Fuck. Yes, this is going to be the tone of my text today. It will be about being an artist, crowd funding, and funding art and my feelings about it. Ye have been warned.
It will also be a pretty ignorant rant. The reason for this is that the basis for the whole thing is an article found online, and the comments about it. I have not checked the facts, because this rant is about feelings and how this whole thing makes me feel. I will do the fact checking later and either confirm my fears or correct them. If you want to read that text, wait a day or two and check back. Thanks for making it this far.
So, for the rest of you, the whole thing started this morning, when I was eating my morning porridge, drinking my morning tea (two large mugs of Tetley, as black as it comes), and reading my morning Twitter feed.
There are few celebrities I love as much on Twitter as Amanda Palmer. Mind you, I haven’t ever listened to her music, an oversight due to my musical preferences being directed in another fringe-y direction. Some day I will try it. I promise.
I love Amanda Palmer because of a book she wrote, The Art of Asking. A book about asking for help from other people and about how it feels asking for financing from the consumers of your art. A book that, I have to admit, I haven’t even finished reading. I haven’t finished reading it because I start crying every time I do, so let’s just say that I haven’t blubbered through it yet. I need time.
This morning I think I realised why it makes me cry so.
Amanda Palmer tweeted how she’s going back to recording after having a baby and she’s going to use her Patreon to finance her recording.This made me wonder about whether or not Patreon works in Finland. And how does it do with the taxes and stuff and so on. Like, I know some Finnish projects have used Indiegogo and Kickstarter to finance their projects, but what about individual artists?
The first, and only article that I came across was this article written in 2014 which basically states that because of Finnish laws about collecting money, Finnish artists can’t use Patreon. It sounds like it is the same as if you went begging from door to door. Which is forbidden from private persons here.
You should never ever ever never read the comments, but I thought there would be some further information in those, so I read both of them (you can already see how generally discussed this matter is in Finland).
The first comment is summed up in: who cares about artists, but donations to charities should be deductible in tax. So basically, the money you give from your good heart to bring water to places where water is not or educate children and so on, should be taken from the money we pay for keeping this society going, health care, education etc. First, in my opinion this is entirely against the spirit of charity. Secondly, giving money to artists IS NOT CHARITY. Charity is when you give and receive nothing else but the pleasure of knowing you cared and made easier a small bit of the life of someone in a bad situation.
An artist creates art. They may use the actual money to buy toilet paper or new shoes, but what you actually are giving the artist is the freedom, time and materials to create their art.
The second comment I didn’t read fully, just the first sentence which claimed that all crowd funding is just for fools to be conned out of their money. I did not continue reading and will only dignify that comment by stating that up till now, every crowd funding project I’ve given money to has been worth every penny and more. Not only does crowd funding create the thing it’s funding, it also often creates a community and connections between people around/funding the project, people interested and like-minded enough to want to help the project become reality.
As all these feelings poured out of me, mixing with the last dregs of the third cup of tea (I had to make another pot, because of feels), I realised that during all the time I’ve been an artist, I’ve never thought of myself as one.
I’ve been writing since I learned how. I have been creating fibre arts by knitting and making up my own designs for as long, since I learned to knit at roughly the same time as when I learned to write. I have been playing classical flute for over two decades and Irish folk for twelve years. I’ve even performed at festivals and other events. I have a YouTube video with over 27 thousand views!! Currently I’m working part time in my day-job because I want to save time for my “hobbies”. Why couldn’t I just say art?
One of the reasons I’m not using the word “art” is surrounding me currently. I’m sitting at the library writing this. The town I’m now in is building a football(soccer) arena (although there was one already and the local football team isn’t even that good) and taking the money from the libraries, the day cares, and all the irrelevant culture stuff.
One of the reasons I no longer live in this town (I’m visiting my parents for the holidays) is this attitude towards culture. An attitude which seems to recur everywhere in Finland. Sports good, culture bad, ugh! At least in my current hometown there are more actively interested people. But basically what this town has taught me is that creating art is not as important as someone else’s “hobby”. And boy, have I been an attentive student and learned it well.
It’s time to start to try to unlearn it.