7 Ways to Support Your Independent Artist Friends

Photo: © 2017 Willy Vanderperre

Photo: © 2017 Willy Vanderperre

It goes without saying that pursuing creative endeavors can often be a thankless task. Many of us are fed the idea that if we choose to work towards creative goals in lieu of  roles that are more conventional and acceptable that we are being unrealistic and wasting our time. The truth is that many of us are simply incapable of working in fields that are too structured and don't get the best use of our strengths. Despite the consensus that pursuing art is a pipe dream, it is actually very possible for artists to succeed and excel in creative fields without having to conform to societal expectations. One of the integral pieces of succeeding as an artist is having a strong support system and it starts with the people closest to us. Here are a few ways creatives can foster a solid foundation of support through our friends. 

  1. Buy Things

    Obvious, right? Well not necessarily. Often times, people feel that because you are an independent artists and may have a day job to sustain yourself that buying your work isn’t necessary because your livelihood isn’t fully dependent on it but this could not be further from the truth. Putting your art out into the world is expensive and can cause a huge financial strain on creatives who have bills to pay on top of studio time, supplies, equipment, promotional materials, classes, lessons, application fees for open calls, etc. Of course we don’t want our friends to break the bank but if you can afford a $20 art print or a $5 EP, buy it! You can also purchase tickets to events, shows or exhibits -- even if you can’t attend, that $10 ticket can make all the difference for your creative friend who may have put much more money into producing than they’ll receive back.

  2. Share The Work

    Supporting your artist friend through sharing their work is 100% free. Don’t just double tap and keep scrolling when you see work your friends have made that you think is dope. Share it and tell people about it! Visibility is one of the biggest struggles of being an creative and we gain more of it when people share our work with others.

  3. Show Up

    It's commonplace to make time for all of our friend's major life events such as birthdays, weddings, graduations, baby showers, etc. We should view events related to their artistry the same way. We all have things going on in our lives and it's understandable if you're not able to make every single show, play, gallery opening, etc. but it should always be a priority to show up for your friends because if no one else shows up at the very least, they will have you there to cheer them on.

  4. Connect Them

    Do you know someone your creative friend would make a dope collaboration with or perhaps someone who works in their industry who may be able to help them in some way? Connect them! Expanding creative and professional networks aids in gaining more visibility for artists. Even if your connection doesn’t lead to anything, it may open the door to another connection that could be game-changing for them.

  5. Lend a Helping Hand

    If your artist friend is in the midst of preparing for a big project and you have some time to spare, ask them if they need help. It can be as simple as offering to bring something to the venue on the night of a gig or assisting in the studio when they are doing a photoshoot or painting. Although our artistry is 100% our own, most of us cannot create without help of some sort and many of us don’t have the resources to outsource help when we need it which can be overwhelming at times. Also, offering to help out can serve as a way to spend time with your artist friend who you may not get to see often when they are consumed with creative projects.

  6. Give Honest Feedback

    Artists can be very sensitive about their shit but giving honest feedback on your friend's work is an essential part of evolving creatively. It’s up to your creative friend to take your opinion into consideration or with a grain of salt but every creative should have someone around them who will give them the real and if your friendship is solid enough, giving honest feedback should not hinder your relationship.

  7. Moral Support

    Moral support is perhaps the most important form of support of all. Pursuing art of any medium is brave but it also can leave you feeling vulnerable, frustrated and at times, discouraged. Many artists struggle with self-doubt and imposter syndrome. When your artist friends reach low points, be sure to encourage and uplift them. Remind them of their talent and the importance of their work. A little uplifting from the people who love us and truly believe in us can go a very long way.