Sharie was Ben’s wife. But she was also—to borrow a term from long ago—his patron. That word has a condescending edge to it today, because we think it far more appropriate for artists (and everyone else for that matter) to be supported by the marketplace. But the marketplace works only for people like Jonathan Safran Foer, whose art emerges, fully realized, at the beginning of their career, or Picasso, whose talent was so blindingly obvious that an art dealer offered him a hundred-and-fifty-franc-a-month stipend the minute he got to Paris, at age twenty. If you are the type of creative mind that starts without a plan, and has to experiment and learn by doing, you need someone to see you through the long and difficult time it takes for your art to reach its true level.
The article is a lengthy one, but certainly worth a read. It makes me (and hopefully others who pursue good artistic output of any kind) relax a little bit about my own creativity and dulls the false sense of urgency to do something significant before I age “too much.” The article also seems to celebrate the pursuit – the research and preparation as a component of the art itself. And that, I can appreciate.