Thursday, October 1, 2009

Advice to Academia

Recently I had one of my culture clashes. It was between the professional artist and the fan/academic world.

I sorta promised to be part of a charity - which one does not matter. It's something I'm concerned about, but that I've been working on a long time. My inclusion or not in any project about it won't really matter. I want to admit that I used to do a lot of fan projects, including donating pages for advertising, charities, and even putting books together like this one myself. It's something we all do, as part of the learning process, and not something I regret.

But I've been at this a long time. I need to pick and choose what I support, and a partial promise to be part of a charitable project doesn't guarantee it will go to the head of the line; you get what you pay for, folks (unless it's an artist in trouble or needing health care; then I donate anything I can give). I'm also commissioned by paying customers and they come first.

I'm rather busy right now getting all the pages up for the Desert Peach website and the books processed for Indyplanet. Among other things.

I recently became part of the movement to teach artists and writers to always get paid, and stop acting like they're part of a usable free pot of pretty stuff, especially in America (besides, anybody who does so is a damn scab). Things sort of spiralled downhill from there. Someplace in activism, it often does. Heads get butted before I wander off grumbling and then attempt to analyze the problem.

So here are some simple rules for academics:

First of all, PRO UP:

1. Do not approach professional artists without offering payment for any projects. This includes charities or educational projects, which can be deducted for taxes; do the research and paperwork on becoming a non-profit.

2. As professors, you should be well aware of the methods of discovering and applying for academic funding. Do so, when looking for funds for shipping and advertising. Offer each comics artist at LEAST $150.00 per page -- for use alone. Add (don't replace payment) an option for royalties. If you find legitimate academic funding, you will lend professionalism and recognition to the project.

3. Do not presume to browbeat a professional artist as you do your students. Whatever you think or make up about art or writing will always be far behind what the creators are actually doing, and they will always be doing it for completely different reasons than you can actually imagine.

Remember: FINANCE, FUND and don't FUSS.

1 comment:

Sue G. said...

I saw your comment on the NYT site under the Google Books quasi-editorial, and looked you up because you are speaking clearly about a key issue, authors' rights. That is what is getting glossed over time and again in debates about digitization. Who is making money in all of this? It's not authors. And that's not tenable. Thanks for your thoughts.