why do i have a patreon?

this is a reasonable question for anyone who lands on this site to ask, so i'm here to answer it. 💜

in short, and to be completely honest with you, it's because i would like to be able to make art full time (or at least most-time), and in order to do so, i need it to provide a sustainable source of income.

right now, i spend anywhere from 20-30 hours a week on art, between practicing new techniques and styles, making new work in existing styles, putting new work up in the streets, documenting all of the above to share for free on  social media, writing blog posts, turning photographs of original work into other products like stickers, prints, mugs, totes, & etc, and maintaining online stores for my work. and in order to make this all happen, i have to purchase stickers, products, paint, paper, pens, website hosting, stamps & other various bits and bops.

and i love doing it. i love investing in myself as an artist. i love sitting at my art desk and cutting lines from books for hours. i love walking for miles putting up stickers and wheatpastes. i love meeting artists across the world who are also working to find and share their voices. i love getting messages from strangers telling me how seeing one of my stickers made their day, or how my art is helping them get through a tough time. i love photos of folks wearing clothing i’ve handpainted or pictures of my art hanging in a collector’s home. i love how people keep returning to spaces like sharing saturday & look forward to contributing. this is absolutely how i want to spend my time as a human on this planet -- sharing and making space for us to do better, together.

but it doesn't pay my rent, buy my groceries, pay for healthcare, or help me save money. it barely pays for itself right now. so i work a full time job doing something entirely different (that i actually enjoy, for which i am thankful) to cover the expenses of being a person in the world. but that job takes another 40-50 hours of my week, which leaves me with very little time to do, well, anything besides eat, sleep, and occasionally clean my house. (my partner and friends will attest to this fact 🙈 🤣) 

ages ago, some artists used to have "patrons" - a wealthy benefactor who would pay for your living while you made artwork that you would then dedicate to them. nowadays, that doesn't exist so much. and anyway, i don't want to be making art that's only accessible to the most wealthy. i want to keep putting free art out into the world and making other products that are affordable. (& honestly, i have ethical questions about new products in general, in a world where there is so much waste. though i haven't quite solved what to Do about this yet. i’m still iterating on what products i want to be offering the world 🙏)

anyway, that’s where patreon comes in. the idea of patreon is that this "patronage" that supports one's living while creating can be distributed between a group of people instead of coming from one wealthy person. (though hey, if someone wants to be my wealthy patron, hmu, let's talk 👀 😉) art sales can be variable, so it's hard to budget your whole life around that. also, i Want to be able to make art that isn't just art for sale, because that's how art gets stale and flat. so patronage from y'all here on patreon helps provide a steady income so that i can reliably do things like invest in new supplies or new work, try out new styles and techniques, invest in time and resources to cultivate community spaces, and, eventually, so that i can take the plunge into full-time art making while knowing that i will have enough money to pay my bills. (and maybe even some other things!) 

on your side, patrons not only get to know that you are supporting art you enjoy existing in the world, but  you get access to tons of blog posts about my art & process that i don't share elsewhere. patrons get to give opinions and insight into what artwork i turn into products (like stickers and prints). patrons get regular art love bombs to their mailbox (both as part of tier rewards and as part of just random surprise appreciation mail). patrons get access to art i only make for you (like my monthly zine), and you're the first to know about anything new i'm doing. patrons really get to help shape the work i’m creating, which i then turn right back around and share with you 💕

so if you're already a patron, thank you so much for enabling this. and if you're reading this and considering whether or not to join, i hope you do. if not mine, find the patreon for someone whose content your regularly consume for free on a platform like instagram, facebook, or your favorite podcast app, and support their patreon. artists and creators put a lot of energy out there, and we can all contribute to the world we want to see by helping enable them to do that more easily. 💖

with love, as always,

riles

[i'll leave you with this silly photo of me, laughing as i tried to get a shot of the first t-shirt design i ever screenprinted (after teaching myself to screenprint, so i could make it) in the fall of 2018. so much thanks to everyone who has allowed me to share art with them & supported me in investing in myself & doing what i love]


p.s. if you have Any questions or comments about patreon or patronage, definitely leave them in the comments below & i will happily answer them. thank you for reading this, & thank you for being here. xoxo

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