How to Support Your Artist Friends If You Can't Afford Their Art


Like me, you probably have a lot of creative friends. You want to support them, you may even want to purchase a piece of their artwork for your home—but perhaps their work is a bit out of your price range. I’ve certainly been there!

Being an artist is a tough gig. Oftentimes artists encounter financial hardship due to unsteady income, stress from having multiple jobs or from working normal 9-5 hours and then coming home to spend time on their “side hustle.” Unfortunately, some even endure criticism from family or friends who don’t take their creative pursuits seriously.

Here are a few ways you can support your artistic friends:

Engage with their social media

“Like” their photos, make comments, and share their posts! Not only is this a self-esteem boost for the artist, but it improves their visibility to the social media algorithm gods. That means more people seeing their work, and more potential sales as a result.

Visit their gallery opening receptions

If your friend has a show opening up, it means the world to them to see all their favorite people in attendance. Even if you do not purchase a piece of art, your presence is more than welcome. Bring a friend who may not be familiar with their artwork. AND, added bonus for you: free wine and snacks! A gallery visit makes a nice pre-game to dinner or a night out.

Recommend them

If someone is looking for talent, recommend your creative friends! Many of their opportunities come by word-of-mouth.

Donate to their Patreon/Kickstarter/Ko-Fi

Websites like Patreon allow people to donate a few bucks a month to support an artist, and in exchange you have access to various perks set up by the artist. This can be a nice stream of added income for the artist, at a low cost to you.

Ask about lower-priced commission work

I’m not a huge fan of the “friend discount,” but I will work with someone who is serious about wanting a piece of artwork. Perhaps I will create something on a smaller scale, or I will open the vault and show you things that were created a while ago that I’d be willing to unload for a lower price. Some artists sell prints of their artwork too. This may not be an option for every artist, but it never hurts to ask—especially if you are a fervent supporter in other ways.

Trade services

This is another area that varies artist to artist, but some are very open to trading services. Think about what you can offer that is of value (for example, maybe a piece of art in exchange for a salon appointment) and make sure the cost value is equal.

Encourage them!

Many artists suffer from imposter syndrome, meaning they don’t feel like they are good enough to be an artist. Ask them about their art, encourage them, tell them about certain pieces that you like. It will be a welcome confidence boost.

April HopkinsComment