And why many of us should use crowdfunding as a means to beginning new projects and ventures.

In the movie ‘Pay It Forward’, the 12-year-old Trevor McKinney (Haley Joel Osment) starts a phenomenon where whenever a great favour is bestowed on you, you should pay it forward three times, hence starting a chain of good deeds.

Crowdfunding, In my honest opinion, should and quite often does, follow this basic principle.

I don’t see crowdfunding as generosity nor is it charity… I see it as a responsibility. In the creative industries and art worlds, investment and funding is slowing and becoming so scarce that we are in danger of losing many crafts, practices and disciplines.

Utilising crowdfunding is a modern approach to arts funding with rewards built in by default. For the backer as well as the artists conducting the campaign.

Offering rewards in the form of the artworks, special edition prints or even digital downloads provide tangible value for the original contribution or backing.

For Studio Faire, in 2016, we realised a need to raise around €8,000, in the form of a deposit, to secure the purchase of the property in Nérac with the vendor while we sought a mortgage. Over a 2 month campaign on Indiegogo, we raised £8500 (around €9,500) from 118 backers. This gave us the ability to move quickly on the project / new business while dealing with the laborious slow process of buying a property in France.

We found that most of our backers were friends and family and friends of friends. Our ‘perks’ weren’t so tangible in that apart from a few options to pre-book a residency with us, ‘high-fives’ from the dogs, a drum solo from myself as well as the chance to have ‘your name set in stone’ once we had the studios set up, were all that were on offer as rewards. 

With larger projects like electrical products and tech innovations, crowdfunding can be seen as more of a pre-sales route without the over-inflated egos of investors getting in the way of your ideas and route to market. 

Creativity should be given the opportunity to seed, the time to grow and the backing it needs to flourish.  With fewer grants or awards available, artists can take the initiative and control this process themselves utilising the likes of Indiegogo, Kickstarter & GoFundMe to name but a few.

We should all look to invest in a few projects each year, to encourage creativity, support an artist with their ideas and get involved. It will certainly be paid forward and who knows, when it comes round to your turn to need the support & backing of the crowd… you’ll have some good coming your way.

Colin Usher is one of the co-founders of Studio Faire