Surgery Update & What’s Your Art Worth?

Yep, it’s really me — the lost art blogger!


OOAK Original Mixed Media Painting & Collage
8″ x 8″ Art Squared on Canvas Board
By: Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist Chrysti
On Sale @ Etsy

** Last Week of this original painting being offered at the Sale Price ! **

(I’m experimenting with a different way to post my blog entries today, in hopes that it will solve the formatting trouble I’ve been experiencing — thus not blogging as often)

I just wanted to take a quick moment today, to update everyone on my progress as I continue my recovery from surgery. This week, I am finally feeling HUGE relief from both the pain & swelling, I’m optimistic that from this point on recovery goes quickly and smoothly.. about 3-4 more weeks, and healing should be complete!

I can’t thank y’all enough for the thoughts, RAKs, emails & positive thoughts you’ve been sending my way! I’m jumping back in the game this week, focusing on my art, and getting my sites revamped, and up & running, so I’ll still be scarce! I will try and get all the things I have to blog about — up ASAP! Tutorials, new art, and a lot more!

Love is The Beauty of the Soul -1

“Love is the Beauty of The Soul”
OOAK Original Mixed Media Painting & Collage
6″ x 6″ x .5″
Art Squared on Gallery Wrapped Canvas
By: Raleigh, NC Outsider Artist Chrysti
On Sale @ Etsy

** Last Week of this original painting being offered at the Sale Price ! **

The following came to me as a bulletin on MySpace today, not sure who the original source is ( anyone?) But I’d love to credit it properly. Definitely food for thought — and I’d love to hear yours!

Say NO to free Art!Author Unknown

“Every day, there are more and more Craigs List posts seeking “artists” for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service. But what they’re NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are “seeking artists”, let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? …none?

More than likely, you don’t know any. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be posting on craigslist to find them. And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street? Would you offer a neurosurgeon the “opportunity” to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him “a few bucks” for “materials”. What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you? If you answered “yes” to ANY of the above, you’re obviously insane.

If you answered “no”, then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me… why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks? Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a “great opportunity” for an artist to have his work seen on your car/’zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a “great opportunity” for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a “student” or “beginner” in an attempt to get work for free. It’s ignorant and insulting. They may be “students”, but that does not mean they don’t deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a “student” once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it’s one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their “portfolio”. They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It’s not compensation. It’s their right, and it’s a given.

4. Stop thinking that you’re giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need “experience”. But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the experience” they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother’s house when they were seventeen? If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to “submit work for consideration”. They may even be posing as some sort of “contest”. These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the “contest”, or be “chosen” for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or “spec”, work. It’s risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely.

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are “spec” gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them. Say NO to free art. And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free…please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you’re accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.

If you agree with the above important information, please pass it along. The more people know, the faster we can correct this.”

So, what do YOU think about that author’s post?

Yours in Art – Chrysti

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25 Responses

  1. Chrysti its good to see you back and I so hope you’re on the road to recovery now. This article is very thought provoking indeed ~ thankyou for bringing it to our attention. Love Jude xxx

  2. I’m so glad you’re feeling better, dear, and are getting back into the art. I’m sure you’ll heal much faster with some art under your hands. ;) The new way to post your entries seems to have gone well; I hope it helps shorten how long it takes for you to post!

  3. Hi Chrysti
    I work full time as a graphic designer and I know what the company charges for my work, yet if I charged the same amount per hour for my jewellery, I’d never sell anything. Art just isn’t valued unless you’re famous.

  4. Hi Chrysti
    Lovely to ‘meet’ you. Fab site. This is an ‘allegedly’ story, obviously – someone in my group was telling us her daughter (allegedly) went for a window design job at Accessorize (do you have that store? part of Monsoon? it’s online anyway), she (allegedly) had a 2nd interview where she (allegedly) had to work out the whole layout and (allegedly) leave it behind when she went home. Yes, she didn’t get the job. Yes, they (allegedly) used her design in all their stores. Yes, she was mad, but there was nothing she could do. They sell nice stuff, though.

  5. found your site via Judy Scott, and thank you for this article, it made very interesting reading and hopefully will provide a wake up call to artists who are desparate to get their names out there, as well as to the slimeballs (can I say that?) trying it on.
    hope your recovery continues well.

  6. Amen… I wish there was a way to spread this article around some.

  7. I used to design for a living for the craft industry. When we send artwork to magazines like Somerset, who don’t pay, we give our talent away for another person (company) to make money on publishing it. It drives me batty to see people sending their hard work out to magazines like that and for them just to get a copy of the magazine. I was in the publishing industry and I NEVER EVER accepted work for publication without compensation, whether a package of product for a layout, or cash for my design team. Giving our work away cheapens the entire industry!

  8. Chrysti,

    you said it all so very well…

  9. Hi Chrysti. Glad you’re recovering nicely. We’ve been missing you.
    By the way, this “free art” article is very enlightening and one that could benefit the many artists who feel flattered to work for free in hopes of getting their name made available to the public.

  10. Welcome back, Chrysti :), and thank you for the wonderful post about *free art*.

  11. Glad to hear you’re on the road to recovery, Chrysti. Wishing you well.
    And yes, that is a very thought-provoking article…. thanks :)

  12. This is a great post! . And so many of the reasons I quit trying to paint murals as a living. No one wants to pay you what you’re worth. I wish I were as articulate! Thanks.

  13. I totally agree with that whole thing about no more free art. Could not have said it better myself. So glad that you are back and feeling better! WhoHoo!

  14. Work should be compensated. And you actually devalue your own work if you give it away for free. I have found the same holds true for writing. I am a paid writer. I can’t begin to tell you how many requests I get to write for some other website – ones that host ads and make money off of their traffic. For free! Oh sure, they say they’ll give me a link back to my site, heck, they’ll even post my logo! But exposure doesn’t pay the bills. When I get these kinds of emails I repond politely. Thanks for your interest, I reply. Since you didn’t mention remuneration I will assume you are not able to pay me for my work. As a paid writer I cannot afford to work for free. I do hope you understand, and that some day you can afford to pay your writers properly – as they justly deserve.

  15. Wow – this person has put into words exactly what my thoughts are on this subject. This is the main reason I do not submit any of my work. I find much more pleasure in swapping art with other artists. Until compensation rates change I won’t submit work. I really don’t want a free issue of your magazine.

  16. Chrysti….so glad to see this post and good to hear that you are recovering. Beautiful art as always :o)

  17. Chrysti – I came here via link on Audrey’s site. Love seeing your art. Terrific post, all valid points…thanks for offering the awareness.

  18. Unfortunately this is rife in the industry and the whole reason I work for myself instead of sending my work to publishers, I know 2 illustrators who are currently going through legal action because so called reputable publishers have sold their work without their permission or payment. It’s disgusting that people don’t value art and artists the way they ought and you can do something about it. Illustrators are told you can’t so we don’t but you can fight. Copyright laws exist for a reason and can be enforced. Once we start standing up for ourselves we will stop being ripped off! Ebay has done a lot of damage to to undervalue art too, I could go on and on! Great post and I’m gpleased you are on the road to recovery. Best wishes,
    Karen x

  19. It’s a real quandry, isn’t it? Until you have the name and reputation, you can’t realistically expect a “professional’s wage” for your work. (You can, of course, CHARGE whatever you please, but don’t expect the market to PAY what you want.)

    But how do you get the reputation and name without being seen and discussed? Without some form of buzz? etsy and eBay will only carry you so far, and it’s easy to get locked into the $50 and under range. Which is nothing compared to the time and materials expended.

    I may strangle the next person who admires one of my hand-knitted shawls, with well over 150 hours in creation, and says, “Wow . . . I’d pay you to make me one. How’s $25 sound?”

  20. I face the same thing as a freelance writer.

    I hope you have a great time in Williamsburg. I haven’t been there in quite some time but I remember it well. I sang in Bruton Parish the last time I was there and it was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve had.

  21. Chrysti, Thanks, as always, for sharing your amazing art and insight with us. You’ve posted an important viewpoint on the subject of free art! A really great discussion so far. I will return again to read more of the comments left here.

    We love you, lots! Enjoy your trip!

  22. hi. my friend gave me a link to this page a few days ago. i was … thrilled i guess, since i can’t a better word, instantly. your art is really impressive and i like reading what you type. i tryed to figure out how to leave a comment almost immediatly, but i was bit slow at doing that forwhatever reason.

    getting to the point of this post, i feel like its hard for me to give input proberly. i’m not an artist, and i dont really buy art either. but i see .. that one thing about how the art hanging up in someones room doe THAT person and not the artist, some good, was … important.

    i’m glad you share your art, or some of it, freely with the entire web though.


  23. I really appreciated your comments on the whole free art issue. It is something I have been trying to bang into artists heads for years… I like your approach to it. Pointing it out this way really illustrates how stupid it is!

    One of the big things that you did miss was the whole area of artists being asked to donate their work to charities. It has become overwelming to donate to all that ask… so I eventually stopped altogether. Until recently I decided to start again with a couple smaller nonprofit groups. What I have done though is put a minimum price tag on the work. If the piece doesn’t sell in their auction for more than the minimum bid, I get it back. Better yet if the piece does sell we split the proceeds. Usually 50/50.

    The great thing about this is, because I get some actual money for the piece at a minimum that I set I am more willing to give my best works and some of my much larger works too. I feel that I can promote the organization fully and happily knowing that my other collectors won’t be feeling slighted that someone got a piece at dirt cheap no reserve auction prices, where they paid full gallery price for their piece.

    I am going to post this info on my site soon and actually do an email campaign to as many artists and charity organizations as I can. I think this idea could alter the way in which charities and artists interact with each other, with everyone coming out happier in the end. The charity gets better quality and high priced items to sell. The artists get money for their art. And buyers get some fabulous art, still at a very reasonable price. It’s a win, win, win situation.

    Anyways I like what you have said and I am glad that there is a little space here to add my 2 and a half cents.

    I would happily pass this along both on my site and my Art Marketing Blog… as soon as it is up and functioning!

    Richard Hoedl
    Art Guy

  24. Oopsie, she credited it under the comments section to

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