I punched my red sofa pillow so violently this morning that I felt sorry for it. It’s the first time in years that I’ve had this particular urge and followed through. Sometimes it just feels good to punch something. My kick boxing class usually helps but that only takes place on Saturdays…I couldn’t wait that long.
A little back-story…
I received an email that seemed and still possibly seems like a potentially good opportunity for my career. A fellow emailed me, all the way from Australia, asking me to participate in a television show that he produces about artists in their studios. The show has been airing for several seasons and is on its way to America and the producer emailed me to be a part of it. WOW! Right?!?!?!!! The episode would entail a studio interview, live painting and showcase many of my works throughout. A great opportunity… or so I thought, until I read the last page of the information packet.
The last page stated the cost of this project. As an educated artist, I’ve been told time and time again, by working professionals in the field, that an artist shouldn’t pay for advertisement; not only do we not tend to have those kinds of funds readily available, but it also dismisses the authenticity of the artist, in that, if an artists work is good they shouldn’t have to pay to be showcased. The total cost of my episode would be $6000.00.
I understand it’s a PBS project and that they lack funding, that it’s an informational program that could benefit many artists, students and the general public in many ways and that it is an opportunity for exposure. I also understand that in the grand scheme of television programming it is a menial price, but $6000.00?!?!
This is not the first time that I’ve been approached to pay a significant amount of money for exposure, I’ve been contacted several times by many magazines, art books, galleries and publicists stating that for a fee (typically between $300-$2000) they would publish and show my work and that this exposure would certainly lead to fame and fortune. A popular fellow that many of my artist friends and I have heard from is Salvatore Russo who claims that for a mere 350 Euro I will be exhibited in a prestigious group show in some mansion somewhere in Italy with my name mentioned in the most renowned art magazine in the country. To actually have an image and an outline in the magazine is extra, on top of cost of travel and room and board for the opening. Every time he sends me an email, I send him one right back stating that my paintings are available for sale at www.stricoff.com and if he would be willing to buy a painting or two or know of anyone who would that I would be more than happy to participate in this so called “prestigious opportunity”, knowing full well that I will be getting another generic invite in about a months time and that genuinely prestigious opportunities don’t cost the celebrated any money, if anything they occasionally get paid for the honor.
I’m not sure what is more insulting, the fact that the charges are so ridiculously high (we are artists, just in case you all forgot that part) or that my work had absolutely nothing to do with the invitation, that the email he sent to me was an email sent to 50 million other artists simply because their information is also online.
I haven’t responded to the television shows invitation yet and am not really sure how to go about doing so. The producer does seem genuine and there are many seasons and episodes available to view online, which lead me to believe that he’s not a total shit. It is by far the most expensive and is certainly not in my budget at this time. If I did decide to participate I would have to look elsewhere to raise the funds. All reasons as to why I’m still considering it as a possibility, if I could raise the funds, it could be beneficial. More research is needed before any decisions will be made. Something that did bother me was that I had a look at some of the artists showcased in the program and my work seems to be risqué by comparison, which makes me wonder if I was just another artist who happens to have her email address readily available online.
So, as I woke up this early morning, my coffee brewing as I prepared my morning prayer and meditation, I checked my email and read with delight only to be metaphorically punched in the stomach by the promise of an opportunity because of my apparent talent, that I’ve been working my entire life to master, only to find that it might very well be just another generic scheme that has nothing to do with my work and everything to do with my pocket book (that’s not all that full to begin with). I took that metaphorical punch and literally punched back, my pillow that is, picturing all of the faces and emails and expensive “opportunities” in every swing.
FUCK YOU! FUCK YOU FOR ALL OF MY STUDY AND HARD WORK AND PASSION AND TALENT AND DRIVE AND DOUBT AND DEDICATION AND PERSISTENCE AND FEAR AND COURAGE AND ALIENATION AND CRITICISM AND ROLLERCOASTERS AND SELF-REALIZATION AND GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT AND SKILL AND SINCERITY! FUCK YOU FOR TRYING TO SHYSTER ME! FUCK YOU FOR LACKING THE INTEGRITY TO PRODUCE A WORTHWHILE PROJECT THAT WOULD LITERALLY BENEFIT ARTISTS AND CELEBRATE THEIR VOICES! FUCK YOU FOR MAKING AN ALREADY RIDICULOUSLY DIFFICULT, SLOWLY LUCRATIVE AND MARGINALIZED PROFESSION MORE DIFFICULT, LESS LUCRATIVE AND TRIVIAL. Fuck you.
Sometimes it’s really hard to have faith but I pray for it every day anyway.
Thank you humans (who reside in every facet in life) for giving me more opportunities to develop my faith. Thank you.
Disclaimer: the art show television producer guy may or may not be one. I haven’t researched enough yet to make that deduction.