Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor (kistaro) wrote,
Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

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Art and finances

Something I've seen happening a lot recently: casual artists, even really good ones (NSFW), holding discounts to try to get business to get out of debt, to be able to pay for medical bills, to make tuition, etc. It's a deeper pattern than that- more than in past years, I'm noticing a lot of people in my LiveJournal neighborhood expressing serious financial problems. I am not enough of an economist to draw any long-term conclusions or causes from this, but I've got a guess, and it's related to my being completely unable to find a valid bike parking spot most of the time on campus. Rising oil prices are driving everybody's cost-of-living up, but not for inflationary reasons- so it's an apparent cost increase with no corresponding decrease in the value of money (conversely, no increase in the numerical average pay rate of workers), and it makes it harder for everybody? Maybe it's a good thing I'm planning to live on a bike and maybe a motorcycle- but when the costs of shipping go up, everybody sees it at the register.

People who want to make a living off of personal creative work have it really tough. Most people value pretty things at lower than the minimum wage equivalent for the time it takes to produce them. And then with this economy, people are much less free with disposable income, and it simply changes the market- artists marketing to individuals find themselves getting even more people who definitely want what they have to produce, but balk at the price tag- even when the price is, strictly speaking, too low for the work involved.

thorndraco, someone who is in my opinion an extremely talented artist, is offering a new type of commission (relative to her previous offerings) because her previous standard variety simply isn't selling. Instead of over $100 for a fully-produced digital work, she's going for quicker oekaki-based drawings in the range of $10 to $30, in the hope that she can get more business that way. (I linked to her gallery above- it's the NSFW one.) Probably a good deal for those with any interest in commissioning furry (pr0n!!!!11!) work. For that matter, she offered to give out a free piece to anybody willing to advertise for her, which explains most of this paragraph, but seriously- she's good, and completely changing pricing brackets may put this into the range of a few more people. (Details here; she hasn't updated her site to reflect that yet.)

Part of it is an aspect of marketing. Many people who would balk at giving an independent artist $30, despite wanting the product, might go and buy a pair of CDs from Best Buy or something without really thinking about it- same price sink, just most of it going to a record label. Which is a better monetary value, all things considered?

I suppose it's an oddness about me (one of many) that in part of my considerations when making purchases, part of what settles the value of something to me is who or what I'm giving money to. I feel guilty about being in a secure financial situation before I've even graduated college while many other people I know don't know how to make next month's rent, and it's all because of luck- many of these are people who are as good at their own vocations as I am at computer science, and I just happened to get a major lucky break in a field that currently turns a good profit. Luck is the primary shaping factor here, but I don't know what sort of economy would allow individual prosperity for individual hard work or extreme talent without being primarily luck-driven. For all people complain about the lottery and gambling as sins, our economy isn't that much better. I still feel capitalism has a lot of good ideas in it and is probably the best economic system so far that takes into the realities of human psychology, but it's definitely not perfect.

I dunno. I had more of a point when I was thinking about this post, but it sort of got lost in the underflow. Really, the primary point was as an advertisement for thorndraco- I see no reason to deny being bribed to advertise, but I do seriously think it's a good deal that a significant proportion of y'all might be interested in.

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