10 November 2020

An Artist? In This Economy?!

Some frequently asked questions (FAQs):

You say you're an artist, but you're not a painter. Why?

Good question. An artist is anyone who creates art, and art is much more than just paintings. Visual arts include painting, to be sure, but also sculpture, collage, design, and, in some cases, video installations. Performing arts include (traditionally) music, theatre, film/video, dance, and that nebulous thing called performance art. I won't go into too much of a philosophical discussion about the nature of performance, but it's enough to say that most art, if not all of it, “performs” in a certain sense; that art either performs itself, or it causes the audience/viewer to perform, or both.

As someone who has worked a lot professionally in musical theatre, I can tell you that the nature of musical theatre is multidisciplinary. That is to say, it encompasses several of these subcategories of art. There is music and theatre, obviously, but also dance, usually design (with painting, sculpture, and/or collage in the mix), and occasionally video.

But, as you can see, my work is not neatly defined as “musical theatre” in a traditional or even experimental sense. So, it's more correct to say that I am a multidisciplinary artist. I engage with many of these different areas of art, not all at the same time necessarily, in order to create art. I make videos which feel more documentary or educational in nature, where I also write and record the music and create graphic design elements. In an upcoming series, I create a character using my acting skills in order to talk about the nature of the city I call home, New York City.

When you create your profile, Patreon asks you to say what you are creating. “Joe is creating music.” “Imani is creating eye-popping designs.” I just changed mine to say “Kevin Story is creating.” And I think that's the most accurate way to put it.

Okay, so you're a “multidisciplinary artist.” Great. How do I buy your art? It's not like I can hang it on the wall.

It's really easy. Either join my Patreon to get unlimited access to everything I create (depending on your tier), buy my music on Bandcamp or Sheetmusicplus, contact me to commission work, or Venmo or PayPal me.

Now, some of it you can hang on your wall. I can do artsy versions of my sheet music, for example. (Ask me about my “Wedding Song.”) I also dabble in collage, graphic design, and photography. So don't just assume there's nothing to hang on your wall.

But, the bulk of my art, as I said before, is performance-based. I make art by doing it. So, when you buy my art, what are you buying?

If you're like Jay Sloat, the Congregational Church of South Glastonbury, Middle Island Presbyterian Church, or Mandarax Music Ensemble (to name a few), you ask me to write you some special music, just for you, one-of-a-kind, which I then painstakingly create for you—either by writing out the sheet music so others can perform it, performing it myself or with others, recording it, or any combination of these. This is true of theatre work, of videos... of anything, really. If I don't think I'm the right fit for a project, I will let you know who I think is. (For example, while I'm okay at graphic design and photography, I would probably send you to Phowzie to get the real deal.)

The most cost-effective way for you to support my work, though, is via Patreon, where you basically pay for a subscription. Everything becomes available to you, depending on if you are interested in my music, my videos, or my arts-in-education work.

Hold on, now. “Arts-in-education work”? How is that performance?

Studies have shown that when teachers perform more in their classrooms—something as simple as gesturing while teaching—their students perform better on assessments. I write curricula for arts educators, of course, but also for other subject areas to use in their classes to encourage better learning overall. That's what Rogue Pedagogy is all about—but perhaps that's a topic for another time.

Where do I find your art without paying for it?

Geez. Okay. Well, my YouTube channel is a good place to find most of what I'm doing these days. Do me a favor and subscribe. I have a goal of getting to 1,000 subscribers by January 2021.

I also have a Soundcloud. And you can see some of what I'm up to by following on Bandcamp and Patreon—free of charge! And, of course, social media is a good place to find me. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and (sometimes) Tumblr.

But I hope you like what you see and decide it's worth supporting this multidisciplinary artist. Even a dollar or two can go a long way!

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