I know many of you have been reading and sharing Artist Opportunities May 2013, and hopefully you’ve been reflecting upon the tragic fact that I hardly needed to exaggerate in order to make my satirical point. I’m sure many of you encounter their real world counterparts very frequently. However, Gallerina Butthurt* writes to say: “It’s easy to mock, but I don’t think anything is achieved by attacking places that are under pressure already and try to help artists.”
Firstly, au contraire ma petite pomme de terre. It is easy to mock (and fun), but I hit close enough to the nerve that it gave you a guilty sad, didn’t it? Secondly, many of the outfits I have in my sights are doing anything but helping artists. They’re helping themselves to artists’ money. Many of them are just plain old nasty con artists and psychos.
But to help Ms. Butthurt out, I shall take the liberty of offering my positive advice about how not to be one of those places.
* Not her real name, nor even the pseudonym she’s hiding behind, but apposite.
- Nobody needs another new art magazine full of impenetrable artspeak gobbledygook or another pseudo-professional online aggregator of shallow, glib reviews, reposts from better blogs, and listicles or slideshows about your favourite art. There are already numerous people doing that very well (or at least extensively). What are you adding, except your snout to the trough?
- If you want professional work for a professional situation, pay me. This is also applicable to exhibitions, festivals and the like. I have done and will do things at reduced cost or no fee, but this is pro bono work. Pro bono has nothing to do with U2, luckily. It means “for the good”. In other words, there may be (and in fact I know there are) situations in which myself and/or other people can benefit from being involved in a project in ways that don’t involve money. Sometimes I do favours for people because I like them, or I believe in what they’re doing, or just because it’s absolutely no loss or bother to me if I help them out. This doesn’t give anybody license to take the piss by assuming I’ll always work for free and that providing content for them never costs me anything. I can’t pay my bills with kudos, good company or “great exposure”. Or, as it’s summarised brilliantly in this article: “We don’t do it for the money. But we won’t do it without the money” See also: Should I work for free? A Note to You, Should You Be Thinking of Asking Me to Write For You For Free Continue reading