Expecting an artist to work for free when others are being paid is insulting! It’s amazing how many people still think a painter, writer, actor, model, photographer, dancer, musician, dj, etc… should work for free unless they are “famous” (and even then…)
With out the “talent” famous or otherwise, there is nothing, so have you ever wondered why you (the artist) are at the end of the financial food chain? Why you, unlike everyone else, are asked to “donate” what you do for free because…
“It will be good exposure for you.” ~opportunist
To continue; ever hear of a customer trying that argument on the new car dealership, restaurant, grocery store or bookshop down the road? The answer is no! The primary reason is that those businesses know what the art community has forgotten, which is: What we have to offer is of great value!
What does that have to do with you the artist? Simple answer…EVERYTHING!
“The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance.” ~Aristotle
There is nothing of our modern world that an artist hasn’t had a hand in creating at some point. Yet, there are those who firmly believe that artists and the arts have no value in the markets and therefore artists should not be paid to “just” create art. There is nothing “just” about the creation of art, it takes time, effort and considerable depth of thought.
But the great deception of “art being worth little”, is only possible because of the vagaries of our so-called free market system. A system which exploits but does not acknowledge what financial institution call intangible assets (art), which make it possible for the markets to profit from without acknowledging the full value of the work-a-day painter, dancer, writer, sculptor, graphic designer, etc.
Our creations and insights make others very rich so why should they diminish their profits by paying the artists? After all we (artists) are not very business savvy compared to Wall Street. Better yet, why not create a system of marginalization so the work of artists can be acquired for next to nothing, if not nothing at all.
“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it, we go nowhere.”
Without the artist, the iPhone would be just one hand held computer/phone among many. The financial life of Wall Street would still be centered around the trading of pork belly futures. If it were not for the insight of an artist “seeing” what could be rather than what is/was the world would be a very different place. When you think of Coke do you see the soda or the logo made by an artist?
Question: Who do you think came up with the style and feel of the monitor or gadget you are reading this on?
Answer: Your fellow artists. Try to touch something right now an artist did not have a hand in making that which touch us. You can’t unless you are in the middle of a wilderness.
The Big Question: Why are the arts held in such low regard by the very people who benefit the most from their efforts and insights?
Answer: Because art is so seamlessly ingrained into the fabric of the modern world, it is taken for granted by the mainstream. That is how important the arts are. Like electricity, most people forget that it is something special and necessary.
By our natures we are sharing caring people who want to answer the really big questions of life and yes we need attention while we do that. The later leads many of us to marginalize even ourselves, accepting the slings and arrows of an economy/society that needs us but doesn’t understand us.
The time has come for artists to stand up, for you to stand up and fight for who we are. Art is something not everyone can do because being an artist is a lifelong dedication. Being creative on occasion is one thing, being an artist is another! It is not a crime to say it.
If we (artists) do not greatly value what we do, no one else will!
The next time someone says you are “just” an artist, look them in the eye and say,
“No, I am fucking special! I am an artist!”
~from the easel of