Buy local. It’s that catchphrase people love to toss around. Don’t buy that table made in China, pick up the table made upstate. Skip the carrots from California; buy the organic, farm-fresh carrots at the local farmer’s market. There’s that group of people who love to remind their Facebook followers just how much they support local businesses and why you should too.
Supporting local businesses is all fine and good. Keeps money in the area, right? But what about supporting local artists? To me, it should fall under the same category. Perhaps my art school attendance has warped my personal way of thinking. Or maybe it’s the beer or the Arizona sun. Whatever fishing line that has lured me in this direction, I find far fewer are willing to support local artists, even when they consider those artists close friends (or even family).
Become a professional, and I mean a true artistic professional, where 100% of the money brought in is through artistic passion, offers more twists, dead-ends, failure-inducing depression and late nights wondering whether it’s worth following a dream to go on or not is worth it.
Now, I’m not saying other careers are easy. Not by any sense of the word. For an artist though, there are those days after days of drowning in blank white canvas, searching for inspiration, or the cursor of a word processor, mocking a writer with ever blink. When a sheet of staff music goes noteless for weeks on end, the logical part of a musician’s head just wants to string up the idea of a music career and hang it from the treble clef.
We all have those social media friends who post about their art projects, upcoming performances or artistic passions. For many, I can assure you it takes a considerable amount of guts to post this material for the world to see. Artistry bleeds from the soul. It’s part of the creator. So sharing this with other opens an intimate window into a person’s life.
Supporting a local artist is so much more than buying a tomato from the weekend farmer’s market. It’s demonstrating gratitude for their willingness to offer this internal glimpse of themselves.
Here’s the thing though. We all don’t have money to go out and buy a painting from a friend or to book a friend as a photographer for an important event. Sometimes we may simply have no interest in their musical style. All of that is perfectly fine. We all have our likes and dislikes. But it’s the little things that really matter here. Subscribe to that person’s YouTube channel, or Follow your friend’s musical page.
These are little things that take a second to do and have no impact on you, but these little numbers can make a big difference to the creator. Take an hour or two out of the evening to see someone perform and fill the audience, or offer a one-sentence review on Amazon or iTunes. It’s such a little thing that makes a big impact on a person who’s following a passion. A passion many of us took back around the barn and put a bullet into years ago because it wasn’t practical.
So just remember, while shopping local is important, shopping local artists may be more so.