A Patron of the Arts

I mentioned this once, on TRB, after Adelle used the word ‘patron’ to describe the gentlemen who call on us. I find it a particularly apt word to describe our situation: I, the artist, create a space for you, my patron, to find calm relaxation, acceptance, the joy of release, and intellectual stimulation while enjoying sights, smells, and sounds of beauty and sensuality. You become not only benefactor but beneficent. Your patronage allows me to create that atmosphere for you much as the artist’s patron allows the musician to invest time and energy in creating works of aural art, the sculptor to bring life to clay and stone, the painter to capture and preserve deep emotion.

I mentioned before that the economic exchange between courtesan and client often makes one or both parties uneasy. When I first began, I found myself struggling to ask for even the lowest rates. To a young woman accustomed to wage slavery and plagued by undervaluation it took the insistence of others and a great deal of market research to discover what I might ask for and it still took several occasions of positive reinforcement for me to feel comfortable. After a time, I adjusted what I asked for as I felt more confident in my skills. I have changed what I offer as part of my art and have settled in a place that I feel comfortable.

I realize that in a traditional patronage it is often only one patron for one artist but I doubt any one person could or would be able to truly release me from more mainstream wages. In order to distribute the burden I and many others have several patrons. Also in traditional patronage it is not hourly but a stipend assured for as long as the artist is in the good graces of her patron and even then it is often variable. I find that arrangement unfavorable because it establishes a power dynamic that leaves me indebted to my patron while I prefer it to be an equal exchange on each occasion.

Despite the superficial differences, the meaning is the same. Your patronage frees me to create a space for you both physically in my studio and mentally. You free me to experience and share, to develop interesting ideas, to read books and mull them over, to help you reach comfort and bliss. You, my patron,  free me to practice my art.