I’m writing this for all you other artists out there, and for all you non-artists that don’t know the protocol on how to deal with us. It’s no one’s real fault, mind you. I’m not pointing fingers at anyone, nor am I saying that my opinions are shared with all professional artists, but it’s good to take note. It’s been stereotyped that the artist mind is some mystical provocative force that can never be understood. Well… surprise.. it can, bitches. 😉

Many of these notes are based on actual events in my professional and freelancing career, or shared by other professional artists. So… here comes the rant…

"This is obviously a cry for freedom of a repressed soul under tyranny"

1. Do not interpret the artist’s feelings when looking at their art, and try to explain to others how they were feeling at the time the piece was made. Unless it’s something that was stemmed from a statement piece, for the most part, this is bullshit, and if an artist tells you otherwise that all of their art is derived from inner turmoil that has been expressed onto cavas in a high end gallery… they’re bullshitting … all over your face. In general, an artist becomes a professional by rigorous training of their craft… painting, sculpting.. in the digital world, texturing and modeling. They strive to hone their craft and to master tomorrow what they didn’t know yesterday. It’s an endless cycle, moving from one goal to the next with an interest that derives from the simple notion of “I want to make some cool looking shit.” Too bad, many of us are never happy with our “cool looking shit” once we’ve set our eyes on a new goal. But that’s digressing. The emotion you see in an artist’s piece is an emotion they wanted to capture… not an emotion they wanted to vent. Now, I’m not saying there’s never been a painting out there that was derived through venting after chopping off one’s ear during a hard break up. But, ASSUMING that that’s why you see such emotion in their art is just crap. Ok, so this is why it peeves me: there is obvious powerful emotions resonating from someone’s artwork. It’s so spot on. It gives you goosebumps. Well guess what.. that artist probably spent YEARS honing his/her craft to get their art to that point that they can do that. So when someone looks at their work in a gallery and says, “Oh! Amazing! This was obviously done during their emotional break down when their puppy was hit by a car by their jilted lover who had just left them!” to me, that throws all that hard work out the window. To me, it’s like as if me constantly drawing in my sketch book and studying other people’s work was a waste of time when really I could’ve just made a bunch of paintings during my period and sell then for hundreds of dollars at a gallery.  Anyway, I guess my point is… most of us make things we think would look cool. It’s that simple. Sometimes it’s even simpler. Some of us just like to make things we think would be fun to make, or just make something we haven’t made before for the challenge.

Note: Replace dog with neon colored street bike.

OH, and fyi.. if an artist tells you they’re a professional artist.. but can only work when they’re in the right “mood”.. oh oh oh oh!! Or “frame of mind”… they’re not a professional. They’re a hipster.

"Hmmm... have you tried using warmer colors, like blue?"

2. When working with an artist: If you have no training or any artistic skills you can think of, besides color coordinating your outfit for the day, please don’t feel the need to put your two cents in, just because you think you should. This is more of a shout out for those who are hiring an artist.  There are definitely things you have the right to give your opinion on.. for instance, content of the piece.. like what you want in it… mood.. how you want it to feel… scene.. pretty much the idea of what you want happening.  But things that involve any of the stuff that deals with why you hired the artist to begin with.. you just need to butt out. If they want your opinion on something they’ll ask it. Don’t suggest what needs shading and what doesn’t. What kind of colors the shadows should be or whatever. And please.. PLEASE.. for god’s sake… don’t use terms that even you don’t know what they mean.. because we don’t fucking know what they mean either! If you come at me saying “You need to make it more edgy!”… or “we need to get that mainstream look!”  or “I want you to enhance this image”… 1) This isn’t CSI. 2)I will say nothing and mock you in my head. And 3) I will make fun of you with my artist friends at the local pub. In conclusion, don’t think you’re getting you’re money’s worth by asking for things you don’t even know about. You’ll just confuse them more and probably will end up getting either something you didn’t want, or the same thing they were making to begin with. Little less talky… little more walky. Thanks.

"Hey there! Frank sent me over from accounting to check out your work, here!"

3. As stated from above when working with an artist: Do NOT get ANOTHER non-professional’s second opinion on the things I’ve mentioned above. That’s even worse! Getting the opinions of people who have absolutely no idea what you do is degrading. It’s also kind of sad, because it’s most likely they didn’t even want to give an opinion but are now forced to because the pressure of their peer… who somehow thinks irrelevant experience still counts as art experience (which, btw, is another slap in the face to an artist’s hard work)  Example: “Well, I like what you got here, but I need a second opinion. I’m no artist, but let me bring my wife into the loop. She decorated our half bathroom. She has that.. you know.. ‘artistic eye’ thing.” OK… what. Seriously. What does that have to do with anything! If you’re going to get a second opinion from someone, get it from someone who is in a close field. Get it from another professional artist.. even an art student would be better than that! I don’t tell the guy building my house, “hold up.. ok.. this looks great and all, but I’m no architect.. so I’m going to get a second opinion from my 6 year old nephew. He likes to play with Tonka trucks and Legos on his down time.”

"I know I said black and what was ok, but I decided I'd rather have the show in color. So, you should give me back my money."

4. Again, working with artists: This one hits home pretty bad, and for anyone that has done freelance with random strangers, you’ve might’ve come across this. People… if you’re hiring an artist… you PAY them for the WORK they’ve put INTO your SHIT. If hours are being done to make whatever you want being made, you pay that artist for whatever they’ve ended with. If you don’t like the end result, doesn’t matter.. you pay them for it. It’s most likely that if you  ended up not liking their work the blame is due on your side. Look up the artist’s portfolio before hiring and have a conference of the sort to make sure they can make exactly what you want, and check up on them for updates to make sure things are running smoothly. If an artist gave you shit work, it’s because they’re a shitty artist .. and you were the one that hired them. No professional and talented artist that I know of have EVER given someone sub-par work of their capabilities and charged them for it. You get what you paid for. I’ve been in a situation where the client even saw my work beforehand, liked it. We had several discussions about what needed to be done. I gave them an update of the project every 25% that was completed. And they even OK’d the final piece and paid for it. Three weeks later (most likely their second opinions didn’t like it or something) they had a change of heart and decided they didn’t like the work I did and expressed how disappointed they was in me, and how I tricked them and all this nonsense, thus wanted their money back. I did half an hour worth of tweaking to the work to maybe appease them just for good customer service but in the end.. guess what… HA! Sorry, you paid me to do the work. I’m not a retail store you can just pay sticker prices for a dress and return it after all your friends told you that you looked fat in it. You’re paying for our time and effort. If an artist didn’t put time or effort into your project, then you have every right to demand your money back. But other than that, this aint Walmart.

5. Working with artists: Comparison for negotiating prices. Don’t do it. If try to negotiate a price with an artist, and your main tactic is to say, “well I have a friend that can do that for only half the price! Why can’t you?!” we know damn well that if that was an option you wouldn’t be discussing it with us in the first place. It’s about time, quality and speed. You get what you paid for. If you want something cheaper, you can NOT have all three, and you can’t fool us by telling us there is someone out there that can do all three for cheap, cuz like I said.. we wouldn’t be talking.  And visa versa… if there is an artist out there, that does terrible work, really slow and charges a lot… don’t do business with them! I wouldn’t even understand why anyone would! Those people probably aren’t even artists. They’re most likely someone with a skill set that they know not many people have, so they charge an arm and a leg for it. Like Geeksquad. Swapping out a new harddrive is like putting in a VHS tape in a VCR. They were going to charge me $100 for that. I called bullshit, but of course there’s tons of people, specifically the elderly.. or Mac users (ZING!!!) that will fall for it because they have no idea how all that stuff works. So, same goes with art programs and people who don’t really study in it to better themselves at it, but happen to know how to use the programs. Hence why you see such terrible web design out there, or TERRIBLE photoshopped photos.  Anyway, know that you’re not just buying a product.. you’re buying the time of a well skilled person… yes… like a hooker.

"Up to seeing what's on the dollar menu?"

And we all know you’re in no position to complain about the toothless smile of a $5 street walker you just bought. At least when an artist gives you your receipt it won’t be damp.

6. Dealing with the struggling artist: The term “living as a struggling artist” is sad, but true. I have to admit, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be in high school. There are tons and tons of artist jobs I never knew about, for me in particular all the artists that work in video games. And as technology progresses, new artist jobs come into existence! Well, that’s all fine and dandy but you can’t exactly just get a degree from your local college and expect job offers being thrown at you like shoes at George W. Bush.

"I got a size 9 job for ya, Bizatch!!!"

The art field is amazingly competitive, I’d almost want to compare it to the professional athlete level of competitiveness. There are only a few spots on the art team, so may the best man win. Specially with our economic times, outsourcing art has become incredibly.. well.. popular, making those few spots even fewer! So, many of my fellow artists have been, or are unemployed. And, it sucks. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. And after your few months of being unemployed you start going down this depressive downward spiral. So, what can make you feel worse? When someone who has no idea about your field tries to make suggestions for you based off of stereotypes. “So, that video game company laid you off, huh? Have you tried drawing on sides walks with chalk for tips?(real suggestion)” “Well, have you applied at Disney?(another real suggestion)” Now, it sucks for me to say this, because I know full well that friends and family who often make these kinds of suggestions are only doing it because they really want to help and care for your well being.. but.. it has to be said folks. I feel like shit, and your comments rubs it in my open wounds of emo-ism. If you really want to help, provide us with contacts instead of ideas. Instead of saying, “Oh! How about working as the person who draws all the celebrity faces at the mall(again, real suggestion)”… instead provide a contact… “hey, I know this person who’s looking for some illustrations to be done for them” or.. “hey, I know this guy that’s looking for some photos to be shopped, are you interested?”.. and most appealing… “You know, someone at this company was looking into maybe having a website. Is that something you can do for them?” …. Anyway, these are actually promising leads to fill the gaps of unemployment.  Please try not to throw around weird art stereotypes as well. I’m an artist, but I’ve made a career in video games. Therefore, any leads that involved video game companies or digital art would be great. Suggesting I draw people for tips at Pike Place Market isn’t that great. So, treat our field like any other field and know what the person does for a living before you suggest something, especially something that would make at least somewhere near the same amount of bucks as they did before. You wouldn’t tell a recently unemployed veterinarian that they should apply for a job at PetSmart, would you? (and if you said “yes”.. you’re a douche)

7. Video game art is ART and I don’t care what you say!

BTW, a video game designer is not the same as a video game artist. There are very very very few similarities. They’re as close to being the same thing as a farmer being the same as a culinary chef.

8. No. We do not want to draw you. Especially if you ask us, once you found out we were an artist. And if we do end up drawing you.. we’re being polite… while dying inside.

9. Yes. We are willing to design your tattoo.

But, we usually regret it after seeing it 15 years later.

10. No. Disney isn’t another word for cartoon. And No, not every artist wants to work there.

11. Art critics: Things that are realistic don’t always make good art. And content of a piece doesn’t always mean it’s good as well, meaning… just because someone drew an anime girl ninja with huge boobs, demon wings, riding a blood red stallion with her long haired vampire lover behind her, holding one boob with one hand and a highly realistic rendering of a pokemon in the other…doesn’t necessarily mean it all looks good together, just because it has all your favorite things in it. I love teriyaki… and I love pink lemonade.. but I don’t want to combine them into one thing.. cuz pink lemonaki sounds like liquid ass.

I guess I should be lenient on this one, because what someone likes is what they like, and I shouldn’t negate their opinions because mine is different. But, understand this… when growing as an artist, your opinion of what is good art and bad art changes…Most likely, as I see it in my own taste, that I start looking deeper into a piece and see the actual construction of it. The color choices and the brush strokes ect. I think 80% of my appreciation comes for the understanding of the craftsmanship of it all, and the other 20% is the final result. So where am I going with this? Not all art that you like, we will like, and not all art we like is what you like. Just because it’s under the classification of “art” doesn’t mean an “art”ist will like it. So, I say that as an apology. Why? Because I know artists have gotten stereotyped as being pretentious or snooty, and I think this is one of those reasons why. So, we don’t mean to scoff at your tastes.. we just see things from a different perspective. So no worries! 🙂

Anywho, I’ve already written a lot, and I most likely can write more but since I have no intention in proof reading this… screw that! I might add more later down the road though.

Check ya later on the drawing board! (see what I did there…)  😉


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