It is a fact that high profile people such as movie stars, tech guru's and sports stars invest money and time into high profile causes that include the arts. But that investment is usually at a level where someone might invest in a new wing for a museum or a sculpture garden. Rarely is that investment ever made at the grass roots level of the small unknown artist.
The proverbial starving artists of the world are some of the most talented and creative people out there, but absolutely none of us expect Brad Pitt to walk up to us one day and say "hey, your work has value to me. Make more." No offense to Mr. Pitt, I know he's got a good heart.
In days of yore, it was the aristocrats of society that became the patrons for great art. In some cases without these patrons some of the worlds greatest artists would never have come to the attention of the world. The system had its drawbacks. Artists in some cases become slaves to their patrons, especially if their patron was a king or a pope.
This is no longer the case. The patronage was taken over by the galleries who quite frankly only take chances these days on artists that have been vetted through the gallery system.
There are philanthropic organizations that help some, but these are far and few between usually.
Now there are a few philanthropic movie stars that move in the arts world. I've heard Ellen is a very generous supporter of the arts and so is Oprah. Bill Gates is known for his charity in the arts and his world class gallery. But it seems these cases are minor compared to the thousands of high profile people out there. And again none of us expect Oprah to show up at our door.
So how does this paradigm change? Can it change? I've preached long and hard about a revolution in the art world. I think this is part of it.
But face it, all the hollering and hand waving of artists at high profile people will result in nothing more than perhaps a restraining order against the artist for harassing the stars. That's no good!
So lets take a page from social media. Every high profile person in the world is out there in one form or another on the social networks. Some have lackey's that post for them. But some actually do pay attention and occasionally see what others are posting about them.
So lets hypothesize for a moment. What if a grass roots movement began online where instead of just hitting the "like" button, or reposting a piece of work of a fellow artist, what if instead we attached to that repost the Twitter name, facebook name, etc for a high profile person out there in the social network universe. For example, here is a potential tweet:
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Here is a basic Twitter post. I simply went and looked up Oprah's official Twitter name. I then promoted the artist (yeah its me for example sake), linked the portfolio site of the artist and a piece of their work. If retweeting then the work would already be attached. Then I added our friend Oprah's name. And voila! I've just tweeted Oprah a piece of that artists work.
Okay, so you say, what good is a single tweet? She's never going see it amongst a thousand other tweets an hour. But what if ten artists did this? What if fifty artists did this? "Well that's harassment!" you might say. But is it harassment for someone to send a single tweet? No its not. Its being proud of your fellow artists and wanting to get them some attention.
So what if we started keeping a very basic database? A list of sorts that changes weekly. Ten names on the list of high profile people around the world who have verified accounts online? That list changes every week so the same high profile patrons are not bugged incessantly.
And basically those high profile patrons are Tweet bombed for a week. Kind of like swarm of artistic locusts swarming over a patrons online persona in an attempt to make them aware of artists at the grass roots level. In fact lets take it a step further and create a couple of high end graphics to go with it so our high profile patrons know "WHY" their are being bombarded by art for a few days.
So whats the end result? If nothing is gained, then nothing is lost. You've only lost the two minutes to forward a post of a particularly great piece of art. What might be gained is that a fellow artist might get seen. You might be that fellow artist because someone is in turn forwarding your work on.
I guess what I am saying is that reposting an artists work is nice. But lets make it work for us! The revolution begins at the grass roots always. If we don't make the effort, then we don't gain the benefits.
A revolution NEVER begins with just a single act. It takes many smaller acts to make changes. This is just one of many I hope that will change the art world for the better. Your comments are encouraged.