Mind Your Business: Your Art Isn’t Worth Shit…If You Fall For This!
The all-mighty New York Times has done it. They’ve pissed me off! And I’m not the only artist. Lots of cartoonists are pissed.
Why, because the giant NYT wants artists, seasoned and professional artists, to work for them for FREE. That’s right, to spend their valuable time and talent working for free producing cartoons which will never be printed. It shows that while the NYT wants your work, they don’t feel it has any value.
Let me explain.
On Monday, February 6th, the New York Times (NYT) sent an insulting email to the top editorial cartoonists around the United States. This email is indicative of how many large institutions view our creative work. They want it, but they don’t want to pay for it.
At first glance, the email is quite positive. It states that the NYT will start running a political cartoon again each Sunday, starting on February 26th. The good news stops there.
The NYT then states that they expect the top cartoonists in the world (around 80 cartoonists received the email according to reports) to write, edit, sketch, ink, refine and finish custom editorial cartoons for the possibility that JUST ONE of the many they receive may get a pittance of just $250. Oh, and they want a new batch every week and they want all the rights and they want every artist to clear their Friday schedules for the remote chance that their single cartoon is chosen and the paper wants them to make any changes by 4pm on that day.
Do they also want to take my frontal lobe? Because I’d have to have a lobotomy to agree to a deal like that.
Big business has been trying to reduce the value of creative works for years (see my previous article “You're About to Lose All The Rights To Your Own Art”). We artists cannot allow this to happen. We can’t give an inch.
Hundreds of thousands of artists (many of you, thank you very much) worked together to defeat the Orphan Works bill (details in the links article above) because you took action and made yourselves heard.
Tom Richmond, MAD Magazine artist and president of the National Cartoonist Society (www.Reuben.org) agrees in a response he sent to the NYT editors.
“The work of creative professionals today is under siege, being constantly devalued through a multitude of fronts, not the least the internet. Writers, artists, cartoonists, designers and other creatives who are attempting to make a living with their talents and hard work face increasing assaults by “clients” who seem to expect them to do work for either very little pay, or only the hope of being paid. Being asked to do spec work is nothing new in the cartooning world, but when it comes from a publication like the New York Times and it is specifically aimed at some of the industry’s top professionals, it is alarming.”
You can read the entire email sent from the NYT to editorial cartoonists online at http://jimromenesko.com/2012/02/07/editorial-cartoonists-insulted-by-nyt-solicitation/#more-8077 .
There are SO MANY problems with their letter to cartoonists, it’s hard to know where to start.
HELL NO! is where I start and many other artists are saying the same thing, but perhaps in gentler and more politically correct terms. But I see no need to pussy-foot around this topic. Every one of us who is a creative, an artist, a cartoonist should be pissed and all of us need to make ourselves heard.