Sometimes working online can be difficult. You can never tell how many people you’re reaching. Sometimes you don’t get feedback at all. If you have people viewing your work, maybe even enjoying it, there is no guarantee that you will get a Like or a Comment to let you know they were even there. Then there are those for whom you do work and may never hear from again. It’s not been often that it’s happened but it seems to always hit me hard. The best part of art, for me, especially when it comes to portraits of any kind, is knowing how it was received.
“It brought tears to my eyes.”
“They loved it and rushed to frame it.”
“I can’t wait to order more!”
Praise is good. Nothing is terrible, and responses without emotion are neutral.
Working one on one with someone can be just as difficult. The lady I made the queen size blanket for broke down when I told her I couldn’t work for her under such extreme pressure. She’s been having a hard time lately and it seems I broke the mule’s back. I took the untrimmed blanket to her, since she kept calling me wanting to know when it was finished. Her last call she mentioned I’d told her I’d have it done by Wednesday. (She gave me the yarn for this project on a Saturday, so I was pretty confused and worried about this call.) I can work well under pressure but when I feel like I’ve completely let someone down, it tears me apart. She returned the blanket asking me to add the trim and suggested I take my time. She was worried she’d lost me as a friend. I added the trim and made her some crocodile stitch booties as an apology. We hugged it out as she cried some more… then ordered two more pairs of the booties, by November.
When I was 18 I was just getting started into really trying to sell portraits. I had done a portrait for a man I worked with thinking, it’s not like I won’t be able to reach him for payment. I did the work, never got paid and as soon as he had it in hand, I never saw him again. He quit his job and left with my drawing. Now most of the work I do is online and I ask for payments up front, after some haggling, before even starting the project. There are a few who’ve still gotten by without paying first but mainly because the projects were a trial and error and I didn’t want them to pay for my errors. (Like the Jayne Cobb hats I knit recently.) When posting art of any sort lately, my number one stipulation is that they accept my style of work. I realize I’m not big time. I’ve not developed a perfect style to my work, that can be easily recognized by any who come across it, but demanding I do someone else’s style entirely, is where I now draw the line. There is only so many years and so many ways someone will allow themselves to be taken advantage of. So far, I’ve been pretty well received so I feel like I’m heading in the right direction. For those who cannot accept my style, they do not get my work and can find someone else who can deal with the stress that comes with trying to study and duplicate someone else’s work. 😉
This issue even came up recently over at All Free Crochet. If you are unaware of this situation I’ll explain briefly. There was a post by one of the administrators on Facebook asking for someone to duplicate some really popular patterns, that would normally have to be bought, and the pictures shared to show what patterns were used from the designers they had hoped to copy. It was a huge slap in the face to the designers of the crochet patterns and All Free Crochet lost a lot of love that day. They’ve apologized profusely but the damage was done.
Imagine what it’s like for artists too. We work for hours on a drawing, or painting only to find it for sale as a print on some other website with our names scratched off and someone else bringing in the profits. They are hard to track but they are everywhere. Researching a dress for a drawing I saw the same on Etsy, which is why I no longer sell there, for sewn items. Copying, is not cool. Don’t ask. Stealing is even worse.
What are your thoughts on the matter?