|not being against doing art for free, but being overwhelmed by the expectation of it, from businesses who can afford to pay, and people who make demands and pretty much say they will treat you like shit in return for nothing more than "portfolio building"|
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commentsagent57: So, that's the part that really drives me batshit nutty... when people dangle the "great for your portfolio" line as if it's a golden apple. You know what else is good for my portfolio? JOBS THAT ALSO PAY.
Argh: I'm sorry... I get so worked up. And this isn't directed at anyone I know, it just bums me out that complete strangers will expect this, and that businesses will pay for advertising spaces and publicists before they think to pay for the central, graphical
Grr.: ...representations of their businesses to go into those ads!
agent57: The whole thing, including my views on it, is pretty messed up.
Anonymous: Yesss. When people think you're doing it for free, everyone's interested. When they have to pay suddenly NOPE NOT GOOD ENOUGH or it gets twisted that YOU should be thanking THEM for giving you the opportunity to work for free while being treated like crap
agent57: I think you've actually hit on what bothers me the most about it. If i decide to take on a free project for my own reasons that's one thing, but the expectation has developed that any artist should be falling over themselves to do art for anyone for free.
agent57: I know it happens in any field, but it seems out of control in the creative world. If you go into a sandwich shop and ask them to make you a free sandwich because it will help them with their sandwich making skills, you are probably going to be laughed at
sa: You should really try flipping the (effectively) "free sample" scenario on those businesses who expect to get your art for free; you could apply it to just about anything that normally comes at a price. It doesn't seem that unreasonable...
sa: ...if art can be given away in exchange for 0, then why not—as you suggest—sandwiches? Artists, I'm afraid that until you, like sandwich-makers, can produce something which the body—rather than the mind—craves, you will struggle in the capitalist world.
matt: I don't think that it's a good idea to try to make a living with art. Everyone should do something practical with half of their time, and do something creative with the other half of their time.
agent57: sa - Of course, because no companies are sucessfully making millions of dollars off of things that are wanted rather than needed. I would wither and die without motorized air fresheners.
agent57: matt - I can see the lack of practicality in the modern world, and agree to an extent, but I also feel like calling art impractical is like calling the written word impractical. I mean, art was a precursor to writing in terms of widespread communication.
agent57: And what do you consider practical? I consider making sure rich new mothers have $50 baby outfits kind of impractical.
matt: Practical means something that makes you a living, it doesn't have to do with what that thing is. My passion is music, but that won't make me money. So I'm also starting a career in the military and linguistics, because I'll make money in that.
matt: I can divide my time between the two activities, forty hours per week of work and forty hours per week of composing.
agent57: But if practical means something that makes you a living, and you are trying or even succeeding in making a living through art, then it's practical by your definition.
matt: Sure, our definitions of art are just different. I was thinking of a pure sort of art that isn't sold.
matt: If you can make some money, but not enough, it's still impractical.
agent57: But if other people out there are making enough money through saleable art, then it's still arguably practical.
matt: Yeah, it was practical for them.
matt: I'm not trying to give life advice here, but if there's a problem it's, as another entry says, "being that desperate to make a living off of something meaningful to you"
agent57: So only people who know that something will turn out to be practical for them should try to make a living off that thing, even though it's impossible to tell if you can make a living off of something until you try?
matt: "meaningful to you" suggests that it's fulfilling regardless of whether you get paid to do it. You don't have to focus your life on one singular activity encompassing your passions and profession.
matt: I guess we just make the best realistic estimations that we can about our opportunities.
sa: agent57, I think that one of us is being misunderstood. I meant that, until the idiot public (whose appreciation of creativity is, I allege, generally somewhat limited) decides that something that they can't eat or use to make their car smell different...
sa: ...is just as "good" as a sandwich or motorised air (I first read this as "car"!) freshener; the creation of new art will not be as profitable as sandwich or air freshener manufacturing. Art has, for better or worse, limited appeal.
agent57: I don't know... I feel like "art has limited appeal" and "art is impractical" and "art is only for a certain group of people" are ideas that are generally held as true by the public, without them realising how widely used it is.
agent57: I guess instead of art, I should say visual communication... since I'm personally talking about illustration and graphic design? Anyway, it's used on nearly everything... for example it's used to sell all of thoise sandwiches and air fresheners.
agent57: So it may be thought to have limited appeal, when really it has outstanding appeal that we don't take time to consider. And yet, it's taken for granted.
agent57: And yet with a lot of people (posting no-pay design jobs on job boards) it's not like they consider it something that they can either buy, go without, or make their own, (like sandwiches) but rather as something that doesn't even have to be afforded.
agent57: That any artist should want to create art for them for cheap or free... even though design is one of the few jobs that's a service AND a product combined?
sa: ...wait, are you trying to say that making sandwiches isn't highly skilled? :P
sa: I honestly have no idea why illustrators and graphic designers aren't more eagerly sought-after in the modern market, then, considering how integral the visual presentation of a product is to SALES.
sa: Again, the consumers have little use for the illustrator's product by itself (despite the significant part it played in tricking them into purchasing the original shitty product), though I see the client really can't do without it.
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