Value your Work as an Artist -Business Advice

Value your work.

It is difficult lesson for emerging artists as well as professional artists need to learn. One thing my dad says Show Business. Deconstruct those words. It is Business and show. Business is business and show is your work (your business) If I can explain it properly through text. The business of it is to make your work seem effortless when it requires a lot effort , time, love and experience, repeated constantly.

It is difficult for an artist to place a monetary value to their art work. Some are shy to demand compensation. I used be taken advantage of by *cough doing it for free or being paid below minimum wage to work. Please do not work for way below minimum wage. YOU ARE UNDERMINING PROFESSIONAL ARTISTS EVERYWHERE( I will find you and smack you myself) It is counter intuitive  not lifting the standard better work conditions for other artists.

---------Scenario Time-------

So a corporation needs advertising work. They have a large budget to spend on this project. They hire an agent to hire someone to do their art. 

Say you have professional awesome artist A. has a distinct style and does your promotional flyer or something gives you the quote of $600 with a guaranteed turn out of a week.

  Artist B is an amateur (Nothing wrong with that) but likes to mimic artist A's style an emerging artist possibly a student maybe. This person does not know the value of time and work. This artist is ecstatic to be hired for some work. Says ok I'll charge $6. Because it is just a doodle and a sketch, nothing much. Does this because they just want to work on the project because they love their craft. Noble but impractical. Says this will be done in a week.

Now everyone looks out for their own self interest. This corporation is being economical. Despite being a good person Mr. Agent, this person may out of morals and ethics want to hire artist A. The client will choose artist B. because in their eyes they are getting the same thing for a discounted price.

Now take a step back in America. Minimum wage/ As the comedian said Chris Rock he was imitating a boss in his skit. "Minimum wage is the minimum I hafta pay you. If I could pay you less I would." So minimum wage in America the federal standard is $7.25. Artist B. at $6 is quoting and starting this project at below minimum wage. You hear people cry about not working minimum wage there you go you are already making below it.

Another thing to note as an artist you go through multiple ideas and revisions to get the final product.
It takes time and usually the first idea you have isn't the greatest you work on it more. You can't rush it. So say artist B. does the best job they do. They sit down feverishly to work on this project for 9 hours on day 1. Basic real life math time. For a week, 7 days and 6 dollars. They are not even getting a dollar a day. Artist B. isn't confident and doesn't believe in their work. Even if they charged $60 still below minimum but sweetens the $6 deal.  DEMAND more. So they settle for this thinking they cannot negotiate better wages.

There are some instances that this client would choose Artist A over Artist B because they know quality and willing to pay for it. This is an example of sleazy business people with their shady practices that are out there.


You can negotiate. Better to refuse it. I'll talk about more later. I learned some of this stuff from these sources. It takes time to digest this information. Life changing and thought provoking story Artist A. & B.

 One time I told my friend when I took a business class is it is like eating your vegetables. It is good for you but it is an acquired taste.

This book I Rather be in the Studio! Is one of the greatest resources to start with. It gives you all the common art excuses and how to combat them, I was senior in high school when my dad gave this to me. He just left it on my desk one day with a note good luck read this, I found it after school. It took some time for me to actually read it and implement ideas. Second one to add to your collection you can start with. Has contracts you can use. Has numerous fields for pay scales and business practices for your desired industry. - Has reviews and lists of good clients and terrible clients, pay rate contract type and other useful articles. I am proud to say I helped fund this project years ago on Indie gogo. But not enough to get the T-shirt Noah is brutally honest and helps you think about things logically.  They did so much for me. Are humorous, informative, informal to listen to. Ninja Mountain gave me the courage to go to workshops and meet other artists.

There are stories I can recall working below minimum wage for artwork, graphic work and my hobby fixing computers. People can waste your time. I say this if you charge adequately they do not waste your time.

One of my clients who was one of my old teachers from the local university. I did image optimization for him. At the time I was doing $10 an hour for some of the work that I did. This was after my first story which I'll talk about some other time. I thought this was good because at the time at my job I was not making this much. Sounded good at the time.

 I go over to his house (Scary!) and realize he has not selected his images for me to work on. He spends 2 hours looking through his slow computer for his files. Mistake 2 my idea of image optimization was different than his idea. Mistake 3 I did not have a contract.

What he really wanted was to get these images optimize them making the resolution not too high but maintain the quality while compressing the image. Job 1.

Which I thought I was just doing Job 2 Do photo manipulation to these terrible photos he took. Job 3 which was the worst part of this was prepare these images to send as a gallery proposal and use these items multiple times. This was the jackpot this was making him money. So people are selfish. So he wasn't going to fork over more fore me until I stood up and demanded more. The other person he hired before did not know what they were doing when I saw their PSD files.

It was tedious and terrible work. He did could not make up his mind up nor what he wanted. Weird quirk he has he had no eye as an artist. He could not "see". He would take terrible pictures with his fancy nikon camera. At some point I did not give him my true valuable input. Like he would choose to obliterate the contrast in his image thinking it looked awesome. In plain terms the image looked washed out, since the image it was brighter but the colors were not adjusted and tweaked to what should look good on multiple types of computer screens. That is one of my skills color balance.
 This project spanned for a few days broken up in 4 hour sessions. At the end I made $80 something dollars. I was leaving out of town for the weekend so I was like cool extra money.

A few months later I get hired again. This time I got smart. Because it was irritating when he did not have his files ready and valued my time. So I went a semi-pro rate of $80 per hour. So when I came over to do that work he did not waste time yapping, cursed at his slow computer, wasn't obnoxiously picky and selective. I was out within 3 hours or so. He did not drag out anything. Respected my time because he respected his wallet.

I eventually stopped working for this guy because he would be a bug to see me just to see me and wanted to know excessive details of my personal life. He is an older unmarried tall gentle man in his seventies? He blew up my phone. Called me more than 20+ times repeatedly and sporadically. Called excessively. Eventually he would lose my number because he was unorganized and used a land phone. He shows up to my job and stays around for hours always tries to touch me. I cussed him out to get him to leave me alone. I've done that a couple of times in my life. He paid no mind to that and thought I was being adorable. Psycho people don't know what no means. At first I was embarrassed to tell people about my situation and stalker. I finally after months told people for my safely. People protect me from him and let me hide and not deal with him when he is around. This legal clerk I know she suggested soon I take legal action against this harassment. Let's go back to a positive uplifting story. Another moral of story don't work for creepers. Stand up for yourself.

The initial idea of this post came to mind when I went to the Millicent Rodgers Miniature Show. As soon as I walked into the display room where the show was held I was greeted by one of my friends I paint with at my group. Besides talking and stuff one major point she asked me is if I paid to get in. I honestly never paid to get into an art show. The cover was $20 for not being a member. They were bothered I paid so much. I truly did not mind seeing the show and paying for entry. My other friend he jumped in and was curious to see my response as well. I said I did it to support you guys, the museum with such a small generous donation. The show was well organized and done I could not help being proud to be a patron.

It was cool the building the museum is it. I do not know the history of the building. It was styled as a traditional pueblo building. It was a maze I got lost a few times. The layout reminded me when I lived in Germany we would visit castles. For defensive reasons you can get lost easily. At least this building was not like the castles I have been to it did not have an ominous chilly vibe of ghosts living there that did not live comfortably. One such place worsened my condition of gephyrophobia because of a story of a fire and a balcony and what a woman did with her baby to escape the fire and invaders.

One example people get bent out of shape out of paying for their experience or something.

I was hanging out at one of my best friend's job. She works at a video store. I was people watching observing them  besides looking at movies when she was busy working. I saw this lady who was huffing and puffing and finally made her way to the counter. She was upset that she vehemently hated this movie she had rented and watched. This movie is so bad I want my $2 back. My friend being cordial was like I can refer you to the manager and bosses number.

To me that is part of life experiencing things you pay for it and then whether bad or good you paid for it. Like the video I showed before. You go to the movies, concerts, performances, etc. to experience and see things that you like. Being petty for $2. I told my friend that why can't she see that it is like dropping and losing $2 on the ground. You can backtrack it to look for it but you cannot get it back it is lost. It is gone.

I lost a $10 train pass before it was supposed to be good for two ways. Lost it before the second ride. So I lost $10 and did not complain to the company that I wanted my money back for my own lost card. People are strange.

C'est la Vie.

Random experience. I had to wake up early this morning. It is difficult to wake up for a crappy cell phone picture.  People think that the bright spot on the right is a star or a UFO. It is the planet Venus. The more you know.
There are a couple of planets you can see with the naked eye but it looks like a star because of atmospheric interference and they are quite bright and hot!

Missed words


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