I started my day by reading this tweet:
Cameron Stewart is a cartoonist and illustrator and his statement really bummed me out. Out of 91K people who enjoying viewing his illustration, a single person liked it enough to pay £20 (a modest price, mind you) for a print of it.
That’s sad, discouraging, and frustrating. It hurts my brain to consider.
- This may be partially due to how these images arrive in front of people’s eyes. Stewart uses Tumblr for his blog. Most of Tumblr is a continuous feed of images. One right after the other and viewable at the speed of your scroll or finger. Like it and move to the next one that is peeking at the bottom of my phone begging to be seen.
- People don’t read. Here I’m anticipating you’re reading this… I’m sure many people saw the image and missed the text about it being for sale.
- Is merely seeing work the desired experience now? Is it good enough to have seen it once? Perhaps I’ll like it, bookmark it, or heist the jpg for future reference.
- This does not diminish the love people may have for the image or artist, but it does put the artist in a financial predicament. In order to make artwork to distribute for free, they need income to live and time to devote to making art. I anticipate seeing obituaries in the future saying the artist died poor and alone, but had 100,000 followers.
- How will this affect artistic motivation? All artists have different motivations for creating work, but most boil down to the want of a larger audience for their work. That increase generally affords income, notoriety, and increased opportunities. Should Stewart be happy with 91K likes and 1 sale?
Hopefully, other opportunities will arise for Stewart (eg. paid work) because of this popular illustration. I can hope, because it’s a great drawing. You should buy it.