Still slow progress thanks to other commitments but I’m soldiering on with Robot in Disguise.
The trouble is that art doesn’t pay the bills half as much as perhaps it should. Making art is a slow and laborious process which has the potential to go unrewarded for months, if not years, after the making process if over. In the meantime I have to eat and pay the bills so paid work has to take priority.
I look at websites of people who are selling their craft and they’re so often underpriced. An artwork which took days to make sells for just £20 because the artist “wants rid of it”. Some designer knitwear on sale for only £30 because “I do it as a hobby.” Over and over again people are selling themselves short in order to make a few pennies.
I was approached by someone the other day who asked if I would accept £50 for an artwork which took me two days to make. He apologised for the low offer but it was all he could afford at the moment. I kindly pointed out to him that two days work plus materials and framing should never be priced that low. I drew comparisons with every other job in the universe in how we feed ourselves and pay our bills and explained that I’d earn more flipping burgers.
The catch is that whilst other artists continue to sell themselves short then prospective buyers will always expect to pay less. Although there is a movement happening to address this I feel this will be largely ineffective until there is regulation of the industry. I noticed that a-n.co.uk are attempting to debate fair pay for artists but then in their classified ads organisations are still offering unpaid positions for artists willing to increase their ‘exposure’ or enhance their CV.
As artists it seems we’re expected to work for nothing and give away our skills for nothing. We’re expected to follow in the footsteps of generations of poorly paid predecessors and be grateful if somebody… anybody… throws us a few pennies here and there. Well not me. I’d rather do my own thing than kowtow to a corrupt industry which expects something for nothing. I’ll be paid a fair wage for what I do or you can take your business elsewhere. Similarly when I buy bespoke items from other artists I will ensure that I pay a proper price for their goods. I would rather quit art altogether than debase myself or reduce others to less than what they deserve.
So I cut Robot in Disguise. Slowly but surely I’ll create something with its own flow and its own visual parameters. I’ll break ground with something new and original in my own way. If I don’t get respect from the art industry, or from prospective clients then I’ll be more than content with retaining my own self-respect. And let’s face it, that’s all that matters…