Should Artists Paint Murals for Free?
Welcome to Jackalope Ranch's Questionable Content, where local creatives and experts sound off on topics posed by New Times staff blogger Claire Lawton and the community. Have a question you'd like to ask? E-mail Claire.Lawton@newtimes.com.
See also: Mural City
Photo by Claire Lawton Dave Quan painting his ooze on the Chocolate Factory on Grand Avenue. Note: Quan was paid to paint the mural in March, 2011. Read the full story about Quan's Blue Ooze here.
See also: Tag, You're Art: Local Street Artists Are Tagging Over Murals and Calling It Art
This town has a lot of thank you notes to send out to the artists who make its buildings a little more colorful -- especially if they're doing it pro bono. Artists have painted walls since they've had paint and a tool with which to apply it to a wall, and the history of being paid to paint a mural on the side of a building dates back to the beginning of advertising.
So when it comes to local businesses asking artists to cover their walls with their signature characters, landscapes and typography, is it hurting their own value to paint for free?
Well in general, I would love to see more local artist creating murals and spreading the arts by any avenue. I think it's pretty awesome the more opportunities that are arriving, and locations that are desiring art on their buildings. Ideally I would like to see more business support the arts, by support I mean pay artists, as any other professional in their craft would get paid for their services.
I understand though, at times art is a luxury and is not apart of the budget, so artist will donate the time to allow the experience to express their art in the city they live in. I think though as an artist, we have to create the value we wish to see. Phoenix needs more of a monetary value on the artist, to allow artist to grow and develop as professional artist. We have almost no, actual full time, serious galleries here in Phoenix, I believe that is due to
people don't frequently spend money on the arts. Which is in return to many artist not creating that value.
I have donated my time for murals, or taken a really low pay because I know sometimes the businesses cant afford the costs. I think as up and coming artist you feel that what You should do, or that is the norm, but there should be a much more importance place on the art and quality that is going on in our city. I believe that quality of our scene is the reflection of what value we have created for ourselves.
Photo by Claire Lawton DOSE on the Seed & Feed Warehouse in downtown Phoenix
Depends on what the artist is trying or wants out of the deal. If they're looking for exposure, OK. But if a local business wants something other than what a specific artist does then they should expect to pay. It all depends on the circumstance.