Yes, if you’re a doctor, lawyer, plumber, retailer, really anyone that works for a living, you expect to get paid for what you do, but there is a strange misunderstanding as to the value of art and what artists offer and do in this country, and sometimes in cultures across the world.
It still boggles my mind that people come up to me, having been a professional artist for 35 years and having had 32 one-man shows across the world, and say to me, ‘could you whip up a quick picture for my mum’s birthday? Won’t take you long, I know you’re an artist and she would really like that’.
I don’t do cold casework anywhere these days, however to understand the mentality behind these request I often go along with the approaches to see what happens.
Me: ‘Sure, what do you want and how big would you like it?’
Response: ‘Oh nothing too big, about this size, when could you do that?’
(This is the part I like as it enables me to see the reaction on these folk’s faces)
Me: ‘Give me your details and I will get my personal assistant to send you an invoice for that sized painting.’
Response: ‘What’s the invoice for?’
Me: ‘So that I can be paid for the work you’re requesting.’
Response: ‘What do you mean you’re going to charge me?’
This is where I tend to get a bit upset. Yes you idiot, just like the doctor, or the lawyer or the plumber, I too get paid for what I do.
I have crafted my skills for the last 52 years, since I was 5; I deserve to be paid for my work too. There aren’t too many doctors around that started their craft at the age of 5.
This also is part of the psychology that I have to deal with every day when I speak with artists about the Colour In Your Life TV series.
A whole lifetime of crafting my skills and my ideas have gone into creating what we feel, and many others across the world do now, one of the greatest ways that artists across the globe can market their work to ten’s of millions of people and share the VALUE of what each of these people bring to our society.
I applaud the wisdom of the many artists that have had the courage to come on board and be a part of our journey. I think if you read the many testimonials you can plainly see that this idea is one whose time has come; I was just the vehicle to get it started.
For some reason even artists think that I just seem to pull money out of my you-know-what and be able to pay the five staff that work with me and the three ladies that work for our not for profit, Paint Your Life.
‘Oh my God you’re going to charge me?’, is a comment I hear over the phone every week, and once again, someone in the arts doesn’t deserve to be paid for the huge effort they are making to actually make some one else’s life a hell of a lot better than it was before we did these shows for them.
The price that we charge to be on Colour In Your Life is ludicrously low when you compare what a normal film shoot would be with an everyday film crew and editor. In saying that, that does not mean that they can get that show onto any TV broadcasting network anywhere on the planet.
Colour In Your Life is on a blue ocean at the moment, and I well understand why no one else on the planet has ever tried this before, reason being, because it is simply UNBELIEVABLY hard to do and to keep the systems and the artists and all the schedules operating every day so that there are no mistakes made. It actually costs me personally far more money to bring these shows to the many broadcasters we work with these days than the price that is charged.
We simply would not have as many companies across the world, particularly from the U.S, wanting to partner with us if they did not see the enormous value that our idea is having and will have in the future for the arts.
If you can’t see the value in what we do, then that’s fine, but don’t come to us in 5 years time and say, gee, nothing has changed for me.
The artists that have been filmed will be seen in 100 years time somewhere in the world. The others will just be a painting hanging on a wall.
~ Graeme Stevenson