"If we had money for this, we'd be going after real artists…who paint on real canvases. Not the digital fake stuff."
When I received the original Email from Roy of a famous New York Advertising Agency asking me to work for 'exposure' for one of his multimillion dollar clients, I was going to just let it go and chalk it up to another day, another non-paying offer in the life of an artist. We get this kind of nonsense all the time. That doesn't make it right but there isn't much we can do to stop this kind of thinking and behavior from the people that wish to use our very specialized set of skills… right?
After considering it for a couple of days, I decided that I didn't have to just accept this. No artist should… ever! You would never ask a Doctor to give you free treatment for good word of mouth. You would never tell a Coffee shop that in lieu of payment, you're going to tell everyone how great the coffee you just bought is.
I decided to reply to Mr. Creative Director and say pretty much that! Here is his original Email to me (I've removed his client name to protect them for the time being);
My name is Roy and I'm an Associate Creative Director at a respected global ad agency in New York called ****. I'm personally reaching out to you to see if you would be interested in working on a proactive print campaign for ****.
I really love your work and believe you would be perfect for this assignment, the only downfall is that because it is proactive, our budget is very slim to none. The idea and campaign would have the backings of a global agency, who would submit your illustration into multiple awards shows and publications getting you global exposure; and the high chance of winning some awards.
If you are interested in the project, please let me know and I'll send you a PDF of the idea.
Hope to hear from you.
And, my reply;
Thank you for the Email and interest in my work.
While I appreciate your offer, I find it difficult to believe that a high-profile and international Ad agency like **** who is working with a multimillion dollar company like **** has slim to no budget for promotional material and artwork that will be shown globally.
I'm sure you wouldn't be willing to work for free yourself, right? You've probably studied and worked hard to get your current position and maybe you even enjoy what you do and that shouldn't mean you don't get paid for the work you do.
I'm no different.
Thank you once again for the Email and offer, I do appreciate the interest in my work and considering you found me to contact me personally I would say I already have great exposure to my work in this modern age of the internet.
I wanted to remain polite while also showing him just how rude and ignorant it is to approach an artist in this way.
Here is his response to me;
If we had money for this, we'd be going after real artists…who paint on real canvases. Not the digital fake stuff.
And going onto Behance, searching for "Digital Sci-Fi Artist" took about 3 minutes. Not as much exposure as you think.
But good luck, I'm sure you're having a blast in Tokyo. It's a brilliant city.
Personally, I would say that only 3 minutes of searching before I popped up is great exposure to my work!
Seriously though, this response was so unprofessional and disrespectful that I was left dumbfounded. Any Creative Director who would reply to an artist in this way has absolutely no respect for any artist, whether they work digitally or otherwise.
Could I just let this go and chalk it up to another day for any artist?
Not this time. This time I'm sharing my experience with other artists, warning them to stay away from any offer made by people who make similar, hollow offers.
People like Roy need to learn to respect artists in this day and age and fear how easy it is for us to give them exposure when they treat us poorly.