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Forums > Social Discussion > being paid as a professional

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Ade
SILVER Member since Mar 2001

Are we there yet?
Location: australia

Total posts: 1897
Posted:We've talked about performing and payment for performing a lot at HoP.

I thought it intersting to read in a local paper today, that Google of all companies, are offering 'exposeure' as a form of payment to artists.

That's the line we often get - we can't pay you much, but you will get exposure, advertising.

The article is:

"Stephen Hutcheon
June 18, 2009 - 2:32PM

A pitch by Google to solicit freebie artwork to offer as "skins" to users of its recently released web browser has backfired spectacularly.

Inspired by Canadian Gary Taxali's very public rejection of the non-monetary offer for his work, scores of fellow artist and illustrators have taken a stand against what they say is an insulting form of payment: exposure.

"Too many companies dangle that word like a carrot in front of artists in the hope that they will get work for nothing," said Taxali in a telephone interview.

"The idea that you're going to be on Google and millions of people will potentially see you and therefore that far exceeds anything they can write in the form of a cheque ... that kind of thinking is so destructive, is so disrespectful."

The ill-fated approach took place in April, the same month as the company was reporting net income for the first quarter of 2009 of $US1.42 billion ($1.78 billion).

Taxali was one of a number of artists and illustrators approached by Google representatives to see if they were interested in having their artwork offered as skins on the free Chrome browser.

Not only did Taxali turn down the opportunity, he posted an angry note about it on drawger.com, an artists' website.

"Here's to every client with shitty fees and terms: Do not waste my time or contact me," Taxali wrote in a post he has since removed.

"I am very busy working with clients who respect artists and you're wasting my time with your solicitations. So for you, I give you a special salute that I hope will keep you away, because I don't need your work."

In the past few years, Google has begun offering a limited selection of colourful backgrounds for some of its sites and online services so that users can personalise them.

In 2008, a number of Australian artists and designers including Rolf Harris, Ken Done, Akira Isogawa and Reg Mombassa, donated artwork to be used as skins on iGoogle, Google's personalised home page.

They were part of an international groups of artists and performers including Bob Dylan, Jeff Koons, Jackie Chan, Mark Ecko and Philippe Starck, who did likewise.

Reg Mombassa said he signed up because he felt that any exposure was good.

"I did one for Google because they were offering a decent sum of money - $10,000 - to a charity of my choice," he said in the telephone interview.

"I like to be paid for my work, but I'd rather have it shown for free than not have it seen at all."

Taxali says he not opposed to the idea of giving away his work. He has donated works of art to Greenpeace and "countless other charities and non-profit organisations" over the years.

"There's a big difference. When a company - a multimillion dollar corporation - is in it to make profits then it's an entirely different set of circumstances," he said.

"If they are using my work to make money, I want to be part of that. If they are using my work to educate people to raise awareness and so forth I want to be part of that without any compensation because I believe in the cause."

Taxali's passionate comments on the drawger.com site caused fellow artist, Chris Lyons, who admitted to taking up Google's exposure offer, to first publicly repent his decision then later withdraw his consent.

Others cheered his stance.

"If I do something like this, it would just make me feel like a fool - how do you convince someone who didn't have to pay for my work the first time, that they should pay what it's worth the second?" said artist Julian Breckenreid in a comment posted on the site.

Despite the rebuff from Taxali and his supporters, Google said in a statement to The New York Times that "dozens of artists" took up the offer.

"While we don't typically offer monetary compensation for these projects, through the positive feedback that we have heard thus far we believe these projects provide a unique and exciting opportunity for artists to display their work in front of millions of people," the statement said."


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gilim


gilim

newbie
Location: brisbane, australia

Total posts: 37
Posted:I agree with Taxali, google is one of the biggest companies around... If they want things for free, then it devalues the entire process. Hell if he wants exposure, then Taxali is getting heaps by opposing google.

Are they offering to specifically promote the artists? Spend money and time creating channels to turn peoples interest in the image into real sales? If so, then that's fine. Barter is different.

I understand that subsections of a big business have limited budgets, not the whole pile to draw on. But if it worked, the guy who came up with it would be rewarded. The company would get something for free. The first or highest profile person to take on the deal might get the best 'exposure'.... But how often do you try to find out who did the image art when google changes their site for a special day?

meh, anyway. I am living off my fire twirling skills, things like this actually does piss me off.

my thoughts
-sam


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:"through the positive feedback that we have heard thus far we believe these projects provide a unique and exciting opportunity for artists to display their work in front of millions of people"

that sums it up, no?

on one side we do have a multi billion dollar company with a platform - on the other we do have artists who want to get themselves out there and "exposed"... I'm sure its in the best intent, only mating with artists who are so tired to hear the same bait over and again..

I would say that Google donating money to "charity of the artists choice" is least they should do...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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hamamelis
BRONZE Member since Jan 2006

hamamelis

nut.
Location: Bouncing off the walls.

Total posts: 756
Posted:Heh, not a new one- I found a photographic equipment website that was running a contest with first prize being 'Your photo will be displayed on our website, and in all our stores!'

So.. you send them your best picture, you sign over to them rights to use it in any way they want, and they don't give you a bean.. But You Won. I bet the guy who came second and just got 50 in vouchers is gutted.

There's always going to be people who are just happy to get their stuff out there and seen, and there's always going to be companies who try it on. You can always say no, and remember, they're very unlikely to get the best for free.. They'll largely get the desperate and the clueless and the hopelessly optimitic..

Though yeah, as has been said, donating time/skills to a project you believe in is a whole different story.


THE MEEK WILL INHERIT THE EARTH!


If that's okay with you?

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:the "value" of exposure all depends on just where an artist is in his career. To an emerging artist, exposure, aka resume fodder can be just as valuable as cash, and investment, if you will.

Imaging graduating from art school or emerging as self taught and being able to use Google as a reference in your CV. I don't know what whomever at Google was thinking when they contacted a high profile(?) guy like Taxali ( I Googled him, lol ) but they may have approached thousands of artists with their offer.

It's not uncommon for those well established in a career field to be critical of those just entering that field and are willing to work for less than the standard rate, just to get a foot in the door. It happens everywhere, especially in the arts, where being able to cite experience and exposure are key in securing future clients.

As Ade says, we've discussed this issue before re fire spinning and we've come to make the same conclusions and observations about "getting started"

As a fire group, we used to do an unpaid gig, early in the morning, in the winter for one of those "morning shows" on a local television station. We'd be a recurring theme throughout the show with the cameras returning to us when they had some time to fill between their regular features like the news. We'd start at 5 am and be ready until 9, fuelled up and waiting for the requests to light up, and "go live" and we did it strictly for the publicity and so we could say...."as featured on A Channel" in our promotional literature.

Ha Ha, funny story about that gig. One of our performers, was giving a brief lesson to the show's host, he was spinning wheelplane circles when both poi came together and smacked him right in the gonads. He looked just like a caricature of a guy who just got hit in the nuts, with the wide eyes, pursed lips and that semi bent over posture and it went out live to boot. The station thought this was hilarious and kept that 5 second clip with the impact and the result, and played it over and over and over as one of their year's highlights in local journalism.


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted::as featured in a hosts crutch:

laugh3

guess one thing here is that "long timers" did what they had to do in order to get where they are... different times - different platforms - vastly different exposure...

but oyu feel it's about protectionism? or is it about "guys c'mon now, from my experience it doesn't work that way"... ?

guess CV'S still have this conditioned importance... it is about "what you do now", but it's more so "what you've been doing back then"...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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gilim


gilim

newbie
Location: brisbane, australia

Total posts: 37
Posted:I've done plenty of free gigs, I did a live segment for 20 million people on tnt cable, I did a three hour gig for free that went so long I ended up catching on fire from all the flicked off fuel...

My complaint isn't that people will do free gigs... Of course we will. We do it for good causes, we do it for fun, for friends, for exposure, because we don't feel confident whatever.

My complaint is when big companies take advantage of that. They have the money to support people properly, but the dangle is easier, or cheaper, or whatever.

My question for those who gave free gigs, how many referrals did you get specifically from that? A fire segment every week on a tv show, sure that might turn up some paying work. But mostly these exposure gigs can only be turned to a profit by people with good enough organisation/infrastructure to take advantage of it properly. IE, people who are already professionals.

If you are not after profit, then fine... but you probably aren't after exposure except in a glamorous way.

For those trying to turn long hours of training and performance practice into enough money to pay the rent properly, its hard to see big businesses undercutting the fairly low end cost of hiring in return to for 'exposure'.

-sam


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CalvinKlown


CalvinKlown

Eunathist
Location: Hy Brasil - For real now.

Total posts: 280
Posted:Plenty of people die from exposure every year.

Never lie down with someone who has more problems than you.

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Protectionism is one way of looking at it, it happens everywhere where people are willing to work for experience rather than cash and those already established in the business look down on "the newbs" who attribute a lot of value to that experience gained.

gilim, I hear your concerns about companies being able to pay but being unwilling to do so. I tend to look at these *experience/exposure instead of cash* offers as being directed specifically at newbs to give them a chance to get their foot in the door, so to speak.

Yes, it's being cheap, but one would think that were a company offering the going rate, that company would attract established artists and *most likely* hire those established artists over some unknown, citing *value for money* as their reason for making that choice.

One would *assume* that an emerging professional would have an idea how to maximise their return on those referrals gained through free labour. I mean when using work done for a previous client as a reference when trying to secure future work, the financial details of the previous gig need not enter into discussions with the future client.

Quote:For those trying to turn long hours of training and performance practice into enough money to pay the rent properly, its hard to see big businesses undercutting the fairly low end cost of hiring in return to for 'exposure'.

yes, it is.


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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:eh - its fairly standard practise for emerging artists to offer their art at reduced cost in order to gain exposure. I figure if someone already has a bunch of paying client's then Google's offer isn't attractive. so what?

I think its not so bad - when you start thinking of it as "brand exposure" something that actually costs a lot in marketing budgets, Google's offer suddenly starts making more sense.

Also - being able to put on your blog, or in your resume (if its a bit light) that you have designed something for Google's search page shows you are still active and in the loop to an extent. I'm thinking of all the public artists / graphic designers who have experienced a bit of a down turn lately, who would benefit from having some work, even if not paid.

Of course, there might be better charities to donate your time to... but commercialism is unto itself.

EDITED_BY: Pyrolific (1245629079)


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:there will always be a "next generation artist" shrug and so Google, along with festival organizers, is giving proof to that... "you don't have to pay for good quality art/ performance"

me is also a bit tired of companies hunting with the cheap trick - either I do it for the chuckles, the right cause or not at all... giving out for free (or cheap) only to get "exposure"... well, I'm quite happy I have kept my "freebie virginity" so far smile

And personally I wouldn't hire an artist only because he designed something for Google or because he played for Cirque de Soleil... either I like what he does or I don't...

Stout, did you find more clients coming because you got featured on that channel? The (profiled) artists I have spoken to all revealed they don't believe that more clients came from such way of advert...


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:Well, FireTom - I guess your quantification (exposure = $0) is different from mine (exposure > $0 for some).

I think this argument is going down the "expert vs professional" road - and one thing we all know, is that there are a lot of 'artists' trying to pay the rent doing what they love, when they are neither expert nor professional.

J


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Josh, your equation is sure right "exposure > $0 for some (corporations)"... who don't have to pay you... wink the rest I regard as mindgame. Amongst the artists I talked to is (Rob) Firenix, who categorically rejects such offers.

I'd rather interested in artists who can witness, that indeed their freebie exposure resulted in $$$ being paid out of other gigs they got as a *direct* result...

Personally I played for my personal enjoyment on festivalss, all the gigs I sourced were paid - none of them really ever asked about my references, ALL were only interested in "show me what you can do (now)" and then hired me or not.

For me it's much more important whether or not *I* can relate to an artists creation, no matter whether they played or designed for the NASA or not...

How 'bout you? ever got hired because of your CV (as an artist)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stout
SILVER Member since May 2004

Stout

Pooh-Bah
Location: Canada

Total posts: 1872
Posted:Originally Posted By: Pyrolific
I think this argument is going down the "expert vs professional" road


Yes, it's the crux of the whole issue however one not need to be an expert to succeed in the arts, it's as much about marketing as it is about talent and it takes a balance of both to "pay the rent properly" as gilim so succinctly put it.

Tom, it may not matter to you where an artist has been, or who he's worked for but it does matter to a lot of potential clients. Having a big name client on one's CV let's those potential clients see just who else has thought the artist is *good enough* and a quick trip to Gary Taxali's ( the artist featured as being critical of Google's offer in the OP )website will show that he too values having big names on his CV.

Originally Posted By: Gary Taxali's websiteRolling Stone, GQ, Esquire, Time, Newsweek, Fortune, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Fast Company, Reader's Digest, Business Week, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Converse, Levi's, Sony, McSweeny's, MTV, Coca-Cola

I can't say how much we benefited from doing those TV gigs as I'm not the person who does the marketing for our group. I know lots of people saw it because i heard lots of "I saw you on TV" comments in the days following the shows. I am however a professional artist/designer working in visual ( rather than performance) arts and I have been for the last 14 years and my experiences with being in both print and TV media have directly led to increased sales through the free exposure I say this because many people have told me they either saw me on TV, or saw a photograph in the newspaper and they "want one" just like the one(s) portrayed in the media.

I've also been interviewed/filmed/photographed by several international media outlets ( MTV France, Australian ABC, CNN, more European and Asian newspapers than I can remember ) but I don't know what ever became of those interviews because I never did any follow up. I could have ended up in a lot of recycling bins.


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:but would *you* hire an artist or buy his work *only* because he's been featured on MTV, not looking into what he's doing and whether or not *you* like it?

It would be rather strange to me...

I mean, how dares Google to ask Taxali for a freebie??? laugh3 only look at his lectures... this is not about getting "exposure" - this is about getting something for free... wink

nuff 'jacking for me now... wave


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Pyrolific
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

Returning to a unique state of Equilibrium
Location: Adelaide, South Australia

Total posts: 3288
Posted:In response to your question FireTom, if I had no expertise in the area of art that I was hiring for, then yes, I would hire someone with a proven track record over someone who didnt. Eg, If I had a job for a facepainter, one of them seemed to be very skilled, but had no evidence of ever working professionally for anyone, and another person whose work I didnt like as much, but had a string of references from satisfied customers, then I would hire the sure thing - cuz in the end, someone who reliably delivers a good job is far less risky in a business sense, than someone who *might* deliver a better job, but who has no proven track record - and may not even turn up, or might swear at a child, or turn up drunk or whatever - all things that effect what value they are contributing to my event, but are unrelated to their facepainting skill. This is one of the factors in the expert vs professional issue that I raised earlier.

In any other field I think this would be the same.

I hope this is clear enough.

J


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:I see, valid point, guess I wouldn't hire a babysitter without references too...

While I not mean to pick the nit, I feel
for one there still is some difference between "no record ad all" and "high profile customer record" and
for second this wouldn't apply much for designs or paintings unless I'm completely uncertain of what I really want and how I want it and have no clue of the market I'm serving.

So I fully agree with the field of sensitive interpersonal (maybe even children) interaction and events (3D) but can't side it on plain surface (2D)...

Taken into context, the organizers of festivals could be regarded as completely ruthless, allowing anyone spin at their event who brings some kerosene and toys... wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Here's the thing...how much paying work does exposure get you? That is what makes it worthwhile Pyrolific.
Exposure is only beneficial if it directly gets you a monetary compensation from others there.

Usually if you get booked from "exposure" it is no where near what the company could have paid outright.

Myself and several of my performance friends (burlesque, sideshow, etc.) have all done the odd gig when we were trying to make a name for ourselves.
At one of our annual conventions Discovery and History channel both have filmed and we didn't get paid except in "exposure" because it was a public event being filmed. Not a single one of us was booked off of those appearances. Millions of people worldwide saw us. No bookings.
Sure it's great on a resume, but since they actually have the money to pay and should, it would *still* look great on a resume.

Here's the other thing about large companies, even when they agree to pay, they are a pain to get the money from.
I did a photo spread for Coca-Cola's BURN energy drink in Sept. I am *still* fighting them to get my money. It's unreal.
I did a gig years ago for Turner Classic Movies channel, got jilted on the pay.
The bigger they are, the harder they screw you I have found.

I also have to add, I don't pay attention to backgrounds. I have yet to get an email from anyone say "Go here and check out this skin!" (you know what I mean! wink ) I think more often than not, it gets ignored, over looked as well...and that isn't exposure either.

I firmly believe "exposure" as payment is disrespectful and insulting when coming from a billion dollar company unless they have undeniable proof that I will make money from people just seeing me.


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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