Patronising the arts

I've been so busy the past few years with my own work, and sometimes, it's felt as if the whole world revolves around me. It's not a feeling a like particularly, but when you're so involved in what you do - it's hard to take a step back sometimes and look at what else is going on around you.

Last week I was conducting a workshop, and one of the participants gave me a lot of inspiration. Coming purely from an arts point of view, my participant asked me a lot of questions about what I do, and about specific images. It was so nice to 'reconnect' with my own work. I'm so used to teaching everyone around me, looking at their own work, and not for a moment do I ever cover my own work on my workshops.

During some downtime, I'm not sure how this happened, but I ended up looking at the work of a local artist that I like very much. I own a few of Michael McVeigh's prints, but until tonight, I've never owned any originals. Well, I feel that as an antidote to so much focus on my own work, and that of workshop participants, I bought one of Michael's paintings.

I feel immensely good about it, despite not knowing why. I love his work, would have been happy with a print of this piece of work, but there's something very satisfying about supporting him. I believe in his work, and it's great to not only own an original, but also to feel that I'm validating what he does (not that anyone cares what I think), but just to put my money where my heart is, and pay for something that means a lot to me.

So I'm asking myself a few questions tonight about photography, and the role of an artist. There are so many of us out there, who would love to turn our photography into a living. To be appreciated for what we do, and to bask in the limelight of acknowledgement that we create beautiful works... images that others respond to.

But how many photographers do you know who own work from others? I would hazard a guess that the answer is 'very little'. That's a real shame isn't it?

If we were so willing to look at, enjoy, and purchase other peoples work and not just our own, maybe we'd all be living much happier lives. Not just by supporting other artists, and by the very act - supporting ourselves, but by also giving ourselves a much needed injection of inspiration into our own 'art world' that we reside in.

Maybe it's time to go out there, if you haven't already - and buy someone's work. Maybe the act of being an artist, is to explore other people's work, embrace and enjoy it. It will not only give them satisfaction to know others appreciate them and what they do, but it might also act as a catalyst to propel you onwards with your own art too.