Although I take the mickey out of Rhizome quite frequently (mainly because of them constantly commissioning incomprehensible, pointless, solipsistic digital doodles in the name of art and because of Rhizome’s general tone of absurdly hyperbolic Bowery New-York-ness, seriously, their hipper-than-thou attitude is so thick you could cut into chunks and it could be a commercial replacement for the artisan cupcake or the fixie bike as an urban hipster fetish product.)
But anyway the artist Molly Crabapple has written a rather interesting and insightful article (Medici is the Crowd) for Rhizome about crowdfunding her own work, specifically through Kickstarter.
Dodgy disagreement between the plurals in the title notwithstanding, and leaving aside the fact that I’m not wild about the word awesome being deployed indiscriminately*, it’s all worth reading, but I was particularly interested in the nuts and bolts information about how she actually made it work and what she got out of doing it. I also couldn’t agree more with her on the quote I used for the title of this post: “Stop asking for permission. Do it yourself.” She prefaces these two sentences with an expletive directive that I also endorse fully. For those who don’t know already, Kickstarter allows fundraisers to offer in-kind incentives or rewards to investors, and that’s what she is talking about here:
“Kickstarter is run on small backers, with most people donating between $20 and $100 dollars.
Here was my plan to give them something awesome:
I broke my rewards into four categories: “Access,” “Artifact,” “Art Objects,” and “Art.” “Access” was livestreams and parties and interactions with my backers. I wanted to hear their thoughts, and give them mine. “Artifact” meant the brushes, drawing scraps and paint battered palates that went into making giant paintings. I got the idea watching baseball players sell their baseballs. For “Art Objects,” I made postcards, art-adorned poker chips, and other reasonably-priced reproductions.
This left “Art”: the six-foot-tall, impossible-to-sell-affordably, paint and wood megaliths that I felt compelled to make. When three patrons bought these paintings from my Kickstarter, I was flabbergasted.”
Read the rest here: http://rhizome.org/editorial/2012/mar/15/comment-medici-crowd
* I mean that the solar system is awesome, the Alps are awesome, seeing your child for the first time is awesome, the boundless human capacity for invention, survival and creativity is awesome. What do we call these things if we agree that getting a gift from Kickstarter is awesome?