Give Your Work Away

Give Your Work Away

“Make things for people you love.” – Austin Kleon

Robert Mapplethorpe gave a lot of his work away to friends. So did Picasso (to some controversy).

These were some of the most famous artists of their time, and now their work goes for thousands of dollars. The people who loved and supported them get the benefit.

So it should be with the work we make.

My guess is that there are people in your life—family, spouses, friends, supporters—who help to make your art possible, either through emotional support or hustle. It’s certainly true for me. For my recent gallery shows, it’s always my friends and family who turn out. That support means a lot.

I feel like we should be generous with our art, especially to those who show up. A print doesn’t cost that much to make – why not gift it to someone who loves your work?

Recently, my in-laws asked if they could get a few of my still life prints to go with their dining room remodel. I gladly two photos to go with their decoration scheme, no questions asked.

I’m never going to be famous like Mapplethorpe, and my work will never sell for thousands of dollars. But even if it did, giving my work away to people I care about is the least I can do for their time and attention.