Even though I haven’t been pursuing the whole artist career thing for very long , I have quickly become aware of the things that annoy me. For those who are out there in the field I would love to hear some of your pet peeves. Here are mine:
Asking me to copy the work of another artist
This happened to me several years ago when I was with a friend who was looking at a very detailed painting hanging in the hallway of our church. She asked me if I could re-create a copy of the piece. “I’ll pay you,” she said.
First, there is the whole legal matter concerning copyright infringement. Second, all legal issues aside, as the copying artist I would find this task to be unfulfilling and unbelievably boring. Thirdly, my friend who made this request probably didn’t realize that she would be better off buying a print of the work. One would have to factor in the time (the piece was very detailed) and cost of materials to recreate it. I would have had to charge much more than she would have expected. Also, the art was in acrylic and I had no experience in this medium, however I knew about watercolor pencils. There was no way my re-creation would look exactly like the original.
Creating work for individuals as gifts and receiving little or no appreciation for it
Have you ever created art complete with personal touches for a person that you knew really well only to receive a lackluster response from them in return? I had a situation like that where I made some art as a Christmas gift for someone. The gift was mailed to their house and when I called them to make sure they received it, they said, “Yes.” And that was pretty much it. No other comments or anything else. It was a blow to the fragile ego for sure and why it’s very rare that I make something specifically for someone. Why put all of that work into it for nothing? You would at least want some appreciation.
Producing Sistine Chapel results on a stick figure timeline
I don’t like being given a short timeline to produce work with the expectation that I am going to produce amazing results. Yes, I can create quickly under pressure but I know darn well that if given more time I can do better.
To be fair, sometimes I contribute to my own demise. I may come up with an idea and then waste a tremendous amount of time wondering if I can actually do it or not. Then at the 11th hour I decide that I can do it and then wonder why I am still drawing as I walk out of the door.
When people expect you to practically give your stuff away
I don’t think most people understand the effort it takes to create artwork even if we make it look easy. It’s emotionally and even physically exhausting, and can be pricey considering the cost of quality materials required to make it look amazing. It’s hard to get a return on your investment and I can’t afford to be low-balled.
Expect the “friend” discount
I don’t necessarily expect a special discount if I am purchasing something from a friend. I want to support their business and I understand that they have to earn a living. Shouldn’t I expect the same? I’ve had numerous friends who have started out in businesses and have been frustrated with people expecting them to produce something for little or nothing.
Festivals: Art Sales vs. Food and Beverage Sales
Most festivals are going to have food and beverage because it’s part of the culture. The issue here is that it competes with those of us who are selling art. In most cases, food will always win because it provides instant gratification even though the art can bring joy over the long-term. I thought about my friends selling their art at one of the local festivals and right across from them sat a funnel cake truck that looked ancient-of-days, health-hazards-be-danged. Yet, there was a long line of eager buyers. No one there said, “Hey, I’m going to forego this greasy goodness and use my money to buy some art instead!”
I sometimes thing that alcohol sales at festivals have the same effect. It’s wishful thinking to find the inebriated person who will stumble into your booth and impulsively buy everything in sight. Personally I have yet to sell anything to anyone with beer or wine in hand, although I would be happy to be proven wrong.
Groups of people standing in front of my booth for reasons other than looking at art
At any open market or fair, I certainly don’t mind people crowding around my booth if they’re looking at my art or buying something. Unfortunately in many cases there are times when groups of people spot each other from a distance and then they congregate in front of my booth and talk for several minutes. When this happens, no one else can see me. I’ve often fantasized about scaring them off by farting out loud like some crazed, defensive animal, but given the noisy environments that I typically sell in, no one would hear.
There’s many more things I’m sure I can write about but I will have to save it for another time. Your turn!! What bugs you?