What is the driving force for artists?

As artists we face several problems and this post is speaking about the problem "That people don´t get, its actually work I´m doing" - resulting in the next problem "Getting asked to do work for free"

Which are, according to this poll, very highly voted problems for most artists.

The first problem in question is depending on how artists speak, act and create a public image of what they do.

We never would estimate that someone with the name Hajime Sorayama would do a single work for free, even if you find tons of his work in fan-galleries across the globe. This is simply due to the fact that he has built a reputation around his work as an authority. If you ever want a reference on how to paint "chrome" or even "gynoids" you´ll stumble about Sorayama.

Sure it takes ages to create this public image and its a long personal growing process, that begins with the serious recognition in the family. Artist raised by parents who are professional artists have it easier to deal with this problems, and probably grow faster into the habit of showing professionalism to anyone.

The first problem I see is that most artists are obviously too easy enthusiastic about new ideas and fall into the habit of speaking to early about things they will do, but havn´t done yet.

RSAnimate have a nice animation about the motivation and the driving force behind it.
The interesting fact is it purely applies to artists that money isn´t the driving force, but the reward of:

Satisfaction       -      mastery of skills          -         autonomy



The problem with these above mentioned keywords, is that some clients (black sheep ) do exploit this very often.

While in a factory you won´t find autonomy, satisfaction and a mastery of any skill, people tend to do art as a hobby. No wonder that some scammer, even commercial ones try to exploit this and motivate artists to work for "great exposure", promise them that its a great chance to get better, facing a challenge and on top of it all,you´re autonomic, this means you get exactly all these things any one can dream of...but wait, where is the hook?

You got it, here´s the hook, you should do work for free, or very low.

The video shows the example of Linux with the idea of enthusiasts doing exactly this.
But this is a whole different story, since anyone who contributes to Linux does only a fraction of the whole work. Today it would be labelled as crowd sourcing, but the video describes it better, its called contribution.

My solution and  how I deal with this problem is simply that I do only work "for free" when it is a personal work or a by-product of a commercial project and share it with the community, which in turn is also a contribution.

The trap most artists fall for, is to think that great exposure will bring them fame and fortune, and business as well.

But forget it, its hard work and these three cornerstones: "Autonomy, mastery and purpose" must be inherent if you ever want to be a freelancing successful artist. Anyone who wants to sell you something else is simply a scam.

Even modern artists like Banksy or Hirst have built their capitalistic business of art around these cornerstones, just with a slightly bigger public image and the fortitude of the stock market in the back.
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Oliver aka Fantasio is a creative blogger who likes to share his insights about art, marketing and social media. Follow Fantasio on twitter or facebook

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