There’s a thread in the Pit about art and design work, wherein Evil Captor has this to say:
Good point. Anyway, it made me think about a scene from one of Ruth Rendell’s novels.
Guy, the main character, has as one of several business holdings a “factory” that mass-produces schlock art. He gets photos of corny subjects, like kittens playing and a little boy in tears because his train broke, has them blown up to portrait size, and hires artists, usually art-school graduates, to go over them with oil paints. Then they’re sold, Kincaide-style.
Tessa, the mother of Guy’s then-girlfriend, is aghast at the concept. She calls herself an artist because she has a studio in her house, and she says that Guy should be ashamed of himself, and, moreover, so should the artists he has working for him. Why? he asks. He’s not running a sweatshop; they get paid well over minimum wage. Doesn’t matter, Tessa insists. No true artist would stoop to producing schlock. Why did they go to art school? Guy replies that his workers are still doing their own art; working for him doesn’t stop them from working independently after hours. But there’s less of a market for incomprehensible abstract muck than there is for kittens-in-a-basket. Tessa’s last word is that his workers would be better off selling their original art off a blanket at King’s Cross station.
The thing is, though, I can see Guy’s point better than I can see Tessa’s. What Guy doesn’t point out, because he’s talking to his SO’s mom and wants to avoid a scene, is that Tessa went from her wealthy parents’ house to her wealthy husband’s house to another wealthy husband’s house, so what does she know about how low some people will go to make rent? Plus, canvases and art supplies aren’t free. McD’s might pay the rent, but not leave much for materials, and selling off a blanket would be even less likely to offset the cost of supplies, plus time spent (I bet Tessa never factored that in). And if they’re really shrewd, they can save up and spend six months or a year not working on anything but their own art.
So what do y’all think? Would you, for instance, work for the Thomas Kincaide company, if it was a way to finance your own art? Or could you not bear to have anything to do with them at all?