Don't Scupport SCAB Artists!

Don't support artists who work for free! Artists who are financially privileged work for free for the Likes and "exposure" and put the rest of us out of work. When there's always a steady stream of attention-hungry people who have the means to pay their bills themselves (or their parents do) willing to work for free, just so they can convince themselves that they're an artist, businesses don't have to pay honest money for artists to do their work. If you actually care about that, stop following, stop Liking, stop giving these artists attention, and ask them to be transparent about if and how much they were paid for the appearances/performances/work they do.

Why Artists are Struggling to Make a Living From Their Art (and the Activists Fighting Back)

The current model that exists, where a few artists are superstars and everyone else barely struggles to exist, is bad for everyone, and bad for creative evolution in general. Art shouldn’t be about elevating certain creative people to a higher status than the others: rather we should recognize that creative people make important contributions to the world, and are valuable purely for our creative input, just another member of a diverse network of people with many different skills and abilities that make up a community. I am happy in who I am as an artist, a creative person, but I don’t think that being an artist is a more important job or a higher calling than any other thing that someone co

Artists Are Workers!

Capitalism is the problem, but until that problem is solved, artists must be compensated for their work, which is real WORK, and this is a smaller part of a larger labor issue which concerns all working-class people; not paying artists for their work is what caused and continues to widen the massive class gap in the fine art and professional world. Activists can help by supporting measures that pay artists for their work, and by NOT supporting: artists who work for free, and businesses who use creative labor while not compensating fairly.

On Speaking Out About Artists Being Paid For Their Work

When I talk about artists getting paid for their work, that does not mean I think the entire world or even people who enjoy my work owe me money just because I make artwork. I think this is really clear but judging from some messages I get it is not for some people. When people want to own the work I have made, commission me to make new work, or have me perform a service, I (or any artist) need to be compensated fairly, not in exposure; not in promises of future work. This is what I’m talking about when I talk about paying artists. It does not mean that I am demanding some random person send me money because I am an artist. I am specifically talking about people who see the value in my work

On "Success"

Yesterday someone tried to insult me by saying that if people aren't clamoring to buy my work that it must be obviously worthless. It always amuses me when people say this, especially other artists (this was a designer), considering the vast history of art full of highly influential artists who never saw success. These same people who make fun of me are likely influenced themselves by artists like Van Gogh, who was considered a crazy person and an asshole, and never lived to see how millions of people loved his work so much that they'll buy it on kitsch for the next hundred years. Many of people's most beloved examples of major artistic thinkers never knew fame or even success in their lifet

Shoutout to Greensboro Bound For Doing It Right

I am reposting this shoutout here to Greensboro Bound Literary Festival , I had to mention how much I appreciate that they added two paid artist residencies to this year's festival! A few months ago, I had some great conversations with some of the festival's founders about how important it is for artists to be paid for their work; at the time, they told me they were working on something for the next festival that would be tackling that very subject. I was so so happy then when they announced the opportunity that included not just one, but TWO paid artist residencies. I was super stoked that they didn't require an application fee (this is really important; those fees add up for people like me


"If you have the chutzpah to ask an artist to work for exposure (see also: "free"; "experience"; "no pay but we'll feed you a dry chicken breast and some green beans out of a can that have been sprinkled with almonds to make them look fancy"), be prepared to be answered with scorn, ridicule, and possibly a few obscene gestures. Asking artists to work for nothing but the nebulous promise of  "exposure" may be a time-honored tradition, but it's one whose time has come and gone, especially in this economy when it's harder and harder for artists to provide that which everyone seems to want and no one wants to pay for. If we artists had a real paycheck for every time we've been asked to work for


I've written one blog post and have been drafting more about artists getting paid and other important topics around creative work that most people have wrong ideas about, but I saw this and damn if this person doesn't explain it very succinctly. Especially in regards to photography, which so much of it sucks SO BAD these days and looks so similar: "In our chat we discussed what it’s like to create art in the age of social media. She raised a fantastic point about how social media trains creatives to be inauthentic. At the least, social media trains us to stay within the lane of our “brand”. An ill-curated feed results in disorder and unfollows galore. At its worst, social media changes the w

"Everyone Is Creative"

The whole "Everyone is creative" bullshit undermines professional artists' insistence on being paid fair rates for our work. Of course everyone, regardless of skill level or intent, stands to gain all kinds of benefits from engaging in creative activity: this does not mean that the works produced are automatically meaningful or valuable to anyone at all. I am able to sing, and I am able to dance; I can do both of these things at a bare minimum of competence, and I do both of these things daily, in the privacy of my own home, and my body and spirit are greatly served by this kind of activity. However I would never in a million years say "Hey let me do this on stage for people!" My singing and

Without Direction, Future Unclear for Growing Street Art Scene

These are the artists you should stop supporting: these guys actually said that if artists, like myself, can't afford to paint murals for free to get started (?), then we don't deserve to ever do the work: “Public artists could at least be talking together about what the endgame is,” she says. “Should the city play a role? Should it not? Is there a way to share resources? Can once a year there be a convening around community development and public art, so that people could think about what direction the city is going in as it relates to public art?” Golden believes these discussions are critical for building a sustainable strategy. “It shouldn’t just be everyone out for themselves,” she adds

Creative careers: is it ever worth working for 'exposure'?

""...the presumption that creatives can provide free work needs to be challenged. Working long hours for the experience or exposure forms part of a “culture of exploitation”, along with long-term unpaid internships, he says. Unpaid work is damaging for diversity in the creative arts and a barrier to social mobility. It’s driving young talent out of these industries..." Read the rest of the article here:

Why Do Employers Lowball Creatives? A New Study Has Answers

"A recognition that we're getting swindled is a huge first step in pushing back in this phenomenon," she says. "And a bigger second step is for people who have the privilege of having higher paid jobs to work less to create a culture in which working all the time is unacceptable," she continues, "And for workers on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum to organize, to form unions, to form worker associations in which collective norms like working less for higher pay becomes the goal, the aim, the normal state of affairs." Read the full article here:

Artists, Support Each Other Getting PAID

Between artists, there needs to be less patting on the back/trying to be friends with everyone and pretending we all loooooove each other's work, when that is not the case (also it's usually pretty bad for the artist to be lied to by the people around them about the quality of their work but that's for another post)---and more supporting each other getting paid, through policy, local political action, and in our own practice, in who we choose to give our business to, and to work for, and for what price. I don't have to like another artist's work to respect them and want them to be paid fairly for their work. Hell, some of the nicest people I've known were some of the shittiest, if hardest wo

Don’t Work for Free — or Even Cheap — for Rich People

"Lena Dunham, the New York Times revealed Monday, was not planning to pay the seven artists she selected via YouTube auditions to open for her on her Not That Kind of Girl tour. As Gawker points out, this is particularly outrageous in light of the fact that Dunham not only earned a $3.7 million advance for the book, but also makes something like $6 million annually, and tickets for the tour in question have sold for $38 apiece. It’s all reminiscent of the controversy that surrounded Amanda Palmer in 2012, when the musician raised $1 million on Kickstarter and then issued a call for “volunteer” horn players. Both Dunham and Palmer ended up resolving to pay the performers they recruited — and

Can Only Rich Kids Afford to Work in the Art World?

"Naiomy Guerrero, 26, goes to at least a dozen art events a month; more during the art world’s busy fall season. She’s worked for several high-profile arts nonprofits, artist studios, and galleries, and began her master’s degree in art history. But around two years ago, she left her job in the art world. Guerrero hasn’t lost her passion for the arts, and still blogs about art at But as the daughter of two immigrant parents, she chose financial stability. She now works as a financial aid counselor, earning over 50% more than she did at her most recent arts-related job. “I grew up poor, and I never want to be poor again,” she says, even if “that means not working in the art wo

Watch What Happens When You Ask Non-Creative Professionals to Work for Free

Toronto advertising agency Zulu Alpha Kilo created this video to demonstrate how absurd it is for people to ask for the advertising industry to do spec work in hopes of getting more business. Watch it here:

The Art World Doesn’t Want Us to Ask Where the Money Comes From

“Never underestimate the defensiveness of very rich people who believe they’re progressive and who are willing to give back in any way they can—except by surrendering any of their privileges, advantages, or immunities.” Read the rest of the article here:

Photographers Need to Reexamine What Consent Means

“Navigating photography ethics can be like walking a tightrope. Lean in one direction, and the photographer risks exploiting the person whose story they are telling; swing the other way, and the photographer does the story a disservice by not fully illustrating the issue at hand. But if ethics are a tightrope, they are also a scale, one that is always imbalanced toward the one holding the camera. “Every photo comes with a built-in debt,” writer Andrew Molitor penned in an op-ed for PetaPixel. “You owe the subject some degree of respect, of care in handling of the picture. You owe the subject your effort to do something worthwhile with the picture.” Read the rest of the article here: https://