I admit, I spend far too much time on Reddit. Mostly looking at pictures of cats, videos of cats, and comics involving cats. But there are other subs I go to from time to time.
Today I found this:
(More info here)
I may not be an embroiderer, but I can see how that is a pretty crappy deal. The above backlash, however, has resulted in DMC hastily backtracking and there is now a $500 prize, and they are “reviewing how artists are linked on the company website and, although it has been in the pipeline for a while, correcting this issue will now become a priority”. So basically, now they have been called out they will work to resolve an issue they have known about for while.
But what got me, even more than the original subject, were the comments like this:
(names have been erased as I’m not an asshole)
I’ve done some crappy jobs in my time. I spent a week trying to do telesales for a timeshare company (turns out I really don’t like lying to sell shitty holidays). I worked front of house for McDonalds when things were tight. I got into the pub trade by starting out as a cleaner/housekeeper, and I dealt with enough poop in places poop shouldn’t be to last me a lifetime (ha ha ha, now I have a baby; poo will be my life for years yet). I loved working in the pub trade though. Waking up and getting ready to do a job you truly enjoy is so much better than dragging yourself out of bed to get ready for a job you are only doing to pay the bills. So I wanted to move on to another career that I would enjoy doing. Which is why I chose graphic design.
Is it so wrong that I want to earn a living doing something I enjoy? I do my photomanipulations for my own enjoyment, but the posters, logos, flyers etc that I have done have been paid work, though I am no expert (yet). I like to think that the work I do for my employer helps push forward their business, and I’ve had good feedback about it. So why is it so awful that I am paid for doing it? I have done charity work, for free (this for example). I will no doubt do charity or other upaid work in the future. But exposure doesn’t pay the bills. A link to my website will not put food on the table. Gratitude will not clothe my daughter. There is no Exposure Fairy that will turn earned exposure points into food or clothing.
And whilst on the subject of exposure; Who can name the person who designed the Coca Cola logo? The answer is Frank Mason Robinson, but how many people who drink Coca Cola have taken the time to find out the answer? Who designed the McDonalds iconic golden arches logo? Jim Schindler designed the logo as we know it today. Now these are two of the biggest companies worldwide, yet most people wouldn’t even think twice about who designed the logos that people see Every. Single. Day. So how much exposure would a small time designer such as myself get?
Now I have no idea who the person who made the above comment is. I have no idea how old they are. What they do for a living. But somehow, I very much doubt they make their living in an artistic capacity. Maybe they don’t need to work, and art is ‘just’ a hobby for them. But art is not free, and people have been doing it as a living for hundreds, hell, possibly even thousands of years, and as the final comment points out, Michelangelo did not have paint the Sistine Chapel for free. In fact, he was paid 3000 ducats to do so, which is about $78000 in todays money. When he died, he left an estate worth 50,000 florins – about £35 million in today’s money.
I am not saying that I am worth paying $78000 for my art. But I’d like to think my work is worth something, and I am not in the wrong for making a living through art. And if art should be done for nothing more than the love of doing it, where is the line drawn? Should Chefs work for free too? Authors? Architects? Anyone who actually enjoys their job? Are we all supposed to live a life of drudgery so other people can enjoy our hard work, that we would do in our free time, for nothing? Or do artists of all kinds deserve paying for their time and expertise? I know what my answer is.