A Time To Make Wages (Artist Fees)

What a strange world we live in, my dear readers.

Human beings have a wonderful capacity to either create or destroy, to build up or break down, to protect or attack, to love or hate.

That statement I just made isn’t a new one, in fact, lots of us have heard it before through various channels. Probably one of the most famous comes from this passage of the Judeo-Christian Bible.

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.

Now, don’t misconstrue my intent here.

I recognize that sharing literature from a personal belief can create all sorts of obstacles in learning and I am not interested in converting people over to that particular belief system nor am I interested in getting into debates over belief systems. I want to stick to concepts which are universal and valuable for people either interested in the arts or directly involved in them, no matter what principles guide their lives.

Back to my original theory.

We have always liked to speak in universals and this particular passage I just shared describes dichotomies very well.

It also proves that dichotomies have existed for thousands of years. I mention this primarily because we find it easier (in general) to identify concepts and life in uniform ways. I covered this exact principle in one of my very first posts which addressed common sense.

I have left this link here in case you want to read in detail, but I will share quick summary of the problem too.

The roots of common sense statements are based on our individual experiences and a combination of culture hierarchies. The phrase that something “is common sense” is problematic because common sense relies on an idea of what is “obvious.” It’s not supported by evidence or rational research based results.

So what does that have to with today’s post my friends? A lot actually.

Being an analytical type, or so I’ve been told over and over by friends and loved ones, I can appreciate the value of a deal and will spend time breaking down risks versus rewards for fun. Especially when it comes to things which I love, and which are loved by lots of other people too. (Read: albums, movies, graphic novels, and nonfiction books)

But it really bothers me when I witness people undervaluing the effort of those who create artwork, no matter what form it takes.

There are a number of reasons it bothers me, one of them being that by purchasing work for a fraction of what it is worth, that decision not only dilutes the effort of the artist but of the community overall and one of the consequences of that decision is that we don’t have as much variety available to us.

For example, a photographer who is just starting out should be charging less for their services than an established one, because quite frankly they don’t have as much experience or command of their skill, and as they test their mettle, they will be able to charge higher rates to their clientele.

But by charing significantly less to get immediate payment, the marketplace gets messed up, and attitudes crop up which are wrong, but make sense given the circumstances.

And website services like 99 designs are just as bad. Holding a “contest” where a bunch of artists all bid on a project by offering up one or two designs, means that the work that gets chosen at the end of the day isn’t even representative of the business or individual who needed services.

I can expand on this idea even more so in a future post, but if you want more of a taste take a look at this article. What do you think of that theory?


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