July was stressful and weird as this year has mostly been, but ended on a much brighter note. As I mentioned in my June post for Artists Make Art—a series that I started when I first launched this central site to discuss my many years of experience (pre-dating this space) of multi-art multi-genre work—Patreon came to mind and I decided to create a profile there. In June I mentioned:
Hopefully this route will make a difference; maybe buy me some time at a slower pace since there is no "cure" for dealing with social media unless I do not use it. I do not have that option because my work and income are tied to it in the same way it would be a corporate office if I still worked corporate. Nobody fully "escapes" capitalism and this is why I resent people fetishizing my labor while purposely ignoring the financial and emotional costs of doing it.
I decided to step back from Twitter, my hypervisible verified account @thetrudz. Now, my use of the account will correlate to Patreon or be mostly non-existent. It is the best choice for me. I still use my other Twitter accounts @GradientLair (lightly), @driftsojourn, and @Cinemacked as they are specific to my work and at the end of the day, people engage those spaces differently (usually more respectfully) versus my personal Twitter because those accounts are not hypervisible, verified, nor have my face (a Black woman) as the profile photo. (The latter point is something that I addressed for years when developing scholarship on misogynoir including in the social media age; see mainly Gradient Lair for such content.)
Below are the details on my new Patreon and some of my other work that I created and published in July. Patreon will now have its own category in my Artists Make Art series.
I created a new Patreon profile (the URL is patreon.com/thetrudz) to publish unique content for long time readers/supporters as well as for newly interested people. I want to focus on people who are genuinely interested in what I create, and share with those people. More signal and less (Twitter) noise. The banner photograph is a crop of a photograph I published on Instagram when I created a Pride Month iPhone wallpaper.
What I will publish on Patreon, starting in August includes:
- 1 new long form piece per month (i.e. on womanism, Black feminism, art, film, television or music etc.)
- 1-4 short pieces a month on lifestyle content or popular culture.
- A "weekly five" list with tips and/or advice on art as inspiration, creativity, business, labor and self-care, beginner photography education, or life/leisure tips.
- A weekly curated reading list that will include great writing from around the web on life, food, art, photography, film, television, politics, sociopolitics and more.
- Sporadic surprise new content (i.e. iPhone wallpapers, art-related tutorials, study tips, recipes).
I made 6 reward levels for Patreon so that people of different levels of income and/or interest can find one that works for them. I used my own macro food photography to name and illustrate the reward levels.
I have never used Twitter as a place to solely mention "what I had for lunch." (And even then, I am a photographer, so how I approach "lunch" is very different anyway.) I have published unique complex analyses there, I have produced content for and supported a number of important hashtags and campaigns there (even back when people use to slander hashtags, yet now everyone sees what they can actually do) and on Gradient Lair, and so much more. So much. However, I can channel these skills and my knowledge elsewhere, for people who truly support my work, and in a space less likely to be as massive and as toxic as Twitter, at least for now.
Earlier this year, I decided to start using my @GradientLair Twitter account again (after I closed the blog in October 2015, after 3.5 years of publishing) to repost #classicGradientLair essays and posts. This is writing that may not be included in the future subject-specific anthologies, but writing that is still meaningful to me. I did not work on the anthologies in July though, since my focus was on the upcoming Patreon content.
In July I posted a painful thread about the emotional cost of Gradient Lair (as I am in year five of dealing with plagiarism and exploitation of my work published there, despite the fact that I closed the blog in October 2015). It has been difficult and painful. I reposted my review of Beyoncé's song "7/11" and Twitter Moments titled Black Women At Work: Misogynoir and Labor, which includes years of my work, quite a bit from Gradient Lair and some published here. I reposted some of the work that I (in combination with @Karnythia and @thewayoftheid, the creators) did on #FastTailedGirls. I posted a tweet called "gratitude" that reflects snippets of some of the kind words I received over the years on my writing on Gradient Lair; the full post is on Instagram.
In July I published one new post to Drift Sojourn blog, Homemade Honey Bourbon Butter Pecan Ice Cream. I published new photographs on my Instagram profile as well. I have used my Snapchat much less (though I did make tacos on Snapchat in July) and migrated over to using Instagram Stories instead, to post my cooking and baking experiments (i.e. such as a step by step chocolate chip cookie story), recipes, and what I am eating/photographing throughout the month.
On @driftsojourn (including from Instagram Stories) I posted a photograph of my film SLR camera collection, some photography prop thrifting adventures and existing props, a day of French cuisine, some ice cream photographs for national ice cream day, an oddly sultry photograph of my KitchenAid mixer, comfy times at home, and some of my macro food photography work, as seen below. I also published Twitter Moments titled Photography and Memory Lane where I discussed my experiences in photography prior to Drift Sojourn.
Two of my previous three photography eBooks—Photography Projects For Practice and Portfolios and Free or Frugal: Learning and Creating Photography On A Budget—are available for purchase in Publications and on an eBook link on Drift Sojourn itself. Additionally, an educational publication, 300 Photography Resources, and my 2 sets of iPhone wallpapers "Healthy Eats" and "Sweet Eats" are available in Publications as free downloads, but tips are appreciated. Although June is Pride Month, my free Pride Month iPhone wallpaper is available in Publications year round.
My upcoming fourth photography eBook is still in progress, but I am on a break from working on it as well as on a break from creating more iPhone wallpapers; Patreon dominated my time in July. As I alluded to in the last couple of months, I have completed all of my 2017 design updates for Drift Sojourn with the exception of the portfolio update. I am so picky when it comes time to select the few photographs I want in my portfolio; much harder than choosing photographs for Instagram or blog posts.
I published the following on Cinemacked blog in July: 3 New To Netflix Selections - July 2017, Queen Sugar Is My Current Favorite Television Show and my final two pieces on House of Cards season 5, which are on episodes 8-13. All five pieces are: House of Cards - Making The Terror (on episodes 5.01-5.02), House of Cards - Are We Together? (on episodes 5.03-5.05), House of Cards - Politics and Musical Chairs (on episodes 5.06-5.07), House of Cards - In Constant Danger of Collapse (on episodes 5.08-5.11) and House of Cards - We Are The Same (on episodes 5.12-5.13). (Last year I published reviews for the entire fourth season of House of Cards.)
I did not publish any new film reviews on the blog in July, but on @Cinemacked, in addition to the general media news retweets and original opinions/critiques that I post (i.e. threads on the limitations of representation [X] [X] and a critique of The Breakfast Club and transmisogynoir), I did a tweeted review of the film Last Night and published Twitter Moments titled Best Films With Actors Of Colour In Lead Roles (#BestFilmsStarringPoC).
I keep an updated TweetDeck collection of all of my essays and other posts from Cinemacked blog once I tweet them, for easy access from Twitter. My TV Roster is updated with the shows that I currently discuss on Cinemacked. I live tweeted Shooter (new to my TV roster), Suits and Queen Sugar in July. As a part of the aforementioned "gratitude" post, I posted some past positive feedback that I received on my film/TV writing.
Earlier in 2017, I created a new personal Instagram profile; the new personal one is instagram.com/thetrudz. (For my primary photographic work it is instagram.com/driftsojourn.) Earlier this year I mentioned that I am more interested in using Instagram in combination with Patreon and moving away from Twitter unless for professional use. In July, however, I published detailed tweet threads on art as indie labor, valuing experience as an artist, when attention is overrated, learned helplessness in social media, antiblackness and the myth of "lack of unity," physical and mental health, disabilities and podcasts, and a critique of celebrity White "allyship."
I am still working on 2 short publications (projects outside of the Gradient Lair anthology work and my photography eBooks), which I mentioned in previous Artists Make Art posts. One of them is now tied to a Patreon goal, or something to publish once I reach 100 patrons. (My second Patreon goal is a paperback publication once I reach 500 patrons.)
I did not publish anything new here in July, mainly because I was getting organized to create content for Patreon and creating the Patreon profile itself. Some of the content that I would normally publish here will admittedly be published on Patreon now, solely for patrons. However, my writing on art as inspiration, creativity, business, labor and self-care will continue here. I do have a few pieces in mind that I may write before the year ends.
I am not an "optimistic" person but I do hope that altering my social media use and preferences will provide a modest reprieve. I am looking forward to working on something new and the rest of my year being as productive as July, but also a lot more restful.