Aleks Samoylov

Aleks Samoylov

Creating Games, Multimedia Art, and Various Texts

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Good, Good Narwhals

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per month
After some self-reflection, I've decided that a tiered rewards system doesn't align with my goals and ideals, and that physical rewards are unrealistic and impractical given my current capabilities and situation. 

As a result, all patrons will henceforth get exactly the same rewards/promises regardless of the size of their pledge, and this account will be geared towards potential patrons who are primarily interested in helping me survive and keep making stuff.

The rewards are as follows:


- All patrons will receive exclusive access to updates on my creative exploits. This is essentially a very occasional newsletter that I periodically send via Patreon. Generally, I only send one out when I have a new project up, when I have some cool announcements to make, or when I'm simply itching to talk about something exciting that I've recently started to work on.

- If you're a patron, follow me on twitter (@Aleks_S) and let me know. I will follow you back, and you can DM me any time to weigh in on my work, share your thoughts and ideas, or just chat. I'm pretty friendly. Ultimately, my work is what it is, but I am always happy to hear from the folks who follow it, so long as they are nice about it.

- All patrons will receive digital copies of any commercial projects that I self-publish (assuming digital copies are viable), at no cost. Additionally, patrons may sometimes receive early copies / demos / ashcans of both commercial and non-commercial work. 

- Of course, all patrons will have my gratitude. I recognize that supporting this account doesn't really net you very much in the way of material rewards, and I understand that folks who choose to support me on here do so because they sincerely and genuinely want to support me as a creator and help me survive as one. I appreciate this immensely.

8

patrons

$22

per month

About Aleks Samoylov

"What Is It You 'Do' Exactly?"

I make art, develop games, both analog and digital, write fiction and non-fiction, and, in general, fuss about like an utter boss-baby. This is what I'm good at and what I've been formally trained in (although formal training should not be a prerequisite for being an artist or being able to call oneself an artist). So it's what I do. It really is as simple as that. 

In the past, I have felt the need to constantly justify my work, existence, output, and presence. Imposter syndrome and all that. Calling oneself an artist is perceived by some to be both pretentious and presumptuous - how dare we do so until we've gotten "official approval" from some nebulous licensing body? But at the end of the day, this is just another trick the devil has managed to pull. Forget that noise, I say. Life is too damn short, and this isn't exactly rocket surgery. My personal philosophy, now that I'm of a certain age, is that there is nothing inherently "special" about the making of art that should keep anyone from doing so, but there is something inherently special about every single artist who has ever lived, whether they see themself as a professional or an amateur, and I am no exception.

The stuff I make is cool as hell. Period.

Not everyone is going to like it. Not everyone is going to want it. But some do and will, and to those people it holds real value. And who am I to argue? I am not really interested in doing anything else in any serious capacity. I mean, I do a bit of teaching and a bit of reselling to make ends meet, but I don't think about either one of those things 24/7. It's out of sight, out of mind.

As to precisely what kind and genre of art I do, the short answer is "heck if I know." I suspect I'd have an easier time selling myself if I were to settle on a single medium and style and focused on delivering a consistent "product," but that just isn't going to work for the wild and sexy flow of my work, and at the end of the day I'm on this platform in order to fund myself as an independent artist, not sell a specific product.

Over the past half a decade or so, I have been focusing very heavily on analog game design: mostly in the tabletop role-playing and storytelling space. I have also published a fairly substantial commercial solo video game not too long ago, and continue to draw stuff, write stuff, and, honestly, do whatever the heck creative nonsense gets me out of bed on a given day. That's what it's about, really, getting out of bed. Ultimately, it's more process than product and all that jazz. Most of it ends up having a fairly distinct Aleks vibe, generally characterized by surreal imagery, interlocking levels of presentation and reality, subversions of the retro-futuristic aesthetic, and so on, and so forth. But some of it is just a journey through the funky groove of my soul, you dig? 

If you're here, though, you probably already have some idea as to why I am worth supporting. If not, well, see the section below.

Play and Read My Stuff!

If you want a sampler before you subscribe, you can find much of my recent, and not so recent, interactive work, including several art games and a bunch of experimental tabletop games, at thealeks.itch.io. I add new stuff comparatively often, at least when there isn't a pandemic on (look, I've been down and I am done apologizing for being less than perfectly productive during a period of worldwide plague).

While I rarely release stuff for free at this point, since I've found that this simply has no benefit (exposure is something you die of) and ultimately devalues my work (which is worth a hell of a lot more than nothing), there's enough excellent free stuff on there from the earlier days for one to get a pretty good idea of my general vibe. Many of my commercially released games can also be claimed at no cost via the Community Copy program, specifically intended for marginalized communities and people experiencing poverty. If you go that route and you don't fall into the above categories, I won't haunt you and hound you to the ends of the earth, but do keep in mind that I'm only able to provide limited numbers of these, so when one gets claimed, that's one fewer that can be claimed by someone who genuinely can't afford it otherwise.
You can find a few samples of my nonfiction / criticism writing clips from the past decade or so over here.

You can find some of my older painting and fine arts work at alekssamoylov.com. I'm all over the place, really. I am in the wind, in your dreams, in your coffee, doing backstroke in your soup in the dining car of an overnight train, and so on.

Why Support Me

If you've seen my work and want me to make more work, both similar and dissimilar to that which you've already seen, consider helping that happen by pledging. In return, you will have my gratitude, plus the satisfaction that comes from directly supporting the arts and independent marginalized artists, thereby opposing the wholesale corporatization and homogenization of culture.

Oh, and there are backer rewards as well. I've had to simplify that aspect of things as much as possible, for mental health and maintenance reasons, but ultimately that works out in the backers' favor. In short, every backer gets everything.

All backers are eligible to get digital copies of any commercial product that I release as part of their subscription. You will be eligible for this reward regardless of your backer level. I am just going to trust that people who back me are genuine about it and conduct this based on the honor system, much as I do the Community Copy program on itch. In general, I prefer to believe that the folks who are actually interested in my work also share my values and are generally good, kind, awesome people. Otherwise, they wouldn't stick around.

Of course I do fully understand that things change, including personal tastes and finances both, and I will never hold the canceling of a pledge against anyone. Frankly, I try not to even think about it or worry about it. By the same token, I deeply appreciate everyone who does choose to pledge, be it a little or a lot, for one month or for years. 

Those of you who have continued to pledge even as my output more or less dried up during the pandemic, know that I do see you and am beyond grateful. 

What is this...thing? (What Is Patreon and How Does it Work?)

At this point this section might be moot, as this platform has become a lot more widespread and I am not really sure they need me to shill for them in my own designated space. They do a good enough job of that on their own. But here's a quick summary, just in case.

Patreon is a subscription based crowdfunding platform designed to help independent creators make something resembling a steady living (I mean, it's really designed to "create value for shareholders," like most corporate entities, but the whole "supporting artists" thing is a chief byproduct of its existence). Unlike Kickstarter and similar services, which are designed to raise funds for specific, larger scale projects, Patreon support is ongoing and is focused on sustaining (long term) a specific creator as opposed to any single product. 
In this particular case, Patrons contribute a (usually) small amount per month. That small amount is securely withdrawn from the patron's accounts at the start of every month. This goes on until either the creator or patron die, or until the patron decides that they no longer can or wish to support the creator, which happens, and I totally understand if it does, as you can see in the section above.
Not unlike Kickstarter, patronage through this service comes with some rewards, and there are sometimes specific goals and milestones that, when reached, will allow the creator to do a little something special.

I personally have settled on a monthly model for the sake of simplicity and consistency. Please keep in mind that I do not suspend my Patreon during less "productive" months, since I simply have no way of predicting which months will be more or less creatively fruitful and really do my best to reject conventional notions of value and productivity vis a vis creative pursuits insofar as is possible under the looming and monstrous specter of Late Capitalism.

Is This Communism?

Sadly, no. It's not even socialism. Under true, thoughtfully implemented communism, Artists, and people in general, would not need to worry about funding, because everyone would be guaranteed a decent standard of living regardless of their health, profession, or the circumstances of their birth. As the name of the website implies, this thing is simply an evolution of the age old institution of patronage. Like many things, patronage has become democratized, to a limited and tightly controlled extent, due to the advent of the internet. It is no longer solely the province of massive institutions (governments, churches, wealthy merchants and bankers, and corporations) as it has been for many centuries. Which is good, I guess.

That said, Patreon itself is very much a corporate, for profit entity, and comes with all the caveats that such a status normally implies. It provides a platform for real artists to do real things, which is really neat and all, but it is not my or your friend, nor yours. Corporations are not our friends. We are both simply using one another as means to an end, and that's fine for now. 

What I expect from this service, and what I expect for the sake of my patrons, is just that, service - quality and consistency as befits its continued existences and utility to all of us. So long as that remains within acceptable parameters, I don't really care what else Patreon wants to get up to in its spare time, for the simple reason that I am not in any way affiliated with or represent Patreon, have literally no input into its operations and generate very little profit for in individually, and have no interest in either catering to it, defending it, pushing products for it, or doing anything for it beyond my adherence to the terms of service.

Under Communism, there will be no Patreon, because it will have become well and truly obsolete. Until then, we have to make do with what we can to simply survive the brutality of our manufactured social, economic, and political environment.
Goals
$22.47 of $100 per month
Thing-a-Month

If I hit 100, I'll be able to pretty reliably release either a new, small tabletop or digital game or a new, smallish module, variant, setting, or play-set for one of my existing games every month. You'll be able to look forward to even more weird, experimental micro-systems / mini-systems like By Hook Or by Crook and This Town Is Full Of Monsters.
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By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 18 exclusive posts
3
Images
15
Writings
By becoming a patron, you'll instantly unlock access to 18 exclusive posts
3
Images
15
Writings

Recent posts by Aleks Samoylov

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