I’m starting to get a flood of unsolicited emails from galleries who are so interested in my work, they want to offer me the privilege of paying them for a portfolio interview for the privilege of being allowed to pay them to show my work in some gallery I’ve never heard of.
If you’re that interest in my work, maybe you should check my facebook, google+, tumblr, twitter, YouTube, blog, or website, and see that I already have a show coming up in a gallery that I have heard of; one that doesn’t charge for portfolio interviews, and doesn’t charge me to show my work.
At least the emails from crappy vanity galleries in New York have slowed down…
Two weeks ago, Site 3 CoLaboratory held a little, informal bitcoin themes open house. Even though it’s likely too late to jump on the BitCoin Bandwagon to strike it rich, it’s still an interesting idea, and an interesting thing to play with, so I installed a BitCoin wallet
At around 4 in the morning, I created a little page, http://kyleclements.com/bitcoin.html.
All it contains is a single line of text, a number, and which is just that number in an easy, machine-readable form.
Send Kyle some BitCoins: 1Ns9ck9gr2BMrgThVNmF3uYGc5947cnuNt
I tweeted about it at 4:09, and by 6:34, I had receive my first transaction. Wow. The internet can be a surprizingly altruistic place sometimes.
This is something that happens far too often for creative professionals.
You get a message in your inbox from a big name, multi-million dollar company working on a high-profile job, and they would like you to work for them.
Only the budget is very small, so they won’t be able to pay you for it.
I get roughly one of these every week. I was fooled once. Then for a while I would reply with my working rates, “if you want x, pay me y”, and I’d get a sob story about how tight things are financially in these “hard times” and bla bla bla, or I’d never hear back from them at all. Lately, I haven’t even bothered to reply, I just mark it as spam and go on with my day.
Earlier today I came across this post by Juan Luis Garcia who had been offered to design the posters for Spike Lee’s version of the South Korean classic revenge movie, Old Boy. Not only did this company refuse to pay for the design work, they even threatened legal action against the artist who they refused to pay. There is no sense in me typing out a recap of the story, you should go read the original source instead.
This story really struck a nerve with me because it coincided with a rush of these crap offers in my own inbox, and I am tired of dealing with this bullshit from these shit bag companies.
So let me make a clear warning here and now: If you send me messages requesting that I work for free, you are consenting to having that message, complete will full personally-identifying information published for the world to see.
I’m also going to be getting in touch with several of my artist and designer friends, and see about working together on compiling a list of shit bag companies and agencies who abuse creative professionals.
What’s that? “It will be good exposure for me”? Well right now I would like to expose my middle finger in your general direction.
Picked up a new toy; thought I’d do a boring technical review for you.
The Nikon D600 should be the perfect enthusiast camera with it’s fantastic specs, great low light performance, and an affordable price point for a full frame sensor. However, many reviewers and blogs have been raising concerns over a severe dust issue. Dust has reportedly been collecting on the upper left corner of the sensor at an unusually high rate.
Google recently announced that it will be closing down 10 services that get little use. I don’t have a problem with that. Google is a company, they can do what they want. There are people, however, who rely on these services, and are about to have them swept out from under their feet. If you find yourself in that situation, or if you fear that something similar could happen to you one day, it is because you’ve allowed yourself to become some company’s bitch. Building your business on their platform is like building your house on someone else’s land: sure, it’s easier and cheaper, but you just never know when they will come by and force you to leave.
Control of social media seems to be concentrating into the hands of a small number of big players. Twitter, Facebook, Google plus one, etc.
I used to participate in a number of online message boards. But not so much any more. It’s not from a lack of interest on my part, but a lack of replies coming from everyone else as the number of active users dwindles.
Some message boards have closed down, while others have slowly faded away as the majority of users migrate towards facebook groups. I imagine convenience is a primary motivator here, as facebook represents a one-stop solution for email, texting, message-boarding, posting ideas, ranting, and sharing links. The old way involved navigating between multiple websites, each with a different layout or design to figure out and navigate. This does seem to take more mental energy. Facebook made it far easier to do all of these things, and do them all in one place.
I fear that people forget that with the increase in convenience comes a loss of control. When a page, or a group is created on one of these third party services, you are agreeing to play by their rules. They could shut down your group, or close ‘groups’ in general. The whole company could collapse, close, be sold off, and you’ve lost everything.
Last week, Brad and I had a few sales of our photo book, Illuminated Landscapes. Through a complicated series of relatives and acquaintances, the purchaser was able to have the books delivered to me, so Brad and I could sign them.
It’s always flattering to be asked to sign something. (well, I assume it’s always flattering, I don’t really know for certain; this is one of the first things I’ve been asked to sign…)
In the last several months, through a series of flukes and random good luck, I’ve had the opportunity to observe several well-known people in action. One thing that struck me was how cool they were. They weren’t arrogant celebrity divas, they were regular people who, upon meeting me, went out of their way to make a tiny gesture to make me feel cool.
This gave me a brilliant marketing idea: don’t be a dick.
I know artists arenâ€™t supposed to talk about money, but Iâ€™m going to break that rule in this post to talk about a little experiment Iâ€™m going to be running for the next few months.
See that little box in the right hand sidebar, above the archive? That is my Flattr Box. Let me explain what that is and why I put it there.
There is a micro-payment service known as â€œflattrâ€, and it seems like a really neat idea. Flattr hasn’t really broken into the North-American market yet, but I think this service has the potential to really go somewhere. Unfortunately, it’s a very social thing. Like a fax machine or facebook account, Flattr is utterly useless if only one person has it. It’s value will increase with its popularity.
You know how you can â€œlikeâ€ something on facebook? Flattr is sort of like that.
Letâ€™s say you are on a web page, and you want to show the author that you appreciate their work. They could have a â€œLikeâ€ button that is similar to what you see on facebook. But what if you are an extremely altruistic person who wants to do more than give some virtual props?
Let’s say you want to do more than offer moral support. Let’s say you want to send a small donation to the creators to show them your appreciation. But…you canâ€™ be bothered to go through Paypay., because let’s face it, it’s a hassle to log in, enter all the info. Why canâ€™t you just click a button and be done with it? Someone needs to design a system where a single click is all it takes to send a small token of support to a content creator.
Thatâ€™s where flatter comes in.
You register an account. You set your monthly allowance. You flatter the pages you like. Your monthly allowance is split between those pages. That’s all there is to it.
Continue reading An Experiment with Micro-Payments
I find that artists are often drawn towards some very bad ideas; ideas that might seem beautiful or inspiring on the surface, but upon closer inspection are just a load of B.S.
For this reason, I try to stay critical of the new ideas I come across until I see some sort of real-world evidence to back it up. Anyone can have an idea. Any idea can be true or false.
In casual conversation, and in the art circles, some ideas are very popular, or easy to write about, or lead to good-sounding grant applications; but I don’t see popularity as a good reason to hold on to an idea. Testing an idea against nature, and having that idea confirmed by evidence is the only method I know of which ensures that a idea is not wrong.
“Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled” -Richard Feynman
The new idea that I have been mulling over in my head lately is from Seth Godin, and his ideas on marketing. The man is very charismatic, very entertaining. He has a way of explaining things simply and directly, with a certain irreverence towards the traditional way of doing things (sort of like the attitude Kevin Smith has when he describes his interactions with people in the movie industry). It’s the story of the beloved outsider who comes in, challenges the good old boys, and changes everything. He makes it all sound so easy, once you accept that you are going to have to do the work yourself.
This, of course, has my warning flags raised.
“Anyone who is this easy to like has to be wrong”, says the alarm bells in my head.
Continue reading Staying Critical and Selling Stories
After watching a series of recorded talks and presentations, I have become a fan of Seth Godin. Like his talks, his blog is an explosion of ideas, and each idea is worth spending some time with and giving some serious thought. They are the type of ideas that even if they all turn out to be wrong, a person is still better off for having thought about them. The ideas are fresh. One idea that is stressed more than once is the importance of abandoning the idea of perfection, and shipping a product that is good enough.
At first, this didn’t sit very well with me. “Good enough” is a phrase I use very often. I am by no means a perfectionist with every detail in my life. The only area where I do strive for perfection is my art, because the arts are one area where I strongly believe that “good enough” is never good enough. Only the very best that I am capable of producing is ever good enough. This must be an area where business advice does not apply to the art world.
But this might be too literal of an interpretation on my part.
Continue reading Perfect vs. Good Enough