole.)

We can also give their works online reviews. Admittedly, I’m pretty bad about reviewing on Amazon.com or GoodReads. That’s partly because writing reviews would take away time from my own writing. (Plus, I have privacy concerns about Amazon and its GoodReads subsidiary.)

My favorite way of supporting artists I enjoy is to contact them via email or social media. Most artists have some kind of contact form on their websites. Or an email address or link to their social media accounts. I’ve also sent an old-fashioned letter if a mailing address is available.

Sometimes, the artists I’ve contacted have been gracious enough to reply. Usually, the replies come from writers, and most often from women who write. The most common response I get is the person thank me for contacting them and for reading their work.

There’s an old saying that we should always be kind to others because we don’t know what kind of battles they’re facing on any given day. I think that’s especially true of artistic people.

A lot of artists work in solitary situations. Even if someone works collaboratively (like in film or TV), it can be months or years before they see the end results of their efforts. Reaching out to artists you like could be the encouragement they need on a difficult day.

If you choose to contact an artist, please keep your note positive. Every artist I know already carries an internal critic that shits all over their every move. We really don’t need so-called fans adding to it.

And don’t expect a reply. Given how often doxxing occurs these days, a lot of artists are becoming harder to contact. Or they simply have decided not to reply to any messages because they fear the person could turn into a stalker if they do.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out and thank creatives for their work. Even if they don’t or can’t reply, a friendly, supportive note from a genuine fan could be what gets them over a particularly tough day.

(Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash)

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