This morning I received an email
This morning during Social Services prayers I took the opportunity to ask my colleagues to judge the entries in the logo competition.
I am delighted to be able to let you know that one of your designs has been chosen and will be the logo for the SAFE Summer School of Arts.
Unfortunately there is no prize but we will make sure that your name is mentioned.
With best wishes,
Learning Disability Inclusion Development Manager.
The Salvation Army, Social Services
The Salvation Army have a large group of members with disabilities who choose to become SAFE members (Salvation Army Fellowship of Endeavour) and as a member of the Salvation Army with a disability I paid my yearly £5 to be a member of this group.
Recently a call was put out for someone to design their logo for the SAFE summer school of arts, where SAFE members do arty things like play a brass instrument or sing in a choir (maybe other arty things are included, but I’m not sure).
No prize or reward was mentioned, but since I’m always moaning that church doesn’t include non-music arts I felt obliged to enter. Hooray I won and here is the design which had to be based on the theme, “I am found”.
See! All that debt I’m occurring at Uni is paying off.
I’m glad I won, but it brings me back to the age old question, Is it right for an artist to work for free?
Yes, I know in my last post I spoke about an embroiderers gift to the church in the form of altar cloths, but you only need to type a Google search for Bible and fair wage to see what God thinks. A job well done is deserving of a fair wage.
It’s one of those difficult questions, when is it right to work for free and work for money?
Back in May, Sainsubury’s in Camden got into bother for putting an advert in the paper asking for a budding artist to design and paint their staff canteen. The reward? Getting your work recognised, (by Who, the staff at the checkout?), something to start off your career and build your reputation.
Artists responded with a similar advert asking for a well-stocked supermarket to volunteer to stock artists kitchens with food to build their reputations.
Two years earlier a similar story circled the Internet of a big bucks company asking artists to apply for a ‘competition’ and at least the winner got a flight to Vegas.
Now, before any of you get cross with me, I know the competition didn’t offer a prize, I know it wasn’t a paid job and I know that I didn’t have to enter if I didn’t want to.
All valid points, but hear me out.
Do you think a Christian composer of worship music works for free? No, that’s why every church has to pay for a music license. Worship composers get commissions on their work.
Our church regularly plays short videos made by visual artists during their services, some I expect are ‘borrowed’ from the Internet, but the creator of the video won’t be seeing credit or commission for their work. They won’t be receiving a little cheque at the end of the year because yet again we’ve watched the little heart logo video on Sunday.
Even a preacher gets a fair wage, and rightly so.
What really bugs me is that I spent several hours designing a logo for free, to be used by a Christian charity that has a bit of money, for a weeks holiday which I can’t afford.
Maybe I should talk more on this blog about living in poverty. About having the government take away my disability payments (although I went to court Tuesday and have won my disability payments back without the judge even needing to see me).
I should talk about what it’s like to not even have enough money to pay for the meal at church (which is made for the poor of the community) or how hard I laughed when watching a documentary three nights ago on how Londoners are paying for expensive bone broth (bovril to you and me) as a snack, when I’m having a mug of chicken bovril as my evening meal.
Or how I spent most of yesterday afternoon in bed because hunger is easier to manage when your asleep.
But don’t worry, because the folks who can pay for a holiday will be able to be more blessed because I’ve worked for free.
I feel like sending a photo of my empty fridge and cupboards as a thank you response.
But you’re right, no prize was offered… Because visual arts isn’t valued in the church.
Last week, whilst designing a future pattern I was in the Leeds Parish Church, it was a nice visit and I had a free cup of tea, which they had no idea how much that was needed and appreciated. More about that visit in another post I think.
There are some beautiful textiles in the church but as I walked around I caught an image which just sums up how I often feel the church, especially the Salvation Army, considers designers and artists. Opposite the huge organ, which is one of the first things I noticed when I walked in the door, was a large wooden cabinet and behind that was a piece of artwork, well, let me just show you the photo…
I’m sure the people who spent time painting whatever is behind the cabinet are feeling very proud that their offering to the church has been so well received.
1. Artists advert to supermarkets. http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/sainsburys-asked-artists-free-work-so-artists-asked-sainsburys-free-food-171529
2. Artists response to call out for free work because they dig his style. http://www.adweek.com/adfreak/meet-hero-designer-who-publicly-shamed-showtime-asking-him-work-free-159579