Saturday, June 17, 2017

Supporting the Artist


This is a rare direst communication and ask to my followers on this blog, rather than the usual essays or poems or photos. I rarely speak to you directly, except in comments, so this is a bit new to me, too.

I have started a Patreon site, which is intended to help me make a living as a creative artist.

Below, I will post the text of a long email, with updates, that I have sent out to family and friends. I have a favor to ask, which is detailed in the email, but which I will summarize briefly, first.

Basically, going forward it looks as if my best recourse in life is to pursue my arts career full-time, in which case I need patronage and support. Now that I am disabled, it's hard for me to do anything else, like hold down a regular job, but I do need to earn some level of income, and the best way to do that is to ask for help, and in return make everything I do creatively available to my patrons. They see what I am doing first, and they get first crack at what I have created, be in photographs, music, a new typeface (I have made three in the past year!), and so on.

The favor I want to ask is in two parts:

1. Please visit my Patreon site, read the introductory text I wrote about all this, or watch the video I made to introduce myself. If you would like to support me as an artist, in whatever small capacity, please do. No amount is too small, and every bit helps enormously.

Link to my Patreon site:

2. Please pass on the news to your own friends and email contacts, especially those you think might be interested. To do that, you can cut and paste the email text below into your own email, and send it off. Or if you just wish to pass along the Patreon site and other links, please do that.

Thank you!

I am in the process of moving my creative activities, including the kinds of posts I have done on this blog for the past several years, onto my Patreon site, and making it into my new blog. I post a Public post at least once a week, which the whole world can see. The rest of my posts are for patrons only. But my lowest threshold of support is only US $2, so if you really want to keep following me, there's a very inexpensive way to do it.

Thank you again. Sincerely Yours,


Email text is below.

Here are the links, also in the email below, relevant to this occasion. More will be added later.

Link to my Patreon site:

Link to my Redbubble online store:

Link to the GoFundMe set up to help me replace the gear stolen from my van in Palm Springs, last March:

Dear Family, Friends, and Supporters—

I am contacting many of you on my email list with an update and some important arts-career-related news. Later on, I am going to ask a favor.

First, an update:

I am for this summer living in the Ann Arbor, MI, area, for now, where I will have a roof over my head, and thus can get a lot of work done in a settled place—I can set up my recording studio and work on the two albums of music I have been thinking about for awhile; I can paint; I can write; I have a base from which to roam, go camping, do road trips, and bring back more new photos and ideas to work on.

Ann Arbor, MI, many of you know, is the closest thing to a home town that this nomad has. It's a little strange being back in Michigan, this summer—much remains the same, much has changed. I will be based here in Michigan for the summer, during which time I will be doing some camping excursions, a music seminar in July at Interlochen Arts Academy in northern Michigan, and more. I will also be driving to Wisconsin periodically, to continue to sort through what I have left in my storage lockers there. As for where I will be past this summer, I haven't planned that far ahead. I have options, including heading back to the Southwest and California for the winter. All that will depend on where I find a place to stay.

This past winter I spent mostly in New Mexico and California. I was very happy to stay with my bestie Becca and her Mr. Man in Paso Robles, CA. Because, you know, wine country! After that, I was in Palm Springs for several months; or rather, in and around PS, as I never found an actual place to live. Some things happened that were wonderful, like having an opportunity to sing with Modern Men, the Coachella Valley Men's Chorus, which led to a very fun concert experience singing choral jazz arrangements from the American Songbook. I made many new friends, and renewed some existing friendships in the LGBT chorus movement. I knew that the Palm Springs area was a retirement community; I did not know that it was such a huge gay chorus retirement community!

Some less-than-great things happened during my stay in Palm Springs, too, all of which I survived, learned from, and which I have now moved past. My van was broken into, and music gear and my cameras were stolen. I am currently raising funds to replace my stolen microphones, while some friends and donors have already helped me replace the cameras and other gear. (I include links to my GoFundMe campaign and my other online arts activities below.)

I learned how to live fairly comfortably in a tent and a van. My friend Al helped build me a solar power rig, which is portable and which I can use to power my laptops and mobile devices wherever I am camped; it works very well, and allows me to do my creative work well into the evening, even while living far off the grid. I now have a Disabled Access pass for the National Parks, which means I get into the National Parks free for the rest of my life, and also gives me a 50 percent discount for camping. I also now have the same sort of access card for the California State Parks, which discounts 50 percent off all fees.

All of that is going to be VERY useful. Traveling and camping out West becomes a LOT cheaper. I feel at home in the National Parks; they are a huge source of inspiration to me, and also a place where I feel at home, and alive, and safe. I am probably meant to remain semi-nomadic, at this time of my life, so I hope to travel safely for as long as health permits. The "snowbird" pattern of spending winters in warmer climes appeals to me.

During my time in the Palm Springs area, I learned that asking for help leads to help being given, in large ways and in small. People stepped forward to help me after the van was broken into; others in Modern Men helped me enormously with attire for the concerts; still others found music-recording gigs for which I earned a little money. Being my Mother's son, asking for help, when you need it, is kind of a new concept for me; but I am getting a lot of practice. I am no longer ashamed to ask for what I need, and no longer afraid of getting a "No" in response. All you an do is ask; people help you if they can; even if they can't help you in tangible ways, the moral support is also wonderful.

To that end, I have created a Patreon artistic patronage website.

Patreon is a patronage paradigm: people support creative artists whose work they like directly, via donation, rather than going through a record company or a publisher as distributors. All kinds of creative work appears on Patreon, from music to comic books to the genuinely unclassifiable. I support a few artists myself, in my own small way, including Amanda Palmer, whose TED talk and book "The Art of Asking" inspired me to do this, along with some friends who recommended Patreon to me directly. makes it easier for artists to connect with their audience, no matter how specific or tiny their niche is. I currently have a dozen patrons who directly support my art-making. Part of the agreement between artists and patrons is that patrons get first access to the work I am doing, and special treats that no one else gets. That is described in more detail on my Patreon page.

So here is the favor I want to ask, in two parts:

1. Please visit my Patreon site, and look it over. There is an introductory video I made that introduces the concept, and gives some of the background; there is also a text description. (I filmed the video at one of my favorite locations for photography in Joshua Tree National Park.) Please consider becoming a patron of mine, for as little as $2 per month, or for whatever higher value you think the work is worth. I assure you, every bit goes a very long way.

You can look my Patreon site over at this URL address:

2. Please pass this email along to your own email circle of friends, especially those you believe might be interested in supporting the arts, so that they too can look it over. Please help me spread the word! I would be very grateful.

The good people at Patreon say again and again that the way this works is to spread the news far and wide, and see what happens. I just need a few more people to be fans—fans of the art I make, and the music, and video work, and type design, and all the various art forms I practice, many of which have already started to earn me some income. I have several friends around the world, who are musicians and artists, who are somehow making it work, via means similar to Patreon, and via their constant presence online. You have to let people know what you are doing—so I am! Even if you can't support me as an artist, please do support me in passing the word along about what I am doing.

That's it. That's all I am asking for.

This is my best shot at rebuilding my life, after long illness and recovery, and several years that were hard to get through. And here I am, still going. I am doing better, I am feeling better, I have restarted my life after that long illness, and I feel positive about it. My mind can still get fogged over by lingering after-effects of the chronic illness I survived; yet even on my worst days, I make art. It's what I do.

I anticipate that, going forward, making art will be more and more what I do. It's what I am best at doing. Perhaps it was what I was meant to do all along, and in some ways it's the only thing I am very good at doing. It is as fundamental to my being as breathing.

So, if you are able to help me, in any way, to continue to do my creative work, and to grow and evolve as an artist and human being, please do.

Thank you reading this very long email.

Thank you for being my friends, and fans, and supporters. (I know that for some of you this update is not fresh news, as you are already my Patreon supporters. Thank you for your additional patience.)

Thank you for being my family, both family of origin and family of choice, in every way that matters.

Thank you to each and every one of you who has helped me get through the past few years, to finally emerge on the other side, and start over, and build a new life as a professional creative artist. Thank you!

Please look over my Patreon site, and let me know what you think. And please pass it on. I am also researching means to sell my original photography and visual art online, and also my original typeface designs. I hope to have more news about that soon.

Thank you very sincerely, and with much love and gratitude—

Arthur Durkee

Link to the GoFundMe set up to help me replace the gear stolen from my van in Palm Springs:

Link to my Patreon site:

Link to my Redbubble online store:<>BR>

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