My Shift to Patreon, and Why

Stephanie Fleming
4 min readSep 28, 2020
Contact Sheet from a new series of work by Stephanie Brown

I spent all of last year creating a new nude photography commission service with the intention of releasing it this year. Though covid-19 interrupted its progress I managed to get one shoot in before the shut down began. I thought I would take the time on quarantine to prepare marketing posts for Instagram. I studied the pages of Playboy, boudoir photographers, and other artists who create nude portraiture. Yet still my posts were reported, or I found myself doing extra editing to make it “IG appropriate” and those of you who know me know I am NOT the editing type! I found myself frustrated with the limitation of what you could post and with who got away with it because of their “status”. I did not feel in control of my posts and my work and that bothered me.

Posting on Instagram has increasingly become more and more of a risky chore with little to no reward. I felt limited, uninterested, and tasked with something ingenuine. Then I listed to a little segment by Alex Wolf, the technologist, who shared her story on creating online content. In a rough summary: She mentioned that she noticed she was very particular and kind of a princess when it came to creating content. She tried resisting that but that only frustrated her more. She said that when she stopped fighting it and gave herself permission to be the specific princess she was when it came to making her content it flowed better and felt more authentic.

This helped me realize that I needed to give myself permission to be exclusive. I needed to give myself permission to not care about followers. I realized I was looking for a sense of community like I had in grad school or undergrad. Instagram and facebook were not it. Too many rules and too many risks plagued me with worry and made me dread posting most the time on my art Instagram specifically. I was trying to have conversations in a space not quite built for that. Instead I found myself battling:

· Censorship

· People sharing without credit

· Galleries upset when you share too much work

· Sketchy infringement cases on both platforms

· And no real long-term conversations fostered in comments and stories

Instagram and Facebook platforms for me are just sounding boards for ideas and comments. Bulletin boards for new upcoming events, announcements, and reminders. And a fun place to share information, directions, inspirational quotes, and memories. And I will continue to use them in that way only.

However, as I start to ground myself in the future I imagine I’m missing my community and a deeper sense of purpose and value. I’m missing accountability. I’m missing challenging thought of artists and mentors coming together to uplift and support. To inquire and grow. I’m missing a safe space in which to be vulnerable. I’m cheating myself by not valuing what I have to offer and I’m letting fear win by not betting on myself. I’ve met so many lovely people in various stages of my life over time and I wanted to create a space where some of them could go to engage more personally with not just me but my journey as well and gain special perks in honor of their commitment.

I don’t want to just build an audience. I want to build a thriving community. I don’t want to throw information and words at you, I want to be in dialogue with you and check in monthly to see how it’s going. I want to be able to openly share where I am with a project and gain your thoughts as well. I’m looking for mutual exchange in this community dedicated to seeing everyone win and overcome their obstacles toward their idea of success.

So I joined Patreon. After mulling it over for months, watching countless videos and reviews of other platforms as well. I took the leap of faith and joined Patreon. And not just as Stephanie Brown the artist, but as Stephanie Fleming, the human-being with a lifelong dream of working for myself as a full-time artist entrepreneur. That’s why my Patreon is called Stephanie Squared. It represents all of me and all I have to offer, past, present, and future.

So I’m out here! Doing it scared and anxious. But doing it anyway because I believe in my own success, I believe in what I have to offer and I want to take my patrons with me for the ride!

Who is my Patreon for:

· Anyone wanting to be the first to know of all the major and even minor moves in my life that NEVER make it to social media.

· Supporters, collectors, mentors, and lovers of my visual art

· The ones who know me as a writer and want to see that I continue writing

· Anyone that told me, “I’m going somewhere”

· Artists seeking mentorship, advice, and an accountability partner

· Creatives seeking transparent talk on money management, growth, and determining how and when to monetize your practice.

· Anyone that wants to speak and contribute to a community of seeking growth and sustainability.

· List makers, planners, or those who want guidance from one

· Travel enthusiast and fellow adventurers excited to see photo essays from my international trips.

· Anyone who wants to take an active part in my transition to being a full-time artist.

Check out the 5 tiers available on my Patreon and make a pledge to join my community today!

P.S. Shout out to Sierra King, for being my very first patron! Your support means everything to me!

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Stephanie Fleming

I’m an exhibiting artist and learning experience designer. Questioning everything and sharing of myself. AKA Stephanie Brown in those art streets.