All too often artists are asked to work for free or for ‘exposure’ by both small and large business owners. This is not OK.
I think small business owners are more far more guilty of this than the large ones. Many large businesses have their own problems, but I’d like to see Coca-Cola asking a professional to design their next billboard for them for free. It’s not going to happen.
Many small business owners will stand side-by-side with artists and demand fair pay for their work. At the same time, they’ll ask those artists to work for them for free in all kinds of roles. People who do this are the source of the problem. How can you expect others to value the time, design process and effort an artist has made in producing something, if you don’t really value the artist’s time yourself?
I’m not an artist. I run a gift and art shop working with local artists and small businesses. I pay artists to work shifts within my shop.
I’m writing to ask other business owners to stop asking artists to work for them for free.
It’s not OK to ask an artist to design a poster, a business card or anything else for you for free.
If you own a gallery, pop-up or gift shop like mine, it’s not OK to ask an artist to serve customers for you for free. Put your hand in your pocket and pay them to do the job.
It’s not OK to ask an artist to paint a mural for free. It’s not OK to ask an artist to decorate your shop window for free.
Respect artists and pay them properly for the work they do for you. It really is that simple.
Where you shop matters. For consumers, it’s another thing to consider when you spend your money. Where and how are the items made? Who made them? Did they receive a fair price? Are the people serving you paid to serve you? If not…why not?