Markus Bowie

is creating art

Select a membership level

I
$5
per month
For the curious.

  • Your name mentioned in print in the credits of every exhibition and/or publication I make during your patronage. Unless you prefer to remain anonymous, of course.
  • Access to high quality scans of my private working journals and sketchbooks, from 2009 until today. At launch (May 2020) there will be 30 pages available and after that, another 30 will be added monthly, starting with June 2020.

Pre-release version. All benefits are subject to change.
II
$10
per month
For the budding collector and art aficionado.

  • Your name mentioned in print in the credits of every exhibition and/or publication I make during your patronage. Unless you prefer to remain anonymous, of course.
  • Physical invitation card to exhibitions posted to anywhere in the world. Personally signed with a greeting from me to you.
  • Access to high quality scans of my private working journals and sketchbooks, from 2009 until today. At launch (May 2020) there will be 30 pages available and after that, another 30 will be added monthly, starting with June 2020.

Pre-release version. All benefits are subject to change.
III
$25
per month
For the one who wants to dig a little deeper into the creative processes.

  • Your name mentioned in print in the credits of every exhibition and/or publication I make during your patronage. Unless you prefer to remain anonymous, of course.
  • Physical invitation card to exhibitions posted to anywhere in the world. Personally signed with a greeting from me to you.
  • Access to high quality scans of my private working journals and sketchbooks, from 2009 until today. At launch (May 2020) there will be 30 pages available and after that, another 30 will be added monthly, starting with June 2020.
  • Monthly-ish members-only podcast and/or video journal where I talk about my current work. First episode will be released in conjunction with the launch (May 2020). (This is not the same as Artist & Chill).
  • Access to my ever-evolving digital archives - a labyrinthine Google Drive of research, texts and experiments in various mediums. It also contains passwords to works of mine hidden around the net. The drive will come at the launch in May 2020 and then grow organically.

Pre-release version. All benefits are subject to change.

3

patrons

About

Note - May 12, 2020: This is a pre-release version of this Patreon page and it will be tweaked considerably before its real opening in the coming months. Feel free to look around, bearing in mind that it is a work in progress. For example, the Q&A below and the benefits of the different tiers above might change before the first stable release. I also plan to add a welcome video for those who prefer not to read. If you are considering becoming a patron before the first stable release of the page, please be especially aware that all the content is subject to change. Thanks.

You:

First of all - this Q&A looks like a 15-30 minute read, at least - do you really expect me to give you that much of my time? Do you consider that a realistic expectation?

Me:
Short answer: yes. I'm assuming that you have already seen my work - if you haven't then feel free to visit my Instagram, my website (offline for reconstruction as of May 2020), read an article (in Swedish) featuring my work with Google Earth, read my Master's Thesis (also in Swedish but with pictures), Google me (and try finding me among the various other Bowies) and come hang out with me and other interesting characters on the new Artist & Chill podcast.

If you have or would like to develop a new hobby and/or career, an interest in art - contemporary, modern, historical or what have you - you will probably already be aware that it will take some generosity of your time. Unlike many other activities these days - art can be kind of slow (and some would say, boring, meaningless and incomprehensible). If you can't spare 15-30 minutes, you are probably better off doing something else. 😊

Ok, I'm still here and you've got my attention. What is this? An art project?

This is an experiment in trying to finance parts or the entirety of my creative endeavour using the Patreon platform. It's not an art project in itself but it will fund and help cultivate an ever-evolving art project - or series of art projects - that is, my art practice. Patreon is used by many different kinds of creators, but I haven't seen that many active in a contemporary art context on here yet. Maybe I can prove that it actually works and pave the way for others.

Why would I want to give money to someone every month so that they can "cultivate their art practice"? It sounds a bit decadent.

Well, I'm guessing that you either have an interest in art or are curious about what it's all about. Maybe you think it's important that serious, ambitious art keeps being created. Maybe you've been thinking about all the museums - art museums and otherwise - that are scattered across our planet. Maybe it has struck you that it makes sense, that humanity's cultural artifacts and surrounding cultural processes are worthy of preservation and attention. Maybe you have a dream of becoming an even more serious and devoted art lover. Maybe you're just fascinated by artists and curious about what makes them tick. Maybe you think that it is reasonable that someone who has already invested over a decade of his life (and a small fortune) into learning about art and culture - should be able to keep making art that he shares with the world. That it would be a waste of training, experience and skill not to.

Yes, I like art and I think artists should be supported. But why do you think I would choose to support you and not someone else? I bet there are tens if not hundreds of thousands of artists who are in the same position as you.

Well, since you somehow have landed on this page and have read this far, there must be something in your way of thinking that aligns with mine. It's likely that one or several of the following applies to you: you have visited my website, my Instagram and/or listened to one of my podcasts, read some of my texts, listened to some of my music, visited my exhibition(s) or even own one or several of my works. You might think that I have the potential to make something interesting and relevant or you might think that I am already on that level. You probably also appreciate the contributions I have made to art contexts around the world through the years as well - discussion groups, exhibitions, parties and most recently, a podcast and this Patreon page which ideally will provide a deep insight into an artistic process.

I have given the production of art - in the form of writing, music, performance and visual art - nearly all of my adult life - since 2004 (age 19). I have worked hard in order to acquire an understanding of what cultural expression historically has been, is now and has the potential to become. I have travelled the world to learn and explore. I have worked thousands of hours on this art practice of mine and I will work thousands more still. I would like to make this practice grow into something truly interesting.

On a resume level, if that is important to you, I have a combined Bachelor of Fine Art from Chelsea College of Arts, University of the Arts London, United Kingdom and Bachelor of Fine Art from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, Sweden. I have a Master of Fine Art, also from the Royal Institute of Art. I have also studied painting at the Gerlesborg School of Fine Art in Stockholm, Sweden. At several other universities in Sweden, I have studied the History of Ideas, Philosophy, Literature, French, Political Science, Computer Science, Music Theory and Music Production. Also, which seems a bit unusual for artists, I actually enjoy Math.

I have taken part in artist residencies with Chicago-based artists in rural Wisconsin, USA and in the smack-dab middles of Los Angeles and Berlin. I have organised exhibitions in Vienna, Berlin, London and Stockholm and I have exhibited in the USA, in Sweden, in the United Kingdom, in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and Finland. Since 2017 my art practice has been running on low speed, as I have been studying Computer Science, primarily to secure my finances but also in order to learn more about data and how it can relate to art. This Patreon will ideally give me the opportunity to invest more time into my art once again.

Not bad. It's true, I think you make interesting work and it seems like you have been doing this for quite some time. Still, I wonder if you could you tell me a bit more about yourself as an artist? I mean on a more personal level.

Sure thing. Here's an ambitious answer for you: in Swedish - I'm half-American and half-Swedish, by the way - Fine Art is sometimes translated as "Konst" and sometimes as "Fri Konst". At the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm, from where I have my Master's of Fine Art (as mentioned above), the latter is used. Somewhat crudely translated it reads as "liberated, unbound art". To me, this reflects the kind of artists who are trained there, the kind of artist I strive to be at this point and the kind of work I would like to (be able to) make.

"Liberated, unbound art". Sounds idealistic. How would one go about creating that?

Well, I believe that art is best when the artist can work freely and the art is created for its own sake only. The artist needs to be unbound by material constraints, money matters and the pressures of the market. The artist needs to be freed from notions of "having a career", from any longing of being "found", "making it" or "becoming famous" and, taken even further, liberated from the pressure of even being able to produce something that can be considered "art". When the artist reaches that point, the stuff that is created has the potential to be great.

External factors such as career success, marketability, fame, cultural and/or historical significance might in turn follow, or they might not. It doesn't really matter because the art and the artist is creating work for its own sake. The actual process of creation is what is important. The potential external factors are consequences of a liberated art practice and should not be its motivation, in my opinion . An "artist" who makes art motivated by such factors is according to my definition not an artist at all, but something else altogether.

On a practical level, in order accomplish that, the artist needs funding. Some are fortunate enough to be independently wealthy. Some are lucky enough to become commercially successful. Most are not. Those have to find other ways to reach a financial plateau from which they can work freely. In my case, this Patreon page together with other tactics such as college degree in Computer Science and a (hopefully) well-paid day job and/or a side business, are among other things, steps in that direction.

Aha, I see. Making art without concern for what others will think of it and without a fear of not selling work, getting enough working grants and so forth - will help the artist focus on making quality work. Makes sense. But isn't there a risk that when the artist reaches a level of being able to make art for art's own sake - s/he shuns the audience and just makes stuff for her- or himself?

Yes, it might be tempting to think that the artist who in a sense makes art for "no one", will stop sharing that work with others. It sometimes happens, but most of the time (in my experience and from what I have studied) - it's quite the opposite. When the artist is no longer bound by external demands and pressures, the lack of any longing for approval enables the artist to make stuff that will not be a manifestation of what he or she thinks the audience and other actors might want, but rather something created which might, or might not, please and/or stir the interest of a current or future audience, critic, historian etc. Because the artist is making art for art's own sake - the reaction on the receiving end of the artwork won't matter. However, since the artist has had the time and peace of mind to invest time into the art - it is likely that the art will be of great quality. Quality, of course, is a complicated notion in this context, but we'll leave that for some other time. Furthermore, because the artist doesn't care about what others think of the work and also has had plenty of time to think about the work - s/he will be able to provide an interesting discourse alongside the actual artwork. Both the artwork itself and the thoughts connected to it will thus definitely be of higher quality than something produced by someone who is stressed and concerned about the opinions of others.

So essentially you are saying that art and artists should be supported no matter if the audience appreciates the art (or the artist) or not. In this case here - you are asking me to support your art practice, no matter if I like what you do or not?


Pretty much, yes. As my idea of quality art rests upon an understanding of art being something that transcends "taste", especially contemporary taste at any given point in history, in theory it shouldn't matter if you "like" my art or not. Becoming my patron would instead mean that you find my pursuit worthwhile and interesting and that your idea of art corresponds with mine. If you happen to also enjoy my actual art, then all the better. Consider it a bonus. I would say that the real value for you in supporting me would be that you would be enabling my artistic process to remain active. Also, you would get to take part in that process on a deeper level than most other members of an audience are able to. In the higher tiers of Patreon membership, you might even get to have some influence on what is created. Of course, as I am an active member of actual living, breathing art contexts, you would also indirectly be contributing energy and dedication to those.

Hmm. Okay - let's assume for a moment that I am prepared to support you - how will this work on a practical level for you?

As I mentioned in the beginning, this Patreon page is an experiment in an alternative way of financing my art practice. I have started this page in order to see how much income I can garner from it. This money will be invested into both my art practice and my life that encircles it. The larger the income I get from here, the less time I will have to spend applying for grants, pushing for the sale of my artwork (which, of course, includes convincing people of its worth), seeking gallery representation and work my day job and/or side business. In an optimal scenario - I will get enough backing here that I can dedicate myself fully to my art and contributing to art contexts. But no matter how much or little backing I get, I will continue to cultivate my practice, but at varying speed and intensity accordingly.

I see. It sounds like it would be a good thing to pledge you my support. You seem to be serious about this thing.

Yes, I think so too. Of course, there is no need to rush this. I invite you to follow me on Instagram, have a listen to my free podcast Artist & Chill and check out my website at www.markusbowie.com (under construction as of May 2020) while you think things through.

Whether or not you decide to become my patron, I want to thank you for being so generous with your time by reading this. It is very much appreciated. The fact that you read it proves that there are people out there such as yourself, who have a genuine interest in and curiosity about art. This is tremendously important and something you should be proud of, cultivate and spread. Art and culture matters, big time.


Goals
7% complete
The closer this percentage gets to 100, the less time I will have to spend on generating an income from other sources than art.

An increased focus on art will help me carefully cultivate my art practice and grow it into something even more substantial. It will also give me more time and energy to invest into being an active member of the art community.

At the same time, the support I receive will help foster stronger relationships with my patrons, thereby developing a deeper mutual understanding of what constitutes a creative process.

On a concrete level, the support would of course help me provide for myself and my family as well as going on a nice vacation every now and then.
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