Monday, September 19, 2016

The Price of Free

For those of you who don't know, an open studio is when a group of artists contributes to the model cost and typically there's no instruction provided.

Some artists choose to "gift" their sketches/drawings to the models who were hired to pose for them in open studio sessions.

This kind gesture is nice to do on occasion especially when a model has inspired a large body of work. It shows gratitude and respect for the model.

I've recently witnessed an entire group freely give their drawings to the model at the end of every session when it was not contractually a part of payment.

I attended one such session and when I didn't present the model with my "free" drawing the model quickly began to question, "Aren't you going to give me your drawing?" Immediately followed by, "What are you going to do with it? No one is going to buy a picture of me."

I never experienced this before. I thought to myself, Wow, what a way to discredit years of study and practice.

Despite the chance of falling on deaf ears, I went on to explain that this is a profession and yes, I may not sell this particular drawing, however; it does have a value.

Needless to say, my response was reciprocated with a blank gaze.

My drawings become points of reference. I don't just stash them away never to be seen again. I will routinely go through my collection and critique them to see what areas I could improve on or simply enjoy studying the successful ones.

Every artist has their policies, but I believe when artists don't put a value on their efforts (hobbyist or professional) it devalues the entire craft.

(I'm not referring to donating work for charity fundraisers or Pro Bono work).

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