The Artist Support Pledge - How our alumni are continuing to work from home
The Artist Support Pledge is an online movement that aims to support artists financially during the coronavirus crisis.
As galleries closed, exhibitions were postponed or cancelled, artist studios were vacated and art schools were emptied of their students, British artist Matthew Burrows founded the Artist Support Pledge. This online project aims to encourage art sales at a time when the most vital sales platforms have become unavailable to artists and makers.
All artists of all disciplines from any country are able to take part. Here's how it works:
- You must have Instagram
- Post a photo of your work onto Instagram using the hashtag #artistsupportpledge with details of the work and the price (£200 max.)
- Interested buyers will message you directly on Instagram and you can arrange the sale and delivery of the work
- When you reach a sales total of £1000, you will commit to spending 20% (£200) on the purchase of another artists work who is also using #artistsupportpledge
With almost 70,000 posts at the time of writing, the works that are being created in isolation all over the world are a testament to the power and importance of the creative community during this time of uncertainty and continual change.
A number of Royal Drawing School alumni are taking part.
Cheri Smith, Drawing Year 2018
In my practice I seek an understanding or closeness through looking and spending time with a being or an environment. I have a love for nature, a curiosity for things strange and mysterious.
My temporary studio is a desk at the end of my bed, so I wake up and fall asleep each day to see my works becoming and changing. Earlier this week I found an enormous spider in my bedroom which became my life model for the day.
Taking part in the Artist Support Pledge has been an extraordinary experience - providing a vital source of income, and an even more vital source of support, encouragement and inspiration. I feel very grateful to be a part of such an amazing community. Follow @chchcheri
David Gardner, Drawing Year 2019
I'm David Gardner, an artist based in London. My work at the moment is mainly drawing based - I like to play with line, form, colour and scale. For a while now i've been obsessed with Ancient Greek and Etruscan art and during lockdown I've been studying this further. Due to the pandemic, I've unfortunately lost work and my usual flow of income, so i've started including my work in the wonderful Artist Support Pledge. It's great to think that some of my pieces are going to good homes. I've sold one drawing so far, and there's many more looking for new homes!
I read a quote the other day: "What keeps my heart awake is colourful silence" (Monet). I've been drawing from my kitchen window during lockdown, it looks over the back gardens where I live - huge red blooms, white blossom and many wild greens. There's a fox that visits everyday and naps in the same spot. The sun arches from one side to the other and comes right through the open window, heating up my oil pastels. The slow down has been a blessing. Spending many hours and days just looking and meditating on the scene from the window, noticing how everything belongs to one thing, nothing is separate, everything reflects in each other. The blue of the sky is in the green of the leaves. The tree in front of me is slowly growing and transforming before my eyes, and my eyes (and every cell in my body) are doing just the same. What an opportunity to simmer the pace, to watch this slow dance and listen to that colourful silence. Follow @boy.bitten.by.lizzard
Jessica Jane Charleston, Drawing Year 2017
I am a painter and printmaker and am currently working on a series of works on paper after being awarded the 2020 Young Artist Award from the Royal Watercolour Society. I describe my work as female-centric, self-portrait and subconscious musings. The women depicted in my works often begin as self-portraits but become transformed in the process of drawing from life, imagination and dreams. The Artist Support Pledge is a brilliant platform bringing artists together at this very strange time. I am continuing to draw and paint in lockdown alongside my newly born son! Follow @jessicajanecharleston
Holly Mills, Drawing Year 2018
I’m still adjusting to the slower pace of life, trying not to put pressure on myself to produce work, to enjoy the process. In the lead up to lockdown I had been furiously working on large hanging pieces for a joint show with fellow Drawing Year alumna Mary Herbert. The immediate lack of deadline, move to home, and addiction to reading the news left me somewhat stupefied. I spent a good two weeks deep-cleaning my flat, crocheting a rug (very slowly!) and feeling bad about doing not much else.
I’ve slowly got back into making again though, I have a box of works in progress that I’ve been scratching out/painting over/ starting again and occasionally finishing. Being at home means going small again, which I am enjoying.
Having lost all other freelance work, the Artist Support Pledge has been a lifeline. In the past I’ve felt too intimidated to sell work online, but the time felt right. It has not only paid my rent, but has also introduced me to so many amazing artists. Hard not to spend everything I have earned! Follow @hollyveramills
Beth Rodway, Drawing Year 2018
My practice is orientated around linework and the subject of the everyday. I'm currently up north in the countryside for lockdown, making a new drawing each day for the Artist Support Pledge scheme - this way of working was learnt whilst on The Drawing Year. This series explores the traditional subject matter of women in the home, (which feels quite apt for the lockdown period) but the removal of garments and stance adds a great deal of empowerment. It feels so special to be able to connect with those across the world in times such as these and for me making art has never felt so meaningful. Follow @bethellenmorganrodway
Mark Connolly, Drawing Year 2017
I am interested in creating paintings that move freely through time and engage in ancient mythology. Historical symbolism and construction of narrative are constant sources of inspiration. In lifting images from their original context, translating them, and situating them alongside opposing and contradictory narratives, the work creates unanticipated dynamics and rhythms. It is very important that each work moves in different directions simultaneously, engaging with several sources and languages.
I have found that through the lockdown it has been impossible to continue pursuing works that were in progress. The shift has delivered fresh eyes and a window to consider the past year's research. I am looking back to visit's to the Uffizi, Borghese, Louvre, D'Orsay and National Museum in Rome, the drawings and images collected on these visits are seeping into past ideas and taking form as new entities. I am working on several small canvases, and a stack of works on paper, and look forward to bringing these back to my studio in London to scale up some of the more successful studies. Follow @mark__connolly
Geraint Ross Evans, Drawing Year 2015
Since the lockdown I’ve set up a studio in our front room which is yet to be renovated and so I’m not too worried about making a mess - although I did get into a bit of trouble for using the staple gun! I’ve found the limitation useful. I’ve had to ask myself, how can I explore the world and depict narratives within the confines of my home? This is the challenge that occupies me at present. I crave solitude, so the lockdown hasn’t been a huge challenge for me, more of an excuse to freely follow any new line of curiosity I find governing my work. It has inspired me to be braver too. With no upcoming deadlines, I feel as though I can draw like no one’s watching and use mediums I’m less familiar with.
I draw to explore my surroundings; to observe, learn and build relationships with the tangible world, committing the experience to both memory and page. I then use these works to reimagine my experience in the studio together with research on the subject and place I'm exploring. These new works take the form of large-scale drawing, painting and occasionally are incorporated into installations and soundscape.
I arrived late to the party in terms of the Artist Support Pledge. At first I was hesitant, and sceptical as to whether anyone would be in the mood for purchasing art but I’m pleased to have had my suspicions proved wrong! Whether you’re creating or consuming, it’s clear that the arts have been a source of strength and escape amongst the challenges brought about by the pandemic. Another motivating factor was seeing so many artists I admire post their work and I felt pangs of excitement seeing drawings and paintings that I could potentially own! I’m so glad I got involved and I’ve had two sales so far. It’s a really brilliant yet simple initiative. I hope to reach the target and help a friend or two while helping to support myself. Follow @geraintevans_artist
Tim Patrick, Drawing Year 2015
I paint mostly in oils, working directly with the subject allowing a scene to change and evolve over time. I find my relationship with painting comes alive when I work from life - the reciprocity between the subject and canvas excites me to work more dynamically than I would in the studio, and for me, gives some purpose and life to the process of painting.
So much of my work is focused on the spaces I live and move through. It’s strange, as being kept at home has encouraged me to make more paintings on where I dwell; seeing how familiar surrounds are transfigured by a change of light and passage of time throughout a day. Whilst there is so much change and concern, lockdown has drawn me to paint from concrete things, from what’s in front of me; the kitchen, interiors, light falling on a curtain. It’s in spending time with these overlooked pieces of a place that I’ve found the most solace. Follow @timpatrickpainter
Follow @artistsupportpledge to see the works that are being created and for further details on how to take part.