Today I was offered €50 for a 2 hour workshop.
My reply was that wouldn’t even cover my petrol.
I got this in reply: “I hope you were not offended by our offer - I realise that the amount is very small indeed - I’m afraid the [venue] is under considerable financial pressure - as I know everyone in Ireland is! - and so we sometimes ask artists to offer workshops for a token fee and try to provide in tandem an opportunity to publicise their commercial work and professional practice.”
Frankly I am offended. I’m a full-time professional cartoonist and I’ve given lots of workshops nationwide. I’ve never been offered €50 for my time before because my time and my skill are obviously valued by the people who hire me. I’m sure the [venue] wouldn’t offer an electrician or a plumber €50 and the offer of exposure of their work because it’d soon be the subject of disbelieving banter on building sites as well as sitting in the dark being slowly flooded from leaking pipes.
For a venue purporting to support artists, the offer of fifty quid for a two hour workshop passing on skills that have been honed in a career spanning nearly two decades is bizarrely dissonant.
A two hour workshop would include at least half a day’s preparation involving research, planning, written materials, timing of delivery, rehearsal and so on. [Venue] is a 4 hour round trip from Galway and €50 would just about pay for the petrol. Take into account parking fees & feeding myself and I’m actually paying to give a workshop, rather than being paid for giving one.
If I want exposure I can run ads on Google without leaving my desk. I certainly wouldn’t need to give up two days I could be working on commissions from paying clients who appreciate the time that goes into creating art.
I’m wasting more time on this now purely on principle to suggest in future the [venue] not waste artists’ time in the knowledge it hasn’t got the ability to pay for our services.”
If you’re an artist please don’t work for free, no matter what they say about exposure. You devalue the worth of your own work and everybody elses. If you’re a venue don’t contact artists unless you’ve got the funds to pay because otherwise you’re nothing but a timewaster.
Remember, “people die of exposure.” (Some dude who got paid.)