What Makes Us So Special?

Rants

As a starving artist, I’m frequently to be found wandering the internet highways looking for work. Like the worldly wise tramp in the song “King of The Road”, after a while you get to know your way around and where to look for potential tit bits and scraps. So, I was at one of these proverbial soup kitchens the other morning and I was looking at the variety of freelance work they had available. Not just for illustrators either, but for pretty much every trade and professional you could care to mention. They had adverts for writers, escorts, programmers and adult movie stars, they had the lot. As I surveyed these dozens of job categories I was suddenly struck by a slight difference in the sections, the illustration section was the only one that was peppered with little symbols that signified competitions were available.

Yes, this site has recently introduced a new “exciting” concept, the competition! Not content with seeing people scrum to be the lowest priced creative talent on the market, now they want people to actually work for free. They don’t just say “work for free” though, no that would be too obvious, illustrators are too smart for that, no, instead they say “ooh, who can work for free the fastest?” to quote Tim Minchin “What, are we f***ing two!?”

Even this guy wouldn’t fall for it.

Seriously, illustrators, can’t you see what they’re doing? You’re working, for FREE! Just because they’re calling it a competition doesn’t change the fact you’re working for FREE, on the promise that maybe, just maybe, your work will get chosen by the client, thereby making you the winner and allowing you to get paid for your work (minus a cut for the site of course…)

The reality is, chances are you won’t get picked. In the mad free for all scrum of desperation, chances are someone else is going to get picked, or the client will go away from his computer and completely forget he even set up a competition in the first place. Whatever. End of the day, you’re left with a piece of work no body wants and you’re not one penny richer.

But you know the think that ired me, and prompted this rant in the first place? It’s the fact that the little “competition” symbols are all over the illustration sections, advertising, design, painting, caricature, cartoon, logo – they’re all at it. However the other sections on the site, the writing sections, the computer programming sections, hell, even the adult film star sections. They don’t have competitions, they don’t haveĀ “Who can write the most gripping novel? Winner gets paid.” and they don’t haveĀ  “Who has the most novel grip? Winner gets paid.”

I reckon she’d win…

Why are we so special, do the rest of the creative community took down on the illustrator section and just laugh? Are we, as a group, so gods damn moronic that we can fall for the painfully obvious “Let’s see who can sell themselves out the fastest!” infant school rubbish?

Yes. Yes it would seem that we are.

What a load of horse poop.