Not too long ago, a media/publishing website had reverted back with an intention of having me on board as one of its writers. For obvious reasons, the next question was centered on the remuneration and incentives offered. To my utter shock, they expected their writers to work for free as the job apparently did not require much “efforts” to be put in”. “You just need to create content” is what a certain PR of the organization said. Now “content” not being that heavy a thing, I wonder why they were looking out for people who were good at the same, in the first place. On discussing the same with a close friend, it came to my understanding that the Indian society is yet to give the artists (of any form) their due.
What’s art to the world’s largest democracy? : In a country where there is literally a bursting of talent and creative abilities, something that does not fail to intrigue me is the perception about the same set of people not being given the adulation they deserve. Ironical, isn’t it? It’s funny how creative are expected to work for peanuts at an age when art has finally found a ground for itself. No matter how much we deny about money not being everything in life, the fact still remains that money is and will always be important, and perhaps, a very significant measure to how much something is much valued in our society today.
A tribute to “creativity”: Okay, so coming to the main intent of me writing this post, I would like to throw light on what the general mentality toward the artists lie. Considering how the recent times have seen a surge in the number of art lovers, is it not ironical that we, as individuals, and a society as a whole are not doing our bit to promote the same? As in, let’s take the freelancing scene for instance. A newbie freelance writer is paid nothing more than a few meager hundred rupees for every article that he or she writes. Yes, given the standard of living and the inflating prices, how well thought it is to offer such a rather insufficient pay to the major chunk of the revenue generators of the firm. Is it not? Honestly, what’s more surprising is the amount of people who actually ahead with such pay packages. Irrespective of whether it’s the experience or the “easy money” that one gets to make within the comforts of one’s home, the fact remains that the creative minds are at a significant loss today. Let’s not forget artists (and that constitutes writers, musicians, photographers, theatre artists, dancers and the like) have bills to pay as well. They have lives, have the desire and right to work for a decent pay, be able to dine at fancy restaurants on their special days and most importantly, get appreciated for thinking outside the box. I strongly believe that creativity is a divine skill that needs to be nurtured and encouraged. So irrespective of how much we “like” art or claim to appreciate creativity in any form, the efforts hold no purpose until every creative artist is given his or her due- in terms of value for work and a decent pay. With the general notion being that it doesn’t take much for a creative to come out with something absolutely amazing or better yet, that creative abilities may not necessarily need to yield higher remuneration, I don’t see how creativity is encouraged under such conditions.
Free Lunches, Anyone?: While being underpaid has been a common norm in the case of artists and writers, I honestly opine that the trend is not just very disheartening but very degenerating as well. And if you who are reading this article at this very moment, belong to the category of those who believe that freelance or newbie artists of any field do not require a fat pay, then let me tell you that you might as well not expect the need to create “content” or “work” that would actually bring in the major revenue to your publishing house/organization. It’s no longer unknown to the world about how things such are free lunches and free services are nonexistent. And if you are a writer, musician, tattoo artist, painter, dancer, actor or anything remotely related to the creative industry, please do not sell your work for free. It is not just demeaning to the skill you possess but unjust on your part to give in to a practice which needs to be curbed from its root. It’s time the world realizes that no artist out there irrespective of how experienced or inexperienced he is, is unworthy of a decent pay. I don’t see how anything worth buying can be expected to done for free. There’s a general misconception about artists having it easy and not putting it as much efforts as the employees in a corporate house would do. If you believe that as well, I would like to burst the bubble right away. The truth remains that an artist puts in triple the efforts, in terms of time and funds, in bringing out what is often admirable and noteworthy. It’s high time that organizations and people in general stop taking the work of an artist for granted. Yes, an artist has invested ample amounts of time and effort in bringing out that quality work you would love to buy.
Don’t value art, don’t buy it. And if you want to buy it, make sure it’s given the value it deserves. Give creativity a chance, and let the artists grow. Don’t just pursue names like Subodh Gupta and others without appreciating the art. Will you?
Image Source : IndiaOpines.com Copyright