As an artist, I thrive off of an imagination. I also thrive off of customers/patrons who love art and I REALLY do thank any supporters. However, people have this retarded notion that art is not a service. And if they do not exactly feel that way, they sure TREAT us like that. Anytime you provide something for someone, it’s a service.
Now that that’s outta the way, I have this peeve that many artists can relate to. In my unenlightened state, I once was toooooo nice or trusting (what a WACK word in this business) and if someone did not have cash to pay me right then, I would still take on a project, thinking they would pay me at completion. I was also very much that struggling artist (still am, but at a more proferssional level), so saying “no” was like saying no to money. Made me feel they were “good for it”. However, I would end up with a piece of art and no money. One woman wanted me to draw a poster-sized rainbow. I finished. ALL of a sudden, she chose that time to say she liked it, but not like that and I never got paid. I know she liked it, she just didn’t wanna pay. I only charged $30, which makes her REAL sorry… So, I had a big freakin rainbow. What the heck could I do with that?? Or a cousin who wanted me to draw his deceased mother. He was broke and since he is a cousin, I said he could pay me when I finished. I felt, “well, no skin off my back because as long as he doesn’t pay me, I have a nice drawing to add to my portfolio.” That’s the good part, bad part is I got jilted.
These are only two stories as a part of enough stories.
As I am no longer feeding on Kibbles and Bull____, I don’t give a crap if you are family, friend or foe. If you don’t pay me something to get started, I’m not not makin one mark on my paper, one stroke on my canvas or one pixel dot on my laptop screen. I am not a pushover. Artists are imaginitives who are NOT stupid. We know green like anyone else. And when I finish, I get the other part. You get your art, I have my cash. Artists do not have to trust you whether you are a stranger or blood. By the way, I also do contracts because people try to be so slick they should SIGN in blood!!
One good example of why contracts are good is another fantastic story of human annoying-ness: a woman wanted a portrait of her baby grandson. I made sure to have her sign a contract wherefore she would NOT get her first half of payment back. If she for some reason did not want the drawing, she just didn’t have to pay me the last half. Fair, right? I don’t even have people pay ALL up front, just half n half. Well, the problem wasn’t with the cash, the problem was even dummer than that. She met me to pick up the drawing. She sorta looked at it, but seemed pleased enough. She did not say anything much and took it home after paying me the last half. She PAID me the last half. She musta been pleased. Well, I spoke to her later and she tells me that her daughter did not like the drawing of her son and that, by the way, SHE didn’t really like it either! And further, that she would have told me at the time she picked it up, but didn’t wanna hurt MY FEELINGS!! I coulda grabbed her by her 60 some odd year old, shriveling neck. Hurt my feelings? I am an artist. Criticism is valid. So that was a lie. She only chose to not like it because her daughter did not like it because she shoulda told me instead of driving home after paying me. If you lie, lie to a stupid person with no logic. That is not me…
And how about people who do these things: they ask you to do a piece for them and they really really really want it and they are all enthusiastic and they wanna talk all about it and what they want and YAY!!, but then you let them know the price (and I mean even when the price is very reasonable) and they disappear. No more communication. You are a sucky hype man.
Or a problem I have had with doing logos for people about twice. I did a logo for fam. This was before I started stamping “SAMPLE” across the piece before releasing it. The person NEVER got back to me about whether they liked the sample, even when I would try to contact them. So, there would be no way, really, I could tell if it was being used – without ever having been paid, by the way – unless they told me they were using it (TELL me? yeah right) or unless I saw it in a magazine or some big *** billboard somewhere. So now I slap “SAMPLE” across my work and it DOES NOT get taken off unless I have been paid for it first. I did a sample logo for a family member. They NEVER got back to me about it. I’d appreciate if you needed more time to decide or didn’t want it, but you let me know rather than say NOTHING… Good thing that Herculean-sized “SAMPLE” is on it. It’s unusable! Not to mention it is printable only as a dang thumbnail. I’m not tough, I am an enlightened businessperson yet learning.
So with all this ridiculousness, I wish someone would tell me to have some more trust in patrons/customers. I can do that. SURE!!! So long as “trust” is first spelled in green.