A: Generally, it depends on who is doing the asking. If it’s an organization that has been supportive of my work, I am pleased to help with fundraising. If the organization and I have never connnected before, their out-of-the-blue request sometimes feels disrespectful. Artists invest decades, vast amounts of money, and plenty of blood, sweat, and tears to become the skilled creators that we are. And a New York artist’s overhead is considerable. I know of no artists who create their hard-fought work only to give it away.
Under certain conditions, however, I will participate. Here is my response to a recent donation request.
Thank you for contacting me. Certainly your organization sounds worthwhile.
However, you may be unaware that artists may deduct ONLY the cost of materials when we give our work to auctions. I suggest that you ask one of your supporters to buy a pastel painting and donate it next year (there is a one-year waiting period for collectors to take this tax deduction). Then we have a win-win-win! I get paid, the collector/donor gets to enjoy owning my beautiful work for a year AND take a tax deduction for the full amount that he/she paid for it. Plus, your organization gets to sell my painting at next year’s auction.
Don’t you agree this is a better approach for everyone involved?
Comments are welcome!
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
I think there are two very interesting stages in creative work. One is confusion and one is boredom. They generally both mean that there’s a big fish swimming under the water. As Rilke said, “Live the questions.” And not judge that there’s something wrong about confusion, because the people who are working, say, on the cure for leprosy – they work for years and years in a state of confusion, and very often they don’t find the cure. They find something completely different. But they keep living the question. Confusion is absolutely essential to the creative process. If there was no confusion, why do it? I always feel that all of us have questions we’re asking all our lives, for our work, and if we ever found the answer, we’d stop working. We wouldn’t need to work anymore.
Boredom – if you’ve ever been in therapy, you’d know that when you start getting bored, that’s really important. The therapist sits up; there’s something going on, because the wall that you come against – that’s where the real gold is. It’s really precious.
Andre Gregory (from My Dinner with Andre) in Anne Bogart, Conversations with Anne: Twenty-four Interviews
Comments are welcome!