“Patronage is the support, encouragement, privilege and often financial aid that an organization bestows to another person or organization. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors. It can also refer to the right of bestowing offices or church benefices, the business given to a store by a regular customer, and the guardianship of saints. The term derives from the Latin patronatus, the formal relationship between a Patronus and his Clientes.”
Ok. Where have all the patrons gone? As a professional artist in a scary economy (and I do mean scary) I seem to have looked everywhere for a full time patron and just can’t find one. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been totally happy with and supported by my art for about 15 years. I’ve taught workshops but never had to “go out and get a real job”. I’ve been lucky in that way I guess. I work with great clients who buy my art when the economy is good, they have the money and the future is looking optimistic. I show my work at galleries where the owners do a great job of exhibiting my paintings. In good economic times they sell a lot of my work. I have the best clients and gallery owners around. So…now that the economy has fallen into a big dark scary sink hole why don’t we bring back that old tradition of having a patron? I figure all I personally would need would be one individual, a lover of the arts, fascinated with my work and with so much damned money that he or she hasn’t even noticed the falling strength of the dollar. I know this person is out there somewhere but just hasn’t run across my website yet.
I work in my studio painting everyday. I do good work. How wonderful would it be if someone just called me up some morning or better yet knocked at my door and offered me enough money to live easily through these hard times! I’d be glad with just enough money to work without worry for six months or so. I’ve already prayed to all the saints to help me find this person. The Catholic Church almost always smiles on me but somehow this year they seem to be late in sending me any monetary blessings. Come on you holy guys and gals. Saint Jude hear my prayer. Pray a little harder please. I’m pretty sure the saints are always at work for me behind the scenes so all I can do is nag at them to work harder. The Pope is way too busy in his Vatican office doing whatever a pope does to read a note from me saying I’d like a few dollars or gold bricks sent my way. I’d like just enough money to feel safe. How about grants? In these times you have to take a class to write to ask for money. This takes time. When you’re an artist taking care of your family you don’t have time to schedule, write and submit a grant. Your grant application goes usually to a government sponsored committee where you can be underbid by any well known artist who has a husband or wife that makes a six figure salary. The money that can be made from art fairs is down this year. It’s expensive to travel. That leaves me here working hard seldom leaving my studio.
So all I can do is wait for that life changing knock on my door. Give me some money and I’ll work for you. If you’re the church or the Pope calling I’d be glad to do some original and timely religious art. If you own a business that needs some unusual and exciting art on the wall I’m the one to call. I once heard of an artist who got a group of patrons together to sponsor him to travel to France and do all the painting he wanted for as long as it took. In return he gave each patron a pick of one of his best paintings. I like that. I could do that. I would do that. I can be dressed and at the airport by tomorrow morning.
So help me out here. I’ll do my part by praying to the Holy Virgin Mary Mother of God and to Saint Jude and you ask around your neighborhood. Just shout out loudly, “Is there anybody here that has extra money to support just one fantastic artist?” Ask this question wherever you go and hey, by the way, after you ask give any interested person or persons my phone number.