I friend of mine wrote an article called brotha got bills touching on how people should conduct themselves when approaching artists about there work and further more asking them to work for them. Please take a look at it and visit his website. Hope you enjoy the article.
A BROTHA GOT BILLS pt 1
art and words byAMEN
the phrase that every artist hates to hear, but hears way too much:
"yo man! your shit is tight! i got this idea, and i think your style will really set it off!
NOW I DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY, BUT ______"
IF THIS SOUNDS LIKE YOU, turn off your ipod, lean in close, and listen to what i am about to tell you:
the artist you are talking to/instant messaging/texting/emailing/or otherwise communicating with
HAS BEEN GIVEN A COMPLIMENT BEFORE. he/she probably already knows how dope his/her artwork is.
it doesn't mean he/she has a big head! being dope is the predictable result of combining God-given talent
and good old-fashioned hard work. NOW, WE ALL LOVE COMPLIMENTS...
but following the compliment with a request for free work is like telling a girl you love her
just so she will let you hit it... i guess it works sometimes, BUT DON"T BE SURPRISED WHEN IT DOESN'T.
i'm not by any stretch the dopest artist on mySpace (in fact, if you're reading this, i know YOU KNOW at least ONE cat who is doper...),
but i get (literally!) HUNDREDS of emails every month from cats trying to talk me into doing artwork for free.
ninety-nine times out of a hundred, i just ignore them.
(yeah, i said it... so if you sent me a message asking me to do work for you, prefaced with a sentence like the one above,
and you are STILL waiting for my reply, know this: i got it. i just ignored it. if you had read my profile, you woulda saw it comin'...).
i usedta get mad about it, but i'm used to it now. it's part of the game.
THE FACT IS, THE AVERAGE ARTIST'S LIFE IS ONLY MISSING ONE THING: MONEY!!!
perhaps you're not feelin' me...
let's try this excercise: close your eyes and imagine you are at work and your boss asks you to go babysit her kids
because she doesn't want to pay for daycare. should SHE be offended that YOU don't have the time to watch her little darlings for free,
since you have to earn a god-damn living?
"But (insert your name here), can't you just do it for the love?"
are you pissed yet? GOOD! then i can stop...
now, don't get all sad, homey! there are ways EVEN YOU can get fresh artwork,
even if you are broke all the time. and i'm happy to share them with you.
but that's for next time (that's why it's called "Brotha Got Bills pt 1", silly...). for now,
i want you to practice giving some thought-out, sincere compliments to artists
(and that includes writers, musicians, and poets, too!) WITHOUT asking for ANYTHING in return!
peace, love, etc.
BROTHER GOT BILLS PART 2
ART AND WORDS-AMEN
...Bills, part 2
Okay family, if you did your Homework from last time (PLEASE tell me you gave some unsolicited, non-ulterior motivated, sincere/heartfelt compliments…
NO? stop. Go do it now. I'll wait…), you may have experienced the wonderful feeling of knowing you made the world a better place. After all, art makes the world a better place,
and artists are more productive when they know people are feeling their work (no matter what they may tell you…). So everybody wins, right?
But you want artwork, and you don't feel any closer to getting it, do you? Okay, here's a few suggestions:
CONNECT WITH THE ARTIST: Remember those dope artists you complimented? Go look again at their websites (or myspace profile, blog, or whatever). I don't mean just look at the pictures…
I mean reeeally look at it. Like, read and stuff . artists, even visual artists, are always writing… and we generally feel like no one listens to us, so you will score big points if you comment on something
we have said. But BE CAREFUL! For one thing, most artists have strong B.S. detection skills, and won't appreciate being patronized.
Secondly, if you start a conversation with an artist on a subject he/she feels passionately about, you may bite off more than you can chew…
so my point is, start a dialogue with the artist on a subject you both feel strongly about. Take your time, and correspond with the artist periodically.
If you manage to actually make friends with the artist, or generally show them you are about something,
he/she make actually OFFER services to you for free or at a discounted rate.
BE A FAN (NOT A STAN…) here's an approach worth trying: BUY SOMETHING! Most artists (the smart ones anyways) offer at least something that is relatively cheap. by the way,
NEVER say "you should make a poster out of this, cause i'd buy it" and then fail to buy it when they do (i HATE that!)... be real about it! Snoop around the artist's site for some cheap item, and purchase one.
If you like it, let the artist know! Take a picture of it and send it to the artist (ex. A picture of a poster hanging in your room, or of you or your girlfriend in the teeshirt you bought, etc.).
tell other people about the artist (ex. Put the artists work WITH CREDIT AND A LINK on your website/blog/myspace profile) and let the artist know you are trying to send some customers his/her way.
ASK THE ARTIST if there is anything you can do to help promote his/her work. Now, that said, DO NOT ASSUME that the artist owes you anything for helping him/her or buying something
(In fact, any time you help someone or do something nice, remember that you should help because you want to, not to gain from it.), but you'd be surprised how an artist,
especially one who is struggling, will appreciate the help.
SPREAD THE LOVE AROUND- Artists talk to each other. If you become known for being supportive of talent, it can only help you when you need something from one of them, right?
So rather than being a pest to the one artist you HAVE to get work from, make a habit of checking out artists and being vocal with them. You could find yourself on the inner circle of the artists
you like by being a well-known fan/supporter (think of that cat that knows ALL the local hipHop artists, because he goes to EVERY show…). If you make building community one of your pet causes,
you could find yourself becoming important, and artists just MAY come to you…
Whatever you do to get the Artist's attention, remember to be polite and conscious that he/she has real-life concerns (i.e. kids, bills, etc) to worry about. But even after all your efforts, the artist you wanna
get at may STILL be outta range, so what do you do then? I'm glad you asked! That's for part 3, cousin! See ya then…
BROTHA GOT BILLS final cahpter
ART AND WORD-amen
Peace, friends. We made it. It's 2007, and since I got at you last,
I survived the busiest time of the year for me:
the Holla Days. Christmas present creation for the fam, filling orders,
traveling to visit relatives and holding down the dreaded (yet necessary) day job
(actually.. I work at night, but that's not the point is it?) tried to overload me,
but I made it through okay. I didn't tell you all that for sympathy, but to make a point:
Many artists, despite how talented they are, hold down a day job to keep the ends acquainted..
and if they're like me, they don't like it! They want to start turning their talent into a living as soon
as they can! As any radio rap single will indicate, creative people are out in the streets
(and warehouses, call centers, and office buildings), committing all manner
of atrocities just to turn a dollar. being supportive helps shine light into the artist's world, the world
at large, and of course it helps you out, too!
Not every artist is going to do it full time (some don't even WANT to),
but there's something about getting a
financial return on the hard work we put in.
It might mean you have to save up, pass up some mass-produced mall crap,
or download that new single
(you know: the one they played on the radio over and over until you just HAD to have it?)
instead of buying the whole album (it's pro'lly not that tight anyways..).
But ultimately, it's worth it. Because you get to have that
"you don't know 'nothing 'bout that, playa"
experience of having something other people don't,
plus you put your hard-earned bread in the hands of someone
who really appreciates it!
back to the drawing board!