Fair Artist Wages
This comic has been republished in Tone Madison, Madison's most reputable independent publication. You can read it here with clarifying notes from the editor!
Panel 1 Text: A Fair Artist Wages Comic. 3 Panels. Madison, Wisconsin. This is a BAD DEAL, so let's talk about it! One, it's shit pay. ($300 + materials) Two, it has a lot of expectations for shit pay. *Complete design for approval. *Prep + prime your own hydrant. *Participate in artist talks. *Paint approved design. That's a lot of fucking labor, Madison Public Art Project (MPAP).
Panel 2 Text: For context, $300 is too low for the design rights alone. That assured payment for the labor an artist puts into the design, not including the painting labor. $300 is too low for painting labor, regardless of material coverage, on a flat canvas. $300 is actually insulting for a complex 3-dimensional structure like a fire hydrant, that will not only add time to the painting -- but the artist is also expected to PREP AND PRIME on "one site visit prior to installation"??? So a minimum 2-day commitment. And for the record, this is an example Monona hydrant. Not an easy thing to prep (sand + wash) and prime (paint 2 coats [of] primer so paint can adhere to [the hydrant's] surface). For $300, this should be the organizer's responsibility. Full stop. (Arrows denote problem areas.)
Panel 3 Text: And once again it's on the labor of artists to educate art organizations on fair artist pay and general exploitation. Man...I saw this call for artists in March and, when I didn't see it again I hoped maybe MPAP realized this project was asking too much. And then, a separate, well-respected arts org shared it on their social media, signaling their support despite the red flags... So fine. I'll say it. If you have a limited budget, always prioritize artist pay over the quantity of objects to be painting. (ie. Fewer hydrants could raise artist pay.) If you don't know what would be a good budget, consult an artist. And then pay them. And lastly, to my young and emerging artists, undervaluing your labor signals to orgs that they can continue to offer bad deals to artists. They need you more than you need them.