I’ve got a bril­liant friend who is a musi­cian — an artist in so many ways. This morn­ing, I hap­pened to see a link on her Face­book page that piqued my curios­ity. I clicked…and here is what I found:

(Click on the ad to view it larger. If you’re like me, my eyes are fail­ing as I get older!)

Craigslist Musician to Play

Teach Oth­ers How To Treat You!

It’s sadly funny. Noth­ing gets my goat than a request like this. It’s not the restau­ran­teur that I’d like to spank, but the even­tual musi­cian (or artist) that will respond to this ad and fall all over them­selves to get the gig.

Why? Because.….that musi­cian is teach­ing the restau­ran­teur how to treat them.

For too long, artists, musi­cians, writ­ers, dancers.…ART folk…have been hold­ing this Dirty Lit­tle Secret and “giv­ing it up” in the name of pro­mo­tion & expo­sure. New­bies and even expe­ri­enced artists all buy into the Hol­ly­wood dream that “some­one” might dis­cover them, or a patron will emerge from the wings.

Yeah…sometimes it hap­pens but more often than not, you’ve just given away your time and money.

I love the approach the respon­der has taken in this ad. It’s impor­tant to teach oth­ers how to treat you and set expec­ta­tions. Trust me — every time you do it, you’re edu­cat­ing the pub­lic that the arts is a busi­ness too and you have a fam­ily and finan­cial oblig­a­tions like the rest of the world.

I pick and choose my times to donate and I have a pol­icy in my art busi­ness that guides me and enables me to say “no” to every request that comes through the door that does not fit within the pol­icy guide­lines. Do you?

How do you “treat oth­ers how to treat you?”


Here are some resources on this topic:

Artists and Their Dirty Lit­tle Secrets

6 Lim­its for Donat­ing Art­work — Artbizblog.com

Edu­cate Those Who Ask for Dona­tions of Your Art — Fiona Purdy on ArtBizBlog.com

The Prob­lem With Donat­ing Art and the Solu­tion — Maria Brophy

The Art News­pa­per — Artists should have the same tax deduc­tions as col­lec­tors when donat­ing works of art

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  • Vanessa

    I had to smile and laugh a lit­tle when I read that. I sup­pose they never got a response after that huh? It’s so true though, artists of all kinds tend to allow oth­ers to under value them because they think every oppor­tu­nity is worth it… when truly it isn’t.

    I was approached last year about auc­tion­ing some of my work for expo­sure and char­ity but I turned it down because I realise that doing that at the time wouldn’t have been worth­while an I’m sure I wouldn’t have devel­oped my mar­ket from doing it. Instead I devel­oped a great “pol­icy”… I don’t do “give­aways” or auc­tions unless the organ­i­sa­tion is a pre­vi­ous buyer… I felt like that empow­ered me. Sad though…

    I hope the hol­i­days treated you well Jan­ice! Wish­ing you all the best in 2012!

    • http://www.janicetanton.com Jan­ice Tanton

      Good for you for imple­ment­ing a pol­icy, Vanessa. It’s one step towards edu­cat­ing. I’m of the mind that rather than get­ting upset with all of the requests, that I explain the rea­sons. Over the long term, I think that if all artists would do this, the value of our occu­pa­tion would be more eas­ily under­stood. Happy New Year to you too!

  • www.leekvern.com

    Hi Jan­ice:
    Love the wry but true humour in that ad!

  • Pingback: The Artist's Dirty Little Secret | Janice Tanton :: Full Time Human Being()

  • http://twitter.com/AVLart Bren­nen E. McElhaney

    This is absolutely BRILLIANT! Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.janicetantonblog.com/ Jan­ice Tanton

      Thank you, Bren­nen. Really quite our respon­si­bil­ity to do more teach­ing, I think. 😉

    • http://www.janicetantonblog.com/ Jan­ice Tanton

      Thank you, Bren­nen. Really quite our respon­si­bil­ity to do more teach­ing, I think. 😉