In Part I, I discussed about how photographs are only a general representation of the one-and-only reality. In other words, photographs are objective representations of the world as we ‘Artists‘ design our photographs to be.
Double Talk? Yes, and a little ambiguous as well, thank you very much!
Did I mention that this is a good thing for Fine Art Photographers? Well, it is! Not the “double talk,” but the personal translating of reality in our work! That is good! That’s creativity.
Now, in this entry, Part II, I want to mention a totally different sort of “Truth”. This “Truth” is something that many Artists will no doubt experience. If you don’t experience this “Truth” at least once in your life as an Artist, then count your blessings; you are the luckiest person in the world; life is so good you must be living on Mars!
“What ‘Truth’ are you talking about ALREADY?” That’s a mighty fine question!
Well, it’s actually the UNtruth told to Artists when someone shows interest in their work. If you still have no clue what I’m talking about, then YES, you are the luckiest Martian in the Solar System!
Getting on with it now…
If when you show your artwork to someone (a gallery, a museum, a library, an interior designer, an art collector/buyer or artist’s representative), and they show interest in your work, then that’s a good thing…Smile!
If however, after the pleasantries are over, and the other party then makes any comments like this: “We would really like to work with you on this; we would really like to help you out; we could do you a favor and show your work for you, blah, blah, blah…“; If you hear this, then your internal red flags should be sounding the, “Alert, Danger Will Robinson!”
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR THESE PHRASES in discussions with any of these people:
- “…do you a favor…”
- “…giving you free wall space to show your work…”
ARTIST’S DEFENSE FOR 1:
1. “Pardon me, but actually if I agree to work with you on this project, everything will be spelled out in the agreement and we will naturally be benefiting each other.” And then, you can continue with…”And by the way, I always keep a copy of my ‘Standard’ Artist & Gallery Consignment Agreement (if this is a consignment deal) in my camera bag (Organizer, etc.). If you wish to have a look, see my terms, which are quite typical, then we can discuss the project further, OKEY DOKEY!” Well, maybe leave out the “OKEY DOKEY” terminology.
- If they baulk at the idea of an Agreement, or at most of your “Standard Clauses“, then you might as well save yourself some hassle and heartache and walk away. The idea is to protect yourself, your time & efforts, your investment, and your property.
- You should always be open to negotiations, but don’t let yourself get completely pillaged by a bossy designer or gallery owner. You’re a business person too, and have your own interests to look out for, and that is what your Agreement is all about. It protects you and the other party by spelling out all the terms of the business relationship.
- These are business people and they are NOT going to go out of their way to do you a favor for nothing! They will enter into business relationships with you if they see there is a benefit for them: This is common sense and part of business. As a business owner and Artist, you need to think this way as well.
- Mentors will help you, do you favors and generally want you to succeed at your business and personal growth endeavors. That’s not to say that your Mentors are not also Business People, or maybe even business colleagues of yours – they could be. This would definitely be a plus for you, the Artist – you would have someone cheering you on to success!
ARTIST’S DEFENSE FOR 2:
2. “Ah, excuse me, but this project will cost me X-Amount in Time, Y-Amount in Printing Costs, and Z-Amount in Matting and Framing Costs” (don’t give exact figures, you don’t want them to know your absolute costs – ballpark figures are good enough). Then you can continue with: “So please don’t tell me it is ‘free wall space’ because I’m investing a lot of time and money into this project!” And then you could follow up with, “I’m a business person too, and I’m expecting you to promote my work so I get a good return on my investment. By the way, what is your Marketing Plan for promoting my Artwork?” Throw it back in their face! This is just rough dialog of course. You don’t have to ever use it if you don’t want to; but who knows, it may work!
If the other party fails to realize your investment in this venture, then don’t continue doing business with this party. They will always believe they are providing you with “free wall space,” and “doing you a favor.”
Artists vs. The World…
Is this the case? Is everyone out there waiting to rob us blind; or, stab us in the backs with deceit, treachery and lies (the UNtruth)?
Well, that may be a wild overstatement – but the treacherous are out there waiting to take advantage of the “Starving & Struggling Artist” – So beware!
Perhaps you don’t consider the quest to be a “Working Artist” a “Conflict in Motion“, and that is certainly fine. I only wish I had that sort of, well, for lack of a better term, a Pollyanna viewpoint.
“When look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will.”
—Abraham Lincoln —Inscription on Pollyanna’s broach, a gift from her father.
I’m not suggesting that you become a totally Paranoid Freakazoid Artist or something, suspecting everyone you run into, to stab you in the back. That’s no way to live. And, not everyone will, that would be a vast exaggeration.
Nevertheless, being that I’ve been “burned” before in a couple of Artist and Rep. dealings, I now approach most artistic opportunities with “Guarded Optimism and Suspicion!” [LMAOBT! ;^) ]
I like the general idea of Sun Tzu on this issue:
“The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations
beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory, and few
calculations to defeat: how much more no calculation at all! It
is by attention to this point that I can foresee who is likely to
win or lose.”
In other words, Prepare Yourself, and prepare thoroughly!
Maybe some people do not think the “Art World” ‘doings‘ (i.e., business dealings, etc.) is a “battle”. Well, I have my own opinions on this, and also my battle scars….that being the case, I would suggest to “Prepare Yourself with MANY Calculations!”
End of Part II: “Paint the World…with Truth”.