Why Artists Starve
Subtitled: Why our products and services are ONLY available here from this site
Today in the United States particularly, art often is just business, BIG business! Often this industry which supports many other businesses at the expense of an artist is not so much about art per se, as it is about what can be sold for a profit and lots of it. Lets just say that an artist is really good, now what? How can we find their work? The lists of businesses and services that an artist might need would be almost endless, but I will list some, beginning with the basics.
First, an artist needs money, resources, a manager, an agent, and lawyers, marketing, advertising, and insurance. If you are a writer of some sorts, then add to the list, an editor. If you are involved with theater, television, radio or motion pictures, you most likely will have to join some union which takes a percentage of all the money you will ever make. Most likely, one will also need a publicist and it’s not unheard of to pay them, $12,000.00 for six months with no guarantee of success. TWELVE THOUSAND DOLLARS, may be more than a starving artist makes in an entire year!
The least expensive of all the many businesses and clubs a staving artist must support is for copyright protection, although it may take 6 months to a year to receive your registration UNLESS - unless you have all the others above and expediters and extra cash laying around to get things done faster. Oh, an artist may have a multi-gazillion dollar idea, but it will cost a lot of dollars before they ever see a dime in return.
There are three fundamental flaws in membership with the various 'clubs.' First, an artist generally is not one of means. Next, their take from the above machine is miniscule in comparison to what everyone else makes. Finally, they usually are never asked if they would like to support the rest of these various clubs. In the end, it's "business as usual," "that's the way it is," "It's our way or the highway," or "If you don't like it we will find someone else." Yes, for a lack of a better explanation, an artist has to join a lot of clubs.
Most everyone has seen the 'bar code.' It is on nearly everything purchased. Every book and many magazines contain the International Standard Book Number or ISBN for short. We are told that these are necessary so that goods and services may be easily ordered or re-ordered. But do you have any idea how many businesses and 'clubs' these represent and support or how much money is involved? OK, so here on this web site I have both greeting cards and books for sale (among many other items). Let’s start with the cards.
First, I must join the bar code club whose access fees are based upon my actual earnings. What earnings if I am just starting out? After receiving my very own and exclusive bar code I have to find an "approved and licensed vendor" to make my bar codes or invest in the software to do it myself (only after I have been approved to vend myself). When last I checked, after paying around $300 in set up charges and $12 for the bar code, the approved vendor will send me on a CD, my digital image that my printer can then print. Did I mention that I have on this site, hundreds of cards? You do the math X $12 each!
Where could I sell a ton of my cards? Hmmm, the world's biggest retailer is who? That's correct, Wal-Mart. After 2008, there will only be Super Centers at Wal-Mart which means they will all be selling groceries. To sell my cards in a grocery, I have to join another club, the grocers' club, and pay more fees. So this now done, I will then have to move to and live in Northwest Arkansas, just to start to do business with Wal-Mart. Well cool, suppose they agree to buy one million of my cards. For every day they are not received by their distribution center, I have to pay them sometimes thousands of dollars in late fees per day, but they can cancel my order up to and including, the day before I ship them out, with no penalty to them. By the way, I would most likely be responsible for servicing my cards, providing my own racks and displays (according to their specifications), take care of shortages, defective or damaged products, and buy back every single card that does not sell. That's all right; I can then join another club and sell my unsold cards at the discounted card shops for still less than what I bought them back from Wal-Mart for. If they then do not sell there and after I buy them back again, I can donate them or write them off as bad business expenses along with the printer's money I still owe as well as the interest on the loans. This can only happen for a limited time though, as the government is going to want to see a profit sooner than later.
It's on to the Harry Potter world of magic and books. Yes books, those that require the ISBN and all the stuff from the entire above plus membership with paid dues into the ISBN club. Then I have to get a publisher and join their club, but I cannot join unless I have my agent submit the work, that will only be submitted it if I have paid my marketing, law firm, advertising, bank, government, grocer club, bar code club, publicist and on and on.
When we were children, to most of us, life was simple. We either liked something or we did not. Somewhere along the way in our growing up, we have observed crap being sold as art and wondered why. If a certain person says it is cool, many make their decisions based solely on these opinions of others. If money can be made on crap, then crap will be sold as art. There is also a lot of desensitizing present in our society. "Oh, my God, not another flower picture, how yesterday!" Can you just imagine a rose deciding not to grow because the bees pollinated it last year and besides, we have already seen the damn thing countless times? How blaze to smell another rose! Why not try to convince the rose to change its color, fragrance, shape or ask, "Can I get fries with that?"
The great American humorist and author, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemmons), self-published some of his work. Many others have done the same. The Internet gave new hope to artists initially, but online publishing companies have sprung up everywhere on the web. Now there are other clubs to join. Submit you work online - "Sorry we are not taking new submissions at this time." "Do you have an agent, only a recognized agent can submit new work." FREE artist sites are now available, but if you want anyone to buy your stuff you must pay for an enhanced artists' portfolio portal. Have you submitted your site to Google, yahoo and others? Cool! Oh did you want someone to actually buy something? Well then, you must pay for SEO (search engine optimization), and keywords. Get those Meta tags in order, so the search bots can spider your website, you did want to be listed on the first or second page of the search engines did you not? Perhaps join and pay the Pay Pal, EBay or The Home Shopping Network clubs. You do need a shopping cart, secure network, encryption, Broad Band Internet etc. to handle the 10,000 hits to make just one sale. Try banner ads, blogs and resellers. What an incredible amount of wealth (greed), is being generated from ideas that have all come from some kind of artist!
Art is usually expensive because of the multitude of clubs it feeds and often because expenses are so great. Expenses rise when people looking for something cheap, think a fair price is too expensive. We often equate cost with value. If it costs a lot it must be good, but if it costs a lot we can't afford it. If it is cheap, it must be crap. Meanwhile somewhere, someone is painting with real crap and selling it because so and so says it's art and if so and so says it's art, it must be good. So the demand is created and people buy it.
For crying out loud, we need to just get honest and think for ourselves. We do not need ANYONE to tell us what we do or do not like. We do not need an art degree, an expert or some critic to define for us what we should and should not like.
These are just some of the reasons why artists starve and why this is the only place you can purchase our products. You will not find barcodes or ISBN numbers on any of our products except for StampArt™ which is required by the United States Post Office to use only licensed vendors. Bottom line is, if you like anything within this site for sale, buy it and please tell others.
Note: This article appeared as the lead story at www.bitsofnews.com 6/21/06 If you would like to read it in its entirety, see my blog site at: http://dahnidaily.wordpress.com/2008/02/11/starving-artists/
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