Tuesday, March 05, 2013

amanda palmer, f*ck yeah

I follow Neil Gaiman, a writer I like very much, and read his blog posts, on Goodreads. I'm not sure if I first heard of his romance and subsequent marriage to musician Amanda Palmer in one if his blog posts there, or somewhere else. But his writing about his wife led me to her blog, and her music. I liked it. As she says in her recent TED lecture, "The art of asking," it's an acquired taste. But she has acquired a lot of fans and supporters over the years, and in this fascinating talk she touches on making art and making money and how the usual model — of artists needing representation, a buffer, having someone else hold out the tin cup — may be outdated, and possibly even anti-art.

Her enthusiasm is infectious, and her techniques to raise money on her own to make an album with her new band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, without the sponsorship of a record label, are inspiring. I have been posting excerpts of a current writing project of mine on my blog, off and on, but after hearing Palmer, I have started having a whole new idea about how to proceed.

Her husband admits to being both proud and a little jealous of how her crafting her speech took her attention away from him. And a great speech it is. Palmer, who has been an independent and struggling artist for many years, could have hit "the big time" when she married the ├╝ber-successful writer. But she hasn't seemed interested in proceeding with her career in any way but her own way.

She craves a true one-on-one connection with her fans, to the extent that they even put her up when she's on tour, as well as accept her open invitation to join the band onstage. The latter offer was received with the inevitable internet criticism, but Palmer genuinely wants to make art and stay connected to her audience — preferably simultaneously. Social media offers abundant opportunities for her to do just that. It's a revolutionary way to think about art-making and art support, for both the artist and the audience. If you have the time, I strongly urge everyone to listen in on Palmer. And get inspired.
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