Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Cross My Palm With Silver

Creative work can, indeed, be one of the most rewarding endeavours in which one can engage. Except, perhaps, when 'work' is meant to be the operative word and it is by such toil that one sustains one's mortal existence. It has long been a refrain of the young and the talented that their skills, no matter what they be, are rarely appreciated in the financial sense of the thing. Gaining any form of remuneration being exceedingly difficult to achieve, a livable level even more so. Not such a dilemma in the time of patrons. The truly talented sustained by those possessed of the wealth who wish to use it to positive ends. This time has long passed however, the age of the freelancer having become essentially dominant in by the early 19th century. While there were still those willing to pay for the skilled to ply their art, they became scarcer to find and the likes of Beethoven and Poe found themselves either penniless or reduced to other forms of employment to buy the sustenance needed in order to keep up the stamina to work. 

Something that it was promised the digital age would remedy. Innovations in equipment design, rendering them both smaller and less expensive, coupled with new networks of global distribution via the internet have certainly changed the way in which art is created and  distributed. Or has it? Yes, most artists are now able to create and distribute their own work via the internet but with the rapidly dissolving barriers between producer and audience, the attainment of any steady in come is very difficult. The competition being stronger than ever before. The digitally based companies are not much better. Most of them distribute for free, are supported by venture capital or sponsorship money. There is rarely enough to go around, especially at the level one might deserve. That is assuming one can get a position in the first place. Ironically, the best place to get money reflective of one's talent is in the traditional media. Independent comic book creator Dave Sim once observed that 'No publishing company will ever pay you enough to sue them'. This is likely true. Though they are likely to get your work to the intended audience and, if successful, pay out accordingly. Sadly, this structure is slowly eroding, the companies that still remain closing ranks and becoming even more selective about what they accept. Getting in is a struggle. Though really no more of a struggle than acquiring decently paying work as an online content creator, either for one's self or a 'business'. 

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