Monday, December 22, 2014

Why I will no Longer work for Free

Why I will no longer work for free...  What I am talking about is giving my intellectual property away for free under the guise of 'exposure'. As creatives we hear it all the time. The emails I get almost always start off  with "We Love your photo of X it really captures what we want to say in our Magazine/Publication X, we would love to feature/print it..." We'll give you full credit. Take for example an excerpt of a recent email sent to me from the people of Pensacola Home and Garden

I've had interest from several publishers for this particular photo, it was for a Sriracha Devilled Eggs recipe (on my old blog) that highlighted a SilkScreen print I made in response to being homesick.

To be honest a I sent a rather curt No, 

Another time I had a large food and wine event ask me to donate handmade hand printed canvas bags (like these ones, but with kitchen utensils on them) to their event as swag bags for their participants. It was huge, they charged the general public $$ to hob nob with celebrity chefs, they had seminars, cooking demonstrations, sellers, buyers etc. I replied with a 'that sounds fantastic however I can not give you the bags for free, I broke down what it would cost to make them time, supplies etc, I did not ask for the full retail cost but a fee that would help cover the start up costs'.  I never got a response... not even a thank you for taking the time to respond.

Here is the thing, every time a creative, artists, crafter, designer etc gives their work away for free and I am not talking about donations for good causes, we are devaluing our work saying that it is not worth the same as 'working artists paid commissions'. My time is worth X, materials cost X, I spent 4yrs and my own money on my Art University degree. I may have children and can not afford to work on my career full time but the time and talent I  do give is 101%. 

I hope to rejoin the workforce as an artist one day and be paid for my creative intellectual property, but as a working artist why would anyone pay me for work that I once gave away for free? Am I not undermining  the future me and current working artists? Why would professional companies pay working artists when there is legion of free labour just looking for a little bit of exposure? 

So that is why I will no longer work for free... 

I have had a lot more brazen requests for free work, images, time etc, this woman was just the straw that broke the camels back...

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