Sunday, September 24, 2017

A Roundabout Way to Three Answers

Why do the hard off artists supposedly do a better job on their work than someone who's been properly compensated?
 - "A wise post that must be shared" by Rach Burns

Artists shouldn’t be paid for their art. Getting paid prevents them from creating really good stuff.
 - Anonymous, in "Why Artists Should (Not) Be Paid For Their Work" by Maria Brophy

I've been through therapy. I'm not ashamed to say it.

I've heard it repeated by licenses therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and more the cliche of the struggling or starving or depressed artist. But to those who have actually studied humans and have degrees to back up their ideas, it's very much and chicken-and-egg problem: which came first, the struggle or the desire to create art?

There's no universal answer.

1. You Do Work, You Get Paid
...if you're lucky.

Payment is a tricky matter when it comes to art. If you ask for money, you're implying value. But if you ask for more than people are willing to pay, they feel cheated. And if your audience wants things for free, just asking for a small monetary donation brings waves of scorn.

Some people (like myself) get tired of the whole mess. Yes, I could probably create higher quality work if I didn't have to spend time on a "normal" job. There's certainly no promise that would happen, just good odds. But in times of economic struggle, people are generally less giving.

I've mostly given up selling digital copies of my work. If you want a physical copy, something to carry with you and feel the weight of the endeavor, those are for sale. I try to content myself with spreading my words, and find joy when I find others repeating them.

Unfortunately, that doesn't pay the bills.

2. In an ideal world, we get paid by our benefit to society
This clearly isn't an ideal world, because people who merely provide entertainment get paid significantly more than those who educate.

Artistic works, not just literary and visual art, bring so much to the world. Not necessarily as much as teaching the upcoming generations perhaps, but art and music (a subclass of art) can generate emotional states in the one experiencing it. To that end, it can rile one up or cool one off.

3. Nobody starves?
Enact a UBI, and I'll become a full time artist. But that's the fear of those opposing UBI: that so many people will desert the workforce that the economy collapses.

There's a fallacy in that: becoming an artist full time is not synonymous with deserting the workforce. I'm already a small business owner; running my own business instead of joining in on someone else's doesn't count as desertion, so why should becoming an artist?

4. ...
I could probably come up with more, if this post wasn't meant to be a one-off, or if I had more time to think about it that wasn't occupied by a 40-hour per week job. But since I only have a limited amount of my time to dedicate to artistic endeavors, this will have to do. I've a head whirling with my upcoming "Project Maladroit," and if I'm lucky, I'll not only be able to bring it sufficiently to life, but also make a bit of money in the long run.