Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Difficulties of Being a Young Commercial Graphic Artist

Today, someone on Facebook posted a link to some YouTube videos created by a young cat who has made some pretty hilarious shorts. It turns out, he's from my hometown (New Orleans) and he's also a graphic artist. After watching some of his skits, I found an interview where he explains some of the difficulties of being an artist trying to make a living from his work and why he calls his business "R.I.P. Jerry Lavigne Jr.".

His rates are ridiculously cheap considering how much he includes. For an 11" x 14" picture, on professional grade paper, with matting and a frame using non-glare glass, he charges $150. Frankly, I don't know how he manages to turn a decent profit. I'm really glad to see this reality spelled out for all of the folks who don't understand the years of training/practice that goes into getting this good & how that deserves compensation, too.

My daughter is in high school but she's been a professional artist for years. We just bought a router and a couple of sawhorses, so that she can start making her own frames. You can charge more for framed photos than for unframed ones, but it's still hard to make a decent profit unless you can get the frames for a good price.

We first thought about getting a router after she started learning how to use power tools when her theatre teacher began teaching them about stagecraft. Since we did need to replace some baseboards and window sills in our new house and my mother-in-law was also doing some remodeling, we concluded that it would make sense to invest in one.

Now she'll be able to offer several different framing options to customers and she isn't limited to whatever the local businesses offer. She plans to eventually begin experimenting with different finishes and stains. We can get wood and glass from building supplies stores for cheap, so the router was the only significant investment.

I hope that my daughter will grow up to be a savvy artist like Jerry Lavigne. To be a successful commercial artist in today's world, you have to be able to think creatively in more ways than one. The more you can do yourself, the more money you make. That is, if you can get it through people's heads that "the worker is worthy of his wages" (1 Timothy 5:18).

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