Coupons for works of art?


kupon_fakeOk… This blog post is more a rant than anything else. A week or so ago I was surfing the web and came across a website that sells e-coupons. Our country has a couple of websites that offer these services. You buy a coupon that gives you a discount or free service at a certain venue. The services range from food and tourism to print and workshop work.

I admit it’s a novel idea and I myself have bought a couple of coupons for travel. I even tried printing my business cards with a coupon once… My advice… Don’t do that.

Here’s the problem… I don’t see the harm in hotels, travel agencies and restaurants offering these services. If people don’t come, rooms are empty, stock is full and you are loosing money if you don’t fill the empty rooms or unload your stock. But what I found infuriated me to no end.

I found a coupon that offered drawing full color caricatures for around 17 euro a face. That’s a steal I admit but there’s a catch… Not for the buyer but for the seller. So what is my problem with the offer? Because of offers like this, people are devaluing my work and work of other artists.

For all I know this person that is offering the coupon isn’t really that good but because of people like that others tend to think my offers are pricey and that what I do is easy because someone will do it for less money. I value my craft. I worked hard to be as good as I am in drawing caricatures and developing my own style in the trade. People tend to think that because I can draw something of good quality in 3 or 4 hours I deserve only around 15 euro because 5 euro per hour is a lot of money. Here’s the thing… I worked ALL of my life to become this good and my work is not mass produced in China or Taiwan. You don’t only pay for my hours but you also pay for the product I am handing to you.

Even from a logical standpoint, if you pay me 15 euro, I will maybe make 5 euro from that. The tax, cost of material, delivery etc. A realistic price for a hand-drawn, full body, color caricature, featuring one person is around 50-60 euro. If you want backgrounds or more people, the price increases. Keep in mind this is handmade as well. It’s not produced in a sweatshop and it’s not something you can buy of a shelf.

If you are an artist, don’t underestimate your work. You worked hard to achieve something not a lot of people know how to do. Some consider caricatures tacky but I think they are just as legitimate art as any painting you can buy in a gallery.

If you are a buyer… We have a saying in Slovenia: “Malo dnara, malo muzike.” Literally translated that means: “Little money, little music.” If you pay less money you get less quality and you also devalue the work of good artists.

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