I'm not sure this post is necessary, but maybe it is. Perhaps it will encourage another Artist to see their work as valuable. In reality, it is work. Sure, painting and drawing are enjoyable to the Artist, but isn't constructing enjoyable to the Contractor, analyzing data enjoyable to the Accountant, or teaching math for the Teacher? Is it typical to ask the Contractor, Accountant, Teacher, or other professional for free work? Probably not. Then why is the Artist?
I was approached this week by another professional asking for one of my illustrations to use on their businesses' program cover page. The person asking to use my art is a Communications Coordinator in charge of overseeing design content for the business' promotional materials and ads. My response thanked her for appreciating my work (she called it impressive) and for asking for my permission. I decided to reiterate that my design work is my profession and I wasn't willing to give it away. If the business she was representing wished to pay for my work, I'd be happy to speak with her. She responded by telling me the business was small and "so generally can't pay." I wonder if she receives payment for her work. Did the company pay her to contact me for my artwork? Does the business require payment for their products and services?
I'm not opposed to giving away free art. I love designing and creating for others. It's a way I use my abilities to bless and encourage. What I am opposed to is other working professionals asking for free work in order to promote theirs. Or in some cases, to ease their burden and time by using something someone else already created.
The artwork she asked to use was an inspirational piece found on my blog. It is an original piece that took time and materials to create. First, I researched my subject. Then I designed, sketched, and illustrated it. Finally, I photographed and edited it before posting it on my blog and other social media sights. Ironically the work in question, "Everything Has Its Time," is about the Book of Ecclesiastes which states, "There is a time for everything." There was a time I would have said yes to another business using my artwork for free. The pleasure of having my artwork grace the cover of their program would have been enough. But now is not that time.
A R T I S W O R K (aka: Artwork)