Alright the title of this sounds a little suspicious because I am an artist that sells art. But, hear me out.
As an artist, family and friends constantly ask me for artwork. Typically, I’m happy to just give it to them because a.) I didn’t pay for a formal art education, and b.) it makes me very happy to see people enjoying my artwork. Most of the time, those family and friends are thankful that I’ve given them the pieces which makes me feel like I’ve done a good thing by giving it to them. In essence, I feel like I’m sharing a good part of myself with them, and it’s the most genuine gift I can give to someone I care about.
There are a few phrases that will immediately stop that loving feeling:
Can you just draw this up? It shouldn’t be that hard.
I could just do that myself.
It doesn’t look that difficult.
First of all, let’s stop the obsession with “if it’s art, it has to be hard to be worth something”. That’s not how art works! You’d be exactly correct if you said that my acrylic pour paintings aren’t difficult to produce. They aren’t technically difficult, but creatively they are. Sure, anyone can mix paint with an additive and dump it on a canvas. However, if that’s all you see when you look at one of these paintings, you’re missing the point.
When I paint, or draw, I make it look easy because I’m good at it. I’m not trying to toot my own horn here; I’m good because I’ve worked very hard to master the techniques I love the most. They may look like simple paintings or sketches, but I can guarantee you that hours of experimentation, technical practice and swearing went into the final product you see in front of you.
Second, just because a project seems easy or quick does not mean you shouldn’t pay the artist for their time. Sure, it might only take me a half hour to draw up something, but that is a half hour of my time and materials. Assuming that someone will do free work for you simply because it doesn’t take days of their time is not okay! This is especially true if you’re asking for a logo design that you intend to use to make yourself money.
This all sounds preachy, but it’s not; it just goes unsaid too often. Artists are a hyper self-critical group of people; we can’t always communicate what we’re worth. I’m still getting use to the idea that people actually want to pay for my work, and this means people find it easy to take advantage of free work from me. But, think of all the good that comes from purchasing art from a local artist. Supporting your local community and growing small businesses is never not a good thing.
The moral of the story is…don’t belittle the artist just because you want the piece without the price tag.