Question: was it better to take commissions from a patron than to take directives from some corporate suit? Answer: not particularly. While patron relations seem a bit simpler than today's client relations -- there were no non-disclosure forms involved, no Schedule Cs, none of the bureaucratic jazz that accompanies so much of modern freelance life -- patrons were much stronger than our twenty-first century clients, and they could really screw up your life if they got pissed at you.