Donor profile | Leigh Raymond

Micro-donations are one of several ways art lovers can donate and back Australian artists on the ACF platform. We spoke to one such awesome human and ACF supporter to use this approach: Leigh Raymond.

Leigh caught our attention for donating to four ACF campaigns in 15 minutes! Clearly a supporter of the arts. We took some time with Leigh to find out what inspires this support.

Firstly, a challenge: tell us about yourself in 40 words or less.

Ha! How about…Sporadically active freelance violinist who once tried to join a circus and failed? Part bower-bird lover of psychology, philosophy, and compost? Definition-defying devotee of nuance and perpetual skeptic of reductive oversimplification?

Have you always been interested in art? Was there a moment or work that you really connect with?

One of my parents is an obsessive landscape artist and the other revels in the wonder of words. Childhood trips to “The City” always involved a visit to the Queensland Art Gallery, and I remember being mesmerised by a Charles Blackman painting containing a luminous cobalt cat. I think the quality of the colour was something I’d never experienced among the dusky greens, pinkish greys and desiccated browns of where we lived.

Tell us why you donated to the ACF projects Three Kinds of Silence, Australian Medical Students’ Orchestra, Art + Climate = Change 2017 and Gibidem Your Style! Is there a common theme? Did you just happen upon these projects or was it pre-planned?

Honestly? I was home by myself and there may have been pinot noir involved. Having said that, I’m drawn to micro-philanthropy as a way to create the kind of world that I actually want to exist in. After working with Christine McCombe, I received a link to Three Kinds of Silence and was struck by the strange and isolating nature of being compelled by internal artistic drives. Identifying as an orchestral musician was a huge part of my life up until about ten years ago and sometimes I miss it like crazy, hence the donation to the Medical Orchestra.

On the flip side, I was always troubled by a niggling sense that Western Art Music is absurdly disconnected from the baffling realities of the present day. As an Australian of blandly Anglo extraction, I feel a sense of frustration and powerlessness when confronted with humanity’s collective inability to make sense of our relationship to the planet and our fellow human beings stomping around on it. I guess the donations to the Art + Climate Change and the Marrugeku theatre projects capture that tension.

Look, I’m making some kind of big thoughtful narrative out of this in a post hoc way. The simplest explanation is probably just to point to the half-empty bottle of wine.

If a prospective artist was to approach you to back their project, what three things would you want to know? What would make you give?

This question is surprisingly hard to answer. The obvious things are too obvious and the more subtle things are hard to describe. Sometimes you can just feel The Love invested into a project, and it’s that weird quality that makes me say “Take my money!”

What did you like most about donating through the ACF?

Without this website I wouldn’t have known that some of these projects existed. Not only is it heartening to see that people are out there making wonderful things happen, I get the buzz of knowing that in some small way I contributed to them being able to go on doing it.

Finally, what would you say to those who are thinking of donating to artists, but haven’t quite taken the plunge?

Do you have a job that regularly puts money in a bank account with your name on it? Have you ever publicly bewailed the lack of funding for the Arts while also privately being assailed by a creeping sense of cultural bankruptcy in your own life? Give your money to artists! Or, with more poetry and less cynicism: Do whatever you can to help germinate the seeds that will one day yield a wondrous garden to delight and sustain us.