Everyone needs a little support, whether that’s money or a retweet.

Every major artist we know started off small, not knowing if they were going to make it, and just trying to share their art.  As a small theatre artist myself, I know the struggle of trying to get people to donate to your work, trying to garner interest for my work, and trying to figure out how the hell I’m going to sustain this passion so I can eventually make this into a career.

Over the weekend, I was on Twitter when someone retweeted a tweet from @itserrolberry.  He was promoting his sale for commission rainbow pieces.  Usually $13, we could now purchase a commissioned piece for $10.  I was intrigued by this idea of commissioning a work of art, mostly because I had always thought of it as an expensive venture that I wouldn’t be able to do until I was well-off.  I wasn’t exactly sure I wanted to spend money (even though it was just $10 and the regular price isn’t even that bad, either), so I retweeted the tweet and kept scrolling.  My mind kept going back to that tweet, though.  I mean, a commissioned piece of art was something I had wanted, and the only time I had someone draw something of my likeness (caricature gifts at parties excluded) was when one of my best friends did a portrait using one of my photos and gifted it to me for my sixteenth birthday (this portrait still hangs on my wall, by the way, and I’ll probably never live anywhere without it).  Also, I knew the struggle of being an artist just trying to make a name for yourself and get your content out there.  Plus, ten bucks was a hell of a deal.  So, after thinking about it for a while, I went back and found the tweet, went to this person’s profile, and commissioned a piece.

I had a lot of questions.  1) What if this was a scam?  2) What if I didn’t want it afterwards?  3) How does this process work and how am I going to get him the money?  4) What if this takes forever?  Lots of questions that had easy answers: 1) even if it were a scam, I could report him, but other than that, quite a few people were replying to his tweet with their commissioned pieces, so I had proof this dude delivered; 2) The chances of me not wanting a piece of artwork that was literally my face makes no sense in terms of my character and I was just making up excuses (a bit on this later); 3) All I had to do was ask him how the process worked in order to find out; and 4) This dude literally finished my piece in a matter of an hour.

So, I commissioned the piece and I’m absolutely in love with it.  It’s now my YouTube profile picture and banner.

Thank you Errol Berry for this amazing commissioned piece!

This isn’t an article telling you how great I am because I support an artist.  This is an article from an artist who supported another artist because I knew the struggles of just wanting to create art and share it with other people.  The thing about it, is that there’s a whole cohort of amazing artists in every field that are on par (talent wise) with some of our favorite artists, but because they don’t have big labels, galleries, theatre companies, or huge brands backing them, we don’t support them.  I see this all the time when it comes to crowdfunding for anything, and I’m sure you do, too: all the links of Facebook asking people to donate.  Usually what ends up happening is that we keep seeing the same people requesting help because the same people are getting scrolled past.

With small and upcoming artists, we have to be willing to take a chance and allow them to see where their talent can lead.  Even if that’s $10 for a commissioned piece or a $2 donation to a crowdfunding campaign for your friend’s movie.  Telling people their work is awesome in a comment and then continuing to scroll doesn’t really help anyone.  Essentially, put your money where your mouth is, or…put your actions where your mouth is.

I know that not everyone has the monetary resources to buy the artwork of artists or donate to crowdfunding campaigns for shows or movies, but a simple share or retweet goes a long way.  Case and point: I had no idea about @itserrolberry until someone (no clue if they commissioned a piece or not) retweeted their tweet and it happened across my Twitter timeline.  Just because you can’t support monetarily at the moment (or maybe you just don’t want to) doesn’t mean you can’t help in someway.  Spreading the word is essentially giving your stamp of approval.  It’s you saying, “Hey, wow, I think this artist is dope.”

Now, I will say that it seems people are more willing to throw money at complete strangers versus their own friends.  I don’t know what the complex behind not donating to our friends and loved ones is about.  We often make up excuses about why we can’t donate or support or share something a friend is doing, yet we’ll gladly tell them to keep up the good work and keep doing what they’re doing because it’s important.  How can they keep doing what they’re doing when it feels as if their own support group doesn’t support them enough to back them with some money?  I also get that people who can only donate a small amount feel weird about only donating $5 since most crowdfunding campaigns have a social aspect to them where you can see who else donated and how much they donate.  Take it from me, a senior in college trying to raise money for her senior project: we appreciate every donation, no matter the size, because whether it’s $1 or $100, it’s putting us either one step or one-hundred steps closer to our goal, and the fact that you’re donating in the first place is amazing.  Supporting small and upcoming artists starts at home.  It starts with seeing your friend’s crowdfunding page and saying “hey, I can afford to donate a dollar” and then sharing their link with other people on your timeline and asking them to donate.

If you know any small, up and coming artists in any capacity, please leave their business info in the comments section below! I’ve included a cute little list at the end of this article of some really dope artists I found on Twitter or know personally, so make sure to check that out!

I’m on Twitter (@_AhtiyaL_), Instagram (@_ahtiyal_), and Facebook (Ahtiya L).  Follow my accounts and like my Facebook page!  For my latest YouTube videos “MY WHITE SUPERVISOR TOUCHED MY HAIR,” and “What I’m Reading Winter Break!” click here!  And if you support the cause of promoting and showcasing bloggers and vloggers of color, follow Creators Of Color (@CREATORSofC_RT) on Twitter!  Please and thank you!

P.S. I’ve changed my content release schedule a bit.  From now on, I’ll be (hopefully) releasing content on Sundays and Wednesdays, alternating between two articles and two videos a week.  Head over to my YouTube channel (link above) next Sunday for another video, and check back on Wednesday for the next article!

Not sure where to start? Here’s a list of some pretty cool people you can check out and maybe support!  If you know of anyone else, please comment their contact info below and I’ll reach out to see if they would like to be added to the list!  I will be turning this list into a standing page on Casual Anxiety in the coming weeks so that it is always updated.

  • Etherealartiste (Art) [etherealartiste.com; Twitter: @etherealartiste; Instagram: @etherealartiste]
  • Kennedy Marley (Embroidery) [wildsoulmagicheart.com; Twitter: @KennedyyMarley; Instagram: @wildsoulmagicheart]
  • Errol Berry (Art) [Twitter: @itserrolberry;, Instagram: @itserrolberry]
  • LiTiKi (Jewelry) [website, Twitter: @LiTiKi_, Instagram]
  • LaVieMorte (Art) [Twitter: @LucifersFille; Instagram: @LucifersFille]
  • FireflyRay (Art) [TwitteR: @fireflyrayart)
  • Crisalys (Art) [crisalys.bigcartel.com; Twitter: @Criisalys; Instagram: @curisaris]
  • DomCo (Music) [https://soundcloud.com/demetrius-mccray; Twitter: @TheRealDomCo; Instagram: @solodomco]