Good afternoon everyone!!
Today, I read through comments from the SCAD-Atlanta Facebook group, and I came across a video/blog post that a fellow student posted. It contains a video where character designer and teacher Stephen Silver speaks out against companies who don’t pay artists to come up with art or concepts for their products.
As a freelance writer, event photographer, and a lover of the arts & entertainment world, his message hits home to me because I’m also a starving artist trying to make a name for myself. I’ve seen plenty of opportunities where companies would allow you produce work for them, but only as an “internship” or no compensation. However, they promise you that the job can help you get exposure.
That is called cheap labor, a.k.a. slavery. Sorry, I don’t like cheap labor. I do free work because of causes and topics that I support, up and coming artists that I want to help succeed, and personal favors. But even then, I’ll get something in return, like a gig or reference. I also write for free because I want to promote MY artwork under MY rules, preparing myself for bigger and paid opportunities.
If you do want to work for free, do it for a right cause or at least find free work that can benefit you. But don’t fall under the trap of making content for companies who refuse to compensate you for your work and don’t care about what you create.
The video also taught me another thing: the importance of entrepreneurship. Sure, I can try to land jobs where I write and take pictures for a living. But is that all I want? What if I don’t get that dream job, and how else can I spread my love for media while getting paid? I starting to understand friends’ advice on offering event photography services for certain rates. Besides, in this world, you’ll gain more recognition once you do more paid work (especially if it’s freelance work).
I leave you with Silver’s spiel on providing paid services v.s. working for cheap labor. Otherwise, enjoy your day and let’s break the starving artist myth.
- What’s An Artist Worth? Pt. 2 (goodcityarts.com)
- An Interview with Artist & Tea Blender Extraodinare Cara McGee (thedailyquirk.com)
- Artists Should Not Be Starving & What You Can Do To Help (lexywolfe.wordpress.com)
- Artists Academy’s message: No need to starve (miamiherald.com)
- Art, Not Business (rocknroam.wordpress.com)
- Starving Artist Syndrome: The Modern Epidemic for Artists and Creators (hypebot.com)
- Respect Yourself (by yuumei) (yuumei.deviantart.com)