© 2020 by Amanda Lyons

drawings + photos by Amanda Lyons

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an elephant in my room

(Quick note: all images drawn by Amanda Lyons of VISUALS for CHANGE. Ask to use.)

I couldn't decide on a title for this post, so I went with a few written above, and I introduce the app I'm using where you can support my work....


Why elephants? Lots of reasons (and if you haven't been following along via Patreon or instagram, you may not know I'm in an elephant phase - painting, making, thinking a lot about elephants in many ways). I want to bring your attention to some metaphorical elephants . You know how we say 'the elephant in the room'? I think that there's usually there's more than one. Dialoguing about these elephants just might bring on some laughing or crying or I hope they instigate an important dialogue about what it means to live as an artist.




Meet some of the elephant(s). Money. Worth. Value. Assumptions. ALL the things that often create complex relationships to art and making art.


Gratitude for giving me the opportunity to share these elephants, to grapple what it means to me to be an artist. It's been a process of letting go of other people's assumptions and examining my own.


What did I let go of?

The idea of a starving artist is so problematic in so many ways. It devalues art before even defining it, making huge sweeping unseen assumptions. Some of this thinking is based in cultural systems that tell us how to make meaning. (We could get super lost in this philosophical discussion, so I'll leave it here for now....)


I work every day at disciplining my mind to align with positive thoughts, allowing those energetic, mental, fear-based walls that I've created myself to fall away and no longer get in my way. Some days I'm more successful at this than others - part of the experience of living as a human!


Also, I've decided to let go of using other's maps for success. Lots of folks have told me that I need to do THIS or THAT as an entrepreneur/female/business person. Yet when I lead from my own core and make decisions that make sense to me and my working style rather than what someone told me, I tend to have better results.


Many of these things I've let go of devalue art and don't acknowledge the PROCESS of MAKING art. They create low expectations and low morale among artists thereby affecting those around them and further spreading negative energy about artists and art. I want to change this. I have great respect for art and artists. Let's explore our own expectations and assumptions of artists and art!

I'll invite you now to take a pause in your reading and answer the questions (also in the above image) for yourself. Be honest - you've got nothing to lose and might gain some insight into better knowing how you think!


What assumptions do you have about artists?

What are your assumptions based on?

Did they come from someone else's thinking box or are they your own?


What did you learn? Where did your thinking about art and artists come from? Have you ever thought about this before? How does it affect how you are with the artists you know in you life? Do you consider yourself an artist? Oh, I have soooo many questions!


The value of art is a topic that has been a long, long, long controversy - one we've tried to address with agents and distributors such as galleries, debates and definitions and degrees, etc. Even still, there's a fuzziness to it. There are lots of opinions and views. It can feel a bit overwhelming. Hmph. What would it take for this to instead feel inspirational and accessible? After all so much of what art is about is having a voice, a say, something to share.


What if we embrace art AND the process of making art in a way that best serves our artists, viewers, want-to-be-artists (which, wait, is this really a thing? we're all ARTISTS! so really it's want-to-be-a-specific-kind-of-artist?), our young folk and our elders, our organizations and our individuals, our environment, our community fabric? How can we do that?

How do we change the way we see, think and interact with art as a society?

How can we change how we see, think and interact with art and artists individually?


There are some experiments currently in the world that speak to these questions. One such experiment is a service and app called Patreon, think patron with an 'e.' I thought I'd try it and have been a part of the Patreon community for about 6 months now!


Wait, what's Patreon?

In short, Patreon is a place where you can support ARTISTS and their ART!


Artists can share their artwork (of any kind - music, storytelling, comics, painting, etc) and patrons choose a monetary tier (or follow for free) that both supports that artist and their artwork AND gives that patron membership to that artist's page (set up a bit like a blog with posts and comments).


Patrons get to interact with artists! Artists get to make their art!


Curious to know more? Each monetary membership tier is either set up as a monthly payment or payment per 'thing made' and has different perks associated with it, defined by the artist themselves - as is the actual amount. Many artists choose to have tiers that are super affordable, like $2 per month which comes to $24 per year. Patrons who choose small amounts can make a huge difference to an artist, as can of course medium or bigger amounts. (These words are all relative. I know. I'm trying.)


Support ART + you are supporting ARTISTS! ART! The art PROCESS!


Art is what gets us through, what helps us see new perspectives. Art instigates laughing, crying, and asking questions in the spirit of being creative and sometimes in the spirit of better understanding our lives! It's part of the social fabric of who we are as humans - creative and always changing, always learning.


The process of making my own art has taught me that ART HEALS.


Art has a way of helping me get through all the bullshit to see what's really there, what's really meaningful. It's helped me move through challenging feelings and come to peace with how things are. It's helped me navigate difficult conversations where there was a knot in my stomach or my throat was tightening. Whether it's everyday muck I can't seem to stop thinking about, monkey mind that's running me ragged or overwhelm at ALL the choices I have in my life today, ART and the process of making art have been humongous guides for me - taking me back to my present moment, to my core intuition, to that which matters.


The process of making art makes me feel alive. It reignites me, allowing me to be myself and show up to each moment as best I can. I'm crazy appreciative for having found this way of processing what it means to be human. It's saved me lots of money in therapy. (Disclaimer: therapy is great too! And this isn't a suggestion to replace your therapy with art. Art works well for me and yet I don't consider what I do art therapy, that's different. This is self care, essential for me to be fully human.)


My art includes journaling (writing, drawing, scribbling in journals), drawing, painting and dabbling in other materials and fields such as wood cut prints and collage. Oh, and in a way cooking too! And facilitating!

Your art might be music or the way you string words together in story or how you move your body in dance or....


Expression.

It's priceless.

(Oh, hmmmmmm, and still I'll ask! As an artist, asking is another thing I'm learning over and over again!)


Want to help me pay for my art making? Want to help me make a living as an artist practicing and sharing the process of making art? Become a patron of VISUALS for CHANGE on Patreon. Either download the app on your phone and then look me up (I'm @visualsforchange) OR find me online at patreon.com/visualsforchange


THANKS a million! I have so much gratitude for my patrons!


If you feel called to donate but don't want to commit to a monthly, you can also make a 1 time donation via patreon or reach out directly to me.


Or if you want to hire me to facilitate an art workshop in your office, virtually, or at a family party, reach out!


Happy weekend y'all!